Goodbye WINS–It’s time you used DNS.

The year is 2011 and it is time to move into this decade. I’m finding more and more clients that believe WINS still needs to live on their network.

WINS is an older service and we first started integrating it into DNS back with Windows NT 4.0. We needed it because Windows 95/98 and Windows NT 4.0 primarily used NetBIOS over TCP/IP.

#1 – WINS and NetBT do not support IPv6 and both are on their way out with Windows Server 2008.

What if you have that one pesky application (ERP or BI) that resides on UNIX or VMS and you need to have single-label names that WINS currently provides? Now we need to talk about GlobalNames Zone aka GNZ. I’m going to coin this feature as GNZ moving forward.

GNZ will retire your WINS is the good news. The bad news is that GNZ does not support a dynamic-registration. Why? Because DNS already does that and if you have clients performing dynamic registration then you probably don’t need to be reading this article.

After you create GNZ you must MANUALLY make changes in that zone. It’s a workaround in reality.

#2 – WINS and GNZ are great but how should you actually handle single label name resolution?

DNS Suffix search space on the client machine is how. Even if the client PC is not a member of the domain it can be configured with the correct suffix search space so that the lookup is sent to an authoritative server. This is especially key when working within multiple Active Directory forests and supporting a cross-forest client migration.

That ERP system I mentioned — you would be adding it to a name domain one way or another and just simply add it’s single label name as an A record. This isn’t any different than adding a new web server and the ISP guys have been doing this for years for router interfaces.

Short answer – all network interfaces need proper representation in DNS using A and CNAME records.

Welcome to 2011 and you’ll be more prepared for IPv6 if you get used to DNS now.

Office 365 Experience

I’ve been using Office 365 since it became available to the Cloud partner community. It has been a great experience. All of the benefits of an actual IT infrastructure without worrying about the space, power, cooling, cost, and licensing! 

It has helped grow my Microsoft and Cisco partnerships which in turn directly benefits my customers. It’s rather hard to articulate how those benefits transfer across the business other than, “It just works.”

I like solutions for businesses that just WORK. If you’re interested in solutions for your business that reduce the IT hassle and headaches – call, comment, or tweet me!

Also – Social Media Training is now available from Microsoft and I’ll write a blog post about it if I attend!

Sorry. Cisco SmartNET does not mean you can upgrade.

Today.

This is the 5th project I’ve been engaged on where the end customer is seeking a Unified Communications upgrade. This is great and all but the #1 misconception is that they have the rights to the software. Sorry people but just having SmartNET or even an ESW contract does not mean you can upgrade to the latest version.

So what do you need? Great question. You need something called Unified Communications Software Subscription or UCSS for short.

This is a software subscription with Cisco that enabled you to obtain major release upgrades for a set period of time. Let’s say you are on a Cisco Communications Manager release 6.x and you want to upgrade to the latest 8.x. You’ll need UCSS.

How do I renew my original UCSS? Great question. You don’t. When the Cisco UCSS expires you just buy it again for a set period of time and during that timeframe you can obtain the media and licensing to upgrade to the latest version.

How do I check for UCSS coverage on an existing contract? Easy. You e-mail the mp-upgrades@cisco.com team and ask “Do I have UCSS or major revision upgrades rights on contract #8675309?” They reply back and tell you yay or nay.

I bought UCSS from my favoriate Cisco partner and want to get the latest and greatest Cisco software, now what? You need to work with an engineer and account manager that knows your solution in detail. Navigate over to the upgrade tool at www.cisco.com/go/upgrades and enter your contract information. If you’re accepted past this point you have won the lottery because Cisco associated everything correctly.

Work with your engineer to select the part numbers you need specific for your solution and place the order. This tool you’re working in is also called the PUT tool for “Product Upgrade Tool”. Be kind and please rewind.

Great I placed a PUT upgrade order – now what? Now you get to engage with the licensing team and this is something done with help from your Cisco partner engineer doing the upgrade. They will know whether you are re-hosting a license file or obtaining a new license file. Give yourself plenty of time during an upgrade for license file obtainment because the license team can sometimes delay for quite a while.

Enjoy!