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Because it’s Friday: Principles and Values

Latest Microsoft Data Platform News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 14:45

Most companies publish mission and vision statements, and some also publish a detailed list of principles that underlie the company ethos. But what makes a good collection of principles, and does writing them down really matter? At the recent Monktoberfest conference, Bryan Cantrill argued that yes, they do matter, mostly by way of some really egregious counterexamples.

That's all from the blog for this week. We'll be back on Monday — have a great weekend!

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

Update Rollup for Configuration Manager Current Branch 1710 is now available

Latest Microsoft Server Management News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 14:44

An update rollup for System Center Configuration Manager current branch, version 1710, is now available. This update is available for installation in the Updates and Servicing node of the Configuration Manager console. Please note that if the Service Connection Point is in offline mode, you must re-import the update so that it is listed in the Configuration Manager console. Refer to the Install in-console Updates for System Center Configuration Manager topic for details.

For complete details regarding the update rollup for ConfigMgr current branch v1710, including the list of issues that are fixed, please see the following:

4057517Update rollup for System Center Configuration Manager current branch, version 1710 (https://support.microsoft.com/help/4057517)
Categories: Latest Microsoft News

Registration and talk proposals now open for useR!2018

Latest Microsoft Data Platform News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 14:45

Registration is now open for useR! 2018, the official R user conference to be held in Brisbane, Australia July 10-13. If you haven't been to a useR! conference before, it's a fantastic opportunity to meet and mingle with other R users from around the world, see talks on R packages and applications, and attend tutorials for deep dives on R-related topics. This year's conference will also feature keynotes from Jenny Bryan, Steph De Silva, Heike Hofmann, Thomas Lin Pedersen, Roger Peng and Bill Venables. It's my favourite conference of the year, and I'm particularly looking forward to this one.

This video from last year's conference in Brussels (a sell-out with over 1,1000 attendees) will give you a sense of what a useR! conference is like:

The useR! conference brought to you by the R Foundation and is 100% community-led. That includes the content: the vast majority of talks come directly from R users. If you've written an R package, performed an interesting analysis with R, or simply have something to share of interest to the R community, consider proposing a talk by submitting an abstract. Most talks are 20 minutes, but you can also propose a 5-minute lightning talk or a poster. If you're not sure what kind of talk you might want to give, check out the program from useR!2017 for inspiration. R-Ladies, which promotes gender diversity in the R community, can also provide guidance on abstracts. Note that all proposals must comply with the conference code of conduct.

Early-bird registrations close on March 15, and while general registration will be open until June my advice is to get in early, as this year's conference is likely to sell out once again. If you want to propose a talk, submissions are due by March 2 (but early submissions have a better chance of being accepted). Follow the links below to register or submit an abstract, and I look forward to seeing you in Brisbane!

useR! 2018: Registration; Abstract submission

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

Cumulative Update #10 for SQL Server 2014 SP2

Latest Microsoft Data Platform News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 12:28

The 10th cumulative update release for SQL Server 2014 SP2 is now available for download at the Microsoft Downloads site. Please note that registration is no longer required to download Cumulative updates.
To learn more about the release or servicing model, please visit:

 

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

Webinar: Modernize your applications with cloud and on-premises data solutions from Microsoft

Latest Microsoft Data Platform News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 10:00

Customers today demand the latest innovations in every solution you deliver. How can you make sure your data infrastructure not only keeps up, but drives innovation?

Data is the core of modern applications. Two key trends that help organizations extract the most from their data are the adoption of cloud technologies and the ability to drive new customer experiences with artificial intelligence. Organizations that modernize and harness data, cloud, and AI outperform their competition and are becoming leaders in their field. The most digitally transformed enterprises earn an additional $100 million in operating income!

Join our speakers Claudia Backus, Prem Prakash, and Frederico Rezende for a webinar on how you can transform your applications and enable new customer experiences using the Microsoft data platform.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • How to leverage the performance, security and flexibility of the entire Microsoft database portfolio from SQL Server 2017 and Azure SQL Database to open-source databases like Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL.
  • How to accelerate your move towards a cloud-based application with the new Azure Database Migration Service.
  • How the Microsoft Data Accelerator program can help you modernize your apps across on-premise and cloud.

Register now for this webinar to find out how Microsoft can help you successfully transform your existing applications and ultimately become a SaaS provider with cloud technologies.

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

Deep Learning & Computer Vision in the Microsoft Azure Cloud

Latest Microsoft Data Platform News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 09:00

This is the first in a multi-part series by guest blogger Adrian Rosebrock. Adrian writes at PyImageSearch.com about computer vision and deep learning using Python, and he recently finished authoring a new book on deep learning for computer vision and image recognition.

Introduction

I had two goals when I set out to write my new book, Deep Learning for Computer Vision with Python. The first was to create a book/self-study program that was accessible to both novices and experienced researchers and practitioners — we start off with the fundamentals of neural networks and machine learning and by the end of the program you’re training state-of-the-art networks on the ImageNet dataset from scratch. My second goal was to provide a book that included:

  • Practical walkthroughs that present solutions to actual, real-world deep learning classification problems.
  • Hands-on tutorials (with accompanying code) that not only show you the algorithms behind deep learning for computer vision but their implementations as well.
  • A no-nonsense teaching style that cuts through all the cruft and helps you on your path to deep learning + computer vision mastery for visual recognition.

Along the way I quickly realized that a stumbling block for many readers is configuring their development environment — especially true for those wanted to utilize their GPU(s) and train deep neural networks on massive image datasets (such as ImageNet). Of course, some readers may not want to invest in physical hardware and instead utilize the cloud where it’s easy to spin-up and tear-down instances. I spent some time researching different cloud-based solutions. Some of them worked well, others either outright didn’t work as claimed or involved too much setup.

When Microsoft reached out to me to take a look at their Data Science Virtual Machine (DSVM), I was incredibly impressed.

The DSVM included TensorFlow, Keras, mxnet, Caffe, CUDA/cuDNN all out of the box, pre-configured and ready to go. Best of all, I could run the DSVM on a CPU instance (great if you’re just getting started with deep learning) or I could switch to a GPU instance and seamlessly watch my networks train order of magnitudes faster (excellent if you’re a deep learning practitioner looking to train deep neural networks on larger datasets). In the remainder of this post, I’ll be discussing why I choose to use the DSVM — and even adapted my entire deep learning book to run on it.

Why I like Microsoft’s Data Science Virtual Machine


Microsoft’s Data Science Virtual Machine (DSVM) runs in the Azure cloud and supports either Windows or Linux (Ubuntu). For nearly all deep learning projects I recommend Linux; however, there are some applications where Windows is appropriate — you can choose either. The list of packages installed in the DSVM is complete and comprehensive (you can find the full list here), but from a deep learning + computer vision perspective you’ll find:

  • TensorFlow
  • Keras
  • mxnet
  • Caffe/Caffe2
  • Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit
  • Torch
  • OpenCV
  • Jupyter
  • CUDA/cuDNN
  • Python 3

Again, the complete list is very extensive and is a huge testament to not only the DSVM team for keeping this instance running seamlessly, but also to Microsoft’s desire to have their users utilize and even enjoy working in their environment. As I mentioned above you can run the DSVM in either CPU only or one or more GPUs.

Once you have your DSVM up and running you’ll find many sample Jupyter notebooks for various machine learning, deep learning, and data science projects. These sample Jupyter notebooks will help you get up and running and familiarize yourself with the DSVM. If you prefer not to use Juptyter Notebooks you can also access your DSVM instance via SSH and VNC.

To spin up your first DSVM instance (including a free $200 credit) you’ll want to follow this link: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/free/.

I recommend reading through the DSVM docs as well. Finally, be sure to read through the Tips, Tricks, and Suggestions section of this post, where I discuss additional advice and hacks you can use to better your experience with the DSVM.

Your First Convolutional Neural Network

I have put together a Jupyter Notebook demonstrating how to train your first Convolutional Neural Network using the following toolset:

  • Python (2.7 and 3).
  • TensorFlow.
  • Keras.

You can find the Jupyter Notebook here:


Note: Make sure (1) you install Jupyter Notebooks on your local system or (2) use a DSVM instance to open the notebook.

Inside the notebook you’ll learn how to train the classic “LeNet” architecture to recognize handwritten digits:


And obtain over 98% classification accuracy after only 20 epochs:


Be sure to take a look at the Jupyter Notebook for a full explanation of the code and training process.

I also want to draw attention to the code associated with this tutorial is the exact same code that I used when writing Deep Learning for Computer Vision with Python — with only two modifications:

  1. Using %matplotlib inline to display plots inside the Jupyter Notebook.
  2. Swapping out argument parsing for using a built-in Python args dictionary.

There are no other required changes to the code, which again is a huge testament to the DSVM team.

Tips, Tricks, and Suggestions

In this section I detail some additional tips and tricks I found useful when working with the DSVM. Some of these suggestions are specific to my book, Deep Learning for Computer Vision with Python, while others are more general.

Additional Python Packages

I installed both imutils and progressbar2 in the DSVM once it was up and running:

$ sudo /anaconda/envs/py35/bin/pip install imutils $ sudo /anaconda/envs/py35/bin/pip install progressbar2

The imutils library is a series of convenience functions used to make basic image processing and computer vision operations easier using Python and the OpenCV library.

The progressbar2 package is used to make nice progress bars when running tasks that take a long time to complete (such as building and packing an image dataset).

Updating MKL

I ran into a small issue when trying to work with the Intel Math Kernel Library (MKL):

Intel MKL FATAL ERROR: Cannot load libmkl_avx2.so or libmkl_def.so. Process ForkPoolWorker-14: Process ForkPoolWorker-12: Process ForkPoolWorker-13:


This was resolved by running the following command to update the mkl package:

$ sudo /anaconda/envs/py35/bin/conda update mkl -n py35

Avoiding Accidental ResourceExhaustedError

When leaving your Jupyter notebook open/running for long periods of time you may run into a ResourceExhaustedError when training your networks.

This can be solved by inserting the following lines in a cell at the end of the notebook:

%%javascript Jupyter.notebook.session.delete();

Command Line Arguments and Jupyter Notebooks

Many deep learning and machine learning Python scripts require command line arguments…

…but Jupyter notebooks do not have a concept of command line arguments.

So, what do you do?

Inside Deep Learning for Computer Vision with Python I made sure all command line arguments parsed into a built-in Python dictionary.

This means you can change command line argument parsing code from this:

# construct the argument parse and parse the arguments ap = argparse.ArgumentParser() ap.add_argument("-i", "--image", required=True,     help="path to input image")

To this:

args = {     "image": "/path/to/your/input/image.png" }

Here we have swapped out the command line arguments for a hard-coded dictionary that points to the relevant parameters/file paths. Not all command line arguments can be swapped out so easily, but for all examples in my book I opted to use a Python dictionary to make this a near seamless experience for Jupyter notebook users.

SSH and Remote Desktop

You can access your Azure DSVM via SSH or remote desktop.

If you opt for remote desktop make sure you install the X2Go Client as discussed in the DSVM docs.

If you’re using macOS, make sure you install XQuartz as well.

Where to Next?

In this post you learned about the Microsoft Data Science Virtual Machine (DSVM). We discussed how the DSVM can be used for deep learning, and in particular, how the code from my book and self-study program, Deep Learning for Computer Vision with Python can executed on the DSVM. My goal when writing this book was to make it accessible to both novices and experienced researchers and practitioners — I have no doubt that the DSVM facilitates this accessibility by removing frustration with deep learning development environment configuration and getting you up and running quickly. If you’re interested in learning more about the Microsoft Data Science Virtual Machine, be sure to click here.

Once you’re up and running with the DSVM take a look at my deep learning book — this self-study program is engineered from the ground up to help you master deep learning for computer vision (you’ll also find more detailed walkthroughs of LeNet and other popular network architectures, including ResNet, SqueezeNet, GoogLeNet, VGGNet, to name a few).

Stay tuned for my next post in this series, where I will share my experience and tips for running more advanced deep learning techniques for computer vision on the Data Science Virtual Machine.

Adrian
Twitter: @PyImageSearch | LinkedIn: Adrian Rosebrock

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

ConfigMgr Current Branch – Software Update Delivery Video Tutorial

Latest Microsoft Server Management News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 16:13

The release of Windows 10 brought with it a change in the way updates are released – updates are now cumulative.  Since the release of Windows 10 this same cumulative update approach has been adopted for the remainder of supported operating systems.  While this approach has significant advantages there still remains some confusion about what it all means. 

The video linked below was prepared by Steven Rachui, a Principal Premier Field Engineer focused on manageability technologies.  In this session, Steven talks through the changes, why the decision was made to move to a cumulative approach to updating, how this new model affects software updating, how the cumulative approach is applied similarly and differently between versions of supported operating systems and more.

Next in the series, Steven will discuss Windows Update for Business and its integration with Configuration Manager.

Posts in this Series
Categories: Latest Microsoft News

Microsoft R Open 3.4.3 now available

Latest Microsoft Data Platform News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 15:45

Microsoft R Open (MRO), Microsoft's enhanced distribution of open source R, has been upgraded to version 3.4.3 and is now available for download for Windows, Mac, and Linux. This update upgrades the R language engine to the latest R (version 3.4.3) and updates the bundled packages (specifically: checkpoint, curl, doParallel, foreach, and iterators) to new versions. 

MRO is 100% compatible with all R packages. MRO 3.4.3 points to a fixed CRAN snapshot taken on January 1 2018, and you can see some highlights of new packages released since the prior version of MRO on the Spotlights page. As always, you can use the built-in checkpoint package to access packages from an earlier date (for reproducibility) or a later date (to access new and updated packages).

MRO 3.4.3 is based on R 3.4.3, a minor update to the R engine (you can see the detailed list of updates to R here). This update is backwards-compatible with R 3.4.2 (and MRO 3.4.2), so you shouldn't encounter an new issues by upgrading. 

We hope you find Microsoft R Open useful, and if you have any comments or questions please visit the Microsoft R Open forum. You can follow the development of Microsoft R Open at the MRO Github repository. To download Microsoft R Open, simply follow the link below.

MRAN: Download Microsoft R Open

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

Cumulative Update #7 for SQL Server 2016 SP1

Latest Microsoft Data Platform News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 13:37

The 7th cumulative update release for SQL Server 2016 SP1 is now available for download at the Microsoft Downloads site. Please note that registration is no longer required to download Cumulative updates.
To learn more about the release or servicing model, please visit:

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

The January release of SQL Operations Studio is now available

Latest Microsoft Data Platform News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 11:00

This blog post was authored by Alan Yu, Program Manager, Microsoft SQL Server.

We are excited to announce the January release of SQL Operations Studio is now available.

Download SQL Operations Studio and review the release notes to get started. SQL Operations Studio is a data management tool that enables you to work with SQL Server, Azure SQL DB, and SQL DW from Windows, macOS, and Linux. To learn more, visit our Github.

SQL Operations Studio was announced for public preview on November 15, 2017 at Connect(), and this January release is the second major update since the announcement. If you missed the December release announcement, you can learn more on the SQL Server blog.

The January release includes several major repo updates and feature releases, including:

  • Enable the HotExit feature to automatically reopen unsaved files.
  • Add the ability to access saved connections from Connection Dialog.
  • Set the SQL editor tab color to match the Server Group color.
  • Fix the broken Run Current Query command.
  • Fix the broken pinned Windows Start Menu icon.

For a complete list of updates, please refer to the release notes.

HotExit feature

A highly requested feature for SQL Operations Studio is to remember unsaved changes when the program is exited, similar to VSCode and other editors. We are excited to announce that HotExit has been enabled as demonstrated in the GIF above. SQLQuery2 represents an unsaved query, and the user can quit SQL Operations Studio and simply reload it again to retain the unsaved query.

This feature is not enabled by default. To enable HotExit by default, go to Settings with Ctrl + , and  copy “files.hotExit”: “onExit” into your settings.

Saved connections available in Connection Dialog

The Connection Dialog now contains a “Saved Connections” tab next to “Recent Connections”. This contains a list of saved server connections from the server’s “Object Explorer” viewlet, as well as the Server Group.

SQL editor tab color to match Server Group color

SQL query editor and dashboard windows will have the same color as the Server Group used to open the window. This feature is not enabled by default. To enable Tab Colors by default, go to Settings with Ctrl + , and  copy “sql.enableTabColors”: true into your settings.

Contact us

If you have any feature requests or issues, please submit them to our Github issues page. For any questions, feel free to comment below or tweet us @sqlopsstudio.

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

Watch: The Endpoint Zone with Brad Anderson [1801]

Latest Microsoft Server Management News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 11:00

The Endpoint Zone with Brad Anderson is a great (and fun!) way to get a deep dive into what’s happening right now in enterprise mobility and modern workplace. Brad Anderson (CVP, Enterprise Mobility Management) and Simon May (Principal Program Manager) explore the trends they’ve seen in the last month by working closely with customers.

In this episode, Brad and Simon discuss major stories of 2017, usage growth of Intune and Configuration Manager, new Intune features released in December, predictions for 2018, and more.

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

Oracle Health Sciences Study Reveals Top Challenges and Opportunities for RTSM/IRT Solutions

Latest Oracle Database News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 06:00
Press Release Oracle Health Sciences Study Reveals Top Challenges and Opportunities for RTSM/IRT Solutions Study of clinical trial professionals involved in RTSM/IRT reveals poor integration with other clinical platforms, slowness to build, and inability to support study changes as top issues

Redwood Shores, Calif.—Jan 17, 2018

Oracle Health Sciences today announced the results of a new study, conducted in partnership with Informa Engage, which reveals the top challenges and frustrations for clinical trial professionals with current Randomization and Trial Supply Management/ Interactive Response Technology (RTSM/IRT) systems, as well as opportunities for improvement. Among the many findings, the study revealed the top three challenges in RTSM/IRT for over 70 percent of respondents: integration with other platforms, slowness to build, test and deploy new trials, and lack of flexibility and inability to support study changes.

Clinical trials are known for being complex and lengthy, and trial set up can account for a large portion of the time. Exploring the reasons for delay, the study found that 92% of respondents reported having to make changes to their RTSM/IRT systems due to study changes, and on an average of two times per study. Given these results, it’s no wonder that over half of the respondents believe they could conduct more trials if they were able to leverage self-service capabilities to build new trials and make mid-study changes on their own.

In addition, the survey revealed that the most anticipated change in RTSM/IRT within the next five years is the integration of IRT into the eClinical platform, followed by accelerated trial builds, and completely self-service solutions, which reflects a desire for the top current challenges to be addressed in the next generation of RTSM/IRT platforms.

“When you’re developing software to help people with a specific business process, such as clinical research, it’s important to stay in tune with the market to ensure you’re always innovating to address their top challenges and delighting them with a solution that makes their job easier,” said Steve Rosenberg, general manager, Oracle Health Sciences. “The findings from this research confirm the pain points that we address with our new Clinical One Randomization and Supplies Management Cloud Service and that we are aligned with what the market wants in a modern RTSM/IRT solution.”

Oracle recently announced Oracle Clinical One, a cloud-based eClinical environment that is intended to redefine the way technology supports clinical research. Its first module, Clinical One Randomization and Supplies Management, was designed with self-service in mind, enabling clinical teams to design, validate and deploy a study in days with the click of a button, effectively addressing the issues identified in this study.

The study, whose goal was to identify the top challenges facing users of RTSM/IRT solutions, highlights many of the issues important to clinical operations and trial management professionals. Data was gathered via an online survey completed by 254 professionals in clinical operations, trial management and related functional areas with direct involvement in both Clinical Trial Operations and RTMS/IRT solutions.

** Images from Informa Engage October 2017 Oracle Health Sciences Survey

Contact Info Valerie Beaudett
Oracle
+1 650.400.7833
valerie.beaudett@oracle.com Christina McDonald
Burson Marsteller
+1 516.603.2445
christina.mcdonald@bm.com About Oracle

The Oracle Cloud offers complete SaaS application suites for ERP, HCM and CX, plus best-in-class database Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) from data centers throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), please visit us at www.oracle.com.

Trademarks

Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Talk to a Press Contact

Valerie Beaudett

  • +1 650.400.7833

Christina McDonald

  • +1 516.603.2445

Follow Oracle Corporate

Categories: Latest Oracle News

Oracle Health Sciences Study Reveals Top Challenges and Opportunities for RTSM/IRT Solutions

Latest Oracle Press Releases - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 06:00
Press Release Oracle Health Sciences Study Reveals Top Challenges and Opportunities for RTSM/IRT Solutions Study of clinical trial professionals involved in RTSM/IRT reveals poor integration with other clinical platforms, slowness to build, and inability to support study changes as top issues

Redwood Shores, Calif.—Jan 17, 2018

Oracle Health Sciences today announced the results of a new study, conducted in partnership with Informa Engage, which reveals the top challenges and frustrations for clinical trial professionals with current Randomization and Trial Supply Management/ Interactive Response Technology (RTSM/IRT) systems, as well as opportunities for improvement. Among the many findings, the study revealed the top three challenges in RTSM/IRT for over 70 percent of respondents: integration with other platforms, slowness to build, test and deploy new trials, and lack of flexibility and inability to support study changes.

Clinical trials are known for being complex and lengthy, and trial set up can account for a large portion of the time. Exploring the reasons for delay, the study found that 92% of respondents reported having to make changes to their RTSM/IRT systems due to study changes, and on an average of two times per study. Given these results, it’s no wonder that over half of the respondents believe they could conduct more trials if they were able to leverage self-service capabilities to build new trials and make mid-study changes on their own.

In addition, the survey revealed that the most anticipated change in RTSM/IRT within the next five years is the integration of IRT into the eClinical platform, followed by accelerated trial builds, and completely self-service solutions, which reflects a desire for the top current challenges to be addressed in the next generation of RTSM/IRT platforms.

“When you’re developing software to help people with a specific business process, such as clinical research, it’s important to stay in tune with the market to ensure you’re always innovating to address their top challenges and delighting them with a solution that makes their job easier,” said Steve Rosenberg, general manager, Oracle Health Sciences. “The findings from this research confirm the pain points that we address with our new Clinical One Randomization and Supplies Management Cloud Service and that we are aligned with what the market wants in a modern RTSM/IRT solution.”

Oracle recently announced Oracle Clinical One, a cloud-based eClinical environment that is intended to redefine the way technology supports clinical research. Its first module, Clinical One Randomization and Supplies Management, was designed with self-service in mind, enabling clinical teams to design, validate and deploy a study in days with the click of a button, effectively addressing the issues identified in this study.

The study, whose goal was to identify the top challenges facing users of RTSM/IRT solutions, highlights many of the issues important to clinical operations and trial management professionals. Data was gathered via an online survey completed by 254 professionals in clinical operations, trial management and related functional areas with direct involvement in both Clinical Trial Operations and RTMS/IRT solutions.

** Images from Informa Engage October 2017 Oracle Health Sciences Survey

Contact Info Valerie Beaudett
Oracle
+1 650.400.7833
valerie.beaudett@oracle.com Christina McDonald
Burson Marsteller
+1 516.603.2445
christina.mcdonald@bm.com About Oracle

The Oracle Cloud offers complete SaaS application suites for ERP, HCM and CX, plus best-in-class database Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) from data centers throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), please visit us at www.oracle.com.

Trademarks

Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Talk to a Press Contact

Valerie Beaudett

  • +1 650.400.7833

Christina McDonald

  • +1 516.603.2445

Follow Oracle Corporate

Categories: Latest Oracle News

Survey: Local Users and Groups on Windows Server in AD domains

Latest Microsoft Server Management News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 17:48

Hey folks, Ned here again. We need to understand how or if you still use local security principals on Windows Server in Active Directory environments. Come take a 60 second survey:

https://aka.ms/LocalSecurity1

 

Ned “this survey is weird, right?” Pyle

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

Software Update Video Tutorial Series

Latest Microsoft Server Management News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 17:34

I’m pleased to announce that over the next few days, Steven Rachui, a Principal Premier Field Engineer focused on manageability technologies will be sharing a video tutorial series here about software updates.  His topics will be:

  • ConfigMgr Current Branch – Software Update Delivery
  • ConfigMgr Current Branch – Windows Update for Business
  • ConfigMgr Current Branch – Express Updates

We invite you to tune in and enjoy.  Leave us your comments if you would like to see more of these in the future.

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

A simple way to set up a SparklyR cluster on Azure

Latest Microsoft Data Platform News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 15:02

The SparklyR package from RStudio provides a high-level interface to Spark from R. This means you can create R objects that point to data frames stored in the Spark cluster and apply some familiar R paradigms (like dplyr) to the data, all the while leveraging Spark's distributed architecture without having to worry about memory limitations in R. You can also access the distributed machine-learning algorithms included in Spark directly from R functions. 

If you don't happen to have a cluster of Spark-enabled machines set up in a nearby well-ventilated closet, you can easily set one up in your favorite cloud service. For Azure, one option is to launch a Spark cluster in HDInsight, which also includes the extensions of Microsoft ML Server. While this service recently had a significant price reduction, it's still more expensive than running a "vanilla" Spark-and-R cluster. If you'd like to take the vanilla route, a new guide details how to set up Spark cluster on Azure for use with SparklyR.

All of the details are provided in the link below, but the guide basically provides the Azure Distributed Data Engineering Toolkit shell commands to provision a Spark cluster, connect SparklyR to the cluster, and then interact with it via RStudio Server. This includes the ability to launch the cluster with pre-emptable low-priority VMs, a cost-effective option (up to 80% cheaper!) for non-critical workloads. Check out the details at the link below.

Github (Azure): How to use SparklyR on Azure with AZTK

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

River Island Creates Single View of Inventory with Oracle Retail Planning

Latest Oracle Database News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 06:00
Press Release River Island Creates Single View of Inventory with Oracle Retail Planning Fashion Retailer Aligns Planning Practices Across its Business Models

NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE – New York—Jan 16, 2018

Today, Oracle announced that River Island deployed Oracle Retail Merchandise Financial Planning to support their Omnichannel growth and digital transformation. River Island operates a global portfolio of over 320 stores across the UK and Ireland and internationally throughout Asia, the Middle East and Europe. With a global footprint and multiple web, franchise and wholesale operations River Island required new tools to make more accurate and impactful inventory decisions for continued growth.

River Island had the vision and courage to become an Omnichannel retailer before it was vogue. River Island operates an award-winning online fashion retail site, employs one of the biggest in-house design teams on the British high street and maintains a deep commitment to nurturing new talent which have enabled the brand to become one of the most successful fashion retailers in the UK. As River Island experienced continued growth in the UK and internationally they understood the value and necessity of a single view of order and inventory to scale their business.

“We knew that Omnichannel was the future and had to make a strategic move. We partnered with Oracle to get there. A single view of inventory is the key to fulfilling demand and operating more effectively,” said Doug Gardner, Chief Information Officer, River Island. “Through this transformation, we needed to change the way our business worked. People had to come together and properly go through the design of the implementation.”

As an early adopter of Omnichannel planning, River Island partnered very closely with the Oracle Retail Consulting team to align towards business objectives correctly. Together, River Island established more-consistent and accurate planning processes to better understand how merchandise was performing across channels.

“Sometimes you have to have the courage to level set in the middle of an implementation. You want to get it right because you need a foundation to operate with going forward,” said Gardner. “By implementing Oracle Retail Merchandise Financial Planning correctly, we are now about to evaluate profitability, reduce markdowns and follow a single version of the truth for the whole business.”

“In our 2017 global consumer research ‘Retail in 4 Dimensions,’ we found that 43% of consumers are now shopping both online and in-store every week. The multichannel shopper spent nearly twice as much as a single channel shopper this fall. River Island took notice of these trends early and shifted their strategies to be more nimble and agile in the face of shifting consumer demands,” said Ray Carlin, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Oracle Retail. “Retail has advanced at an unprecedented pace with an evolution of strictly brick and mortar retail to a complex Omnichannel world where purchasing online and collecting orders how, where and when one wants has become the standard.”

Contact Info Matt Torres
Oracle PR
+1.415.595.1584
matt.torres@oracle.com Oracle Retail at NRF 2018

Oracle Retail will be showcasing the full suite of Oracle Retail solutions and cloud services at the National Retail Federation Big Show Jan. 14-16, 2017, in New York City at the Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center. Oracle Retail will be located at booth #3521. For more information check out: www.oracle.com/retail

About Oracle Retail

Oracle provides retailers with a complete, open, and integrated suite of best-of-breed business applications, cloud services, and hardware that are engineered to work together and empower commerce. Leading fashion, grocery, and specialty retailers use Oracle solutions to anticipate market changes, simplify operations and inspire authentic brand interactions. For more information, visit our website at www.oracle.com/retail.

About Oracle

The Oracle Cloud offers complete SaaS application suites for ERP, HCM and CX, plus best-in-class database Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) from data centers throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), please visit us at www.oracle.com.

Trademarks

Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Talk to a Press Contact

Matt Torres

  • +1.415.595.1584

Follow Oracle Corporate

Categories: Latest Oracle News

River Island Creates Single View of Inventory with Oracle Retail Planning

Latest Oracle Press Releases - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 06:00
Press Release River Island Creates Single View of Inventory with Oracle Retail Planning Fashion Retailer Aligns Planning Practices Across its Business Models

NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE – New York—Jan 16, 2018

Today, Oracle announced that River Island deployed Oracle Retail Merchandise Financial Planning to support their Omnichannel growth and digital transformation. River Island operates a global portfolio of over 320 stores across the UK and Ireland and internationally throughout Asia, the Middle East and Europe. With a global footprint and multiple web, franchise and wholesale operations River Island required new tools to make more accurate and impactful inventory decisions for continued growth.

River Island had the vision and courage to become an Omnichannel retailer before it was vogue. River Island operates an award-winning online fashion retail site, employs one of the biggest in-house design teams on the British high street and maintains a deep commitment to nurturing new talent which have enabled the brand to become one of the most successful fashion retailers in the UK. As River Island experienced continued growth in the UK and internationally they understood the value and necessity of a single view of order and inventory to scale their business.

“We knew that Omnichannel was the future and had to make a strategic move. We partnered with Oracle to get there. A single view of inventory is the key to fulfilling demand and operating more effectively,” said Doug Gardner, Chief Information Officer, River Island. “Through this transformation, we needed to change the way our business worked. People had to come together and properly go through the design of the implementation.”

As an early adopter of Omnichannel planning, River Island partnered very closely with the Oracle Retail Consulting team to align towards business objectives correctly. Together, River Island established more-consistent and accurate planning processes to better understand how merchandise was performing across channels.

“Sometimes you have to have the courage to level set in the middle of an implementation. You want to get it right because you need a foundation to operate with going forward,” said Gardner. “By implementing Oracle Retail Merchandise Financial Planning correctly, we are now about to evaluate profitability, reduce markdowns and follow a single version of the truth for the whole business.”

“In our 2017 global consumer research ‘Retail in 4 Dimensions,’ we found that 43% of consumers are now shopping both online and in-store every week. The multichannel shopper spent nearly twice as much as a single channel shopper this fall. River Island took notice of these trends early and shifted their strategies to be more nimble and agile in the face of shifting consumer demands,” said Ray Carlin, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Oracle Retail. “Retail has advanced at an unprecedented pace with an evolution of strictly brick and mortar retail to a complex Omnichannel world where purchasing online and collecting orders how, where and when one wants has become the standard.”

Contact Info Matt Torres
Oracle PR
+1.415.595.1584
matt.torres@oracle.com Oracle Retail at NRF 2018

Oracle Retail will be showcasing the full suite of Oracle Retail solutions and cloud services at the National Retail Federation Big Show Jan. 14-16, 2017, in New York City at the Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center. Oracle Retail will be located at booth #3521. For more information check out: www.oracle.com/retail

About Oracle Retail

Oracle provides retailers with a complete, open, and integrated suite of best-of-breed business applications, cloud services, and hardware that are engineered to work together and empower commerce. Leading fashion, grocery, and specialty retailers use Oracle solutions to anticipate market changes, simplify operations and inspire authentic brand interactions. For more information, visit our website at www.oracle.com/retail.

About Oracle

The Oracle Cloud offers complete SaaS application suites for ERP, HCM and CX, plus best-in-class database Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) from data centers throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), please visit us at www.oracle.com.

Trademarks

Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Talk to a Press Contact

Matt Torres

  • +1.415.595.1584

Follow Oracle Corporate

Categories: Latest Oracle News

Single Host Shielded VMs Lab/PoC

Latest Microsoft Server Management News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 10:04

Hi, Matthew Walker again. Virtualization and High Availability PFE. Recently I worked with a few of my co-workers to present a lab on building out Shielded VMs and I thought this would be useful for those of you out there wanting to test this out in a lab environment.

First a little backstory on Shielded VMs and why you would want to use them.

Shielded VMs are new for Windows Server 2016, and in a production environment they can only be run on Windows Server 2016 Datacenter Edition. Shielded VMs, when properly configured, use Bitlocker to encrypt the drives, prevent access to the VM using the VMConnect utility, encrypt the data when doing a live migration, as well blocking the fabric admin by disabling a number of integration components, this way the only access to the VM is through RDP to the VM itself. With proper separation of duties this allows for sensitive systems to be protected and only allow those who need access to the systems to get the data and prevent VMs from being started on untrusted hosts. More information on Shielded VMs can be found at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/virtualization/guarded-fabric-shielded-vm/guarded-fabric-and-shielded-vms-top-node

In my position I frequently have to demo or test in a number of different configurations so I have created a set of configurations to work with a scripted solution to build out labs. The solution is available on GitHub at https://aka.ms/labbuilder , in addition I have a fork of this at https://aka.ms/mwlabbuilder . At the moment there are some differences between the two and only my fork will work with the configurations I have. The configurations that I have created are at https://aka.ms/shieldedvmspoc.

Now, to setup your own environment I should lay out the specs of the environment I created this on.

I7 6820HQ 4 core Proc with Hyper-Threading enabled

32 GB of RAM

500 GB SSD to run VMs from (SSD is really important, the Disk IO load caused can have a negative effect on these VMs, and may cause failures on spinning drives.)

Windows Server 2016 with the latest cumulative update as the host.

(All of the above is actually a Hyper-V VM running on my Windows 10 system, I leverage nested virtualization to accomplish this, some of my configs require Windows Server)

There is a list of files that need to be downloaded in preparation

  1. LabBuilder scripts https://aka.ms/mwlabbuilder
  2. LabBuilderLabs scripts https://aka.ms/shieldedvmspoc
  3. Eval ISO for Windows Server 2016
  4. Eval Installer files for SCVMM https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-system-center-2016
  5. Eval Installer files for SQL 2014 SP2 https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-sql-server-2014-sp2
  6. ADK files compatible with Windows Server 2016 https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/windows-assessment-deployment-kit

Optional items to download if you want to try some of the other configurations

  1. Eval ISO for Windows Server 2012 R2
  2. WMF 5.1 update for Windows Server 2012 R2

So first Download the LabBuilder and LabBuilderLabs files

Extract them to a directory on your system you want to run the scripts from. You will need a good bit of space as we will be creating template VMs here from the ISOs needed.

I used the E drive on my system.

Once you have extracted each of the files from GitHub you should have a folder that is like the screenshot below

By default these files should be marked as blocked and prevent the scripts from running, to unblock the files we will need to unblock them.

If you open an administrative PowerShell prompt and change to the directory the files are in you can use the Unblock-File cmdlet to resolve this.

I ran “Get-ChildItem -recurse | Unblock-File” to get all the folders and subfolders.

We need to create a few more folders and add in some additional items.

First, we need a Tools Folder

Within the Tools folder we need to create a few more subfolders, Files, Help, ISOs, SCVMM and SQL.

In the Files folder we will be placing some needed files for SCVMM, the Windows ADK installers

You will also require the Windows Assessment and Deployment Toolkit from https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/windows-assessment-deployment-kit – Get the version for Windows 10, version 1607 or higher. This will require you to download the ADKSetup and run it and select to save the installer files.

Inside the Files folder it should look like the screenshot below.

The ADK folder should be like this.

Moving back up, we will need to download the Eval Copies of SQL and SCVMM from the TechNet Eval Center(You will have to register to download these)

The SQL eval edition is here https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-sql-server-2014-sp2 (SQL 2016 doesn’t work with these scripts at this time due to changes in the install routine), System Center Virtual Machine Manager is here https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-system-center-2016

Extract the downloaded files to the folders in the Tools directory, the SCVMM folder should look as below

And SQL folder should be as below

The Help folder under tools is not really necessary, however, to ensure I have the latest PowerShell help files available I will run the Save-Help PowerShell cmdlet to download and save the files so I can install them on other systems

Syntax is (again using the E: drive in my case) save-help
-DestinationPath
E:BuildLabsToolsHelp – by default this will only get the help files for installed modules so I generally run it on a system I have installed all the Remote server Admin tools onto to ensure I cover a many as possible.


Again, this isn’t necessary, but I do it to ensure I have those help files available to install on VMs using the Update-Help Cmdlet.

You don’t need anything in the ISOs folder, that will get auto-populated later.

Next, we move back up to the main folder and populate the Resources Folder, so again create a new folder named Resources

Inside this Folder we need the latest Cumulative Update for Server 2016 https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4038782/windows-10-update-kb4038782 and servicing stack update https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4035631/servicing-stack-update-for-windows-10-version-1607-and-windows-server so please download that from the Windows Update Catalog. While these are not the latest cumulative updates they were the latest I downloaded and tested with, and are referenced in the config files.

I also include the WMF 5.1 update for 2012 R2 for other lab scenarios but it isn’t needed here. (If you want to get the files the link is available at https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/3191564/update-for-windows-management-framework-5-1-for-windows-8-1-and-window )

Next, we need to go into the Configurations Folder

In the Configurations folder is another folder titled ISOFiles, this is where we will be placing our ISOs for Server 2016.

I know it seems like a lot, but now that we have all the necessary components we can go through the setup to create the VMs

Select the SetupLab.PS1 and select “Run with PowerShell”

You may receive a prompt to run the file depending on your execution policy settings, and you may be prompted for Admin password as the script is required to be run elevated.

Once the prompt is elevated it will have a “Press any key to continue…” prompt, just press enter or space bar

First it will download any DSC modules we need to work with the scripts.

You may get prompted to trust the NuGet repository to be able to download the modules – Type Y and hit enter

It will then display the current working directory and pop up a window to select the configuration to build. If you want to try the Hyper-V Demo, Combo or Software Defined Storage environments, they require a 2012 R2 ISO, so make sure you get the ISO form the Eval Center, but for this blog we want to select the Shielded VM Lab (DSC Lab environment doesn’t work at this time, it is in dev)

Click Ok.

You will then be prompted to provide a path to setup the VMs, (default is current driveLabs, in my case E:Labs)

I’m going to specify E:SVMsLab in this case

The script will then verify that Hyper-V is installed and if it is server it will install the Failover Clustering feature if not installed (not needed for shielded VMs, sorry I need to change the logic on that)

The Script may appear to hang for a few minutes, but it is actually copying out the .Net 3.5 installer from the ISO and copying the ISO into the tools folder, so it can take a few minutes.

Once that completes it should start creating the necessary settings in Hyper-V (Virtual Switches) and creating the VHDX template files for creating VMs later. The error below is normal and not a concern.

Creating the Template files can take quite a long time, so just relax and let it run.

Once the first VM (Domain Controller is created, I have set up the script to ensure it is fully configured before the other VMs get created. You will see the following message when that occurs.

This piece can take a long time, as Desired State Configuration components are creating the domain and installing SQL and SCVMM on this host.

Periodically during this time you will see message such as the below indicating the status

Once all resources are in the desired state the next set of VMs will be created. Once the script finishes however those VMs are not completely configured, DSC is still running in them to finish out the configuration such as Joining the domain or installing roles and features. Inside those VMs you can run Get-DSCConfigurationStatus to determine the state of DSC and if it has finished. Usually doesn’t take too long.

When complete you should have the 3 VMs as shown below.

So, there you have it, a couple of VMs and DC to begin working on creating a virtualized environment that you can test and play with shielded VMs a bit.

Lab3_SHVMS2 is your DC, Lab3_SHVMS1 is host that can run Hyper-V and Lab3_SHVMS3 will be were you configure your Host Guardian Service.

So now grab the documentation linked at the top and you can get started without having to build out the base.

I hope this helps you get started playing with some of the new features we have in Windows Server 2016.

 

Matthew Walker, PFE

Categories: Latest Microsoft News

Luxury Retailer Chalhoub Modernizes the Customer Experience with Oracle Point of Service

Latest Oracle Database News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 09:50
Press Release Luxury Retailer Chalhoub Modernizes the Customer Experience with Oracle Point of Service Xstore Point-of-Service Delivers a Highly Personalized, Mobile Customer Experience In-Store

NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE – New York—Jan 15, 2018

Today, Oracle announced that luxury retailer Chalhoub has successfully deployed Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service to modernize its customer experience. Chaloub’s Oracle Retail Xstore implementation is the first in the Middle East and the result of a six-month installation process in partnership with Logic Information Systems. The project for the Dubai storefront included deployment of more than 100 registers, 60 of which are mobile, bringing mobile checkout, integrated payment systems and improved store operations to the brand.

Chalhoub started as a family business licensing foreign brands in Damascus, Syria in 1955. It now runs a network of 650 retail stores with fashion and cosmetic lines including Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin across the Middle East. Today the Chalhoub Group employs more than 12,000 people in 14 countries.

“With the help from Logic and Oracle, we migrated from the Oracle Retail Point of Service to latest version of Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service. We can now deliver a modern mobile experience to our customers. By implementing Xstore, we are also empowering our store associates. The goal is to provide a highly personalized and engaged customer experience at the world's finest shoe metropolis, Level Shoes,” said Olivier Leblan, Group Chief Information Officer, Chalhoub.

“The Point of Service system must allow retailers to transact and interact with consumers as they choose. Whether using a traditional register, portable solution, tablet or handheld, it's point of service.,” said Ray Carlin, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Oracle Retail. “As our Retail in 4D research shows, more than half (52 percent) of retailers said they are arming their store employees with mobile technology. Congratulations to Chalhoub for deploying a modern customer experience.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Chalhoub and Oracle. Together we delivered on the vision to drive a better customer experience for Level and to establish a foundation to support Chalhoub,” said Saad Khan, General Manager of the Middle East, Logic Information Systems. “We look forward to the continued momentum for the Oracle Retail Xstore platform across the Middle East and Asia. We found the solution to be a great fit for the region.”

To learn more about Chalhoub’s implementation of Oracle Retail technology register here for a webinar on Tuesday February 20.

Contact Info Matt Torres
Oracle PR
+1.415.595.1584
matt.torres@oracle.com Oracle Retail at NRF 2018

Oracle Retail will be showcasing the full suite of Oracle Retail solutions and cloud services at the National Retail Federation Big Show Jan. 14-16, 2017, in New York City at the Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center. Oracle Retail will be located at booth #3521. For more information check out: www.oracle.com/retail

About Oracle Retail

Oracle provides retailers with a complete, open, and integrated suite of best-of-breed business applications, cloud services, and hardware that are engineered to work together and empower commerce. Leading fashion, grocery, and specialty retailers use Oracle solutions to anticipate market changes, simplify operations and inspire authentic brand interactions. For more information, visit our website at www.oracle.com/retail.

About Oracle

Oracle offers a comprehensive and fully integrated stack of cloud applications and platform services. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), visit www.oracle.com.

Trademarks

Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Talk to a Press Contact

Matt Torres

  • +1.415.595.1584

Follow Oracle Corporate

Categories: Latest Oracle News

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