June 22 2015

System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) support for Windows Server 2003

I use a maximum of one Google Ad per post to help offset some of my blog hosting costs.


As we all know, as of July 14 2015, Windows Server 2003 will no longer be a supported operating system. This means that customers using Windows Server 2003 will no longer receive new security updates, non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates from Microsoft.

However, it isn’t that well publicised that on this same date, customers using System Center Endpoint Protection on Windows Server 2003 will stop receiving updates to antimalware definitions and the engine for Windows Server 2003.

As a result, the SCEP agent will stop functioning.  Starting on July 14 2015, systems running Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 that have the System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection client installed will receive the following system tray notification:

SCEP notification
SCEP notification
SCEP notification
SCEP notification

Time to get off Windows 2003!

I use a maximum of one Google Ad per post to help offset some of my blog hosting costs.


March 30 2015

Why I moved from Windows Azure to Amazon AWS….

After using Windows Azure to host my WordPress blog for around 6 months, I eventually lost patience with their product offering and support team and starting looking elsewhere.  I was receiving ongoing database connection issues and intermediate site outages.

Failing database connections…

The “This site is currently not available… please try again later” message became very common.  This is due to the way Azure manages it’s resource limitations – while other providers will simply throttle your site once you reach a certain level of CPU or RAM usage, Azure actually stops all connections to your website and takes it offline.   If you ran a large corporate website, you would enable to scaling options that will allow the instances to grow when there is increased demand however this comes at a financial costs and for me, I couldn’t justify it for a “hobby” blog.

Site unavailable.... again...
Site unavailable…. again…

After limiting my WordPress memory usage, I couldn’t understand how I was going over my memory allocation. I opened 2 support cases with Microsoft however after more than 20 emails back and forth, the engineer couldn’t explain what was happening and kept referring me to the pricing page for Azure.  Very frustrating, eg “ME: As I have stated 3 times now, I want to understand how the memory usage is calculated – when looking at the monitoring section for the last 7 days, the highest the MemoryWorkingSet gets to is 451.5MB. My WordPress instance is hard limited to 256MB and PHP limited to 128MB of memory. So why am I now constantly being charged for using over 1GB of memory?”.  So I gave up on Azure and went over to Amazon.

I figured I would try out their T1 Micro Instances that would cost be around $175 per year (after 12 months of being free). I certainly liked this section of their policy, it was something that Azure didn’t do:

When the Instance Uses Its Allotted Resources – We expect your application to consume only a certain amount of CPU resources in a period of time. If the application consumes more than your instance’s allotted CPU resources, we temporarily limit the instance so it operates at a low CPU level. If your instance continues to use all of its allotted resources, its performance will degrade. We will increase the time that we limit its CPU level, thus increasing the time before the instance is allowed to burst again.

I’m happy for the performance to be degraded, that doesn’t bother me since this is really just a personal blog. Through the AWS Marketplace, I order the WordPress powered by Bitnami, in the Australian data center on a t1.micro EC2 instance.

Wordpress powered by Bitnami
WordPress powered by Bitnami

After a couple of hours of configuring and migrating content, I’m now fully up and running on AWS.  So far so good.


Category: Geek | LEAVE A COMMENT
September 17 2012

VMWare ESX support for Windows Server 2012

I found it quite hard to find this information so I figured I would share it. I was looking for an official line from VMWare on the versions of ESX that would Windows Server 2012 as a guest operating system.

Directly quoted from http://blogs.vmware.com/guestosguide/2012/09/windows-server-2012.html :

The release of vSphere 5.1 introduces support for Windows Server 2012 on ESXi 5.1, with the following support considerations:

  • Installation instruction can be found here http://partnerweb.vmware.com/GOSIG/Windows_Server_2012.html
  • Snapshots, checkpoints and VMotion actions for virtual machines with Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 are incompatible between hosts running ESXi 5.0 Update 1 or ESXi 5.0 P03 with host running later versions of ESXi ( ESXi 5.0 Update 2, ESXi 5.1, etc.). Please refer to KB-2033723 for more information.
  • The Guest OS Customization feature in vCenter does not support Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 in vSphere 5.1.
  • vSphere client will use EFI BIOS for VMs configured for Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 with hardware version 9, however, EFI BIOS is not compatible with the Fault Tolerance feature. Therefore to use Fault Tolerance feature, it is recommended to use Legacy BIOS instead of EFI BIOS.

For more information about software support, please check the VMware Compatibility Guide

Also from http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/microsite.do?cmd=displayKC&docType=kc&externalId=2006859&sliceId=2&docTypeID=DT_KB_1_1  I have extracted this one liner:

Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 will not be supported on ESXi/ESX 4.0 or 4.1.

And finally, from http://partnerweb.vmware.com/comp_guide2/pdf/VMware_GOS_Compatibility_Guide.pdf (page 103) I read that supported releases are ESXi 5.1 or ESXi 5.0 U1.

More information:

Category: Windows | LEAVE A COMMENT
September 21 2010

Virtualization support for Microsoft products including SCCM, OCS, Exchange, ISA

For many years I’ve had to scour the interwebs to find out if hardware virtualization is supported by Mircosoft for a particular product.

I’m not sure how long it has been around but I’ve finally found the Windows Server Catalog site which will simply tell you if it is supported or not:


For example I can easily see that SCCM 2007 SP2 on VMWare ESX 3.5 Update 5 with Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 as the guest OS is SUPPORTED!

So simple and so overdue!