Posts Tagged ‘microsoft’

Hyper-V: problems and solutions

Windows Server 2008

Hyper-V is the new hypervisor based virtualization solution from Microsoft. The product is targeted mainly for the data centers for server consolidation. I have been using it since the day it became RTM and am really impressed by its performance and stability. There are some minor issues which is acceptable as the product is still young. I have a Intel Core 2 6420, which has the Intel-VT extension required for Hyper-V and 4 GB of ram sufficient enough for running a single guest. Hyper-V is supported only on windows 2008 server 64 bit edition.

Installation Steps

These are the installation steps for installing Hyper-V

  1. Check if your processor supports either Intel-VT or AMD Pacifica extensions.
  2. Install Windows 2008 server 64 bit edition.
  3. Install all the updates.
  4. Add the role Hyper-V using server manager.
  5. Install updates for the Hyper-V role.

Now you are all set to install you guest operating system. Run the Hyper-V manager application to manage your guest operating systems. Create a new virtual machine and setup different properties like memory, number of processors etc.. If you are planning to install your guest operating system from network make sure that you add a legacy network adapter as the guest operating system wont be having drivers at install time for the normal network adapter. Once you are done installing the guest operating system install the integration services from the settings menu of that virtual machine. Installation of integration services is highly required for better performance and also getting remote desktop to work.

Issues

1) No audio on the virtual machine. How to listen to your favorite mp3’s ?

The first thing that you might notice is the lack of Audio device. Hyper-V is for running multiple servers on a single physical machine. Not many people play mp3’s on a production server, I suppose. So how do we get audio to work on your virtual machine ???

The solution is simple. Don’t use the hyper-v manager to connect to the guest operating system. Instead enable remote desktop on the guest machine and use mstsc to connect to the guest. If you are using windows 2003 as the guest you still find that the audio doesn’t work. There are couple of setting that you need to make to get audio to work. First thing is to change the windows audio service startup to automatic from disabled and start the service. This can be done by running services.msc from the run dialog. Next, you have to fire tscc.msc from the run dialog to change a couple of terminal services settings. In the connection tab, double click on the Rdp-tcp row to get the properties tab. Unselect the “Audio Mapping” option there and save the settings. Remember you have to logout from that session and start a new session for the settings to take effect. Of course simpler thing would be to reboot the guest. Connect again to the guest and enjoy your favorite mp3’s …..

2) Unreadable/fuzzy  text on LCD monitors if you are using remote desktop

So you think you solved your hyper-v problems by connecting using mstsc instead of the hyper-v manager,  then maybe you are using a CRT monitor or you have never seen cleartype in action. Yes, font smoothing doesn’t work with RDP if you have either windows XP or windows 2003 as the guest OS. And if you have a LCD monitor like me, you know how much pain in the *** it is to work on a LCD without font smoothing. So now you have to fix this cleartype issue.

Microsoft has finally issued a Hot fix for this feature at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/946633. Download the fix and install it. You have to reboot the machine for the fix to work. Also make sure the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows\TSEnableFontSmoothing is set to 1.

3) Strange cursor problem and fix

Also, when I used to connect to guest machine using the hyper-v manager instead of remote desktop client, I faced a weird problem with my mouse cursor. After using the guest machine for sometime may be a couple of hours the mouse pointer becomes fixed meaning that it doesn’t change depending on the thing beneath it. It sometimes becomes a wait cursor, sometimes a small dot and like that. This is quite frustrating while you try to re-size windows or frames as you cannot make whether you are at the proper point to re-size the window. Luckily after using remote desktop to connect to the host this problem also is solved.

Hope these solutions fix some of your hyper-v problems.

Sins of Opensource

Well, you are an opensource user. Your geek rating is much higher than any of your other puny friends on facebook. You bask in the glory of being clean and untainted. But dont confuse being opensource as “not being evil”. The real trick is to use the good will of opensource and still use it for your nefarious (defination) purposes. Behold the sins of Opensource and how/where to use it in your own company:

  1. As Strategy (aka Greed): Most evil are those who employ opensource as a strategy, this not only allows them to publisize there product but also gives them a GNU loving status. Google like always leading the way with Google Gears and Libjingle. By making Gears opensource it caused a 3 way effect
    1. It allowed the people to look into the code and ensure that there are no google spies sitting in it, hence building trust.Without this nobody would opt for it
    2. It also became instant favorite to all those who hate The Microsoft way, giving them the satisfaction of using an opensource alternative on an opensource platform(firefox).
    3. Allowing other people to step in with it and start making more tools to replace more softwares(ZOHO, Offline WIkipedia etc)

    So using it as a stratigic weapon you can assasinate a lot more quickly than otherwise.

  2. As a User (aka Gluttony): You reading this blog in firefox and me writing it in wordpress doesnt make things a whole lot better. If you have used a product of opensource and have never cared to:
    1. Submit a bug report.
    2. donate for it(and are never planning to).
    3. Contribute back.

    then you are evil. You are another one of those selfish people who just wanna use the product for free and run away with the benifits. I wouldnt blame you for it but we are all sinners

  3. As a developer(aka Pride): If you are a developer associated with a opensource community because of any of the following reasons then you are also a sinner:
    1. Even if you see your own project suffering because of unsufferable GUI, you still stand by and keep working on core internal library which is already ruthlessly efficient. Since GUI is one of the most boring things to work on you choose to ignore it and because of that your project suffers. This is the sin that leads to poor interfaces of so many opensource software.
    2. You have been laid off, and just want to code to keep your skills sharp and to build your CV and have no interest in the concept of “greater good” and benifit of all man kind.
  4. As a startup(aka Sloth): If you are a startup or for that matter any company and you are using opensource software because of any of the reasons then you are also sinners:
    1. Using your expert skills you are able to disprove Microsoft’s TCO model and use opensource as cheap software.
    2. Use plenty of opensource tools in your company but have never released any of the scripts etc neither have cared enough to put even a simple logo on your official site.
    3. You rely of free service of opensource community that is 10 times larger than that of any company’s support staff.
    4. Worse are all are those developers who use the free experience provided by opensource community in development of features that they eventually want to put in there own software(best oppurtunity is GSOC).

Disclaimer: I’d like to apologize to anybody who feels offended. This article fundamentally represents how opensource is practically being used by different catagory of people(coders, users and companies). There are several other ways of employing/deploying opensource which will be discussed in future articles.

Google is the next Microsoft

“Google is more like us than anything that we have ever competed before.”

This famous quote about Google is by none other than Bill Gates himself. Microsoft is one of the biggest and fastest growing giant, the world has ever seen. The reach of Microsoft in various fields is inspiring. With a steady product range and effective marketing strategy, Microsoft is poised to become bigger and better by the day. Google is a relative new comer and often underestimated in comparison to Microsoft. True Google has an entirely different revenue model and ideology but that ideology to organize the world’s information is the key to success of Google in the fields where Microsoft has been unable to leave a footprint.

Everybody knows that Web is growing at a rapid rate. Over 5.4 million new sites are put up monthly and the success of Google in monetizing this exponential growth has made Google the fastest growing company in the history of the world. . The growth of internetYoutube will inevitably have far reaching consequences than earlier predicted. It has already started pushing more and more desktop functionality to the internet making all our information available everywhere. Google has anticipated this trend and has started developing applications to mimic the desktop functionality. No spreadsheet in the world will provide you with infinite rows and columns like Google spreadsheet, and no Second Life Logohard disk can provide potentially infinite video storage space like the way YouTube does. The consequences don’t stop there. Ads were well known to the real world till Google came along with state of the art Adsense. Now the traditional video ads that we are so familiar with on television are being replicated in Adsense. Your friend circle has migrated on the web, your college facebook, your mails, your calendar, even you yourself can now have a second life.

There are no two ways about it. Google has not only pioneered the IT revolution it is leading it with an online revenue generation of over 16.59 billion dollars, if that’s not enough then check this out; Google owns about 5% sites in the world that’s 77 million sites worldwide. Only those companies will continue to succeed which are backed by effective research and the best employees. Microsoft is renowned for its efforts in research and work culture. Microsoft has come up with products which have ensured its continued capture on existing market. Google is not far behind with its unique way of promoting research among its employees. I am of course talking about the 20% free time, which is an integral part of Google’s company policy. Using this Google has targeted the researcher in its employees. This free time has lead to numerous products which are in main stream for Google like Orkut, Gmail and even the popular Adsense. This unique work culture also has been the key to attract the best employees around the globe. Not only this, If you are wish to know in depth about any field the best lecture you can find is probably Google tech talks. Google tech talks are available on Google videos on almost all fields (Bio fuel, Second life to begin with). People who talk are from variety of backgrounds and are generally the forerunners in their field.

Those who claim that Google is not the next Microsoft have perhaps not observed the striking similarity between the acquisitions undertaken by Google in the recent years and that of Microsoft in the early 90s. Microsoft undertook major acquisitions in process of its growth targeting a vast array of companies. The companies’ skill set ranged from Business Intelligence to server virtualization.

EngyroAquantiSoft Artison

Microsoft’s aggressive takeovers were the backbone of its strong and innovative lineup of software. Google also is actively acquiring companies with a wide agenda in mind. It has acquired companies like Double click to improve its existing ad services and it has also acquired companies like Android to expand into mobile devices thereby diversifying its target market.

Anybody who has observed the growth of Microsoft knows that acquisitions were not the only way Microsoft grew. It undertook major alliances with companies such as Dell, IBM. A prime alliance methodology was the OEM alliance, this alliance helped Microsoft to capture the desktop market. Google has also learned from this and started alliances with a wide array of companies. For example the alliance with Airtel in India, Apple iPhone in US and the major alliance with Firefox which ships Google as a default search in over 150 million browsers worldwide. This shows that it has the business acumen to compete with Microsoft and even outsmart it.

A major speculation made on Google is that its state in the market is fragile, owing to the one-dimensional success that it has established till now. However I would like to point out that Google is not as fragile as they think. There are several reasons for it.

  1. Google shows interest in competing startups and acquire them if they show promising talent, for example YouTube.
  2. Google has always stimulated diversification by keeping its employees in small groups imitating the research groups kept in the best universities in the world.
  3. A typical misconception about Google is that it leads the market solely because of its powerful search. Very few people know about its Map Reduce. What is this Map Reduce? Imagine the power to organize millions of bytes of information in a matter of seconds. The power that enables Google to process over 20 Peta bytes of information daily. This magic sauce allows Google to quickly test out its innovative ideas in matter of days faster than anybody else in the world. Taking this amazing algorithm in account, who’s to say that Google won’t venture into as many dimensions as Microsoft if not more?

Reaching the heights to which Microsoft has reached is an ambitious target. There are very few companies in the world that can achieve what Microsoft has done in the software market. There is always the chance that Google may also fail to do so, but I think that it does have the right mix of ingredients to become a Microsoft or even topple it.

PS: I could talk about how Microsoft and Google both are being sued for antitrust or how both have shown monopolist tendencies, but I believe that this point of view would not weaken my cause but would also not be credible. Just because Google has made the same mistake as Microsoft in a juncture of its corporate lifetime does not prove or disprove that Google will become the next Microsoft.