Automating the Setup of the Local Developer Machine

On both Windows and Linux, the chore of setting up a development workstation can take several days, and there always seem to be a few configuration settings that get missed. You can reduce the time and tedium dramatically by automating the process by using Vagrant to set up the operating system, followed by your choice of provisioning, configuration management and orchestration applications such as Puppet, Chef, Ansible, Salt, Docker, Chocolatey and Boxstarter. Vishwas shows how to make it easy to do with Vagrant, Chocolatey and Boxstarter.… Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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