News

Microsoft Planning Toolkit and Design Guides Released

Microsoft last week released tools for IT pros and partners planning Windows deployments.

One of those tools is the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit version 4.0, which is no longer in beta and can be downloaded here. The toolkit automatically assesses the Windows readiness of up to 100,000 computers "in a matter of hours," according to Redmond's announcement.

In addition, the toolkit will produce proposals for migrating to Microsoft products based on the customer's IT infrastructure. It can discover "all computers within Active Directory and workgroup environments," the announcement explains.

Version 4.0 of the toolkit includes some new features, such as the ability to assess hardware for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 deployments. It can also check for server consolidation using Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization technology and calculate the return on investment. It detects competing virtualization technology from VMware.

For those who just want to check a few PCs to see if Windows 7 can be deployed, there's a more lightweight solution called the "Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor," which can be downloaded here.

Microsoft offers its Infrastructure Planning and Design Guides for those planning Windows deployments at a conceptual level. New additions include guides on file services, print services, Internet Information Services 7.5 and Active Directory Domain Services. The whole series can be accessed here.

Finally, for those planning security using Microsoft products, a beta of Redmond's Security Baselines was released. The baselines are guides that document best-practice security settings, as well as group policy, for Windows 7, Internet Explorer 8 and BitLocker drive encryption, according to Microsoft's announcement. Microsoft plans to run the beta of Security Baselines until Aug. 17. The beta can be downloaded at the Microsoft Connect site here.

Microsoft also announced last week the release of its IT Infrastructure Threat Modeling Guide. IT pros can use the guide to help develop network defense plans.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

Featured

  • The 2021 Microsoft Product Roadmap

    From Windows 10X to the next generation of Microsoft's application server products, here are the product milestones coming down the pipeline in 2021.

  • After High-Profile Attacks, Biden Calls for Better Software Security

    Recent high-profile security attacks have prompted the Biden administration to issue an executive order aiming to tighten software security practices across the board.

  • With Hybrid Networks on Rise, Microsoft Touts Zero Trust Security

    Hybrid networks, which combine use of cloud services with on-premises software, require a "zero trust" security approach, Microsoft said this week.

  • Feds Advise Orgs on How To Block Ransomware Amid Colonial Pipeline Attack

    A recent ransomware attack on a U.S. fuel pipeline company has put a spotlight on how "critical infrastructure" organizations can prevent similar attacks.