Fix for servers with Exchange 2007 / 2010 and Internet Explorer 9 installed

If you are a Small Business Server 2008 or 2011 user, you have Internet Explorer 9 installed on your server, and you try to close the Exchange Management Console, you may encounter an error similar to the one listed below.

You must close all dialog boxes before you can close Exchange Management Console

Microsoft has released a fix for this issue and I’ve included the download links below. In order to install this fix, you must have the latest updates installed from Microsoft Update as of October 11th, 2011. If you have not updated your server(s), do so before installing this patch.

If you are not experiencing this issue, it is advised that you don’t install this patch, as it has not been as thoroughly tested, and is planned to be rolled up into a future Internet Explorer update.

For Windows Server 2008 / Small Business Server 2008 systems – click here

For Windows Server 2008 R2 / Small Business Server 2011 systems – click here

Microsoft Knowledge Base Article #: 2624899

A server for the home or small business

After having used such servers as the HP MediaSmart Server, the HP Proliant MicroServer, and various Dell servers, I decided to set out to see if I could build my own server for a reasonable cost with features I desired.

The intent of this build is to showcase a server that can be used in the home with Windows Home Server 2011 (yes, this build is somewhat overkill), and in home based / small businesses, with Small Business Server 2011 Essentials or Small Business Server 2011 Standard.

My requirements were as follows:

· Total cost could not exceed $1500. (Ideally, I wanted to stay at or below $1000.)

· All parts used must be server grade. By that I mean, must have 3-5 year warranty depending on part, and similar to parts used by the major server manufacturers.

· Must support future expandability. Must support large amounts of memory and case used must support addition of multiple hard drives.

· With Windows 8 and Windows 8 Server on the horizon, processor support for Second Level Address Translation (SLAT) and hardware virtualization were key to this build.

So what parts did I use?

· Antec VSK-2450 Mid Tower Case

· Intel Server Board S1200BTS

· Intel Xeon Processor E3-1230 (3.2GHz, 8MB Cache)

· Kingston 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 ECC RAM

· Western Digital RE4 Enterprise 1.0TB Hard Drive

Specs as configured:

· Intel Server Board S1200BTS

· 16GB ECC DDR3 RAM

· (1) 1.0TB Western Digital RE4 Enterprise Hard Drive

· Intel Xeon E3-1230 Processor

How does this build stack up to my requirements?

· Total cost: $1050+tax. I bought all the parts I needed from a local vendor instead of online and was willing to pay a bit more because of it. It is entirely possible to find these parts for cheaper online, but if you can, support your local businesses.

· Warranties on all parts are at least three years. Western Digital’s warranty is five years on enterprise hard drives, and on memory Kingston has a lifetime warranty.

· From an expandability standpoint, the case allows for up to 6 hard drives, the motherboard allows for 6 SATA connections, and the motherboard supports a maximum of 32GB of RAM.

· The processor used in this build supports hardware virtualization and SLAT, or as Intel calls it, Extended Page Tables. When looking for an Intel-based processor to be used for virtualization I suggest ensuring that it supports Intel-VT and Extended Page Tables. The Intel ARK tool, http://ark.intel.com, is a great resource for that type of information.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be showcasing more about what this server can do.

Taking a bite out of the Big Apple

I’ve arrived in New York City for the 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup. For those of you just joining us, the Microsoft Imagine Cup is the premier student technology competition. I tend to tell people that it’s the Olympics of technology.

At the Imagine Cup, the top students from around the world come together to compete against each other in categories such as Software Design, Game Design, Embedded Development, and the Windows Phone 7 challenge just to name a few.

I’ll be here covering five teams and their progress throughout the Worldwide Finals. My teams are as follows:

The Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals begin this Friday, July 8th and end Wednesday, July 13th.

For more on Imagine Cup please visit www.imaginecup.com, or search for #ImagineCup on Twitter. You can also follow me on Twitter, @tziegmann, to follow along this week as well.

DataCore DriveHarmony now available in Beta

Today, DataCore has released a beta of their DriveHarmony software for Windows Home Server 2011.

This beta release will expire after 30 days, and is NOT meant for production use. DO NOT use production data with this release.

I’m downloading right now and will have more later. If you want to download the beta, click the link below.

Pro tip–The one where cfg.ini would not be recognized

Figured I’d post this in case anyone else runs into this issue. I was performing an unattended install of Windows Home Server 2011 and the setup failed. I tried to use the same cfg.ini file again, however, setup didn’t like the file the second time around. Knowing that I hadn’t changed anything, I opened the file and noticed something strange. There was an additional line that Setup adds to the file once its used it.

The line added is located in the [WinPE] section and is called Processed=true.

In my testing, removing this line will allow the cfg.ini file to be used again.

image     image

                          Before setup runs                                       After setup runs

This tip applies to:

  • Windows Home Server 2011
  • Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials
  • Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials

Online help resources for WHS 2011 / SBSe 2011 / Storage Server R2 Essentials

This one’s a short post. Here are the direct links to the online help sites for Windows Home Server 2011, Small Business Server 2011, and Storage Server R2 Essentials.

Windows Home Server 2011 – http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/windowshomeserver2011

Small Business Server 2011 Essentials – http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/sbs2011essentials/

Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials – http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/storageserver2008r2/

Hands-On Labs at TechEd 2011 | How does it all work?

This week at TechEd 2011, an attendee favorite are the Hands-On Labs. I met with the good guys from XB Velocity to get a behind the scenes look at how everything works.

At the highest level, the labs are stored in an on-site private cloud and then accessed through Internet Explorer on each PC in the lab. Lets dive in and look at things at a deeper level.

What’s the hardware involved?

What’s in each blade?

  • 2 physical processors each with 6 cores (Intel Xeon X5670, 2.93 GHz, with Hyper-Threading)
  • 128GB of RAM
  • 2 146GB hard drives
  • 1 320 GB HP IO Accelerator Card, powered by Fusion IO (provides 150,000 IOPS, Read speed 750MB/s | Write speed 550MB/s)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter SP1 w/ HyperV

How’s the infrastructure managed?

  • System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 – Used for reporting and deploying updates to lab clients
  • System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 – Used to monitor all servers involved
  • System Center Service Manager 2010 – Used to run help desk and provide incident routing during the show
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Beta – Used for monitoring lab VMs and managing  / monitoring infrastructure VMs

The Nitty Gritty:

The hands on labs this year are all running on a private cloud setup using the aforementioned hardware and software. This private cloud serves 350 users located in the lab area. All of the base lab VHDs (Virtual Hard Disks) are stored on the SAN, and differencing disks that point to these base VHDs are stored on each blade’s IO Accelerator card. When someone wants to start a lab, a copy of the virtual machine (already in a saved state for quick starts) is made, pointed to a differencing disk on the IO Accelerator, and the VM is then turned on and available to the end user.  By doing it the this way, the labs are able to be run at optimal speed and there is little risk of any damage to the Base VHDs stored on the SAN. For better memory management within the VMs, Dynamic Memory is enabled to allow the VMs to take more RAM if they need it, and to give up RAM they don’t need.

End-User Experience:

When the user sits down in front of a lab station they are presented with a list of categories and labs to choose from. When they find the lab they click the Take Lab Now button and that begins the backend VM creation and startup process. Once the VMs have launched, another window opens on the second screen with the lab manual. If there are multiple VMs involved, there is tabbed navigation between each of the lab’s VMs. After the user finishes the labs, the VMs are shut down and then destroyed, or if a user leaves without ending their session, the system will automatically destroy the VMs after 40 minutes of inactivity. I’ve included some screenshots and photos of the setup below.

IMG_0021 IMG_0014

The Serverquarium at TechEd 2011                          Lab menu on left, lab manual appears on right

IMG_0016 image

Running lab at TechEd 2011                        Screenshot of the Lab selection menu

 

image IMG_0032

Screenshot of running lab showing multiple VMs                          Hands-on Lab Private Cloud

IMG_0030 IMG_0028

Inside of one of the blades                                       320GB HP IO Accelerator Card

Blade Enclosure SCVMM2012(beta)

SCOM diagram of BladeCenter enclosure              Hyper-V performance metrics

HP IO card perfmon mosaic

HP IO Accelerator Card Performance                  Mosaic showing all running VMs in HOL area