At FrameFlow, we fully understand the importance monitoring all the various IT systems that are critical to your business operations including: servers, routers, switches, HVAC systems, temperature sensors, back-up power supplies and virtually any type of device with an IP address, to ensure they are indeed performing as required. Our cutting edge, but easy to use and fully customizable monitoring software scales to continually scan 10s of 1000s of IT systems, with over 85 different monitoring types to cover all requirements.
Here’s the rundown on some of the special features that make FrameFlow standout.
One of the many event monitors included with FrameFlow is our Linux/SSH Command event monitor. With it you can connect to any system that supports SSH (maybe even Windows Server someday), run a command and parse the results.
We recently released a hotfix for this event monitor and here you can learn more about it.
As modern civilization continues to advance, fuelled in many ways by innovations in digital technology, all types of businesses and government organizations are becoming increasingly dependant on the IT infrastructure powered by Windows Servers.
New Security Internet Security Flaw Discovered
The list of flaws in trusted security algorithms has grown again with the recent announcement of the “FREAK” (Factoring Attack on RSA-EXPORT Keys) vulnerability also known as CVE-2015-0204.
First reports confirmed that many OpenSSL implementations contained the flaw and today Microsoft issued Security Advisory 3046015 confirming that all versions of Windows are vulnerable.
Where Did The Freak Vulnerability (CVE2015-0204) Come From?
The details of the vulnerability are alarming and largely due to flawed federal policies on encryption dating back to the 1990s. Around that time products like PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) were starting to see wider distribution and the U.S. officials responded by passing laws to control the export of any product that included high grade encryption. It was a futile effort and the battle was eventually won by crusaders such as Phil Zimmerman.
Some would even say there is a darker side to government efforts on the control and distribution of encryption technology:
CC Image courtesy of jakeliefer (Flickr: Old Keys) [CC-BY-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons]
Techniques for Fast and Efficient Server Monitoring
FrameFlow is highly customizable and offers a wide variety of monitoring options. We’ve designed it that way on purpose to give you the flexibility to build out your monitoring configuration in a way that best suits your work environment, practices and policies.
There’s one area where first time users often have questions and that’s when it comes to authentication. FrameFlow is an agentless monitoring system, which means we don’t install anything on the systems being monitored. Instead we use standard protocols to reach out to the monitored machines and collect the data we need. To do that we need to authenticate to the machines being monitored. This is a good thing because it means that FrameFlow plays by the rules when it comes to your network security polices rather than wildly opening ports to reveal monitoring data like some agent-based systems do.
The vulnerability allows a user with restricted permissions to escalate to domain administrator privileges and Microsoft reports that attacks have been seen in the wild. Microsoft has officially stated that "the only way a domain compromise can be remediated with a high level of certainty is a complete rebuild of the domain," so it's critical that all Windows admins apply this patch immediately.
Microsoft recommends first patching domain controllers running Windows Server 2008 R2 or earlier. Next, patch your Windows Server 2012 and later domain controllers. Finally, patch all of your regular systems to ensure complete safety.
Use the following step-by-step instructions showing how to configure FrameFlow Server Monitor to make sure your systems have been patched:
Windows Server Technical Preview
With each new Windows release the desktop edition gets a lot of press coverage but what about the server editions? Let’s take a look at the server edition that was released along with the Windows 10 Technical Preview.
What Will the New Windows Server Edition be Called?
First, let’s talk about the name. At this time it’s not clear whether the new version will be called “Windows 10 Server,” or “Windows Server 2015,” or possibly something else. Microsoft currently uses the generic “Windows Server Technical Preview” which doesn’t give anything away. While we now have a confirmed name for the desktop edition, those of us on the server side of things will have to wait a bit longer.
Update: Windows 9 is dead. Long live Windows 10! Microsoft fooled everyone by skipping to Windows 10. There’s a preview build available already and stay tuned for our initial observations. So far all we can say is that we’re happy to have the Start Menu back.
As a server monitoring software company, at Frameflow we are always interested in the latest developments that directly affect our industry and our offering. Microsoft has scheduled a press event for September 30th and it’s almost certain that they will use it to reveal details about their next major update to Windows.
Microsoft Likely to Stick with Windows 9 for Server Edition
It hasn’t been confirmed yet but most IT web sites are suggesting that Microsoft will not only stick with its latest numbering scheme for Windows desktops releases, but bring the same versioning for server releases too. If true, that means we can expect Windows 9 Server instead of something like Windows Server 2015. This is consistent with Microsoft’s goal to position Windows as an ecosystem where you’ll find Windows on your desktop, on servers, on your phone and in the cloud and it’s all just “Windows” as opposed to distinct products for each platform.
Windows 9 Expectations
We know a tiny bit about what Microsoft has in mind for Windows 9. A Microsoft executive in France recently let it slip that Windows 9 will include features “geared toward technical and enterprise customers.” Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, has been consistently pushing a “mobile first, cloud first” strategy so it’s reasonable to expect that we’re going to see improvements in these areas as well. On the “mobile first” side of things, it would be great to see something like Apple’s hand-off ability where you can switch devices mid-stream and keep working. On the “cloud first” side of things, even more integration of Windows 9 Server with Azure cloud-based services would be a huge benefit.
Back to the Start Menu
We also know that Windows 9 will bring back the Start Menu. In several demos Microsoft has showed off a new design for it that includes both the traditional Start Menu structure, that we’ve known since Windows 95, combined with some elements of the new Metro interface. We don’t have much to go on but what we’ve seen so far looks like a step in the right direction.
64-Bit Version Only?
We’re seeing a number of indications that Windows 9 may only be available in a 64-bit version. This is probably good news on desktops since it’s been ages since all systems have been fully 64-bit. We liked the smaller memory footprint of 32-bit server editions, especially when it was necessary to pack a lot of VMs into a Hyper-V or VMware host, but we’ve known for a long time that we’ll eventually need to move to 64-bit systems across the board and it certainly feels like now is the time to make the move.
Lastly, most media outlets are confirming that Windows 9 will be a free upgrade for Windows 8 users. We can see how this is probably true for desktop editions, but we would be surprised if the server version is a free upgrade for Windows Server 2012; we can only hope that it is.
Don’t Hold Your Breathe for General Availability of Windows 9 Tomorrow
So exactly what can we expect on September 30th? It almost certainly will not be the general availability of Windows 9. Microsoft takes its time getting to a general release usually starting with Community Technical Previews (CTPs), followed by beta releases, followed by release candidates and then finally a general availability release. We’re predicting that Microsoft will release a CTP of Windows 9 and maybe Windows 9 Server. CTPs are generally aimed at developers, but Microsoft has increasingly made them more widely available. And if your organization has an MSDN account, you will likely see it available for download there.
Server Management Tip: Load Windows 9 CTP on a VM
In the past we’ve tried the CTPs for several older versions of Windows and we’ve found that they are great for getting an earlier look at what is coming down the pipe from Microsoft. You might be tempted to upgrade your main machine to the CTP, but take our word and load it in on a VM instead. CTPs can be rough around the edges, with significant bugs, and there’s not always an easy upgrade path to the general release.