Microsoft is helping Abbey Road RED explore the future of music recording – Microsoft News Centre UK

Abbey Road Studios, the world-famous studio that was home to The Beatles and Pink Floyd, is trying to shape the future of music creation at its first hackathon using Microsoft technology.

The London studio’s audio technology incubator, Abbey Road RED, invited around 100 developers, technologists, designers and music producers to find new ways of capturing sound and revolutionising the engineering process.

Microsoft provided artificial intelligence technology and experts for the event, which will gather feedback on how the music industry could use its cognitive services.

“I’m incredibly excited to share some of the latest Microsoft AI tools with participants in the Abbey Road RED Hackathon,” said Noelle LaCharite, Leading Applied AI DevEx at Microsoft. “Our suite of AI technology, including object detection, sentiment analysis and natural language understanding, has awesome potential for musicians, engineers, audio programmers and designers.”

A 360-degree view of Studio One at Abbey Road Studios

The hackathon was held in Studio One, where Sir Edward Elgar performed Land of Hope and Glory in 1931 and was the recording venue for scores to The Lord of The Rings trilogy, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Gravity and Black Panther.

Start-ups and partners of Abbey Road RED demoed smart microphones, innovative instruments and chip-level hardware devices to inspire the hackers, while art/tech group Hackoustic built a sound art installation and performed at the end of the event.

Dom Dronska, Head of Digital at Abbey Road Studios, said: “In the same room that witnessed the inception of the recording industry, we embraced the next paradigm shift in music creation – exploring the influence of the newest technologies and high performance computing on our creative tools.

“For the first time ever, we brought together the brightest technologists and music producers and created a unique inspirational atmosphere where beautiful accidents can happen. Abbey Road’s sole reason of existence is to enable creativity in its many forms, and today we are employing AI and machine learning to see how music makers can apply technology in the post digital era.”

The main Microsoft prize went to Rapple for their AI-powered rap battle partner. The creation, which uses speech recognition software from Microsoft, listens to you freestyle using a beat and then responds on the same beat. It is hoped that the solution could help freestyle rappers to practice and inspire songwriters.

Microsoft is one of the world’s leading experts on AI, developing systems that are designed to help the environment and protect people across the world. In January, Microsoft published a book entitled The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and its role in society, which provides readers with the company’s view on where AI technology is going and the new societal issues it has raised.

As Microsoft continues to work towards breakthroughs in AI, RED is doing the same for recording. The incubator is currently exploring the use of spatial audio – a way of producing sounds in 360 degrees around a listener that creates results similar to those people hear in real-life.

Abbey Road RED was Europe’s first music technology incubator when it was launched in 2015. It finds and works with promising music technology start-ups to develop new products, and is now home to four companies – BroomX, Cotodama, Humtap and Lickd.

The incubator forms part of the legendary studios that recorded Pink Floyd, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, Amy Winehouse and The Beatles, whose members were famously photographed crossing the road outside.

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AWS, Oracle trash talk spotlights cloud database migration

Vendor braggadocio is a staple of the tech industry, and while best heard with a skeptical ear, sometimes it raises important questions for enterprise customers to consider.

At last month’s OpenWorld conference, Oracle CTO Larry Ellison renewed his claim of Oracle’s superiority over AWS, not only in cloud infrastructure but also cloud security, and in particular, cloud database technology. Oracle’s database platform is entrenched in the enterprise computing landscape, though emerging competitors have chipped away at its market share.

Ellison boasted that Amazon remains an Oracle database customer, as does SAP for both cloud services and on-premises customers. But as is often the case with Ellison, he bent the truth a little. Although it’s true that many SAP ERP implementations use Oracle as an underlying store, SAP has ported some applications to its own HANA in-memory database.

In response, AWS CEO Andy Jassy tweeted last week that Amazon’s long-rumored cloud database migration off Oracle and onto its own data management products are well underway — Amazon’s consumer business turned off its Oracle data warehouse Nov. 1 and moved to Redshift.

If accurately conveyed — and there’s no public reason to doubt Jassy and Vogels’ claims — Amazon’s cloud database migration effort is towering, and its customers could benefit from the lessons it learned along the way, should the company choose to share them. The timing couldn’t be better, either — with the massive AWS re:Invent conference just weeks away, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Jassy and Vogels revisit this topic during their keynotes.

Beware of database migration unicorns

That’s not to say any enterprise customer could replicate AWS’ experience to migrate off a major platform vendor, given its vast engineering resources to throw at the task. Nor is AWS itself immune to major customers abandoning its ship.

And there are broader considerations. Beyond the performance of the underlying database service, applications and analytic data pipelines tie into the broader world of compute, storage, integration and developer services, and are deployed and managed globally.

“The world does not revolve around database services in isolation,” said Doug Henschen, VP and principal analyst at Constellation Research, based in Cupertino, Calif. “When companies go cloud they look at the total ecosystem of services and available capacity.”

Moreover, there’s a good reason why the industry evolved around the Oracle stack. “Amazon was founded in 1994 and Amazon Web Services was launched in 2006, and Salesforce was founded in 1999, long before real alternatives existed,” Henschen said. “Once you go down that path, it’s not a choice you can easily unwind years later after building on that foundation.”

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter which [database] product you have as long as it’s reasonably good.
Curt Monashpresident, Monash Research

The same goes for enterprise shops with a wealth of bespoke applications built and maintained with Oracle. If AWS uses re:Invent as a forum to discuss Amazon’s cloud database migrations off Oracle and onto its own platform, customers in that situation will want to hear how the company can help them do it, too.

Customers that start from scratch must weigh other tradeoffs. PostgreSQL has gained ground for transactional workloads, with services available on all major public clouds, as well as support for on-premises deployments through EnterpriseDB, Henschen said. Amazon Aurora is compatible with MySQL workloads and PostgreSQL, but is only available on AWS.

Oracle database costs are famously substantial, so the company has pushed to differentiate through its new autonomous database capabilities, not just performance and scalability, to address competitive threats posed by cloud and open source rivals, Henschen said.

Beyond his claim of performance superiority over Amazon Redshift and Aurora, Ellison has also said Oracle’s database is much cheaper to run on the company’s IaaS than Amazon. Of course, customers should judge for themselves with benchmarks that reflect their real-life workloads.

Overall, there’s a lot of FUD in the air between AWS and Oracle’s clouds. And decisions on large-scale database migrations like the one Amazon has undertaken can’t be made lightly.

“DBMSes have many use cases, and some are more sophisticated than others,” said Curt Monash, president of Monash Research in Acton, Mass. “Sometimes, it doesn’t matter which product you have as long as it’s reasonably good.”

Any database platform migration will require refactoring, more so depending on their sophistication and complexity, Monash said. “If you’re not prepared to undergo that expense and effort then migration is dangerous.”

Inventory and order management, which lie at the heart of Amazon’s consumer business, are two of the most intense database use cases. Amazon pulled the trigger on its major cloud database migration not only because it’s good PR for its own services, and bad PR for Oracle, but because its cost-benefit analysis pointed that way. At re:Invent, we may see how the notion resonates with AWS’ own customers.

How to Use the ⛩ Dojo Forums by Altaro

It’s with great excitement that I write this post for you today. We here at Altaro have always tried to give back to the greater IT community. This has mostly been done in the form of blogs, webinars, videos, and the occasional community contest. However, we’ve always felt that those mediums lack a certain conversational style that we’ve often wanted to foster.

With that in mind, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce the Dojo Forums by Altaro!

Altaro Hyper-V dojo forum

A Dojo for IT Pros

You might have noticed that recently this blog has been re-branded under the same dojo theme as the newly launched forums. After a long planning process, we decided upon the dojo theme because it implies the concept of always learning which we want to embrace with the content we produce. The pace of innovation in IT moves so quickly that anyone working in the IT space has to constantly be learning, and our aim with these forums, along with our blogs, eBooks and webinars, is to create a community where you can hone your skills, share your experiences, and help your fellow IT pros!

As you (hopefully) know from our blogs and webinars, we strive to provide information and insight from a host of community experts who are industry leaders, seasoned experts, Microsoft MVPs, VMware vExperts and more. These same industry experts will be joining conversations on the forums and will continue to provide their high-level knowledge and experience to help you with your day-to-day issues working in IT.

Another thing worth mentioning, the forums are centered around the Hyper-V community from The Altaro Hyper-V Dojo for now, but will soon include sections for our readers from the VMware Dojo, and the MSP Dojo!

Also, have you attended an Altaro Webinar? We’ve always done a follow-up blog post to each webinar with a full list of the Q & A from that webinar (Like this one). That format worked well for getting the questions out to the community, but it didn’t do a great job at enabling further discussion. As a result, we’ll be using the forums for Webinar Q & A follow-ups and we’ll be using a specific forum tag for each webinar so you can easily find and join the discussion on any questions asked during a particular webinar!

Earn your Belt

Ever wanted to earn your black belt without having to take all the punches? You can do just that at the Dojo Forums!

We know a points system isn’t the end all be all on forum participation or an indicator of one’s knowledge, but we find it fun to strive towards black belt status, and we find it helps reward those who are active, and we hope you will too!

Dojo Forum belts

As you can see above there are a range of different belts you can achieve based on your current point score. Points can be accrued via the below criteria:

  • Complete Profile: 20 points
  • New Topic: 5 points
  • Topic Reply: 1 point
  • Provide Best Answer: 25 points
  • Received Upvote for Reply: 3 points

NOTE: These values may change as the forums grow and evolve over time.

Next Steps

As for next steps, it really breaks down to a few different things:

  1. Register on the Forums
  2. Confirm your New Account
  3. Review the Forum Rules
  4. Post in the Introduction Thread if you’d like
  5. Get Started and get involved!

Registration is easy, and what you would expect with a forum. Simply fill out your user account info as shown below and then look for the activation email in your inbox for more info.

I would then suggest taking a look at the forums rules thread. This topic lays out the usual guidelines of the Dojo forums. The long and short of it being: be a decent person and you’ll do fine.

Additionally, we have an “Introduce Yourself” thread. Feel free to make your first post there if you’d like! We’d love to meet you and learn more about our community members!

Once you’ve looked at the above, it’s time to start getting involved!

Also, on final thing I’d like to point out is an integration we have setup between the Altaro Hyper-V Dojo and the new Dojo Forums. As shown below, if you’re reading an article on our Hyper-V blog, you now have the option of commenting directly on the blog post itself, or if you have a question/comment that you see becoming a larger thread, you have the option of posting that to the forum instead.

Leave a comment on the Dojo Forums

It’s a little time-saver but gives the rest of the community a chance to weigh in on your issue/question/comment. This again fosters that sense of community and allows more people to weigh in on your issue!


We hope you’re as excited about these forums as we are, and we certainly hope you’ll join us, other community members, and industry experts around the world on the new Dojo Forums by Altaro.

Hope to see you there!

Introducing Emoji8 – Windows Developer Blog

How can I make machine learning fun and approachable for my non-tech-savvy friends and family? How can I make an app that maximizes the usage of my Windows 10 hardware? How can I test out my craziest facial expressions and get them scored by science?
Emoji8, now available for free in the Microsoft Store and open-sourced on GitHub, can answer all of these questions and more!

Emoji8 is sample UWP application that uses Windows Machine Learning to evaluate your facial expressions while you imitate a random selection of emojis. The app takes in a video feed from your computer’s webcam and evaluates the images with the FER+ Emotion Recognition model version 1.2 locally on your machine. You can tweet a gif summarizing your best scoring pics when you have an internet connection and continue playing even when you don’t have one!
This app will give you a great end-to-end example of how you can use the Windows ML APIs to create simple yet magical experiences.

To download Emoji8 from the Store, make sure you’re using the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.
To start playing with its open-source code, make sure Visual Studio 2017 (Version 15.7.4 or newer) is installed with the Windows 10 SDK Build 17763.

Because Emoji8 is open-source, we highly encourage the community to submit any PRs with changes or enhancements.

To stay up to date with Emoji8 news, follow @killianqueue on Twitter!

Wanted – 5th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7

Discussion in ‘Desktop Computer Classifieds‘ started by Tyler Durden, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. What do you have that will upgrade my Core i3 4130T?

    Location: Shrewsbury

    This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
    By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
    Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

    • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
    • Name and address including postcode
    • Valid e-mail address

    DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

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Hyper-convergence forms core of Windows Server 2019 features

A move to a new server OS is not a light undertaking, but do the Windows Server 2019 features pack enough punch to sway enterprises to make the switch to this release or Windows Server 2016?

Microsoft released Windows Server 2019, the next installment in its Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), to general availability in October 2018. This heir apparent to Windows Server 2016 may well be the one version that stays on an organization’s servers for quite some time.

The usual questions come up every time a new server release arrives: What’s new? Is it worth upgrading? And what’s the direction of the product?

Microsoft folds in more hyper-converged features

Microsoft retooled Windows Server in this release to tempt companies that want to consolidate their infrastructure and save money by utilizing their existing hardware.

Hyper-convergence lets an organization shape its compute, storage and networking layers. Microsoft has been touting the software-defined features in Windows Server for the last few releases. Windows Server 2019 brings many improvements to software-defined networking, but Microsoft’s engineers also did some extensive work in the storage and compute areas.

Between enhancements and performance improvements in Storage Spaces Direct — better support for commodity disks, persistent memory, and deduplication and compression capabilities — along with software-defined network (SDN) subsystems designed to operate at 40 Gbps, Microsoft tuned Windows Server 2019 for use with the Azure cloud platform.

Windows Server 2019 marks the first release with all the necessary pieces in place — Hyper-V for compute, upgraded SDN features and software-defined storage capabilities — to take advantage of the hybrid cloud model. This server release gives organizations more flexibility to dynamically adjust workloads and to avoid disruptions.

Microsoft plays it safer with Windows Server 2019

There is a relatively new approach to security that asserts perimeter and edge defenses aren’t enough and IT departments should eye their own internal corporate network with suspicion. Windows Server 2019 adopts this defensive stance and ups the ante with many of its security enhancements.

Microsoft improved the security and isolation of critical workloads running in virtual machines via shielded virtual machines that now support Linux OSes, as well as Windows Server.

Containers are primarily Linux workloads, and Microsoft’s addition of this native tooling and command structure on Windows Server is huge.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) runs in the background on Windows Server 2019, looking for potential malicious activities and shutting down attack vectors before any damage occurs.

Microsoft introduced a key component in ATP in Windows Server 2016 called Windows Defender Application Control (WDAC), which uses code integrity policies to prevent untrusted applications from running on a server. Microsoft reinforced WDAC in Windows Server 2019 to ease some of the deployment issues administrators had by including default code integrity policies to give automatic clearance to default Windows applications and Microsoft products, such as SQL Server.

Admins get a new management tool

Server administrators get a boost in productivity and efficiency with the Windows Admin Center, a web-based administrative console for managing Windows Servers across an enterprise.

This free Microsoft tool, formerly known as Project Honolulu, is an elegant, single-pane-of-glass management interface that extends the capabilities of many of the traditional Microsoft Management Console-based wizards and tools to see each server — Hyper-V Server machines, Windows Server 2012 R2 and higher, servers on premises or in Azure — in one place in a regularly updated role that does not depend on either an internet connection or Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft says Windows Admin Center gives admins an easier way to manage SDN features, such as microsegmentation, switching and load balancing, in Windows Server 2019.

virtual networks
The Windows Admin Center gives administrators a new tool to manage the software-defined networking features in Windows Server 2019. This screenshot shows the details of the virtual networks.

Because this is the LTSC release, there is a GUI — or the Server with Desktop Experience as Microsoft calls it — to manage the OS, unlike the Semi-Annual Channel release, which offers two deployment options — Server Core and Nano Server — without a GUI. Microsoft trimmed the size of the Server Core image for Windows Server 2019 by between 50-80%, depending on the workload type. This cuts down on overhead and makes it easier to consolidate even more workloads on a server.

Linux gains a foothold in Windows Server

Windows Server is catching up to what Windows 10 has had since 2017 with the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), which is available in the Server 2019 release.

It’s a curious, and potentially quite useful, addition to Windows Server 2019 for many shops. Building WSL into the OS gives admins the ability to run Linux-based workloads — not necessarily complex ones, but scripts and simple tasks — which has the potential to be a game-changer in the data center. Containers are primarily Linux workloads, and Microsoft’s addition of this native tooling and command structure on Windows Server is huge.

Microsoft hints at the end of Windows Server Essentials

A recent blog post from the Microsoft Windows Server team has indicated the future of one Windows Server edition is in doubt.

“There is a strong possibility that this could be the last edition of Windows Server Essentials,” according to the blog.

[embedded content]
What’s new in Windows Server 2019?

Microsoft removed the GUI enhancements and wizards that made Essentials an attractive product for smaller shops with its 2019 Essentials edition. What remains is a product that is identical to Windows Server 2019 Standard, other than some physical restrictions on needing to hold a domain’s Flexible Single Master Operation roles, a lack of trustability and so on. For companies that need the Essentials wizards or client backup, it would be best to stick with Windows Server 2016 Essentials.

Is it worth switching to Windows Server 2019?

Most of the features in Windows Server 2019 are no surprise because many of them have been in production via the Semi-Annual Channel releases. You won’t get some of the more advanced security and software-defined features unless you pick up the more expensive Datacenter Edition.

Is this a release organizations should upgrade to or should they stick to Windows Server 2016? As is often the case, it depends. But there are several conclusions one can draw from this release.

Windows Server is about the enterprise. Smaller businesses, even the medium-sized organizations, won’t find much that will compel them to change to Windows Server 2019. Those companies are probably better off switching to an Opex model and moving to the cloud. For organizations with fewer than 20 servers, I recommend using Windows Server 2016.

For businesses in heavily regulated industries, shielded virtual machines with Linux support alone could be worth the cost of admission for Windows Server 2019. This feature alone makes Server 2019 an order of magnitude more compelling than Server 2016.

For businesses with extensive hybrid investments, the better administrative experience and hyper-converged infrastructure support mean the data center or Azure is effectively the same from an IT perspective. The new Windows Server 2019 features make this a lot closer to reality than 2016.

Understanding what Azure AD federation really means

Administrators may confuse the difference between Azure AD federation and Active Directory account synchronization, but not knowing the difference can result in wasted efforts.

As organizations move more services into the Microsoft Azure public cloud, users can benefit from single sign-on (SSO) authentication. Without SSO, users must juggle multiple credential sets to connect to different SaaS apps, such as Office 365.

Users might find it easier to create insecure — but easy to remember — passwords. With SSO, the user only signs in once and lets Active Directory (AD) handle the other authentication work. The convenience of a strong single credential set, namely AD domain credentials, used in SSO can help administrators boost security across the enterprise.

Azure AD Connect unlocks single sign-on functionality

Administrators will use the Azure AD Connect utility to extend on-premises Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) into the Azure AD tenant in Microsoft’s cloud. The tool can be run multiple times as needs change.

Azure AD Connect wizard
The Azure Active Directory Connect wizard sets up the desired SSO method.

Azure AD Connect offers several methods to support SSO for hybrid cloud identity.

  • Password hash synchronization: The simplest approach and the most popular for small-to-medium sized businesses.
  • Pass-through authentication: A newer authentication method. User passwords never leave the local network boundary.
  • Federation with AD FS: Federated identity using AD Federation Services (AD FS).

With either password hash synchronization or pass-through authentication, administrators can use Azure AD Seamless SSO, in which Azure AD Connect passes Kerberos authentication tickets between on-premises AD and Azure AD.

With either password hash synchronization or pass-through authentication, administrators can use Azure AD Seamless SSO, in which Azure AD Connect passes Kerberos authentication tickets between on-premises AD and Azure AD.

This tutorial explains password hash synchronization and AD FS methods.

Password hash synchronization uses password write-back

The password hash synchronization method uses Azure AD Connect to create new Azure AD user accounts that share a password hash with their on-premises counterparts. Users can sign into Azure AD-backed applications with their existing Active Directory credentials.

The Express Settings option in the Azure AD Connect wizard eases the configuration of password hash synchronization as the directory connect method. Administrators who want more granular control should choose a custom setup.

The figure below shows how to select certain AD DS organizational units and containers for account replication. This practice prevents security blunders, such as synchronizing AD DS service accounts into the Azure AD tenant.

Account synchronization configuration
Administrators can select certain AD DS organizational units and domains to synchronize.

Configuration caveats for administrators

Administrators have two important things to consider when setting up SSO with password hash synchronization:

  • It requires binding a custom domain name system domain to the Azure AD tenant.
  • It might require adding a new user principal name suffix to the domain and attaching the suffix to synchronized user accounts.

The password hash synchronization goes one way, from on-premises AD DS to cloud-based Azure AD, unless the organization uses a premium version of Azure AD for the password write-back feature. This allows users to change their password from the Azure AD-backed application, which Azure AD Connect replicates to the source of authority, the on-premises AD DS domain.

Password hash authentication invites some risk, as the password hashes transfer back and forth between on-premises and the Azure cloud. To mitigate potential security problems, administrators can create a virtual private network or ExpressRoute connection to Azure or implement the pass-through authentication method.

Configuring Active Directory Federation Services
Administrators configure AD Federation Services by using the AD FS management console.

An organization that doesn’t have the resources or the need for token-based identity federation should consider password hash synchronization between AD DS and Azure AD. If your business and application requirements mandate true SSO, then deploy AD FS with Azure AD Connect.

There is another option. The Azure AD library offers turnkey SSO integrations with thousands of popular SaaS apps, such as Salesforce, Concur, Google G Suite and Dropbox. With these enterprise app integrations, Azure AD abstracts all the token passing. For instance, administrators can configure password hash synchronization from on-premises AD DS to Azure AD and then do true federated SSO between Azure AD and the partner SaaS apps.

Manage host, VM access with a Hyper-V administrators security group

Admins should implement role-based access models with Hyper-V administrators security group settings to boost security and control who can use what.

Even if you have hundreds of Hyper-V servers and clusters running in production, you must implement security controls to ensure all of your hosts, VMs and application data are safe from intruders. The two primary methods to improve security in Hyper-V are to use System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) and local Hyper-V administrator security group settings to control access based on predefined roles.

SCVMM provides role-based access controls that you can use to create user accounts and assign them to predefined user roles. Predefined user roles can include specifically defined tasks. For example, a user in the administrator role can perform all tasks on Hyper-V hosts. Similarly, a user in the tenant administrator role can perform all tasks related to self-service and SCVMM networks.

Even if you implement the necessary security controls at the SCVMM level by assigning admins SCVMM user roles, you won’t have the ability to provide security at the Hyper-V level. Anyone who has access to local Hyper-V servers as an administrator can perform all Hyper-V-related operational tasks.

Build security at the host and VM levels with a Hyper-V administrators security group

This is where the local Hyper-V administrators security group comes in handy. You can find the local Hyper-V Administrators security group option, as shown in Figure A below.

Hyper-V Administrators group option
Figure A. Locate the Hyper-V Administrators group.

Installing Hyper-V on Windows Server creates the Hyper-V Administrators security group by default. The members of this security group can perform all Hyper-V-related tasks, which includes creating VMs and modifying VM settings. Once you deploy a Hyper-V host into production, you must modify the local Hyper-V Administrators security group to ensure it only includes designated administrators.

There are two ways to do this. You can visit each Hyper-V server individually and manually run a command to add users to the group or you can use a Group Policy Object (GPO) if all of the Hyper-V servers are part of an Active Directory (AD) domain.

To add users to a local Hyper-V administrators security group manually, log onto the Hyper-V host and execute the PowerShell command below.

$ThisUser = “TechTarget.ComJohnThomas”
([adsi]”WinNT://./Hyper-V Administrators,group”).Add(“WinNT://$env:UserDomain/$ThisUser”)

If you want to change the Hyper-V administrator security group membership settings on your hosts via a GPO, start by creating user accounts. Next, create an AD domain security group. Create a GPO in AD and use the security groups preference to add the security groups you created, then assign the GPO only to Hyper-V hosts. Once the Hyper-V hosts receive the new group policy settings, the new list replaces the existing members of the local Hyper-V security administrators group.

The previous steps provide security at the Hyper-V host level, but there are still risks at the VM level.

It’s best practice to also provide security at the VM level.

If you remove a user from the local Hyper-V administrators security group, you eliminate that user’s ability to log onto the Hyper-V server locally. However, the user will still have access to the VM via the Virtual Machine Connection tool — even if the user isn’t part of the Hyper-V administrators security group.

It’s best practice to also provide security at the VM level. Microsoft provides a PowerShell cmdlet you can use to grant and remove access to VMs for different users.

To enable a particular user to connect to a VM — SQLVM, in this example — execute the PowerShell command below on the local Hyper-V host.

Grant-VMConnectAccess -VMName SQLVM -UserName TechTargetJohnThomas

To revoke access, use the Revoke-VMConnectAccess PowerShell cmdlet.

Revoke-VMConnectAccess -VMName SQLVM -UserName TechTargetTestUser

If you want to execute Grant-VMConnectAccess and Revoke-VMConnectAccess for multiple users and multiple Hyper-V hosts, you must create a PowerShell script and push it out via the GPO startup script.

AI in Business 2018

As AI breakthroughs abound, businesses look to score benefits

When Arccos Golf launched its first performance tracking system for golfers, it combined the telemetry from sensors and a smartphone app to give players detailed data and feedback about every shot.

Knowing how far and how accurately they could hit the ball under different conditions helped players uncover weaknesses and improve their game. But there was so much more that could be done.

“We had an ‘a-ha moment’ about providing a virtual caddie for every player. Just like a human caddie, ours would know the player, know the course, know the weather and provide the player with a club recommendation,” said Jack Brown, senior vice president of product & software at Arccos Golf. “So we thought, ‘Why don’t we use AI to create a virtual caddie?’”

Read more

SAP’s Qualtrics acquisition adds CX to HR and transactional data

SAP’s Qualtrics acquisition for a cool $8 billion in cash raises the stakes in the battle for customer and employee experience management supremacy. However, questions remain about the price that was paid and whether the move will pay off.

Qualtrics makes cloud-based customer experience (CX) management and voice of the customer (VoC) software that provides companies with analytics that are externally focused on products and customer experience sentiment, but also internally focused on how employees feel about the company.

The Qualtrics acquisition may be part of a larger data play to fill in the gaps in SAP C/4HANA for VoC functionality, said Faith Adams, a Forrester analyst who covers CX and VoC markets. Qualtrics should benefit from SAP’s enterprise status and market strength, which will allow it to scale more quickly.

“Qualtrics has been trying to play in the enterprise space, and this can give them the resources to do so,” Adams said.

Qualtrics’ platform measures employee, customer, product and brand sentiment. “All four are highly correlated to one another,” Mike Maughan, head of global insights at Qualtrics, told SearchHRSoftware in August. “If your product is terrible, your customers are always mad,” which has repercussions for employees, too.

Data is at the forefront of SAP's Qualtrics acquisition
SAP CEO Bill McDermott speaks at a prior Sapphire conference.

X and O data at play in Qualtrics acquisition

SAP plans to integrate this experience data, or X data, with its traditional strength in operational data, or O data, generated from its enterprise ERP systems and business applications. The O data that SAP deals with doesn’t ask why customers feel a certain way about brands or products, which is what the X data can provide.

Qualtrics has been trying to play in the enterprise space, and this can give them the resources to do so.
Faith Adamsanalyst, Forrester

“If you can combine X data with O data, you can change the world,” SAP CEO Bill McDermott said during an interview on CNBC on Monday, when the deal was announced.

SAP’s Qualtrics acquisition belies McDermott’s statement earlier in 2018 that the company would focus on “tuck-in” rather than major acquisitions, but the opportunity may have been too good to pass up.

“Why did he do a big one when he said he was more likely to do tuck-ins?” McDermott asked. “Because I never thought I would get Qualtrics, and it takes some skill to pull deals like this off and convince [Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith] that he’s better off going with SAP.”

Qualtrics will operate within the SAP Cloud Business Group under Rob Enslin, and the company is expected to maintain its leadership and branding, according to SAP. Smith will stay on as Qualtrics’ leader, and the company will keep its headquarters in Provo, Utah, and Seattle.

Hefty price, but the deal may make sense

Adams expressed surprise at the price tag.

Spending $8 billion is a lot, “especially for a company that has not proven itself in the enterprise space yet and has so many customers still focusing on surveys and not evolving with the market.”

Although Adams believes the deal will help SAP fill in some gaps in its C/4HANA platform, there’s still a lot of uncertainty in exactly how Qualtrics applications will fit in.

“This is what does not seem to make sense to me yet, as Qualtrics is an experience management platform that focuses on meeting the customer where they are and collecting customer feedback,” Adams said. “Much of the press that I have seen talks about the marrying of X data and O data, but this is table stakes for CX programs and does not make sense why they are focusing on this topic so much. It is not a new category or a critical differentiator in my opinion. So much of the messaging around this only continues to raise more and more questions from me.”

The question of how the Qualtrics acquisition will fit into the SAP corporate structure and culture is another open question, Adams said.

“With them noting that Ryan Smith is staying on and Qualtrics HQ and management remaining the same, I wonder though how long it will be before bigger changes come,” she said. “Will they try to integrate the cultures or will it be business as usual for a while? Like I said, there is a lot to be determined here.”

Luke Marson, a consultant specializing in SuccessFactors, SAP’s SaaS HCM platform, said the Qualtrics deal allows “greater synergies” between SAP’s customer and employee experience applications. “Employee experience is a growing area in HR, and I am seeing an increasing trend in CHROs [chief human resource officers] who are focusing on the overall employee experience,” he wrote in an email. “A positive employee experience impacts productivity, retention, and profitability.”

Marson, who is also a SearchSAP contributor, added that more closely integrating the customer and employee experience “would enable customers to align their business strategy — including their HCM/people strategy — to maximize the experience that their customers receive and therefore improving customer retention and growth of the customer base.”

Qualtrics was days away from an initial public offering when SAP courted the company to join the ERP giant.

Smith viewed the offer as a unique chance to work with SAP. “This is, by far, a once-in-a-generational opportunity,” Smith told CNBC. “And it’s going to change how everyone thinks about cloud and SaaS and CRM and ERP and HCM forever. And why wouldn’t we want to be a part of that?”