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Visual Studio 2017 is Out!

Visual Studio 2017 is Out!

What's Changed in Visual Studio 2017?

Developers all are familiar with Microsoft Visual Studio from it's prior renditions. Being one of the most commonly used developmental program with multiple language support, Microsoft Visual Studio has become an industry leader for building frameworks and elements essential to business. So with a newer edition on the loose, the first question everyone wants to know is what applicable features did it bring to the table? 

Some of the things we noticed immediately:

  • The debugging and test experience has been improved, making it easier than ever and more thorough than ever to not only help locate, but help solve issues and bugs.
  • Integration with cloud services - new integration with .NET Core, Azure applications, Docker containers among other features. There isn't much need to worry about delay or hang up from any of your connecting elements.
  • Improved language support - Regardless of the language you choose to work with, Microsoft has appeared to put more of a focus on providing support for even languages such as javascript.
  • More efficient design - Visual Studio now has a smaller footprint and faster responsiveness from top to bottom, making it easier to maximize productivity. 

Take a look at Microsoft's comparison of the different editions of Visual Studio 2017

Overall, the improvements done to app development and cloud integration will definitely pay off if those are the primary focuses of your IDE. New support for multiple languages gives DevOps much more flexibility to create different solutions..

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What Do We Think About SQL 2016?

What Do We Think About SQL 2016?

Microsoft's latest edition of SQL Server has arrived, with a lot of bells and whistles included. We've had some time to tinker with SQL 2016 and here is a breakdown of what you're getting when you add or upgrade.

Our primary concern (as yours probably is as well) we had during our experimentation and exploration was: Is SQL Server 2016 worth the cost of upgrading?

Before we tried out the 2016 edition, we heavily utilized SQL 2014 and our findings and opinions will be carrying weight to those used to and comfortable with SQL 2014.

However, if you are on a SQL edition that is 2012 or older, we can outright say that the security enhancements are well worth upgrading. Below is a timeline of the various improvements Microsoft has made throughout SQL Server's timeline.

Let's dig into the top 5 features that we found really advantageous and think you will also enjoy:

1. 100% Encryption

  • There is a new feature in SQL Server 2016 called "Always Encrypted". It ensures that the data within your database will always stay encrypted whether it's in a moving, stopped, or active database.

2. In-Memory Optimization

  • You might have heard of this before, as it was introduce (in a relatively primitive form relative to now) in 2014. In-memory optimization got an overhaul in 2016, and now greatly increases scalability, being able to adapt with your hardware. As hardware has gotten significantly more powerful throughout the years, the developers at Microsoft have figured out a way to maximize that potential, such as multi-threaded workloads and low latency for all of your operations, among other uses. The number of operations that the database can process has been documented to show an increase of 30 times over!  

3. Polybase

  • With the various data stores that are around, it can be quite difficult and frustrating to analyze data that is not structured as a table. Polybase essentially gives you the flexibility to query external data such as hadoop or azure. Simply put, you will not need any additional software tools in order to analyze that data anymore, as SQL Server can do it natively now, improving the efficiency of analytics even further.

PolyBase logical

4. Query Store

  • Admins have the ability to maintain a history of all the query executions plans and can utilize their performance data. It will also identify your queries that have decreased in performance recently and will allow developers to correct the plan.

5. JSON Data

  • You can now quickly move your JSON data into formulated tables. For us this was a complete game changer, as almost all of our data is primarily delivered to us in JSON format. With this feature we can formulate structured tables, and efficiently sort our data through multiple queries, helping us optimize our business targeting, purchasing patterns, search trends, among so many other things. This has been definitely our favorite feature of SQL Server 2016.

 

Conclusion: We love SQL 2016. We utilize it now in our corporate office and our sales/support office. We personally found the JSON Data modifications to be most helpful for our IT staff and highly recommend everyone try the free evaluation to see if you can find a feature that's worth upgrading for. Efficient data management has become one of the quintessential building blocks for companies looking to grow, and with the latest SQL Server, you will have all the tools you need to optimize your data as well.

Evaluation - Click Here

SQL Server 2016 - $849.99

$50 Off Coupon: SQLblog2016

 

Let us know what your thoughts are or send us any questions you might have!

Support@trustedtechteam.com

Trusted Tech Team

"Your Friendly Neighborhood Nerds"

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Is Office 2010 Still Heavily Utilized?

Is Office 2010 Still Heavily Utilized?

The nerds here at Trusted Tech Team love analytics! In a recent study we performed alongside our customers, we found that 64% of customers still prefer the look, feel, and installation process of Office 2010. The number was so astounding that we wanted to dig a little deeper and figure out why that was the case.

Out of those 64% of customers, 73% preferred the installation process and ease of activation over the newer version. The biggest factor, without question was that Microsoft Office 2010 does not require a Microsoft account - meaning you don't need to register your personal information in their database. All you need is a product key code, installation file, and you're all set. 

57% stated that they are used to the appearance of Office 2010 and know where to find all the tools/utilities they frequently use on a daily basis. Office 2010 has a very similar feel to Office 2013/2016 and we personally agree with the long-standing love for this suite. Office 2010 is also still continuing to receive security updates until 2020. Re-installation is allowed in the case of a hardware failure or change of computers so no need to worry!

 

Let us know what your thoughts are or send us any questions you might have!

Support@trustedtechteam.com

Trusted Tech Team

"Your Friendly Neighborhood Nerds"

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Windows Server 2016: What you need to know!

Windows Server 2016: What you need to know!

Windows Server 2016 - From Licensing to Functionality

Windows Server 2016 is here, and many things have changed in the Windows Server environment with Microsoft's latest edition of the well known server operating system. How do these changes affect you or your business? Are they advantageous for you to upgrade and utilize right away or can you hold off on upgrading? I will break down the new licensing structure and what the new edition offers versus it's predecessor, the very well known and utilized Windows Server 2012 R2. It has been roughly 6 months after Windows Server 2016 has launched and as with most new operating system launches, the adoption rate is relatively slow early due to either compatibility with other software or overhead costs might simply be too high for an entire office to upgrade, because the benefits would not outweigh the upgrade. So let's get into how the licensing works and what features have been implemented that will help you make the decision to upgrade:

Licensing:

With Windows Server 2016, the model has changed entirely for the standard and datacenter editions, as now they are licensed on a core-licensing basis. What does this mean? To run Windows Server 2016, there is now a minimum requirement of 8 cores per processor, and 16 cores per server to maintain compliance with Microsoft's policies. In prior editions, there was never a core "requirement" nor did it license per core, but with the 2016 edition it is a new approach that Microsoft has taken to make sure users are getting what they need to supplement their hardware. Take note that this only applies to the standard and datacenter editions, as essentials does not check for core compliance. The new minimum is 16 cores (2 processors) for a full server license, with both 16-core and 24-core editions in production.

There are options of purchasing 2 cores at a time (located on our site here) if you have a specific requirement beyond the 16 or 24 core model, otherwise the 16 core instant download or the 24 core instant download will suit your needs perfectly fine. It can seem daunting at first but the cost per core license factors out to exactly the same as Windows Server 2012 R2. The advantage of Windows Server 2016 is that if you have a processor with less or more cores in your server, for example you have a server with two 8 core cpus and 6 core cpu, instead of buying multiple licenses or the higher priced 24 core license, you can use a 16 core license with multiple 2 core licenses to fill out the core requirement for your server. That in a nutshell the flexibility Windows Server 2016 licensing provides versus prior versions. 

 

Windows Server 2016 16 Core Download - $644.99

 

What's New?

Windows Server 2016 has brought a plethora of features to the Windows Server platform that everyone from a small or medium sized business environment to the largest enterprise users can see an immediate benefit of installing it. Here are some of the primary standout features and improvements that Windows Server 2016 brings to the table:

  • Nano Server - Nano server is a very small footprint, remotely administered OS optimized for private clouds and data centers. Being that it has such a small footprint (the GUI is roughly 92% less) you can use it for many hosting purposes, such as a Hyper-V host or a DNS server as well without the need for the clunkiness of the full installation. It can be a life saver for many ITs in the essence of time.
  • Containers - Prior to this edition of Windows Server, containers were more familiar and commonplace within the Linux/Unix workplace. What do they accomplish? They basically allow you to isolate and applications to work with in a secluded environment. Notably this is not a virtual machine, or an instance of Hyper-V but a small dedicated container - a new beast, I know.
  • Linux!!! - There is now a Linux secure boot option available which protects your server's startup environment against malicious attacks. Previously there would be many conflicts trying to create a Linux based boot with a VM, but the new secure boot feature prevents any miscommunication.
  • Storage Spaces Direct and ReFS - Resilient File System (ReFS) is the management system for Storage Spaces - which allow failover cluster nodes to use local storage within the cluster, removing the need to clutter and redundancy of a shared storage fabric.
  • PowerShell Direct - In previous versions PowerShell-based remote administration were done the same as physical, but now with PowerShell Direct allows you to send PowerShell directly into the Hyper-V host's VMs.
  • You can find a complete list of Microsoft's improvements to Windows Server 2016 HERE.

Overview:

After taking looking at all the benefits and features that Windows Server 2016 provides, from the flexibility of licensing to all of the bells and whistles added on, my general take is that considering the small increase in price is well worth the flexibility and infrastructure for your company. For me, the nano server in itself would be enough of a selling point to make that transition to Windows Server 2016. Once again it depends on the infrastructure of your current server and how many assets you would need to migrate to make that transition, but assuming it would not take a complete infrastructure overhaul, I would highly recommend moving toward Windows Server 2016.

 

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Windows 10 - Why it is great not only for the IT Pro and business professionals, but everyone else too!

Windows 10 - Why it is great not only for the IT Pro and business professionals, but everyone else too!

Windows 10 - Why Should You Upgrade?

As we progress into higher and more advanced software and hardware, there are limitations and implementations that older renditions of operating systems might not be up to par with. It is widely known that Windows 7 has been a user favorite for not only IT professionals throughout the past, but also business professionals as well. However, there are some quickly looked over improvements and features of Windows 10 that users look over or take for granted between the two (believe me, I too was hesitant to adopt Windows 10 for almost a year after release). Here are a grip of reasons why for home, business, and it infrastructure - Windows 10 just makes sense.

 

Windows 10 Pro - Limited Time Price $99.99

Hardware:

One of the benefits of Windows 10 is how it can utilize the hardware within your system more effectively than previous versions. One feature that Microsoft implemented in Windows 8/8.1 (that not many people know about) was how it utilized multi-threaded processing, it was one of the bright spots of Windows 8/8.1. I was not a fan of Windows 8/8.1 personally and skipped it entirely, but CPU utilization without a doubt was a significant improvement. The way that Windows 7 handled multi-core processing was that it would front load the work to a single core, and treat the additional cores as spillover, or an emergency tank in a sense. It can be somewhat straining on the CPU itself to front load the work like that, but it is common that users do not push the first core hard enough to reach that threshold. Windows 10 distributes the work evenly among all cores, keeping not only CPU temperatures down but increasing longevity of the CPU as a whole. 

Another distinguishable feature that Windows 10 improved on from it's predecessors was the hard drive access for boot and wake from sleep features. It is definitely to be noted that when Windows 10 launched early, it was notorious for having many bugs of crashing from sleep mode (I ran into it three times in one week and went back to Windows 7 for the next 6 months), but I have yet to run into that issue since making the jump again. Windows 10 consistently tested faster for faster boot times from sleep as well as from an off position by roughly ~14% from the prior versions. All in all, this might not sound like much, but for the IT pro, if you have done troubleshooting for someone's machine in your office, you know that extra amount is a world of difference with all of the booting and rebooting required to not only find but resolve the issue you have.

Software Optimization:

Some things that the prior versions of Windows had, such as virtual desktops and quick search were achievable through plugins, but Windows 10 has them natively built in. Having the flexibility to create a Virtual desktop to plug and play with different installation files and editions is a tremendous flexibility that I have taken advantage of. Search is also instantaneous and very responsive within windows 10, probably one of the biggest conveniences that was brought in with Windows 8. I think we can agree with Windows 8, the concept was very well thought out, but the execution left a lot to be desired. Windows 10 incorporates that same feature, without worrying about the inconvenience of dealing with the entire "desktop vs the start menu" issue.

Security might be the biggest selling feature of Windows 10 not only to IT professionals, but business professionals as well. The most glaring improvement would be Virtualization-based security. VMs are completely encrypted and use a variety of system resources, from hardware to software level to ensure that the system remains protected. All IT pros have heard of and probably consider Bitlocker a useful tool for security, but there are instances where Bitlocker might not be enough. Enter Microsoft's Enterprise Data Protection: it provides file-level data encryption to prevent specific files, preventing data leaks and basically the few holes that is within Bitlocker. Especially when considering corporate sensitive data, it is best to make sure all bases are covered and no stones are unturned. 

Summary:

Overall, since I moved to Windows 10 roughly 7 months ago I've not had a single hiccup with the OS, and I know that my hardware is not being bottlenecked by any level of design. One thing to take note about windows 10 is that it is actually great for EVERYONE! It's made my work easier and easier for the office to complete their tasks as well, fewer clicks, instant response, and a higher level of security. Across the board, Windows 10 almost seems like a no brainer barring you are using legacy software/hardware that does not support Windows 10. Let's recap the big reasons you would want Windows 10 within your computing environment over an older OS:

  • Resource allocation - better usage of hardware
  • Efficient boot times from cold boot and sleep
  • Instant search results - makes navigating for files or apps incredibly easy.
  • Built in virtualization without the need for 3rd party apps. 
  • Security from VBS to Enterprise 
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