Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 3 now available

It’s been a while since Microsoft released a new Windows Server 2016 technical preview. The company has finally released a new preview – preview 3. The latest Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview comes with a lot of new features and improvements.

The new features and changes listed here are the ones most likely to have the greatest impact as you work with this release.

  • Windows Server Containers: Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview now includes containers, which are an isolated, resource-controlled, and portable operating environment.
  • Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS): Active Directory Domain Services includes improvements to help organizations secure Active Directory environments and provide better identity management experiences for both corporate and personal devices.
  • New in Failover Clustering: A new feature in Failover Clustering, Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade, enables an administrator to upgrade the operating system of the cluster nodes from Windows Server 2012 R2 to Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview without stopping the Hyper-V or the Scale-Out File Server workloads. Using this feature, the downtime penalties against Service Level Agreements (SLA) can be avoided.
  • New in Hyper – V: You can now add a node running Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview to a Hyper-V Cluster with nodes running Windows Server 2012 R2. The cluster continues to function at a Windows Server 2012 R2 feature level until you upgrade all of the nodes in the cluster and you upgrade the cluster functional level with the following Windows PowerShell cmdlet, Update – ClusterFunctionalLevel.
  • Windows Server Antimalware Overview: Windows Server Antimalware is installed and enabled by default in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview, but the user interface for Windows Server Antimalware is not installed. However, Windows Server Antimalware will update antimalware definitions and protect the computer without the user interface. If you need the user interface for Windows Server Antimalware, you can install it after the operating system installation by using the Add Roles and Features Wizard.
  • New in Remote Desktop Services: For the Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview, the Remote Desktop Services team focused on improvements based on customer requests. Microsoft added support for OpenGL and OpenCL applications, and added MultiPoint Services as a new role in Windows Server.
  • New in File and Storage Services: An update in storage quality of service now enables you to create storage QoS policies on a Scale-Out File Server and assign them to one or more virtual disks on Hyper-V virtual machines. Storage Replica is a new feature that enables synchronous replication between servers for disaster recovery, as well as stretching of a failover cluster for high availability.
  • New in Web Application Proxy: The latest version of Web Application Proxy focuses on new features that enable publishing and pre authentication for more applications and improved user experience.
  • New in the Windows console: The underlying console host (Conhost.exe) has been updated in several ways, adding new and different functionality to the Windows command prompt, the Windows PowerShell prompt, and any other character-mode applications.
  • New in Windows PowerShell 5.0: Windows PowerShell 5.0 includes significant new features—including support for developing with classes, and new security features—that extend its use, improve its usability, and allow you to control and manage Windows-based environments more easily and comprehensively.

Windows 10 will use Virtualization for Extra Security.

Windows 10 features, security upgrades often miss the spotlight because of additions like Cortana for desktop, Microsoft Edge, and Universal Apps.

Although, we expect that as Microsoft is targeting a broad consumer audience with its new operating system, and many people don’t care or aren’t even aware about subliminal security details as the return of the Start menu. Security updates and enhancements are not of interest to everyone.

Yet there are users who have specific benchmarks on how their devices and data will be protected on Windows 10. This is an age of high security risk. No one knows when the attack may happen or what is at risk. The attackers these days are not after money but after DATA.

“The threats that we’re seeing are dramatically different from what we saw four years ago,” Chris Hallum, senior product manager for Windows business security, said in an interview with InformationWeek. “Organizations are still getting breached, even when they have the very best security solutions.”

Today’s attacks are more aggressive and targeted. Detection-based models for pinpointing malware are no longer enough. Most hackers use one of two avenues in a security breach: identity theft and increasingly advanced malware.

In Windows 7 and 8, Microsoft implemented security measures that now seem incremental in hindsight, said Hallum. The goals were to build taller and thicker “walls” for enhancing security, and to create more “speed bumps” to prevent attacks.

No one is 100% Safe. But with implementing processes of cyber security we can reduce the risk of being vulnerable.

Hackers began to adopt new capabilities faster than Microsoft was changing its features. As data breaches began to escalate rapidly, the team decided it was time to “fundamentally change the game with attackers,” Hallum explained.

“With Windows 10, we took the time to change the platform to make the interior hard as the exterior,” he continued. One of the biggest security updates in Windows 10 is the use of virtualization as a means of preventing identity theft and distribution of malware.

The Windows component that facilitates communication, also known as the local security authority (LSA), can give a hacker full authentication if successfully compromised. In Windows 10, the LSA is moved into a separate container that serves as a virtualization-based security (VBS) environment.

This way, even if the OS were compromised, an attacker wouldn’t be able to assume control of the authentication process.

Windows 10 UVES

LSA is the same service that interacts with derived credentials, which provide authentication across a network when you use single sign-on. “Attackers love to steal that content,” said Hallum, because once they’re inside, they can navigate the network without accessing the rest of your information.

With data protected inside the VBS container, Windows 10 marks the first version of Windows to leverage hardware to create an area of high isolation. This makes it impossible for hackers to steal derived credentials, Hallum explained.

Of course, this isn’t the only advanced protection we’ll see in Windows 10, but the hardware component does merit discussion. Microsoft has introduced a range of new security features, including additional authentication safeguards Windows Hello and Passport.

To further enhance enterprise security in Windows 10, Microsoft will administer OS updates through “Long Term Servicing Branches.” This will give businesses greater security and control over how they receive new features, and more flexibility in adopting innovation at their own pace.

A “Current Branch for Business” will accommodate enterprise customers who handle end-user devices that aren’t necessarily mission-critical. In addition to security updates, these customers will receive feature upgrades after compatibility has been ensured in the consumer market.

Microsoft Drops another Windows 10 Update

Since the launch of Windows 10 on July 29, 2015, Microsoft for the third time released the new set of updates for Windows 10.

Microsoft has begun the rollout of what it calls a cumulative update.  In case you haven’t installed the earlier updates, this updates gets you up and running with the latest version of Windows. On the other hand, if you have updated the prior updates, then only incremental patches will be installed.

Here’s Microsoft’s official words on the update:

Windows 10 updates are cumulative. Therefore, this package contains all previously released fixes. If you have previous updates installed, only the new fixes that are contained in this package will be downloaded and installed to your computer. 

Microsoft is making some big changes as to how it handles patching and updating with Windows 10. Those using Windows 10 Home must take all features, fixes and security updates from Microsoft as soon as the company makes them available via Windows Update. (There is a not so readily discoverable blocking tool meant to enable users to temporarily block drivers and patches.) Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise and Education users have a bit more leeway in terms of when and how they get patches with features and fixes.

These update packages are more background fixes than new features.

Microsoft describes Windows 10 as a “universal” application architecture, which is an attempt to build a single operating system that can function on devices of any size, or input variety. Thus the released updates and patches will be made available for all devices.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Stitch in Time.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote a memo to the company’s employees responding to the recent article that appeared in The New York Times.

The New York Times daily had recently published an article portraying Amazon as a Brutal Workplace. The article was based on interviews with current and former Amazon staffers. The article claimed that at Amazon, employees were pushed to extremes and managers showed little sympathy or empathy to workers even when they were faced with illnesses or bereavements.

According to the article published in New York Times, employees were expected to answer emails well into the night and workers crying at their desks was not an uncommon sight. One former worker says Amazon encourages a culture that prioritizes the success of the company above all else.
Taking the strings in his hands in his memo, Benzo requested employees to read the article and report the disrespectful behavior talked about in the article to Human Resources or directly to him. He mentioned “The article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day,” Bezos continued, “I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company.”
Bezos also links to a rebuttal by Nick Ciubotariu, an Amazon employee, who countered the different parts of the story and alleged that the NYT article was full of ‘half-truths’ and was biased against the company.

Here’s the full memo from Jeff Bezos, as obtained by GeekWire: 

Dear Amazonians,
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to give this (very long) New York Times article a careful read:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/technology/inside-amazon-wrestling-big-ideas-in-a-bruising-workplace.html

I also encourage you to read this very different take by a current Amazonian:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/amazonians-response-inside-amazon-wrestling-big-ideas-nick-ciubotariu

Here’s why I’m writing you. The NYT article prominently features anecdotes describing shockingly callous management practices, including people being treated without empathy while enduring family tragedies and serious health problems. The article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day. But if you know of any stories like those reported, I want you to escalate to HR. You can also email me directly at jeff@amazon.com. Even if it’s rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero.

The article goes further than reporting isolated anecdotes. It claims that our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard. Again, I don’t recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either. More broadly, I don’t think any company adopting the approach portrayed could survive, much less thrive, in today’s highly competitive tech hiring market. The people we hire here are the best of the best. You are recruited every day by other world-class companies, and you can work anywhere you want.

I strongly believe that anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company.

But hopefully, you don’t recognize the company described. Hopefully, you’re having fun working with a bunch of brilliant teammates, helping invent the future, and laughing along the way.

Thank you,
Jeff

How to be Calm under pressure

At some point, we all have been in a rising panic situation. Every time someone realizes they have made a serious mistake. Missed your last flight to an urgent meeting, missed a slide in client presentation, or skipped important deadline.

Everyone makes mistakes and thus resultant pressure is inevitable; the secret ingredient to getting past them is to your calmness. Like Anger Management, Pressure Management too is a great area of study.

New research from the Harvard Business School shows that most of us are wrong go about staying calm the wrong way. How many times we see people around us, who welcome the challenge of a crisis. Challenges excite them and they perform far better than those who have to try and force themselves to be calm.

Study author Allison Wood Brooks says, “People have a very strong intuition that trying to calm down is the best way to cope with their anxiety, but that can be very difficult and ineffective. When people feel anxious and try to calm down, they are thinking about all the things that could go badly. When they are excited, they are thinking about how things could go well.” 

Staying composed, focused, and effective under pressure is all in your mind. People who can successfully manage crisis, are also able to channel their emotions into producing the behavior that they want.

In other words, their anxiety is translated into energy and excitement by them.

  1. Use your logic

Making a big mistake is surely embarrassing. Your boss might yell at you, it might even affect your next performance appraisal but it is highly unlikely to make you lose your job, make you homeless, or any of the other extremely catastrophic thoughts that fuel anxiety and keep you from getting focused.

  1. What is the worst that can happen?

In such a situation two questions you are recommended to ask yourselves:

  • What’s the worst thing that could happen as a result of this?
  • Will this matter in five years?

These will for once get you over the anxiety and help you build confidence by picking up the pieces and make things better. In all perspective this is “Being Calm”.

  1. There have been worse situations.

Remind yourselves of similar or worse situations you have experienced and have successfully overcome. Alternatively, look at the people in your company who have made serious mistakes are still there and doing just fine. 

‘There’s more to me than this situation. One honest mistake won’t define me.’  

  1. Look at the world below you.

It would never be an advice or be right to set a lower benchmark than yours’. But in situations like these you are expected to see yourself as the center of the maelstrom. But you should realize that your boss, and everyone else, will spend more time trying to improve a difficult situation than worry about you. This is where you too should be focusing on in the first place. By the time they will have the space to think about you, you would have already become a part of the solution.

  1. Focus on repair.

Logical thinking is the key to keep yourself focused on the solution and getting it fixed. Drill down into questioning yourself.

  • What exactly happened?
  • What are the possible repercussions?
  • Is there still time to avoid those repercussions? If so, how?
  • Who needs to be involved?
  • If it is too late to avoid repercussions, what can be done to mitigate the damage?
  • Don’t self-accusations run through your mind.
  1. Action Time!

Once you’ve answered the questions above and figured out what exactly needs to be done, own up to the situation. Once you fold your sleeves and get in to cleaning up the mess more, it gives you a sense of focus, power and energy into making things better. You will feel empowered and will no longer cling to the anxiety.

Remember, the study where getting excited by the challenge improves your performance dramatically.

  1. Summary

Ability to manage your emotions and keeping calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. A research conducted by Talent Smart  with more than a million people, found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.

Nobody likes making mistakes. But no matter how big the mistake is, being in the panic mode is not going to help. It becomes difficult to think about the solution while having the catastrophic thinking hijack your mind. It undermines your ability to make good decisions and to move forward effectively.

Instead, use these strategies to stay calm so you can assess the situation, develop a plan, be accountable, and get busy making things right so you can move on.