My Thoughts On IT…

Brian Lewis's Thoughts on all things Information Technology related

hadoop_azureI have often been asked “Does Microsoft have a Hadoop strategy?” The answer is, Yes! The easiest way to get this to work is in Microsoft Azure using the HDInsight feature.

As businesses seek ways to store, manage and analyze their ever-increasing amounts of data, they have looked for tools to capitalize on this wealth of data. The tool that has emerged as the predominant Big Data analysis tool is Apache Hadoop, an open source software allowing multiple servers to mine data in parallel.

Microsoft has built HDInsight in Azure as part of our comprehensive data platform to facilitate large data analysis.  It includes Hadoop and SQL Server technology to offer an easy to use Big Data platform.

To setup a cluster of servers is now an easy task with HDInsight in Azure. From the Azure portal you select to create an HDInsight Cluster and choose from 1 to 32 servers. Azure will provision your cluster in just a few minutes and it will be configured with Hadoop and YARN. YARN is the cluster resource management sub-project introduced in Hadoop 2.0.

The HDInsight service also has an easy-to-use Web interface that gives users the ability to create interactive queries over the Hive, the Hadoop component that provides large data set querying and management capabilities.

If you are interested in mining your data for those golden nuggets a fast, easy, and less expensive way is to use the HDInsight tool in Azure. Give it a try today!


For More Information:

Reveal new insights with Big Data

Microsoft updates its Hadoop cloud solution ( provides up to 100x performance improvements)

4353_Figure-3---Secured-boot-path-with-UEFI_7BBA93DAWhat is Secure Boot?
Secure Boot is a security standard developed by members of the PC industry to help make sure that your PC boots using only software that is trusted. This is a technology to prevent Rootkits. Windows 8 and above supports Secure Boot as does Windows Server 2012 and above.

How does it work? (High Level)
When the PC starts, the firmware checks the signature of each piece of boot software, including firmware drivers (Option ROMs) and the operating system. If the signatures are good, the PC boots, and the firmware gives control to the operating system.

How do I tell if it is working?
Just because you have new hardware that has a UEFI BIOS and you are running a version of Windows that supports Secure Boot doesn’t mean that you are running it. It is a bit more complicated than that.

1 Open a PowerShell Command Prompt and run as Administrator image
2 Run command:

Possible Cmdlet Returns:

True – All good! Your PC supports Secure Boot and Secure Boot is enabled
False – PC supports Secure Boot but Secure Boot is disabled (you may have a watermark on your desktop warning you of this)
Cmdlet not supported on this platform – This PC does not support Secure Boot or is setup in a Compatibility Support Module (CSM) Legacy BIOS mode.


For a good overview on what Secure Boot is see Steven Sinofsky’s old blog post:
Protecting the pre-OS environment with UEFI

For information on installing Windows to Support Secure boot see my previous post:
Installing Windows 8.1 from a USB Stick under a UEFI BIOS and Secure Boot

Windows-8_1Installing Windows 8.1 from a USB Stick under a UEFI BIOS and Secure Boot.
When Building a Windows UEFI system there are a few things to know that are different from when building an old BIOS based machine. First your USB install stick has be be formatted with FAT32 and Not NTFS. Second your UEFI motherboard probably has a Compatibility Support Module (CSM) mode that is set for BIOS compatibility. You need to turn that off if you want to enable UEFI, Secure Boot, and booting from a GPT partitioned disk.

The 11 steps for manually preparing / building a USB Disk to be a bootable Win 8.1 Install.
This bootable USB stick will work for both older BIOS installs as well as the newer UEFI installs.

1. Diskpart (Run from a CMD prompt)
2. List Disk
3. Select Disk # (Where # is the number of your USB disk)
4. Clean (removes any partitions on the USB disk, including any hidden sectors)
5. Create Partition Primary (Creates a new primary partition with default parameters)
6. Select Partition 1 (Focus on the newly created partition)
7. Active (Sets the selected partition to an active valid system partition state)
8. Format FS=fat32 quick (Formats the partition with the FAT32 file system. FAT32 is needed instead of NTFS so that it can load under the secure boot UEFI BIOS.)
9. Assign (Assigns the USB drive a drive letter)
10. Exit
11. Copy all the files from the Windows 8.1 DVD to the USB Stick.


For More information on on UEFI and Installing Windows to these machines here are some links:
Happy System Building! –Brian

For more information on UEFI BIOS and Secure Boot in Windows 8.1

Installing Windows on UEFI-based Computers


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.





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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