Posts in Systems Administration

AWS really does make the Pain of Purchasing Servers go away

I have thought a lot about how I used to provision traditional IT resources, and how differently I would provision Amazon Web Services resources in the cloud today. Maybe you can benefit from my perspective, based on experience, that keeps it plain and simple.

In the past, I had to think about how much hardware and software I could buy with a given budget. I would over-engineer the architecture, since I would have to live with it for several years. It was better to be safe with more than I could use, than be sorry trying to explain why the money already spent wasn’t enough. Building a whole test system up front to prove it would work would also increase costs, Read More

Pay the Piper – Software Licensing and Audits

Once upon a Wikipedia safari, I found myself sucked into the article on the Pied Piper of Hamelin. I read that contrary to popular belief, the expression “pay the piper” actually comes not from the Pied Piper, but from the phrase “He who pays the piper calls the tune.” You learn something new every day, I thought to myself. You see, over the years, I have advised employers, clients, and contemporaries that when it comes to software licensing, it is best to “pay the piper.” It was an expression I learned as a kid in the Boston area. Keep reading…

Get Microsoft Windows 8.1 installation media (ISO) for offline update or fresh installation

I just found something I thought I should pass along. Sure, it’s only for the desktop OS, but many if not all of us in this line of work use one. (If you don’t use Windows, or don’t support your own workstation, maybe sharing the info can gain you some brownie points with folks who do.) It was not readily apparent in my searching the web, either: Microsoft has made Windows 8.1 (or 8.1 Pro) installation bits available for download for you and me– and yes, you can install from that media using your retail Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro Product Key.

Not so long ago, one would have had to install Windows 8, then get online for hours to patch it and then upgrade to Windows 8.1. For me, this got in the way of having what I like to call a “gold copy” of a system build. IMO, being networked for so long increases risk exposure, reduces trustworthiness, and otherwise tarnishes the golden-ness of a system build image. What about doing a Windows 8.1 offline update? Keep reading…

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