My Thoughts On IT…

Brian Lewis's Thoughts on all things Information Technology related


I have run a server in my home for the past 18 years. I initially had it routing my home network to the internet because home routers didn’t exist at that time.Yes, I had all my machines networked and on the internet. It was fun and kept me well trained on the technologies I used at work. It was time to upgrade my server and those lame inexpensive NAS systems didn’t work as well as I would like. So, it is time to build me a sweet system!

I like the compatibility and stability of enterprise grade servers but after having used a couple of Compaq ProLiant servers in the past I realized I didn’t like the $50 a month electric bill and the sound of a small jet engine rumbling through my living room floor from the server room below. Those fans can be quite loud. The other downside is the cost, I would pick up a used server to keep the costs down. What I really want is an entry level server in a small case that has low power usage and a quite fan. 

That is where the MicroServer Gen8 from HP come in. This is exactly what HP built in the ProLiant Gen8 MicroServer. This is a great entry level enterprise grade server with an affordable price tag, low power consumption, and usually a quiet fan. The fan is variable so it can cool the server if it needs to but otherwise runs slow and quiet. It even comes with HP’s iLO remote management built in. Unfortunately, there is an extra cost to enable the full use of the iLO card.

This is a very capable server for home or small office. The speed of the dual core Celeron G160T 2.3 Ghz CPU is more than fast enough. For more information on this server see the Quick Specs sheet from HP Available at:

I purchased my HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 on December 7, 2013. It was a Christmas present to myself. Just what I wanted, how did I ever guess… Smile Over the past months, when I have had time, I have been researching what others have done with this server and set it up with different configurations. I have just made my final purchases today for my planned configuration.

This server will be both my hyper-v host server and my NAS. I have been evaluating different storage options but want to keep the costs down. I have seen that a lot of the community is using an add-in card for the disk controller but I want to avoid that cost. I will be using the onboard controller, Server 2012 R2 and storage spaces.

Here is the configuration I am using:

Item Cost (and link)
HP Gen8 ProLiant MicroServer Celeron G160T 2.3 Ghz CPU $389.99
Kingston ValueRAM 16GB Kit  (8Gig *2) Gig Memory Upgrade $169.99
ADATA Premier Pro SP900 64Gig  *  (OS Drive) $49.99
WD Red Hard Drive – 3TB  * (Data Drive) $124.99
WD Red Hard Drive – 3TB  * (Data Drive) $124.99
ADATA SP900 256GB SSD * (Data Drive – SSD Storage Tier) $129.99
ADATA SP900 256GB SSD * (Data Drive – SSD Storage Tier) $129.99
ICY DOCK EZConvert Mounting Kit (For SSD Drive) $15.99
ICY DOCK EZConvert Mounting Kit (For SSD Drive) $15.99
Power Converter Cable (For OS SSD drive in CDROM tray) $4.99
Total Cost $1156.90

This machine will have a data storage space of 6.5 TB of total space. I will use both striping and mirroring virtual disks for the storage spaces in addition to data de-duplication. For offsite backup I will be backing up to Azure storage for my important data. Also the two larger SSDs will go into slots one and two of the server as these offer 6Gb/s SATA connections and the other SATA connections only offer 3Gb/s. This is a limitation of the inbox controller.

This article is the first in a series of article I will be posting on the HP ProLiant Gen 8 MicroServer. Stay tuned for configuration details, bench marks, and how to guides.

Regards – Brian

At this year’s TechEd we’re going to take the wraps off a range of new products and services, and we cannot wait to talk about—and demo—some of the remarkable new capabilities and functionalities we are going to deliver to the IT and developer industry.

Can’t make it to Houston this year for TechEd 2014? No worries – just join us online via Tech Ed Live Streaming all week long from the keynote and technical breakout sessions.

Register Now for the Tech Ed Live Stream

In this article, I’ve included the schedule for this week’s TechEd sessions that will be live streamed and the registration link you can use for joining us online.  Hope to see you there virtually!

Don’t miss these TechEd Live Stream sessions!

We have a full week planned of great technical content via the TechEd 2014 Live Stream sessions. Be sure to tune in for these topics …

Day Time Session Title Primary Speaker
5/12/2014 09:00AM – 10:30AM Central Time Tech Ed 2014 Keynote Session Brad Anderson,
Corporate Vice President, Windows Server and System Center
5/12/2014 11:00AM – Noon Central Time Enabling Enterprise Mobility with Windows Intune, Microsoft Azure, and Windows Server Adam Hall; Andrew Conway; Demi Albuz; Jason Leznek
5/12/2014 01:15PM – 02:30PM Central Time Windows PowerShell Unplugged with Jeffrey Snover Jeffrey Snover
5/12/2014 03:00PM – 04:15PM Central Time RemoteApp for Mobility and BYOD Demi Albuz;Samim Erdogan
5/12/2014 04:45PM – 06:00PM Central Time Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager: MVP Experts Panel Greg Ramsey;Jason Sandys;Johan Arwidmark;Kent Agerlund;Steve Thompson
5/13/2014 08:30PM – 09:45AM Central Time INTRODUCING: The Future of .NET on the Server Scott Hanselman;Scott Hunter
5/13/2014 10:15AM – 11:30AM Central Time DEEP DIVE: The Future of .NET on the Server David Fowler;Scott Hanselman
5/13/2014 01:30PM – 02:45PM Central Time Group Policy: Notes from the Field – Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting Jeremy Moskowitz
5/13/2014 03:15PM – 04:30PM Central Time Microsoft Desktop Virtualization Overview Session Demi Albuz;Robin Brandl;Thomas Willingham
5/13/2014 05:00PM – 06:15PM Central Time TWC: Sysinternals Primer: TechEd 2014 Edition Aaron Margosis
5/14/2014 08:30AM – 09:45AM Central Time Making Sense of the Microsoft Information Protection Stack Chris Hallum
5/14/2014 10:15AM – 11:30AM Central Time Mark Russinovich and Mark Minasi on Cloud Computing Mark Minasi;Mark Russinovich
5/14/2014 01:30PM – 02:45PM Central Time Entity Framework: Building Applications with Entity Framework 6 Rowan Miller
5/14/2014 03:15PM – 04:30PM Central Time Windows PowerShell Best Practices and Patterns: Time to Get Serious Don Jones
5/14/2014 05:00PM – 06:15PM Central Time What’s New in Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V Jeff Woolsey
5/15/2014 08:30AM – 09:45AM Central Time Real-World Windows 8.1 Deployment: Notes from the Field Johan Arwidmark
5/15/2014 10:15AM – 11:30AM Central Time Async Best Practices for C# and Visual Basic Mads Torgersen
5/15/2014 01:00PM – 02:15PM Central Time VDI Deployment Walkthrough John Kelbley;Rich McBrine;Robin Brandl
5/15/2014 02:45PM – 04:00PM Central Time 2014 Edition: How Many Coffees Can You Drink While Your PC Starts? Matthew Reynolds

Join TechEd from wherever you are.

Use the link below to register for the TechEd Live Stream to watch the sessions online this week – live from Houston TX.

Register Now for the TechEd Live Stream

Join the discussion! What are you most excited about?

Which of the announcements, new features or enhancements are you most excited to begin leveraging in your IT organization? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments area below!  In addition, be sure to follow us online via the #MSTechEd hashtag on Twitter.

imageThe Infrastructure as a Service Product Line Architecture documentation is a toolset that helps you arrive at a design pattern and make informed decisions about Microsoft’s Cloud OS platform.


  • Provide a technology definition that helps you understand the capability and how it is supported by Windows Server, System Center or Microsoft Azure
  • Help you arrive at a design based on your needs through the use of clearly defined design patterns
  • Form the basis for MCS and Partner engagements as well as other programs, such as Fast Track

The IaaS PLA Fabric Architecture guide
Covers common elements in hybrid cloud fabric design: compute, network, storage and virtualization.  It defines clear design patterns for customers to follow when building hybrid cloud fabrics using Windows Server and Microsoft Azure.

The IaaS PLA Fabric Management Architecture guide
Covers the architecture and capabilities provided by the System Center components focused on supporting IaaS solutions including VMM, Operations Manager, Service Manager, Orchestrator, App Controller, SPF, SMA, Service Reporting and Windows Azure Pack.

The IaaS PLA Deployment guide
Covers a comprehensive end-to-end solution-level deployment of System Center using the aforementioned components. We have several previously published releases of the IaaS PLA guides which support Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1.  The latest release wave supports Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure.

The IaaS PLA Consolidated Set
Is a zip file containing all three above guides.

You can download the PLAs today from the TechNet Gallery:

In an increasingly multi-hypervisor world, more and more IT organizations are using Microsoft Hyper-V and Microsoft Azure to achieve superior performance and workload flexibility at the best possible price. With nearly two-thirds of businesses on more than one virtualization platform, adding Microsoft virtualization and cloud skills to your technical repertoire can improve your career options and prepare you to face new IT demands.

Join Early Experts! We'll help you get certified!

What is Early Experts?

Microsoft Early Experts is a free, online study group for virtualization professionals who want to extend their Microsoft Hyper-V, System Center and Microsoft Azure knowledge with official Microsoft certifications. We’ve organized our high-impact learning resources into online Knowledge Quests that include concise videos, prescriptive study materials and hands-on practice with real products. Complete the weekly quests at your own pace and enjoy the flexibility to stop and review certain topics when you need more time.

Rewards and Prizes (U.S. Only)

Complete the online Quests and receive a completion badge suitable for printing or sharing online to showcase your new skills with Microsoft virtualization! In addition, IT Pros located in the U.S. are eligible to win one of several cool prizes during monthly prize drawings in April, May and June 2014. **

Rewards, Prizes and Certification: Join Early Experts today!

If you’re located outside of the U.S., you’re certainly still welcome to join us and take advantage of the Early Experts study materials to help you prepare for certification.

The clock is ticking … Join us today!

Early Experts study groups are forming now for existing VMware / Virtualization professionals targeting the following Microsoft certification:

Join Us: Become our next Early Expert!

**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open only to IT Professionals who are legal residents of the 50 U.S. states or D.C., 18+. Sweepstakes ends on June 30, 2014. See Official Rules.

heartbleedThe Heartbleed bug is a big deal. This flaw affected TOR and about two-thirds of internet websites. The flaw was uncovered by researchers from Google and Codenomicon. It is expected that the big sites will be fixed quickly but that all the different devices and sites effected will not all be updated for months. The open source programmer, based in Germany, who inadvertently introduced this bug has come forward and admitted his mistake. has this info here:,2817,2456415,00.asp

You can test a website to see if it has the bug at this webpage here:

For more information on the Heartbleed bug here are a few articles. Smile 


The Heartbleed Bug
Codenomicon (the researchers who found and disclosed the flaw)

How to recover from Heartbleed
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols/ZDNet

There’s little web users can do to thwart ‘Heartbleed’ threat
Jim Finkle/Reuters

After ‘Catastrophic’ Security Bug, the Internet Needs a Password Reset
Robert McMillan/Wired

Website Security Flaw Spurring Calls to Change Passwords
Jordan Robertson/Bloomberg

Heartbleed Flaw Leads Security Experts to Urge Password Changes
Jordan Robertson/Bloomberg

Heartbleed Is The Massive Security Flaw That Could Affect Up To Two-Thirds Of The Internet
Charlie Warzei/BuzzFeed

Heartbleed Bug puts encrypted online transactions at risk, here’s what you should know
Paranjay Dutt/BGR

Millions of passwords exposed
Staff Writer/Associated Press

Which sites have patched the Heartbleed bug
Jason Cipriani/CNET

Heartbleed bug: What you need to know
Jose Pagliery/CNN

The Security Bug That Affects Most Of The Internet, Explained
Jeremy Bowers/NPR

Q. and A. on Heartbleed: A Flaw Missed by the Masses
Brian X. Chen/New York Times

Heartbeat Heartbleed Bug Breaks Worldwide Internet Security Again (And Yahoo)
James Lyne/Forbes

Critical crypto bug in OpenSSL opens two-thirds of the Web to eavesdropping
Dan Goodin/Ars Technica

‘Heartbleed’ Bug: OpenSSL Flaw Rips Open The Encrypted Internet
Michael Rundle/Huffington Post

Common Web Encryption Tool Is Flawed, Analysts Say
Danny Yadron/Wall Street Journal

IT Camp: Windows 8

As IT professionals, it’s your job to keep up with the latest demands – ensuring your organization has the fastest, most intuitive technology and uninterrupted services, while giving people the freedom to work anywhere, anytime, on a variety of devices.

Join us for the upcoming IT Camp, “Empowering People-Centric IT with Windows 8.1 for IT Professionals,” and learn about the new features in Windows 8.1. These capabilities simplify the migration, deployment, and management of tomorrow’s IT environments, while tangibly improving the end-user experience.

At this IT Camp, you’ll get hands-on experience with Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 in the enterprise. Explore the new Windows 8.1 feature set while you dive deep into key enterprise scenarios around System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and Windows Intune management, deployment, security, desktop virtualization, side-loading apps, and mobility.

Session Requirements

  • Be sure to bring a modern laptop that can run the following prerequisites.
  • Modern operating system, including Windows 7, Windows 8, Linux or Mac OS X
  • Modern web browser supporting HTML5 and Javascript, including IE 9 or later, Chrome, Firefox and Safari
    Remote desktop (RDP) client – included with Windows platforms.  Mac and Linux RDP clients can be downloaded for free at

Visit to learn more or register by clicking on the city closest to you.





Milwaukee (Waukesha)









Detroit (Southfield)



New York



Los Angeles



Chicago (Downers Grove)



Ft. Lauderdale



Minneapolis (Edina)



New York






Atlanta (Alpharetta)



Philadelphia (Malvern)






San Francisco



Kansas City (Overland Park)












Chicago (downtown)



Dallas (Irving)












St. Louis









Los Angeles



The Windows 8.1 Update is available on MSDN as of yesterday and will be available on Windows update April 8th. Click the image on the right to see a full size screenshot of the update on MSDN.

It is available for ARM, X86, and X64. I am pulling it down now and will be installing to several Surface devices and several Intel laptops. I will update this post with those experiences.

*** Insert update here ***


For more information about the Windows 8.1 update see the official links below

Windows 8.1 Update: The IT Pro Perspective

Windows 8.1 Update – important refinements to the Windows experience

ipadToday Microsoft announced and released Office for iPad. Specifically Word, Excel, and PowerPoint released for the iPad. OneNote had an update release also.

At about 1 PM CST the apps went live in the App Store and I pulled them down immediately. I am extremely impressed in their functionality. These are not just light weight applications like in the web browser or on the phone. These apps have most of the features I use when I create documents on a full blown PC.

I have heard technical people state that iPads are for consuming information but not good for creating documents. Well I think that might have just changed.

I will have to let you know after I try to edit a presentation on my iPad Mini but my first impressions are that these are very high quality apps with functionality on par with full desktop apps.

What you need to know if you want to try Office for iPad 

You download the apps individually, not as an office suite. Upon opening one of the downloaded apps you receive information about Office 365. You can read documents but you can’t edit or create documents unless you have an Office 365 subscription.

I started the Excel and choose to run read only. Then I clicked a link in the app to enter my Office 365 credential. After authenticating it opened the ability to fully edit documents.  





Word(Medium) Excel (Medium) PPT(Medium)

Click image above to enlarge

I did find one issue. My iPad choked on opening a PowerPoint document that was 145 Megabytes in size. It stated that it didn’t have enough memory and I should close some apps and try again. I guess I can’t throw out my workstation just yet. Winking smile (JK, can’t live without my Asus Zenbook touch) I did open a 6 meg presentation, pictured above that worked just fine and rendered perfectly.  I will play with this a little more and let you know what I find. Leave a comment and let us know what you find as you work with these new apps!

Cheers, Brian

For more info check out:

Youtube video: The real Microsoft Office apps for iPad are here!

Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Blog post:

0269035729_2_3500x2333_toWe have a very exciting project where we are reaching out to customers for a series of interviews over the next few months. The project is extremely agile and the interviews will be rapid, 30 minute max where, as the product progresses we will continue to maintain a customer pulse getting feature feedback and their influence though out the process.

So, if you are you a Systems Administrator or Security Analyst and would you like to influence the future of products to manage and secure your virtualization infrastructure. This is your opportunity to be heard by Microsoft Cloud and Data Center Management Research and Program Managers! They would like to talk to IT Pros that manage and secure your organizations virtualized and cloud environments.

If you are interested in talking further with Microsoft, please complete a short survey that will help us to determine how your job fits within the management and security of cloud and datacenter virtual computing. Join the discussion, we want to hear from you!

Click here to access the survey:


What’s better than sitting down with a technical book? Sitting down with a Free technical book or at one you can get work to pay for. Smile Since most of us have more in the want category than we do in the budget category, I thought you might be interested in the free eBooks that Microsoft Press has available.

Here is a list of the Free Book Titles as of today.

  • Microsoft System Center: Building a Virtualized Network Solution
  • Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals
  • Rethinking Enterprise Storage: A Hybrid Cloud Model
  • Introducing Windows 8.1 for IT Professionals
  • Programming Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, Second Edition
  • .NET Technology Guide for Business Applications
  • Microsoft System Center: Building a Virtualized Network Solution
  • Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2
  • Microsoft System Center: Designing Orchestrator Runbooks
  • Microsoft System Center: Configuration Manager Field Experience
  • Microsoft System Center: Cloud Management with App Controller
  • Microsoft System Center: Troubleshooting Configuration Manager
  • Microsoft System Center: Optimizing Service Manager

Here is the link:

Happy Reading! –Brian