Category Archives: Core Infrastructure

Preparing for Windows 8.1 Deployment with ConfigMgr


Are you looking for ways to deploy Windows 8.1 to your Enterprise?  If so, the System Center Configuration Manager Team just published a blog on this that you may be interested if missed.

Support Questions about Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 for Configuration Manager and Endpoint Protection

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Full Drive Encryption–BitLocker and MBAM

I thought I would take a moment to create a quick post on Full Drive Encryption; specifically, Microsoft’s BitLocker for Full Drive Encryption.  Over the last 12 months, I have worked with many customers that have either implemented a Full Drive Encryption solution and haven’t been happy with it or are in the process of implementing Microsoft BitLocker for their Windows 7 or Windows 8 devices.

I can write more about BitLocker, MBAM, and MDOP later; however, I want to write a quick overview to let you know that there has been a deployment reference document created that may be of use to you (see Reference Architecture below).

What is BitLocker?

BitLocker is a data protection feature available in Windows Server 2008 R2 (or newer), Windows 7 Enterprise, and Windows 8.  It is integrated with the operating system to address threats of data theft or exposure from lost, stolen, or decommissioned computers.  In a nutshell, it is Microsoft’s implementation for anyone looking at a Full Drive Encryption solution for their computers or tablets.  You can read more about it from the TechNet article – BitLocker Drive Encryption Overview.

Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring

For the last several years, many customers were implementing BitLocker with their Windows 7 roll-outs but felt there needed to be “more” when it came to enterprise management of the BitLocker solution.  They were looking for a Help Desk or Self Service option in the event a recovery key was required, they wanted something that could implement a single use recovery key, and they wanted better reporting capabilities.

To answer these customer requests, Microsoft introduced the Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) solution.  MBAM is one of 6 product solutions included in the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) – which also includes solutions like Application Virtualization, User Experience Virtualization, Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset among others.  You can learn more about MDOP at the MDOP landing page.

Reference Architecture

The following reference document is Microsoft’s implementation of BitLocker and MBAM within the global organization.  You can download this 9 page document from here.

If you are looking for a large-scale implementation reference, see if these stats meet your standards:

The global IT infrastructure at Microsoft covers a large technology and user scope:

  • More than 190,000 users in 170 countries
  • 568 physical building locations
  • 47 percent of Microsoft users connect remotely
  • 300,000 client computers

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Microsoft in Gartner’s Leaders Quadrant for Virtualization

Posted today by Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President, Windows Server and System Center.  It is great to see Microsoft continually improve on the platform and to see 3rd parties recognize the efforts made.


You can download Gartner’s full report from Brad’s blog post or here.

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Surface Pro–Enterprise Deployment Quick Start Guide

The much anticipated Deployment Guide has been released for the Surface Pro.  If you click this link you will be redirected to the Microsoft Download Center for the Surface Pro firmware and driver pack.

imageThen, click Download and you will be presented with the ability to download the Firmware and Driver Pack or the 16 page PDF that gives you all the details to successfully deploy Windows 8 to the Surface Pro (or both).

In order to do PXE boot with the Surface Pro, you will need to purchase the Surface Pro Ethernet adapter.  You CANNOT use any other USB Ethernet adapter, it has to be the Surface Pro Ethernet adapter.

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Internet Explorer 10 beats Chrome and Firefox at blocking malware downloads


As written by InfoWorld from the recent NSS Labs.

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Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2013 HAS BEEN RELEASED

imageMinutes ago, Microsoft has made available the updated version of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack.  There was an update last November that included updates to Application Virtualization (to App-V 5.0) and the introduction of User Experience Virtualization (UE-V 1.0).

Since November, there has been a lot of work on the next version of MDOP.  Read all about the announcement by Chris Hallum on the Windows Blog.

The biggest update is the availability of the Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) 2.0.  In a nutshell, this update provides four key improvements:

  1. A Self Service Portal
  2. Integration into System Center Configuration Manager 2007 and 2012
  3. Compliance reporting calculation improvements
  4. Simplified Provisioning

Additionally, all of these products moved to Service Pack 1:  Advance Group Policy and Management, Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset, Application Virtualization, and User Experience Virtualization.

If you are a Volume Licensing customer, you can download today.

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Domino’s Pizza–A Case Study

Domino’s Pizza

A new case study was just published and was highlighted during Microsoft’s Management Summit this week.  A Michigan based company bets big with Windows Server and Hyper-V.  I can’t be more proud of this case study and knowing that they are just down the street in Ann Arbor. 

Congratulations to Domino’s and Thank You. 

Domino’s Pizza Case Study Video


To read or download the case study, please refer to Domino’s Pizza.

My Favorite Quotes from the Case Study:

Domino’s uses Microsoft System Center data center solutions to manage 15,000 servers with only two people, a huge efficiency achievement.

The switch to Hyper-V has translated into an improved online ordering experience for our customers, who are number-one to us. – Shane Casey, Domino’s Pizza franchise owner in San Diego and Los Angeles, California

If our store servers go down, a third of our business evaporates. It’s that simple. It’s absolutely critical that our store servers remain running, and with Hyper-V, we’ve reduced store downtime. – Lance Shinabarger, Vice President, Global Infrastructure

As more orders have moved online, our dependence on System Center has gone through the roof. – Lance Shinabarger, Vice President, Global Infrastructure

Read the official Microsoft Press Announcement:  Domino’s Pizza, Xerox, and Pedcor Count on Microsoft Hyper-V and Private Cloud

Are you considering the switch from VMWare?  Read the whitepaper:  Why Hyper-V?  Competitive Advantages of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V over VMWare vSphere 5.1

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