Category Archives: HP

System Center 2012

Over the past few months I have written extensively on Windows Server 2012.  I am a big fan of Microsoft’s newest server OS and the benefits that it offers.  However I feel that I have only been offering part of the story.

Starting tomorrow and for the next few months I will be posting several articles on installing, configuring, and using System Center 2012 for your Private Cloud environment.  During this series I will cover all seven components of the System Center 2012 SP1 bundle: Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr), Operations Manager (OpsMgr), Virtual Machine Manager (VMM), Service Manager (ServMgr), Data Protection Manager (DPM), Orchestrator (Orch), and App Controller.

The articles will be written based on the environment that I am building that will be my demo environment for at least the next fiscal year (FY14 in Microsoft-speak), which means that at any given point you will know what you are looking at based on the articles that have been written to date.  In addition to writing these articles, I will also use the same environment for my lectures and presentations, so if you see me in person or on a webinar this is what you will see.

DL380Gen8 Let’s start with the physical environment.  The vast majority of the Microsoft-based workloads will be hosted on two HP ProLiant DL380 Gen 8 servers with 128GB of RAM each.  For the time being my storage is all based on 10K RPM SAS disks in these servers, along with Windows Storage Pools and Software iSCSI Target in Windows Server 2012 (although that may change).  The switches are also HP. 

From time to time I will mention and leverage technologies such as iLO (HP’s Integrated Lights Out backplane software).  I will try to include an article at some point that will also cover DRAC (Dell’s equivalent backplane HPtechnology); however these articles are being done primarily on HP hardware for several reasons:

  1. HP is my server vendor of choice; in addition to these two servers I currently have four other HP ProLiant servers in my environment;
  2. HP is cooperating with me on these articles by providing assistance and guidance when needed;
  3. HP has supplied some hardware for this project, although certainly not all of it.
  4. I happen to have a great relationship with several people at HP, having worked with them in the past on community tours as well as on international projects as a consultant.  As such I am glad to work with them.

During the course of this series I will start to bring in other platforms, including VMware and Citrix and Dell and who knows what else.  However let’s face it: if you know me, you know that I am Microsoft focused; I am a Virtual Technology Evangelist with Microsoft Canada, and in addition to being a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) I hold dozens of Microsoft certifications, including the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Private Cloud.  I have worked with Microsoft on scores of projects over the past decade, and that is where my primary focus is.

With that being said, I am not a one trick pony.  I am a VMware Certified Professional (VCP 4/5) as well as a Certified Virtualization Expert (CVE 4/5).  I have worked with Citrix virtualization as well, and intend to include all of these technologies in my lab – and as such in these articles.  However I do not pretend to know everything, and for some of the components that I will be writing about I will be learning as I go.  It should be a fun project for me, as well as an educational one.

As for you, if there are any components that you would like to see I would love to hear from you.  While I have a general roadmap in my head (and on paper) it is not written in stone.  I always say that I write this blog for you, so although I make no promises, if there is something you would like to hear about just let me know… I’ll be glad to try to include it… IF it makes sense to me!

An Introduction to Windows 8: Mitch on Halton Tech TV

I am surprised that with all the hype and talk I have been doing about Windows 8, I have not blogged about this yet.  Halton Tech TV is a show on our regional cable network in the Oakville/Burlington/Milton area that focuses on different technologies.  Hosted by Robert Duvall of RDC Networks, it brings the newest and most interesting technologies to life.

In mid-August I was invited onto the show to discuss Windows 8 which, at the time, was still in the late preview stages.  Robert and I had a great discussion of the value of Windows 8, and I did a bunch of demos from my HP EliteBook laptop which, although it is still a Windows 7 device, runs Windows 8 beautifully.  HP Canada invited us to film on location in their Canadian Centre of Excellence, where they had a great 40” touch screen for us to use.

It was a great experience, and for IT Pros who are not able to come out and see our sessions live, this TV show is a great way to see what’s new and exciting in Windows 8.

You can watch the show in three parts here:

As always I welcome your comments, and hope that you enjoy the show! –MDG

Installing Windows Server 2012 on an HP ProLiant!

The day has finally arrived.  This morning (September 4th) all us geeks will be eagerly waiting for Windows Server 2012 to be available for download.  It really is quite exciting!

I have been running the Release Candidate (RC) bits on my HP ProLiant ML350s for several months, but this week-end I was going to spend a couple of hours getting the ProLiant DL380 Gen8s up and running on the RTM bits.  It is really very exciting!

I ran into a stumbling block early on… fortunately there is documentation for getting around them… as long as you know where to look.  In short:

  • Before you get started with Windows Server 2012, make sure you download the latest BIOS and iLO firmware.  These are hugely important – Windows Server 2012 will not install without it.  You can download it from HP by clicking here, then selecting the appropriate Firmware – Lights-Out Management Flash Component (I used the Online ROM Flash Component for Windows – HP Integrated Lights-Out 4).  I then navigated to the iLO console and under Administration I selected iLO Firmware
  • When upgrading your firmware (as well as when installing a new OS) it is always a good idea to make sure your BIOS is at the latest release.  HP is making this easier than ever – you simply download the tool that creates the bootable USB key for you, then boot the server with it.
  • Download the WIndows Server 2012 Supplement for Service Pack for ProLiant here.  As of this week-end it was all for the RC release, but I expect that today or tomorrow there will be new drivers for Windows Server 2012.
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    Once you have done all of this you are ready to rock… Windows Server 2012 is rocking on the ProLiant DL380 Gen8s… as it was meant to Smile  Go forth, patch, and be a true IT hero by virtualizing on Windows Server 2012!

    Coffee Coaching

    English: HP ProLiant DL360 G7, left part of th...

    I have a great relationship with HP dating back years.  They have great products and great people working there.  As such when I was asked at Microsoft’s WPC recently if I would record a session for their ‘Coffee Coaching’ series, it was my pleased to do so.

    Coffee Coaching snippets are 3-5 minute videos talking about technology, trying to help IT Pros (focused on SMBs) learn about their profession.

    Please check out the video – I talk about Windows Server 2012 (and focus on Hyper-V… no shock there) on my new HP ProLiant DL380 Gen8 servers.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    You can watch (and comment on) the video here.