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Keep Microsoft software up to date — and everything else too

September 14th, 2016 No comments

Many of the CIOs and CISOs that I talk to, have, over time, developed mature vulnerability assessment methodologies and security updating processes. But frequently, I find that the focus of these processes is squarely on keeping Microsoft operating systems and browsers up to date. Of course vulnerabilities in popular operating systems or browsers have the potential to affect a broad audience. Another reason for this focus is that Microsoft has made updating relatively easy by offering updates via Windows Update, Microsoft Update, and via various tools like Windows Server Update Services and others.

But data from our latest Security Intelligence Report suggests that customers need to keep all of their software up-to-date, not just Microsoft software.

In the last half of 2015 there were nearly 3,300 vulnerability disclosures across the industry, of which 305 were in Microsoft products. With more than 90 percent of reported vulnerabilities occurring outside the Microsoft portfolio, organizations need to monitor their entire technology stack to minimize their risk.

Microsoft products accounted for less than 10 percent of industrywide vulnerabilities in the second half of 2015.

Microsoft products accounted for less than 10 percent of industrywide vulnerabilities in the second half of 2015.

This is consistent with previous years as well. The software industry worldwide includes thousands of vendors, and historically, vulnerabilities for Microsoft software have accounted for between three and ten percent of disclosures in any six-month period.

To find out what’s happening in the world of software vulnerabilities across your IT environment, take some time to review our latest Security Intelligence Report and the information available through the National Vulnerability Database (NVD), the U.S. government’s repository of standards-based vulnerability management data. And for a high-level look at the top ten trends and stats that matter most to security professionals right now, be sure and download our 2016 Trends in Cybersecurity e-book.

Download Windows Server 2012 R2 and Get Free Training on the New Capabilities from MVA

Get the “Scoop” on Hyper-V during VMworld

VMworld kicks off this week in San Francisco. I happen to know a few loyal VMware IT professionals, and the event is clearly a very exciting time of the year for them – an opportunity to meet other fellow enthusiasts, as well as to learn more about new releases from VMware. But I wonder if they would ever expect to learn more about Microsoft technologies such as Hyper-V and System Center while attending the event. Well, that’s what we’re going to make happen this year, albeit a little creatively.

Before I go into more details, let me first address the most obvious question that VMworld attendees (and IT professionals that are familiar with VMware) are probably asking right now – “why would I want to learn about Hyper-V while attending VMworld?” The answer is simple – to help their careers as technology professionals. Research shows that over 70% of businesses now have more than one virtualization platform in their IT environment. As you can imagine, this trend is opening up opportunities for IT professionals that are familiar with more than one virtualization platform. And if you look at the market data, it is clear that Hyper-V is the one to watch (and try!) . In fact, Microsoft is quickly catching up with VMware in terms of hyper-visor share. IDC data shows that over the last 3 years, Hyper-V has grown usage share 4 times faster than ESX/vSphere.

This progress in the marketplace is no accident. We have gone from strength to strength with successive releases of Windows Server and System Center, and our solution boasts a number of features that surprise IT professionals, especially those that have not looked our way recently. Do you fall in that camp? If so, did you know that:

  • Get the scoop on Hyper-V at VMworldHyper-V in Windows Server 2012 supports twice the physical memory, twice the number of active VMs per host, and 32 times the maximum virtual disk size compared to vSphere 5.1?
  • Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 include network and storage virtualization solutions at no extra charge?
  • The storage enhancements in Windows Server 2012 can help you reduce your high availability storage costs by almost half[1]?
  • In a recent benchmarking test, ESG found that a single server running 12 Hyper-V VMs could support the requirements of 48,000 Exchange users[2]?
  • With System Center 2012, you can manage hypervisors from multiple vendors, as well as VMs running in off-premises/public cloud environments?
  • With the software defined networking features in Windows Server and System Center, you can achieve complete VM mobility without having to purchase an expensive add-ons and additional technologies?
  • Using System Center’s integration with Visual Studio, you can isolate root causes of application performance issues right down to the code level, and triage them directly to the development team?

Now, back to VMworld, and our presence there. If you are a VMworld 2013 attendee, and would like to learn more about the progress we have made, we invite you to a free scoop of San Francisco’s finest frozen custard and some casual conversation with our technical experts at our frozen custard stand, located just a block away from Moscone center (201 2nd Street from Noon – 4 pm, to be exact). And needless to say, you are welcome even if you just want the custard!

Varun Chhabra
Senior Product Marketing Manager, Server and Tools


[1] Source: ESG Lab Review Report: Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Storage Performance and Cost Analysis, July 2013

[2] Source: ESG Report: Exchange 2013 on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Performance Testing 

I want you to go read the In the Cloud Blog

I am channeling my early days living and breathing as a U.S. Army Officer.  I can’t be any more clear about what I am asking you to do. So, here is your mission:

Subscribe to this this nine-part Blog Series called:          What’s New in Windows Server & System Center 2012 R2.

In all seriousness… This 9 post blog series has had many eye balls from pretty much every organization across the company. It is a culmination of all the content that we discussed at events like TechEd in New Orleans and Madrid.  The intent is to boil down the core scenarios or pillars for our Windows Server and System Center 2012 R2 release into Four Distinct Groups of articles that if you read them all, you would actually be able to light up each one of these scenarios….

I’m not kidding.

Today, we published the second blog post in the series called, What’s New in 2012 R2:  Making Device Users Productive and Protecting Corporate Information.  This is part 1 of 2 where we talk about lighting up Bring your own device, (BYOD) or what we call People Centric IT (PCIT).

This series of posts feature Brad Anderson our VP for Windows Server and System Center along with his leadership team and also the engineering teams that are still hard at work on releasing R2. There is a section at the bottom of every post called NEXT STEPS to all the underlying engineering blogs that light up the scenario.

I really hope you all take the time to go read these posts. We based this plan on tons of feedback that you wanted more integrated content from our Product Teams.

Thanks and I hope you find these posts useful and if you don’t please let me know what you think we should be doing differently,

Kevin Beares
Senior Community Lead – Windows Server and System Center

Modernizing Your Datacenter with Software-Defined Networking (SDN)

Last week there was a flurry of information and activity around TechEd North America.  So many announcements and sessions, so little time. Several of the product groups posted information on what they have been working on, and we wanted to make sure and bring your attention to “Transforming your Datacenter with Software-Defined Networking (SDN)” on the Windows Server blog.

Software-defined networking is about enabling software – rather than the hardware – to dynamically manage the network in a way that helps you better meet the requirements of your applications and workloads.  Microsoft’s approach to SDN is grounded in our experiences designing, building and operating global-scale datacenter networks for services like Windows Azure.

For more information, see “Transforming your Datacenter with Software-Defined Networking (SDN)” by the Windows team.  It’s a short read and well worth your time.  Don’t forget to click the registration link at the end to sign up and be notified when the R2 product evaluation bits become available.

Windows Server Hyper-V is now a hypervisor for FreeBSD

August 9th, 2012 No comments

As noted on the Openness@Microsoft blog this morning by Anandeep Pannu, Senior Program Manager for the Open Source Technical Center:

Today, Microsoft and partners NetApp and Citrix are excited to announce the availability of FreeBSD support for Windows Server Hyper-V. This collaboration, announced at BSDCAN 2012, will help more customers adopt virtualization and move toward cloud computing. Microsoft is committed to supporting multiple platforms with its server virtualization solution so that more organizations can take advantage of server consolidation cost-savings and build foundations for private, public and hybrid cloud computing.

This release, which includes 8,500 lines of code released under the BSD license, is the result of collaboration between Microsoft, NetApp, and Citrix to enable FreeBSD to run as a first-class guest on Windows Server Hyper-V. My colleague Peter Galli had a blog post this spring about the announcement of this goal, and it’s great to see this work come to fruition so quickly! For further background, check out the interview with Joe CaraDonna, Technical Director of Core Operating Systems at NetApp, in which he described how this project would “round out the FreeBSD virtualization story and make the FreeBSD operating system a more compelling offering.”

FreeBSD is the latest in a growing list of open-source operating systems and open-source cloud projects that work with Hyper-V, including SUSE, CentOS, Red Hat, Cs2C, OpenStack, and OpenNebula. This wide range of options makes it easier for customers to take advantage of server virtualization, enabling a variety of cloud computing and hybrid computing scenarios.

For more information about today’s announcement, see the blog post on Openness@Microsoft as well as the documentation and downloads available from the freebsdonhyper-v project on Github. The FreeBSD drivers are being prepared for inclusion in the FreeBSD core, and there will soon be available ISO images with preinstalled drivers for the latest releases of FreeBSD (based on community feedback).

Congratulations to all involved in reaching this important milestone! We’re looking forward to more good news from the FreeBSD on Hyper-V team going forward.

Doug Mahugh
Senior Technical Evangelist
Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

Categories: FreeBSD, Hyper-V, Open Source, Windows Server Tags:

A New Milestone For Openness On Windows Azure

June 6th, 2012 No comments

Today Bill Laing, Corporate VP for Server and Cloud, announced a very important set of Windows Azure updates. With these new updates, Windows Azure is more than ever an open and easy platform to build and run applications in the cloud, and the place to be for developers who want to have choice and flexibility.

I am proud to say that Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. has been working closely with the Windows Azure team and it has been a great journey together, exploring openness and taking interoperability to a new level. There is too much news in this release to cover in a single blog post, and I strongly suggest everyone attend the Meet Windows Azure event tomorrow, when Scott Guthrie and many others will provide a lot of additional information. At the same time, I would like to spend the next few paragraphs on some of the many facets of openness in Windows Azure, to further demonstrate how Windows Azure is living in interesting and exciting times.

Services and Partnerships

For one, I have to point out how all-encompassing the Windows Azure platform is becoming. We will talk in a minute about the support for IaaS, but I would like to draw your attention to how the Windows Azure platform has now announced a set of partnerships that will provide very compelling data services such as MySQL, CouchDB, and Apache Solr.

Those services can be enjoyed by PaaS and IaaS developers and come from the leading industry experts in the field: Microsoft is partnering with leading companies such as Cleardb, Cloudant and Lucid Imagination to provide true data-as-a-service and enable developers and customers to build applications at scale without the worry of provisioning and maintaining their databases. At the same time we and our partners addressed the needs of those who prefer to run software independently in their own PaaS and/or IaaS instances, providing easy installation packages of Windows Azure-optimized versions of Apache CouchDB and Apache Solr. Last but not least, we worked with 10gen to improve the installation experience of MongoDB on Windows Azure that was originally announced in December, and we are looking forward to building a great experience for Windows Azure MongoDB users. 

More importantly, both Microsoft and our partners are committed to always maintain full compatibility with the underlying Open Source applications so that our customers can always rest assured their data will work everywhere. With these technologies joining the existing pool of Windows Azure SQL Database and Apache Hadoop, Windows Azure is leading by leaps and bounds when it comes to data.

OSS on Windows Azure

If Windows Azure databases are now a few clicks away, applications are far from being out in the cold. The announcement of Windows Azure Web Sites – a hosting framework for Web apps that will work across both Windows Azure and private-cloud datacenters – unveils amazing opportunities to run popular Open Source applications in Windows Azure: be it WordPress or Drupal, Joomla or Umbraco, DotNetNuke or PHPBB, or one of the many apps in the Web Sites gallery, it has never been easier to deploy applications on the Windows Azure platform. And I can’t wait for developers to try the new releases of the Windows Azure open source SDKs (now including Python in addition to .NET, Java, PHP and Node.js) as well as the integration with Git.

We are also releasing a major update to the Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java (by Microsoft Open Technologies that includes a number of user feedback-driven improvements. Among them is a significantly revamped deployment experience contributed by GigaSpaces Technologies Ltd, an established leader in helping enterprises move their Java applications to the cloud, who has recently joined in the development work behind the plugin. Their impressive “publish to cloud” wizard makes it much easier for Windows Azure developers working with Java to deploy their projects to the Windows Azure cloud directly from Eclipse. Read the more detailed blog post from Martin Sawicki that covers the Eclipse plugin in more detail.

Last but not least, you probably have noticed the upcoming support for IaaS, Virtual Machines and Linux. I believe this move demonstrates how Windows Azure is built around what customers are asking for and with the idea of being the most inclusive platform ever. Customers are demanding high degrees of flexibility and want to be able to run every possible scenario in a seamless fashion: there are very interesting examples of hybrid private/public clouds out there, not to mention a number of creative contaminations of IaaS, PaaS and data services. We are most definitely moving away from monolithic architectures – customers and developers today want and deserve flexibility.

Linux on Windows Azure

Enabling use of Linux on Windows Azure is a key piece of the puzzle, and needs to be as easy as possible. As with data services, it’s all about strong partnerships with industry leaders: this is why you are seeing Windows Azure partnering with major Linux publishers to provide an amazing experience, and I’m sure this will be a very exciting and ongoing story. On top of that I have to note how partners like BitRock are doing very interesting work to provide more choice: two initial Linux images are available for Bitnami, and we look forward to extending the catalog much further.

Allow me to make a final example of openness and talk about the Windows Azure Command Line Tools for Mac and Linux (the ones Windows Azure users will run on local machines to deploy and manage their Windows and Linux virtual machines): not only they are Open Source, but they are available right now for Mac and Linux clients. And this is just the beginning – stay tuned for more exciting news.

Openness and Interoperability

When a journey reaches an important milestone it’s good to look back and think about the road so far: in my case I went as far as two years ago, when we shared our view on Interoperability Elements of a Cloud Platform. Back then we talked to customers and developers and came out with an overview of an open and interoperable cloud, based on four distinct elements: data portability, standards, ease of migration & deployment and developer choice. We have been laser focused on the quest for an interoperable and flexible cloud platform that would enable heterogeneous workloads, and it’s really rewarding to see how today’s announcement maps nicely to the vision that we outlined back then. More precisely:

  • A lot of efforts have been spent on data portability with great results. Allow me to remind you how on Windows Azure your data is either a JSON/XML call away or in any case available through open interfaces (think of JDBC/ODBC support for SQL Database, as an example). Working on open interfaces really pays off when I think of how our partners have been able to build data solutions (MySQL, Hadoop, Solr, CouchDB, MongoDB) that can run either as a service or as independent workloads. Our customer own their data, and this is near and dear to our hearts.
  • When it comes to standards Windows Azure has one of the most complete API layers around, exposed as REST, XML, OData, Atompub, JSON and others. We are working with standard bodies such as IETF, OASIS and DMTF to ensure that important topics such as identity and management in the cloud are exposed as standard-based APIs, and we have been proactive proponents of important standard efforts such as AMQP and OData among others.
  • Ease of migration & deployment is a key factor when building a cloud platform that preserves existing investments and enables co-existence between on-premise software and cloud services. I see a lot of progress in this area, as an example when I think of the work we have been doing to provide our Java customers and developers with a much improved Eclipse experience, while at the same time providing to everyone the flexibility of FTP and Git to deploy and manage applications. Windows Azure Web Sites is also a great example of how easy deployment can be in the cloud, putting your favorite applications (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, PHPBB and many others) just one click away. While at it, you may want to check out our step-by-step instructions for running Magento.
  • And finally, developer choice, defined as the possibility to use a variety of development tools, runtime and languages. Here we have five SDKs layered on top of a standard APIs, covering .NET, Java, PHP, Python and Node.js. We support the widest possible variety of workloads: be it PaaS or IaaS, be it Windows or Linux, be it public, private or hybrid. We are working with Open Source communities and with leading vendors to provide the best of breed in applications and data services. No matter what your workload is, Windows Azure will be a great home for it.

I have broken every promise I made to myself to keep this post short, yet I barely managed to scratch the surface of this announcement. I have in front of me the plan for the upcoming weeks and I know it will be busy times for this and many other blogs in Microsoft as there is so much to share. It will all start tomorrow at the Meet Windows Azure event: be there!

OSBC 2012: Advancing Interoperability in the Cloud

May 21st, 2012 No comments

At the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco today, Sandy Gupta, the General Manager for Microsoft’s Open Solutions Group, along with Alan Clark, Director of New Initiatives and Emerging Standards for Open Source at SUSE, announced the release of a beta version of the SUSE Manager Management Pack for System Center.

In a blog post, Gupta said the announcement, which was made in collaboration with SUSE, lets this management pack connect the Linux server management capabilities provided by SUSE Manager to System Center, Microsoft’s management platform.

“As a result, customers will be able to administer both Windows and Linux environments from a single management console,” he said.

Gupta positioned the management pack as one example of the work Microsoft is doing to advance interoperability for private clouds. You can try the Linux management capabilities this management pack provides for System Center here.

“On the public cloud front, there’s extensive work going on across the company to facilitate interoperability between Microsoft and open source cloud tools and services. One of the most exciting examples of this comes from the SQL Server Team — the Hadoop-based service for Windows Azure, for which Microsoft released a second preview last month,” he said.

This solution for managing “big data,” connecting it and turning it into business insight, is a prime example of the type of value customers want to realize as a result of leveraging open source and Microsoft software together, he noted.

You can read his full blog post here.

FreeBSD to run as a first-class guest on Windows Server Hyper-V

May 11th, 2012 No comments

Today, at BSDCan 2012, Microsoft and partners NetApp and Citrix announced upcoming native support for FreeBSD support on Windows Server Hyper-V.

This move continues our commitment to extend support across platforms to the Windows Server Hyper-V solution, making it easier for more customers to realize the benefits of server virtualization and more easily adopt cloud computing.

This will allow FreeBSD to run as a first-class guest on Windows Server Hyper-V. The drivers and associated source code will be released early this summer under the BSD license, and will initially work with FreeBSD 8.2 and 8.3 on Windows Server 2008 R2.

You can read more about this on the Openness blog.

Joe CaraDonna, the Technical Director of Core Operating Systems at NetApp, says in an interview that he was thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Microsoft and Citrix to deliver Windows Server Hyper-V support to FreeBSD.

“I think the combination of these virtualization technologies helps round-out the FreeBSD virtualization story, and makes the FreeBSD operating system a more compelling offering.”

He also notes how committed Microsoft is to open source initiatives: “we decided from the very beginning that we were going to open source the code under the BSD license. No strings attached. They were as eager as us to support the project, and then give the code away. How cool is that?”

You can read the full interview here.

Here’s to the first release from MS Open Tech: Redis on Windows

April 26th, 2012 No comments

The past few weeks have been very busy in our offices as we announced the creation of Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. Now that the dust has settled it’s time for us to resume our regular cadence in releasing code, and we are happy to share with you the very first deliverable from our new company: a new and significant iteration of our work on Redis on Windows, the open-source, networked, in-memory, key-value data store.

The major improvements in this latest version involve the process of saving data on disk. Redis on Linux uses an OS feature called Fork/Copy On Write. This feature is not available on Windows, so we had to find a way to be able to mimic the same behavior without changing completely the save on disk process so as to avoid any future integration issues with the Redis code.

The version we released today implements the Copy On Write process at the application level: instead of relying on the OS we added code to Redis so that some data structures are duplicated in such a way that Redis can still serve requests from clients while saving data on disk (thus achieving the same effect of Fork/Copy On Write does automatically on Linux).

You can find the code for this new version on the new MS Open Tech repository in GitHub, which is currently the place to work on the Windows version of Redis as per guidance from Salvatore Sanfilippo, the original author of the project. We will also continue working with the community to create a solid Windows port.

We consider this not to be production ready code, but a solid code base to be shared with the community to solicit feedback: as such, while we pursue stabilization, we are keeping the older version as default/stable on the GitHub repository. To try out the new code, please go to the bksavecow branch.

In the next few weeks we plan to extensively test the code so that developers can use it for more serious testing. In the meantime, we will keep looking at the ‘save on disk’ process to find out if there are other opportunities to make the code perform even better. We will promote the bksavecow branch to master as soon as we (and you!) are confident the code is stable.

Please send your feedback, file suggestions and issues to our GitHub repository. We look forward to further iterations and to working with the Redis community at large to make the Windows experience even better.

Claudio Caldato

Principal Program Manager

Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

A subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation.