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Five reasons Microsoft Lync 2013 matters

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Microsoft Lync 2013 

Lync 2013 has a variety of benefits that businesses can take advantage of to make internal and external communications more effective and efficient.

Lync, which comes bundled with Office 365 business subscriptions, is Microsoft’s server platform for unified communications. In a former life, it went by the longer, but more accurately descriptive name Office Communications Server. Lync ties real-time presence information with instant messaging, video conferencing, and voice communication, and it integrates with Exchange email and Microsoft Office applications.

Here are 5 reasons businesses can benefit from adopting Lync 2013:

1. HD video conferencing

Lync 2013 delivers support for 1080p HD resolution for video conferencing so participants have a sharp, clear display. Lync 2013 uses the standard video codecs like H.264 SVC to provide compatibility across a broader range of platforms and devices, and provide greater flexibility in terms of how video is delivered.

1. HD video conferencing

Lync 2013 delivers support for 1080p HD resolution for video conferencing so participants have a sharp, clear display. Lync 2013 uses the standard video codecs like H.264 SVC to provide compatibility across a broader range of platforms and devices, and provide greater flexibility in terms of how video is delivered.

3. Web app

Beyond the actual Lync client software, and the Lync Mobile apps, Microsoft also introduced a Web app for Lync 2013. Users can join a Lync Meeting from Windows or Mac OS X using a Web browser, and still have access to all of the features of Lync, including HD video, VoIP (Voice over IP), instant messaging, and desktop sharing.

4. Skype federation

As great as Lync is, you will run into plenty of partners, vendors, and customers who don’t use it. Skype, on the other hand, is a very popular and free communications tool—and Microsoft owns that as well. Lync has always provided the option to integrate and communicate with Windows Live Messenger, but Microsoft is phasing that platform out and driving users over to Skype instead. Lync 2013 extends communications to Skype with presence, instant messaging, and voice capabilities.

. Office 365

Small and medium businesses—or even larger businesses for that matter—can take advantage of Lync 2013 as a function of the new Office 365 offering. Lync is not part of the standard Office 365 Home Premium service, but for $150 per user per year the Office 365 Small Business Premium offering includes Lync, as well as Exchange and SharePoint hosted and supported by Microsoft so you don’t have to invest in or manage the backend server infrastructure yourself.

The Office 365 element is arguably the most compelling aspect of Lync 2013. There are other video conferencing solutions, like Cisco Webex or Citrix GoToMeeting, but they can be costly and only provide the video conferencing piece. Office 365 makes sense for most business customers, and the addition of Lync, Exchange, and SharePoint for only $50 per user per year more make it an even greater value.

Microsoft has also made some substantial improvements in the look and feel of Lync 2013—making it easier to facilitate Lync Meetings, and presenting a cleaner, more intuitive interface for users. For some businesses, Skype alone may be enough, but businesses that want more robust, comprehensive communication tools should take a look at what

Lync 2013 has to offer.

 

 

 


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Top 10 Benefits Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft® Office 365 for small businesses is an easy-to-use set of web-enabled tools that let you access your email, important documents, contacts, and calendar from almost anywhere and any device—including PCs, Macintosh computers, iPhones, Android phones, and BlackBerry smartphones. Designed to meet the needs of a diverse range of small businesses, Office 365 lets you choose which tools to use. It works seamlessly with the programs you already know and use, including Microsoft Outlook®, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel®, and Microsoft PowerPoint®. It’s easy to try and simple to learn, and it works with your existing hardware. Office 365 also offers improved collaboration capabilities, including a password-protected portal to share large, hard-to-email files both inside and outside of your organization. Powerful security features from Microsoft help protect your data, and when the service is released for general availability, it will be backed with a 99.9-percent uptime guarantee.

1)      Anytime, Anywhere Access

Office 365 provides web-enabled access to email, important documents, contacts, and calendar on almost any device—including PCs, Macintosh computers, iPhones, Android phones, and BlackBerry smartphones. It frees you to work where and when you choose, letting you respond to important requests right away, from almost any location. With the ability to access email and documents from your mobile device, you don’t need to hurry to the office or look for a WIFI hot spot. And if you’re traveling without access to Microsoft Office, Office 365 helps you view and edit documents from the most popular web browsers on PCs and Macintosh computers. Take control of when and where you work with Office 365.

Note:-

Access from mobile devices depends on carrier network availability.

Users of Blackberry Internet Service get push email and can add calendar and contacts to their Blackberry devices through a wired sync with Outlook on the PC.

2)      Professional Face for Your Business

Using professional services like Office 365 tells potential customers that you’re serious about business. For example, you can impress your prospects by inviting them to a collaborative online meeting where you can review your latest proposal. With these state-of-the-art but easy-to-use collaboration, mail, and messaging services, you can set yourself apart from organizations that use free or ad-supported services. A custom domain name further enhances your branding, and Office 365 includes design tools to easily create a professional, public-facing website in minutes.

3)      Easily Communicate and Collaborate Inside and Outside Your Organization

With Office 365, you can create a password-protected portal to share large, hard-to-email files both inside and outside of your organization, giving you a single location to find the latest versions of files or documents, no matter how many people are working on them. Send instant messages to colleagues and customers and invite them to participate in online meetings where you can review documents or take control of a desktop.

4)      Simple to Learn, Straightforward to Use

Office 365 is easy to try, simple to learn, and straightforward to use. You don’t need to learn new software, install complicated systems, or learn new jargon. In just a few minutes, you can create a trial account and see how easily your business can be “in the cloud” with benefits usually found only in larger organizations.

5)      Email, Collaboration, and Online Meeting Solutions

Microsoft has years of experience delivering scalable, secure online solutions. Enhance your Office experience with Office 365 features like a 25-gigabyte (GB) mailbox that accommodates attachments up to 25 megabytes (MB), calendaring, contacts, online meetings, instant messaging, document collaboration, and more. With Office 365, you can take advantage of these easy-to-use solutions and advanced features at a small-business price

6)      Safety and Security

Security is priority at Microsoft data centers. With Office 365, you can use the same systems used by Microsoft and other enterprises worldwide to help protect email, documents, and networks. These systems scan your messages and documents for spam and malicious software (also called malware) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Microsoft data centers help safeguard your data and are certified to meet several industry-standard certifications, including the ISO 27001 certification and the EU Safe Harbor seal.

7)      Seamless Coordination with the Tools You Already Know

Office 365 works seamlessly with the programs you already know and use, including Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. These tools provide the same great features you rely on as well as powerful capabilities in Office 365. With Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Office Professional Plus, you can see if others are editing the document you’re using, synchronize documents with your desktop, broadcast PowerPoint presentations, and check documents in and out of your online document library. These and other features are automatically enabled when you use Office 2010 and Office Professional Plus with Office 365.

8)      No Requirement for Advanced IT Knowledge

Office 365 administration is designed for organizations without IT staff, so you can easily set up and use the features, helping you focus on your business rather than on learning menus and technical lingo. Perform administrative tasks using an intuitive, web-based portal that is accessible only to people you designate. The online portal provides step-by-step instructions on how to add users and set up your account so your employees can quickly start using Office 365.

9)      99.9-Percent Availability, Money-Back Guarantee

Office 365 helps safeguard your data with enterprise-grade reliability, disaster recovery capabilities, data centers in multiple locations, and a strict privacy policy. The Microsoft data centers that deliver Office 365 are designed with redundant networks, power systems, servers, and continuous monitoring. These and other high availability safeguards provide the basis for the 99.9-percent uptime, money-back guarantee that are included with the service after the release for general availability.

10)  Flexibility for Your Business

With Office 365, you get pay-as-you-go pricing options that give you predictability and flexibility for your business. Office 365 also offers great flexibility by allowing you to easily provide users with only the services they need, cost-effectively adding value to your business.


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Top Ten Benefits of SharePoint Services

Microsoft Sharepoint Services is a powerful collaborative tool that allows users in your organization to easily create, manage, and build their own collaborative Web sites and make them available throughout the organization. Here are the top 10 benefits of Sharepoint Services 3.0.

1. Improve team productivity with easy-to-use collaborative tools

Connect people with the information and resources they need. Users can create team workspaces, coordinate calendars, organize documents, and receive important notifications and updates through communication features including announcements and alerts, as well as the new templates for creating blogs and wikis. While, mobile users can take advantage of convenient offline synchronization capabilities.

2. Easily manage documents and help ensure integrity of content

With enhanced document management capabilities including the option to activate required document checkout before editing, the ability to view revisions to documents and restore to previous versions, and the control to set document- and item-level security, Windows SharePoint Services can help ensure the integrity of documents stored on team sites.

3. Get users up to speed quickly

User interface improvements in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 include enhanced views and menus that simplify navigation within and among SharePoint sites. Integration with familiar productivity tools, including programs in the Microsoft Office system, makes it easy for users to get up to speed quickly. For example, users can create workspaces, post, edit and view documents & update calendars on SharePoint sites, all while working within Microsoft Office system files and programs.

4. Deploy solutions tailored to your business processes

While standard workspaces in Windows SharePoint Services are easy to implement, organizations seeking a more customized deployment can get started quickly with application templates for addressing specific business processes or sets of tasks.

5.  Build a collaboration environment quickly and easily

Easy to manage and easy to scale, Windows SharePoint Services enables IT departments to deploy a collaborative environment with minimal administrative time and effort. Because deployment settings can be flexibly changed, less pre-planning time is required and companies can get started even faster.

6. Reduce the complexity of securing business information

Windows SharePoint Services provides IT with advanced administrative controls for increasing the security of information resources, while decreasing cost and complexity associated with site provisioning, site management, and support. Take advantage of better controls for site life-cycle management, site memberships and permissions, and storage limits.

7. Provide sophisticated controls for securing company resources

IT departments can now set permissions as deep down as the document or item level, and site managers, teams, and other work groups can initiate self-service collaborative workspaces and tasks within these preset parameters. New features enable IT to set top-down policies for better content recovery and users, groups, and team workspace site administration.

8. Take file sharing to a new level with robust storage capabilities

Windows SharePoint Services supplies workspaces with document storage and retrieval features, including check-in/check-out functionality, version history, custom metadata, and customizable views. New features in Windows SharePoint Services include enhanced recycle bin functionality for easier recovery of content and improved backup and restoration.

9. Easily scale your collaboration solution to meet business needs

Quickly manage and configure Windows SharePoint Services using a Web browser or command-line utilities. Manage server farms, servers, and sites using the Microsoft .NET Framework, which enables a variety of custom and third-party administration solution offerings.

10. Provide a cost-effective foundation for building Web-based applications

Windows SharePoint Services exposes a common framework for document management and collaboration from which flexible and scalable Web applications and Internet sites, specific to the needs of the organization, can be built. Integration with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 expands these capabilities further to offer enterprise-wide functionality for record management, search, workflows, portals, personalized sites, and more.


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Restoring Data with Database Snapshots

Restoring Data with Database Snapshots

 

Snapshots use a copy-on-write operation that minimizes the drive space required for each snapshot. Unless there are changes in the original database, the snapshots will remain empty. Queries to the snapshot for unchanged records will automatically be redirected to the original database. Queries to the snapshot for modified records will show the data as it existed at the time of the snapshot’s creation. Modified records are copied from the original database before they are changed. The copy-on-write process copies data at the page level, so some unchanged records will likely end up in the snapshot.

What DBA wouldn’t appreciate a process that allows for fast and easy restoration of lost data? If the process allows you and your users to examine the information before restoring it, to use a minimal amount of drive space, and to carry out all the necessary steps with only local resources, then you have a solution that not only saves you time, but improves the options you have for supporting users and developers. 
All of these options are available when using SQL Server’s Database Snapshot functionality. When configured, it gives you access to a point-in-time, read-only view of the database and its records. Multiple snapshots can be created on the same database. Database snapshots require the original database to function, and you will be required to delete them before you can remove the original database.

How To Use Database Snapshots

Database Snapshots require the Enterprise Edition of SQL Server and can only be created using T-SQL. The steps below show you how to do this on a test server. You will need the Enterprise or Developer editions of SQL Server 2005 or 2008. To use the scripts provided, create two folders on the root of the C: drive named Database and Snapshot.

  1. Create the test database.
  2. Create a snapshot
  3. Change records in original database, which was created in step1
  4. Revert to the original version of the table
  5. Revert to the original database

 

Step 1 – Create the test database

Use the script in below to create a database named DB1 and a table named dbo.Contacts with five (5) records.

Create Database DB1

go

USE DB1

GO

Create Table dbo.Contacts

(ID nchar(5) NOT NULL,

FirstName nvarchar(50),

LastName nvarchar(50),

Constraint PK_Contacts Primary Key Clustered (ID Asc))

GO

/* Insert 5 records into the Contacts Table */

Insert DB1.dbo.Contacts Values(‘101′,’John’,’Harrison’)

Insert DB1.dbo.Contacts Values(‘102′,’Jessica’,’Forthwright’)

Insert DB1.dbo.Contacts Values(‘103′,’Earl’,’Russell’)

Insert DB1.dbo.Contacts Values(‘104′,’Stanley’,’McDonald’)

Insert DB1.dbo.Contacts Values(‘105′,’Mary’,’Kellerman’)

GO

 

 

Step 2 – Create a snapshot

Use the below script to create a snapshot of the database. After it is created, verify that the snapshot file was created (C:\Snapshot\DB1_Snapshot.ss). Notice that no log file is needed. This is a read-only version of DB1 as it existed at the time it was created. In the Figure 2 script, notice that the NAME parameter points to the actual name of the database file and not the name of the database as specified in the AS SNAPSHOT OF parameter. Databases with multiple data files would, therefore, need multiple NAME parameters, one for each file.

 

/* Create a snapshot of the DB1 database */

USE master

GO

CREATE DATABASE DB1_Snapshot ON

( NAME = DB1, FILENAME = ‘C:\Snapshot\DB1_Snapshot.ss’)

AS SNAPSHOT OF DB1;

GO

 

 

 

Step 3 – Change records in original database, which was created in step1

 

Modify any record from the Contacts table in the DB1 database. Verify that the information in the DB1_Snapshot database is unchanged, using the script provided in Figure 3. The changes to DB1 have caused the original version of the data pages changed to be written to the DB1_Snapshot.ss file.

 

/* Verify that the information in the

snapshot and the original database are the same. */

Use DB1

Select * From DB1.dbo.Contacts

Select * From DB1_Snapshot.dbo.Contacts

Go

/* Update the records in the Contacts table and compare

it to the Snapshot version again */

Use DB1

Go

—-Insert dbo.Contacts

—-Values(‘106′,’Chris’,’Andrews’)

—-Go

Update dbo.Contacts

set FirstName=’Jonathan’

where ID=101

Go

Delete dbo.Contacts

that the information in the

snapshot and the original database are different. */

Select * From DB1.dbo.Contacts

Select * From DB1_Snapshot.dbo.Contacts

Go

 

Step 4 – Revert to the original version of the table

 

You can restore individual records in a table from the snapshot. Use the script in Figure 4 to see how to fix incorrect deletions or updates.

 

/* Reverse deletions and updates

using information in the snapshot */

Use DB1

go

Insert dbo.Contacts

Select * From DB1_Snapshot.dbo.Contacts

Where ID=102

Go

Update C

Set C.FirstName = S.FirstName

From DB1.dbo.Contacts C

Inner Join DB1_Snapshot.dbo.Contacts S

ON C.ID = S.ID

Where C.ID = 101

/* Verify that the records in DB1 and the

snapshot are the same */

Select * From DB1.dbo.Contacts

Select * From DB1_Snapshot.dbo.Contacts

Go

 

Step 5 – Revert to the original database

As long as the original database is still intact and online, you can restore all changes made since the snapshot. These database snapshot restores cannot be done when more than one snapshot exists. As with a normal database restore, exclusive access to the database is needed during this operation. To test this process, use Figure 3 script to create differences between both databases, then use Figure 5 to restore the entire database from the snapshot.

– Restore the DB1 database from the snapshot

– The restore operation will fail if there are other connections to the DB1 database

Use Master

Go

Restore Database DB1 From

Database_Snapshot = ‘DB1_Snapshot’

Go

Select * From DB1.dbo.Contacts

Select * From DB1_Snapshot.dbo.Contacts

 

 

Caveats when Using Database Snapshots

Like any other useful DBA tool, database snapshots can be overused or misused. Here are a few precautions to keep in mind before implementing this functionality in a production environment.

Backups are still required:

There is no substitute for regular, tested backups that are stored in a remote, secure location. The database snapshot requirement that the files be stored on the same server as the original database prevents them from being used in this manner. The fact that the snapshots become obsolete if the original database is lost also limits their use for this purpose. The strength of snapshots is in their ability to provide point-in-time views of your data and ad-hoc restore options.

Beware of too many snapshots:

Although the empty state of a new snapshot file makes their size negligible, take care when creating multiple snapshots on the same database. Theoretically, a database with 10 GB of data and 24 snapshots can suddenly and unexpectedly require up to 250 GB of drive space. The ability to quickly restore a database to how it looked at a particular hour of the day is very convenient, but if this functionality is not needed, the additional resource requirements can tax a mission-critical server beyond acceptable levels. A snapshot should only be created to meet specific administrative needs and then deleted when it is no longer necessary.

Using Snapshots for Read-only Operations:

The point-in-time, read-only nature of snapshots makes them a candidate for reporting or similar solutions. Using them in this way, however, limits their use as an ad-hoc restoration solution. Before allowing others to use your snapshots for development or business solutions, consider how this will affect the options available to you when administering your databases. Other dedicated read-only solutions, like Log Shipping might be considered.

Conclusion

If you decide to take advantage of Database Snapshots, keep its limitations in mind. It cannot replace your backup solution, and you must carefully consider the additional resource demands of each additional snapshot. It can, however, provide a fast and simple solution for viewing point-in-time data and restoring lost information from databases. Overall, it’s a useful tool for reducing downtime and improving the availability of your databases.

 


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Top 10 reasons to opt For Microsoft SharePoint 2013

Top 10 reasons to opt For Microsoft SharePoint 2013

It is a fact that, any technology upgrade is always justified on the basis of ROI from a productivity perspective. Keeping that in mind, below are the top reasons jotted to justify why people should upgrade to Microsoft SharePoint 2013 sooner rather than later.

1. Improved Document Management
The new drag-and-drop functionality of SharePoint document libraries in Microsoft SharePoint 2013 is just great as uploading documents in previous versions have always meant a lot of clicking. This is a big change from using the file share where you just drag and drop off your local machine. Though there was “Open in Windows Explorer” option, but it was pretty slow.

Again, in Microsoft SharePoint 2013, SkyDrive Pro is a new feature to take your content offline and replace SharePoint Workspace (used to get documents in SharePoint) which often was unpredictable and had document library scalability limitations. The experience of taking your documents offline has also been improved by simply clicking the “Sync” button. This is much more of a “drop box” experience that is being adopted for its ease of use in businesses.

2. Easy Sharing
Ease of sharing files via e-mail attachments or through Sky Drive or dropbox was one of the critical reasons Microsoft SharePoint doesn’t get adopted as a document management system. In Microsoft SharePoint 2013, a new concept of “Share” has been introduced which really takes the effort out of security management for business users (though needs to be thoughtfully managed to avoid possible mess), by simply nominating the user or group and what permissions with two clicks. Requesting access to a site now has a lot more traceability too, so if you go back to the site after you have requested access, it will detail who the request is with now.

3. Polished User Interface
Comparing Microsoft SharePoint 2013 with Microsoft SharePoint 2010, people will realize it is a significant change over what is now available. Less is more is the theories being applied in cleaning up certain interface options. Removing some of the options like “Site Actions” and replacing with settings component icon, having the getting started “Modern UI” tiles being front and center – but more importantly removable – getting rid of the useless photo that survived both Microsoft SharePoint 2007 and Microsoft SharePoint 2010 in team site template! It feels like a more polished, “user first” user interface.

5. Enhanced Social features
We all know that Facebook and Twitter are the pinnacle of social and have been around for a long time, and with the release of Microsoft SharePoint 2013 some of the user experiences have been introduced. The biggest additions are the “@” symbol to lookup people to reference in social activity updates, the new communities with badges, and the ability to follow not only people but also documents, sites and tags.

Robust Search
People spend most of the time trying to find documents and it’s known to everybody that No matter how good the information architecture is build; information doesn’t always get put in the correct place. SharePoint Search enables people to discover information quickly, andMicrosoft SharePoint 2013 enables people to find things much more quickly with quick document previews in the web browser, much better search refiners on the left-hand side, and slight improvements like “view library” and “send”.

6. Improved Managed Metadata
In Microsoft SharePoint 2010, the major addition was certainly the Managed Metadata service to allow people to tag content with taxonomy of terms. This is a huge area for helping to improve discovery of content by searching and refining by terms. Although the user interface hasn’t changed, there are a number of improvements – such as being able to follow terms from a social perspective. The other addition is the ability to have properties associated with terms, which has been introduced to have navigation driven by term sets.

7. Website Policies
The site policies allow you to send email notifications to business users if their sites were not accessed for a set period of time. This really helps with business users who are accountable for sites and need to clean them up over time. This was really a “pester” email, and there was no real reflection of which sites were out of policy. In Microsoft SharePoint 2013, the site policies now trigger SharePoint workflowsthat can be custom build and have various configurations for handling inactive sites.

8. Improvements in Web Content Management
Running internet facing sites on Microsoft SharePoint has been around since Microsoft SharePoint 2007, but didn’t really improve inMicrosoft SharePoint 2010. Having said that, it is clear that there is a great focus on WCM for Microsoft SharePoint 2013. From a business productivity perspective, this will benefit to internet facing site authors and internal sites (where there is a need of these advanced publishing features). Improvements in embedding video directly into pages, much shorter URLs, and the ability to have bettermulti-lingual and multi-device support means that your site i.e. Intranet, Extranet will work much better.

9. Superior Business Intelligence
Business Intelligence continues to evolve in Microsoft SharePoint 2013 with improvements across the board in Excel client, Excel services, Performance Point services and Visio services. The in-memory capabilities of Excel client now allow business users to pull data from various sources and build amazing sheets in minutes.

10. Apps and the Marketplace
Apple really opened the door for independent developers to build applications and then to efficiently market, sell, and distribute those applications to a mass market. Microsoft have certainly taken note of the sales model and, with both the release of SharePoint 2013 and the introduction of the Office Store, SharePoint developers can now edge in on the app marketplace action. Various apps can easily be added to your SharePoint site via Microsoft Office Store to increase productivity. The new app model takes the risk out of customizations from an upgrade perspective and allows for much more flexibility than the sandboxed solution model.