Thursday, November 27, 2008

ActiveSync and IIS Logs

In checking our own SBS box this morning, I noticed that, over time, we've been losing around 60 MB/day or so o drive space on C:. This has never been an issue as we have ample free space, but I finally had a little time so looked further into it.

So, running TreeSize Free I noticed that C:\WINDOWS\system32\LogFiles\W3SVC1 had a size nearing 20 GB which was a little more than it should be. This W3SVC1 folder is where IIS logs activity for the Default website (the one running the Exchange web services (such as OWA and ActiveSync) and various other features of SBS 2003. What's been happening is that as we have regular ActiveSync access to our SBS box, we've been generating a lot of log action due to the default IIS settings in SBS basically logging everything and its dog. (All up, this logging isn't a bad thing as it allows us to retrospectively look at the logs and see what's been happening, or alternately run active filtering of these logs to see what's happening now.)

I've been thinking about writing a little IIS Log Roll script to handle this automagically, but have not yet done this - I'm wondering if I should dedicate a little time to this so that we can move and zip each day's log file (by default, these are in an uncompressed folder) off the C: drive/partition to a data/Tech location elsewhere on the server.

Anyway, as a heads up, if you notice capacity on the SBS C: drive/partition slowly fading away and you have a number of activesync/owa users on this server, then keep an eye on this folder and the size of the log files it contains.


The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sanity Prevails in SBS 2008 Premium

With all of the comments that have been freely flowing about the shortsightedness of SBS 2008 Premium Edition allowing you to downgrade the SQL 2008 Standard to SQL 2005 Standard but refusing to let you downgrade the second server instance to Windows Server 2003 Standard whilst leaving the primary server running SBS 2008, it appears that we *have* been able to move the mountain - and we moved it well.

Not only can the second Windows Server license in SBS 2008 be used for WS2K8 Standard x64 or x86 (as originally released), it can now be used with WS2K3 Standard x64 or x86 (have a read of this and scroll down to the "Component compatibility for maximum flexibility" section) as an alternative.

As an added bonus, this is also applicable to the "Premium" components in EBS - that can run on WS2K8 or WS2K3 now, with this amendment to the original license conditions.

(By now I mean as of 2nd January through the Solutions Pathway.)

Remember, SQL 2008 Standard was always able to be downgraded (in SBS 2008) to SQL 2005 Standard, however this alternative is now also available to EBS 2008 clients.

So, proof that Microsoft does listen to reason. :) Thanks to The Wayne for the heads up on this.


The Outspoken Wookie

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Novell's SBS Competitor

Novell Open Workgroup Suite Small Business Edition (NOWS SBE) has been around for a number of years now (in various guises), but there's some rather good news about it that has just been announced - as of December 3, 2008, the NOWS SBE Starter Pack will be available, and this comes with 5 Licenses free - that's right - your first 5 users on a NOWS SBE solution will be free.

I have a feeling this is in direct response to Microsoft's over the top price hike on SBS 2008 as compared to SBS 2003, but I cannot confirm this.

Anyway, have a read of this announcement made on November 3, 2008 for more information on this offer.

For sites where there's no need for an MS SQL database, it looks like NOWS SBE may be an extremely affordable, extremely viable solution that will provide a good, solid server for your clients. This is something I'll have to look further into and I'll report my findings back here.


The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, November 14, 2008

SBS 2008 CALs

There's been a lot of talk about SBS 2008 CALs, maybe, maybe too much talk. SBS 2008 CALs are available, as were SBS 2003 CALs, in 5- and 20-pack SKUs and in addition to this they are also available as single CAL SKUs. That's good, because with the significant increase in the price of SBS 2008 over SBS 2003, we need to have something that our smaller clients can see as a benefit! :)

Eric Ligman blogged about the SBS 2008 Open Value and Open Value Subscription CALs here. That blog post is missing information about Open Business Licensing SKUs, which is available on the distributors' price lists as I write this blog. Unfortunately, as there's no spreadsheet nor simple list I can find, I'm not going to spend an hour or more clicking on each option to get its SKU, however I can say that on the Ingram Micro website, these are all listed (single CAL SKUs only, however) under Licensing, Microsoft, MS Windows Small Business CAL, and with Express Data, you need to contact ED Licensing to get information and pricing on any Licensing quoues.

So, as a quick summary, SBS 2008 OEM is available with 5 CALs and there are OEM 5-CAL Standard and OEM 5-CAL Premium packs available (as a Device CAL pack or a User CAL Pack). Open Business Licensing CALs (Standard and Premium) are available from the distys in single SKU, 5- and 20-pack SKUs. And don't forget, an SBS 2008 CAL Standard can be used on both SBS 2008 Standard and SBS 2008 Premium systems if the user has no need to access SQL, however if they need to access the SQL component of SBS 2008 Premium, then (and only then) do they need an SBS 2008 CAL Premium.

If the Standard/Premium CAL bit is not clear enough, let me know and I'll write a blog entry to better clarify this.


The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pretty Sure This Holds The Record

MS08-068 was released on November 11th, 2008. There was an exploit published on 21 March, 2001 by Sir Dystic of cDc that attacked this vulnerability. That was when Windows 2000 was current, yet the vulnerable code made it successfully into the Windows XP (1), Windows Server 2003 (2), Windows Vista (3) and Windows Server 2008 (4) operating systems that were released after Microsoft was made aware of this vulnerability.

That's 4 completely new OS releases that contained known-vulnerable and actively exploited code.


Does this patch hold the world record for delay since notification and correction? 2792 days. 7 years, 7 months and 21 days. A record to stand the test of time, I wonder? :)


The Outspoken Wookie

Did Microsoft And Sun Kiss And Make Up?

I seem to recall a few years ago, when Sun introduced Java as being a cross-platform product, that Microsoft decided to License this and then distribute their own Microsoftized version that was not cross-platform compatible with the rest of the Java platform, and then Sun suing Microsoft and successfully having them remove from distribution the Microsoft bastardized Java VM. Microsoft was far from being happy about this and Sun, I'd say, was elated.

Now, after the complete balls up that Steve Ballmer made when pursuing the Yahoo acquisition attempt which is now (finally) dead, he needed a new best friend, and it was to Jonathan Schwartz, the CEO and President of Sun that he seems to have turned.

Sun and Microsoft have come to some sort of arrangement whereby Sun, who's well known and despised for the amount of crap it tries to shove down people's throats when they download updates to the Java Runtime (which, by the way, as of Sun JRE 6U10, finally removes old versions during the install instead of leaving these carcasses on your system), will now shove the MSN Toolbar onto unsuspecting visitors. OK, it will likely be an optional download (that's enabled by default) like the recent Google Toolbar and Installer rubbish that Sun pushed onto people (not that I think is rubbish, quite the contrary, however pushing it on someone wanting to download Java is rubbish), but it is still annoying that I have to unselect optional crap when downloading something I want to download.

Anyway, this is an interesting development in the bedroom antics of the major players. :)


The Outspoken Wookie

Saturday, November 08, 2008

SBSC LiveMeeting Series: Score Big with the SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 Launch!

This is an SBSC-exclusive LiveMeeting session. Go here to register for this webcast.

SBSC LiveMeeting Series: Score Big with the SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 Launch!

Start Time:
November 13, 2008 4:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)
60 Minutes
Start Date:
November 13, 2008 4:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Event Overview
Please join us for this upcoming webcast that will explore resources and tools for helping Canadian technology partners capitalize on the SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 Launch. This is available exclusively for the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC).

Top 5 Reasons to Attend:
· It’s a New Season! See for yourself the marketing materials to get out there and create excitement
· Training Camps! Find out about all of the training & readiness options available to you
· Power Play! Learn about the sales resources available to score those first few deals!
· Hat Tricks! Hear from your peers about successful strategies for getting SMB customers to adopt these new server solutions
· Shoot-outs! Dazzle your customers with the right demos

Who should attend?
· Microsoft Small Business Specialists
· Business Decision Makers

SBSC LiveMeeting Series: Score Big with the SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 Launch! Event ID: 1032385774

Friday, November 07, 2008

SBS Software Assurance

As there have been a few questions surrounding SBS Software Assurance of late, I'll post a list of the basic options you have - basic insofar as I'm not listing all possible options, just the most common ones. As this is read by everyone, I'll post SKUs and RRP pricing - you can order these from Ingram Micro and Express Data.

The prices are for SBS Standard and Premium Software Assurance, and as for the CALs, these are all 5-Packs (to keep in line with any people buying SBS 2003 OEM now and wanting to add SA) for Open Business, No Level. If you don't know what that means, then you need to get along to a little bit of MS Licensing training. ;)

Microsoft SKUDescriptionRRP exRRP inc
T75-00156SBS Premium SA (5 Client)$1342.73$1477.00
T72-00123SBS Standard SA (5 Client)$  770.00$  847.00
6VA-01638SBS Prem User CALs 5 Pack$  669.09$  736.00
6VA-01635SBS Prem Device CALs 5 Pack$  669.09$  736.00
6UA-02182SBS Std User CALs 5 Pack$  272.73$  300.00
6UA-02179SBS Std Device CALs 5 Pack$  272.73$  300.00


The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Cletus finally ate his dinner

After feeding Remy and Colette (my two Jungle Pythons) the last of their fuzzy rats on Tuesday evening, I dropped past Pet City and picked up a pack of 5 to tide me over for a while. I got back home after a few onsite jobs and saw that Colette was perched on a vine looking out for more food, so I thawed out one of the fuzzies and thought that I'd try tempting Cletus with a little snack, and if he wasn't interested, I'd feed it to Colette.

Well, Cletus knew I was up to something - he smelled a rat. And about 1/10 second after he smelled it, it was in his mouth and being coiled upon. He then proceeded to eat the fuzzy. I did a little RatSnak dance.

Finally, I got him to eat something - he's been here about 2 months now and hasn't been interested in the slightest the two times I've tried to feed him - he sniffed, looked, licked, and then moved away. I even placed the rat on some newspaper on the basking platform and he coiled up next to it, paying it no attention whatsoever.

So this was a good start - a fuzzy to Cletus is like a half a small Chokito to us, but I thought this would get him in the mood, and I'd feed him a weaner rat on Saturday. Simon suggested that whilst he's in the mood I should quickly thaw a weaner and try that, and as he's had more experience at this than I have, I thawed a weaner.

Well, the weaner lasted a little longer - probably 2 or 3 seconds. Cletus had obviously finished his Redneck Fast - maybe because Barack Obama is replacing Dubya in the Whitehouse, maybe for other reasons. It took another 4 minutes or so for him to swallow the weaner. I did a bigger Cletus ate frozen/thawed rats dance. It felt good! :)

So, now I'm wondering what I do for food. Do I breed rats or continue to by frozen for now? As the Jungles grow, they'll need more rats and bigger rats, as will Cletus. Maybe breeding some here has merits...


The Outspoken Wookie

Yet Another RealPlayer Vulnerability

My second least favorite streaming format, Real, has yet another vulnerability made public in its RealPlayer product. Aside from it being basically spyware, that is. is a vid about the vulnerability.


The Outspoken Wookie

Borked WHS Key in MAPS

In the October MAPS shipment which should be arriving in the very near future, WHS is included. Unfortunately, no-one thought to test the key(s) that were shipped out with this product and they/it doesn't work. So, the January MAPS shipment will contain functional keys, however if you want to be able to use WHS before late January 2009, I suggest you ring 13 20 58 (Australia), choose Option 4 and ask for a valid key.


The Outspoken Wookie

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Plantronics Discovery 925

I've used a few Bluetooth earpieces over the years, and know a number of people who've used a lot of others. I've also spoken to a number of people using various Bluetooth earpieces. Most of them suck. Most of them are difficult to hear on the part of the user and/or the person on the other end of the connection. Normally both. Most of them need to be steam rollered.

However, the Plantronics Discovery 925 (and please note that I'm not being paid by Plantronics in any way) is an order of magnitude better than anything else I've used. At least. Probably more. When I'm using it, I can hear who's talking to me. They can hear me. It manages to remove almost all road and other ambient noise so the other person can hear me clearly, and I can clearly hear what they are saying (depending on what they are talking into, obviously).

Another thing I *really* like about this unit is that it somes with its own protective case - how many times have you dropped your BT earpiece in the floor well of the car and then picked it up and stuck it in your ear? How safe do you think that really is? Well, no more will you have to worry about ear infections - the Discovery 925 has a nice little pouch that - wait for it - has a battery in it. That's right. At no extra cost, the Plantronics Discovery 925 has its own battery, a backup battery/charger, and this can all be charged from your USB port.

Wow - I wonder if we can get Plantronics Steak Knives for only a dollar?

If you're looking at a new Bluetooth earpiece, get one of these. if you're not, then get one anyway - your clients will thank you for it.


The Outspoken Wookie

Windows Server 2008 Enterprise for SBSCs

OK, now I'll repeat a question I've asked before, but bring it a little more up to date.

Who here thinks that having WS2K8 Ent available via the SBSC Kit for all SBSCs (or even in MAPS for all subscribers) is sensible? Yeah, me too. Microsoft is now starting to understand what Virtualization is all about. Starting to. Yet we receive WS2K8 Standard in MAPS, which is nearly useless for trialling Virtualization scenarios for our clients/ourselves. Having WS2K8 Ent would mean that we could actually run a number of the different server applications we receive in MAPS that cannot be run on the same server instance due to incompatibilities and/or performance issues. It just makes sense that we're given the ability to actually use the software provided in MAPS, not given it and then need to purchase additional server licenses to make decent use of it.

I brought this up in the WS2K3 days and had a reasonable number of people agreeing that this would allow them to better be equipped to sell a) the software they receive in MAPS and b) virtualization scenarios to their clients, but nothing seems to have been done about this inside Microsoft (well, nothing positive).

So, hands up those who'd be able to benefit from WS2K8 Ent and likely increase the quantity of Microsoft product they'd be able to sell.


The Outspoken Wookie

Outlook and Hotmail

Now, I'm not a big fan of Hotmail (nor any of the other free email services such as Gmail, etc) however for those emergency "I need to get acces to an external email account for testing" situations, Hotmail is as good as the rest of them. And a while back, you could access your Hotmail accounts through Outlook, then Microsoft stopped this. Now they've allowed it again. is the Microsoft Outlook Connector for Windows Live Hotmail (which is what Hotmail's now known as).

I hope this is useful to someone!


The Outspoken Wookie