Archive for November, 2015:

Microsoft acknowledges bug led to Windows 10 November upgrade stoppage

Restores 1511 to download site, restarts Windows Update push

Microsoft has restored access to Windows 10’s November upgrade from its download center, saying that it pulled the upgrade because of a bug.

“Recently we learned of an issue that could have impacted an extremely small number of people who had already installed Windows 10 and applied the November update,” a Microsoft spokesman said in a Tuesday statement. “It will not impact future installs of the November update, which is available today.”

Microsoft yanked the upgrade from the download website — and stopped serving it to Windows 10 users via Windows Update — last week. According to the company, the upgrade had reverted four preferences within the operating system to the original “on” default settings.

“We will restore their settings over the coming days and we apologize for the inconvenience,” the spokesman added.

The settings that were changed included two in Windows 10’s privacy section — one that lets the user’s advertiser ID to be tracked across multiple apps, another that enables an anti-phishing filter for apps that display Web content — and a second pair that synchronized devices and allowed various first-party apps to run in the background to, for instance, provide notifications.

Microsoft provided some information on the settings bug in a support document, and also rolled out a new cumulative update, the only kind for Windows 10.

While the bug may seem minor — especially in the context of the roll call of louder complaints about the November upgrade on Microsoft’s own support forums — the company may have been ultra-sensitive to the privacy settings snafu, considering that the firm has been manhandled by critics over what they saw as a significant uptick in intrusiveness. Those who had turned off the advertiser ID tracking, for example, would certainly have been upset to discover that it had been switched back on after the upgrade.

After fixing the problem, Microsoft restored the upgrade to the download center, where current Windows 10 users can generate installation media — usually a USB thumb drive, but alternately a DVD — with the Media Creation Tool (MCT). Many have been using the MCT to cut the line for the upgrade, normally served through the Windows Update service, and skip the wait as Microsoft slowly rolls it out in its now-familiar staggered fashion.

Computerworld confirmed that the MCT now downloads the November upgrade, which Microsoft identifies as both 1511 — a nod to the November 2015 release date — and build 10586, rather than the original July 29 code that it had reverted to last week.

The gaffe with the November upgrade could be seen as a setback for Microsoft’s strategy to convince customers that it can provide regular upgrades to Windows 10 two or three times a year, and more importantly, prove that it can do so with high-quality code that requires less testing than prior editions.

After the upgrade’s Nov. 12 release, but before it was pulled from distribution, Gartner analyst Steve Kleynhans had called 1511 a milestone in Microsoft’s scheme. “This is a proof case for the ongoing update process,” Kleynhans said in a Nov. 13 interview. “It’s only the first data point, of course, but having delivered it, more or less on time, is a pretty good sign.”

Now? Maybe not so much.

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Microsoft’s November Windows 10 update screwed up some users’ privacy settings

The company has released a fix, and plans to put things back for affected users

People who updated to the latest Windows 10 update may want to double-check their settings. Microsoft revealed Tuesday that it took the previous update (which was released on November 12) down from the Internet the day before because of a problem that reset some users’ privacy settings when installed.

The bug reset settings on affected devices to make it easier for advertisers to track users across applications, and allow devices to share users’ information with wireless gizmos like bluetooth beacons that don’t explicitly pair with a PC, tablet or phone.

Microsoft released a fix on Tuesday, so anyone installing the update now shouldn’t be affected by the bug. What’s more, the company said in an emailed statement that those people who had their settings changed will have them restored to the correct configuration over the coming days. However, Microsoft won’t say how it plans to do that yet.

The company said in its statement that the problem affected “an extremely small number of people who had already installed Windows 10 and applied the November update.” It’s not clear what triggered the bug, however.

The good news in all this is that Microsoft has fixed the problem after it became apparent. The bad news is that the company released an update that changed settings users rely on to maintain their privacy.

All of this comes at a time when users have heightened concerns about what data Windows 10 collects on users and shares with Microsoft. The company offers settings to stop that collection (except for telemetry data that it thinks isn’t a privacy issue), but all those settings are for naught if bugs render them useless.

 

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74-409 Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center


QUESTION 1
Your role as Network Administrator at ABC.com includes the management of the company’s
virtual infrastructure.
A Windows Server 2012 R2 server named ABC-HV1 runs the Hyper-V role and hosts virtual
machines for users in the Finance department.
You need to configure a new virtual machine (VM) to host a new Finance application named App1.
You create a new VM named ABC-App1VM on ABC-HV1. You configure ABC-App1VM with two
virtual network adapters.
You need to configure the VM to ensure that the App1 remains available to Finance users in the
event of a failure of one of the virtual network adapters.
Which of the following PowerShell cmdlets should you run to configure the VM?

A. Add-VMNetworkAdapter
B. Set-VMNetworkAdapter
C. Enable-VMMigration
D. Enable-VMSwitchExtension
E. Set-VMNetworkAdapterVlan

Answer: B

Explanation:


QUESTION 2
You work as a network administrator at ABC.com. The network consists of a single Windows
Server 2012 Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) domain.
The network includes a virtual infrastructure that includes host servers running Microsoft Hyper-V
2012 R2.
A virtual machine (VM) named ABC-AppVM1 runs an application used by users in the company’s
production department. The VM has a data partition that hosts a large database for the
application.
You need to install an application update on ABC-AppVM1. You need to ensure that you can
restore ABC-AppVM1 to its previous state in the event of a problem with the update.
Which of the following solutions would enable you to restore the VM to its previous state while
minimizing the disk space used on ABC-AppVM1?

A. You should export the VM before applying the update.
B. You should run the Copy-VMFile PowerShell cmdlet before applying the update.
C. You should configure VM replication before applying the update.
D. You should create a checkpoint of the VM before applying the update.

Answer: D

Explanation:


QUESTION 3
Your role as Network Administrator at ABC.com includes the management of the company’s
virtual infrastructure.
The virtual infrastructure consists of 100 virtual machines (VMs) running on Windows Server 2012
R2 Hyper-V host servers. Some Hyper-V host servers have locally attached storage and some
Hyper-V host servers connect to a Fiber Channel SAN.
Some VMs are Generation 1 VMs and some are Generation 2 VMs. The VMs run either Windows
Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012 R2. The virtual hard disks are a mix of VHD format or
VHDX format.
You need to ensure that all VMs support online virtual hard disk resizing.
How can you ensure that all VMs support online virtual hard disk resizing?

A. By upgrading all Windows Server 2008 R2 VMs to Windows Server 2012 R2.
B. By converting all VHD format disks to VHDX format disks.
C. By converting all Generation 1 VMs to Generation 2 VMs.
D. By connecting all Hyper-V host servers that have locally attached storage to the Fiber Channel
SAN.

Answer: B

Explanation:


QUESTION 4
Your role as Network Administrator at ABC.com includes the management of the company’s
virtual infrastructure.
The physical network contains two switches named Switch1 and Switch2.
You are configuring a new Windows Server 2012 R2 server named ABC-HV10 as a Hyper-V host
server.
ABC-HV10 has four physical network adapters named NIC1, NIC2, NIC3 and NIC4. You connect
NIC1 and NIC2 to Switch1 and NIC3 and NIC4 to Switch2.
ABC-HV10 will host a virtual machine (VM) named ABC-AppVM1. The VM will run a custom lineof-
business (LOB) application named CorpApp1.
You need to ensure that CorpApp1 remains available to users in the event of a failure of one of the
physical network adapters on ABC-HV10 or a failure of one of the network switches.
You also want to increase the network bandwidth available to the VM without modifying the
configuration of the network switches.
Which two of the following actions should you perform to configure ABC-HV10 before creating the
VM? (Choose two).

A. Configure NIC1 and NIC2 as a NIC team.
B. Configure NIC1 and NIC3 as a NIC team.
C. Configure the NIC team to use Static Teaming (Switch Dependent) mode.
D. Configure the NIC team to use LACP (Switch Dependent) mode.
E. Configure the NIC team to use Switch Independent mode.

Answer: B,E

Explanation:


QUESTION 5
You work as a network administrator at ABC.com. The network consists of a single Windows
Server 2012 Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) domain.
The company has a Development department. You want to configure four virtual machines (VMs)
to be used by users in the Development department for testing applications.
Two of the VMs will run Windows Server 2012 R2 and the other two will run Windows Server 2008 R2.
You install a new Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V server named ABC-DevHV1 to host the VMs
for the Development department. ABC-DevHV1 has locally attached disk storage with a limited capacity.
You need to maximize the disk performance of the VMs.
What should you do?

A. You should configure dynamically expanding virtual disks for all four VMs.
B. You should configure pass-through virtual disks for all four VMs.
C. You should configure fixed virtual disks for all four VMs.
D. You should configure dynamically expanding virtual disks for the Windows Server 2008 R2 VMs
and fixed virtual disks for the Windows Server 2012 R2 VMs.
E. You should configure differencing disks for all four VMs.

Answer: C

Explanation:

 

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70-696 Administering System Center Configuration Manager and Intune

70-696 Administering System Center Configuration Manager and Intune

Published: January 23, 2015
Languages: English
Audiences: IT professionals
Technology Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Intune
Credit toward certification: MCP, MCSE

Skills measured
This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. The percentages indicate the relative weight of each major topic area on the exam. The higher the percentage, the more questions you are likely to see on that content area on the exam. View video tutorials about the variety of question types on Microsoft exams.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

Do you have feedback about the relevance of the skills measured on this exam? Please send Microsoft your comments. All feedback will be reviewed and incorporated as appropriate while still maintaining the validity and reliability of the certification process. Note that Microsoft will not respond directly to your feedback. We appreciate your input in ensuring the quality of the Microsoft
Certification program.

If you have concerns about specific questions on this exam, please submit an exam challenge.

Deploy and manage virtual applications (14%)
Prepare virtual applications
Sequence applications, install and configure the sequencer environment, prepare applications for deployment in different environments, configure virtual application interaction and sharing
Manage application virtualization environments
Configure App-V, manage application cache, configure System Tray/SFTTray.exe switches, configure application extensions with virtualized applications, configure application settings using group policies
Deploy and manage RemoteApp
Configure RemoteApp and Desktop Connections settings, configure Group Policy Objects (GPOs) for signed packages, subscribe to the RemoteApp and Desktop Connections feeds, export and import RemoteApp configurations, support iOS and Android, configure Remote Desktop web access for RemoteApp distribution

Deploy and manage desktop and mobile applications (15%)
Plan an application distribution strategy
Considerations, including impact on clients due to offline access, deployment infrastructure, and remote locations; choose the appropriate application distribution method; plan to distribute applications to mobile devices, including Windows Phone, Windows RT, iOS, and Android, by using Microsoft Intune; plan to distribute applications to desktops
Deploy applications using Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
Choose and configure deployment types, configure user device affinity, configure requirements, manage the software library and application catalog
Deploy applications using Microsoft Intune
Choose between automatic and manual deployment, configure application deployment policies, add software packages, configure the company portal
Plan for application upgrades
Considerations, including application version co-existence, compatibility issues, and migrating application settings and configurations; re-sequence/redeploy applications
Monitor applications
Monitor offline application usage; monitor real-time sessions; monitor application licensing usage; configure Asset Intelligence in Configuration Manager; monitor applications, using Software Center
Manage content distribution
Manage distribution points, distribution point groups, and Content Library; monitor log files

Plan and implement software updates (16%)
Plan and deploy third-party updates
Plan for third-party support, integrate System Center Updates Publisher with Configuration Manager
Deploy software updates by using Configuration Manager and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)
Configure software update point synchronization to Windows Update, use reports and In Console Monitoring to identify required updates, create update groups, create and monitor deployments, analyze log files, configure Automatic Deployment Rules (ADR), provide secondary access to Windows Update, configure GPO settings
Deploy software updates by using Microsoft Intune
Use reports and In Console Monitoring to identify required updates, approve or decline updates, configure automatic approval settings, configure deadlines for update installations, deploy third-party updates

Manage compliance and Endpoint Protection settings (15%)
Build a Configuration Item (CI)
Create a CI, import a CI, set CI versioning, remediate rules
Create and monitor a baseline
Deploy a baseline, import a configuration pack, build a custom baseline
Configure Endpoint Protection
Create and manage the Endpoint Protection policy; configure definitions within the client policy; export policies; choose which template to use; select exclusions; configure Endpoint Protection, using Microsoft Intune; use In Console Monitoring to monitor client compliance

Manage Configuration Manager clients (15%)
Deploy and manage the client agent
Identify deployment methods, manage client agent settings
Manage collections
Plan the collection structure; define rules for collections; customize collection-specific settings, including maintenance windows and power management
Configure and monitor client status
Configure client status settings, use In Console Monitoring to determine client health, configure alert thresholds, configure client health auto-remediation

Manage inventory using Configuration Manager (12%)

Manage hardware and software inventory
Extend hardware inventory WMI classes, export and import WMI class settings, configure standardized vendor names, analyze the identified inventory and generate reports
Manage software metering
Create software metering rules, enable or disable auto-generated rules, report software metering results
Create reports
Clone and modify reports, create custom reports, import and export reports, manage asset intelligence, install the asset intelligence sync point, enable the WMI classes, modify categories and labels, analyze reports

Provision and manage mobile devices (12%)
Integrate Configuration Manager with the Exchange ActiveSync Connector
Configure and apply ActiveSync policies, view inventory on mobile devices, configure connection to an on-premises or Hosted Exchange server environment, monitor the Exchange connector log file
Manage devices with Microsoft Intune
Provision user accounts, enroll devices, integrate Microsoft Intune with Configuration Manager, view and manage all managed devices, configure the Microsoft Intune subscriptions, configure the Microsoft Intune connector site system role
Manage connection profiles, by using Configuration Manager
Configure Remote Desktop profiles, certificate profiles, email profiles, and Wi-Fi profiles

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Former Marine fights to connect veterans with IT jobs

One consulting firm’s hiring program aims to place U.S. military veterans in IT engagements.
The transition to corporate life can be challenging for military veterans. Companies aren’t used to hiring veterans, whose resumes are unlikely to make it past their keyword-filtering software. Veterans aren’t used to articulating their military experience in business terms, nor are they accustomed to typical workplace culture and communication. Far too often, uniquely skilled veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan hear the same disheartening message — that they’d make great security guards.

Nick Swaggert, a former infantry officer with the U.S. Marine Corps, sees untapped talent in these returning soldiers, and he’s committed to helping them find career opportunities in the tech world. Swaggert is Veterans Program Director at Genesis10, an outsourcing firm that provides IT consulting and talent management services. His job is to recruit veterans, help them translate their military experience to relevant corporate experience, and find a place for veterans to work at Genesis10’s clients.

Swaggert knows firsthand what it’s like to see a military career reduced to the output of a military skills translator (software that’s designed to match military skills, experience and training to civilian career opportunities).

“I was in the Marine Corps infantry. Backpack and guns type of thing. So what does it say for me? I can be a security guard,” Swaggert says of the typical automated skills translator. “Someone in the infantry probably pulled a trigger less than 0.1% of the time. They probably spent a lot of their time in logistics, leadership, setting up communications assets, organizing supply chains. These are all things we did, but my job says I pulled a trigger.”

In reality, the infantry experience varies widely for today’s service men and women – including Swaggert, who was sent to the Syrian border, 300 miles from the nearest base. “I needed to make sure that the supply chain — helicopters were flying us supplies — was optimized. When you live in a space the size of a conference room table, or you’re on a vehicle, there’s not a lot of room for error in terms of too much or too little supplies,” he recalls. “I needed to learn how to set up a satellite radio, to send digital pictures of smugglers we were catching back to the base. Using a very high-tech radio and a rugged laptop in a sandstorm, I learned to problem-solve communications assets. That doesn’t come across in a translator.”

When Swaggert left the Marine Corps, he found a new mission: helping veterans find civilian jobs that make use of their myriad talents.

“I got out in 2010. I was told time and time again, ‘Nick, you seem like a really great

guy, but you just don’t have the experience that we’re looking for.’ That’s what led me to go and get my master’s degree and become passionate about it. This is a huge opportunity. There’s a huge miss here in communication. Someone needs to be out there, proselytizing.”
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Genesis of an idea

Swaggert also understands what it’s like to be an enlisted person and an officer — a rare perspective for veterans of the typically stratified U.S. military. He enlisted in the Marines right out of high school. He was later selected for an officer training program, which allowed him to get a college degree while in the Marines.

After getting his degree, Swaggert was commissioned as an officer in 2005. He wanted to be an infantry officer, even though a friend advised him to pursue a more hirable assignment in communications or logistics. “I said ‘no way, that’s not going to happen. I’m going to go serve my country on the front lines.’ Then I came home, and like many other people, saw that doesn’t help me.”

Even with a college degree, his path to a corporate career wasn’t always smooth.
Swaggert applied and was rejected for a corporate program that’s designed to train and certify military veterans in computer networking. “My ASVAB — Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery — it’s like the military SAT. It shows how well you can learn new jobs. I scored in the 96th percentile of all service members. They don’t look at that, though. They just say, ‘well, he was in the infantry, he can shoot guns. There’s no way he could possibly learn network stuff.’ This is exactly why people can’t get jobs.”

When young, college-educated officers leave the military, they’re often recruited through junior military officer (JMO) training programs at companies such as Deloitte, PwC, General Electric and PepsiCo. Companies compete to hire these service members, many of whom got their college degrees, served four years in the military, and are set to enter the business world at a young age having amassed significant leadership experience. “They have their degrees, the path is laid out for them, and they’re heavily recruited,” Swaggert says.

It’s a different world for enlisted men and women, most of whom leave the military without a college degree. Even if they get their degrees after serving in the military, it can be hard to find work. “An officer goes to college for four years, then serves for four years. An enlisted guy serves four years, then goes to college for four years. After eight years they’re fairly equivalent, but one group is highly employed and the other group is heavily underemployed,” Swaggert says.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate for military veterans who served after 9/11 was 9% in 2013, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s down from 9.9% the year before, but well above the overall unemployment rate for civilians, which was 7.2% during the same period. The numbers are particularly bleak for the youngest veterans, aged 18-24, who posted a jobless rate of 21.4%.
c2 crew b

Nick Swaggert (center), pictured with the crew of his command and control vehicle during a break while patrolling the Syrian/Iraqi border.

“Being an officer, you gain a tremendous amount of experience and have tremendous leadership opportunities. The other group has been given similar, but not as extensive, experience. That’s where we think there’s a business opportunity,” Swaggert says.

At Genesis10, employees see the value of U.S. military experience in the corporate world. It’s a view that comes from the top. Harley Lippman is the CEO and owner of the $185 million privately-held firm, which is based in New York. Lippman participated in a program that brings groups of U.S. service-disabled veterans to Israel, and when he saw how well Israel treats its veterans – with comprehensive health services and job assistance, for example — Lippman was inspired to launch his company’s program on Veterans Day in 2011. Swaggert joined the effort in mid-2013. “Harley is a visionary, and he saw that there’s a huge opportunity to tap into this untapped talent vein,” Swaggert says.

The firm is realistic about placing former soldiers. Some of the roles Genesis10 envisions U.S. military veterans helping fill include project manager, business analyst, testing analyst, storage administrators, database administrators, network engineers, midrange server specialists, and problem and incident management positions.

“We have clients who need Java developers with 10 years of experience. I’m not pretending Joe Smith off the street is going to do that,” Swaggert says. “But there are needs such as entry-level data entry, business analyst, quality assurance — stuff veterans will do really well, very process-oriented roles. Veterans are very detail-oriented. We have checklists for everything we do. If you don’t dot an ‘i’ or cross a ‘t’ an artillery round lands on your location.”

Part of Genesis10’s strategy is to connect veterans with companies that want to hire returning soldiers but are unsure how to go about it.

One hurdle is that many companies don’t know how to find veterans. It’s not enough to post typical job descriptions on veteran-focused job boards or at military recruiting fairs. “That doesn’t mean anything to a veteran. You’re not recruiting by job code — everyone in the military has a job code. You’re not recruiting by rank — rank equals experience,” Swaggert says. “You have to tailor that.”

He’s understanding of the conundrum for hiring managers. “On the company side, I don’t blame them,” Swaggert says. “Hiring managers don’t have experience hiring veterans. We are such a small fraction of the population. You can’t expect them to know and understand.”

Another part of Genesis10’s strategy is to prepare veterans for workplace culture, not only by tweaking resumes but also through interview coaching and soft-skills development. Communication is a key element.

“Veterans have different communications styles. In the military, we call it BLUF — it’s an acronym that stands for ‘bottom line up front.’ You state the bottom line. In the military, you walk up to someone at their desk, or wherever, and you just tell them what you want,” Swaggert says. Civilians communicate differently, and veterans need to learn to deal with the differences.

Veterans also need to learn how to interview. In the military, higher-ups look at soldiers’ service records to determine who moves up the ranks. “That interviewing skill just completely atrophies — if it was ever there in the first place and most likely it wasn’t,” Swaggert says.

For companies that are open to hiring veterans, Genesis10 can smooth the process. The company understands that there’s risk associated with trying new hiring approaches. “We’ve built a program to try to mitigate that risk,” Swaggert says. “We flat out say in our presentation, ‘we are here to mitigate the risk of hiring a veteran.'”

Still, it’s not always an easy sell. “There’s a reason why veterans don’t get hired. If it were easy it would already have been done. You have to invest time and effort. I wish I could say it’s just rewriting a resume. But it’s not.”

The most challenging part of Swaggert’s job is trying to find companies that are willing to hire veterans.

“My number one job is not to find veterans. I could stroll down to the nearest base, or post a job online looking for U.S. Military veterans. The hard part is walking into the companies. I’ve talked to a lot of CIOs, a lot of VPs, saying, ‘do you guys want to hire veterans?’ They all say yes, and they say, ‘well how do we do it?’ We talk about selection, training, mentoring, and onboarding and getting them to commit to that kind of investment.”

Success is hearing “’yes, I’m going to force my people to hire someone who’s a little bit different.’”

Swaggert joined the Reserves to stay connected to the military, and as a commanding officer in the Reserves, he flies monthly to Ohio. “The Marine Corps is very important to me. It will always be very important to me,” Swaggert says. “I’m not wearing a uniform every day, but I’m definitely doing military-related things daily.”

“There are plenty of people like me, who joined the military during a time of war, who are really smart people who said, ‘I want to serve on the front lines, because that’s what this country needs.'”

Now that they’re home, he wants to help them find work.

 

 

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What’s behind the odd couple Microsoft-Red Hat partnership

Latest move by Microsoft to support open source technology.

No, hell has not frozen over, but yes Microsoft and Red Hat have announced a major partnership today.

In a collaboration that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, Microsoft – the purveyor of the mainstream and proprietary Windows OS – has partnered with Red Hat, the champion of an enterprise-class iteration of Linux. And analysts say the move is good for both companies.

What’s actually happening
The meat and potatoes of this relationship is the ability to run Red Hat software – most notably its market leading Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) — on Microsoft Azure virtual machines. This adds to Microsoft’s support in recent years of numerous Linux guest operating systems on its cloud, including those from Canonical, SUSE and Oracle.

Initially, Red Hat’s existing customer licenses will be eligible to be used on Azure, and within a couple months Azure customers will have an opportunity to spin up cloud-based versions of RHEL and pay for them as they are used, the companies said.

Amazon Web Services – Microsoft Azure’s biggest competitor in the IaaS market – has actually had on-demand and bring-your-own RHEL license for years.

There’s more to the Microsoft-Red Hat deal though. Both Microsoft Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie and Red Hat Executive Vice President of Products Paul Cormier said that this is one of the deepest partnerships that their companies have signed. Microsoft and Red Hat are organizing a team of engineers from both companies in Redmond (where Microsoft is headquartered) that will provide joint support to common customers. “There’ll be no finger pointing,” Cormier said.

No other partner has joint-engineering operations co-located on the Microsoft campus, Guthrie said.

There are a number of other, smaller parts of this deal ,too: Red Hat’s distribution of OpenStack and OpenShift – the company’s IaaS and PaaS platforms – will now support Windows OS, .net apps and Windows containers.

“All existing Red Hat development tools and Red Hat container technology can now run on Microsoft Azure,” Guthrie said. Red Hat’s CloudForms management platform, which basically controls virtual and private cloud environments, will eventually administer Azure resources. The new Red Hat on Azure services will be launched in coming weeks and months.

Building trust

“In historical terms this is a monumental announcement,” wrote Al Hilwa, IDC’s software development research director. His colleague, Al Gillen, said this move likely would not have been possible under Steve Ballmer’s reign at Microsoft.

Guthrie and Cormier, the two executives who led the partnership, said it required building up trust between the companies. “We’ve had a long history of competition and maybe there wasn’t much trust there,” Cormier said. “We decided to trust and give it a chance.”

Guthrie says the partnership should be looked at in the broader lens of moves Microsoft has made: Microsoft has worked to support Office 365 on Android and iOS; it now supports the major Linux distros on Azure (he says one-quarter of all VMs on Azure are Linux).

“I don’t view today as a complete outlier in terms of the approach or philosophy we’re trying to take,” Guthrie said on a press conference call. “But rather it’s very consistent with the openness and customer centricity that in particular Satya [Nadella] as our CEO has driven. That has really grounded our principles.”

What it means
Analysts say the move sets Microsoft up to better compete in the IaaS cloud market. “The new Microsoft has taken bold new steps and has been on a path to partner with its fiercest rivals of past years,” Hilwa wrote. “Strategically, this is what is required to be a player at scale in the cloud platform wars.”
“It’s a big win for both companies but a bigger win for Red Hat.”

Red Hat customers seemed to embrace the news too. “I think it’s a big win for both companies but a bigger win for Red Hat since Microsoft is now ‘all in’ with their distribution and technologies,” says Nicholas Gerasimatos, director of cloud services engineering at FICO, a big Red Hat user.

Many organizations use Microsoft SaaS tools like Office 365 and SharePoint and use RHEL for custom business applications or in their data center. “Microsoft and Red Hat’s decision to collaborate will allow their common customers to target Azure as a preferred public cloud,” says Charles King of PundIT.

Maybe that will be enough to give some customers reason to stay with Microsoft when it comes to public cloud instead of jumping to AWS.

 

 

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5 dead operating systems, and what their ghosts can tell us

We conduct a séance of sorts to call forth the souls of operating systems past—not so we can gaze upon their ghastly interfaces, but to learn from their tragic demises.

Tremble, mortals! Halloween is upon us. Ghosts, ghouls, and other undesirable creatures are prepared to slink out of their domains and into ours—it’s said that even the dead can rise on Halloween.

In that spirit, let us light some candles, cover the mirrors, and conduct a séance of sorts to call forth the souls of operating systems past. Not so we can gaze upon their ghastly interfaces, but to see if we can learn anything from their digital carcasses and signs of a life well-lived—or not. Who knows, perhaps they bring secrets from beyond the grave.

Windows XP
Windows XP proved to be a hit since its inception. Sure, it took Service Pack 2 to create the operating system we call XP today, but at the operating system’s launch in 2001 the basics were already there. It’s a good thing too, as Windows XP was destined to live long past its shelf life.

Windows XP’s extended life started with Microsoft’s Sisyphean effort on project ‘Longhorn,’ which included ambitious hopes for new features. As due date after due date slipped for Longhorn, more people became invested in the familiar and near-universal XP, and to disdain change of any kind.

When Longhorn finally emerged from its 5.5 year development in 2007 as Windows Vista, users were shocked and appalled by Microsoft’s proposed XP replacement. It took another two years of development and the release of Windows 7 before Windows XP would finally begin to lose ground. Yet it was another four to five years (depending on whom you ask) before Windows 7 would replace XP as the most widely used operating system in the world.

Today, four iterations of Windows after XP, the 14 year-old OS still claims more than 12 percent of online PC usage worldwide, according to Net Applications. This is despite the fact that Microsoft ceased delivering security updates for XP in April 2014—a year and a half ago.

Lesson learned: Don’t let your software live on too long, or it will grow up to be a dangerous zombie.

Windows RT

When Microsoft announced Windows RT, originally known as Windows on ARM, people were excited about the possibility. Finally, the energy-efficient ARM processor architecture—ubiquitous on mobile devices—would earn its own version of Windows.

What became Windows RT, however, was a terrible joke of an OS. Like Windows 8, RT offered a dual-identity desktop interface and modern UI. The desktop was hobbled, because it couldn’t run any other traditional Windows software—just Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office. Windows RT users didn’t have much to do on the touch-friendly side of Windows either, due to Microsoft’s poor efforts to convince developers to build Modern apps for the Windows Store.

Toward the end of its life, RT was no better than a glorified web browser with a smattering of ho-hum apps. Meanwhile, Intel’s Atom chips quickly closed the gap with ARM’s energy efficiency, leaving little reason to opt for Windows on ARM.

Microsoft was never clear enough on what it wanted to do with Windows RT. The result was a poorly thought-out ecosystem that led to death by indifference. Windows RT tablets aren’t being upgraded to Windows 10, and even Microsoft’s own budget Surface line ditched Windows RT for Windows proper in its third iteration.

Lesson learned: Ghosts of Windows RT linger on in Windows 10’s universal apps and Windows Phone compatibility, but Windows RT was nothing short of a disaster with consumers—understandably so, given its radical new interface and limited software capabilities. Even if you’re trying to move an ecosystem forward, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Mac OS in all its graphical interface glory.
One of Apple’s founding principles is that PCs—and technology in general—should be a delightful, even magical, experience. That vision came to the fore with the original Macintosh operating system. The first Mac OS was a revelation that popularized the visual PC interface and mouse navigation for home users.

The downside, however, is that a lot of what made Mac OS so magical required technological trickery and clever solutions to help a constrained system perform beyond what was expected. Original Macintosh users were forced to constantly swap out disks constantly because of RAM restrictions.

It was a pain to do—sometimes literally—but many people didn’t mind because the user experience on the screen was simply so much better than anything else out there.

os2box
During the early days of computing, IBM was a dominating force with its line of personal computers. When the company began producing the operating system OS/2 with Microsoft, the plan was to use the new OS to push even more sales of IBM hardware. That worked for a while, but the end of the line for OS/2 took shape once Microsoft produced Windows 3.0. After that, Microsoft ceased co-development of OS/2 to focus on Windows, and IBM was chasing Microsoft ever after. Pundits still argue over whether early Windows or OS/2 was better.

Regardless, OS/2’s undoing was that Microsoft outflanked IBM at every turn.
Microsoft bundled Windows with all kinds of hardware, as it does today, while OS/2 was sold separately and designed to push IBM machines. That approach just didn’t work when faced with the juggernaut that was Microsoft—it also didn’t help that Microsoft cheated. Once Windows 95 came out, OS/2 was all but done. IBM’s operating system faded out by 2000, but just like with Windows XP, you can probably find the odd ATM or small business inventory system still running on OS/2.

Lesson learned: Even juggernauts can fall. Adapt—which is exactly what Microsoft’s trying to do with Windows 8 and 10—or die.
The ghosts of Linux past

In 2015, we officially bid goodbye to Mandriva, a once-popular Linux distribution. This version of Linux started out life as Mandrake until the company running the distro merged with Conectiva in 2005 to become Mandriva. Many veteran Linux users cut their teeth on Mandrake or Mandriva, including PCWorld’s own Linux watcher, Chris Hoffman.

Get it? A penguin skeleton?
Mandriva lost its spot as the “easy Linux” distro after Canonical’s Ubuntu appeared in 2004. Seven years later, development ceased. Mandriva is just one of the many Linux distributions that have faded into oblivion—CrunchBang, supported by a single developer, is another one we recently covered.

Linux may be a force in the server world, but it has never succeeded at winning over masses of desktop users. Its openness encourages many developers to create their own Linux distributions and then fight with the hundreds of other distros for a slice of a tiny user base. Unsurprisingly, there’s a healthy amount of churn among distributions, even the popular ones.

Lesson learned: Like your Linux distro, but don’t fall in love. You may wind up leaving the party sooner than you think.

That’s the end of our ghoulish walk through the graves of operating systems past. Now we close the PC crypt for yet another year…until the ghouls of dead PCs past rise again.


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