• Hyper-V Concepts

    It's time to get familiar with Hyper-V Virtualization, virtual servers, virtual switches, virtual CPUs, virtual deployment infrastructure (VDI) and more.
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    OSPF Routing Protocol

    Introduction to the OSPF protocol. Understand OSPF Basics, Areas, Concepts, various OSPF tables and much more. CCNA to CCNP level.

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Windows Server 2016 Licensing Made Easy – Understand Your Licensing Requirements & Different Server Editions

Posted in Windows Server 2016

Windows Server 2016 Licensing Made Easy – Understand Your Licensing Requirements & Different Server Editions - 3.5 out of 5 based on 2 votes

Windows Server 2016 LicensingThis article describes the new Windows Server 2016 Licensing model (per-core licensing) Microsoft has implemented for its new server-based operating system. While the Windows Server 2012 Licensing model was fairly straight forward: per CPU Pair + CALS/DAL for Standard and Datacenter editions, Microsoft has decided to change its licensing arrangements thanks to the continuously increasing number of available cores per physical processor which has caused significant losses to its profits.

Taking into consideration that the Intel Xeon E7-8890v4 contains a total of 24 cores capable of supporting up to 48 threads, one can quickly understand the software giant’s intention and why it is no longer continuing the per CPU Pair model for its Standard and Datacenter server editions.

Windows Server 2016 License Models

The Windows Server 2016 licensing model consists of per-core/processor + Client Access Licenses (CALs). Each user or device accessing a Windows Server Standard, Datacenter or Multipoint edition requires a Windows CAL or a Windows Server and a Remote Desktop Services (RDS) CAL.

In addition to these changes many would be surprised to know that there is now a minimum number of Per-Core licenses required per physical CPU and Server:

  • A minimum of 8 core licenses is required for each physical CPU.
  • A minimum of 16 core licenses is required for each server.
  • A 2-core license pack is the minimum amount of core licenses you can purchase. E.g you’ll need four 2-core license packs (4x2) to fully license an 8-core CPU.
  • The 2-core license is priced at 1/8 (one eighth) the price of a 2-CPU license for corresponding Windows 2012 R2 editions in order to keep the pricing similar. This means the pricing of a 16-core Windows 2016 Datacenter server is equal to a 2-CPU Windows 2012 R2 Datacenter server.

How Licensing Changes Affect Small Windows Server Deployments

Thankfully not much. Microsoft has adjusted its per-Core license pricing in such a way so that a small deployment of up to 16-cores per physical server will be the same pricing as a Windows server 2012 2-CPU License.

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The price difference becomes apparent for larger customers with a server deployed that exceeds 8-cores per CPU and 16-cores per server. These customers will end up paying additional money for their licenses. For example a server with 2 x Intel Xeon E7-8890v4 CPUs means a total of 48 cores. Installing a Windows server 2012 Standard server means that the initial license will cover up to 16 out of the 48 cores and the customer will need to purchase additional licenses to cover the 32 extra cores! It’s now clear why big customers are going to be paying the big bucks!

The following table explains where additional licenses are required depending on the number of CPUs (processors) and cores per CPU. Remember - Minimum 8 cores/processor; 16 cores/server:

Windows Server 2016 Licensing: Calculating Licensing needs per CPU & Core

Figure 1. Windows Server 2016 Licensing: Calculating Licensing needs per CPU & Core

Windows Server 2016 Editions Overview, Licensing Models & CAL Requirements

Microsoft offers its Windows Server 2016 in 6 different editions. Let’s take a look at them and explain their primary role and usage:

Windows 2016 Server Licensing Explained – Free Webinar

Posted in Windows Server 2016

Windows 2016 Server Licensing Explained – Free Webinar - 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 votes

Windows Server 2016 LicensingWith Windows 2016 Server already making its way into data centers Windows 2016 Server Licensing is becoming a very hot topic. Windows 2016 Server is jam-packed with a number of advanced features including added layer of security, new deployment options, built-in Hyper-V containers, advanced networking options and cloud-ready services.

Check out our "Windows Server 2016 Licensing Made Easy – Understand Your Licensing Requirements & Different Server Editions" article

Altaro software, a reputable software vendor offering robust Virtualization Backup for Hyper-V & VMware,is hosting a free Webinar on Tuesday the 29th of November 2016 that will cover the following important topics:

  • Licensing a Windows 2016 Server environment
  • Nested Hypervisors and containers in Windows 2016 Server
  • Understanding Licensing complexity

Register now for this free Windows Licensing webinar and receive a bonus Windows 2016 Server Licensing eBook!

 

OSPF LSA Types - Purpose and Function of Every OSPF LSA

Posted in OSPF Routing Protocol

OSPF LSA Types - Purpose and Function of Every OSPF LSA - 5.0 out of 5 based on 4 votes

Our previous article explained the purpose of Link State Update (LSU) packets and examined the Link State Advertisement (LSA) information contained within LSU packets. We also saw the most common LSA packets found in OSPF networks. In this article we’ll be diving deeper to analyse all eleven OSPF LSA Types using network network diagrams and examples to help understand when each LSA type is used and how they keep the OSPF network updated.

LSA Types - Quick Overview

Before we begin, let’s take a quick look at the different type of OSPF LSA packets we’ll cover:

  • LSA Type 1: OSPF Router LSA
  • LSA Type 2: OSPF Network LSA
  • LSA Type 3: OSPF Summary LSA
  • LSA Type 4: OSPF ASBR Summary LSA
  • LSA Type 5: OSPF ASBR External LSA
  • LSA Type 6: OSPF Group Membership LSA
  • LSA Type 7: OSPF Not So Stubby Area (NSSA) External LSA
  • LSA Type 8: OSPF External Attributes LSA (OSPFv2) / Link Local LSA (OSPFv3)
  • LSA Type 9: OSPF Link Scope Opaque (OSPFv2) / Intra Area Prefix LSA (OSPFv3)
  • LSA Type 10: OSPF Area Scope Opaque LSA
  • LSA Type 11:OSPF AS (Autonomous System) Scope Opaque LSA

The LSA payload varies in size according to the LSA type and the information it includes. The diagram below clearly shows how LSAs are contained within LSUs:

OSPF LSA Types

Figure 1. LSA Types contained within an OSPF LSU packet

As mentioned, OSPF currently supports 11 types of LSAs. Each LSA is used within specific boundaries of an OSPF network.

OSPF concepts, including router roles such as Designated Router (DR), Area Border Router (ABR), Autonomous System Border Router (ASBR), OSPF Areas and more, are analyzed in great depth in our article OSPF Basic Concepts – OSPF Areas – Router Roles. This article assumes the reader has a good understanding of basic OSPF theory and is comfortable with OSPF concepts.

LSA Type 1 – OSPF Router LSA

LSA Type 1 (Router LSA) packets are sent between routers within the same area of origin and do not leave the area. An OSPF router uses LSA Type 1 packets to describe its own interfaces but also carries information about its neighbors to adjacent routers in the same area.

LSA Type 1 Packets exchanged between OSPF routers within the same area

Figure 2. LSA Type 1 Packets exchanged between OSPF routers within the same area

LSA Type 2 – OSPF Network LSA

LSA Type 2 (Network LSA) packets are generated by the Designated Router (DR) to describe all routers connected to its segment directly. LSA Type 2 packets are flooded between neighbors in the same area of origin and remain within that area.

 LSA Type 2 Packets exchanged between OSPF DR and neighbor routers

Figure 3. LSA Type 2 Packets exchanged between OSPF DR and neighbor routers

LSA Type 3 – OSPF Summary LSA

LSA Type 3 (Summary LSA) packets are generated by Area Border Routers (ABR) to summarize its directly connected area, and advertise inter-area router information to other areas the ABR is connected to, with the use of a summary prefix (e.g 192.168.0.0/22). LSA Type 3 packets are flooded to multiple areas throughout the network and help with OSPF’s scalability with the use of summary prefixes.

 LSA Type 3 - An OSPF ABR router advertises the summarized route 192.168.2.0/24 to Area 0

Figure 4. LSA Type 3 - An OSPF ABR router advertises the summarized route 192.168.2.0/24 to Area 0

Looking at the diagram above, ABR router R2 creates a Type 3 Summary LSA and floods it into Area 0. In a similar way, ABR router R3 creates a Type 3 Summary LSA and floods it into Area 2. Type 3 Summary LSAs appear as O IA entries in the router routing table.

LSA Type 4 – OSPF ASBR Summary LSA

GFI OneConnect – Stop Ransomware, Malware, Viruses, and Email hacks Before They Reach Your Exchange Server

Posted in GFI Network Security

GFI OneConnect – Stop Ransomware, Malware, Viruses, and Email hacks Before They Reach Your Exchange Server - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

gfi-oneconnect-ransomware-malware-virus-datacenter-protection-1aGFI Software has just revealed GFI OneConnect Beta – its latest Advanced Email Security Protection product. GFI OneConnect is a comprehensive solution that targets the safe and continuous delivery of business emails to organizations around the world.

GFI has leveraged its years of experience with its millions of business users around the globe to create a unique Hybrid solution consisting of an on-premise server and Cloud-based solution that helps IT admins and organizations protect their infrastructure from spam, malware threats, ransomware, virus and email service outages.  

GFI OneConnect not only takes care of filtering all incoming email for your Exchange server but it also works as a backup service in case your Exchange server or cluster is offline.

The solution consists of the GFI OneConnect Server that is installed on the customer’s premises. The OneConnect server connects to the local Exchange server on one side, and the GFI OneConnect Data Center on the other side as shown in the diagram below:

Deployment model of GFI OneConnect (Server & Data Center)

Figure 1. Deployment model of GFI OneConnect (Server & Data Center)

Email sent to the organization’s domain is routed initially through the GFI OneConnect . During this phase email is scanned by the two AntiVirus engines (ClamAV & Kaspersky) for virus, ransomware, malware etc. before forwarding them to the Exchange Server.

In case the Exchange server is offline GFI OneConnect’s Continuity mode will send and receive all emails, until the Exchange server is back online after which all emails are automatically synchronised. All emails received while your email server was down are available to users at any moment, thanks to the connection to the cloud and the GFI OneConnect’s Datacenter.

Deployment model of GFI OneConnect (Server & Data Center)

Figure 2. GFI OneConnect Admin Dashboard (click to enlarge)

While there is currently a beta version out (Free download and Trial) - our first impressions show that this is an extremely promising solution that has been carefully designed with the customer and IT staff in mind. According to GFI – the best is yet to come – and we know that GFI always stands by its promises so we are really looking forward seeing the final version of this product in early 2017.

If you’ve been experiencing issues with your Exchange server continuity or have problems dealing with massive amounts of spam emails, ransomware and other security threats – give GFI OneConnectBeta a test run and discover how it can help offload all these problems permanently, leaving you time for other more important tasks.

Enforcing ICT Policies - How to Block Illegal & Unwanted Websites from your Users and Guests

Posted in GFI WebMonitor: Web Security & Monitoring

Enforcing ICT Policies - How to Block Illegal & Unwanted Websites from your Users and Guests - 5.0 out of 5 based on 3 votes

Enforcing ICT Policies - How to Block Illegal & Unwanted Websites for your Users and GuestsEnsuring users follow company policies when accessing the internet has become a real challenge for businesses and IT staff. The legal implications for businesses not taking measures to enforce acceptable user policies (where possible) can become very complicated and businesses can, in fact, be held liable for damages caused by their users or guests.

A good example, found in almost every business around the world, is the offering of guest internet access to visitors. While they are usually unaware of the company’s ICT policies (nor do they really care about them) they are provided with free unrestricted access to the internet.

Sure, the firewall will only allow DNS, HTTP and HTTPS traffic in an attempt to limit internet access and its abuse but who’s ensuring they are not accessing illegal sites/content such as pornography, gambling, etc., which are in direct violation of the ICT policy?

This is where solutions like GFI WebMonitor help businesses cover this sensitive area by quickly filtering website categories in a very simple and effective way that makes it easy for anyone to add or remove specific website categories or urls.

Protect your company and enforce internet access policies on any AD user, guest user, IP address and more.

How to Block Legal Liability Sites

Enforcing your ICT Internet Usage Policy via WebMonitor is a very simple and fast process. From the WebMonitor web-based dashboard, click on Manage and select Policies:

Note: Click on any image to enlarge it and view it in high-resolution

Adding a new Policy in GFI WebMonitorFigure 1. Adding a new Policy in GFI WebMonitor

At the next screen, click on Add Policy:

 Click on the GFI WebMonitor Add Policy buttonFigure 2. Click on the GFI WebMonitor Add Policy button

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Cisco Routers

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