Saturday, July 31, 2010

New Small Business Server Products Coming from Microsoft

Microsoft announced two (!) new products for the Small Business Server family at the Worldwide Partner Conference this month. As expected, an updated version of Small Business Server 2008, code named “Small Business Server 7” will have updated components and updated integration elements. Specifically, Windows Server 2008 will be replaced with 2008 R2, Exchange 2007 will be replaced with 2010, Windows SharePoint Services 3 will be replaced with SharePoint Foundation 2010 and SQL Server 2008 will be updated with 2008 R2. The Remote Web Workplace portal has been updated as well as components that provide server management. Windows Software Update Services 3 remains unchanged. Also unchanged is the maximum number of users supported which is 75.

The big surprise was the product code named “Aurora”. Aimed at businesses without a server, this product uses architecture elements from Microsoft’s Home Server product and SBS 2008 products. From Home Server, comes workstation backup and simple software RAID. From SBS, comes robust domain security and Remote Web Workplace. New to any Microsoft server offering is explicit integration and support for Microsoft’s hosted Exchange and SharePoint products. Aurora will support up to 25 users.

We plan on testing both products in our lab so we’ll be ready to offer and support these products upon release.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

SonicWall Global VPN Client connection issues

SonicWall’s VPN client won’t connect without adjustment to the default Group VPN policy. A quick check of the client software’s log will display "Failed to find MAC address 00:60:73:xx:xx:xx in the system interfaces table".

What’s happening is VPN client is connecting to the SonicWall but not receiving an IP address from the destination network. While there are numerous other workarounds on SonicWall’s website, we found none of these worked for us. We found the answer in the Group VPN policy settings. The Virtual Adapter setting (found on the Client tab) was set to None preventing connectivity. Setting this to DHCP Lease or DHCP Lease or Manual Configuration corrected the problem.

Oddly enough, we found "none" to be a default setting in the units we manage.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

No Internet Connectivity on SBS 2008

One of our clients lost internet connectivity on their SBS 2008 server this week. Since the business relies on a hosted line of business app, this was a critical issue. Internal networking was all OK, just no internet access.

We first checked internet connectivity from the ISP and there was no problem. Then we checked the UTM device, also no problem. We connected a notebook PC to the UTM and got out to the internet immediately.

We’ve had several problems in the past with Broadcom NICs in Dell servers, so we looked for the problematic settings but everything was configured properly. After downloading and updating the NIC drivers and firmware, we restarted server but still no luck.

This lead us to believe there might be a DNS problem. Rather than checking the settings, we tried the SBS Fix My Network wizard. Oddly enough, it would not run. The SBS Console just froze. Still thinking DNS, we checked the settings. All OK.

Next, we went to a workstation and entered the ISP’s DNS settings, bypassing the server DNS. That didn’t work either and it should have. We then reset the gigabit switch and internet connectivity was restored. Once the internet connectivity was restored, the SBS Fix My Network wizard worked too. This issue was rather odd, especially since internal networking was not affected.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fake Antivirus Software Scams

Viruses have changed dramatically over the past few years; instead of just wreaking havoc with your system, these software threats have become quite sophisticated. The most common problem we see is fake antivirus software claiming a problem exists on a system. This, of course, is completely unfounded as the problem is the fake antivirus software itself.

In most instances, the user is confused by the message and clicks on prompts to install the software. It’s easy to do as the messages have the “look and feel” of antivirus software. Once the threat is installed, quick action can usually deactivate the program. We usually restart the system in safe mode and use System Restore to bring the system settings back to proper working order. With another restart, we then run the trusted antivirus solution to clean the deactivated threat off of the system.

It’s interesting to note that we never see these issues in the businesses we work with as we always deploy a UTM (universal threat management) solution at the internet’s point of entry. We only see this on machines that are outside of the networks we support.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Installing KB983444 may cause issues

So, instead of just blasting this one out, you may want to do some additional testing first. The SBS Support Team in Las Colinas has information here in the event SharePoint is unavailable after the patch.