Working together to bring broadband to rural Veterans – Microsoft on the Issues

Our nation’s Veterans have contributed to our country in so many ways, in countless locations around the globe. When they return home, many Veterans who reside in rural areas are not able to access broadband internet which is critical to using telehealth services, gaining educational opportunities, and growing a small business or running a family farm.

There are 2.7 million Veterans enrolled in Veterans Affairs (VA) who are living in rural communities, 42% of them do not have internet access at home which could support their use of VA telehealth services, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’, Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Rural Health. These rural Veterans live in areas where access to fast, reliable internet service may be limited or inaccessible and are facing higher rates of unemployment, longer drives to reach the nearest clinics and medical centers, and lower levels of educational attainment compared to their urban counterparts. Connectivity has the potential to improve this reality — with broadband, they can access telehealth services offered by the VA, identify and compete for well-paying jobs, improve and grow their own businesses, and take advantage of online education classes.

Microsoft and VA have been strategic partners, working together to improve the lives of Veterans, for more than 20 years. Today, I’m excited to share that Microsoft will begin expanding that work by helping VA to help bring connectivity to many Veterans living in rural towns and communities. Microsoft and its partners will be working with VA to provide capital, technology expertise, and training resources to bring broadband access to people in these underserved communities. Our hope is that this effort will unlock new economic opportunities, while also enhancing quality of life.

Through the partnership, we’ll help VA identify communities with Veterans in need and work with our internet service provider (ISP) partners across the nation to bring broadband services to those regions. Following our Airband Initiative model, we’ll also provide the Veterans in these newly connected communities with digital skills training so they can take advantage of the tools and services connectivity enables, including critical telehealth services provided by VA.

In the past 22 months, through the Microsoft Airband Initiative, we have seen firsthand just how many communities lack connectivity at broadband speeds and how this can hinder growth and new opportunities. We’ve also seen that partnering with ISPs to serve those most in need is an effective strategy to make progress quickly on this important issue. Our work with VA builds on those lessons and approach, which has resulted in partnerships that will bring connectivity to 1 million unserved rural residents in 16 states to date, with a plan to reach 3 million by 2022.

This also builds on our commitment to the military and Veteran community. We’re passionate about our work with this community and take a holistic approach to helping Veterans gain the critical career skills required for today’s digital economy through career training and re-training, soft-skills support, and hiring. The company’s cornerstone Veteran program, Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA), provides the Veteran community with an 18-week (or two nine-week terms) training for high-demand careers, with graduates gaining an interview for a full-time career at Microsoft or one of the company’s more than 400 hiring partners. We’re also proud of our strong network of partners, all of whom champion our same vision to assist the community.

We owe it to the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our nation. Veterans living in rural communities deserve to have the broadband internet access enjoyed by many who live in urban areas. Addressing the broadband gap across the country requires innovative solutions from both the public and private sectors, and we hope this partnership will help us make significant progress toward closing the connectivity gap for the Veteran community.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Couchbase cozies up to Kubernetes for multi-cloud deployments

The industry’s coalescence around Kubernetes has caused another enterprise software vendor to beef up its multi-cloud chops, but users should weigh tradeoffs of convenience and efficiency against optimization.

Couchbase updated its Autonomous Operator 1.2 tool this month to simplify multi-cloud deployments of its NoSQL database, with production and certification support for Kubernetes container services on AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, as well as the latest version of Red Hat OpenShift. Customers can now automatically upgrade and move Couchbase clusters into Kubernetes containers.

Autonomous Operator 1.2 also includes rolling upgrade capabilities for Kubernetes itself, which avoids downtime for multi-cloud deployments, the company said. Other updates include support for Helm, Kubernetes’ native package manager; connectivity to Couchbase clients via the public internet; and Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate rotation for online Kubernetes clusters.

Couchbase Autonomous Operator, first generally available in August, has roots in Operators, an open source framework introduced for Kubernetes by CoreOS in 2016. CoreOS was subsequently acquired in 2018 by Red Hat, which now offers Operator Framework. Operators and its derivatives aim to tackle a challenge with Kubernetes-based deployments: how to handle stateful applications such as databases, which require more work to scale, upgrade and reconfigure, compared to stateless ones such as web apps.

NoSQL database architectures and characteristics
NoSQL database architectures emphasize different aspects of data management.

Couchbase seeks growth through more customer options

Support for multi-cloud deployments are necessary today for enterprise software vendors, particularly those who play in the middle tier such as Couchbase. Customers have many choices for databases, whether traditional or in the NoSQL realm, and want portability across platforms.

Couchbase offers a managed version of the database, but it gears Autonomous Operator toward DevOps-driven shops that want more hands-on control along with easier management of complex multi-cloud deployments. Couchbase also wants to drive growth through the channel, and broader support for Kubernetes and tools such as Autonomous Operator should appeal to resellers, VARs and systems integrators as their customers explore multiple cloud options.

Technology which abstracts away picky platform details and tasks also reduces your ability to optimize your configuration.
Curt Monash President, Monash Research

Like competitor MongoDB, Couchbase’s database is commonly used for mobile, web and IoT applications. With Autonomous Operator — which is similar in purpose to MongoDB’s Enterprise Operator — Couchbase presents users with convenience and greater efficiency, but there are tradeoffs to consider.

“Technology which abstracts away picky platform details and tasks also reduces your ability to optimize your configuration, notably for performance,” said Curt Monash, president of Monash Research in Acton, Mass. “If you don’t mind the lack of optimization, using such tools can lead to nice reductions in effort, cost and blood pressure.”

Moreover, many database applications don’t have performance issues, while others only have performance issues that can be solved by scale-out, Monash said. “Those are the ones that can fit well in the cloud,” he said.

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For Sale – Intel Skull Canyon – Core i7, 16gb, 512Gb Windows 10Pro

I built this intending to game and edit video, but I have an iPad and XPS13 and tbh this sits unused 99% of the time so time to sell on.

This is a great system that I used in conjuction with a TB3 Graphics card which offered great performance and flexibilty for its size.

System comes fully populated and with Windows 10 Pro license installed and activated, as can be seen in the images (I’ll unlink the key from my ID before shipping)

Basic Spec
Core i7 –6770HQ Quad Core with HT
16gb Kingston DDR4
512Gb – NVME Sandisk SSD
1 x HDMI, 1 x DP, 1 x Optical out
1 x Thunderbolt 3, 4 x USB 3, 1 x SD Reader
1xGbE
Windows 10 Pro License (Currently Running 1809)

Full Spec can be found

HERE . AnandTech Review can be found HERE

Price and currency: £450
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: PPG or Bacs
Location: Basingstoke
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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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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Working together to bring broadband to rural Veterans – Microsoft on the Issues

Our nation’s Veterans have contributed to our country in so many ways, in countless locations around the globe. When they return home, many Veterans who reside in rural areas are not able to access broadband internet which is critical to using telehealth services, gaining educational opportunities, and growing a small business or running a family farm.

There are 2.7 million Veterans enrolled in Veterans Affairs (VA) who are living in rural communities, 42% of them do not have internet access at home which could support their use of VA telehealth services, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’, Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Rural Health. These rural Veterans live in areas where access to fast, reliable internet service may be limited or inaccessible and are facing higher rates of unemployment, longer drives to reach the nearest clinics and medical centers, and lower levels of educational attainment compared to their urban counterparts. Connectivity has the potential to improve this reality — with broadband, they can access telehealth services offered by the VA, identify and compete for well-paying jobs, improve and grow their own businesses, and take advantage of online education classes.

Microsoft and VA have been strategic partners, working together to improve the lives of Veterans, for more than 20 years. Today, I’m excited to share that Microsoft will begin expanding that work by helping VA to help bring connectivity to many Veterans living in rural towns and communities. Microsoft and its partners will be working with VA to provide capital, technology expertise, and training resources to bring broadband access to people in these underserved communities. Our hope is that this effort will unlock new economic opportunities, while also enhancing quality of life.

Through the partnership, we’ll help VA identify communities with Veterans in need and work with our internet service provider (ISP) partners across the nation to bring broadband services to those regions. Following our Airband Initiative model, we’ll also provide the Veterans in these newly connected communities with digital skills training so they can take advantage of the tools and services connectivity enables, including critical telehealth services provided by VA.

In the past 22 months, through the Microsoft Airband Initiative, we have seen firsthand just how many communities lack connectivity at broadband speeds and how this can hinder growth and new opportunities. We’ve also seen that partnering with ISPs to serve those most in need is an effective strategy to make progress quickly on this important issue. Our work with VA builds on those lessons and approach, which has resulted in partnerships that will bring connectivity to 1 million unserved rural residents in 16 states to date, with a plan to reach 3 million by 2022.

This also builds on our commitment to the military and Veteran community. We’re passionate about our work with this community and take a holistic approach to helping Veterans gain the critical career skills required for today’s digital economy through career training and re-training, soft-skills support, and hiring. The company’s cornerstone Veteran program, Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA), provides the Veteran community with an 18-week (or two nine-week terms) training for high-demand careers, with graduates gaining an interview for a full-time career at Microsoft or one of the company’s more than 400 hiring partners. We’re also proud of our strong network of partners, all of whom champion our same vision to assist the community.

We owe it to the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our nation. Veterans living in rural communities deserve to have the broadband internet access enjoyed by many who live in urban areas. Addressing the broadband gap across the country requires innovative solutions from both the public and private sectors, and we hope this partnership will help us make significant progress toward closing the connectivity gap for the Veteran community.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Build a Hyper-V home lab in Windows Server 2019

In IT, theoretical knowledge only gets you so far. One way to improve your skills is with hands-on experience from…

building and using a Hyper-V home lab.

You can build an inexpensive Hyper-V virtual lab using Windows Server 2019 and Hyper-V that gives you nearly limitless opportunities for learning and experimentation. With a single, moderately powered computer, you can use nested virtualization to create a two-node failover cluster hosting highly available Hyper-V VMs. A lab built on Microsoft’s virtualization technologies will help you with your efforts in areas of certification and working with the new Windows Server features.

There are a few reasons why using nested virtualization is a better choice compared to deploying multiple VMs in Windows 10 Hyper-V in a failover cluster:

  • Failover clustering requires an Active Directory (AD) domain and at least two nodes.
  • Failover clustering only runs on Windows Server, so all participating nodes need to run Windows Server, not Windows 10.
  • We don’t want to overly modify our Windows 10 system’s environment. The purpose of a lab is to leave it as simple as possible.

The following graphic shows the topology diagram for our Hyper-V home lab.

Hyper-V virtual lab environment
The Hyper-V virtual lab environment you will build with Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019 to make a cluster hosting highly available VMs

As a longtime technical trainer, I’ve discovered that students learn most efficiently when they are challenged to build something that matters. To that point, I will only provide high-level configuration steps and documentation links. As part of this learning process, it’s up to you to put the pieces together through trial and error.

What Hyper-V home lab hardware should you get?

There are a few reasons why using nested virtualization is a better choice compared to deploying multiple VMs in Windows 10 Hyper-V in a failover cluster.

You just need one physical computer to serve as your Hyper-V virtualization host. I suggest the machine have one of the following CPUs, all of which are optimized for virtualized workloads: Intel Xeon, Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 5 2600.

I recommend 32 GB of RAM if you can afford it. The physical host should run Windows 10 Enterprise, Pro or Education edition; you need one of these stock-keeping units (SKUs) to enable Hyper-V.

Enable Hyper-V on your Windows 10 host

Open an elevated PowerShell command prompt console on your Windows 10 computer, and run the following command to enable Hyper-V. (You’ll need to restart after installation completes.)

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Hyper-V -All

You can also enable Hyper-V in the Windows features control panel.

enable Hyper-V in Windows 10
To install the Hyper-V feature in Windows 10 Pro, go to the features control panel, and enable all the Hyper-V components.

You also need a free 180-day evaluation copy of Windows Server 2019 from Microsoft Evaluation Center. Download the ISO file that you will attach to the virtual optical disk drive on your VM.

Configure Hyper-V on your hardware host

Start Hyper-V Manager on your Windows 10 machine to set up virtual networking. You will create an internal switch so the Windows 10 Hyper-V host can communicate with the Windows Server VM you’ll create momentarily.

If you’ve never configured Hyper-V networking, these tutorial links will help you get it set up:

  1. Hyper-V virtual networks
  2. Hyper-V virtual switches

Next, use the Windows Server 2019 ISO image file to deploy your VM. Here are some guidelines:

  • Enable dynamic memory to conserve RAM.
  • Give the VM as much RAM as you can spare. If your physical host has 32 GB RAM, then I would give 12 to 16 GB to the VM.
  • Power off the VM when the lab is not in use to give your hardware host its resource back.
VM setup in Hyper-V Manager
Configure the VM with Hyper-V Manager.

The following tutorial links will help you use Hyper-V Manager to create the VM:

  1. Create a VM
  2. Hyper-V Dynamic Memory
  3. Remotely manage Hyper-V VMs

In case you need it for troubleshooting purposes, you can find the Hyper-V configuration files and other metadata in the C:ProgramDataMicrosoftwindowsHyper-V default path.

Set up nested virtualization on your VM

Nested virtualization is an optional feature used on a Hyper-V host to run guest VMs that can, in turn, become virtual Hyper-V hosts.

Open another elevated PowerShell console on your Windows 10 hardware host, and run the following command, substituting the name of your initial VM for the placeholder:

Set-VMProcessor -VMName  -ExposeVirtualizationExtensions $true -Force

Now, we can sign into our first VM and make it a Hyper-V host.

Connect to your VM and prepare its environment

Use the Hyper-V Virtual Machine Connection (VMConnect) utility to establish a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) session to your new Windows Server 2019 VM. Next, you have several tasks to complete:

  • Install AD Domain Services (DS), and make the VM the first domain controller of a new forest.
  • Install the Hyper-V server role.
  • Create an internal Hyper-V switch on the server.
  • Deploy two Windows Server 2019 VMs.
  • Use Hyper-V VMConnect or another method to connect to each of the two nested VMs, and join them to the new AD domain.

The following links will help you complete those configuration jobs:

  1. Install a new Active Directory forest
  2. Join a Windows Server system to a domain
  3. Manage VMs with Windows Admin Center

Deploy a failover cluster

The idea behind the Windows Server failover clustering feature is you have two or more systems, called nodes, connected to centralized, shared storage. With this configuration, you can store database files or VMs on the shared storage and configure each cluster node as a database or Hyper-V server, respectively.

This combination of redundant server nodes and shared storage provides high availability. The steps required to build a failover cluster to host highly available VMs takes us far beyond the scope of this tutorial. There’s plenty of help on this topic from Microsoft’s documentation that will walk you through the remainder of the setup, but I’ll leave you with some guidance.

First, expect to spend most of your time setting up the cluster as opposed to actually using it. Second, I recommend using Storage Spaces Direct for the shared storage because it’s free and included with Windows Server.

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Citrix Managed Desktops simplifies cloud desktop delivery

ATLANTA — With an emergence into the desktop-as-a-service market, Citrix emphasizes the need for speed and one-stop shopping.

At Citrix Synergy 2019, the company announced Managed Desktops, a service that enables IT to quickly provision virtual desktops for their users while Citrix manages the back-end infrastructure, such as patching.

Many vendors are embracing the as-a-service model, especially as IT staff become overburdened with management tasks, said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J.Gold Associates in Northborough, Mass.

“Microsoft’s desktop-as-a-service [DaaS] model is mostly, ‘I manage Windows on your device for as long as you pay me to do it.’ Citrix looks at that and says, ‘That’s great, but there’s more to it than that,'” Gold said. “Microsoft isn’t going to manage all of your apps.”

With Managed Desktops, Citrix hosts and manages the workloads in the Azure cloud. Citrix manages a variety of services with Managed Desktops, including delivery controller, databases and StoreFront, which was replaced by Workspace. Citrix provides customers with base images that IT can then roll out to their end users.

Managed Desktops will offer advanced management tools and additional security controls, said Carisa Stringer, director of product marketing at Citrix. The offering enables IT admins to spin up desktops more quickly than they could with Virtual Apps and Desktops.

“Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is like the Swiss Army knife; it has everything,” Stringer said. “Citrix Managed Desktops is just the knife.”

Organizations with both Microsoft and Citrix licensing can use Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) with Citrix Managed Desktops to license Windows 10 desktops in the cloud. The lowest-level license that organizations need to use WVD with Managed Desktops is a Windows E3 license.

Use cases for Citrix Managed Desktops

Virtual Apps and Desktops is Citrix’s robust virtualization offering with vast opportunities for customization. Citrix Managed Desktops, on the other hand, is more simple and agile. Citrix predicts a variety of use cases for the offering, including organizations that have undergone a merger or acquisition and organizations with temporary workers.

Eric Frost, manager of systems and storage infrastructure at AmeriGas, a propane services company in King of Prussia, Pa., deployed virtual applications to the company’s employees but is interested in the concept of DaaS, especially with Citrix’s support of multisession Windows 10.

“As we’ve grown and evolved, we’ve started having more developers come in from other countries, and those developers need access [to virtual desktops],” Frost said. “We’re looking at [Managed Desktops] aggressively, and we’re probably going to test that out over the summer.”

A packaging company that wished to remain anonymous for privacy reasons is interested in Citrix Managed Desktops for a similar reason, according to an IT architect at the company.

“We have a bunch of designers that don’t actually need their own desktops, but they need to do desktop work,” he said.

The ability to spin up desktops to global users is an attractive benefit of Managed Desktops, said Jose Castro, senior solutions architect at insurance company Cigna.

“Our first use case would be disaster recovery,” he said. “But, eventually, I think we could run production out of [Managed Desktops], because our company has users all over the globe. Latency is a big problem for us.”

Citrix Managed Desktops enables IT to host Virtual Delivery Agents close to an organization’s headquarters, but end users have the option to connect to one of 11 Azure Gateway points of presence that span from South Brazil to East Japan and beyond.

Cloud concerns

Still, compliance and security in the cloud remain a concern for many IT admins.

Much depends on the type of virtual deployment that an organization needs, said Neil Anderson, IT admin at insurance company Anthem.

“If I’m just serving up a website, then the cloud is an easy solution,” he said. “But if I’m serving up an application that we’re using internally with back-end application servers, SQL servers and databases, then there’s a lot of concern about putting that stuff into the cloud.”

The IT architect at the anonymous packaging company echoed similar concerns.

“When you have something like this that’s hosted in the cloud or hosted by someone else, then you’re completely at the mercy of whatever’s hosting that service,” he said. “You wouldn’t have any control over bringing it back up; you can’t do anything.”

Cost is also a factor, he said. Citrix Managed Desktops will likely be more expensive than the company’s existing Virtual Apps and Desktops deployment.

“It’s less maintenance though,” he said, “which may even it out.”

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For Sale – HTPC – Fractal Design Case, 1TB SSD, 16GB RAM, SFX PSU (ITX Form Factor)

Discussion in ‘Desktop Computer Classifieds‘ started by ZeeStar, May 8, 2019.

  1. ZeeStar

    ZeeStar

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    Just gathering interest at the moment to see if anyone wants this setup. If someone is interested, I will have to backup my drives before sending out.

    I have for sale my beloved HTPC which has been used over the past 2 years as a Plex Media Server. It is quite highly spec’d and runs my 4K content without a hiccup. Please see specs and individual prices below:

    Fractal Design Node 804

    PC Case (Windowed) – £60
    Intel i5 4590 Processor – £65
    MSI Z87i AC ITX Motherboard – £70
    HyperX 16GB DDR3 RAM – £80
    SanDisk Ultra II 960GB SSD – £100
    Western Digital 2TB 2.5″ HDD – £50
    Corsair SFX (SFF) Gold Power Supply – £75
    Cooler Master Hyper 212 Processor Cooler – £15

    All the prices above have been based on sold listings on eBay minus fees etc. to make it fair. I’ve obviously paid a lot more for all these components, so will take a massive hit on this.

    Buyer can come round and see it all working before buying, or I can dispatch. I have all the boxes for all the items.

    Price and currency: £500
    Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
    Payment method: PPG or BT
    Location: Birmingham
    Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
    Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

    ______________________________________________________
    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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