Browsing Posts in Server 2012

For June’s Lunchinar we’re going to do a business level introduction to Microsoft’s cloud service, Azure.

Although we’ll go into the technical details (to a point), the key focus is going to be how Azure can be used by Small to Medium Businesses (SMB’s).  We’ll discuss Azure in terms as an alternative to traditional Information Technology (IT) solutions (like servers).  But we’ll also discuss how Azure can be used to extend how SMB’s extend their IT resources to vendors, customers and external employees.  And Azure does this at a fraction of the cost of in-house solutions (usually).

But what is it?  Actually, it’s changing weekly.  Microsoft has created a remote environment that can be configured as servers (so it’s kind of like you having a server, but “out there”), or services (so you don’t have the server, just what you use the server for).  You can use Azure for Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery/Off Site Backups.  You can use it for distributed databases, remote connectivity and more.  You can create a Single Sign On environment based on your Active Directory (network) credentials.  And a lot more.

And you pay only for what you eat.  Increasing or decreasing the amount of resources you need is relatively easy.  So if you’re a seasonal company you can arrange to have beefier (more $) resources available during the busy season, and smaller (less $) resources during the rest of the year.

But there are tradeoffs.  Connectivity speed, full server level access become potential issues.  Security requirements need to be taken into account (well, they should be already, but you lose the luxury of being Pollyannaish about it).

Join us at this upcoming Lunchinar.  We’ll be both in person as well as online.  And we’ll discuss (and demonstrate) this environment, talk both features, functions, benefits, drawbacks and costs.  And one lucky attendee will pick up a copy of Microsoft Office Professional 2013, courtesy of Microsoft.

  • When:  Wednesday, June 17th from 11:30-1pm (eastern)
  • Where:  Hampton Inn in Stow (plus Online)
  • Click here to RSVP


At Simplex-IT, we specialize in sharing our knowledge with several free webinar and Lunchinar events each month on topics such as Microsoft Office, Project Management and Data Practices.  Contact us at, Twitter (Simplex_IT), LinkedIn ( or FaceBook: (  You can also check out our YouTube channel with over 100 videos at


If you don’t follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, you missed all of these items we thought were interesting.

Crotchety Olde Geek #6: Why mobile apps are free; you’re probably no more careful with your data than Target is:

Wait up, #Google! Now thanks to #Atlas, #Facebook advertisers can follow you everywhere, too. Oh, goody!:

Adorable robot cheerleaders have a ball. Until their eyes are replaced with lasers and they turn on us:

Free Webinar from Simplex-IT! Managing Your Email in Outlook 2013:

Make your cloud safer: How to enable two-factor authentication for the most popular cloud services:

Ok, so a tiny robot learns to fly a real plane. But can it do it to a Kenny Loggins soundtrack?

First chapter of Groups in #Office365:

Simplex-IT’s Sept Lunchinar: Servers in the Cloud – Buying Service vs. Buying Boxes now online:

Threat from within: Disgruntled employees are increasingly e-sabotaging businesses, FBI says:

Best Practices for Windows #Server2003 End-of-Support Migration: Part 3:

Is it *really* such a bad idea to use a password twice?

Office Lens: Free #WindowsPhone App Lets You Capture Notes, Paper Documents, save them in #OneNote:

Home, yes…Kansas, no: #Microsoft Introduces the New #Office365 Home Page:

New Record!! Home Depot breach totals: 56 million credit cards exposed, $62 million in losses:

Microsoft Dumping ‘Office on Demand’ for #Office365 . Is #Azure Remote App coming soon?:

Free Simplex-IT Lunchinar: “When Do You Know Your IT is Obsolete?”

The Art of #SQL Performance Tuning:

#Microsoft To Unveil #Windows9 ‘Technical Preview’ 30 September:

#Apple adds two-step verification for #iCloud (sorta), effective immediately:

#Office365 news round-up:

Best Practices for Windows Server 2003 End-of-Support Migration: Part 2:

Thar’s Gold in them thar old servers! Man buys old servers, accuses Ernst & Young of data breach:

Jeff Buskirk, Simplex-IT tech, featured in National College’s news:

I run Windows…just…Windows: Report: Microsoft Dumping ‘Windows Phone’ and ‘Nokia’ Branding:

Microsoft Boosts OneDrive with 10GB File Uploads, Folder Link Sharing:

Brandon King returns to Simplex-IT after a 3 month hiatus as a Google apprentice:

Seriously, Tim Cook says #Apple *does* care about #iCloud Security. But is that enough? [POLL]:

This is your brain. This is your brain on social media. Any questions?:

How far would your sysadmins go to fix a problem? 60 Sec Security [VIDEO]:

Best Practices for Windows Server 2003 End-of-Support Migration: 

Grasp the Business Value of a Complete SQL Server Health Check:

Free deployment of #Office365 by #Microsoft for new customers with over 150 seats:

#Microsoft is finally beating itself!! Yea!! Windows 8 Use Overtakes #XP Worldwide:

Free training, Windows 9, lunchinars, webinars and ice water.  Simplex-IT’s September eNewsletter is now online:

Faster Cat videos!! Google Ratchets Up Quantum Computing Efforts:

Game of drones: Google readies Project Wing against Amazon’s Prime Air:

Did you miss the Lunchinar in September?  If so, never fear, now it’s online!  Bob (with help from Steve) can help guide you through what benefits are available for small to medium businesses looking to place some or all of their servers “in the cloud,” using Microsoft Azure as an example.  Infrastructure As A Service (IAAS), anybody?

Doug here.  The article below offers some highly relevant advice, with a few caveats.

Performance tuning is a necessity these days but is difficult to achieve for most SQL Server developers.  The reasons vary, but typically involve:

  • Lack of permissions to utilize tuning tools (often reserved for DBAs only)
  •  Lack of knowledge on performance tuning methodologies (as opposed to techniques)
  •  Lack of availability of DBA or someone with permission and knowledge required for success
  •  Inefficient code being generated by their development environment
  •  Lack of understanding of computing environment, application internals, normal v. non-normal workloads
  •  Lack of experience overcoming the above mentioned roadblocks

Performance tuning is often a typical catch-22 situation.  The developer(s) understand the application (hopefully) and the DBA understands performance tuning. Therefore, it is by necessity a collaborative effort.  But each party has their own priorities and often the DBA’s manager is not willing to devote their staff member to solve ‘someone else’s problem’.  Also, relevant parties are often less than motivated to share what they know due to concerns about exposing ‘soft spots’ within their environment or operations.

That’s where an experienced SQL Server professional can assist.  They usually have both the developer and DBA experience required to understand ‘both sides’ of the issue.  They also should have skills in crossing functional boundaries in an organization and can bring the relevant issues together for analysis and resolution.

At Simplex-IT we are often asked by clients to ‘take a look at’ a performance issue that is hampering their production environment.  In nearly every case it involves overcoming the typical roadblocks shown above as well as utilizing related skills in networking, server configuration, people management, etc.

However, developers can perform ‘Level 1′ performance tuning by focusing on the basics of data retrieval:

  • Retrieve only what is needed at that moment
  •  Ensure indexes exist and are used by the application

Both of those items are typically well within the knowledge domain of the developer.

After those items are addressed, engage a competent consultant to overcome the skills that may be lacking in the situation.  And learn from them.  Many performance issues are caused by the same, predictable recipe which can be overcome with some solid documentation, sound design patterns and common sense.

This article excerpt, by Andrew Pruski, originally appeared here:
Performance tuning often gets called an art as people feel that a certain knack or innate talent comes into play. And while I don’t disagree that a certain level of knowledge is involved, I completely disagree that only certain people can performance tune.
Given the correct approach, anyone should be able to learn to effectively performance tune.
But how should performance tuning be approached? I’d like to take a step back from delving into specifics and define the process of performance tuning, a set of guidelines that can be used in any circumstance.
Performance tuning should follow the scientific method, which is defined as: “A set of principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experimentation and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.”
In practice, this can be broken down into the following steps:
•Declaration of the end goal or issue
•Forming a hypothesis
•Testing the hypothesis
•Analysis of results
•Further research
This way of approaching performance tuning comes into its own, particularly when investigation is required to respond to issues in a live environment. The trick is to follow the method and not to go with “gut” feelings or guesses. Stick to what you know.
For example, your production server has started responding slowly. Queries are taking longer than expected to complete. This could be due to memory pressure, but you are not sure. It would be better to start off by declaring “Performance of the server is poor,” which you know to be 100 percent correct, rather than declaring “Performance of the server is poor due to memory pressure.”
So the steps to follow would be:
•Observation: Queries on production running for longer than expected
•Declaration: Performance of the server is poor
•Hypothesis: The poor performance of the server is due to memory pressure
•Testing: Running an extended events session on the server to catch incoming queries
•Analysis: Several queries performing scans of large tables
•Conclusion: Creation of a covering non-clustered index to prevent the table scans
•Further Research: Are there any other queries being executed that are performing table scans?
These steps may seem obvious, but using the scientific method will prevent you from being led down blind alleys and potentially missing the actual problem. It provides a structure for the investigation.

Doug here.  Health Checks on your SQL Servers are an easy proactive way to determine if data is safe and secure.  Data is the life blood of business and keeping yours protected should be a priority

Recently we performed a routine SQL Server Health Check for a mid-sized client and uncovered a variety of surprising discoveries.  The system was installed by a 3rd party application vendor and it served as the back end to their productivity application.  The system was running slower than expected and justified a closer look.

During the Health Check we discovered a number of misconfiguration, security and availability shortcomings.  Some of the configuration settings were misaligned.  Access to restricted data had been granted to the entire user base rather than the select few with appropriate authorization to access the data. The backup jobs created were still working against the test system rather than the production system.  Also, some critical maintenance jobs were failing silently resulting in a misleading level of comfort.

These issues were adversely impacting the overall solution and putting the client’s data at risk.  Once identified, they were easily corrected.  At that point the client’s data was actually in the state they desired – secure, available and protected.

This article excerpt, by Andy McDermid, originally appeared here:
Halfway through the management of a crisis is not the time to discover that your disaster recovery plan involves crossed fingers. To avoid that kind of drama, a formal SQL Server health check should be considered routine, required and responsible.
Basic Database Health
A comprehensive SQL Server health check provides you with a better understanding of your complex database environment, and delivers answers you need to the questions you need to ask:
•Is our data accessible, available and recoverable?
•Is our SQL Server stable? Is the hardware able to manage current demand for the data it provides?
•Are there any immediate security concerns?
•Is our SQL Server properly configured? Are memory settings accurate?
•Is our current hardware and software infrastructure sufficient to support our current database growth patterns?
The answers to those questions provide the kind of baseline data that is critical if your team is going to be able to support your ongoing database needs. It’s equally important to their understanding and support of the day-to-day operation and maintenance of these systems.
Advanced Database Care
Building on that baseline, consider whether your organization can confidently respond to the following questions:
•What SQL Server maintenance should be completed within the next 30 days?
•Is there a regular maintenance schedule that allows for security patches to be applied and server upgrades to be performed?
•Are our databases performing efficiently? Have indices been implemented? Is there index fragmentation? Are there duplicate or unused indices?
•Is there a predetermined series of best practices that are being followed as they relate to database design and management?
•Has a disaster recovery plan been implemented? Does it adequately support the needs of your organization? (consider the maximum acceptable time period you could be without access to your data, as well as the legal liability and potential consequences that could result if it is unavailable for recovery)
•Does our team have the necessary expertise?
Database Diagnostics
Even beyond the obvious benefits of being educated and prepared, there is an additional dimension to consider regarding the management of SQL Servers. As an organization you expect excellence from your team, and that means equipping them with the tools and information they need to perform competently and confidently.
Don’t worry if this feels overwhelming. An ounce of prevention is a lot less expensive than a pound of cure.

If you don’t follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, you missed all of these items we thought were interesting.

15 minute webinar: Busting myths about #Office365 and your small business:

Kim Kardashian Mobile Video Game making $. Suddenly cat videos look like a good use of the internet:

One hoax press release, one $300 million hole in mining company:

Finally! A Motorcycle Helmet to make Iron Man Jealous:

Wanna go get a #WindowsRT tablet? Ah…no you don’t. Not until you read this:

Simplex-IT Announces New “Two-hour Targeted Training” Sessions for Office 2013:

I was annoyed when MS marketed #Surface tablets through just dancing. Now this (safe for work, not sanity):

Still using Windows XP? You’re not alone (neither were other passengers on the Titanic):

Elop on Layoffs: #Microsoft’s Focus Is on Windows Phone:

Wanna migrate to #Office365 but leery of the migration cost (and you have >150 seats)? Wait a couple of months:

Apple and Google told to stop misleading consumers about ‘free’ apps:

Sophos: It’s all about trust! 60 Sec Security [VIDEO]:

Simplex-IT’s 7th Annual Community Appreciation Picnic is Coming! And You’re Invited!

Want to burn a password into your brain (in a good way)?:

The more I read from this guy the more I like him. #Microsoft CEO Nadella to employees: ‘Bold ambition and our core’

Don’t miss our free webinar tomorrow “Charting with #Excel 2013:”

Google’s Android security chief: “Don’t bother with anti-virus.” Quit locking our cars while we’re at it?:

Largest collection of FREE #Microsoft eBooks:

Is #Microsoft getting into the wearable market 4th quarter? The tech isn’t interesting, but the platforms are:

Free Webinar from Simplex-IT Wednesday: “All about #Excel Charts”:


First notes on Microsoft’s Windows 9 or “#Threshold”:


MS announces price hike for #Office365…sorta…for some. Clear as mud:

Simplex-IT Announces 2nd Half 2014 Webinar Schedule:


Some hints on Document collaboration using #Office365:

“Enhancing PowerPoint 2013 Presentations” webinar now online:



July’s Lunchinar “Virtualization for the SMB: How to Make Your IT Do More for Less!” is now online!

Check it out (mostly because it’s Kevin Dutkiewicz, not Coppedge…so there’s a chance it’ll make more sense than usual):   Today’s servers typically run at only 10-15 percent of their capacity, resulting in wasted resources, unnecessary hardware investments and data center sprawl. Virtualization, once available only to the largest of enterprises, helps you consolidate your applications on far fewer physical servers, thereby optimizing resource utilization and delivering up to 50 percent efficiency savings.

There are other compelling reasons why your business might want to look at using virtualization in your IT infrastructure. But, like almost everything in life, there could be drawbacks. We’ll discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of virtualization for the SMB.  Find out if this approach to IT can benefit your bottom line!

Server 2012 R2 eBookIf you’ve paid attention to our blog/eNewsletters, you know that Microsoft often makes a lot of materials available for free when they upgrade their various products.  This makes sense, especially since Microsoft is getting more aggressive with their upgrades, now upgrading most products every two years.  And although 2012 is what we refer to as an “evolutionary” upgrade (as opposed to “revolutionary”) there are still some important improvements that are worth taking a look at.

Windows Server 2012 R2 is no exception.  Released a bit over a month ago, this significant update to their server OS offers some significant enhancements, especially in:

  • Hyper-V
  • Active Directory
  • Group Policy
  • Storage
  • Networking

So, how do you learn this stuff?  By using it and working with it.  And Microsoft has made the tools necessary to do this available for no cost.  Just click here and follow the instructions and you’ll get a copy of the eBook “Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2.”

But you can also build your own Server 2012 R2 virtual lab.  Pretty cool.

Bob Coppedge and Steve Buchwald talked about Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 at the last Lunchinar.    Did you miss it?  No problem!

Preview Windows Server 2012 R2

Two Microsoft products are scheduled for significant upgrades – Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2– and Simplex-IT will be detailing both at our next free Lunchinar. You won’t want to miss it!

Packed with enhanced security features and usability improvements, both of these new releases are sure to please both end users and IT geeks equally. No matter where your interest lies, there is certain to be something for everyone to get excited about. Be the first on your block to be ‘in the know’ by attending this free event.

As always, there will be plenty of time for questions.

Simplex-IT’s popular monthly Lunchinars are always free, open to all and focused on sharing information. And, as a bonus, we will be awarding a door prize of Microsoft Office 2013 and Windows 8 to two lucky attendees. Free food AND free software – how awesome is that?

Where:                Hattie’s Café, 164 N. Main Street, Hudson

When:                  October 16, 2013, from 11:30am-1:00pm

Seating is limited! To reserve yours, call 234.380.1277, email, or go to Come join the fun!­­­

Extra! Extra! Extra!

We will once again be webcasting this LIVE event using Microsoft Lync. It’s free and it’s easy. If you can’t make the lunchinar in person but would like to listen in from the comfort and convenience of your office, contact us at the above numbers and we’ll send the details on how you can connect.