Tag Archives: types

Manage Hyper-V containers and VMs with these best practices

Containers and VMs should be treated as the separate instance types they are, but there are specific management strategies that work for both that admins should incorporate.


Containers and VMs are best suited to different workload types, so it makes sense that IT administrators would…

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use both in their virtual environments, but that adds another layer of complexity to consider.

One of the most notable features introduced in Windows Server 2016 was support for containers. At the time, it seemed that the world was rapidly transitioning away from VMs in favor of containers, so Microsoft had little choice but to add container support to its flagship OS.

Today, organizations use both containers and VMs. But for admins that use a mixture, what’s the best way to manage Hyper-V containers and VMs?

To understand the management challenges of supporting both containers and VMs, admins need to understand a bit about how Windows Server 2016 works. From a VM standpoint, Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V isn’t that different from the version of Hyper-V included with Windows Server 2012 R2. Microsoft introduced a few new features, as with every new release, but the tools and techniques used to create and manage VMs were largely unchanged.

In addition to being able to host VMs, Windows Server 2016 includes native support for two different types of containers: Windows Server containers and Hyper-V containers. Windows Server containers and the container host share the same kernel. Hyper-V containers differ from Windows Server containers in that Hyper-V containers run inside a special-purpose VM. This enables kernel-level isolation between containers and the container host.

Hyper-V management

When Microsoft created Hyper-V containers, it faced something of a quandary with regard to the management interface.

The primary tool for managing Hyper-V VMs is Hyper-V Manager — although PowerShell and System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) are also viable management tools. This has been the case ever since the days of Windows Server 2008. Conversely, admins in the open source world used containers long before they ever showed up in Windows, and the Docker command-line interface has become a standard for container management.

Ultimately, Microsoft chose to support Hyper-V Manager as a tool for managing Hyper-V hosts and Hyper-V VMs, but not containers. Likewise, Microsoft chose to support the use of Docker commands for container management.

Management best practices

Although Hyper-V containers and VMs both use the Hyper-V virtualization engine, admins should treat containers and VMs as two completely different types of resources. While it’s possible to manage Hyper-V containers and VMs through PowerShell, most Hyper-V admins seem to prefer using a GUI-based management tool for managing Hyper-V VMs. Native GUI tools, such as Hyper-V Manager and SCVMM, don’t support container management.

As admins work to figure out the best way to manage Hyper-V containers and VMs, it’s important for them to remember that both depend on an underlying host.

Admins who wish to manage their containers through a GUI should consider using one of the many interfaces that are available for Docker. Kitematic is probably the best-known of these interfaces, but there are third-party GUI interfaces for containers that arguably provide a better overall experience.

For example, Datadog offers a dashboard for monitoring Docker containers. Another particularly nice GUI interface for Docker containers is DockStation.

Those who prefer an open source platform should check out the Docker Monitoring Project. This monitoring platform is based on the Kubernetes dashboard, but it has been adapted to work directly with Docker.

As admins work to figure out the best way to manage Hyper-V containers and VMs, it’s important for them to remember that both depend on an underlying host. Although Microsoft doesn’t provide any native GUI tools for managing VMs and containers side by side, admins can use SCVMM to manage all manner of Hyper-V hosts, regardless of whether those servers are hosting Hyper-V VMs or Hyper-V containers.

Admins who have never worked with containers before should spend some time experimenting with containers in a lab environment before attempting to deploy them in production. Although containers are based on Hyper-V, creating and managing containers is nothing like setting up and running Hyper-V VMs. A great way to get started is to install containers on Windows 10.

Dig Deeper on Microsoft Hyper-V management

Avast Security Pro (for Mac)

The myth that Macs can’t suffer viruses, Trojans, or other types of malware attack is busted. Oh, the situation isn’t nearly as bad as on Windows or Android, but Macs really do need antivirus protection. There are free options available, including Avast Security (for Mac), but commercial antivirus utilities offer more features and do better in testing. Looking at what this product adds beyond the features in the free edition, it’s really hard to justify the price.

Similar Products

This product’s main window looks exactly like that of the free edition, except for the absence of the upgrade offer. Plenty of white space surrounds a simple security status indicator. The left-rail menu is also the same as in the free edition. The difference is that clicking Ransomware Shield or Wi-Fi Inspector brings up the component, rather than displaying an upgrade invitation. The look is very different from that of Avast Pro Antivirus, which uses a dark gray background with occasional elements in purple and green.

Pricing and OS Support

Like Bitdefender and Kaspersky, Avast supports macOS versions back to 10.9 (Mavericks). If you have an antique Mac that for some reason can’t even run Mavericks, consider ESET, ProtectWorks, or ClamXav—all of which support versions of macOS from 10.6 (Snow Leopard) on. At the other end of the spectrum, Avira, Trend Micro, and Symantec Norton Security Deluxe (for Mac) require macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) or better.

The most common pricing plan for Mac antivirus runs $39.99 per year for one license or $59.99 for three. Bitdefender, ESET Cyber Security (for Mac), Kaspersky, and Malwarebytes all fit this profile. Price-wise, Avast is on the high end, at $59.99 per year or $69.99 for three licenses. That’s expensive, considering that the free edition has all the same features except for Ransomware Shield and Wi-Fi Inspector, which I’ll detail below.

Shared Features

This utility shares all the features of the free Avast Security (for Mac), and that’s saying a lot. I’ll briefly summarize those shared features here, and you can should read my review of the free product for more details.

AV-Comparatives certified Avast’s Mac malware protection as effective. In testing, it protected against 99.9 percent of Mac malware and 100 percent of Windows malware. AV-Test Institute, the other major lab that tests Mac antivirus, did not include Avast in testing. Note, though, that Bitdefender and Kaspersky earned 100 percent in both tests, and received certification from both labs.

I don’t have the same kind of resources for antivirus testing under macOS as I do for Windows. I did try scanning a folder containing my current collection of Windows malware. Avast detected and quarantined 85 percent of the samples, which is quite good. Only Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus (for Mac), with 86 percent, and Sophos, with 100 percent, have done better. At the low end, McAfee caught 25 percent and Intego just 18 percent.

Avast’s full scan finished in 14.5 minutes, which is quite a bit faster than the current average of 24 minutes. The impressive Home Network Security Scanner took less than three minutes to take note of all devices on my network. It found 36 devices and flagged legitimate security problems on two of them.

Phishing websites masquerade as secure sites in the hopes of fooling you into giving away your login credentials. It doesn’t matter which browser you use, or which operating system. Avast’s scores in my hands-on phishing protection test were extremely poor. The phishing protection systems built into Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer all outperformed Avast, by a long shot.

The Online Security browser extension marks up search results to flag dangerous links. It also displays a list of all ad trackers and other trackers on the current page, with an option to actively block these. Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac includes a similar active Do Not Track feature.

Avast comes with a basic password manager that installs as a separate application. It handles basic functions like password capture and replay, saving secure notes, and generating strong passwords. The app stores passwords locally, but you can set up syncing between all your macOS, iOS, Windows, and Android devices. However, you won’t find any advanced features like secure password sharing, two-factor authentication, or password inheritance.

Ransomware Shield

Everything I’ve described to this point is also available in the free edition. The premium-only Ransomware Shield component simply prevents unauthorized access to files in sensitive folders. By default, it protects the Documents and Pictures folders for the current user. Naturally, you can add other folders if needed. A similar feature in Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac also protects your Time Machine backups.

To test this kind of access control on Windows, I use a small text editor that I wrote myself, something that would never show up on a list of trusted applications. I don’t have such a program for macOS, so I had to disable the feature that automatically trusts Apple and App Store applications.

Operation is very simple. When an untrusted program tries to modify a protected app, Avast pops up a warning. If you’ve just installed and launched a new photo editor, click Allow. If you don’t recognize the program, click Block. Note that clicking Allow only makes the program trusted temporarily. To ensure that new photo editor doesn’t get blocked, you must manually add it to the list of Allowed Apps.

This type of access control is an effective tool for ransomware protection, one used by many security tools both on Windows and macOS. However, it does require vigilance on your part. When you see the Ransomware Shield popup, examine it carefully, and only click Allow if you’re absolutely sure the program is legitimate.

Wi-Fi Inspector

As noted, you get the Home Network Security Scan even in the free edition. The premium edition adds a component called Wi-Fi Inspector. Despite the name, the main function of this component is to alert you when new devices join the network. It maintains its own simple list of devices. If you click Deep Scan, it launches the Home Network Security Scan.

Wi-Fi Inspector’s device list doesn’t identify security issues the way the security scan does. On the plus side, it lists the MAC address and IP address for each device, along with the name. For many devices, the name is a clear identification, like neilsipad or all-in-one-pc, but some come out with names like unknown6542990b6483. If you have basic network skills, you can use those addresses to figure out which device corresponds to a weird name. Bitdefender Home Scanner (a Windows utility) lets you edit such entries to give them a friendly name, and even remembers the name on subsequent scans. With Avast, you’ll just have to keep a list of which device matches which weird name.

I did encounter a serious problem with the device list. It found 36 devices on my network, but I couldn’t scroll down to see more than the first bunch of devices. My Avast contact confirmed this as a bug. It’s not such a big problem, as you can see all your connected devices in network scanner.

The real point of Wi-Fi Inspector is to alert you when a new device connects. Just after installation, you’ll probably see quite a few of these, as devices that were turned off during the initial scan wake up. Once you get past that shakeout period, you should pay close attention to the new-device notifications. If you don’t recognize the device, it could be a neighbor mooching your Wi-Fi, or even a hack attempt.

If you determine that the new connection isn’t legitimate, there’s not a lot you can do about it. Wi-Fi Inspector offers notification, but no direct way to act on that information. Your best bet is to snap a screenshot of the notification and then find a friend who’s a network whiz. Your buddy can use the info from the screenshot to log into your router’s settings and ban the device from the network.

Doesn’t Add Enough

Avast Security Pro offers certified Mac malware protection, a network security scanner, and a password manager, but those features also come with the free Avast Security. The Pro edition adds ransomware protection that works by banning untrusted applications from modifying your files. It also adds real-time notification of new connections to your network, but offers no way to do anything if you determine the new connection is perfidious. That’s not much for $59.99 per year. The only reason to buy this product is if you want to protect your Macs in a business setting, but in that case, you can get better protection for less.

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac has certification from two labs, excellent phishing protection, an anti-ransomware feature much like Avast’s, and more. Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac also has two certifications, and it comes with a full parental control system, excellent anti-phishing, protection against webcam peepers, and more. These are our Editors’ Choice products for macOS antivirus, and they both costs $20 less than Avast.

How Data will Influence the Future of Storytelling | Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is empowering all types of people to tell stories with data. We’ve seen journalists using Power BI to understand and illustrate the news, customers using Power BI to interact with their fans, and business analysts justifying a budget ask from their managers. Modern storytelling requires the effective use of data.

Recently, we showcased Power BI’s storytelling prowess at the Future of StoryTelling Summit (FoST) in New York City. FoST is ‘an exclusive event, gathering a stimulating mix of thinkers and practitioners from diverse fields who are shaping the art, science, and business of storytelling in the 21st century.’ We are always excited to interact with our customers and learn from the ways they are using the tool to achieve more.  At this event we had the opportunity to introduce a variety of creative storytellers to the potential of using data to tell their stories with Power BI.

“An exceptional story is at the heart of every memorable communication,” said Charles Melcher, President of Melcher Media and Founder and Director of Future of StoryTelling. “Data-driven storytelling connects to my passion for telling stories that are enduring, authentic and innovative.”

While at the Summit, our team learned some valuable lessons for data-driven storytelling. We wanted to share how these lessons, combined with Power BI, can strengthen your storytelling skills.

Identifying your story

Power BI can help you discover your story. Often when working with data, you may not know exactly what the story is until you visualize it. Visualizing your data in Power BI is a great first step in identifying the truth in your data.

Once you understand what your data is telling you, you can begin to plan your story arc. Identifying what you want the reader to take away from your story when interacting with your data visualization will set the stage for an effective story. Rather than trying to show every aspect of the data, think about what you want your audience to understand and how to best guide them through the data. The most effective stories leave the reader with insights carefully brought to life through the visualizations you create, with the ability to continue to explore.

The most effective way to do this is to know your audience. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes, think about how they might want to interact with the data, how you want them to interact with the data and how this relates to your goals for your data story. Identify what is inherently interesting about your dataset and present that to your reader in the most effective way you can.

One way to do this is by connecting with the reader on an emotional level. At the Future of Storytelling Summit, we presented a story about the history of artificial intelligence using the Timeline Storyteller custom visual for Power BI. Knowing this audience had a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI), mixed reality, and how technology continues to play an integral part in writing history, we connected with our audience by showing a story that highlighted works of fiction across literature and film that included AI themes. Including these data points set the scene for the rest of the story, sparked curiosity, and engaged the audience on an emotional level as they thought back to movies and books they may have loved or even hated!

Compared to what?

The most effective data stories provide the whole picture. After identifying key insights in your data, a great question to ask is “compared to what?” Providing context to the reader helps a data story feel more honest and unbiased. It shows the reader how the data being highlighted fits into the bigger picture.

In the demo we created for the Future of Storytelling Summit, we wanted to show the audience all the exciting contributions Microsoft has made to the field of artificial intelligence. While creating the report, we asked the question “compared to what?” With Power BI, we were able to include a full timeline that was inclusive of all major contributions to the field of artificial intelligence. We showed our audience that there is more to the field of artificial intelligence than just Microsoft, and our story came off much more authentic and honest.

Presenting your story

Once a data story has been created, finding an effective way to present it has historically been a challenge for our customers. Our goal with Power BI has always been to enable users everywhere to experience data in the best way possible. This goes for authors as well as the audience of the reports. Power BI Publish to web allows users to tell compelling stories with interactive data visualizations in minutes. You can use “Publish to web” to embed Power BI visualizations in your blog, website, emails, or even social media accounts.

Additionally, in the October Feature Update to Power BI Desktop, our team announced an exciting new preview of a tool called “Bookmarking.” This was one of the features our team demoed at the Microsoft Data Insights Summit to save and share out your insights with others. It can also be an extremely effective storytelling tool. Report authors can now create a list of bookmarks, organizing a story arc for the readers of a report. More information on how to create bookmarks can be found here.

Getting Started

We have several resources on the Power BI data journalism site to help you get started building your data story. We even teamed up with renowned visualization expert Alberto Cairo to share the methodology behind graphics and how they can support data storytelling by developing five Data Visualization and Storytelling courses.

We are always interested in hearing more from our customers about how they are using Power BI to tell stories. We’re committed to optimizing Power BI storytelling capabilities, and creating new features to enable more powerful storytelling. We’d love to hear your feedback, and we welcome the opportunity to hear more about your work in the Data Storytelling Discussion forum.

Additional Resources

Future of Storytelling Summit

History of Artificial Intelligence Report

Power BI Publish to Web

Power BI Bookmarking Preview

Power BI Data Storytelling Discussion forum

Data Journalism Course with Alberto Cairo