Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Scott Allen, Dana Gardner, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Mobile IoT, Silverlight, Agile Computing, Release Management

Microsoft Cloud: Blog Feed Post

Windows Server 2012: Towards More Mobility

The opportunity to work from anywhere with nothing more than an Internet connection was a big step in technological evolution

In our previous article, Windows Server 2012 – New Advanced Features, we introduced some of the many new features that Windows Server 2012 provides to its clients. In this article we will focus on some more, particularly features that ease remote access.

The opportunity to work from anywhere with nothing more than an Internet connection was a big step in technological evolution. Windows Server 2012 continues to expand this idea. The features that make it easier for customers to decide which operating system to use and whether or not to upgrade are:

  • the improved DirectAccess feature;
  • the ability to use RODCs in branch offices and
  • to cache data there with BranchCache;
  • the Remote Desktop Services for client access;
  • and even the brand new feature called Windows to Go.

The DirectAccess Feature
As the most significant updates are in DirectAccess, we will spend some time examining them. First let’s make it clear what DirectAccess really is. It was introduced in Windows Server 2008 but it was a very limited technology that did not operate that smoothly. If you wanted to use all of its really fancy features you had to develop it through the Unified Access Gateway (UAG), a completely different Microsoft product which you had to buy in addition. Windows Server 2012 now provides a fully featured DirectAccess feature out of the box. It allows specific users in your organization to connect to the corporate network and use its resources without using any VPN software. It also includes the opportunity for the remote computers to be updated with the latest Group Policy settings. This process can take place even if the user is not logged in. If you still need to set up VPN for other users, you can do that as well since in Windows Server 2012 both technologies can coexist on the same server.  DirectAccess is not supported on client operating systems prior to Windows 7, so this is a common scenario. An interesting feature of Windows Server 2012’s DirectAccess is that it can be deployed in two modes – Full Direct Access and Manage Out. If you choose Full Direct Access you give your users the ability to use corporate resources. But if you choose the Manage Out option, you also get the opportunity to remotely manage clients’ computers without even giving them access to the organization. One thing you should keep in mind for DirectAccess though, is that it needs a Network Location server. You can run it on your domain controllers or on your DirectAccess server. Either way it has to be highly available. If it fails, DirectAccess connections can be lost.

Network Access Protection

This was another feature that was introduced with Windows Server 2008. It is now integrated with DirectAccess, so client computers have to match certain security criteria before they are allowed to use corporate resources.

If there are branch offices in an organization, they are usually connected over a not very fast WAN (wide area network) link. In such a scenario it is a good idea to take advantage of the Windows Server’s BranchCache feature. As its name suggests, this feature can be used to cache content in branches. You can deploy it in two modes – distributed cache and hosted cache. In distributed cache mode, when a client requests information from the main office for the first time and receives it, it caches it. So when another client requests the same information it is redirected to the first client and it downloads the information locally over the faster LAN (local area network) link. In hosted cache mode, there are specifically configured hosted cache servers in the branch offices and the information stays on them for other local users to access it. The idea is the same, when a client requests information from the main site for the first time, the information is downloaded but it’s also stored on the hosted cache server. So when another client requests the same information it is redirected to the hosted cache server and it downloads it locally. You could also use RODC (read only domain controllers) in the branch offices so that users can login with cached credentials instead of querying the main site’s domain controllers every time.

For clients with less computing power, the so called thin clients, Windows Server 2012 offers Remote Desktop Services (introduced with that name in Windows Server 2008 and also known as Terminal Services before that). This allows users to take advantage of resource intensive applications running on a central server instead of on their local machine.

The last new thing I would like to mention in my list here is Windows to Go. What it allows you to do is to pack your whole operating system as an image and then boot from it from any computer using a USB stick. There are certain prerequisites though. You should be using Windows 8 Enterprise, Pro is not enough, and you should have a big enough USB stick – 32 GB at least.

With all of these new features on hand, Windows Server 2012 makes remote working a pleasant and easy experience.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Hovhannes Avoyan

Hovhannes Avoyan is the CEO of PicsArt, Inc.,

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, explained how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
In today's uber-connected, consumer-centric, cloud-enabled, insights-driven, multi-device, global world, the focus of solutions has shifted from the product that is sold to the person who is buying the product or service. Enterprises have rebranded their business around the consumers of their products. The buyer is the person and the focus is not on the offering. The person is connected through multiple devices, wearables, at home, on the road, and in multiple locations, sometimes simultaneously...
“delaPlex Software provides software outsourcing services. We have a hybrid model where we have onshore developers and project managers that we can place anywhere in the U.S. or in Europe,” explained Manish Sachdeva, CEO at delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-ti...
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.