Right Sizing Your Windows Server Environment

Right Sizing Your Windows Server Environment

Did you know that Windows Server is one of the most mislicensed products under SPLA?

This can lead to unnecessary audits and expenses that no one wants to deal with.

We all know that Microsoft introduced a new licensing model for Windows Server 2016 when they changed the model from Processor to Core. As we wrote in our July article, the biggest concern was that if you were running more than 8 cores per instance (the minimum required) you would have to license the additional cores when you upgraded to Windows Server 2016 or when your SPLA contract renewed.

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Getting secure in a mobile-first world with EMS

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We live in a time where a generation of workers has never plugged in a cable to get on the Internet. And while this mobile-first world has been great for productivity, it’s led to greater risk and challenges for the security team.

Today, security is so much more than just a firewall. As we saw in our recent webinar, co-hosted with Microsoft to discuss their new Enterprise Mobility + Security Suite, breaches are resulting from weak end-user passwords or error, as well as a lax attitude toward SaaS and third party “Shadow IT.” Add to that infrastructure complexity brought on by cloud and hybrid environments and everything you knew about security is changing.

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5 Killer Features of Windows Server 2016

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Since its initial technical previous two years ago and subsequent public beta, IT professionals have anxiously awaited the release of Windows Server 2016. Well, the time has come. This week, Microsoft released the latest iteration of its server operating system at its Ignite conference in Atlanta.
We’ve taken a good look at what’s been announced and what’s been showcased in the five public beta versions of Windows 2016, and here are five new-and-improved, never-before-seen features of the OS worth taking an even closer look at while evaluating an upgrade: shielded virtual machines, Nano Server, Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V , enhancements to Windows server storage, and licensing improvements.

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What you need to know about Windows Server 2016 licensing

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First off, let’s all take a moment to remember the licensing model of Windows Server 2012 R2. It was universally loved by the Microsoft community due to its clarity and simplicity. Microsoft offered two editions, Standard and Datacenter with the exact same functionality. Both covered two physical processors with the only difference being that Standard would allow for 1 physical or two virtual operating system environments (OSE) while Datacenter allowed for unlimited OSEs. For an environment with little to no virtualization, organizations would purchase Standard. For highly virtualized environments, organizations would go with Datacenter. This licensing setup would also include your Windows CALs (Client Access Licenses).

While Windows Server 2012 R2 licensing was wildly appreciated, we all knew that due to constant improvements in the processing power, this model would have to adapt soon enough. And it did…

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Avoid Office 365 gotchas with these key considerations

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One C-level executive was so excited to get going on her company’s new Office 365 bundle, that she asked to be first on the list to adopt it.

Everything was going great until a week later when she started missing important calls and meetings. Uh oh… All of a sudden IT leaders were scrambling to figure out what went wrong.

Can you guess it?

In the rush to get her on the platform, IT failed to give the proper permissions to the executive’s assistant. As a result, all the meeting requests the assistant usually handled never got read.

Sounds obvious, but we’ve seen plenty of examples just like this one. Unfortunately, this story points to a much larger phenomenon. Too many businesses make the switch to Office 365 without thinking through all the key considerations that might get in the way of success — and it’s not just the end-user perspective like the example above. These are serious issues, from infrastructure, finances and security.

At a glance: key considerations to make before adopting Office 365

So what can be done? We discussed this at length in our latest webinar – which you can watch below.

Shared Responsibility:

In the chart below, everything on the left-hand side is Microsoft’s job with Office 365. The rest is up to you. As soon as “the copper leaves the building” it’s on you to ensure your business is properly set up.

Security and data are a major concern here. But so is how your business processes need to adapt to Microsoft’s ongoing software updates. Last year alone there were nearly 500 updates released — each one would have to be vetted to ensure your individual Office 365 implementation and processes would continue, unfettered.

office-365-shared-responsibility

Internal Silos

Traditional businesses split roles into silos, from your server to storage to networking, right up to applications, telephony, and security. But when you switch to Office 365, these roles are merged and sometimes completely off-loaded to Microsoft’s team.

IT leaders must consider how this impacts their teams, and make a plan to include existing team members in future plans to ensure their own success and avoid fighting and loss of productivity.

Infrastructure and the network

Your data center is no longer down the hall, it’s in another part of the country. This has a significant impact on your line of sight when issues arise.

Simultaneously, this puts a drastically increased importance on the strength of your network. It is now more important than ever that you can handle the bandwidth to support cloud, ensuring reliability, scalability and end-user satisfaction (i.e. speed.)

Data Considerations

Office 365 is often thought of simply a new way to license – when in reality it has enormous implications on your data and the infrastructure used to store and move it. This cannot be overlooked.

You need to think through such things as the size of mailboxes and detailed user permissions. Use the 3 W’s and an H approach: What data do we need to migrate, Who has access to it, Why are we moving it, and How will we move it?

Operational Challenges

It would be incredibly rare if you had an Office 365 veteran in-house already. Therefore it is extremely likely mistakes will be made in both the configuration and ongoing management of Office 365, causing you undue costs and wasting your time in the process.

Understanding the skills gaps, and the need for expert guidance upfront and perhaps on an ongoing basis are crucial questions to address from the start.

Want more details on the considerations, and how Softchoice’s Office 365 tools and managed services can help you? Watch the full webinar recording now or contact your representative today.

Right-size your Azure for best financial returns

Azure consumption management

What do Azure and cell phone bills have in common? As it turns out, a lot.

As unfortunate as it is, it’s pretty common to go over your mobile phone voice and data limits. What do most of us do? We pay the bill – regardless of the overcharges. Some of us change to a more appropriate plan or start monitoring data consumption to avoid hefty surcharges.

These are common sense strategies for battling out-of-control phone bills — right-sizing your plan and gaining insight and control.

These are also exactly the strategies needed for proper Azure financial management.

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