Author Archive

Book Club Episode Delayed

Book Club April 24th, 2011

When I was planning the next book club show, I forgot that this weekend was Easter.  Due to family commitments, I have to reschedule this review.

Stay tuned, because I know Keith is eager to talk Namespaces!

The Scripting Games March On

Scripting April 13th, 2011

We are entering the final stretch of the Scripting Games.  There are only two more events to be published and one more week of entries.

In my time judging for the Games, I’ve written a few blog posts about some of the common issues I’ve found in the entries.  You can see all my Scripting Games related posts here.

Taking a WinDump

Scripting, Servers April 4th, 2011

I’ve had to troubleshoot a number of network related issues recently.  I love WireShark, but I don’t want to install it on every server.  I’m still a bit hesitant on installing the WinPcap drivers on servers as well, but when you need to grab network traffic on the Windows platform, it is one of the easier ways.

(Yes.. I know I should have a monitoring box on a span port that I could do this off of, but it becomes a bit more complicated in a virtual environment.)

So, I’ve compromised a bit.  I’ve been using the WinPcap drivers and WinDump from the command line to create the network captures.  Then I can use WireShark on my desktop to analyze the traffic.

The command line I used for WinDump was something like:

C:\WinDump.exe -n -s 0 -vvv -w mynetworkcapture.pcap

The “–n” skips the DNS resolution (which makes it a bit more consistent to read through).The “–s 0” captures the full packet.  “-vvv” captures additional packet details.  And last, but not least, “-w mynetworkcapture.pcap” is the file name (and relative path) to where the capture could be saved.

There are many, many other options, but this got me a quick grab of traffic that let me isolate my problem in WireShark and get to the resolution I needed.

SCCM 2012–Moving Backwards In Time

Servers March 24th, 2011

System Center Configuration Manager 2012’s 2nd Beta is out for download.. but don’t bother if you are running a patched or current SQL Server…

It appears that the Configuration Manager team decided to step back in their support of current database servers.  Starting with Configuration Manager 2007 R2, the following were supported:

  • SQL Server 2005 with SP2 or SP3
  • SQL Server 2008, SP1, or SP2
  • SQL Server 2008 R2

According to the beta System Requirements documentation (remember this is beta, which in Microsoft parlance means bug fixes, not a lot of changes, etc..)

Configuration Manager requires 64-bit SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition or SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, running Service Pack 1 with at least Cumulative Update 10 . Other versions of SQL Server, such as SQL Server 2008 with Service Pack 2 or SQL Server 2008 R2, are not supported.

If you are looking for something that is not so picky, but get’s you a good bit of the functionality, I’ve started to look at Admin Arsenal.  I’ve just downloaded one of their products and I’ll get a chance to look deeper later, but it seems to be a bit lower friction.

On a side note.. the guys at Admin Arsenal are supporting this year’s PICC event.

OCS 2007 R2 Certificates

Scripting, Servers March 16th, 2011

Situation:

Some of our internal certificates for OCS were coming due for replacement.  I did a simple web search for “Find all certificates for Office Communication Server 2007 R2” and I got very little help..

And of course, OCS does not support wildcard certs Sad smile (but does take wildcards in Subject Alternative Names (SAN).. go figure..)

So for those who just want a reference of what certs are used where.. (Subject Name (SN) and Common Name (CN) are used somewhat interchangeably.. Common Name is the most import item to OCS)

Outcome (it’s not pretty folks…):

I give you (working from the outside in):

  1. Edge Server

    1. Description:
      1. The first cert needed is a Web Conferencing Edge Server. 
      2. SAN Required – No.
      3. These are public facing certs, so you’ll likely want to get these from a cert provider.
      4. Even if you are issuing them yoursefl, you’ll notice that these cert requests are generated offline, as the edge server is usually in a restricted portion of the DMZ without direct access to your internal CA.
    2. Example:
      1. SN: webconf.mindofroot.com
    3. Command:
      1. To create the cert request: LcsCmd /cert /action:request /friendlyname:”Web Conference Edge” /sn:webconf.mindofroot.com /ou: IT /org:MOR /city:SomeWhere /state:Else /country:US /fileName:”C:\CertHold\webedge.req” /L
      2. To import the response: LcsCmd /cert /action:ImportResponse /fileName:”C:\CertHold\CAResponse.cer” /assign:true /Components:DP /L
    4. Description:
      1. The second cert required is for Audio/Video Authentication Edge Server.
      2. SAN Required – No.
      3. This is used for internal communication to the rest of the OCS infrastructure.
      4. If you are using an internal cert, you will have to install the certs on the cert chain as well to make them trusted on this server.
    5. Example:
      1. SN: av.mindofroot.com
    6. Command:
      1. LcsCmd /cert /action:request /friendlyname:”AV Edge” /sn:av.mindofroot.com /ou: IT /org:MOR /city:SomeWhere /state:Else /country:US /fileName:”C:\CertHold\avedge.req” /L
      2. LcsCmd /cert /action:ImportResponse /fileName:”C:\CertHold\CAResponse.cer” /assign:true /Components:MR /L
    7. Description:
      1. The third cert is required for the Internal Edge. 
      2. SAN Required – No.
      3. This is for encrypting and decrypting traffic between external clients and the “next hop” server (usually the director or pool).
      4. This can be an internally issued cert.
    8. Example:
      1. SN: internaledge.internal.mindofroot.com
    9. Command:
      1. LcsCmd /cert /action:request /friendlyname:”Internal Edge” /sn:internaledge.mindofroot.com /ou: IT /org:MOR /city:SomeWhere /state:Else /country:US /fileName:”C:\CertHold\internaledge.req” /L

      2. LcsCmd /cert /action:ImportResponse /fileName:”C:\CertHold\CAResponse.cer” /assign:true /Components:INTERNAL /L

    10. Description:
      1. The fourth cert required covers the Access Edge.
      2. SAN Required: Possible, if there are additional domains covered for external access.
      3. This is for the default SIP.yourdomain.com address.
    11. Example:
      1. SN: sip.mindofroot.com
      2. SAN: sip.acoupleofadmins.com
    12. Command:
      1. LcsCmd /cert /action:request /friendlyname:”Access Edge” /sn:sip.mindofroot.com /ou: IT /org:MOR /city:SomeWhere /state:Else /country:US /san:sip.mindofroot.com, sip.acoupleofadmins.com /fileName:”C:\CertHold\accessedge.req” /L
      2. LcsCmd /cert /action:ImportResponse /fileName:”C:\CertHold\accessedge.cer” /assign /Components:AP /L

  2. Reverse Proxy

    1. Description:
      1. The Reverse Proxy provides a way for external users to access content, expand address lists, and otherwise do things require more access.
      2. SAN Required – Maybe.
    2. Example:
      1. SN: ocsweb.mindofroot.com
    3. Command:
      1. LcsCmd /cert /action:request /friendlyname:”Web Proxy External” /sn:ocsweb.mindofroot.com /ou: IT /org:MOR /city:SomeWhere /state:Else /country:US /fileName:”C:\CertHold\webproxyext.req” /L
      2. LcsCmd /cert /action:ImportResponse /fileName:”C:\CertHold\CAResponse.cer” /L
  3. CWA Server

    1. Description:
      1. The CWA certificate supports IM, PSTN call in, desktop sharing, etc..
      2. SAN Required – Yes.
      3. Note – The DNS name cwa.yourdomain.com might be behind a reverse proxy.. in that case, you might need two certs (an internal and a public cert).
    2. Example:
      1. SN: cwa.mindofroot.com
      2. SAN: im.mindofroot.com, cwa.acoupleofadmins.com, im.acoupleofadmins.com
    3. Command:
      1. LcsCmd /cert /action:request /online:false /friendlyname:”CWA” /sn:cwa.mindofroot.com /ou: IT /org:MOR /city:SomeWhere /state:Else /country:US /san: im.mindofroot.com, cwa.acoupleofadmins.com, im.acoupleofadmins.com /fileName:”C:\CertHold\CWAext.req” /L
      2. LcsCmd /cert /action:ImportResponse /fileName:”C:\CertHold\CWAResponse.cer” /assign:true /L
  4. Director

    1. Description:
      1. SN set to the FQDN of the director.
      2. SAN Required – Yes, set to the SIP DNS for each domain. 
    2. Example:
      1. SN: director.internal.mindofroot.com
      2. SAN: sip.mindofroot.com
    3. Command:
      1. LcsCmd /Cert /Action:request /online:true /assign:true /ca:MOR-CA.internal.mindofroot.com\MOR-CA /caAccount:MOR\Admin /caPassword:P@ssword1 /friendlyname:”MOR-Director SIP”/sn:director.internal.mindofroot.com /OU: IT /org:MOR /city:SomeWhere /state:Else /country:US /san:*.mindofroot.com /L
  5. Mediation Server

    1. Description:
      1. The Mediation Server coordinates enterprise voice traffic
      2. SAN Required – No.
    2. Example:
      1. SN: mediation.mindofroot.com
    3. Command:
      1. LcsCmd /cert /action:request /online:true /friendlyname:Mediation Server /sn:mediation.mindofroot.com /ou: IT /org:MOR /city:SomeWhere /state:Else /country:US /fileName:”C:\CertHold\mediation.req” /L
      2. LcsCmd /cert /action:ImportResponse /fileName:”C:\CertHold\CAResponse.cer” /assign:true /L
  6. Front End Server

    1. Description:
      1. SN set to the FQDN of the enterprise pool name or server. 

      2. SAN Required – Yes, set to any alternative DNS names for the pool and server. 
    2. Example:
      1. SN: pool1.intranet.mindofroot.com
      2. SAN: pool1.mindofroot.com, sip.mindofroot.com, myfrontendserver.intranet.mindofroot.com
    3. Command:
      1. LcsCmd /Cert /Action:request /online:true /assign:true /ca:MOR-CA.internal.mindofroot.com\MOR-CA /caAccount:MOR\Admin /caPassword:P@ssword1 /friendlyname:“MOR-FE Front End SIP” /sn:pool01.internal.mindofroot.com /OU: IT /org:MOR /city:SomeWhere /state:Else /country:US /san:*.mindofroot.com, myfrontendserver.intranet.mindofroot.com /L
  7. Group Chat

    1. Description:

      1. The Group Chat cert should reference the DNS for the Group Chat server.
      2. SAN required – Maybe, if you have multiple DNS entries for group chat.
    2. Example:
      1. SN: groupchat.mindofroot.com
      2. SAN: groupchat.acoupleofadmins.com
    3. Command:
      1. LcsCmd /cert /action:request /online:true /friendlyname:”Group Chat Server” /sn:groupchat.mindofroot.com /ou: IT /org:MOR /city:SomeWhere /state:Else /country:US /san:groupchat.mindofroot.com.com, groupchat.acoupleofadmins.com /enableClientEKU:TRUE /fileName:”C:\CertHold\groupchat.req” /L
      2. LcsCmd /cert /action:ImportResponse /fileName:”C:\CertHold\CAResponse.cer” /assign:true /L

Licensing in Any World

Servers, Vendors March 14th, 2011

Brian Lewis (IT Pro Evangelist for Microsoft) recently blogged about licensing in a virtual world.  He made some interesting points about Datacenter edition licensing as VM density grows.

All that talk of licensing reminded me of a tool I’ve used to manage and license machines in my network – the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) version 2.0.  Version 2.0 has some updated features, including managing Office 2010 licensing in addition to Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7.  There is a version 1.1 of the tool that will manage licensing for Vista, Server 2008, Win 7, and Server 2008 R2.

2011 Scripting Games Are Coming!

Scripting March 10th, 2011

2011 Scripting Games

Grab this badge here!

The 2011 Scripting Games start on April 4th.

This year is the first year that all the scripts must be in PowerShell.

If you are not familiar with the Scripting Games, they are two weeks of real world inspired challenges that allow you to demonstrate your scripting chops.  Every day a new challenge (or event) is revealed.  There are two categories, Beginner and Expert, so there are challenges for everyone, no matter how experienced.

After each event is revealed, competitors can submit their scripts to the Scripting Games PoshCode repository, where an internationally recognized judges will score every submission (guess what.. I’m a judge this year..).  After the event closes, an “Expert Solution” will be provided as a sample of the event could be solved, including an explanation on how they got there.

If you are new to scripting, this is a great way to get started, no pressure, with real examples and solutions from recognized experts.

If you really want to find out more about how the even runs, take a look at last year’s events and solutions.. 

Or check out the 2011 Scripting Games Study Guide.

This is a great opportunity to flex your scripting might or start building your scripting muscles..

Hope to see you there!

TechMentor Approaching Fast!

General Interest February 28th, 2011

You’re not too late for TechMentor Orlando, March 14 – 18, 2011 at Disney’s Yacht Club.

TechMentor is offering Mind of Root listeners the best discount so far – $400 discount off the 5 Day Best Value Conference Pass (discount applies to the Standard rate and new registrations only)!

Register at http://bit.ly/TMReg with the code UGTM3 for the discount.If you’ve never attended it, TechMentor is 5 intensive and informative days of immediately-applicable training on today’s critical IT topics – everything from Active Directory to Virtualization – with a specific track and several sessions on PowerShell.Go to http://bit.ly/TMPwrShl if you want to know more about sessions and speakers.

Need to Validate Your BFFs?

General Interest February 27th, 2011

Microsoft offer a BFFValidator…  Need I say more?

Actually, I do.. what this unfortunately abbreviated product does is validate binary file formats for doc, xls, and ppt files.

PICC – Sessions Posted

Career February 27th, 2011

April 29-30 is the Professional IT Community Conference in New Brunswick, NJ.  They’ve recently posted the talks and training sessions available

I’ll be teaching a four hour PowerShell Fundamentals class and you’ll find other training like "Grokking Python", "Over the Edge System Administration", "Advanced Time Management: Team Efficiency" and many more…

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