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IT Infrastructure

RDS Graphics Performance in Windows Server 2016

With increasing internet speeds and more organisation moving their entire operating environment to the cloud, the demand to deliver solutions for graphics intensive applications on a remote desktop has never been higher.

RemoteFX

Microsoft has made some significant improvements and enhancements in this area. Firstly, using RemoteFX, RDS 2016 offers support for OpenGL 4.4 and OpenCL 1.1, required by modern graphics and 3D applications. Previously, RemoteFx only supported DirectX 11.1 and OpenGL 1.1

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Server 2016 RDS Personal-Session Desktops

Windows Server 2016 RDS will offer a new deployment model. Windows 2012 R2 had two options for RDS deployment; the first was Session-Based Desktop Deployments which is a Terminal Server based approach to RDS, the second Virtual Machine-Based Deployment where each user runs a dedicated virtual machine based on a client operating system (Windows 10 for example).

Personal Session Desktops has been introduced in Windows Server 2016. Essentially a hybrid of the two native deployment options in 2012 R2, it will enable VM’s running Windows Server 2016 to be assigned to specific users, similar to a VM-Based Deployment, however running a server-based operating system rather than client OS.

Why is this important?

Azure…. Personal Session Desktops allows cloud based desktops hosted in Azure to become a reality. By using Server 2016 Desktops with Desktop Experience feature (essentially turning the look and feel into Windows 10), you can now deliver a cloud based desktop over the Azure platform. As Azure cannot control Hypervisors and you cannot license clients in a VDI scenario, this was not previously possible.

SPLA licensing….. Microsoft does not allow SPLA licensing to be used for Windows client operating systems in a hosted delivery mode. However, with Server 2016 RDS deployed in Personal Session Desktops mode, SPLA licensing can be applied to the clients (as it is essentially a server OS).

Exchange 2013 – Reseed a corrupt search catalogue

Issue

Microsoft Exchange search services are not functioning, and search results are not being displayed. On further investigation you see the following event being logged on the Exchange Server.

Event ID: 123
Level: Error
Source: ExchangeStoreDB

 

At <timestamp> the Microsoft Exchange Information Store Database <identity> copy on this server experienced a corrupted search catalog. Consult the event log on the server for other "ExchangeStoreDb" and "MSExchange Search Indexer" events for more specific information about the failure. Reseeding the catalog is recommended via the ‘Update-MailboxDatabaseCopy’ task.

The error suggests that there is a corrupt Exchange Search Catalogue.

Running the “ContentIndex State” and/or Get-MailboxDatabaseCopyStatus may also highlight issues if it returns a result of anything other than “Healthy”…. such as “failed” or “unkown”

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Deploying Office 365 on Remote Desktop Server

Gone are the days where simply inserting a Microsoft Office DVD and running the setup executable was sufficient for installing Microsoft Office on a Remote Desktop Server. With many organisations switching to the flexible Office 365 model, Microsoft was released the Office Deployment Tool to facilitate installing multi-user, per-user licensed editions of Office.

ODT1

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Windows Server 2012 R2 Asynchronous Credits

We recently came across an issue with several new Windows 2012 R2 boxes in a particularly organisation having mysterious file save errors and mapped drive disconnects.

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error2

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The business case for Hosted Exchange

A large amount of organizations have been moving to hosted email solutions. Hosted exchange can be considered a relatively tried and tested way to push services to the cloud, and this, as well as the complexities and costs of managing email systems internally has contributed to the popularity of this cloud service. There are many paths one can take to move to a hosted exchange platform; Microsoft Office 365, Google, your service provider, ISP solutions and cloud service providers all offer varying hosted email services.

Hosted Exchange is a remotely managed 3rd party vendor provided solution to a business’s email needs charged on a monthly per mailbox / user fee. It negates the need to have your own exchange server and the maintenance that goes with it. Different offerings will have different feature sets such as mailbox size, archiving option, additional storage, and discovery and management tools. It is important to note that we are not looking at POP style email solutions which is limited in the way of collaboration and security, and generally stores mail to your local workstation; which is not adequate for any business that relies on email as a key part of communication.
Because of licensing costs, and the fact that managing an exchange server for a small organization can take as much time (or even more) than a larger organization, smaller organization will see most cost benefit from their existing solutions. However, large enterprises, who often have to manage multiple exchange servers, with the added overhead of clustering and redundancy resulting in addition hardware and expert staff have also been migrating to hosted exchange platforms, completely reducing complexities while maintaining redundancy and increasing uptime and potentially security.

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What’s new in Windows Server 2016

 

With Windows Server 2016 set for release this year, we take a look at some of the exciting features that have been included in technical previews so far.

Nano Server

Possibly the most interesting feature is the introduction of Nano Server. Nano Server is a purpose built operating system, scaled down to act as a platform of containers (more information below). Reducing the server footprint, Nano Server will require fewer patches and updates, improved resource utilization, less OS components and features as well as tightened security.

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Configure Default Computers and User OU’s in Active Directory

 

By default, machines joined to a new domain are added to the Computers OU. For any managed network, it is important to ensure machines are placed in a production OU as soon as they are joined to the domain, to ensure the correct polices are applied and applications are deployed.

You can automate this administrative step so newly machines added to the domain will be placed a pre-determined OU, negating the need for an administrator to go into the server to make the change.

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Windows Provisioning and BYOD

What is it?

Provisioning packages can be created and deployed to windows 10 devices by using Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer (IDC). IDC creates provisioning packages which can be deployed to Windows 10 devices, including home devices which are not added to a domain. It allows quick configuration of a device without having to re-image. A provisioning packages is a set of rules that can be applied to both domain and non-domain (home) workstations / laptops and home devices, opening the door for a simplified approach to the complexities of managing a BYOD solution in the enterprise.

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Exchange 2013 Clustering–Part 2: Installation of Exchange Servers

Once the pre-requisites are all met, you can proceed with installing Exchange. It is vitally important that the installation of Exchange is conducted on ONE server at a time, particularly for the first one.

One item for consideration is whether you want to split your servers in to roles. I.e. whether you’ll have both the Client Access role and the Mailbox role co-existing on the servers, or whether you want to split them off so that some servers will be running as CAS and the others as Mailbox servers.

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