Book Review: Windows Server 2012 Unified Remote Access Planning and Deployment

This is another book review. Windows Server 2012 Unified Remote Access Planning and Deployment book is about technologies I do not have so much experience with – DirectAccess and VPN. Even though I specializing in System Center and Hyper-V it is good to have broader knowledge at least on some basic level. Technologies like DirectAccess and VPN are deployed event in the Cloud.

First I will start that is a small book but it understandable that it covers only one feature in Windows Server 2012. Before starting to read this book I recommend to have basic knowledge on Windows Server, Active Directory, Certificate Services and Networking. The book starts by introducing you to DirectAccess, how it works on general level and what are the requirements for it. It doesn’t rush you directly in the technology instead it explains very well every technology that is built into DIrectAccess. This very good if you have only some basic knowledge on Windows Server, Active Directory, Certificates services and Networking because explains you technologies like IPv6, DNS, ISATAP, DNS64, NAT64, 6to4, Teredo, IP-HTTPS, Group policy and PKI. In next chapters the book continues by introducing you to the architecture of DirectAccess and how to prepare your environment for implementing it. This is followed by installation and configuration of Unified Remote Access role. The last chapters cover some advanced scenarios as well as troubleshooting tips.

In summary the book is very easy to read and provides very good picture of Unified Remote Access role in Windows Server 2012. I recommend this book for engineers who have the task or consider deployment of DirectAccess in their environments. The book is suitable reading for those who have implemented Direct Access in Windows Server 2008 R2 in the past and want to know what have changed in 2012 and how they can migrate to the new version. If you think that this book is for you can grab it on one of these stores:

New Version: Insight Control for Microsoft System Center 7.2

Insight Control for Microsoft System Center is a package of integration kits that aim to integrate HP Hardware and Software with Microsoft System Center. Here is the description of these integration kits taken from the HP site:

System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) support:

  • The HP ProLiant and BladeSystem Management Packs expose the native capabilities of ProLiant and BladeSystem servers and enclosures to help prevent problems from occurring by proactively monitoring and managing hardware health and intelligently responding to hardware events on servers running Windows.
  • The HP ProLiant Agentless Management Pack manages the health of ProLiant Gen8 servers without the need for loading OS-based SNMP agents or WBEM providers. It can also be used to monitor the health of servers that do not have an OS yet loaded, as well as ProLiant Gen8 servers running any operating system that has a supported Agentless Monitoring Service (such as VMware ESXi).
  • The HP ProLiant Linux and VMware Management Packs provide the ability to monitor hardware health and configuration, as well as to receive HP hardware alerts, on ProLiant servers running Linux and VMware ESX.
  • Supports SCOM 2007 and SCOM 2012 (including SP1) for all HP SCOM management packs.


System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) support:

  • The HP Performance Resource Optimization (PRO) Management Pack reduces unplanned downtime by proactively automating live migration of Hyper-V virtual machines based upon HP pre-failure and predictive hardware alerts from ProLiant servers. Supports SCVMM 2008.
  • HP SCVMM 2012 Integration Kit provides HP WinPE and production drivers for ProLiant servers to assist with OS deployment via SCVMM 2012 (including SP1).
  • The HP ProLiant Updates Catalog can be used by SCVMM 2012 (including SP1) to provide simplified Windows driver and firmware updates via a rotating, automated workflow for Hyper-V clusters.


System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) support:

  • The HP ProLiant Server Operating System Deployment (OSD) feature provides quick and reliable Windows deployment to bare metal HP servers, including pre-deployment hardware and BIOS configuration, and post-OS HP driver and agent installation.
  • The HP ProLiant Updates Catalog ensures consistency and maximizes uptime with simplified Windows driver and firmware updates using the HP Service Pack for ProLiant.
  • The HP ProLiant Hardware Inventory Tool provides detailed component level inventory of every managed HP Windows server.
  • Supports SCCM 2007 and SCCM 2012 (including SP1).


Let’s look what has changed from 7.1 version:

Support for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) 2012 SP1

  • Management packs certified with SCOM 2012 SP1
  • Support for Windows Server 2012 monitoring


System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) Management Pack Updates

  • Updated system discovery rule for BladeSystem Management Pack
  • Updated WMI Provider for ProLiant DL980


Support for Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2012 SP1

  • Updated SCCM 2012 Integration Kit to support SCCM 2012 SP1 (supported only when SCCM 2012 SP1 is installed on Windows Server 2012)
  • Updated HP ProLiant Updates Catalog to support SCCM 2012 SP1
  • Support for Windows Server 2012 deployment and updates
  • Note: The HP SCCM 2012 Integration Kit is only supported on SCCM 2012 SP1 installed on Windows Server 2012
  • Note: OS deployments to Windows Server 2008 R2 Core are not supported


Support for Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCCM) 2012 SP1

  • Updated SCVMM 2012 Integration Kit to support SCVMM 2012 SP1
  • Updated HP ProLiant Updates Catalog to support SCVMM 2012 SP1
  • Support for Windows Server 2012 deployment and updates


Updates to support HP Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP)

  • Updated SCVMM 2012 & SCCM 2007/2012 Integration Kits
  • New Drivers and firmware from SPP 2013.02.0
  • New software bundles included in the HP ProLiant Updates Catalog to support Windows Server 2012


So we now have full SC 2012 SP1 and Windows Server 2012 support. This is great job of HP releasing support so soon after GA of SC 2012 SP1.

If you are wondering what have changed like versions on the SCOM management packs look here:


Keep in mind that new versions of the management pack for HP servers and blades will come only in this bundle Insight Control for Microsoft System Center. No separate downloads will be released. HP Storage Management Pack for now stays separate download and it is not provided in this package.

To download this new version go here. You only need to download Insight Control for System Center 7.2 DVD ISO – Mar 2013 for the System Center integration kits.

New MP: Windows Server Failover Clustering

This new version add support for Windows Server 2012 Failover Clustering. Along with the released in January management pack for Hyper-V the Failover Cluster MP is one of the most waited at least to me. With these two management packs we now have full monitoring for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V clusters. This management pack still provides support for 2003. 2008 and 2008 R2 Clusters. Before importing it please read the guide first. The guide and the MP itself you can find here.

New MP: System Center 2012 Monitoring Pack for Windows Deployment Services

One more management pack is released today by MSFT. This MP provides monitoring for Windows Deployment Services in Windows Server 2012. The MP is also supported on SCOM 2012 but I bet you can install it without issues on SCOM 2007 R2. The reason why I think that the MP will work on the earlier version of SCOM is because in the guide there are references for SCOM 2007 R2 all over the document. Even the PowerShell commands written in the document are for 2007 R2 version. I’ve noticed that all recently released SCOM management packs have documents that are not fully updated and reference SCOM 2007 R2 in them. Also in the guides all management pack have a release date from last year (2012). Any way you can download this MP here.

New MP: Windows Server Network Load Balancing Management Pack

Another management pack for Windows Server role or feature is updated. If you open the download link you will see that the page and the title says “Windows Server 2008 Network Load Balancing Management Pack for Operations Manager 2007” but actually the management pack monitors any NLB from Windows Server 2008 till 2012. Also the management pack is supported on SCOM 2012 also. You can find all this information in the guide of the MP. So definitely read the guide before importing this new MP.