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The Future of Microsoft Windows Server 2016: File Server, Datacenter, and Cloud

Microsoft’s server line saw a major shift with the launch of Windows Server 2016. From a file server running MS-DOS on an IBM PC, to a fully functioning data centre, the transformation began. Microsoft is now all about the cloud, which is covered extensively in our Windows Server Training.
The 80s
In 1989, Microsoft was still a strong partnership with IBM in the server space. Both giants worked together to make the 32-bit OS/2 operating software run on Intel X86 processors. This was before Intel. In the late 80s, servers had around 4 MB of main storage, 60 MB of disk drive, and one 80386/80486 chip. Imagine that.
The 1990s and 2000s
Microsoft began building rack-scale servers in 1992 with Windows for Workgroups 3.1. In 1993, Microsoft launched Windows for Workgroups 3.11. Windows NT 3.1 was released in July 1993. It was a breakthrough with its 32-bit kernel, which could run on SGI MIPS, Intel Itanium and IBM PowerPC.
This launch gave Microsoft a solid base to take over the Unix vendors’ data center in the mid-1980s. Microsoft made a huge splash by hiring Dave Cutler, the inventor of VMS operating systems, in 1988.
Learn how to become a security expert with SPOTO’s Cybersecurity Training
Start training. Cutler was responsible for the design of the Windows NT Kernel and other Windows Servers. Microsoft has produced many other milestones in the server space since then, including:
Windows Server NT4 — suitable for the masses (SMBs).Windows Server 2000 — enterprise (
Windows Server 2008 — datacenter
Windows Server 2012 — Leaning to the Cloud
Windows Server 2016 — virtualization, hybrid cloud

The highly-anticipated Microsoft Windows Server 2016
Microsoft made a bold statement when it eased the transition to the cloud using Windows Server 2016. Microsoft made a bold statement by making it easier to transition to the cloud with Windows Server 2016. This creates a hybrid offering.
It also comes with container formats that can easily be deployed wherever a company needs them. Microsoft recognizes the hybrid cloud and has made it a reality. This applies to all businesses, regardless of whether they are ready to go fully-cloud or need to take cautious steps to comply with regulatory requirements.
Additionally, operators can update resources across the hybrid cloud with the flexibility that comes from unified DevOps management and management. Users are protected and managed regardless of what application they use. Windows Server 2016 is designed for clients of all sizes.
SATA-based Disk-on-Modules
Microsoft announced support for SATADOM boots drives in future Windows Server 2016 updates at the end of August 2017. These boot drives are cost-saving because they only use one chip and plug into a server’s motherboard.
This results in a higher storage density. Microsoft wants to continue to allow storage sharing via multiple nodes, which is normally achieved with a SAN. However, you still need a drive to start and SD cards can’t handle the capacity.
The Future
There are always new iterations. Microsoft wants more people to join the Azure platform. Automation is one way to do this. Windows Server 2016 was a gentle way to embrace the cloud, but the future is oriented toward a server management model that emphasizes the infrastructure.
It is best to handle identical servers in one unit. This is particularly important for companies that manage thousands of servers. Windows Server 2016 is a bridge between traditional server management and an automated future. Instead of managing each server individually you can look at and work on the whole system.
Take a look at the Server Manager dashboard instantly creating groups of servers

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The Five Nines: How High Availability Uptime Can Be Measured

You will need to be aware of uptime and availability, no matter if you are a veteran professional or a newbie to networking. These are the most important metrics that customers, vendors, as well as competitors, pay attention to. These statistics are often misunderstood and can lead to costly mistakes that could result in significant financial losses.
The “watermelon effect” is a dangerous way to look at metrics. This is where a service provider meets the specified thresholds (green outside), but provides a lower level of service than the customer desires (red inside).
You may have heard of the Five Nines. This is a measure of how much availability or uptime there is compared to periods of unavailability and downtime. Let’s look at the definitions of each of these metrics and how they are calculated. We’ll also discuss what type of availability and uptime your business might require.
What is the difference between availability and uptime?
Although availability and uptime are often used interchangeably they refer to two distinct concepts. The measure of system reliability, uptime is usually expressed as a percentage time that a computer, server or system has been available or working for use. However, availability refers to the likelihood that a system will function as needed during a mission period. Even more important is availability when your team works remotely.
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Start trainingUptime is a backward looking metric. It measures how reliable the system has been over a given period of time, usually a year. However, it can vary. Although it can be inferred that uptime is an indicator for availability, it is not a guarantee. This is crucial when evaluating service-level agreements (SLAs), with a service provider. While a guarantee of uptime is a confirmation of past performance, it does not guarantee what will happen in future.
The following algorithm is used to calculate operational availability:

These terms are used in the equation:
OT = Operating Time per Calendar Year
ST = Standby Time
TPM = Total preventive maintenance per calendar year
TCM = Total Corrective Maintenance Time per Calendar Year
ALDT = Administrative and logistic delay time while waiting for parts, maintenance personnel or transportation per calendar-year

Operating time (when the system is being used) and standby (when the system is not being used) are equal to the total time that the system is available. The sum of these two numbers is divided into OT and ST, plus preventive & corrective maintenance, administrative and logistic delays. The closer a system is to achieving 100% operational availability, the lower its TPM, TCM and ALDT.
What are the Five Nines?
There are many levels of availability. These are often called The Nines. The most popular is the Five Nines level (99.999%). Here are a few of the most frequently-encountered nine levels.

“Five nines uptime” refers to a system that has been in operation or in standby for 99.999% of the year. This is a total of all but five minutes and 16 seconds over the entire 365 days. This chart shows the various measurements and how much downtime was experienced over the past year.

It is easy to see the importance of those numbers to the right decimal place. A server with a 99 percent uptime rate is still down for almost 88 hours every year. This can quickly add up, as the average downtime cost for a business is $163674 per hour.
Why are the Five Nines Important
This is a key metric when assessing the level of service provider SLA. The lower the number of nines, you are less likely to experience downtime.

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The Feedback Imperative [Book Review]

(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
I have received a lot of feedback just today. An online purchase gave me an indication of how far I was in the process. My Kindle app used my reading speed to calculate how long it would take me to finish the book. My solicitor sent me a letter asking me to fill out a feedback form regarding a transaction they had just completed for me. Feedback is everywhere.
Managers prefer to fire or manage people who aren’t able to be ‘fixed’ by feedback. Many of your younger team members expect feedback more often than their older counterparts. It’s one of Millennial’s defining traits. However, I don’t like stereotyping a whole generation. She overlooks the best feedback methods for older team members. I guess they have to accept the change in management style from one that is feedback-heavy, even if it isn’t their thing.
It’s still a great read. The Feedback Imperative is a book that explains why talking leads to better results. It is a coaching model that shows how to give feedback to staff without annoying them.
Feedback: A definition
Anna Carroll writes that feedback is information from past actions that is used to guide future actions. “The movement from past to future information is called a feedback loop.” Anna Carroll continues, “The usefulness and utility of feedback are dependent on the accuracy of the information collected.”
Hence, why not give it?
Feedback can be difficult
I am not the best at giving feedback. It’s even more difficult in virtual teams because some messages are better when you’re face-to-face. Carroll’s observation that managers in all areas don’t give enough feedback is true. She cites several reasons for this.
We have lost sight of the value of feedback.
We are too busy
It’s not something we’re taught to do and it doesn’t come easily.
We are afraid to say something wrong and end up in court
We believe that our amazing employees are self-directed and take responsibility for their own learning so they don’t need it.

Carroll says that managers are reluctant to tell the truth to their employees.
I’d also add the unique role of project managers: As we don’t generally have line management responsibility over our team members, it doesn’t feel like it’s our responsibility to provide feedback.
How feedback can impact your project’s success
Carroll reports that more than 65% of people said that their performance review feedback contained unexpected findings. Surprises are bad, regardless of whether the review is done by you or their manager. Your sponsor wouldn’t be surprised because it would likely cause them panic. It happens to team members who get unexpected feedback at their appraisals: it upsets them.
Carroll states that this is part of the reason people leave their jobs. If you are at a critical stage in your project, then people leaving is not good. Your team doesn’t want to be left guessing if they are doing a great job. They want to know. She writes:
Managers must help employees make sense of and prioritize all information they receive and answer the burning question, “How am I doing at work and what can I do to improve?”
Get ready for every day feedback
This book is a large part of how to prepare for everyday feedback. It’s the kind of comment that you make to someone after a meeting, when they have presented well. This book is not about performance reviews and formal feedback sessions that are restricted by policies or processes. This is the type of feedback project managers should give their team frequently.
“Everyday feedback is more powerful than performance review, because you can tap into it.”

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Project Management is Dead

Bryan BarrowThis guest post is by Bryan Barrow.
After many years, we seem to have finally gotten over our obsession with zombies. Again.
It’s not the first and it won’t the last time that zombie movies are made, each time bringing new generations into its clutches.
Every time we have a discussion about project leadership versus project management, I am reminded of the movie “Zombieland”.
I am not referring to the mental state or the outcome of an argument. Rather, it refers to the fact that even though you think the discussion is over, the argument can re-ignite.
You know that the best way to kill a zombie, is to smash it on the head. Here’s my attempt to end the debate.
Project management is a branch of management that deals with the process of transformation. It involves the orchestration and coordination of people and resources through a series activities, tasks, and processes to bring about change from one state to another.
We are open to all industries, regardless of their industry.
Projects can be temporary, regardless of how long it takes.
People can come and go throughout the life of a project. However, the project is not meant to last forever.

Leadership is a branch of management that deals with the development, nurturing, and use of influence to motivate others towards a goal or end.
Leadership can be described in many ways, but it is most commonly associated with power, influence and campaigning.
The manager is responsible for guiding people towards the vision of the leader.
The leader may describe a future state; the manager organizes resources and teams to achieve that state.
Managers work to ensure that the leader announces a change of direction.
The leader may outline a strategy and the manager will ensure that it is implemented successfully.

These are three reasons why project management and project leadership debates will never die.
1. Failure to execute strategy can be viewed as a problem in project management
First, businesses face a major problem with how to implement strategies. This is the number one challenge for business leaders. It’s easy for them to create a strategy, but much more difficult to execute it.
Somewhere, there is something wrong between vision and execution. Many see it as a failure of project management to deliver strategy.
I disagree. It’s not the project management that is lacking, it’s how the environment in which projects are run that needs to be improved.
2. Leadership potential must be developed, not systems and tools.
Second, project managers must be able to lead. Project managers must be skilled leaders if they are to influence and motivate people. They cannot just be successful administrators.
Too much of the discussion about project management skills is still rooted within hard skills and techniques: scheduling, risk management, budgeting, planning.
Instead, it should focus on the skills that are essential for leadership: visioning, goal-setting and listening, speaking, collaboration, supporting and reinforcing, coaching, mentoring and coaching.
3. Vision and direction are more important than speedy delivery.
Third, project team members need to be able to lead themselves at an individual level.
It is gone days when you could only work for one company your entire working life. The structures and support that once provided a career and car for a lifetime have been lost.

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Bullying at Work: The Cost

(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
This is a guest article written by Paul Paul Pelletier, LL.B., PMP
Paul PelletierBullying is good for business.
For a moment, let’s forget about the moral, ethical, and ethical reasons why workplace bullying should be stopped. Let’s instead focus on the financial incentives, ROI, and profits.
The key to unlocking an organizational response is to concentrate on the wider business impacts that could affect the bottom line, reduce program and project success, or cause havoc within the employee ranks. Simply put, ending bullying is good for business.

Bullying at work costs billions
Making the business case for ending workplace bullying
Workplace bullying: A definition
Who is bullied?
What are the effects of bullying?
Work interactions that aren’t bullying
The cost of workplace bullying
Human resource impact
Legal costs
Reputation and executive job security
Profits, share values, and clean up
Customers and clients


Bullying at work costs billions
The statistics are clear and irrefutable–workplace bullying is costing businesses billions of dollars annually.
A bully can create a short-term benefit, such as a project being completed on time and within budget, or a unit that is in a better place, but there are long-term negative business effects that far outweigh any temporary gains.
Patricia Barnes, a judge and lawyer who has written extensively on workplace bullying, said that workplace bullying is the “single greatest preventable and unnecessary expense” on a company’s register.
Making the business case for ending workplace bullying
Before we can start a conversation with our companies about why bullying is bad for business, it is important to have the right information so that we can be convincing and credible with our corporate executives, organizational leaders, and board members.
To tackle the problem like project managers, we must have a strong, evidence-based business case. This should include a costs/benefits analysis as well as convincing needs analysis.
We need to have a clear understanding about bullying (and not), proof that it is a growing problem, and irrefutable information regarding the financial consequences of bullying. A return on investment should highlight the opportunity-cost of not acting and clearly demonstrate that taking action pays economic dividends for the organization.
Workplace bullying: A definition
First, we must clearly define and articulate workplace bullying.
Workplace bullying refers to the mistreatment of one or several people (the targets) by one/more perpetrators. It is a targeted, systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction. These actions are repetitive, disrespectful, and intentional and are always done for the bully’s advantage. It has nothing to do work.
However, the bully can cause serious economic and productivity problems.
The Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute(WBI) defines workplace bullying as “repeatedly, health-harming maltreatment, verbal abuse or conduct which is intimidating, threatening, embarrassing, or sabotage that hinders work or some combination thereof.” I have written an article about bullying in project management. Workplace bullying can be divided into three types.
aggressive communication
Manipulation of work

Who is bullied?
Bullying at work can affect anyone, but it is most common in the top performers. Their work is affected, which has an impact on the success of the project.
What are the effects of bullying?
Bullying targets often change how they work in relation to their offenders and their organization. We found out how people react to bullying through a WBI survey of 800 managers and employees from 17 industries.

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New Training: Introduction to CMMC

Learn the basics of the new CMMC, and prepare to be certified with Bob Salmans, a new SPOTO trainer.
Cybersecurity Maturity model Certification was released in January to help organizations in the defense industrial base supply chains protect sensitive data. CMMC certification is required for organizations that wish to bid on contracts that contain Federal Contract Information (FCI), or Controlled Unclassified Information.
This entry-level training, which consists of 44 videos, covers topics such as:
The five maturity levels in the CMMC model
Security policies and procedures
Understanding security controls and risk
Preparing for an Audit
Set up an open-source SIEM
Hunting for threats

Organizations must also pass an independent third-party audit of security controls and suppliers as part of CMMC certification. Bob’s training will teach you how to prepare for and manage audits.
About the Trainer
SPOTO is proud to have Bob’s seven-years of IT training experience. When he joined the United States Navy, his interest in technology grew and he was assigned to a role as a network engineer. Salmans holds many IT certifications, including CCSP and CCSP, GPEN CISA, CISM, CISM, CCNA Security, CCSP, CCSP, CCSP, CCSP, CCSP, CCSP, CCSP, GPEN and CISA. Before joining CBTN, Salmans was a security team leader at a managed services provider.
Are you not a SPOTO subscriber yet? Start your week-long free trial now.
SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.

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New Training: Infrastructure Testing using PowerShell and Pester Testing Framework

SPOTO trainer Trevor Sullivan demonstrates how Pester can be used to monitor infrastructure in this 9-video DevOps training.
This is the new PowerShell training.
Pester is an open-source testing framework for PowerShell. Although its primary purpose is to test PowerShell code unit, it can also serve as a generic testing framework.
You can document your environment by applying a test-driven model to infrastructure monitoring. You can also infer intent from the contents of a test set. Your infrastructure tests can be stored as code to allow you to version control, track changes over time and easily revert any changes that cause problems.
These are some examples of automated infrastructure testing:
Ping default gateway with less than “X” milliseconds response
Monitor for HTTP 200 OK status code on a production website
Make sure firewall rules aren’t modified on managed routers
Make sure cloud costs are not out of control

You can use similar techniques to monitor infrastructure in other situations, using a test-driven approach.
This SPOTO skill will teach you how to make sure the Pester module on your system is up-to date and how to write Pester test. We will be focusing on how to implement simple assertions that validate that ping responses times are below a certain threshold. PowerShell will also be used to validate and perform performance testing against HTTP endpoints.
This training includes:
9 videos
1 hour of training

You can watch a video from the series here:

Learn Pester to monitor infrastructure today!
Are you not a SPOTO subscriber yet? Start your week-long free trial now.
SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.

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New Training: Information gathering and vulnerability scanning for penetration testing. In this intermediate training video, Shawn Powers, SPOTO trainer, covers the knowledge security professionals need to gather sufficient information about a target system, and perform effective vulnerability scans. This will make your penetration tests more effective. There are many tools available to professionals in cybersecurity to protect a network or system. Penetration testing is the most powerful and versatile tool to find any weaknesses or vulnerabilities in a network so that they can be fixed before they are exploited. Without adequate information, a penetration tool will not be useful. Without gathering information about the network and systems, planning a penetration test is like embarking on a road trip with no map or destination. This Information Gathering & Vulnerability Scanning Training for Penetration Testing gives you the tools to prepare a successful test. This five-part series covers topics like leveraging both passive as active information gathering, identifying and how to import it, and analyzing data streams for pertinent information. This training covers: Understanding ICS and SCADA, Using Open Source Intelligence to Gather Information, Handling Scanning Permissions, Scanning Considerations. It also includes 29 videos. Watch a video. Here’s more information about vulnerability scans from the SPOTO blog: Vulnerability Scanning, Penetration Tests vs. Vulnerability scans: What’s the Difference? 10 Best Tools for Pen Testing Get started with vulnerability scans today! Download

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New Training: InfluxDB Essentials

This eight-video video training by SPOTO trainer Trevor Sullivan teaches data analysts the knowledge they need to install, configure, and manage InfluxDB to meet data retrieval requirements that require high availability, time series data.
This is the InfluxDB training.
Understanding and using InfluxDB is all about time. A time series database is essential for storing and retrieving event logs from multiple applications, especially in the Internet of Things. You’ll be lost among the many thousands and thousands of events that occur over different time periods.
Time series solutions are essential for data analysts who work in organizations or on projects that deal with time series issues. InfluxDB is the best solution right now. This training will familiarize you with the operation of InfluxDB and the Go framework that it is built on.
This one-part series covers topics like optimizing your databases to high-availability storage, retrieval, and collecting, analyzing, and visualizing time-series data. It also identifies ideal use cases for InfluxDB.
You can watch a video from the series here:

This series includes the following skills:
Get Started with InfluxDB Systems Monitoring

This training covers the following topics:
InfluxDB Client for Python allows you to ingest data
What is InfluxDB?
InfluxDB allows you to configure alerts and notifications
Learn the Primitive Concepts of InfluxDB
Review and Call to Action

This training includes:
1 hour of training
Eight videos

Learn InfluxDB now!
Are you not a SPOTO subscriber yet? Start your week-long free trial now.
SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.

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New Training: Implementing Secure Networks, Clouds, and Mobile Solutions

This 72-video entry-level training by SPOTO trainer Keith Barker teaches you the knowledge systems administrators need in order to plan, design, and implement standard solutions to secure your company’s network and cloud infrastructure.
This is the new Cyber Security training.
Maintaining a minimum level of security on the devices they are responsible for is one of the core job requirements of a systems administrator. While a systems administrator is not necessarily the best or last line of defense for keeping their network, cloud, and mobile operations secure, there are many simple steps that any sysad could take to ensure they run smoothly and securely. This Secure Network, Cloud and Mobile Solutions training will help you understand the responsibilities of a system administrator in maintaining a healthy level security hygiene.
The nine-part series covers topics like user authentication while ensuring BYOD capabilities and monitoring and managing corporate-supplied devices. It also provides oversight for common social engineering hacking techniques.
You can watch a video from the series here:

This training includes:
Training for 10 hours
72 videos

Cyber Security is now!
Are you not a SPOTO subscriber yet? Start your week-long free trial now.
SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.