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, 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.

Continue Reading...


How to Choose an Availability Strategy for SQL Server on vSphere

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Tuesday, January 17th 2017 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, 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.

Continue Reading...


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.

Continue Reading...


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.

Continue Reading...


Amazon’s Bring Your Own License Plan? Old News

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Tuesday, October 20th 2015 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft

Amazon stirred the cloud hosting pot a bit early this month by announcing that users could now bring their own Windows or Oracle licenses to the EC2 public cloud, supposedly solving the dilemma of high license costs in the cloud. In truth, the solution is a simple one that many cloud providers—including Green House Data—have offered for a long time.

Continue Reading...


What You Need to Know About VMware’s Photon Container Strategy

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, September 9th 2015 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft, VMware

Last year's VMworld showed the company was serious about making containers work alongside and inside of virtual machines, but with Docker and other container technology continuing to make strides even in the enterprise, VMworld 2015 delivered serious development efforts on VMware's behalf. The result? Photon Platform, a forked version of Linux specifically designed to integrate containers into vSphere, as well as vSphere Integrated Containers.

While containers have been viewed with great interest by the enterprise, they can lack security and integrations with backup and other software. VMware needs a way to solve these problems while also providing a platform to manage containers alongside virtual machines in vSphere.

Here's what you need to know about how these new tools can help you efficiently managed containers in and alongside your vSphere environment.

Continue Reading...


Cloud Migration FAQ: Answers from An Industry Veteran

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, August 5th 2015 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft, VMware

As Director of Engineering and Operations at Green House Data, Mike Mazarakis has helped his share of companies migrate to the cloud. With 20 years of data center and networking experience, he's a self-described “pragmatist in IT” who has watched virtualization evolve into the concept of cloud we all know today.

Mike answered questions submitted by the public in a webcast last month. We interviewed him to get the answers to the most pressing cloud migration questions and help you plan your move to hosted IT. Look for more features in our cloud migration series in the coming weeks.

After the jump, learn how small businesses and enterprises differ in their approach to the cloud, read a walkthrough of one company's quest to move to the cloud while continuing to use existing IT assets, and see the three primary types of new cloud users—plus more!

Continue Reading...


Tips for Virtualizing Microsoft Exchange on VMware

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, January 21st 2015 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, Microsoft, VMware

E-mail, as we noted in last week’s blog, remains critical to business functions, and Microsoft Exchange is the most widely used e-mail client in the world. Virtualizing Exchange servers on VMware can improve performance, allow you to consolidate various Exchange server roles, combine mailboxes, and increase flexibility of your Exchange infrastructure, so you can scale up or down as your e-mail loads demand.

You’ll end up with 5-10x less physical hardware and more responsive Exchange, plus you can design your environment for your current workload. No need to guess at your resource utilization 3-5 years down the road—just provision a few more VMs when the time comes.

While virtualization can increase performance (VMware claims a 16 core server with vSphere produced double the throughput as physical hardware), Exchange has its own set of requirements and demands, so take a look at these best practices before you start up the installer in your virtual environment.

Continue Reading...


Prepare for Windows Server 2003 End of Life

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, October 2nd 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Colocation , Microsoft, Security

Less than a year remains until Microsoft halts support for Windows Server 2003. Just check the ominous countdown clock on their official migration website. With many systems still running Server 2003, including a plethora of 32-bit applications, now is the time to start a migration plan, if you haven't already.

Continue Reading...


The New IT Department: Adjusting Web Based Service Strategies to Meet Business Initiatives

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, January 29th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Microsoft

Our previous article covered how SharePoint 2013 can be used to plan for, manage, and implement strategic initiatives in your organization. This piece will discuss the keys to building a web-based services strategy for your organization, and specifically how –as-a-Service offerings can help deal with strategic initiatives.

The role of the IT department is changing. The industry and analyst firms like Gartner agree on this. Infrastructure and services are being commoditized as IaaS or SaaS. This will be a key factor in how IT teams are structured, what they think about, and how they operate. This article will cover how this change will be influenced by web-based software and services and how IT teams can prepare for these changes.

Continue Reading...

Chat Now