Cloud OS Boot Camp | Doha | Dec 10-11

by Shijaz Abdulla on 20.11.2013 at 21:16


You are invited.

imageMicrosoft’s hybrid cloud approach allows IT to get all the benefits of scale, speed, and agility while still protecting existing investments.

Please join us for our upcoming Cloud OS Boot camp; an expert-led, no-cost, Live Demos for IT professionals, centered on the issues and workloads you’re tackling in your environment today.

At Cloud OS IT Pro Camps you’ll gain deep technical insight into the new features and functionalities of Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2. interactive discussions with Microsoft technical experts will cover a variety of topics including Server, Storage, Network Virtualization, Datacenter Management and Automation, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Storage as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service as a Service with Azure, SQL 2014, O365. You can download free trials to experience the new features.

Save the date and secure your seat now.









Agentless Antivirus protection for Hyper-V

by Shijaz Abdulla on 02.11.2013 at 23:11

5nine last month presented their Hyper-V security and management products at the Microsoft Cloud OS Launch event in Singapore.

At the time of this writing, 5nine software reportedly is the only vendor that delivers agentless/host-based security and management products for Windows Server and Hyper-V.

5nine Security for Hyper-V delivers a strong virtual machine separation and segmentation solution together with secure, multi-tenancy, agentless antivirus and antimalware technologies including an intrusion detection system. The complete product description is available on the company website at


The Beta version of NEW 5nine Cloud Security v4.0 provides full multi-tenant security, advanced user- and roles-based access, new LWF Hyper-V Switch extension, secure network virtualization/VM Security Groups, support of multiple antivirus engines and full use of Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 SP1/R2 features. 5nine Cloud Security exists in both System Center VMM plug-in version and as a standalone application.

Read the whitepaper.

Build a Windows Azure portal on-premises with the Windows Azure Pack!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 05.09.2013 at 20:31

Have you used Windows Azure’s clean and simple management portal and wished you could build the same kind of portal for your Private Cloud?

Well, now you can – with Windows Azure Pack.

Releasing soon, Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server is a collection of Windows Azure technologies, available to Microsoft customers at no additional cost for installation into your data center.


It runs on top of Windows Server 2012/Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 and, through the use of the Windows Azure technologies, enables you to offer a rich, self-service, multi-tenant cloud, consistent with the public Windows Azure experience.

This can make your Private Cloud interface look like one from a real service provider.

Windows Azure Pack Management Portal

Windows Azure Pack includes the following capabilities:

  • Management portal for tenants – a customizable self-service portal for provisioning, monitoring, and managing services such as Web Sites, Virtual Machines, and Service Bus.
  • Management portal for administrators – a portal for administrators to configure and manage resource clouds, user accounts, and tenant offers, quotas, and pricing.
  • Service management API – a RESTful API that helps enable a range of integration scenarios including custom portal and billing systems.
  • Web Sites – a service that helps provide a high-density, scalable shared web hosting platform for ASP.NET, PHP, and Node.js web applications. The Web Sites service includes a customizable web application gallery of open source web applications and integration with source control systems for custom-developed web sites and applications.
  • Virtual Machines – a service that provides infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) capabilities for Windows and Linux virtual machines. The Virtual Machines service includes a VM template gallery, scaling options, and virtual networking capabilities.
  • Service Bus – a service that provides reliable messaging services between distributed applications. The Service Bus service includes queued and topic-based publish/subscribe capabilities.
  • Automation and Extensibility – the capability to automate and integrate additional custom services into the services framework, including a runbook editor and execution environment.

At the moment, the Windows Azure Pack is in “Preview”. Subscribe to this blog to be alerted when Windows Azure Pack becomes available!

Video: How Aston Martin uses Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012

by Shijaz Abdulla on 04.06.2013 at 23:04

Find out how luxury car maker Aston Martin uses System Center 2012 and Windows Server 2012 to accelerate efficiency in this interesting video case study.

Click here to view case study.


Backing up to the Cloud: Windows Azure Backup Preview – Part 2

by Shijaz Abdulla on 09.04.2013 at 22:05

This is a continuation  of my earlier post on Windows Azure Backup Preview.

In the previous post, we discussed how you can generate a self-signed certificate using makecert.exe on the server from which you intend to backup. If you want to backup from multiple servers, you need to export the certificate you generated on the first server along with the private key and import it into the Personal store of the other computers that you intend to backup from. Windows Azure identifies which online backup vault to upload to using this certificate. You can use the same certificate on computers in different networks, domains or workgroups.

  1. Upload the certificate by clicking Manage Certificateon the Windows Azure Management portal.image
  2. Download and install the backup agent on your server. Currently, the agent supports Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 Essentials and System Center 2012 SP1 Data Protection Manager. You will find the download link on the right pane.


  3. The Windows Azure Management portal gives you download links to agents for Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 Essentials and System Center Data Protection Manager. However, Scott Guthrie’s blog post mentions support for Windows Server 2008 R2, while a Microsoft employee suggests that WS2008R2 support might be added in coming months.

    I have personally installed the Windows Azure backup agent on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and it worked flawlessly (although it will need installation of more prerequisites, like Windows Management Framework updates, PowerShell, etc)


  4. Installation is fairly straightforward. Having PowerShell installed is a prerequisite. The Windows Azure backup agent is updated via Windows Update.


  5. Open Windows Azure Backup using the icon placed on the desktop. On the right pane of the Windows Azure Backup console, click Register Server.
  6. Configure the proxy if needed.

  7. On the next screen browse for and select the self-signed certificate you created in Part 1of this post.

    Click the Register button. The wizard will then proceed to fetch the backup vaults from Windows Azure.

  8. Select the Backup Vault you created.image
  9. On the next screen, enter a passphrase to encrypt your backup with. This ensures confidentiality of the data you backup to Azure. Make sure you save the passphrase in a safe location.


  10. Click Register and you are now ready to configure backups for this server.

  Scheduling a backup

  1. Click on Schedule Backup in the right pane of the MMC console.


  2. Select the items you need to backup.


  3. You can use Exclusion Settings to exclude certain file types from being backed up. Click Next.


  4. Set your backup frequency/schedule on the next screen. You can choose the days the backup should run and at what time. You can execute up to 3 scheduled backups per day.


  5. Click Change Propertiesif you wish to set network throttling settings, to optimize bandwidth usage during working hours.


    Click OK and Next.

  6. On the next screen, choose your retention settings.

    image The more older backups you retain, the more storage you will consume on your Azure subscription.

  7. Click Next, review your configuration and click Finish to create the job.

The backup will start running according to the schedule.


On the Windows Azure Management Portal, you can see the servers you are backing up, the storage consumed and more information about your protected items.



Here’s a screenshot of Windows Azure backup agent running on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1


If you want to backup beyond just files, and you want to use Windows Azure Backup with applications like SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint, etc you need System Center 2012 SP1 Data Protection Manager. I will write a post on how to make this work as time permits.

See also

195% ROI with Windows Server 2012: Forrester Report

by Shijaz Abdulla on 25.02.2013 at 14:16

Forrester has released a report on Windows Server 2012: The first of many reports to come on Windows Server 2012 and specifically on its economic impact showing an ROI of 195% in a period of 6 months.

Windows Server 2012 brings you cutting-edge virtualization capabilities – if you do not already have Hyper-V now is a good time to consider moving some of your workloads to Hyper-V to take advantage of significant cost savings and improvements. Together with System Center, you have all that you need to build your own private cloud.

Know more:

  • IT Decision makers: Attend the Celebrate Windows event, March 4 at the St. Regis Hotel in Doha
  • IT Pros – Attend our boot camp on Windows Server 2012, Feb 27-28 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Doha
  • Please reach out to me our your Microsoft account manager anytime.

Celebrate Windows 8 in Qatar

by Shijaz Abdulla on 23.02.2013 at 12:40

And yes, we will be talking about Windows Server 2012, too!

image image

Bootcamp in Qatar! Windows Server 2012 Virtualization

by Shijaz Abdulla on 31.01.2013 at 15:45

Microsoft, in partnership with Qatar Datamation Systems and HP are organizing an IT Pro bootcamp in Qatar during Feb 27-28, focusing on Windows Server 2012 Virtualization and Management.

This much-awaited bootcamp has only limited space and seats are filling up quickly, please register soon and be on time at the venue to avoid disappointment!






Please join us for our upcoming Windows Server 2012 and Infrastructure Management IT Pro Camp. Microsoft IT Pro Camps are expert-led, no-cost, hands-on training events for IT professionals, centered on the issues and workloads you’re tackling in your environment today.
At Windows Server 2012 & Infrastructure Management IT Pro Camps you’ll gain deep technical insight into the new features and functionalities of Windows Server 2012. Hands-on demos and interactive discussions with Microsoft technical experts will cover a variety of topics including Server Virtualization, Storage, Networking, Server Management and Automation, Identity and Access, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, and Web and Application Platform.


27th – 28th February 2013
8:30 AM – 5.30 PM
Ritz Carlton Hotel


image imageimage

NEC unveils virtual switch on Hyper-V, OpenFlow support on Hyper-V before VMware!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 24.01.2013 at 09:34

Empowered by Innovation NEC

This week, NEC unveiled a virtual switch for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V hypervisor which is designed to bring OpenFlow-based software-defined networking and network virtualization to those Microsoft environments.

The NEC ProgrammableFlow PF1000 provides a single control plane for integrating server and network virtualization in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V deployments. This integration is designed to enable network automation, more rapid delivery of network services, VM mobility and consistent application of business policy across the network.

The PF1000 supports 1,280 ports per switch and up to 260,000 flows. It supports OpenFlow 1.0 and can work with any OpenFlow-enabled switches from any vendor, according to NEC.


The PF1000 runs on Hyper-V, the hypervisor Microsoft has created to compete with VMware’s. NEC also claims it’s the first virtual switch running OpenFlow. The PF1000 can support 1,280 ports (combining virtual and physical switch ports) and 260,000 data flows, NEC claims.

At the same time, NEC announced a ProgrammableFlow upgrade that includes IPv6 and OpenStack support.

Why this matters
VMware doesn’t offer OpenFlow on virtual switches, as Roy Chua of SDNCentral points out in his analysis. (It does have a workaround, as detailed on the IP Space blog.)

So, this is actually a nice announcement for Microsoft, giving Hyper-V something to brag about versus VMware’s ESXi.

Event: Qatar Datamation Systems, Veeam, and Microsoft

by Shijaz Abdulla on 09.01.2013 at 21:25

Our partner Qatar Datamation Systems (QDS) are organizing an event on the 15th of January at the Crowne Plaza Doha (Airport Road).

The event will feature QDS solutions based on Veeam and Microsoft Windows Server 2012, and System Center 2012.

Be sure to attend this event, more details and registration information below.


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