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Showing posts from 2020

SpiceWorld 2020 Final Thoughts

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SpiceWorld 2020 is a wrap, and I must say that I am very impressed with how well the conference was presented. The SpiceWorks event staff and the Spice Buddies really went all out to make this virtual conference feel as much like the in-person SpiceWorld event as possible. One of the things that makes SpiceWorld unique is the emphasis on community and having fun while learning new things.Compared to other conferences I have attended, the people at SpiceWorld (called Spiceheads in the forums) are much more sociable and eager to discuss IT and share solutions to problems they've encountered in their day-to-day activities. While the in-person interaction was not possible this year, the SpiceBuddies Discord server provided a great way for attendees to chat in real time while viewing the different sessions. It was a lot of fun to reconnect with SpiceWorld friends and meet new ones via the Discord channels.The other thing that makes SpiceWorld different is the entertainment value. The e…

SpiceWorld Day 1

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The first day of SpiceWorld 2020 Virtual is in the books, and it was a lot of fun. It was nice to see Jay Hallberg speak at the keynote even though he left the company back in March. The partnership between SpiceWorld and Ziff Davis seems to be going really well so far, and it'll be interesting to see how it grows when things pick up next year.
A couple of the sessions that stood out to me were an Office 365 session presented by Mayur Ragha and an Active Directory PowerShell session presented by "PowerShell in a Month's Lunches" author, Jeff Hicks. I am a big user of both products, so it was really nice to learn more about that.
The biggest takeaway of Day 1 for me was the presentation quality of the entire conference via the virtual platform. The website does a pretty good job of virtualizing all the things we expect from a SpiceWorld event including the sessions, Passport to Prizes, connecting with vendors, and networking with other attendees. The sites' UI (show…

SpiceWorld 2020

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I'm glad to announce that I will be speaking at SpiceWorld again this year in a presentation titled "Best Practices for Nonprofit and SMB IT Infrastructures." This session will be a follow-up to a presentation I gave a couple of years ago about nonprofit IT and is based upon feedback I received from attendees of that presentation. If you're interested in attending, you can register for SpiceWorld 2020 for FREE here. My session is scheduled for Thursday, September 17th, at 11:15 AM CDT, and a description of the session is shown below. Also, be sure to follow my blog this week as I'll be posting live updates each day with some of my favorite SpiceWorld highlights!

Garmin's ransomware attack is another example of the cloud's single point of failure

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Photo by Bruno Aguirre on Unsplash
In a previous post, I discussed how cloud and on-premises infrastructure are not mutually exclusive options, even in 2020 where cloud adoption continues to grow. While cloud has a lot of benefits for smaller IT departments and remote staff, it also has the inherent weakness of a single point of failure: an internet connection. Cloud services rely on a connection to the cloud service provider, and if that connection is severed due to internet loss or systems outage on the provider's datacenters, the service will become nearly or completely unavailable.
The ransomware attack on Garmin's systems in July caused many of its services to be offline for five days while the company worked to restore service. The outage was exacerbated by fact that Garmin's fitness app, Garmin Connect, is almost entirely inoperable without an internet connection. As a result, I was not able to record any health metrics or track my runs on my Forerunner 230 until syst…

Work-from-home (WFH) options for companies during the coronavirus outbreak

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"Home office" by MONOCHROME BUREAU is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0
The coronavirus outbreak has forced many companies to have their employees work remotely in accordance with the CDC's prevention recommendation. This has presented some challenges for companies that did not have existing telework solutions in place. Companies are also asking their IT administrators to provide the means for remote access within a short period of time. Fortunately, there are several solutions that meet this need. This article will address some options in remote access and communication tools. Remote Access Two of the most used options for remotely accessing the corporate network are remote desktop (RDP) and VPN. Each has its areas of strength which make it suitable for different use cases.
RDP A remote desktop connection provides a user with direct access to the desktop of their work PC. The advantage of this tool is that it provides the user with virtually the same UI experience they would …

VMware vs Hyper-V

When it comes to virtualization, VMware and Hyper-V are probably the two industry leaders. While VMware is one of the oldest and has been around for over two decades, Hyper-V has greatly improved since its initial release with Windows Server 2008 R2. I've had the experience of working with both platforms at work and in my personal home server, so I want to share some of my experience of the pros and cons of each platform.
VMware VMware was founded in 1998 and is currently owned by Dell, Inc. Their main virtualization platform is vSphere which is a suite of products including, most notably, ESXi and vCenter. ESXi is the actual virtualization platform that runs on the host, and vCenter is the management platform that runs on a VM and allows the administrator to control all the VMware features via a web interface. Aside from the usual virtualization of servers, VMware has a number of advanced features including vMotion which allows live migration of virtual servers from one host to a…