Category Archives: Windows Server

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Microsoft Future Decoded 2015

November 2015 saw the return of Microsoft’s Future Decoded event to the ExCel Center in London. I didn’t make it last year (it was a week after TechEd Europe and I was all Microsofted out!) so I’ve been looking forward to the Tech Day of this event since the registration notice back in May. This is my summary of the day. Continue reading

Deploying SCCM Applications via a custom web portal

My organisation has a user-facing application portal, distributing Application Jukebox and direct download apps from one central location. However, we use SCCM to distribute some applications and have been stuck in the unsatisfactory situation of having to direct users to two different sites depending on what application they want – “go to the normal portal for these apps, but Software Center for these ones”. Using the method described here we can include web links directly to the application in the SCCM catalog into our existing portal- the result, we can send our users to one place, regardless of the delivery method we have chosen for that specific application.

The solution involves a PowerShell script given below (and based on some work done here). We feed it the name of the application, and some details of our SCCM environment (the site code and the Application Catalog server) and it produces a URL. This URL can then be added to our existing web portal.

Example PowerShell

Example PowerShell to generate app URL

In this example the script (Get-SCCM-Link.ps1) is called with three arguments:

  • Application- this is the name of the application in the SCCM Catalog we want to generate a link for.
  • SiteCode- this is the sitecode of our SCCM site
  • AppCatalogServer- this is the server hosting  the SCCM Application Catalog

The result of running this script is a veeeery long URL. But that’s not a problem, as we’re going to place it in a web page rather than reading it out to a user over the ‘phone!

When a user clicks on the link they will be taken directly to the download page for that app in the SCCM Application Catalog as shown below. Then they just need to click “Install” and the app will be installed as normal- no need to send users to two different places or have them hunt through Software Center. The only caveat is that the application must be deployed to a User Collection of which the logged in user is a member- deploying to a Device Collection is not sufficient. But if your user can already see the app in the listing in the Application Catalog then you should be good to go.

Application Catalog

An example application in the SCCM web based catalog

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70-410 Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012R2

I sat, and passed, the Microsoft 70-410 exam in Windows Server 2012R2 last week. Whilst I’m not going to report everything on the test (both because I’m not allowed to, and because I can’t remember all the details) hopefully this post will provide a few pointers for others studying for the exam. Continue reading

TechEd Europe 2014

TechEd Europe 2014- Foundational Session

FDN03 – Optimizing Your Datacenter with Windows Server, System Center, and Microsoft Azure

Another big session that generated loads of notes in my OneNote and here are my Five Highlights..

  1. CPS- The Azure-in-your-datacentre offering. This takes all the best practice and lessons learned to provide an optimised on-premise cloud.
  2. CPS has a single point of support- Microsoft. No multi-vendor issues.
  3. Everything can be software defined these days. Network controllers, load balancers, storage……
  4. 20% of Azure workloads are Linux
  5. There’s no such thing as a happy storage customer- they always want more/faster

TEE14 Foundation Session