Welcome!

Silverlight Authors: Steven Mandel, Gerardo A Dada, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Yeshim Deniz, Greg O'Connor

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Mobile IoT, Silverlight, Agile Computing, Release Management

Microsoft Cloud: Blog Feed Post

Windows Server 2012: Towards More Mobility

The opportunity to work from anywhere with nothing more than an Internet connection was a big step in technological evolution

In our previous article, Windows Server 2012 – New Advanced Features, we introduced some of the many new features that Windows Server 2012 provides to its clients. In this article we will focus on some more, particularly features that ease remote access.

The opportunity to work from anywhere with nothing more than an Internet connection was a big step in technological evolution. Windows Server 2012 continues to expand this idea. The features that make it easier for customers to decide which operating system to use and whether or not to upgrade are:

  • the improved DirectAccess feature;
  • the ability to use RODCs in branch offices and
  • to cache data there with BranchCache;
  • the Remote Desktop Services for client access;
  • and even the brand new feature called Windows to Go.

The DirectAccess Feature
As the most significant updates are in DirectAccess, we will spend some time examining them. First let’s make it clear what DirectAccess really is. It was introduced in Windows Server 2008 but it was a very limited technology that did not operate that smoothly. If you wanted to use all of its really fancy features you had to develop it through the Unified Access Gateway (UAG), a completely different Microsoft product which you had to buy in addition. Windows Server 2012 now provides a fully featured DirectAccess feature out of the box. It allows specific users in your organization to connect to the corporate network and use its resources without using any VPN software. It also includes the opportunity for the remote computers to be updated with the latest Group Policy settings. This process can take place even if the user is not logged in. If you still need to set up VPN for other users, you can do that as well since in Windows Server 2012 both technologies can coexist on the same server.  DirectAccess is not supported on client operating systems prior to Windows 7, so this is a common scenario. An interesting feature of Windows Server 2012’s DirectAccess is that it can be deployed in two modes – Full Direct Access and Manage Out. If you choose Full Direct Access you give your users the ability to use corporate resources. But if you choose the Manage Out option, you also get the opportunity to remotely manage clients’ computers without even giving them access to the organization. One thing you should keep in mind for DirectAccess though, is that it needs a Network Location server. You can run it on your domain controllers or on your DirectAccess server. Either way it has to be highly available. If it fails, DirectAccess connections can be lost.

Network Access Protection

This was another feature that was introduced with Windows Server 2008. It is now integrated with DirectAccess, so client computers have to match certain security criteria before they are allowed to use corporate resources.

If there are branch offices in an organization, they are usually connected over a not very fast WAN (wide area network) link. In such a scenario it is a good idea to take advantage of the Windows Server’s BranchCache feature. As its name suggests, this feature can be used to cache content in branches. You can deploy it in two modes – distributed cache and hosted cache. In distributed cache mode, when a client requests information from the main office for the first time and receives it, it caches it. So when another client requests the same information it is redirected to the first client and it downloads the information locally over the faster LAN (local area network) link. In hosted cache mode, there are specifically configured hosted cache servers in the branch offices and the information stays on them for other local users to access it. The idea is the same, when a client requests information from the main site for the first time, the information is downloaded but it’s also stored on the hosted cache server. So when another client requests the same information it is redirected to the hosted cache server and it downloads it locally. You could also use RODC (read only domain controllers) in the branch offices so that users can login with cached credentials instead of querying the main site’s domain controllers every time.

For clients with less computing power, the so called thin clients, Windows Server 2012 offers Remote Desktop Services (introduced with that name in Windows Server 2008 and also known as Terminal Services before that). This allows users to take advantage of resource intensive applications running on a central server instead of on their local machine.

The last new thing I would like to mention in my list here is Windows to Go. What it allows you to do is to pack your whole operating system as an image and then boot from it from any computer using a USB stick. There are certain prerequisites though. You should be using Windows 8 Enterprise, Pro is not enough, and you should have a big enough USB stick – 32 GB at least.

With all of these new features on hand, Windows Server 2012 makes remote working a pleasant and easy experience.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Hovhannes Avoyan

Hovhannes Avoyan is the CEO of PicsArt, Inc.,

@ThingsExpo Stories
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet and...
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Ca...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Providing secure, mobile access to sensitive data sets is a critical element in realizing the full potential of cloud computing. However, large data caches remain inaccessible to edge devices for reasons of security, size, format or limited viewing capabilities. Medical imaging, computer aided design and seismic interpretation are just a few examples of industries facing this challenge. Rather than fighting for incremental gains by pulling these datasets to edge devices, we need to embrace the i...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...