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New Visio Stencils for Office 2013 Suite

November 30th, 2012 No comments

Nearly ten days back Microsoft did release the Visio stencils for The New Office, which includes Office, Exchange, Lync and more. The stencil contains around 300 icons. Here is the download link.

A view of the 300+ icons

So download and have a look, it contains all that you need to visually represent your new Exchange, Lync, Sharepoint Architectures and Overviews.  There are even icons for New Phones and Tablets,

 

I spend a little time on this and drew my lab overview which I am currently working on. Below you can find a representation of the same.

 

Enjoy the New Office and New Windows!

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Installing Free (GPL) Virtualization Software – Oracle VM VirtualBox

May 29th, 2012 No comments

VirtualBox is an easy use virtualization software available for enterprise and home users.  Its available in both x86 and x64 version. It can be used on Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7, I am not covering any server editions or use of VirtualBox for enterprise or not even for an Extensive Lab purpose.

 My idea here is to only make a basic IT user able to understand the product a little and start using it for a moderate level testing purpose. For more detailed information about the product please explore and read at www.virtualbox.org .  We will be looking at installing VirtualBox on Windows 7 PC.

For a minimum performance, you need to have 1GB Memory on your Windows 7 PC.

 Ok, lets get started, first we need to do is to get the binaries (software).  For that go to product home page www.virtualbox.org and navigate to the “Downloads” page, or click here for the direct link.

 At the time of writing this article the latest version available is:  4.1.16 so if there are changes to the product in newer releases, before trying the steps provided here, do read the information available at the product site.

 The downloaded file for windows will be named like: VirtualBox-4.1.16-78094-Win.exe before starting the installation, Right Click on this file and then Click Properties from the drop down menu.  From the properties dialogue box click on “Unlock”  and then Apply and OK – as seen in below figure, this will make the file marked as safe and avoid further prompts for authorization.

 

 Now let us start the installation process, make sure you have administrative rights on your Windows 7 PC.  To kick in the installer just double click on the file VirtualBox-4.1.16-78094-Win.exe and follow the wizard as described below:

 It will take a few minutes to start the installer and below screen will appear first

 

 On the welcome screen click on Next to proceed:

The default settings are normally sufficient, if you want to change the installation location from default system drive (C Drive) then click on Browse and select the alternate location, otherwise click Next

Click Next

 

You get a prompt about changes to networking settings on the machine, if you are connected to internet it might get disconnected for a while when the installation proceeds, click Yes to continue

All the tests and preparations are done, all set to start the real setup – click Install

Installation will continue now

You can see the progress, it will take few minutes to complete

At the end of the setup you will get few prompts like seen below, click on Install, these add-ins are required for the software to work as expected

Once completed, click on Finish to close the wizard

This completes our installation procedure for Oracle VM VirtualBox, I hope this was of help to you.

 Any comments or feedbacks are welcome

A look back to Day 3 of TechEd India 2012

March 24th, 2012 10 comments

Day III

Day 3 started with Keynote by Mr. Chakrapani Gollapali, GM – Consumer Channels Group, Microsoft India. Yes, i liked that bold words on that first slide.  The bottom line was make India an “App Powered”.  The idea was supported with the facts that Windows 8 Consumer Preview download reached more than 1 Million within 24 hours of release.  In Windows Phone area 100,000+ Registered Developers, 500+ New features, and already 65,000+ Apps out there. He continued to explain the audience about Consumer Channel Groups areas of:

  •  4 Products (Win8, WP, Office365, and XBOX)
  • 4 Channels (Retailers, Operators, OEMs, and Direct)
  • 4 Strategies ( Devices and Services, Partnership that differentiate, Marketing that connects and creates Demand, and Executing & Moments of Truth)

All of them were connected to current IT Trend of Connected Devices and Continues Services. Did you know that Kinect is the number one selling console now.  The second keynote was by Gerard Rego, Director, Nokia India. for me it was a connected keynote to the previous keynote on the Phone part. Some facts on Nokia store: It attracts 13 million downloads every day, 350 Developers has Apps with more than 1 million downloads…

On Day 3, morning we (Myself, ATskganguly ATsimplymanas) did have the company of BITPro UG Leads Kalyan and Ravi – we had a quick chat with Kalyan.

Technical Tracks:

Peeling SQL Server like an Onion: Internals Debunked  [ Vinod Kumar M ( vinod_sql)  ]

Vinod did start with setting the stage clear on whats going to be discussed (yes, it was not one way explanation but a full band two-way discussion) . It was totally about how SQL works in the Inside and not how it looks outside. Main Agenda:

  1. Design Changes in SQL Server 2012
  2. Core Engine Architecture for Performance

Disk Format Advancement (my top most take away from this session):  As this was not only related to SQL expert, i got so much attention to this topic of discussion. The discussion went on What are sector and cluster alignment, 512 and 512E. Issue with 512E, Transaction Logs depend on this as its sequential io, hence Data Loss and Performance degrade. so now SQL 2012 supports 512E Natively – 512E is about representing 4KB Disk Sector to Operating System as if its a 512 Bytes. How do you check if a disk is in 512E Mode:

FSUTIL fsinfo ntfsinfo c:   – ( Check for “Bytes per sector”[how it's presented to the OS] and “Bytes per Physical sector”[What is the actual sector size used] )
 
The benefit of this is, SQL or any other application, can now look at the actual physical sector size and send the commits of aggregated changes of minimum 4k , thus improving performance and remediating data corruption due to disk+power failure errors [such issue happened in previous case, because even if the required change is only 512Bytes, it was required to read 4K, update the particular 512Bytes of it, and owerrite the 4K  - if there was a failure the other three 512Bytes will also get corrupted or lost).
 
This feature needs KB982018
 
Some References on this Disk Changes and application behaviour:
 
Here is how I see it on my Win7 PC:
you can see that after the hot fix the property “Byter Per Physical Sector” is Exposed.
on my PC its not using Advanced Format as you see.
 
 
 
 
Since i am an Exchange Admin, I did have a look this on Exchange Storage Best Practices, and this content was added, Advanced Disk Formats are now supported with Windows 2008 R2 SP1 and Exchange 2010 SP1. The impact or benefit of this needs to be understood, that would be another post.
 
Security Enhancements: The Admins “Local System (NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM)”, and “BUILTIN\Admins” are now Not part of SysAdmin role. The concept of “Virtual Accounts” were discussed. And SQL Writer (VSS) uses  ”Local System” Account.

Indirect Checkpoint: In plain language this is what i got, pre 2012 did not know to commit dirtied pages in sequence on a recovery scenario while in 2012, it keeps track of the order in which buffers are dirtied. So at recovery the dirtied pages are now committed in order.

Some Questions thrown at the Audience:

  • How many new permissions are added in SQL 2012?
  • How many administrators inside a SQL Server instance?
  • When does a  CHECKPOINT occur inside SQL Server?, and Do you control it?
  • Dirty Page – Algorithm?
  • Can you have more than 8 KB in buffer pool?
  • Memory Management?

NB:- I am not a SQL Guy, if there are mistakes in above understanding please do give feedback.

 Reference to Author’s Post on the topic: http://blogs.extremeexperts.com/2012/03/08/teched-india-2012-sql-server-internals/

From this session, i did get a goodie – SQL Server Interview QnA Book by Pinal and Vinod, i did get it signed by both of the geniuses – cool.

 

Speed Up! – Parallel Processes and Unparalleled Performance  [ Pinal Dave ]

This was a great session, audience were so much alert  and participating with the speaker, Mr. Pinal did explain the below shown two topics in a very understandable way [yes, Jokes :-) + Amdahl's Law, that was all in the session]:

Courtesy pictures: Wikipedia for Amdahl’s Law and orkutluv.com for the joke

In this session we went through discussing what is parallelism, starting with real life examples. In SQL Parallelism has got three phases: distribute – Repartition – Gather. We saw how to configure the settings for Parallelism, and Pinal showed us how to see the effectiveness of parallelism on Queries by looking at Execution Plans. All purpose of using this technology is to make your Queries faster, but there are cases were parallelism may cause delays.

But, To Use or Not Use Parallelism?: Decide based on is the work load, and apply best practices, the speaker did show some best practices for using MAXDOP Values for OLTP, OLAP, Mix of Both work loads.

References:

Parallelism in SQl Explained by the speaker

Parallel Performance Session in TechEd - SQLAuthoriy

Video by the speaker on MAXDOP with Single Processor Query

 

Keeping Your Database Available – ‘AlwaysON’  [ Balmukund Lakhani]

For me this session was all about Exchange 2010 Database Availability Group Concepts implemented in SQL 2012. This is not mirroring, but keeping multiple copies of the database instance. The key features of Availability Groups are : Flexible (any copy can be made primary(active), Integrated (such as no need to go to Failover cluster manager to set up things), Efficient (Backup from Secondary, and Configurable).

Note: You cannot snapshot from the passive/standby copy unless the current primary is available (same as Exchange 2010 i guess, you need to have Primary available for various reasons, such as status update, log truncate etc). You can use readable secondary copies only for backup and recovery purpose.

New Unified Dashboard and Recovery Advisor was also included in the Demo, it was full of Demos, one thing interesting was new error logs and error dialogs are so user-friendly, it even says right-click or double-click to be done on a setting to avoid the error happening. Isnt it cool!

Speaker’s Notes: SQLServe-Help.com and MSDN SQL FAQ

 

 Tools to manage, troubleshoot and diagnose your Windows systems [ Vinod_sql ]

Yes, you are right - This session was taken by Vinod Kumar, the whole idea of this session looked like sharing his experience on Tools for troubleshooting issues on Windows, Such as Disk, Memory, Processor etc.  Most of the SysInternals tools were Demoed and discussed. He did explain what is Free Memory, StandBy Memory, and so on. It was a very good session on understanding the basics. Here i did realise, that we used to say “when we work longer with a product we can’t answer to questions on basic concepts or theories” – i guess now if you are really passionate about the product you work on – then your Basics should be on top AlwasyON, otherwise you cannot make sure the Advanced concepts are really working well and how its working behind the scene.

Did you know how to figure out the type and state of processes based on the color from Process Explorer, one tip – the color Yellow means it’s a DotNet Process. It was nice to know these features, this session made me decide to explore more about SysInternals Tools and to have a look at the latest Windows SysInternals Book.

 

 Desktop Security options: What apart from Antivirus? [ M S Anand ]

I was little late for this session, but when i joined, i could realise it was not Anand who is giving the session. i dont know why. It was all about looking at security from a new perspective and using Microsoft’s In the Box tools to manage common security threats either it is on corporate machine or a home pc. One point clicked to me was “Socially Engineered Malware” – nowadays attackers are studying and even waiting years to get in to their target. They can use social networking sites to first get connected with the target’s supply chain (meaning friend circle and so) then through any loop holes from the Targets supply chain get to the target and launch attacks. So Am I supposed make all my social presence accessibility to private! whats the solution?. The speaker did show demo on setting up simple rules from AppLocker On Executable, Script, and Windows Installer Rules.

 

Closing KeyNote [

Hype Cycle: A hype cycle is a graphical representation of the maturity, adoption and social application of specific Technologies. The term was coined by Gartner, you can find the complete Document on this @ Gartner and some Details on it @ WikiPedia.

He did explain the future where the industry is looking at, and There is no barrier for any one to enter the market. You just need to have a Desire, a Dream, and a Vision. His Point was Seize the Opportunity!

Gifts were given to the winners of Bangalore Win8  Hackathone Coders and also for Hydarabad Win8 Hackathone Contest.

Finally, before i leave the venue – i was one of the highest tweeters of the event and was called on stage to give a gift together with my new friends i met at the Event atBLAKHANI and atSIMPLYMANAS, Thanks to all who have retweeted my tweetes. Woooooh!

 

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