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Unleashing IT – Microsoft Special Edition

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Bill Kehoe, CIO for King County, is taking a new approach to IT and building a progressive government to benefit citizens

The Lineup: Microsoft, Cisco, and Intel

It’s no secret that tested and tried solutions will lead to a faster time to production, allowing you to stay at the forefront of innovation and, most importantly, stand out from the competition.

The latest in our series of deep-dive examinations, our Microsoft-focused edition of Unleashing IT shows you how three industry leaders are creating integrated solutions to achieve better business outcomes. Read More »

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Cisco and Microsoft in 2014, the Year in Review

Infographic. Modernize Your Data Center with Windows Server 2012 R2. July 2014-1It’s a new year and we’re looking forward to an exciting 2015. Let pause to take one last look at 2014. For the teams from Cisco and Microsoft supporting our data center alliance, it was a very good year. We expanded our partnership, developed integrated solutions and aligned our field and partner teams to deliver even more customer value. We used our social and digital platforms to keep you informed and stay engaged. Here are some of the highlights.

An Expanded Partnership

After years of close collaboration, Cisco and Microsoft took our relationship to even greater heights with a new three year agreement. Jim McHugh, Cisco VP of UCS Marketing, blogged on how integrated solutions based on Cisco UCS, Nexus, and Microsoft Hyper-V, and Windows Server 2012 R2, enable I.T. organizations to dramatically improve effectiveness and accelerate customers’ journeys to the cloud. Cisco VP of ISVs and Global Technology Partners, Denny Trevett’s blog focused on how Cisco and Microsoft aligned our channel programs to encourage solution delivery in a partner-to-partner model.

In June, Cisco UCS achieved the top rank in the Americas’ x86 Blade Server Market measured by revenue market share, according to IDC. Microsoft CVP, Brad Anderson, took the opportunity to share his thoughts on the joint innovation from Cisco and Microsoft that is helping to drive this market momentum. Listen in.

Infographic. Cisco UCS and SQL Server 2014 FINAL. July 2014Integrated Solutions Read More »

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Dridex Is Back, then it’s gone again

This post was authored by Armin Pelkmann and Earl Carter.

Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group noticed a reappearance of several Dridex email campaigns, starting last week and continuing into this week as well. Dridex is in a nutshell, malware designed to steal your financial account information. The attack attempts to get the user to install the malicious software on their system through an until lately, rarely exploited attack vector: Microsoft Office Macros. Recently, we noticed a resurgence of macro abuse. If macros are not enabled, social engineering techniques are utilized to try to get the user to enable them. Once the malware is installed on the system, it is designed to steal your online banking credentials when you access your banking site from an infected system.

Talos analyzed three separate campaigns in the last days, all distinguishable from their subject lines. Read More »

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Cisco Keynote – End-to-End Optimization for Today’s Modern Datacenters

Have a bit of free time this Wednesday morning? If so please feel free to sit in on a Cisco keynote delivered by Mark Balch, Director of Cisco UCS Product Management, as he outlines the challenges faced and the discoveries made with the UCS family and how it has driven revolutionary change and business benefits for today’s modern datacenter.

The Cisco keynote starts WindowsITPro’s “virtual trade show” on Optimizing Your Virtual Infrastructure.  The event brings top industry Microsoft experts together in an online forum affording attendees the opportunity to learn about key datacenter optimization topics and trends.

Our UCS family has been a leader in Data Center optimization since it’s initial release to market five years ago.  Having been designed for virtualization from the beginning, UCS is an integrated system that is configured through unified, model-based management to simplify deployment of enterprise-class applications and services running in bare-metal, virtualized, and cloud-computing environments.

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Download the UCS Family poster

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Keeping Your Eyes on the Skies – A Partner’s View on SQL Server and UCS

A Guest Blog by Partner Rick Heiges of Scalability Experts: Rick is a SQL Server Microsoft MVP and Senior Solutions Architect.  He primarily works with Enterprise customers on their Data Platform strategies. Rick is also very involved in the SQL Server Community primarily through PASS and events such as the PASS Summit, SQL Saturdays, and 24 Hours of PASS.  His tenure on the PASS Board of Directors saw the annual Summit triple in size from 2003 to 2011.  You can find his blog at www.sqlblog.com.

So far, it has been another great week here at the PASS Summit 2014, SQL Server’s largest annual user and partner conference.  With yesterday’s keynote address, there is still very much a focus on getting to the cloud and new investments in cloud technology in general. Microsoft seems to be extending its data collection and storage technologies in the cloud and also on-prem.  One of the coolest features talked about was the concept of a “stretch tables” where a table that lives on your on-prem SQL Server can be “stretched” on to tables in SQL Azure Databases.  The data may be shared so that the “hot” data can stay local and the “cold” data would live in the cloud.  There were some other great demos around using the Kinect device to create a heat map of customer activity in a physical store (similar to what people linger and search for when shopping online).  You can watch the PASS Summit 2014 Keynote here on PASStv.

As a Senior Solutions Architect with Scalability Experts, I work with large enterprise customers (Fortune 500 type) on a regular basis.  There is more and more interest about leveraging the Public Cloud for some workloads and taking advantage of “on-prem” resources in a cloud-like way.  This means deploying your internal resources in a similar way – for example via Cisco’s Microsoft Fast Track certified FlexPod or VSPEX integrated infrastructure solutions –  that public cloud resources are deployed with a similar chargeback (or ‘show back’) model and automating the self-service deployment of infrastructure, and the monitoring of the entire stack.

One of the things that I really like about Microsoft’s products is a focus on ease of use, tight integration, and low TCO.  This is important to a lot of the customers that I interact with.  This is why I have seen a surge in Cisco UCS products in my customer base of the past few years.  Cisco has a similar goal to keep things simple and TCO low – read this Total Economic Impact report from Forrester on UCS ROI/TCO.  Cisco also provides Management Pack plug-ins to Microsoft’s System Center suite for tight integration so that you can manage the entire stack (Hardware, Hypervisor, Application, and even Public Cloud) with a single tool.  It is great to see how this partnership between Microsoft and Cisco can be beneficial to the customers that I work with.

Microsoft’s SQL Server 2014 also brings “In-Memory” Technology to OLTP in a cost-effective manner by not forcing a complete rewrite of the application.  In a recent Cisco UCS  on Microsoft SQL Server 2014 case study, Progressive Insurance was able to take advantage of this technology to further its strategy of its competitive advantage – ease of use.

Eventually, I see the Public Cloud taking on a more “primary” role in the future.  Similar to the “Everything on a VM unless there is a reason not to” mantra, I see an “Everything on a Public Cloud VM unless there is a reason not to” mantra on the long-term horizon.  Until then, the Hybrid Cloud will be the default stance for many large enterprises.

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