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Robert Chipperfield

Introduction to Continuous Integration Servers

So you’ve got your database under source control, and now you want to start running automatic tests and builds with it. Welcome to the world of continuous integration. Rob Chipperfield guides us through the fundamentals of continuous integration servers, with advice on what to think about when choosing one, and insights into how your database and application structures can affect your choice. Read more...

Joseph Moody

Managing Printers with Group Policy, PowerShell, and Print Management

Just because it is possible to do many configuration jobs 'click by bleeding click', doesn't mean that it is a good idea. It is better to step back, plan, and use the advanced resources provided for managing large network. Printer configuration is the perfect illustration of this, and Joseph demonstrates how the use of Group Policy, PowerShell, and Print Management can turn a time-consuming chore into a pleasure. Read more...

Joseph Moody

Group Policy and WMI, A Wonderful Combination

If you're faced with having to deploy software to those PCs that are, say, from a particular manufacturer, are laptops with Windows 7, or almost any other criteria, you can use Group Policy if you use the option to filter via a WMI Query. Joseph Moody explains how. Read more...

Joseph Moody

More Advanced Deployments with Group Policy Software Installation

Group Policy Software Installation (GPSI) allows for a high level of control on what can be installed where on a group of computers based on the user. In this article Joseph Moody walks you through the steps to create pre-approved software lists for users to install, and upgrade and uninstall that software. Read more...

Joseph Moody

Eliminating Viruses with UAC and AppLocker

It is important to prevent computer viruses from infecting a network within an organisation; Joseph Moody walks us through the setup and management of User Account Control (UAC) and AppLocker, which together provide network administrators with a powerful defense against malicious applications. Read more...

Joseph Moody

Group Policy Software Deployment: Extraction to Installation

When you have a large number of PCs in the domain on which to deploy software, based on the role of the user within the organization, and you haven't a large budget, then Group Policy Software Installation is a good and simple way to do it. Read more...

Buck Woody

Distributed Computing - Hybrid Systems Considerations

When the Cloud was new, it was often presented as an 'all or nothing' solution. Nowadays, the canny Systems Architect will exploit the best advantages of 'cloud' distributed computing in the right place, and use in-house services where most appropriate. So what are the issues that govern these architectural decisions? Read more...

Jaap Wesselius

Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V

Windows Server 2012 comes with substantial improvements to the hypervisor-based virtualization system Hyper-V. This represents Microsoft's attempt to catch up with rival virtualisation technologies and support enterprise-based 'private cloud' services, and it is looking good. Read more...

Buck Woody

Windows Azure from a Data Perspective

Before creating a data application in Windows Azure, it is important to make choices based on the type of data you have, as well as the security and the business requirements. There are a wide range of options, because Windows Azure has intrinsic data storage, completely separate from SQL Azure, that is highly available and replicated. Your data requirements are likely to dictate the type of data storage options you choose. Read more...

Buck Woody

The ASs of Distributed Computing

What's The 'Cloud'? nothing more than one or more of three different types of distributed service, conceptually similar to any other service such as telephone or gas. These services provide Infrastructure, Software and platform. Buck Woody cuts a trail through the jungle of marketing verbiage to reveal the technology behind the Cloud.. Read more...

Wesley David

How to Kill a Company in One Step or Save it in Three

The majority of companies that suffer a major data loss subsequently go out of business. Wesley David remembers vividly the day when the organisation he worked for found that they couldn't restore their data, and the subsequent struggles that ensued. Shoulda-woulda-coulda. Read more...

Matt Simmons

Physical Network Layout for the Reluctant

How do you select the hardware for your network, and connect it all together? How do you then test your network and ensure that it is secure? Our crash course for the reluctant tells you enough of the basics in simple language to get you started. Read more...

Matt Simmons

Logical Network Layout for Small Networks

Matt examines what it’s like to design a network from the ground up, as well as dealing with an existing network that has been undocumented, by analyzing the relationships between the systems Read more...

Matt Simmons

Networking - The Crib Sheet

When anyone mentions network masks and the 'seven layer model' we all nod wisely and hope not to be asked too many questions. No longer need we feel embarassed, as Matt Simmonds has produced the simple cribsheet for 'the rest of us'. Read more...

Barry Morrison

Documentation: Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

Every sysadmin knows that they should be documenting everything they can; not only is it good practice, it can be the difference between a speedy recovery and a lost job when something does go wrong. Barry Morrison delves into just what you should be covering, even if you think you can’t spare the time. Read more...

Jaap Wesselius

Managing Office 365

As you start to use Office 365 more extensively, it becomes crucial that you understand all of the options for managing your new cloud-based infrastructure. Jaap Wesselius has done the research, and explains all. Read more...

Wesley David

High Availability or High Recoverability?

Having pierced the veil of confusion surrounding High Availability, Wesley David finds himself asked (and being asked) whether HA is worth the money it burns through. Perhaps it’s more cost-effective to have a recovery process that moves like greased lightning? Read more...

Brien Posey

Network Administrators Past, Present, and Future

Even in the short time that PCs have been signficantly networked, what it means to be a SysAdmin has changed dramatically. From the first LAN parties to the lumbering infrastructures of today, the role of SysAdmin has evolved and adapted to the shifting needs of users and corporations alike. Brien Posey has been on the front line of it all, and considers the future of this thus-far essential IT role. Read more...

Wesley David

The One Way That High Availability Will Help You

High Availability (HA) is a term that is beloved of the marketing people, with its connotations of an unspecific sense of reassurance. However, service reliability cannot be bought like bath salts: But, explains a seasoned and cynical expert in the field, HA can be more than the start of 'HAHA!'. There is a role for HA in keeping your services running, if used as part of a broader solution. Read more...

David Njoku

Readying your Oracle Database for Your First Apex Application

APEX can be a great way to create an application rapidly on an Oracle Database. Although it is generally straightforward, there are just a couple of things you have to watch out for. Read more...

Peter Raganitsch

Multi-Language database applications using Oracle Apex

It isn't straightforward to design a database application that has to provide text data in several languages. There are several problems to overcome such as, for example, allowing the translation bureau to work independently, using their own specialised formats. Fortunately, Oracle Apex can, if you follow the advice in this article, do the hard work for you. Read more...

Wesley David

Be the Puppet Master! Control Multiple PCs with one Keyboard and Mouse

In the average IT department, geek-credibility is bound up with the number of monitors you are simultaneously using. What about going one step further, and running them on several computers at once, with just one mouse and keyboard? Read more...

Wesley David

Monitors! Windows Extended Across Windows

In any IT department, there is a certain geek-cool to having a whole range of monitors attached to your PC. The more, the geekier. OK, but are you really trying? In these straitened times, Surely it must be possible to harness old PCs and laptops into a huge display? Our intrepid expert Systems Engineer, Wesley "Nonapeptide" David, is dispatched to investigate the possibilities. Read more...

Wesley David

Game-over! Gaining Physical access to a computer

Security requires defense in depth. The cleverest intrusion detection system, combined with the best antivirus, won’t help you if a malicious person can gain physical access to your PC or server. A routine job, helping to remove a malware infection, brings it home to Wesley just how easy it is to get a command prompt with SYSTEM access on any PC, and inspires him to give a warning about the consequences. Read more...

Brien Posey

An Introduction to Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 is the hot new Cloud suite coming out of Redmond, but information about it is either hard to come by, or a little fragmented. We asked Brien to take a look, and boil it all down to the essentials that everyone, including non-technical managers, needs to know. Read more...

Wesley David

7 Things that High Availability is Not

Wesley has heard High Availablity touted as all sorts of technological cure-all for busy SysAdmins and DBAs, and now he's taking a stand against it. There are a range of things that High Availability is regularly confused with (either deliberately or innocently), and Wesley's clearing it all up. Read more...

Wesley David

10 Items that should be in Every SysAdmin's Backpack, Episode 6 - From the Ministry of Silly Tools

Wesley David has been doing a lot of thinking about what tools (both physical & virtual) every good SysAdmin should have on hand. He's shared some of those thoughts with us already, and now he rounds everything off with some more light-hearted necessities. Read more...

Dr. Masha Petrova

5 Steps to Making Your Boss Read Your Technical Reports

As an IT professional, you probably find it hard to communicate effectively with your less-than-technically-adept manager. Dr. Masha Petrova is determined to help you get your point across, and suggests 5 essential techniques that will get your documentation read. Read more...

Johan Veldhuis

Monitoring Mailbox Moves

Mailboxes moves happen all the time, and given how precious the data in mailboxes can be, you should know exactly how to monitor their progress and make sure they transition smoothly. You also need to know what happens when something goes wrong. Johan imparts the necessary skills. Read more...

Wesley David

Ten Things that should be in Every SysAdmin's Virtual Backpack

A good SysAdmin needs the right tools, both virtual and physical. As a front-line consultant, Wesley David will be providing suggestions for both in the next few weeks, and here he discusses of the essential software tools that every SysAdmin should have on hand at a moment's notice. Read more...

Dr. Masha Petrova

Social Networking for Professional Growth

The use of 'Social Networking' for your professional development is no longer just for the pioneers. If you aren't using social Media for your career, then you may be missing out. Dr Masha gives an overview, for the 'late adopters', of the opportunities out there . Read more...

Dr. Masha Petrova

Public Speaking 101 - Presenting for Your Audience

Continuing her campaign for better technical presentations, Dr. Masha Petrova now provides simple yet fundamental guidance to becoming a great speaker, in 3 easy steps. She even lets us in on the secret ingredient of a fantastic presentation. Read more...

Ben Lye

Troubleshooting Windows Blue Screen Errors

The so-called ‘Blue Screen of Death’ has inspired fear in the hearts of mere mortals, but Systems Administrators are expected be capable of casually beating back this sinister beast. So imagine Ben Lye’s distress when he discovered that many aspiring SysAdmins had no structured approach to tackling the root of the problem. Setting out to remedy the situation, Ben lays out a simple 3-step plan, and dispenses some good advice. Read more...

Dr. Masha Petrova

4 Geek Excuses for Bad Presentations

Frustrated by technically interesting yet agonizing conferences, Dr. Masha Petrova leaves geeks with no excuses for making bad presentations, and begins her campaign ensure that the people with good ideas also have good presentation skills to back them up, and get them noticed. Read more...

Elie Bou Issa

Getting Started with Active Directory Rights Management Services for Exchange 2010

With security concerns being a constant litany, it's worth considering Active Directory Rights Management Services as a powerful tool in your access-control arsenal, particularly when it integrates so neatly with Exchange 2010. Elie Bou Issa kindly takes us, step by step, through everything we need to know to install and start using this versatile technology like a pro. Read more...

Ben Lye

Troubleshooting Nonpaged and Paged Pool Errors in Windows

Ben Lye uncovered a memory leak in the nonpaged pool which was crashing his servers with disquieting regularity. Luckily it was relatively easy to troubleshoot, and he's sharing the tools and techniques he used to get his servers back on track in double-quick time. Read more...

Matt Simmons

Unteachable Disaster Recovery Techniques

There are some skills which are extensions of your instincts, and which you can only learn though years of experience. Matt Simmons has this brought home by the fact that he was recently minutes away from a data-loss disaster, and he doesn't quite know how he prevented it. Read more...

Ben Lye

Active Directory Snapshots with Windows Server 2008

Snapshots are a useful feature of Windows Server 2008. Taking a snapshot of Active Directory as a scheduled task can prove to be a wise precaution in case disaster strikes. Once they are mounted, they can be accessed by any LDAP tool which allows the user to specify a host name and port number. Ben Lye shows how you can restore attributes to a large numbers of broken distribution groups from a snapshot. Read more...

Dr. Masha Petrova

Social Networking at Professional Events

Dr. Masha Petrova compresses, into a small space, much good advice on networking with other professional people. She draws from her own experience as a technical expert to provide a detailed checklist of things you should and shouldn't do at conferences or tradeshows to be a successful 'networker'. As usual, she delivers sage advice with a dash of humour. Read more...

Dr. Masha Petrova

The Art of Dealing with People

Technical people generally don't easily adapt to being good salespeople. When a technical person takes on a customer-facing role as a support engineer, there are a whole lot of new skills required. Dr Petrova relates how the experience of a change in job gave her a new respect for the skills of sales and marketing. Read more...

Dr. Masha Petrova

Increase Your Value as a Professional in the Technical Industry

It has never been so important to enhance your employability as it is today. Job security can never be taken for granted. Employability, increasing your professional value, means far more than just collecting qualifications, as Dr Masha Petrova explains: It also involves communicating, writing, and participating in communities. Read more...

Matt Simmons

Hiring System Administrators

Hiring someone for a technical post is a task that should never be tackled half-heartedly. Matt Simmons provides some general advice on the subject, illustrated by a recent experience of hiring an IT administrator to help share the load. It opened his eyes to the real state of the economy. Read more...

Matt Simmons

Manage Stress Before it Kills You

The key to a long career in IT is in learning how to cope adaptively with stress. Matt Simmons, like many, didn't realise it applies to everyone until he was rushed to hospital with what looked to be a heart attack. It was a salutary experience. He then discovered that there are many effective ways of unwinding, and it pays to be aware of them before you get the warning-shot. Read more...

Bill Holmberg

Change Management- What It Is and Why You Need It

Bill Holmberg takes a practical look at Change Management, and list the steps you need to take. To make things simpler, he also provides a sample  Word template you can use to follow through a complete change control cycle on a given project. Leaving nothing to doubt, he finishes with an illustration; a fictional exercise so you can see his guidelines in action. Read more...

Matt Simmons

A SysAdmin's Guide to Users

What level of trust do you afford users by default? What level of support do you offer users who have low technical skills? Are you creating a system which is more difficult to use with little or no payback? Are you adopting administrative policies as a punitive measure? do users believe that you are deriding them for their ignorance? Matt provides some timely advice. Read more...

Matt Simmons

A SysAdmin's Guide to Change Management

In the first in a series of monthly articles, ‘Confessions of a Sys Admin’, Matt describes the issues involved in Change Management, and gives a simple guide. Read more...

Owen Sanderson

When Email Collaboration Could Have Changed History

In our mission to make history relevant to the busy IT executive, we speculate how Email might have helped pivotal events in history. Could the War of Independence have been due to a misunderstanding? Read more...

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Exchange E-mail Addresses and the Outlook Address Cache
 Because Exchange auto-complete cache uses X.500 addresses for e-mail sent to addresses within the... Read more...

Using Exchange 2007 for Resource Booking
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