Config Manager and IPv6 (…not together!)

I got word of a couple new things floating around the web that you might want to catch…

First off, my good friend and all-around tech nerd, Ed Horley, just released his first Pluralsight course on… you guessed it… IPv6!  Read more about it on his blog and if IPv6 is on your radar, I can’t think of a better person to get you started.

Second, the fine folks at LearnIT! are teaming up with Wally Mead for a webinar on Wally’s Favorite Configuration Manager Features.  It’s on July 23rd at 9am Pacific Time, the full blurb is below!

You have a Configuration Manager 2012 environment installed and running. All is going good as things are working OK. However, have you really been able to gain the best you can from it? Do you just get by using the handful of features you need to use?

In this session, we’ll discuss the features that I love in Configuration Manager 2012 R2, and why. Hopefully this will give you some insight to some features that you may not be using, and why you should look into them further.

Instructor Bio: Wally Mead
Wally is a Principal Program Manager at Cireson. He currently focuses on the improvement and development of products, and drives further innovation between Configuration Manager and Cireson apps. He also consults on Configuration Manager as a key part of the Cireson team.
In addition, Wally continues to provide education for the community through presenting webinars, speaking at conferences (such as TechEd, System Center Universe, Midwest Management Summit), and conducting training courses, as well as assisting the community on the Microsoft TechNet forums.

Reserve Public IPs in Azure? Maybe Not…

Recently Microsoft announced the general availability for VIP reservations in Azure. VIP reservation now generally available; Virtual Machines instance-level public IPs are in preview.

“You can now reserve public IP addresses and use them as virtual IP (VIP) addresses for your applications. Reserve up to five addresses per subscription at no additional cost and assign them to the Azure Cloud Services of your choice. In addition, you can now assign public IP addresses to your virtual machines, so they become directly addressable without having to map an endpoint to access them directly.” 

When Azure IaaS was first introduced, you could not ensure that public facing IP address of your VM or cloud service would remain the same, particularly if you shut down all the machines within a cloud service. What Azure would retain for you was the DNS name you created within the cloudapp.net domain. The recommended practice was to use DNS to locate your services, instead of relying on a specific IP address.

I know, we all love the comfort of knowing our IP address. Over the past decade or so, I lovingly handed out the easiest internal and external addresses we had to servers I accessed frequently. Stable IP addressing was a must – changes often meant re-configuring firewalls, routers and even some applications, which could lead to downtime and complaints. Even Azure’s long term lease for IP addresses if your cloud service was active, wasn’t comforting enough for many who had been burned the past by a hard-coded application or some other IP address nightmare.

But it’s not 1998 anymore. The Internet isn’t a quaint little place you go to read text and your “mobile” phone isn’t hard wired into your car. IPv4 addresses are exhausted at the top levels, it’s just a matter of time before your internet service provider won’t have anything to give you when you ask. For a while I firmly believed that IANA would open up that special “Class E” space to buy extra time, but nope, it didn’t happen.

So yes, if you have a legitimate business need to have reserved public IPs you can go reserve some public IP addresses in Azure to meet your needs. The first five are free if you are actively using them.  But think hard about what your business needs are. Do you have an application that needs a static public IP address? Maybe it’s time address that requirement within the application itself.  Do you update applications by swapping IP addresses?  Maybe you should look more closely at the options within Azure to swap staging and production deployments.

But if you aren’t thinking about IPv6 and just want to try to buy some time in the IPv4 world, you might want pause before hunting down the necessary PowerShell to get that done. This is why name services existing in the first place – so you don’t have to learn and remember IP addresses and don’t need to latch onto them for all time. Once IPv6 is fully deployed across all the major players (cloud providers, ISPs, etc) you won’t even bother trying to remember a 128-bit address. Unless you are trying to impress people at bars.

No, I’m pretty sure there are better ways to impress people at bars.

So don’t bother with hoarding up IPv4 addresses, just embrace FQDNs, DNS, and start preparing for IPv6 so that when it comes to you, you’ll be ready. In the great words of my preschooler as she dances around singing Disney songs, “Let It Go”. FQDNs are the future and the exhaustion of the IPv4 address space will make that so.

Do You Need More Books? Of Course You Do!!

I’m sure you need a resolution for 2014 to read more books about technology!  If that happens to be one on your list, here are few that might interest you.

  • FREE eBook – Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Technical Overview by Mitch Tulloch with Symon Perriman and the System Center Team. Read more about it at the Microsoft Press blog. This is also available in print format from Amazon, but you’ll need to pay for that.
  • Practical IPv6 for Windows Administrators by Edward Horley.  Due out by the end of December, you can currently pre-order this title.  The Kindle version should be available in January.
  • In early Spring, look for the release of Networking for VMware Administrators, by Chris Wahl and Steven Panto. While geared toward folks who work with VMware vSphere, I think it’s valuable to be able to understand virtual networking concepts and how they are used by various vendors, even if you aren’t a VMware shop. Estimated at about 350 pages, this isn’t going to be very light reading!

Do you have any reading recommendations? What’s on your list for 2014?

End of the Month Round Up

I’m looking forward to attending TechEd in Orlando in two weeks.  If you haven’t already signed up to attend, it might actually be too late!  TechEd is sold out this year and they are accepting names for the waiting list only at this time. I imagine it will be a crazy time, filled with lots of learning and networking with peers. 

I won’t be speaking this year, but that just gives me more time to attend some of the great sessions – I’ll be concentrating on Active Directory in Server 2012, Exchange 2010, PowerShell and some System Center.

If you are hoping for something more local to your home town, check out the Windows Server 2012 Community Roadshow. US locations will include Houston, Chicago, Irvine, New York and San Jose, just to name a few. Microsoft MVPs will be presenting the content, so don’t miss out a free chance to prepare for the release of Server 2012.

Another notable event that’s upcoming is the World IPv6 Launch. Check out which major ISPs and web companies are turning on IPv6 for the duration. 

Finally, if you are looking to make some improvements to your personal, cloud-based storage and file management for your personal computers, take a look at SugarSync.  I’ve been using it for several years and it’s been an easy way for me to access files from multiple computers and keep everything synced and backed up.  I’ve even got a link for a referral if you’d like to try it out.

IT Pro Events This Week!

Pacific IT Professionals has a few upcoming single day events this week, one in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles.

On Tuesday, Sept 20th in Los Angeles – Ed Horley and Richard Hicks will be talking about IPv6 and DirectAccess in the Enterprise.  Find out more at http://www.meetup.com/pacitprosla/events/26490521/?a=socialmedia.

On Friday, Sept 23th in San Francisco – CA Callahan will be covering SharePoint Administration for the Unexpected Administrator.  You know who you are – you inherited a SharePoint installation or have been asked to get one running.  Once you’ve got it going, then what?  This one day event will give you a chance to pick the brain of a true SharePoint expert and author of several books on SharePoint WSS 3.0 and SharePoint Foundations.  For $99, you can’t afford to miss out on this “everything but the kitchen sink” session – bring a question, you’ll get the answer!  For more details and to register go to http://techdays.org/2011/09/spwithca/

Ed Horley and Stephen Rose on RunAs Radio

Have you checked out RunAs Radio lately? 

Since 2007, RunAs Radio has been producing podcasts for Microsoft-centric IT Professionals and over the last few weeks has produced episodes featuring some of my favorite industry collegues – Ed Horley and Stephen Rose.  On 3/30/11, Ed Horley discussed the current state of the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 and on 3/23/11, Stephen covers Windows vNext, IE9 and Intune.

Here are a few other older podcasts from some others I know in the Microsoft technology space that you might enjoy.

  • 11/24/10 – Episode #187 – Mark Minasi on Cloud Technologies
  • 9/22/10 – Episode #178 – Alan Burchill on Group Policy Preferences
  • 9/8/10 – Episide #176 – Chris Jackson on app comp issues with those old IE6 applications

Upcoming – TechDays Technology Guru Speakers!

PacITPros and LearnIt have teamed up to bring you an opportunity to learn more about the future of mobile and cloud technologies. Todd Lammle and Mark Minasi will be joining forces on April 5th from 1pm-6pm, covering some great topics.

Todd will cover Cisco’s plans for taking wireless networks to a new level, Mark will cover the future of the cloud and then they will join forces to discuss IPv6 and the future of the related networking technologies.

When: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 (1pm – 6pm)
Where: Microsoft: San Francisco Office (835 Market St.)
Cost: $79 
Register at:
http://techdays.org/2011/03/todd-lammle/

This speaker series takes place right before the regular April PacITPros meeting, so rest up for a jam packed afternoon and evening of tech talk.

And With That, She’s Geeky Bay Area #4 Ends…

I had a fabulous time at She’s Geeky again this year.  Just like last year in Mountain View, it was a great chance to experience the various kinds of geekiness that bringing over 150 women together in a room generates. I hosted a small session about Systems Administration on the last day and spent the rest of the conference enjoying sessions on things like cyber identity issues, open source standards creation, “being present” while juggling new mobile technologies and wine tasting.  (Hey, there are many kinds of geekdoms!)
The next She’s Geeky will be held in Washington DC, so if you or someone you know is in the area (and happens to be a geeky woman), I totally recommend attending at least one of the days.  Personally I go to all of them, since it’s impossible to know ahead of time what each day will bring!

I’ve got some great ideas for some upcoming posts based on some of the things the event got me thinking about more, so stay tuned.  Meanwhile, don’t forget about the Pacific IT Professionals meeting tomorrow evening. Be sure to RSVP if you are planning to attend.

Finally in other news, today is the day that IANA has handed out it’s last block of IPv4 address.  Check out a quick post over at http://www.Howfunky.com that explains more

IPv6: Yes, My Head is in the Sand

There has been a fair amount of chatter about the depleting IPv4 address space how the adoption of IPv6 is looming. If you haven’t seen it, check out the post at Howfunky.com on “The Ostrich Effect“. Of particular interest is how a lot of network and system  administrators are ignoring IPv6 all together, and I admit I’m one of them.  My head is firmly entrenched in the sand. While it might not be the best approach, I’ll explain why I am where I am.
First, I’m not going to tell you that I don’t think IPv6 will stick. It will. Also, I find it pretty interesting and would love to be able to meet it head on when the time comes to make the transition.  But here’s the issue – I don’t see the pressing need right this moment for the infrastructure I work with and I have other projects that need my time and attention first.  IPv6 just isn’t an emergency.
For the enterprise that I manage, our public facing Internet presence is very small.  I have two /28 ranges assigned and I’m barely using half of those addresses as it is.  I predict that I won’t need any additional addresses anytime soon.  Internally, we are privately addressed and we have several legacy applications that will never be rewritten or patched to support IPv6.
Of course, I know that some of our newer servers and workstations are automatically establishing IPv6 addresses for themselves and we should be utilizing that by embracing the dual stack technology that’s built into our newer Windows machines.  If nothing else, I should have a better handle on what going on automatically when those machines connect to our network.
I also know that at some point we’ll need external IPv6 addresses on the ‘net, so others who are using the protocol can access our mail and web servers.  I’m sort of hoping that our ISP will contact me one day and say “Here! These IPv6 addresses are for you and this is what you do with them!”
Wishful thinking I know.  But right now, that’s all I can afford.

Don’t Miss Out on gogoNET Live! Videos

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of doing the post-presentation interviews for the speakers at the gogoNET Live! IPv6 Conference. These short little chats should be posted at www.gogonetlive.com in the next few days and will give you a taste of what each presentation included and some tips for implementing IPv6.  Hopefully I’ll have some time in the next few weeks to listen to some of the full presentations (soon to be available as well), so here are few that will be on my list.

  • Bob Hiden, Check Point Fellow and Co-inventor of IPv6 – his presentation on why IPv6 was invented will give anyone a good overview of why IPv6 is a necessary move for anyone who uses or supports activities on the Internet.
  • Elise Gerich, Vice President of IANA and John Curran, President and CEO of ARIN – both spoke about the various aspects of the anatomy of IPv4 address depletion.  I’ve always been fascinated by the DNS and IP address infrastructures that make the internet work and you can’t get any closer to the source that with these industry executives.
  • Silvia Hagan, CEO of Sunny Connection – Silvia’s presentation was on how to convince your boss to make the move to IPv6. She’s also the author of the O’Reilly book on IPv6, so trust her ideas are good ones.
  • Jeremy Duncan, the Senior Director of IPv6 Network Services at Command Information – Jeremy focused on how to set up and get the most out of your test/lab network.  We all will have to start somewhere when it comes to learning about IPv6 and some good tips on getting your lab of the ground will go a long way.
  • Joe Klein, the Cyber Security Principal Architect at QinetiQ – IPv6 has many security features built right in.  Be sure to check out what Joe has to say about the features, changes and possibilities once IPv6 is well established. 

Special Note: As of this writing, the videos are not yet posted.  Make a note to check in a www.gogonetlive.com next week to see when they are available.