An introduction to Big Data – RackSpace’s CloudU MOOC

CloudU

Several years ago we introduced you to CloudU. A perfect introduction to how the ‘cloud’ works.  CloudU by RackSpace now has a MOOC (Mass Open Online Course) that introduces you to Big Data.

According to Wikipedia, Big Data is a term used to describe a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. Thats a great definition but its only one. This topic is too big to base this learning series on one definition so we asked the brightest minds in academia and the cloud industry the same question, “What is Big Data”? We are confident you will enjoy their insights and take away a broader perspective on big data.       Sign up, it’s free (Link)

Earlier Post

“After contacting Rackspace so that my students could benefit from the cloud university curriculum as a supplement.   I was met with open arms and personally talked with Greg Alfaro, Michael Ferranti and Ben Kepes either by phone or email.   Here’s a quote from Ben. - “CloudU is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to learn about Cloud Computing. As an instructor of information technology, the certificate provides a great learning tool for the planning, deployment and logistics behind cloud computing.”    ~ Ben Kepes

Excellent site to understand deployment

Need a step by step tutorial on Sysprep, ImageX or other Windows’ deployment methods?  Me, Myself and IT has excellent step by step tutorials on these different methods.

Getting started using Windows Deployment

Create a Windows PE USB    (Includes Dropbox download)

Capture an image using ImageX

Apply a WIM using ImageX

How to build an UnAttended Answer File

Adding drivers

Preparing and Using Sysprep

Experiments with Sysprep

MDT

OPSWAT Gears – Manage your devices’ security remotely

Have mobile devices, servers and need to monitor these devices remotely?  OPSWAT Gears allows you to monitor your computers remotely – update antivirus software, discover compromised devices, manage threats and more.

MySQL Wworkbench – manage your MySQL installation

If you are a beginner or an expert, MySQL Workbench is a must have if you have installed MySQL.  The community edition allows you to Start/Stop your MySQL instance, write queries, monitor performance and has dozens of other features.

With MySQL, the my.conf file normally found in Linux installs is the my.ini file.  This configuration file can be found under the ProgramData folder (you have to show hidden files in Windows Explorer to see it).   This file can be configured using MySQL Workbench.   If you get an error connecting to it, go to the server instance and navigate to the my.ini file.   This is a common error when reading the configuration file.

WorkBench Status

Other features -

SQL Editor – SQL Code Completion, SQL Code Formatter, SQL Syntax Highlighting, SQL Code Generation, SQL History, SQL Snippets, Server-Stop/Start, Server Status, Performance and more.

WorkBench One

 

 

150 FREE Microsoft eBooks – largest collection ever

150 FREE Microsoft eBooks – largest collection ever

Thanks to Jonathan for remembering to email me the latest Microsoft Blog link about free ebooks.

EBoooks link

Given the amount my readers enjoy these posts and these free resources, I am sharing another post this year with over 130 more FREE eBooks, Step-By-Steps, Resource Guides, etc., for your enjoyment. Plus I’m also including links to the free eBooks I shared in the past so you have all of them here in one single post, making this my single largest collection EVER (Almost 300 total)! Please enjoy these FREE eBooks and resources, and be sure to pass this along to your friends, colleagues, peers, and others who you think would benefit from and enjoy them. After all, wouldn’t it be fun if we could surpass the 1,000,000 download mark within just one week again? ~Eric Ligman, Microsoft

 

 

Why the Value of Certifications Can Drop

In a technology driven world, IT Professionals are defined by certifications, skill and worker ethics.  Certifications are designed to give ranking to IT Professionals.  With a collection of simulated exams that are too close to the real exam, the real exams lose value and respect in the IT community.  I’ve watched people test and come back to a testing center continuously and hold up their final exam to say they are an ‘Engineer’ in a highly respected area of expertise, yet as they hung around for a lecture, they didn’t know the basic fundamentals of Networking/CIDR, Domain policies, basic security information, virtualization or other topics.

Certifications are earned through hard work, studying and ‘hands-on’.   The motivation behind getting as many as you can in the past involved promotions, salary increases and time in the field.    While many young IT Professionals ‘think’ they know it all, someone like myself will tell you that it is impossible to know it all.   Information Technology is changing daily.  Daily.   Hmmmm.  Hourly.

Companies promising Cisco or Microsoft in a week or two are looking for candidates that pay extraordinary amounts of money and who can memorize an exam.   These boot camps should be limited to IT personnel who have worked in the field for a certain amount of time.    Exams should also be limited for students who have ‘x’ amount of time in a classroom and lab.

Where we teach topics that have certifications, students spend 432 hours in the classroom and labs at a minimum before the first exam.   More advanced exams that are layered (curriculum that overlays) on these certifications usually result in the student spending two to three times this amount of time in the classroom and labs before earning a second or third exam.

I’m not saying our methodology of teaching is better than others, I’m saying that their is a big difference in the quality of a candidate from our classroom and other places that have the same practice compared to facilities that have students memorize exams.

Our students even in this economy have been acquiring jobs with large corporations and the government.    I do believe the value of their certification is greater than someone who has memorized an exam.  Not only is it an understanding of the materials, it is the ‘hands-on’ that makes a candidate stand out.

I can’t imagine going to work and not knowing the basics – yet holding a handful of certifications.

IT Managers have their work cut out for them when hiring from a pool of ‘certified’ individuals.  Certifications have value if you earn them.

Create a roaming profile – Windows 7, 8, Server 2008 R2

Don’t forget, the fastest hard drive without IPv6 ….check your network info here

Attached are guides on creating a roaming profile with Windows 7 and Server 2008 r2.

(Thanks to Mr. Ledlow for creating these)

Guides are in PDF
Step One Create a User on the Domain

Step Two Creating a Folder on the Domain

Step Three Creating the Profile

Step Four Join the Domain

A roaming profile allows the domain user to login and keep their preferences regardless of where they login.

See our review of Windows 8 and see how you can run 90% of your programs, virtualize other operating systems, use your network and more.

Also go and Tweak your wireless!!

 

RichardKok  Reset a Roaming Profile

Other info

http://www.grouppolicy.biz/2010/08/best-practice-roaming-profiles-and-folder-redirection-a-k-a-user-virtualization/

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askds/archive/2008/06/17/user-profile-policies-in-windows-server-2008-and-windows-vista.aspx

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askds/archive/2008/06/30/automatic-creation-of-user-folders-for-home-roaming-profile-and-redirected-folders.aspx

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555046

77 Windows tips

Technet has a list of 77 Windows tips, don’t close the tips out too soon, you’ll find things you may not know how to do.   Although most of these are old if you have discovered Windows 7, many people still don’t know about many of these tips.

Know what Robocopy is?  How about a search connector?  perfmon /report or permon /rel?   Link

Free-Windows Server 2012 R2 Technet Document -7970 pages

Want to know how to be an administrator of Windows Server 2012 R2?  This 7900+ page document has everything you want to know about Microsoft’s latest server.  Included in this massive manual is-

  • Technical Scenarios
  • Install and Deploy Windows Server
  • Migrate Roles and Features to Windows Server
  • Secure Windows Server
  • Manage Privacy in Windows Server
  • Support and Troubleshoot Windows Server
  • Server Roles and Technologies
  • Management and Tools for Windows Server

Download Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 TechNet Library Documentation here.  111 mb

Microsoft also offers free virtual labs (Virtual Microsoft Server from your browser).  Coupled with this 7900+ page manual, this is an excellent resource to learn Windows Server 2012.

If you want to print this, it will take approximately 16 reams of paper and 3.25 high capacity laser toner cartridges.  Of course once you print it, you’ll have your first 32″ wide book.

Did you really complete your Windows installation?

While we cannot cover every scenario there is, this is a general setup of  a Windows 7 or 8 computer.

  • Check all drivers under the Device Manager
    Get the latest drivers for performance
  • Optimize Network Card Configuration– Disable all but flow control
  • Disable NTLM if connecting to older NAS or SANS devices
  • Disable LLMNR - improves network performance and connections to SQL
  • Load Banner if you have a business (legal banner at computer start)
  • Load all Windows updates
  • Run Cleanup of Service Packs after Service Pack updates are installed
    (Information here or DISM /online /cleanup-Image /spsuperseded at a command prompt)
  • Load Microsoft Hotfix 90 patches if Windows 7
    • This enterprise hotfix is for WebDAV, DFSN client, Folder Redirection, Offline Files and Folders, SMB client, Redirected Drive Buffering Subsystem, Multiple UNC Provider, SMB Service, TCP protocol components (Network Performance), processing of Group Policies, Group Policy preferences, helps to reduce network load and domain load, WMI and more.
  • Hard drive cache on if not SSD Drive
    (Device Manager – double click and make sure checkboxes under policies are checked)
  • TRIM enabled if SSD and disable defrag if SSD
  • Load Defraggler or Auslogics defrag (Third party defrag program) if non SSD
  • USB Power Management off – Device Manager
  • Adjust other Power Management as necessary
  • Printer installation
  • Check to see if your BIOS supports AHCI -(if so, boot into Windows, modify the registry, then change the BIOS to AHCI) – more information
  • Office installation – Always select custom during installation and select all features – complete installation
  • Set Homepage in your Browser
  • Install Adobe Reader
  • Install Flash
  • Install Java
  • Install CCleaner
  • Cryptolocker protection
  • Install Anti-virus software (Microsoft Security Essentials)
  • Install Anti-malware protection (SuperAntispyware or Malwarebytes)
  • Rename computer and put in workgroup or domain as necessary
  • Enable the Administrator’s account
  • Edit the Hosts and LMHOSTS file under C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc as necessary
    Type in server IP and NetBIOS name (speeds up name resolution if local DNS is not available)

Note: This does NOT contain all of the information you may need when in a business environment.

Windows Hotfix Rollup with 90 updates for Windows 7 and Server 2008

The Microsoft Update may show that your computer is up-to-date but you may be able to improve system stability and performance with these 90 updates for Windows 7 and Server 2008 with a hotfix that was released earlier in 2013.  

This enterprise hotfix fix WebDAV, DFSN client, Folder Redirection, Offline Files and Folders, SMB client, Redirected Drive Buffering Subsystem, Multiple UNC Provider, SMB Service, TCP protocol components (Network Performance), processing of Group Policies, Group Policy preferences, helps to reduce network load and domain load, WMI and more.

Information on the hotfix is here - (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2775511/en-us)

Where do you get the hotfix?  The hotfix can be downloaded here.  You MUST use Internet Explorer to apply the hotfix.  The hotfix from the Windows Update Catalog requires you to install components to download the files of your choice.

Microsoft Update Catalog

 

Install

 

Available updates

 

Progress

 

After downloading the update, you will need to double click the installation file and after the hotfix is applied, you must restart your computer.

Windows 7 VPN Setup

A Virtual Private Network is used to encrypt data from one computer to another.  If you need to setup a VPN in Microsoft Windows 7, create a user and shared folder on the host computer.  Once this is done, follow these steps-

On the Hosting Computer

1. Go to Control Panel and open Network and Sharing Center.

2. Click on Change adapter settings

3. Press Alt+F and select New Incoming connection…

4. Put a check mark by the user who will have access to this computer or configure a new account by clicking on Add someone… Click Next.

5. Put a check mark on Through the Internet. Click Next.

6. Select the protocols for this connection. Click Allow access.

USE IPV4

7. Make note of the Computer name as this will be used by the client to connect to this computer. Click Close.

8. An Incoming Connections icon will be in Network Connections. Your computer is now ready to accept incoming VPN connections.

On the Computer Dialing In

Open up network and sharing center from the Control Panel, and choose Set up a new connection or network.

Use My Internet Connection (VPN)

Type in the IP Address of the Hosting Computer – Click Next (leave the user information blank to be safe)

You will now have a small icon on your network icon (by the time) that will show the connection.  Clicking on this icon allows you to enter your username and password to connect.