How Database Availability Groups streamline high availability in Exchange Server

Starting with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Database Availability Groups (DAG) have replaced a number of features that provided redundancy for purposes of high availability and disaster recovery. The earlier high availability approaches included Single Copy Cluster (SCC), Standby Continuous Replication (SCR), Local Continuous Replication (LCR), and Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR). Supporting these were the concepts…

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Share Excel Workbooks in SharePoint

When working in Excel on a file system, you can share the file so that multiple people can edit it, even simultaneously. However, you may wonder how to do a similar thing in Microsoft SharePoint. One way to do this is to publish portions of an Excel file as Web Parts. When editing a Web…

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Perform fail-safe firmware upgrades

A key component to maintaining the reliability and efficiency of your network is keeping the firmware on your network devices up-to-date. As you know, these devices can include managed switches, routers, wireless access points, and intrusion detection systems among others. Unfortunately, the device’s documentation doesn’t always provide the proper procedures for upgrading the firmware successfully.…

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Use care when upgrading hand-held operating systems

Upgrading operating systems has become almost automatic, as it’s a crucial element of security maintenance. However, rapid advances in computer hardware have made it easy to forget the need to also consider system resources when upgrading to any new operating system. Clearly, this becomes more of an issue with hand-held devices, which typically are far…

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Prevent man-in-the-middle attacks with DHCP snooping

A number of devastating attacks can be instigated by spoofing messages for some of the most fundamental network protocols, such as DHCP. For example, through DHCP spoofing, an attacker can create a fake DHCP server that’s privy to information it’s not supposed to have. This allows the attacker to carry out a man-in-the-middle attack to…

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Save bandwidth costs using Windows 8’s networking options

Many ISPs charge hefty fees if monthly bandwidth usage goes above a certain threshold. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for users to know how much bandwidth they’re using, and sometimes applications (rogue or otherwise) may download or upload huge amounts of data, unbeknownst to the user. To help users better manage their bandwidth, Windows 8…

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One trick to speed up slow file operations between servers

Moving or copying files between servers may sometimes be unreasonably slow or even come to halt. Unfortunately, any server slowness can affect a lot of people. One common culprit is that something may be going wrong with a feature in network interface cards (NIC) called TCP offload engine (TOE). TOE is supposed to help performance…

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How to access a linked server’s linked server in SQL Server

In Microsoft SQL Server, you can define remote data sources as “linked servers” and access them in a query using syntax that qualifies the object (e.g., table) name according to where it resides … e.g., server.database.schema.object. However, sometimes, you may need to access a linked server’s linked server. Unfortunately, SQL Server’s query syntax doesn’t give…

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Top causes to check in case of IP conflicts

When using DHCP, sometimes you may get a message such as “Windows has detected an IP address conflict.” There may be no obvious problem, or the affected machine may be unable to access the network. Here are two common causes of this problem: 1. Laptops or tablets may be carried to different places and hence…

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Save money on credit card transactions with Level 3 Processing

If your company processes credit card transactions online through shopping cart software or an internal application for keying in data, you may be paying more than necessary. While only the essential fields needed to process a transaction are required, sending the bare minimum is called “level 1 processing” in the payment card industry and generally…

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Why put the “N” before strings in SQL Server

When working with queries and commands Microsoft SQL Server or looking at documentation for arguments in core functions, often you’ll see an “N” before a quotes string, like this: N’string content’ As you may know, the N encodes the string as Unicode (specifically, UTF-16 in SQL Server’s case). The “N” stands for “national,” since using…

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To hire the right candidate, use your own interview questions

When you’re trying to build a top-class IT team, it’s tempting to ask candidates some of the standard problem-solving questions used by big players in the industry, such as Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. Lots of websites list commonly used questions, and you’re sure to find super-clever brain teasers and computer science problems from these…

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