Wednesday 19 December 2012

Making Migration Easier - E2 Radio Broadcast

Hey, I always said that I have a face for radio - and now you can hear me live (and on text chat) talking about migrations and probably a little bit about application compatibility.

Here are the details;

Thursday, December 20 - 12:00 p.m. EST 
Migrating to a new operating system is a lot more complicated than any other application migration. Before making the big move, you need to take a look at the rest of your IT ecosystem: Make sure you know exactly what is compatible with the new OS, what isn't, and what solutions you need before you migrate.

In this episode of E2 radio, learn about the tools and techniques that can make the migration process smoother and faster by helping you find and mitigate potential problems before they become unpleasant surprises.

Join E2 editors and our guest, Greg Lambert, Product Evangelist for Quest Software, now part of Dell. Greg is a co-founder of ChangeBASE, part of the Dell/Quest Software portfolio. He has considerable experience with application packaging technology and its deployment. Before setting up ChangeBASE, Lambert worked primarily in the financial services sector, delivering application projects for many leading banks and financial institutions.

Site:   *you'll need to register to participate

See you there!

Tuesday 18 December 2012

vWorksSpace Connector Updated

A quick post today regarding the vWorkspace team which had a busy day yesterday; publishing both the maintenance release version 2.0.1 for vWorkspace Connector for Android and the new 3.13.2 version of vWorkspace – MokaFive Suite.

Dell vWorkspace Connector for Android delivers vWorkspace hosted Windows desktops and applications to remote users connecting with an Android phone or tablet. It can also be used to make direct RDP connections.  With version 2.0.1 we have added several improvements such as:
  • Increased performance for audio based applications such as Microsoft Lync.
  • Improved support for versions of vWorkspace Secure Gateway that don’t support Forced Broker Authentication.

 To access the Connector for Android installer, visit the Google Play Store.

Dell vWorkspace - MokaFive Suite provides  a client side hypervisor with policy based management and layering of the OS , apps and data - a powerful  combination.
With the release of 3.13.2 we have added the following:
  • Windows 8 Host Support- Users now have the ability to run the vWorkspace - MokaFive Suite Player on a Windows 8 (64-bit) host.
  • Expanded VPN Integration- vWorkspace - MokaFive Suite has been updated to provide support for any VPN solution that supports Start Before Logon (SBL) or Pre-Logon Access Providers (PLAP). This allows first time users to establish a VPN connection before logging into Windows.
  • User-selectable LivePC Location- During installation of the vWorkspace - MokaFive Suite Player users can select where to store the LivePC image on their local computer.

To download the connector, follow the link to the DELL product and support page:

Monday 17 December 2012

Compatibility, Quality and Suitability: A measure of performance

You might have heard this from me before. When "getting applications to work" you need to consider 3 elements;
  1. Application Compatibility
  2. Platform Suitability
  3. Performance Quality
We quite often talk to the topics of compatibility and suitability (mostly about virtualisation) in this blog, but there is another dimension that we need to consider; Quality. Or, in this case application performance.

I was speaking with the nice chaps from the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) last week about measuring application performance (how do you do it across platforms and different hardware from different vendors. Essentially, the TPC is non-profit organisation that draws its ideas, code-base and personnel from it's members - of course DELL is a significant and contributing member of the TPC.

A quick overview of the TPC includes:
  • The TPC is the only organization that provides consistent price-performance scores
  • All tests require full documentation of the components and applications under test, so that the test can be replicated
  • The TPC requires an independent audit of results prior to publication
  • The TPC tests the whole system performance, not just one piece
  • The TPC is database-agnostic: Oracle, IBM DB2, Sybase, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, ParAccel and others
  • The TPC provides cross-platform performance comparisons, a view of processor vs. real performance, technology comparisons and actual cost of performance comparisons
And some of the TPC key concepts include;
  • Run the same 3 copies of a TPC Benchmark
  • 3 TPC-C, 3 TPC-E, 3 TPC-H or 3 TPC-DS
  • Each contributes equally to the VMS workload
  • VMS Metric is min of the 3 benchmark metrics
  • Min should equal average if all contribute equally
  • Easy to specify, no detailed wording needed to require all 3 TPC Benchmarks contribute equally
Currently, the TPC offers the following benchmarks;
  • TPC-C: Online transaction processing (distribution centers)
  • TPC-E: Online transaction processing (brokerage)
  • TPC-H: Decision support for ad hoc queries
  • TPC-DS: Decision-Support benchmark (retailer)
And, just recently the TPC has released a new benchmark for measuring the performance of virtual systems. Here is a quick quote from their press release, 
"The Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) announced the availability of TPC-VMS, a specification which enhances the TPC’s existing suite of benchmarks." 

The new Virtual TPC-VMS specification was designed with the following goals:
  • Provide a consolidated system workload for three distinct databases running concurrently in a virtualized environment
  • Define virtualization metrics that are based on existing TPC benchmark standards
  • Outline requirements for measurement and disclosure
  • Enable the industry to leverage existing TPC benchmark standards without requiring extensive implementation changes
This is all great stuff, as we move our processing tasks onto virtual platforms, we need to ensure that they work, but also work well. I will soon post more about these measurement concepts and how we get applications to work in the cloud - And, most importantly, how we can then measure their performance.

TPC Home Page

Friday 14 December 2012

ChangeBASE 5.2 - A new Release!

Some good news! The latest version of ChangeBASE has been released.

Here is a break-down of some the cool new features;

1) ChangeBASE can now be run on Windows 8 & Server 2012
2) Application Virtualization package automation is now vendor agnostic
3) We can support a complete Microsoft only environment with the following
Support for Hyper-V to run automated package creation
  • Support for import via SCCM 2012
  • Support for the newly release App-V 5.0 for automated conversion of MSIs to this format
Improved automated virtual application creation
There have been many enhancements to the module that converts applications to virtual application formats.  Here are the key features:

New virtual applications formats supported. ChangeBASE can automate the creation of all the major application virtualization formats. This release adds support for:
 - Microsoft App-V 5.0
 - Citrix XenApp Streaming Profiler

New virtual desktop formats supported
It can do this conversion using all major desktop virtualization solutions.  The new supported virtual platforms added with this release are:
 - Hyper-V
 - VMware Server

Other features for better virtual package creation include:
 - Multiple applications can be combined into one virtual package
 - Ability to manually intervene in the sequencing process
 - Ability to specify pre-requisite applications that need to be installed prior to doing the sequencing capture
 - Improved platform support for automated packaging capability

The module that converts non-standard or legacy installers into MSI format has been enhanced to include the following new virtual desktop technologies, including:
 - Hyper-V (Client and Server)
 - VMware Server
New dashboard report charts
Dashboard reports have been updated to include some useful new features.

Top 5 Issues Chart
The top 5 Issues chart can be displayed instead of the ROI Calculator. This chart, shown in the top right hand of the Dashboard front screen, shows a bar chart of the top 5 most common issues identified from all packages assessed.
Best Way Forward Chart
The Best Way Forward chart provides a view of compatibility for the user defined platforms (where each platform consists of one or more report groups). Applications that are Red or Amber for the top desired platform (farthest to the left à Win7 + x64 + App-V) are rejected and processed for the next Platform. If the RAG Status is Red or Amber for all Platforms then it will be assigned to the "Incompatible" group (in red). 

Here is a sample Best Way Forward Chart:

Progress Summary Target Values
You can now set the target date and target number of packages for the Progress Summary line chart to better track against desired milestones (represented by pink dotted line) in your migration project.

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) integration
ChangeBASE 5.1 introduced a feature which allows direct imports from SCCM 2007.  This capability has been extended in version 5.2 to support direct imports from SCCM 2012.

New SCCM Integration Options
A new SCCM options dialog will appear if the user clicks the options button from the main dialog.   This allows the user to specify the following:

  • The format of the SCCM view grouping string.
  • Whether the SCCM interface should search Distribution Points as well as package source if it cannot access/ find the required files in the package source.
  • Set fixed exclusion filters which will hide packages/programs as necessary.
  • The SCCM view grouping string is used to group SCCM packages under the SCCM view within ChangeBASE after such packages are imported to ChangeBASE.

Auto-logon for web applications
Some web applications require a user to logon in order to load properly and this can be a problem when trying to automate testing.  We’ve just added functionality to enable a user to enter their credentials to get past the initial login screen – this enables a more complete automated test.

MSI Studio Enhancements
There have been several improvements to MSI Studio in this release.  Here are some highlights:
Double-clicking on an ICE validation error highlights the issue in the relevant table

Consistent CTRL functions:
Ctrl + F (Find) works across all UI elements
Ctrl + S (Save) works across all UI elements
Tabbed Tables View -- allowing the display of more than one table (see screenshot above – both Component and File tables are tabbed)
Consistent approach to displaying & editing Items in tables
Right-click in a row of a table provides an 'Edit' option which displays the edit dialog for the selected column in the table.  This will be consistent across all major tables.

How can I get it?
Download your copy here:

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Microsoft Patch Tuesday: December 2012

Application Compatibility Update with Quest® Workspace™ ChangeBASE

With this December Microsoft Patch Tuesday update, we see a set of 7 updates; 5 of which are marked as “Critical” and 2 rated as “Important”.

The Patch Tuesday Security Update analysis was performed by the Quest ChangeBASE Patch Impact team and identified a small percentage of applications from the thousands of applications included in testing for this release which showed an Amber issue.

Of the seven patches, 5 "require a restart to load correctly", and 2 "may require a restart", so it is probably best to assume all require a restart to be installed correctly.

Sample Results

Here is as a sample of the results from two packages against the patch Tuesday updates:

MS12-077 – Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (2761465)

MS12-081 – Vulnerability in Windows File Handling Component (2758857)

Here is a sample summary report:

Security Update Detailed Summary
Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (2761465)
This security update resolves three privately reported vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. The most severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage using Internet Explorer. An attacker who successfully exploited these vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the current user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.
Html.iec, Ie4uinit.exe, Iedkcs32.dll, Iedvtool.dll, Ieframe.dll, Iepeers.dll, Ieproxy.dll, Iertutil.dll, Inetcpl.cpl, Jsdbgui.dll, Jsproxy.dll, Licmgr10.dll, Msfeeds.dll, Msfeedsbs.dll, Mshtml.dll, Mshtmled.dll, Mstime.dll, Occache.dll, Url.dll, Urlmon.dll, Wininet.dll, Xpshims.dll, Advpack.dll, Corpol.dll, Dxtmsft.dll, Dxtrans.dll, Extmgr.dll, Icardie.dll, Ieakeng.dll, Ieaksie.dll, Ieakui.dll, Ieapfltr.dat, Ieapfltr.dll, Iedkcs32.dll, Ieencode.dll, Iernonce.dll, Ieudinit.exe,Iexplore.exe, Msrating.dll, Pngfilt.dll, Webcheck.dll
Critical - Remote Code Execution

Vulnerabilities in Windows Kernel-Mode Drivers Could Allow Remote Code Execution(2783534)
This security update resolves one publicly disclosed vulnerability and one privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The more severe of these vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted document or visits a malicious webpage that embeds TrueType or OpenType font files. An attacker would have to convince users to visit the website, typically by getting them to click a link in an email message that takes them to the attacker's website.
Critical - Remote Code Execution

Vulnerability in Microsoft Word Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2780642)
This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Office. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted RTF file using an affected version of Microsoft Office software, or previews or opens a specially crafted RTF email message in Outlook while using Microsoft Word as the email viewer. An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.
Critical - Remote Code Execution

Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2784126)
This security update resolves publicly disclosed vulnerabilities and one privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Exchange Server. The most severe vulnerabilities are in Microsoft Exchange Server WebReady Document Viewing and could allow remote code execution in the security context of the transcoding service on the Exchange server if a user previews a specially crafted file using Outlook Web App (OWA). The transcoding service in Exchange that is used for WebReady Document Viewing is running in the LocalService account. The LocalService account has minimum privileges on the local computer and presents anonymous credentials on the network.
No specific file information
Critical - Remote Code Execution

Vulnerability in Windows File Handling Component Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2758857)
This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user browses to a folder that contains a file or subfolder with a specially crafted name. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.
Conhost.exe, WinSrv.dll, Ntvdm64.dll, Wow64.dll, Wow64cpu.dll, Kernel32.dll, Acwow64.dll, Instnm.exe, Setup16.exe, User.exe, Wow32.dll
Critical - Remote Code Execution

Vulnerability in DirectPlay Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2770660)
This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if an attacker convinces a user to view a specially crafted Office document with embedded content. An attacker who successfully exploits this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.
Dpnaddr.dll,Dpnathlp.dll, Dpnet.dll, Dpnhpast.dll, Dpnhupnp.dll, Dpnlobby.dll, Dpnsvr.exe
Important - Remote Code Execution

Vulnerability in IP-HTTPS Component Could Allow Security Feature Bypass (2765809)
This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow security feature bypass if an attacker presents a revoked certificate to an IP-HTTPS server commonly used in Microsoft DirectAccess deployments. To exploit the vulnerability, an attacker must use a certificate issued from the domain for IP-HTTPS server authentication. Logging on to a system inside the organization would still require system or domain credentials.
Iphlpsvc.dll, Iphlpsvcmigplugin.dll, Netcorehc.dll
Important - Security Feature Bypass

*All results are based on a ChangeBASE Application Compatibility Lab’s test portfolio of over 1,000 applications.

Monday 10 December 2012

December Advance Notice Security Advisory

Just a quick post to note that the December version of Patch Tuesday is tomorrow and we are expecting 7 updates (5 Critical, 2 Important) that should affect all Microsoft Operating Systems including Windows RT.

Here is a snap-shot of the bulletin outlines.
Note: the names of the bulletins will be updated later tomorrow evening (Tuesday)

This may turn out to be an interesting update as you can see from the table, there is an update for Office that is rated as Critical. This is very rare, and my suspicions lead me to believe that the target will be the Outlook preview pane - and, how it handles compromised Word documents.

In addition, this update is a first for those users who have recently purchased a Windows RT device. As this update will affect all Microsoft operating systems, you can expect your Windows RT machine to be updated. 

Not having played with a Windows RT machine, will the machine automatically reboot? Or, restart? Or   what? Just can't wait to find out.. 


Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification for December 2012

December 2012 Patch Tuesday Preview

Rare critical Word vuln is the star of December Patch Tuesday

Saturday 8 December 2012

BYOD Planning: Consider Short and Long-term needs

Bring your own device (BYOD) or probably more prosaically "Mobile Device Management" will be one of the key enablers for IT houses in 2013. Start your planning process early and join our webinar on successful BYOD planning with the experts.

Keys to Successful BYOD Planning: Consider Both Short and Long-Term Needs
The days are long gone when the only place employees can get the job done is in the office. Your users aren’t confined to desks or devices. With the advent of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) technologies, it’s time you put a successful BYOD program into place.
During this LIVE webcast, Join Craig Mathias of Farpoint Group and Neal Foster of Dell as they discuss how you can introduce and manage a BYOD program. 

Topics include:
  • Why organizations must take BYOD seriously
  • How to understand, and manage, BYOD
  • How to empower users to achieve maximum productivity
  • Why addressing short-term needs is as important as recognizing long-term challenges
  • The best way to create a BYOD strategy that stands the test of time

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Key Application Compatibility Considerations for Migrating to Windows 8

Join Chris Jackson (the App-Compat Guy), Ann Maya and myself for an online discussion about some of the key application compatibility issues faced during a migration to Windows 8.

Here are the online webinar details;

You’re preparing for your company’s migration to Windows 8. In addition to the planning, budgeting and minding all the moving parts, have you taken a close look at the key application compatibility issues? On December 7 at 2:00 p.m. EST, join Dell and Microsoft application compatibility expert Chris Jackson as they discuss the power and promise of Windows 8. Then, they’ll show you some of the compatibility issues you need to recognize – and how to avoid them. Topics include:  
  • The hazards of taking a wait-and-see approach when migrating from XP to   Windows 8 
  • The major application compatibility challenges you should expect with Windows 8
  • Painlessly migrating from Windows 7 to Windows 8
  • Automating application compatibility with Hyper-V, App-V and Windows Server 2012 included in Windows 8 
Ensure your Windows 8 migration is smooth, secure and successful.  Attend this one-hour webcast.

Registration date and time information:  Friday, December 07, 2012 

Monday 3 December 2012

December Online Marketing Update:

Still loads happening, even though we are racing to the Christmas slow-down.

Here is a quick list of the some online events that Quest\DELL\ChangeBASE are engaged in.

Upcoming webcasts
Providing a Productive & Secure User EnvironmentWednesday, December 5th at 2:00 PM
In this webcast, we will demonstrate how Desktop Authority can help you overcome  challenges while meeting your security needs and saving you time.

Invite your customers to next week’s ChangeBASE webinar with Microsoft’s Chris Jackson, ChangeBASE Product Manager, Ann Maya, and ChangeBASE co-founder Greg Lambert for a discussion on Key Application Compatibility Considerations for Migrating to Windows 8Register here>>

Have your customers join us for the next ZeroIMPACT Migration Day, a FREE virtual event where you’ll get unlimited access to the industry's top migration experts. You'll also have access to useful resources to help you plan and manage all phases of your move. This unique virtual event will take place on Thursday, December 6th from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM Eastern Time.

Reminder – vWorkspace LIVE Weekly Demos
            Don’t forget!   We are now hosting LIVE weekly vWorkspace demos on Weds at 11am Pac.  
            Click here to register for one of these 30-minute sessions which focus on:
·         Hyper-V support for low cost desktop virtualization
·         Hyper-V Catalyst Components that deliver huge scalability and speed improvements for virtual desktops
·         Desktop Clouds to provide power and simplicity for SMBs and enterprises

Solve your application compatibility issues with the DELL Application Readiness Program and jumpstart your Windows 7 and Windows 8 migration projects by registering for a free ChangeBASE/Asset Manager license.

Also in the News:
Desktop Authority Wins 2 Windows IT Pro Editor Awards
Desktop Authority scored this month by winning Editor’s Choice awards for Best Deployment/Configuration Product (Silver) and Best Management Suite (Bronze). Read more about this at the DELL UWM blog post