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Windows IT Pro UPDATE--Sorting Through Microsoft's Storage Strategy--April 19, 2005

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1. Commentary
- Sorting Through Microsoft's Storage Strategy

2. Hot Off the Press
- Bill Baker to Speak at Opening SQL Server 2005 Roadshow Events

3. Networking Perspectives
- Installing Windows Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2003 at a Remote Location

4. Peer to Peer
- GPO from DC Does Not Force User to Log Off
- Tip: How can I configure Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 to cleanly shut down any running guest OSs when the server shuts down?

5. New and Improved
- Manage Active Directory

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==== 1. Commentary: Sorting Through Microsoft's Storage Strategy ====
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

With all due apologies to Microsoft Senior Vice President Bob Muglia, who reacted with mock outrage last year when I told him about my complete disinterest in writing about storage, well, I have a complete disinterest in writing about storage. But that disinterest might be ebbing. In addition to what I think is a healthy move in the industry toward disk-based backup and recovery solutions, Microsoft has been pushing an alarming number of storage initiatives in the 2 years since Windows Server 2003 first shipped. It's a brave new world. And suddenly, storage is getting interesting again.

Alas, from a Microsoft watcher's perspective, storage is also getting complex. In addition to the core storage features found in Windows 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1)--including the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), the Distributed File System (DFS), disk quotas, and so on--Microsoft is working on several other storage-related products and services. These products include storage features in Windows 2003 Release 2 (R2, which I can't discuss quite yet), Windows Storage Server 2003, and the company's latest entry, Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM), which shipped in a public beta just last week. What are all these products and services, and how do they interact? And which customer segments do they target?

Obviously, the base storage services in Windows 2003 serve the smallest businesses to the largest enterprises. Small companies that use Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 gain access to better management tools, but the suite doesn't really advance the core storage features in Windows 2003 per se.

Windows 2003 and SBS 2003 are missing some essential storage technologies, but Microsoft is now supplying those features--or will do so soon--with Windows Storage Server 2003 and DPM. Windows Storage Server is a dedicated file and print server that lets you leverage your Windows knowledge and Windows 2003 functionality with appliances and rack-mounted storage solutions. The idea is that a storage server can plug into your existing infrastructure easily, regardless of the size.

Microsoft's newest storage technology, DPM, just recently debuted in public beta form. I spoke with DPM Technical Product Manager Christopher Whyte and Windows Server Technical Product Manager Ward Ralston about DPM last week, and that conversation alleviated some of my fears about the product. You see, DPM is a hard drive-based backup and restore solution, and I was curious why Microsoft wasn't adding this functionality to the base OS. Now that I've researched DPM, I can see that the technology has a lot more going on than I had previously thought. But the impending release of DPM does raise questions: Why is the backup utility in Windows 2003 so woefully inadequate? And can't a subset of DPM find its way into the core Windows Server product?

DPM--formerly known as Data Protection Server (DPS)--fills a glaring need. Today, most enterprise-class backup solutions are tape-based. Tape backups feature a set of glaringly obvious problems. First, they're notoriously slow and unreliable. Second, they require an administrator to recover data. But the biggest problem with tape, in my mind, is that such backups are made only sporadically because of the time and difficulty involved in doing live backups.

Clearly, a disk-based backup could ease most of these problems, and DPM, as a disk-based backup, does indeed allow for more frequent and more reliable backups. Organizations typically won't use DPM to replace a tape system, however. Instead, DPM can often act as a staging area of sorts between your users' data and the tape system. DPM backups can happen more frequently, letting users restore more recent data when disaster strikes. Long-term storage still gets written to tape when appropriate.

"We're trying to match customer pain points to functional areas in DPM," Whyte told me. "Backup is too slow and complex today. DPM removes the backup window and doesn't require a full backup. As you make data, it's backed up regularly with DPM."
However, because DPM is a Microsoft product, it takes things a step further by democratizing data recovery in the same way that Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) democratizes virtual ad hoc collaboration between coworkers. And, as with WSS, an administrator is often not required--which saves you time and money.

It's still a bit early to discuss how DPM will affect Microsoft's customer segments, and I've only begun examining the product. My guess is that version 1 won't be a great solution for small businesses but will instead focus on midsized businesses and enterprises. Whyte and Ralston said final requirements weren't yet available but that DPM would likely target environments with 5-99 servers. And version 1 won't integrate with Microsoft SQL Server, Exchange Server, or WSS, although future versions will. The initial version is 32-bit only.

Those small quibbles aside, DPM is worth investigating. I'll have more to say about DPM when I can speak a bit more about Windows 2003 R2. In the meantime, you can check out the public DPM beta on the Microsoft Web site.


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==== 2. Hot Off the Press ====

Bill Baker to Speak at Opening SQL Server 2005 Roadshow Events
Bill Baker will deliver the keynote address on Tuesday in Boston at the first stop on the Get Ready for SQL Server 2005 Roadshow tour, produced by SQL Server Magazine and the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) and sponsored by Microsoft. Baker, GM, SQL Server Business Intelligence for Microsoft, will set the stage for the full day of SQL Server 2005 technical training by highlighting some of the innovations in SQL Server 2005. Baker will also deliver the keynote address at the New York, San Francisco, and Chicago venues.
"We've been working hard on SQL Server 2005," said Baker. "We're looking forward to traveling the country to meet with our users, and showing them some of the amazing things they can do in their businesses with the technology we've been working on."
The roadshow is coming to Boston on April 19, New York on April 21, Anaheim on April 26, San Francisco on April 28, Chicago on May 12, Houston on May 17, and Dallas on May 19. Walk-in registrations are encouraged. The registration fee for the roadshow is $99, which includes a full day of technical content, breakfast, lunch, the user group party, a one-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine, a one-year membership to PASS, an attendee bag, roadshow T-shirt, and the opportunity to win prizes from various sponsors, including an Xbox. Walk-in registrants may pay by check, cash, or credit card at the site. To see the full agenda and register online, visit
The SQL Server 2005 Roadshow will include three content tracks. Scalability Experts trainers will lead the administration track, DevelopMentor trainers will lead the development track, and Hitachi Consulting trainers will lead the BI track. The roadshow will provide an in-depth look at the new SQL Server release from experts who have worked with the technology for months.
"Many IT professionals are wondering how SQL Server 2005 will impact their work this year," said Michele Crockett, associate publisher of SQL Server Magazine. "There are a lot of questions about upgrading to the new database platform, and this Roadshow is designed to provide specific answers to all their questions."

==== 3. Networking Perspectives ====
by Alan Sugano, [email protected]

Installing Windows Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2003 at a Remote Location
In last month's Networking Perspectives column, Alan discussed the steps for installing a Windows Server 2003 server at a remote location. This month, he explains how to install Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 on that server. Read the article at the following URL:

==== Events and Resources ====
(from Windows IT Pro and its partners)

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==== Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll:
The voting has closed in Windows IT Pro's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Do you use virtual machine technology in your enterprise?" Here are the results from the 285 votes:
- 26% Yes, we use Microsoft Virtual Server or Virtual PC
- 53% Yes, we use VMware
- 1% Yes, we use another virtual machine product
- 20% No, we don't use virtual machine technology

New Instant Poll:
The next Instant Poll question is, "Can you access enterprise applications from your mobile device?" Go to the Windows IT Pro home page and submit your vote for a) Yes, b) No, or c) I don't know.

==== 4. Peer to Peer ====

Featured Thread: GPO from DC Does Not Force User to Log Off
Forum user ljCharlie runs a Windows Server 2003 domain controller (DC). He wants to log off users when their logon hours expire but can't get the functionality to work. Read more about his problem, and offer your assistance at the following URL:

Tip: How can I configure Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 to cleanly shut down any running guest OSs when the server shuts down?
by John Savill,

Find the answer at the following URL:

==== Announcements ====
(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows IT Pro: )

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==== 5. New and Improved ====
by Angie Brew, [email protected]

Manage Active Directory
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