Categories
Conference Development Office 365 SharePoint

SharePoint Conference 2020

Have some free time on your hands in May and itching to get to know the SharePoint Framework and all the other capabilities of SharePoint and SharePoint Online? Check out the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada the week of 17 May 2020 … and if you go and check out Andrew Connell’s session I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

https://www.andrewconnell.com/blog/learn-sharepoint-framework-with-me-sharepoint-conference-2020/

Why do I say this? Because Andrew knows the SharePoint platform inside and out from the Developer perspective (which means also understanding a good chunk of the underlying architecture). He’s incredibly well positioned to teach on the SharePoint Framework having worked alongside the Product Group in testing it and maintaining portions of the Patterns and Practices for SharePoint Development. Further, if you didn’t know, Andrew has been around the platform since “the beginning” back when we all used to struggle with SharePoint Portal Services 1.0 – those were the days…

Nevertheless, check it out, say hi to Andrew, enjoy some “cooler weather,” and get smart on the Framework.

Categories
Azure Cloud SharePoint

Azure Shared Disks are coming!!!

Do you still have a need or desire to continue to run your SharePoint environment in an on-premises data center so that you can have them luxury of Always On Availability Groups with SQL Server? Well… now you can really take that workload to the cloud (with some minor caveats) once Microsoft fully goes GA with the Azure Shared Disks server.

https://azure.microsoft.com/blog/announcing-the-preview-of-azure-shared-disks-for-clustered-applications/

If you’re thinking to yourself, isn’t this just the next revision of Azure Files? Nope, that makes use of SMB and NFS protocols for accessing disk – akin to your favorite file share or iSCSI device. This is effectively zoning disk and making it available to your operating system as a logical volume that can be accessed by your server.

So if you want to create a volume that’s a part of a clustered file share, look no further, we have a “better” solution for you now… the real question of course is what the performance will look like and whether or not it will be able to keep up… I’m pretty certain that this will be something that will become the de facto standard for architects and IT Pros as they begin to set something up in the cloud.

Categories
Certification Training

Online Training…

Brace yourselves, I’m going to share my thoughts on online training and certifications.  I know, you’ve probably read a few different articles out there but I figured, why not share my thoughts too…

If you’re working for a company that has training benefits – awesome… USE THEM.  It’s effectively free money, even if you have to pay it back because you determine that you want to move onto another opportunity, USE THEM.  Those training benefits help to move you forward and give your grey matter some nosh that’s needed to keep it active and energetic.

Don’t just jump on the backwagon of what everyone else is using.  Do your homework (I know, I just mentioned you should study… which you might think is doing your homework)… research the various providers and figure out what it is that you want to learn and what your area of focus is.  There are a ton of training providers out there – to name a few PluralSight, Udemy, Skill Me Up, Linux Academy, and A Cloud Guru which all have decent quality materials that they try to keep up to date.  These are all companies that have on demand training, and a few have live training as well.

The caveat on each of these training providers however is similar to how you make investments in what your areas of expertise are, the training providers also recognize (at least for the most part) that they can’t be all things to all people – so they each have their specialities. . . sort of.  I say that mostly because most of the training providers originally started out in a niche area, but have since hit their saturation level in that area of expertise and are diversifying their training coverage.  I have yet to find any of these stooping to the level of teaching underwater basket weaving however.  In terms of the investments these companies have made, as an example, A Cloud Guru was (and may still be) the crown jewel of training materials for anyone that was looking to achieve their AWS Solution Architect Associate certification, but when it came to Azure, they basically had nothing… or it was dated and had materials for good ole Azure Service Management APIs (most of which have been retired at this point).  On the flip side, if you wanted something that was Azure focused, you turned to your friendly neighborhood Skill Me Up or PluralSight and dive deep to learn the materials and move forward.

If you find your self slowly but surely feeling as though you were being hypnotically controlled and put to sleep by screencasting, then there’s no better way to break up the monotony than through hands on labs.  Some training providers have a robust hands on labs training system (Skill Me Up); others have handy sandboxes (Linux Academy); and others are still figuring out what a hands on lab exactly is (A Cloud Guru).  Labs aren’t everything though – training providers are constantly battling with the same problem that you and I are – keeping up with the changes.  As such, a lab that works one week, may or may not work the next.  Additionally, because the underlying platforms are being updated, sometimes the APIs are updated and you find yourself not being able to complete a lab.  The best lab providers invest in keeping their lab systems up to date.  Others, they say they have labs… and they do, but they just may not meet the need in helping you to be able to learn the basics.  Of course in those circumstances of labs that are somewhat old… maybe that’s the challenge you’re looking for and you want to participate in a troubleshooting activity.

As one of my college roommates tended to say, “Know thyself.”  If you find yourself being someone that does well with online training and can dedicate an afternoon, evening, or late night to (who studies and learns in the morning?)… more power to you. If you’re me, and you prefer to go snag a cup of coffee or tea and have your phone or tablet with you, a mobile device that can sync conetnt down can be your best friend.

I’d recommend if you’re going to make an investment in a cloud training program, take some time and figure out what your objective is, then poke around at the above… minor caveat being that A Cloud Guru recently bought LinuxAcademy… so at some point we may see them merge… maybe?

If you don’t have the time to invest right now but you think you might be able to invest some time near the end of the year – Black Friday Sales – they’re a thing… most of the training providers have discounts that will knock your socks off.

Regardless, you’re doing awesome! Keep up the good work on seeking to better yourself whether it be in the world of Infrastructure as a Service, or something more on the Platform or Software as a Service side of things like Office 365.  Keep on learning!

Categories
Off Topic

SharePoint, where for art though?

Captain’s log… the vapor and mist of the cloud have formed and we see that things are starting to take shape in the realm of Office 365. Dan Holme and his cadre of excellence have continued to chart forward with making experiences usable by end users, providing capabilities that to build on-premises, while feasible in large chunks of time, come to life.

In the day of past with SharePoint before “v12” came out, developers seemed to hack away at the core of SharePoint, injecting and reflecting methods to bring to life the Frankenstein solutions that clients were seeking. Not that these solutions weren’t valuable, nor was it that they weren’t well put together, but the typical SharePoint developer had to know how develop using Object Oriented Languages… namely C# or VB.net. Both languages were not for the commoner, or the SharePoint Citizen as some may call it.

Then came SharePoint 2013 and the app model was brought forward. The Internet had solved identity for the Internet (no one really likes leaving port 88 open on the Internet for Kerberos tickets to be passed between realms mind you). Developers were now free to roam about and develop where they wanted, how they wanted. And it was good.

Then Microsoft took a page from it’s competitors and started offering experiences and building out a Framework that would allow developers to interact with the underlying components of SharePoint and Office 365 using REST API calls. Gone were the days of requiring developers to know C#… the day of the JavaScript developer (and really any other developer that knows how to make REST calls) was here.

Experiences like PowerApps and Flow though have also largely taken away the needs and desires to learn a “hard” language (actually, thinking about it, if you don’t know how to construct the logic of a program, JavaScript becomes all out hacking in some cases… not that people didn’t copy others C# code and wonder why it didn’t work).

So where do we find ourselves? Well, as a SharePoint admin, I must say that there’s less and less I find myself worrying about. Sure I still have my concerns about opening up Access Services on my 2013 farms that are still operating and having developers create app after app watching the SQL server backend topple over. And sure, in the 2016 environments I’ve embraced MinRoles with open arms.

But why should I continue to build on-premises when Microsoft has Office 365 / SharePoint Online available with SLAs that I can’t match on-premises? What’s a trusty admin to do? It’s time to take some time and REST… just kidding, it’s time to help organizations migrate to SharePoint Online where it makes sense and make use of Hybrid to help them make use of some of the tools (ala PowerApps and Flow) that make their end users lives a little bit easier.

And maybe also learn some REST… because you never know when some prototyping will come in handy.

Categories
Off Topic

The technology of the past…

Recently I decided that it was time to begin cleaning out my basement, also known as my office. I’ve got a few monitors, a couple of desks, a standing desk, an old desktop computer with a Core i7 processor that may as well have its own power line coming in from the Tennesee Valley Authority… I found anything from null modem cables to my original iPod Shuffle (remember that USB stick thingy with a plug for earphones?).  I also realized while rummaging amongst things and looking at my Canon printer / scanner / fax machine that it’s been forever and a day since I’ve sent a fax… wait, what’s a fax? You know, a facsimile… that technology that’s used as an accepted technology for signed contracts. If you’re seeking further education on the Fax machine, check out the Wikipedia article over here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fax

On some occasions, when necessary, I do find myself using GoDaddy’s eFax service to be able to send a copy of a document. But for the most part, it seems like this is a lost technology. So much that it made Scott Adams write a comic about it this morning… enjoy.

Also, if you happen to have an old iPod Shuffle, go ahead and do the Shuffle… cuz every day I’m shufflin’.

Categories
SharePoint

SharePoint Server 2019

Just upgrade to SharePoint 2013? That means you probably know the ins and outs of your information architecture and just transitioned all of your apps over to either Provider Hosted or SharePoint Hosted apps… what better time than to start thinking about setting up new kit to install SharePoint Server 2019? 🙂

Go ahead, click the download link. Give it a whirl on your Azure subscription to try it out and get your modern on.

New and Improved features in SharePoint Server 2019

Download Link for SharePoint Server 2019

Download Link for Language Packs for SharePoint Server 2019

Categories
Office 365

Office 365 Home Device Limits…

In case you missed it, Jared Spataro recently announced that the Office 365 Home and Personal subscriptions will no longer have install limits on devices as of October 2, 2018.  A caveat to this is that you can only be logged into five devices at a time.  In the past it was 10 devices in total (across five users for the home plan, or two installs for the personal account).

Additionally, Office 365 Home is upping the number of seats from 5 to 6.  While that may seem pretty insignificant, that’s an additional license to software essentially as well as the services that come along with it and a terabyte of storage on OneDrive.

More about this can be read yonder on the Microsoft Technical Community here:

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Office-365-Blog/You-re-about-to-get-even-more-from-your-Office-365-Home-or/ba-p/234907

Categories
Technology

QNAP Friends… Update your firmware…

Unless you’re running your servers, devices and other items that connect to a network of some sort in a pile of concrete at the bottom of a lake (perhaps a Great Lake) disconnected from the world, it may be time to go and start checking your firmware. I know that it’s one of the most fun activities to do over a Memorial Day weekend – right?

In this case I noticed a post about something called VPNFilter over on Ars Technica – sounds nasty right? It makes mention of what software systems and devices are affected –  in a particular set of QNAP devices as well as the software platform that operates QNAP devices, QTS.

For me, I quickly checked my firmware and noticed that I was not in the impacted group, but that’s not to say that you shouldn’t check your QNAP device if you’ve got one. Obviously check to make certain that you’ve got a backup of your QNAP sitting somewhere that you’re able to roll back to if you need to (I’ve never had a problem with their firmware personally).

More details are available here:  https://www.qnap.com/en-us/security-advisory/nas-201805-24

 

Categories
Azure

Azure: Public Preview of Serial Console

I have to say that this is crazy that Microsoft Azure now supports a Serial Console for Virtual Machines (at least in Public Preview).  Check out the blog entry over here – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-serial-console/

I decided to give it a little try to see more and it works like a champ. Very cool to see this capability coming to light as it’s been something that I know I’ve been looking for some time to have available when a VM wasn’t coming back up slower than I would have assumed it would. Well done folks!

Check out the announcement yonder on the Azure blog – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/virtual-machine-serial-console-access/

Categories
Azure Cloud Office 365

Don’t lose your identity in the Cloud…

If you happen to log into your Office 365 Admin Portal on a regular basis good on you – though perhaps you can get most of your alerts through the Office 365 Admin app on your phone. If you do happen to log in though and you’re using Directory Synchronization by way of either Azure AD Connect or Microsoft Identity Manager, you hopefully don’t stumble upon a message like this on the Home page.

Screenshot 2018-03-24 23.31.07

If you do though, don’t worry, it’s not just a red highlighted bit of text, but it’s a link to your Directory Synchronization status (not DirSync is no longer around… AAD Connect is the way to go these days). What does it mean to your end users if Directory Synchronization is failing? Well, any change that they happen to make to their profile within your on-premises Active Directory won’t be synchronized with Azure Active Directory until the issue is resolved. Not a big deal – right? Well, just think if you changed your password on-premises, you’ll still be using your old password through Office 365.

If you happen to click the error message though you’ll come to a page with this displayed, you’ll note that you see something like this:

Screenshot 2018-03-24 23.28.11

If you’re not familiar with the above, it’s the Sync Status Health page. Typically if things are working good then you’ll see the last time that you sync’d successfully in addition to other pertinent information about your Office 365 tenant’s synchronization status as well as a less stormy picture of the cloud. 🙂

In this case though, the troubleshooting tips are fairly helpful and link to https://support.office.com/en-us/article/fixing-problems-with-directory-synchronization-for-office-365-79c43023-5a47-45ae-8068-d8a26eee6bc2?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

In this case, it just happens to be that I turned off the server that the Azure AD Connect tool was running on. Turning the server back and on and the error messages go away and identity changes begin to synchronize once more – life is good.