Archive for August, 2013

The Case of the Missing Pictures

BackupYou all know I love Microsoft Small Business Server, and my mysterious case of the missing pictures last week highlights one of the reasons why I will implement this solution wherever possible with a permanent backup hard drive in place. First, a little background about this client. It’s a small company of about 10 employees; which do not include anyone with more than basic word processing skills. They had an XP system that was being used as a file server, and several other older desktop systems being used by the employees. A year ago, we installed a new Small Business Server Essentials and 6 new desktops. More importantly, we also installed a 2 TB external hard drive to host their server backups. When the new infrastructure was put in place, they wanted to keep most of the server folders open and editable for all users.

A few days ago, the company’s “champion user” called the Bennett Business Connections Hotline in a panic; one of their event picture folders on the server had mysteriously disappeared and was nowhere to be found! The last time she recalled seeing the missing folder was a few weeks prior to her hotline call, and there was no evidence of how it was removed. As a proper Small Business detective, I assured her not to worry and that we would track down her pictures soon. To start the investigation, I logged in that evening and immediately accessed their backup. I wasn’t concerned about tracking down the data, I was worried about how far back we’d have to go to find it. To find the missing data, I launched the Restore wizard from the SBS console and started checking for the most recent backup that included the missing files. Aha! After some sleuthing, sure enough, a backup from 2 weeks prior contained the missing file. A few more clicks of the mouse and the mystery of the missing files was solved. What happened? It was elementary, my dear Watson: the files had all been accidentally deleted.

SBS is designed for the end user, and in this case (pun intended) I could have easily walked her through the restore herself while I was driving on the highway. Yes, I was using hands-free.

I do love SBS, but sometimes the design of the system allows users too much freedom to accidentally delete files. I would like to see more control and configurability for user permissions, like we have in the non-SBS servers.

Bottom line…make sure you have a good backup solution in place at all times in case a user accidentally deletes data.

PS: I did the restore while at a friends cottage overlooking the lake while tethered to my cell phone. Another great feature of SBS 2011 and Windows Server 2012 is their easy remote access.

Test Day – My view on Industry Certifications

Update: Passed the exam this morning.  MCSA: Windows 2012 Server

I finally scheduled Microsoft 70-417 Windows 2012 Upgrade exam for tomorrow.  Am I nervous? Not really.  I have lost count of how many exams I have written over the years.  Do I still believe in industry certifications after all these years? Yes, I really do. As an IT professional it’s imperative that we keep up with today’s quickly changing technologies.  Writing exams forces us to learn what is new and exciting.  Should your IT professional be certified? Yes!  I know some people will argue it’s only a paper exam but at the very least the exam taker has had to review the new material.  Would you want your vehicle technician to only have skills that date back 10 years? Probably not.  It’s the same with your servers.  You wouldn’t want an IT professional who has a 10 year old skill set working on your 2012 server.

Back to the books for some last minute cramming this evening.

Categories: Education Tags: ,

Back to the Books

Study NotesI recently had lunch with my favorite Microsoft Evangelist, and as we munched our way through our salads, he put a major bee in my bonnet. Not quite a bee, but more like a bat. We started discussing Microsoft System Center, HyperV, and other big company technologies that I haven’t used in years. As you all know, I focus on the small business tech for a living. He started me thinking about what is new in big business, and I got curious and started poking around the Microsoft certification website. After reviewing my Microsoft transcripts, I was pleasantly surprised to realize my current certifications easily allow me to upgrade to the new MCSE Private Cloud certification. After all, there are only 3 Microsoft exams for me to complete. I love studying and learning, and this is just the push I need to upgrade my skill sets. Now some of you may be asking why I am pursuing “big business” technologies instead of small business ones. The answer is simple: small business tech is just big business tech scaled down. Small business IT professionals still need to understand current technologies and how to implement them. Eventually, these big business technologies make their way down to small business, usually in a smaller-scale version. The trick with small biz is to implement, factor in company growth, and stay within budget.

I have set an ambitious goal for myself to attain the MCSE Private Cloud certification. I would like to have it completed by Canadian Thanksgiving, about 3 months from now. How am I going to do this? I will dedicate 2-3 hours each evening to study. Luckily, I work for myself, so I can schedule around my clients’ needs. I did the MCSE 2003 (7 exams) in 18 months, while working full time and having two day care-aged children.

It’s been sometime since I wrote an exam, at least 4 years.  I love hitting the books, and learning something new and I am very excited to put the gray matter into action again.  The new skills I learn from upgrading my certifications will help my small business clients now and in the future.

PS I hope to add MCITP for Office 365 by Christmas.

Categories: Education, New Tech
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