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Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

In most data centers, DCIM rests on a shaky foundation of manual record keeping and scattered documentation. OpManager replaces data center documentation with a single repository for data, QRCodes for asset tracking, accurate 3D mapping of asset locations, and a configuration management database (CMDB). In this webcast, sponsored by ManageEngine, you will see how a real-world datacenter mapping stored in racktables gets imported into OpManager, which then provides a 3D visualization of where assets actually are. You'll also see how the QR Code generator helps you make the link between real assets and the monitoring world, and how the layered CMDB provides a single point of view for all your configuration data.

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A Network Computing Webinar:
SDN First Steps

Thursday, August 8, 2013
11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will help attendees understand the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging. It will also help users decide whether SDN makes sense in their environment, and outline the first steps IT can take for testing SDN technologies.

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How To: Setting Up Active Directory Group Policies

Group Policy is a powerful weapon that should be part of every Active Directory administrator's arsenal. Just be careful with how you wield it--what seems like a trivial change to even the most experienced administrator may result in a flood of calls to your helpdesk. You'll need to use the Group Policy Management console tools, test your changes prior to deployment or, more important, adopt a full-fledged change management strategy. You'll be wiser for it in the long run.

Michael Fudge Jr. is a system administrator at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. Write to him at mafudge@syr.edu.

Alternative Approaches

FullArmor PolicyPortal. If you want Group Policy but don't have an Active Directory setup, there are other options. One is FullArmor's PolicyPortal, a Web-based application that lets you set up GPOs and then target them by computer groups you specify through the Web interface. The computers managed by PolicyPortal must have a lightweight agent installed on them. The agent checks in with the PolicyPortal Web site at routine intervals, downloading and applying new policy settings as required.

Probably the coolest feature of PP is the amount of information it gives you. It's digital dashboard on the summary page graphs which machines are up-to-date with which policies, and displays a histogram of when devices last checked in. It also shows you the number of computers in each group and a log of how the policies were applied.

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