What Is the Difference Between Microsoft SCCM and Microsoft SCOM?

Written by Carol Hagy on Friday, October 5th 2018 — Categories: Microsoft

Microsoft’s products “SCCM” and “SCOM” sound like confusingly-named twins, but try to get past your first impression of them as a set in identical dresses posing for a portrait. It is true that they are in the same Microsoft system center family, but each has its own distinctive traits and roles.

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VDI or RDS – Which Desktop Distribution Platform is Right for You?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, August 23rd 2018 — Categories: Microsoft, Virtual Desktop, VMware

If you have a pool of users that need access to Windows desktops, you can deliver those desktops and associated applications remotely, saving money on administration and end-user hardware alike, while gaining control over security and access control.

Two methods to achieve this are Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Remote Desktop Services. In either case, the user connects to a server or virtual machine which is hosted within a data center or with a cloud provider. That remote server or VM contains the desktop environment and all data and applications are stored and processed remotely.

But is VDI or RDS the right choice for your situation? Let’s take a look at the differences between the two and some use cases for each.

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Choosing Your Azure Deployment Model

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, August 15th 2018 — Categories: Azure, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft

You’re ready to start deploying and migrating applications into Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform — but there are four deployment models to contend with. Which should you choose? Each has strengths and weaknesses depending on the service you are setting up. Some might require more attention than others, but offer additional control. Others integrate services like load balancing or Operating Systems as more of a Platform as a Service.

Learn the differences between Azure Service Fabric, Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Containers, and Azure App Services, and when you might want to choose one over another. Green House Data is also ready to help you decide which of your business applications belong in which bucket — and we can help you administrate them, too.

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Why We Added Azure Management After a Decade of VMware Expertise

Written by Thomas Burns on Friday, March 30th 2018 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, Hybrid Cloud, Azure, Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, Hybrid IT, Managed Services, Microsoft, VMware

Green House Data announced the addition of Azure cloud to our stable of managed cloud services this week. For some, this may come as a bit of a shock. We’ve been a VMware shop since the company was formed, with the gBlock Cloud hosted within our data centers on the vSphere platform.

We’ll continue to offer our own hosted VMware cloud as well as VMware cloud management on behalf of our clients, but we’ve expanded our scope to include Azure managed services. There are a number of reasons for this shift in strategy, which ultimately allows clients a wider breadth of service options to best suit their IT infrastructure goals.

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Spectre and Meltdown: What We’ve Done to Secure the gBlock Cloud

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, January 12th 2018 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Data Center Design, Microsoft, Security, Documentation

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or aren’t in the IT field at all, by now you’ve likely heard about the widespread Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities affecting an enormous swath of processors manufactured by Intel and AMD, the industry leaders, leading to security vulnerabilities and performance problems.

Green House Data staff have been hard at work patching systems as fixes have come available this week. Here’s a quick summary of the vulnerabilities, their effects on cloud and general computing performance, and what we’ve done to fix them so far. We also provide a few links for users who need to patch their own operating systems or investigate further.

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Getting Started with Cloud User Identity (Active Directory) for Office 365

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, August 4th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Enterprise Applications, IT Operations, Microsoft

Moving to Office 365? The user experience is bound to shift, with one of the biggest changes coming to the login process.

Each workstation might previously have had Office software installed locally, so once users signed in, they were free to launch and work on Word or answer e-mails in Outlook. With Office 365, you’ll have to configure user identity settings in a specific way to replicate this — or you can go the cloud-only route and have them sign-in again online in order to access these programs.

Here are some of the factors you’ll have to consider when setting up user identity management in Office 365.

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Should You Allow Windows Users to Have Administrative Rights?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, July 6th 2017 — Categories: Enterprise Applications, IT Operations, Microsoft, Security

Allowing your users administrative rights under their Windows desktop certainly makes their life easier, but it can cause significant headaches for your sysadmins — and it also opens up a wide variety of vulnerabilities.

A recent study from security vendor Avecto found that 94% of critical vulnerabilities announced by Microsoft could be mitigated by simply removing administrative rights. These vulnerabilities range from phishing attacks that can hijack the system via applications like Microsoft Word to packets that are specially crafted to hit Windows Server. In most cases, they can be leveraged to remotely execute code and take control of the PC, potentially accessing sensitive data and applications deeper within the network.

Many modern workplaces allow users more leeway over the configuration of their workstations, as computer-savvy employees are often more productive when they have applications set up the way they want. But with shutting down admin rights proving to be a relatively easy and strong method of eliminating vulnerabilities, should you risk enabling them?

The answer is probably not...with some caveats.

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How to Choose an Availability Strategy for SQL Server on vSphere

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Tuesday, January 17th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Enterprise Applications, Microsoft, VMware

When designing the architecture for your SQL Server virtualized on VMware vSphere, your requirements will determine which SQL availability or vSphere availability features you should use. There are several availability features packaged with SQL server before you even get to vSphere features like Distributed Resource Scheduler, High Availability, Fault Tolerance, or vMotion, each of which have their own considerations when interacting with SQL.

To get started, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions about your SQL deployment.

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A Clean Active Directory Saves Money and Improves Security

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Tuesday, November 29th 2016 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Microsoft

You know what they say: a clean Active Directory keeps the attackers at bay. Or they should say it, anyway. Active Directory is a piece of Windows Server in charge of authentication and authorization for any “object” connected to the network. That includes users, systems, resources, and services.

As you might imagine, enterprises often manage sprawling Active Directories with thousands or even hundreds of thousands of objects, from laptops to printers. When a user leaves the company, their login may still reside in Active Directory. Groups used to organize different pieces of the directory may now lie empty.

Cleaning up your Active Directory not only improves database and server performance, but can plug holes in your security left from old accounts. A regularly scheduled Active Directory cleanup should be included with maintenance activities and performed at least annually.

Assuming your Active Directory server is hosted in the cloud, decluttering can also save you storage costs, while improving performance also lowers your monthly bills as bandwidth charges and compute resources can both drop.

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Don’t DROWN: Check Your Servers for HTTPS Vulnerability

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, March 3rd 2016 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Microsoft, Security

HTTPS is supposed to be secure, right? Of course, nothing on the internet is ever truly safe. This week, a new vulnerability in OpenSSL was uncovered, allowing hackers to access websites secured with SSLv2. Although this security protocol is out of date, over 11 million websites—1/3 of all HTTPS secured servers—are at risk.

Plenty of websites that store sensitive information like credit card details are vulnerable to DROWN, which is an acronym for Decrypting RSA with Obsolete and Weakened eNcryption. Websites can be hacked in just minutes using this attack vector.

Learn how to check your site for DROWN vulnerability and what you should use to replace SSLv2 after the jump.

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