Lewan Named to 2014 Tech Elite 250 List

Lewan has once again earned a prestigious spot on CRN’s 2014 list of Tech Elite 250 IT Solution Providers. This elite group of IT solution providers have invested in the training and education needed to earn the most advanced technical certifications from leading vendors.

Lewan Technology, CRN Tech Elite 250From CRN:

In compiling the list, CRN editors worked with The Channel Company’s research group to define the most customer-beneficial technical certifications in the IT channel. These technical certifications – from vendors including Cisco, Citrix, Dell, HP, NetApp, Microsoft, VMware, and Symantec – have enabled solution providers to deliver the most premium products, service and support to their North American customers.

“The solution providers highlighted on our annual Tech Elite 250 have demonstrated a commitment to excellence and gained industry credibility by investing in the IT certifications necessary to stay competitive and deliver the highest level of service to their customers,” said Robert Faletra, CEO, The Channel Company. “These featured solution providers have enhanced and strengthened their partnerships by earning some of the most difficult certifications from some of the biggest names in IT. We congratulate these organizations and look forward to their continued success.”

Thinking about a VDI initiative? Watch this.

Lewan Solutions Architect, Kenneth Fingerlos, wowed the crowd last month at the GPU Technology Conference (GTC) 2014 with his presentation on VDI, “Virtual is Better than Physical Delivering a Delightful User Experience from a Virtual Desktop“.

GTC is the world’s biggest and most important GPU developer conference. Taking place in Silicon Valley, GTC offers unmatched opportunities to learn how to harness the latest GPU technology, along with face-to-face interaction with industry luminaries and NVIDIA experts.

Leveraging his industry leading expertise, Kenneth “delivered in spades,” as described in a review of his presentation for The Register:

The VDI talk was the kind of GTC session I love. It’s where a real-world expert talks about how a difficult task is actually accomplished. Not the theory, not how it should work on paper, but what it takes to actually move a project from Point “A” to Point “We’re done with this”.
Ken Fingerlos from Lewan Technology delivered in spades with his “Virtual is Better than Physical: Delivering a Delightful User Experience from a Virtual Desktop” GTC14 session. Delightful? Hmm…In my past lives, I’ve had to use some virtual PCs and my experience ranged from “absolutely unusable” to “omg I hate this”.
It’s easy to see that Fingerlos has been around the block when it comes to VDI. He has all the right credentials, ranging from VMware to Citrix to Microsoft. But more importantly, he’s been there and done it.

Read the complete review from theregister.co.uk

Kenneth’s GTC Presenter’s Bio

View the complete session and slide deck:
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Creating a Recurring Email in Windows Server 2008 Using Exchange 2010

On occasion, an organization may have a need to send a recurring email. In the case of one of our customers, there was a need to send a weekly notice to users that patches would be applied to the terminal servers overnight with a friendly reminder to save any work. To set this up is really quite simple. Here is how:

First, open the Task Schedule and choose Create Task. This will open the Task Properties window.

Task Scheduler ActionsOn the General tab of the Task Properties window, fill in a Description. Choose the user account from which you would like to send the email. Finally, choose “Run whether user is logged on or not” and “Run with highest privileges.

Task Scheduler Task PropertiesOn the Triggers tab, click New. Make selections as appropriate for the frequency and be sure to check Enabled.

On the Actions tab, choose “Send an e-mail” from the Action drop-down menu. Fill out the From, Subject, and Text of the message. Add any appropriate attachment and fill in the SMTP server address. If the Scheduled Task is being configured on your Exchange server, you can simply enter 127.0.0.1 for the SMTP server. Click OK to return to the Task Properties window.

Task Scheduler New ActionOn the Conditions tab, specify the conditions under which the task should run.

On the Settings tab, you should choose  “Allow task to be run on demand”.

After clicking OK to close all the Windows, right-click the task, and click Run to test. Ensure that the test email is received by the intended recipient(s).

In some instances, you may need to configure a Receive Connector on your Exchange server which allows anonymous relay. You can find a instructions for doing that on Microsoft’s website here.

How to uninstall newer versions of Internet Explorer

Some web applications are picky about the browser you need to use.  Websites and web-based applications will usually tell you what they are designed for and what you should access them with.  Niche applications tend to be especially picky as smaller development teams can’t optimize complex web-based apps for the gamut of browsers available.

One of the most common issues seems to be Internet Explorer being upgraded through Windows Update causing compatibility problems.  Luckily it’s fairly simple to “downgrade” to a version that works best with what you need to access.  The installation is a little bit tougher to find than most installed programs, but not by much.

First off, go to the Control Panel on your system.  This can be found by clicking the “Start” button, then selecting Control Panel from the Start menu.  From the Control Panel, select “Uninstall a program” if the view is set to Category (default for Windows 7), or select “Programs and Features” from either the Small Icons or Large Icons view.

Now select “View installed updates”
controlpaneloptions

Sort the list by Name by left-clicking on the “Name” tab.
sortbyname

Scroll all the way to the bottom of the list.  The Internet Explorer update will always be at the bottom of the list when sorted by Name.uninstall IE10

Select Windows Internet Explorer 10 (or Windows Internet Explorer 9 if going from 9 to 8) and then click on Uninstall.  Your system will need to be restarted, but this will revert you to the previous version if you need to do so for compatibility with websites or web-based applications.

If your print job is “stuck” and you can’t cancel or delete it, try this: manually clearing the print spooler. (Windows)

A little background: when you send the command to print a file, Windows “spools” those files – it creates a temporary copy for the printer’s use.  This allows the printer to access the file at its own rate, and continues the job even if you (hypothetically) close the program or file you have open.  Sometimes, for various reasons that aren’t particularly relevant to this article, printers will fail to successfully complete a job.  Usually, you can just cancel the job or delete it from the printer’s queue – the easiest way to access this is to double-click the icon that looks like a printer in the rightmost area of the Windows taskbar.

print icon

The following window will appear showing your print job(s) and their status.  You can right click on these and pause, restart, cancel, and basically manage the individual entries.

printqueue

When a failed print job cannot be removed this way, or if the job just seems stuck, we can force Windows to remove it and restart the “service” that Windows uses to send data to printers.

To do this, click on the “Start” button, and just begin typing the letters CMD.  Windows will find and present a program called “cmd.exe.”  Right click on this item (the icon is a black window with white letters saying “C:\”) and select “Run as Administrator.”

Copy and paste or type the following commands in this order
(to paste in this command line window, right click on the title bar -> Edit -> Paste)
rightclickoncmdtitlebar

The commands – be sure to include everything within the quotations:

  1. “net stop spooler”
  2. “del /F /Q C:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS\*”
  3. “net start spooler”

You will see feedback after stopping and starting the spooler, but the second command simply removes all of the temporary “spooled” files in the Windows print system.  CMD.exe will not give you any indication that it performed a task after this line, but it will clear all spooled items.

Lastly, try printing your document again.  It will very likely print successfully.

Fixing a Corrupted Nickname Entry in Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook maintains a list of formerly used email addresses which is used for the automatic completion feature. If one of these “nicknames” becomes corrupted it can cause any emails to that address to bounce. If this happens, the proper way to fix itis is to delete the corrupted entry and retype the email address in the To… field.

How to remove a corrupted nickname cache entry

  1. Open a new email message.
  2. Type the first few characters of the nickname cache entry that you want to remove from the cache.
  3. When the entry appears in the list of suggested names, use the Up and Down arrow keys on your keyboard to move the highlight to the entry you want to remove.
  4. Hit the Delete key on your keyboard to remove it from the list.

Windows Server 2012 Licensing – a quick reminder

This came up recently for a customer and while it’s not new news, I thought a quick reminder would be useful. There are a few key points to remember about licensing of Windows Server 2012 in server virtualization projects, these rules apply to XenServer, VMware, Hyper-V, Oracle VM, etc.:

  • Licenses are applied to physical servers, never to virtual machines. If you are thinking about how you need a license for the VM you are about to build, you’re probably doing something wrong
  • There is feature parity between Standard and Datacenter editions, Enterprise Ed has been dropped
    • The only difference between these 2 major editions is in the number of virtual OSE’s (operating system environments, aka a virtual machine) granted with the license
    • A license covers 2 processor sockets within 1 server, 1 license cannot be purchased to cover 2 servers each containing 1 populated processor
    • The license allows for one bare-metal install of the operating system, but doesn’t require it – as would be the case if your hypervisor is anything other than Hyper-V
    • Virtual OSE grants by edition:
      • Standard: 2 virtual OSE’s per license
      • Datacenter: unlimited OSE’s per license
  • More than 1 license of the same edition may be applied to a given physical server to cover additional CPU sockets or additional virtual machines
    • 2 Standard Edition licenses would cover 4 processor sockets and/or up to 4 VM’s
    • 2 Datacenter Edition licenses would cover 4 processor sockets and two * unlimited for the number of VM’s ..that’s like beyond infinity, but 4 CPU sockets.
  • The license cannot be transferred more than once every 90 days – yeah, you read that right. This rule is to prevent a license from jumping from one host to another to follow live migration activities
    • This is where most people pause and say “oh..”. That tells me they were purchasing 1 license per VM and just thinking the license moves around with the VM
    • You need to cover the high water mark of virtual OSE’s for a given host
  • Licensing math:
    • Standard Ed. list pricing is $882
    • Datacenter Ed. list pricing is $4809
    • The break-even point for Datacenter is at 5.45 Standard licenses; in effect, for a density of more than 10 VM’s (5 std licenses each granting 2 OSE’s), you should use a Datacenter Edition license
  • A real world example: New virtualization customer deploying 3 VMware hosts
    • We generally size the environment for N+1, meaning we’re planning that 1 of the servers is a “spare” from the perspective of workload sizing – so all the workload can run on just 2 servers; we’re planning for this and so should you in your licensing.
    • If you plan to run more than 20 total VM’s in this environment, you need 3 Datacenter Edition licenses
      • 20 VM’s running on 2 servers = 10 VM’s/server
      • 10 VM’s requires 5 Standard Edition licenses to have enough OSE grants
      • More than 10 per server, and it’s now cheaper to have just bought a single Datacenter Edition license
        • 6 * $882 = $5292, which is greater than $4809 for datacenter
      • Since you don’t know which host (think of a rolling patching cycle) is going to carry the increase load, all the hosts in the environment should be licensed uniformly to this high water mark
    • Depending on the licensing model, an upgrade from 5 * Standard Edition licenses to a single Datacenter Edition license may not be possible – plan ahead!
    • If you have OEM licenses that came with your old physical server environment, these are likely not transferrable – they don’t follow the P2V action
  • With this understanding, while you might have some work to do upfront (or scrambling to get back into compliance now) the long term savings are very real for dense virtualization projects that can leverage the Datacenter Edition license. On a modern 2 socket server with 16 cores/32 threads, 10 VM or greater density is easily achievable

General licensing FAQ:
http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/D/B/4DB352D1-C610-466A-9AAF-EEF4F4CFFF27/WS2012_Licensing-Pricing_FAQ.pdf

Licensing brief for virtualized environments:

http://download.microsoft.com/download/3/D/4/3D42BDC2-6725-4B29-B75A-A5B04179958B/WindowsServer2012VirtualTech_VLBrief.pdf