My Thoughts On IT…

Brian Lewis's Thoughts on all things Information Technology related

UEFI Explained

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368px-Uefi_logo_svgWhat is UEFI and why do I care?

Simply UEFI is a replacement to the BIOS in a computer. This is the code that gets the PC working before the Operating System starts. One of the reasons UEFI is becoming mainstream is that to be certified “Windows 8 certified” a machine will need to use UEFI

I considered writing a longer article to explain this; however, I don’t think I can do a better job than Tony Bradley did in his PCWorld article from January 19th 2012. It is titled “R.I.P. BIOS: A UEFI Primer”. You can be find that here: http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/248426/rip_bios_a_uefi_primer.html 

Basic Input/Output System  (BIOS)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIOS

Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uefi

Patch Tuesday is here again and it brings us 6 Security bulletins. One is listed as critical because it is likely to to exploited (if it isn’t already). This is the one to add to your patch process as soon as possible. The others are consider less likely to be an issue for you.

Security bulletins for March 13th 2012.

  • 1 Critical Vulnerability in Remote Desktop.
  • 4 Important
  • 1 Moderate

For detailed information please see the Microsoft site. (I find the Executive Summary and Exploitability Index are the best parts to read)
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bulletin/ms12-mar

Patch Tuesday is here again and it brings us 6 Security bulletins. One is listed as critical because it is likely to to exploited (if it isn’t already). This is the one to add to your patch process as soon as possible. The others are consider less likely to be an issue for you.

Security bulletins for March 13th 2012.

  • 1 Critical Vulnerability in Remote Desktop.
  • 4 Important
  • 1 Moderate

For detailed information please see the Microsoft site. (I find the Executive Summary and Exploitability Index are the best parts to read)
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bulletin/ms12-mar

I received yet another email that is a waste of time … Yet I laughed at this one so I am sharing.151364.strip.sunday

ntp_logoDo you need an NTP server address to make sure you have the right time? Finding a good NTP server has always been a slight challenge. I have had NTP servers disappear after a few years and then I was without Time Synchronization. I have used servers that decided not to allow any more clients because they were being over used.

When I just reconfigured my Cisco E3000 home router last month I needed to configure an NTP server for the routers time. I erased the configuration without taking down the old address. Opps. So I did a google search on Bing. I found this awesome NTP server project.

The pool.ntp.org project is a big virtual cluster of timeservers providing reliable NTP service for millions of clients.

So now I use the address us.pool.ntp.org for my NTP server. This is a pool of NTP servers supporting my region.

For information on this project or to get other pool addresses visit the projects website here:
Main site: http://support.ntp.org/bin/view/Main/WebHome 
List of pools: http://support.ntp.org/bin/view/Servers/NTPPoolServers

imageNo this isn’t one of those security posts on how your user name is half of your login and it’s insecure to use the same name across different sites. While that is true… you also have to be able to remember your logins. You also may want people and search engines to know who you are on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other site. So today I am writing about usability and not security.

One of the things I really dislike is creating a new account on one of the large, must be on, internet sites. This is because with a name like “Brian Lewis” you know my name is almost always taken. It is often an exercise in anger management when I try to find a good login name.

That is why I really the site that I found today. It is called Name Check and it simply will check with 84 large internet sites to see if the username you type in is available or not.

It sure would be nice if it could go register your name at all of them.

Here is the URL to check it out:
http://namechk.com/

imageIf you have been playing with Windows Server “8” and the Windows “8” client like I have then you may want to manage your server from the Windows 8 client. To do that you need the RSAT tools. They need to be downloaded, installed, and then “show administrative tools” needs to be turned on.

 

So you need to  download it from here:

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows “8” Consumer Preview
http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=28972

Then you need to install it.

Lastly you need to go into the settings by moving the mouse to the bottom right corner and then select settings when that appears. Lastly turn on the “Show administrative tools”

image

image

Then you can use those tools to manage your servers. Both your server core servers and with the full GUI.

If you want to download Server “8”server you can get it here:
TechNet Windows Server “8” Betahttp://aka.ms/server8cp

imageIf you have been playing with Windows Server “8” and the Windows “8” client like I have then you may want to manage your server from the Windows 8 client. To do that you need the RSAT tools. They need to be downloaded, installed, and then “show administrative tools” needs to be turned on.

 

So you need to  download it from here:

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows “8” Consumer Preview
http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=28972

Then you need to install it.

Lastly you need to go into the settings by moving the mouse to the bottom right corner and then select settings when that appears. Lastly turn on the “Show administrative tools”

image

image

Then you can use those tools to manage your servers. Both your server core servers and with the full GUI.

If you want to download Server “8”server you can get it here:
TechNet Windows Server “8” Betahttp://aka.ms/server8cp

imageOverview
This special edition of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR) provides summarized information from the last 10 years. Where possible, this report includes trend data for the full 10-year period; when data for the full 10-year period is not available, trend data for shorter periods is provided.

I found the report to be part history lesson and part Microsoft information on what we do to combat malware. It was a very easy read and a good overview of the past 10 years in Malware.

You can find the report here: http://aka.ms/sir

Ok, I have had the weekend to play with my Windows Server “8” Beta code and it Rocks! If you haven’t grabbed the code yet you can get it here: http://aka.ms/server8cp

If you are looking at virtualization or building a private cloud this new version of Hyper-v totally rocks! Here are just a few of the new limits in Hyper-v. I will discuss and demonstrate some of the new features in future posts.

Windows Server “8” Beta Hyper-V Scale Metrics:

  1. 160 logical processors per host
  2. 1024 VMs per host
  3. 64 nodes per cluster
  4. 4000 VMs per cluster
  5. 32 virtual processors per VM
  6. 1 TB memory per VM
  7. 64 TB per VHDX file

Yes folks…

Up to 1 TB of memory PER virtual machine. No taxes, no entitlements, no penalty for buying a large scale up server.

Up to 64 TB per VHDX. No, that’s not a typo. That’s really 64 TB per VHDX. You’ll likely run out of physical storage long before you hit any limits in Hyper-V.

In addition, these scalability metrics lead the industry:

  • VMware vSphere 5.0 support up to 32 nodes in a cluster. Windows Server 8 Hyper-V supports 64 nodes. (2x over VMware)
  • VMware vSphere 5.0  supports virtual disks up to 2 TB in size. Windows Server Hyper-V 8 supports virtual disks up to 64 TB in size (32x over VMware)
  • VMware vSphere 5.0 supports 3,000 VMs per cluster.  Windows Server 8 supports 4,000
  • VMware vSphere 5.0 supports 512 VMs per host.  Windows Server 8 supports 1,024

While VMware supports up to 1 TB of memory per VM, you have to purchase vSphere 5.x Enterprise Plus ($3,500 per processor) and then purchase memory entitlements (taxes) to achieve this goal. Hyper-V 8 has no such tax or entitlement. Such taxes are an anathema to our customers. Every version of Windows Server 8 that ships with Hyper-V will support up to 1 TB of memory per VM.