Awinish's Technical Blog

Lets Share & Learn…The Blog is all about Directory Services, Exchange Servers & other Technical Stuff.

AD Based Activation Over KMS Activation

Posted by Awinish on October 3, 2013


After quite long, I got some free time & decided to utilize to pen down an article, which talks about new feature Active Directory(AD) based activation introduced in Windows 8 & windows server 2012 & above.

To minimize the problem of piracy, Microsoft has announced starting from windows Vista & above, office products etc, you need to activate it even though you are using Volume licensing. Volume licensing keys are basically used by corporates to activate n number of system using similar keys instead of requiring multiple keys.

key management service (KMS) is the service which can be installed on the dedicated server or collocated with other server roles to allow activation of the volume license version windows (Vista, 7, 2008, R2 etc. )& office (2010, 2013 etc.)products within premise. This server will be installed in the internal environment & caters the local request for the volume activation & KMS service running on KMS host will in-turn contact Microsoft database & verify the key, instead of each system to be activated via phone or internet. KMS can also be installed on virtual machine. If dynamic DNS is enabled, KMS host can register its SRV records automatically & domain joint client can leverage this SRV records to find KMS host for activation. You can run multiple KMS host in the environment.

The Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) is a free tool that one can download and use to centrally modify the volume activation method and product key for clients. It can also helps you to track the licenses, their type & many more. The VAMT 3.0
can be used to keep track of MAK keys, KMS keys, Retail keys, OEM keys etc.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/nickmac/archive/2010/03/09/simplify-with-the-volume-activation-management-tool.aspx

Key Management Services

http://blogs.technet.com/b/bpaulblog/archive/2010/08/22/key-management-services-confusion.aspx?Redirected=true

KMS has few downside, comparing to AD based activation of volume license version of windows operating system or office products,  you need minimum count of 25 to activate clients & for server operating system it is 5. By default, the renewal of the renewal of the key on machine happens with the KMS host automatically within the duration of 7 days & maximum duration, which client can sustain without renewal is 180 days. So, after every 180 days, you need to connect your machine or server to the KMS host to renew the key, else all sort of travel will be seen on the system. To install KMS one has to use command line interface (CLI).

Drawbacks:

  • Limitation of 25 clients or 5 server count to enable activation.
  • Installation is only via CLI.
  • For high availability, more KMS hosts are required to be installed either on VM, dedicated server or collocated server.
  • Only first KMS host register its SRV records in DNS automatically, for other KMS host, requires manual creation of the records.
  • KMS uses TCP port 1688 for client-host communication.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askpfeplat/archive/2013/02/04/active-directory-based-activation-vs-key-management-services.aspx

Active Directory-Based Activation (ADBA)

Lets understand, what is Active Directory based activation (ADBA). In the simplest term, ADBA is an optional replacement to the KMS to perform activation of Volume license version of OS or office suites. There are certain prerequisite to get this feature available to your environment.

ADBA Highlights

  • It only works with Windows 2012 & 8 operating system.
  • DFL/FFL can be windows 2008 R2.
  • You need to modify AD schema to windows 2012 (Schema upgrade requires careful considerations).
  • 180 days renewal constraint is still applied.
  • Workgroup system will be activated on domain join.
  • For renewal, the domain joined system must communicate/authenticate to the DC once in a 180 days.
  • ADBA feature is not dependent on the single computer, it uses ms-SPP-Activation attribute to store the information in AD which is available on all the DC in the domain.
  • No more threshold requirement of 25 client or 5 servers.
  • ADBA & KMS can exists together to provide activation for the legacy Windows OS or office installation.
  • KMS with ADBA together provides benefits to the windows OS or office clients which doesn’t support ADBA method.

References for ADBA

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askpfeplat/archive/2013/02/04/active-directory-based-activation-vs-key-management-services.aspx

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831612.aspx

http://blogs.dirteam.com/blogs/sanderberkouwer/archive/2012/09/12/new-features-in-active-directory-domain-services-in-windows-server-2012-part-16-active-directory-based-activation.aspx

 

Posted in Directory Services | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

End of Microsoft’s Masters Certification & Training Program by 1st Oct 2013

Posted by Awinish on September 2, 2013


Microsoft has decided to retire Microsoft Master’s certification and training program by 1st October. For the folks, who are not aware or heard about this program, the MCM & MCA (Microsoft Certified Master & Microsoft Certified Architect) program is one of the highest certification one can achieve towards specialization in particular Microsoft technology such as Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Active Directory etc. The reason mentioned for the retirement for MCM/MCA is technology evaluation which requires rework on the training program. For the individual, who already holds this certificates will continue to enjoy the benefits, but MS will not accept any more request for conducting new program for this certifications.

“Microsoft will no longer offer Masters and Architect level training rotations and will be retiring the Masters level certification exams as of October 1, 2013. The IT industry is changing rapidly and we will continue to evaluate the certification and training needs of the industry to determine if there’s a different certification needed for the pinnacle of our program..”

http://blogs.technet.com/b/neiljohn/archive/2013/08/31/retiring-the-microsoft-master-certifications-and-training.aspx

Posted in Misc | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Hat-trick of the MVP award(Directory Services/Active Directory)

Posted by Awinish on July 3, 2013


mvplogo

 

 

 

 

Dear Awinish Vishwakarma,

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2013 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in Directory Services technical communities during the past year.

The Microsoft MVP Award provides us the unique opportunity to celebrate and honor your significant contributions and say “Thank you for your technical leadership.”

I feel happy & excited retaining the title of the Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional)for the Directory services category. I would like to thank God, my family & friend who were motivated me & helped me to retain the title. I also like to thank my blog readers, technet forum users for their support who helped tremendously to learn & share what i have learned from them.

To find more about MVP or MVP award, you can browse the below link.

http://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/default.aspx

Thank you everyone.

MVP-DS 2011-2012

Posted in Misc | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

Released Exchange 2013 Role Requirement & Database Calculator

Posted by Awinish on May 15, 2013


Exchange 2013 released long back, but what was missing is Exchange role requirement & database calculators. The calculators helps in sizing the Exchange server role as well as plan the database storage design. People were waiting for the calculator as it helped in sizing and designing of the storage requirements. This was getting delayed and most awaited. The wait is over & Microsoft has released it Exchange 2013 server role as well as database sizing calculator.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2013/05/14/released-exchange-2013-server-role-requirements-calculator.aspx

The calculator can be downloaded from the below URL. More information about Exchange 2013 IO performance.

Exchange 2013 Server Role Requirements Calculator

http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Exchange-2013-Server-Role-f8a61780

Ask the Perf Guy: Sizing Exchange 2013 Deployments

http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2013/05/06/ask-the-perf-guy-sizing-exchange-2013-deployments.aspx

Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Management Pack

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39039

 

Posted in Directory Services, Exchange | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

ADAM & ADLDS Explained By The DS Team

Posted by Awinish on April 10, 2013


I was reading about ADAM & AD LDS(AD LDS is the upgraded version of ADAM ) & found the article by the DS team. It is a comprehensive article with lot of references & details which can help you to understand & implement ADAM or AD LDS.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askds/archive/2012/11/12/adamsync-101.aspx

 

Posted in Directory Services | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

DNS Resouces Repository

Posted by Awinish on April 9, 2013


Presuming, many of you are aware that DNS is the heart of the Active Directory(AD) & without proper DNS infrastructure it is not possible to design and setup good AD design. It is said that before mastering the AD, master DNS first because if you are able to setup DNS design perfectly, you have avoided most of the troubles for your AD.

I was searching for the some DNS information on the Technet & found a very useful link, which points considerable quality of the DNS resources. AT the right side of the page,  you can browse for Top DNS questions , recommendations for top the DNS issues,diagnostics etc. It also contains webcasts & useful videos for better understanding.

It includes resources for 2008 to 2003, tips for diagnosing DNS, designing, implementation etc.

Example

Windows Server 2008 R2 Resources

Domain Name System (DNS)

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/network/bb629410.aspx

 

Posted in DNS/DHCP | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Interview – MVP Awinish Vishwakarma

Posted by Awinish on January 28, 2013


I feel privileged & humbled to the Microsoft for considering the worthiness of publishing my experience as an Microsoft “Most Valuable Professional“(MVP). You can check the excerpts at the below link. You can also comment it, if you like so.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/southasiamvp/archive/2013/01/22/interview-mvp-awinish-vishwakarma.aspx

Posted in Misc | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Final Version Of Exchange 2013 & Other Product Are Available To Download

Posted by Awinish on December 7, 2012


The final version of the Office 2013, Exchange Server 2013, Lync Server 2013, SharePoint Server 2013, Project 2013 and Visio 2013 is available for the subscriber of MSDN/Technet & through Microsoft Volume Licensing. For the retail availability, it is planned for the first quarter of 2013 release.

Its time to download & get started to understand the new feature & ready to adopt. I’ll be downloading in a days or two to instal on my system & lets see how its going to works.

Read more for office at  http://blogs.office.com/b/office-news/archive/2012/12/03/the-new-office-is-now-available-for-business-customers.aspx

Read more for Exchange at  http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2012/12/03/exchange-server-2013-reaches-general-availability.aspx

Read more for Lync at  http://blogs.technet.com/b/lync/

 

Posted in Directory Services | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Active Directory Capacity Planning Guide Released

Posted by Awinish on October 30, 2012


I was helping at the Technet forum & came to know, that there is a recent article on the domain controller capacity planning guide which was not available earlier. The white paper contains comprehensive lists along with the recommendation on virtualization of the domain controller. It specify lot of information helps in sizing Active Directory & domain controllers from RAM to processor, storage to network. Its really a very good document on the sizing of the domain controllers. It has also listed performance parameter, profile sizing etc. information.

Anyone working on the AD sizing projects, it can be really very helpful in sizing & recommending the AD infrastructure as per MS standards. It also covers vast information on the domain controller virtualization sizing & standards.

Capacity Planning for Active Directory Domain Services

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/14355.capacity-planning-for-active-directory-domain-services.aspx

Th content topic inside the Technet URL (referred above) has been listed below.

 

Posted in Directory Services | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

RBAC Manager R2 for Exchange 2010 SP2, Exchange 2013 Preview and Office 365

Posted by Awinish on September 11, 2012


New version of RBAC (R2 1.5.5.0)for Exchange 2010 SP2 has been released. There are improvements & addition been done into the tool. You can download the latest version of RBAC tool from the below link.

http://rbac.codeplex.com/

 

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