Coretek Community Project – 2014…

2017-07-27T00:01:02+00:00 May 30th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Coretek 2014 Summer Community Project

Coretek is a large family of generous and caring people.  I’m privileged to work with such a wonderful group of folks that donate their time and/or money, pouring themselves into sometimes very hard work in order to help those around us who could use a helping hand.

Every year, among our other charitable projects, we put together a “Summer Community Project” where we all jump in with our hearts and hands to spruce up the home of some folks who cannot do it themselves.  This year was no exception, and we were able to help out a deserving couple who was simply no longer physically able to take care of the overwhelming amount of day-to-day things that piled up over the years.  A group of us decended on the project house and brought it forward from quite a bit of neglect — to downright cute.

An especially big, heartfelt thanks goes to Hoskins Tree Service (248-477-7590).  They came in first like the Marines, cutting down trees/stumps and trimming trees in advance of our work.  They wanted to join in on our giving back to the community, and volunteered their time, their equipment, their crew (labor) 100%, and the wood chips for landscaping.  They will also donate their services and time in the winter by plowing drive way for the couple who can no longer manage it alone. 

What an amazing team.  Thanks to all involved for working together and making it a huge success!  And thanks for making life just a little bit better for some folks who really needed it…


TechEd 2014, Day 4…

2017-07-27T00:01:02+00:00 May 15th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Today’s schedule was interestingly filled with some of the biggest-drawing sessions that have grown a bit of “fame” in the nerd world; notably, Mark Russinovich’s “Case of the Unexplained” and “How Many Coffees Can You Drink While Your PC Starts” with Matt Reynolds.   I guess it’s smart to keep the biggest for last, but I had some great smaller sessions in there too.

Somehow, in the midst of that, I managed to spend a few moments putting together my wish-list (for my download script) of all the sessions I still need to see but was unable, bue to scheduling constraints.  It’s a looooong list!

TechEd Closing Party at MinuteMaid Field

There’re so many good sessions filled with new information, best-practices, and notes from the field, that I will have to make a real concerted effort to take it all in over the coming months.  But, I can’t not do it, with the wealth of material made available to me…

Perhaps expectedly, the few items I listed on my “Day 1” post still stand up as the biggest things (in my opinion) to come out of TechEd 2014.  Many of the sessions I attended did very well in making sure to incorporate these new technologies either by directly relating, or demonstrating their collective and integral value.  It really appears that RemoteApp and ExpressRoute are poised to shake things up and help provide a smoother path to change the way we compute.

Well, it’s all over but the clean-up.  The day was full, all the way up to the “Closing Party” at Minute Maid Field in Houston.  At least, for the first time in a week with 10,000 other people, I had some elbow room…  😉

The whole event was a massive effort.  Thanks to eveyone that worked so hard to make it a success!  I’m deeply grateful for having had the opportunity.


2017-07-27T00:01:02+00:00 May 15th, 2014|News|

Southfield, MI – May 15th, 2014 – Coretek Services’ Chief Executive Officer, Ron Lisch, was named Leader & Innovator by sponsors Lawrence Technological University, WWJ Newsradio 950 and the Technology Report.  Every year, the committee selects an elite class of Michigan-based leaders and innovators who either demonstrate unique abilities or create extraordinary ideas or products, which enhance their profession, as well as strengthen and diversify Michigan’s economy.

Coretek has experienced tremendous growth over the past nine years and has grown from a group of four to over one hundred professionals.  Lisch’s vision and dedication to creating a culture where great people want to work has been recognized by the National Association for Business Resources, the National 101 Best & Brightest and Detroit’s 101 Best & Brightest committees.

Lisch and his team at Coretek consult with clients to design and deliver high-value IT solutions.  Their approach is to leverage existing investments, particularly in the healthcare space, to meet the needs of large hospitals and enterprise clients across the country. Coretek’s unique solution, the Virtual Clinical Workstation (VCW), was designed with clinicians in mind, and speeds access to Electronic Medical Records (EMR) so they can spend more time with patients.  VCW has been adopted by over one hundred hospitals across the country because it accelerates acceptance of EMR and improves patient care.

“I am honored to receive this award,” stated Ron Lisch, “We couldn’t have experienced this tremendous growth without an awesome team of talented team with a great attitude and remarkable integrity.”

Lisch has been a business leader in metro Detroit for over 28 years and moved here after he graduated from Indiana University Bloomington’s Kelley School of Business.  He started his career at Unisys as an accountant.  He soon discovered his passion for Information Technology (IT) and sales and he joined a small systems integrator called The Lead Group. After a series of buyouts and acquisitions of that company, he found himself working for Siemens IT Professional Services Group. During his decade of tenure at Siemens, he was consistently named as a top regional and national sales representative.  In 2003, Lisch applied his talents in a different direction and started a successful real estate development company, Kolbe Properties. He soon began to miss working in the IT industry, however, where his true passion lies. Despite Kolbe Properties’ success, Lisch sold the company in 2005 and that same year Coretek was born.

TechEd 2014, Day 3…

2017-07-27T00:01:02+00:00 May 14th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Today’s TechEd Day 3 went by pretty fast for me.  So fast, in fact, that I didn’t really get a chance to gather all my notes for the day. 

But truth be told, I actually spent a lot of time in the session course catalog today, taking note of 1.) the courses I attended, and 2.) the courses I could not attend, but wanted to (there’s just never enough time).

Why did I do this?  Because the other thing I did today was to write a hasty script that grabs the videos and slide shows for all the courses in which I am interested (mostly to catching those I missed).

And so here it is, for all my TechEd peeps…  It’s a “how-to” to help you grab the content you missed and help us all keep our heads just above water another few days.  😉

Step 1

First, go to the TechEd 2014 Session catalog and figure out which session Videos and PowerPoints you want.  Note the “code” at the beginning of each, in this format: XXXX-X999

Step 2

Next, create a folder.  I created C:TempGetVideos   …Yes, original, I know. 

Step 3

In that folder you created, make a text file called “MySessionIdList.txt”, and paste in a list of the session IDs, one-per-line, like this:


…and so on. 

Step 4

Again, in that same folder, create a text file called something like I did, “GetSessionVideos.ps1”, and paste in the following code:

Import-module bitstransfer
$inputFile = "mySessionIdList.txt"
$mySessionList = Get-Content $inputFile
$myUrlPathParent = ""
# For pete's sake, do NOT show this to Don Jones! I can't take that level of criticism! ;)
foreach ( $sessionId in $mySessionList )
  # Check to see if the file is present before attempting to download
  if (!(Test-Path "$sessionId.pptx"))
    # Yep, the dreaded Write-Host, because I actually want to watch the script run...
# I'm crazy like that...
    Write-Host "Getting $sessionId.pptx..."
    # Get the PPTX
    start-bitstransfer -source "$myUrlPathParent/$sessionId.pptx" -destination "$sessionId.pptx" 
    write-host "Already have $sessionId.pptx, skipping..."
  # Check to see if the file is present before attempting to download
  if (!(Test-Path "$sessionId-mobile.mp4"))
    # Go ahead and revoke my MVP, Don...
    Write-Host "Getting $sessionId-mobile.mp4..."
    # Get the MP4
  start-bitstransfer -source "$myUrlPathParent/$sessionId-mobile.mp4" -destination "$sessionId-mobile.mp4" 
    write-host "Already have $sessionId-mobile.mp4, skipping..."

…And run that script in a Powershell session to get your videos!  Of course,you can modify the code to suit your tastes, but this simple set of instructions should get you going.

Now don’t over-do it, since I’m trying to remotely download the files to be ready for me when I get home — so don’t gobble up all the available bandwith/capacity!  😉

Have fun learning!

Update, 201405021:

Thanks to Jason Shaw for pointing out that the original post only worked with Windows 8.1 or Server 2012R2, and for providing some code to make it work for older OSs. Thanks!


TechEd 2014, Day 2…

2017-07-27T00:01:02+00:00 May 13th, 2014|Uncategorized|

TechEd Channel 9 Live

My brain hurts, and it’s only Tuesday.  
But let me clarify; mostly my brain hurts because with everything I learn here at TechEd, I simply realize how much more there is to learn… to discover…  to do…

Let me catch you up on a few session-related highlights over the last 2 days:


Okay, I’ll be honest.  It’s just *neat* to get to see in person all the folks that have been a part of all the training videos and podcasts I watch (CBT Nuggets, Microsoft Virtual Academy, Channel9, etc.), and books/blogs I read, etc.  So far at TechEd 2014, I’ve taken sessions from — or shared conversations with — folks like Jeremy Moskovitz, Don Jones, Jeffrey Snover, Pete Zerger, Rick Claus, and more.  I owe so much thanks and appreciation to these folks for all the work they’ve done in helping me and the community at large, and it was cool to be participating in the big picture on some small level.  And did I mention it’s only Tuesday?


I won’t go back over the thing I mentioned in yesterday’s announcements on Day 1, but there were a few announcements in deep technology today.  

  • From the GP team, via Jeremy Moskovitz: A *very* in-depth KB article to go with a fix for an old cPassword security limitation:
  • From the Jones/Snover comedy team: PowerShell Desired State Configuration for Linux via OMI.  I saw it demonstrated.  Absolutely awesome.  And more to come in that regard, I’m sure…

Things I Can’t Wait to Lab

The list of things I need to rush home and experiment with is growing.  It started with RemoteApp yesterday, but now I’ve got more DSC testing to do (thanks Don), IaaS/PaaS Azure Pack testing (thanks Pete), I have to re-do my home lab networking with dVMQ and vRSS and Multi-Tenant Gateway (thanks Greg, I’ve already ordered a new manageable GB switch for the additional vLANs).  And so on…

The Pace

Don Jones said something today that I think summed up my feeling perfectly, and I’ll do my best to quote him correctly here.  He said that change is speeding up; and that “…Your main skill is going to be keeping up

[with technology]…”

Totally.  Let’s run.

TechEd 2014, Day 1…

2017-07-27T00:01:02+00:00 May 12th, 2014|Uncategorized|

TechEd Keynote Panel

I remember a couple significant moments in my career when new technologies were born that might not have been immediately recognized as the innovative technologies that they really would become.  Things that seemed cool at the time perhaps, but became something much larger.  Today, the announcement (and explanation) of Microsoft RemoteApp might have been one of those moments. 

But even though I’m blown away by RemoteApp, there were a bunch of announcements!  Here are my top few of the day:


The new RemoteApp (now in preview), built on RDS technology, offers two options with which you can deliver apps to users — straight out of Azure!  I guess now we know why the RDS clients were recently released for Mac/IOS and Android, eh? 😉  Anyway, RemoteApp comes in 2 options: the first is the simpler “Cloud” option, with canned Microsoft productivity apps.  The second “Hybrid” option is more complex, but in a nutshell permits you to deliver apps right from your own templated RDS server; built how you want, with the apps you want.  That’s right, *your* corporate apps, available after authentication via a browser, served over RDS technology.  Servers that provide the service for your users automatically scale up and down based on load.  Wow.

Azure Site Recovery

Expanded (and rebranded) from the well-known Hyper-V Recovery Manager, Azure Site Recovery (coming preview soon) utilizes VMM to permit you to replicate Private Clouds of Virtual Machines right into Azure.  The previous version, of course, only permitted this functionality between two of your own sites.  But what if you did not have a second site?  Solved. 


ExpressRoute (in general availability today) utilized various connectivity vendors, providing high-speed connectivity directly into Azure.  The best part of this is that if you already have Internet or Branch connectivity from one of the vendors that have partnered with Microsoft for ExpressRoute, you can have linkage into Azure with very little change.  And the list of vendors is growing…

Azure Files

Think of Azure Files (in preview now) as a “file share service” that servers can consume inside of Azure.  This way, you can save yourself having to deal with servers to serve servers inside the Azure space.  More to come on this…

Still other announcements include intra-Azure, cross-region, routed inter-connectivity capbility, and multi-site/premises connection to Azure (meaning more than one of your locations can connect into your cloud), and so on.

It’s been a whirlwind day.  Oh, and by the way… If you go to the Channel 9 page for TechEd Day 1, you’ll get the chance to hear *me* ask a question of the presenters. I’m not telling you where…  😉

TechEd 2014, Day 0…

2017-07-27T00:01:02+00:00 May 11th, 2014|Uncategorized|

Wow, what a day… And TechEd North America 2014 hasn’t really even begun.

In one day, after I went from Metro Detroit to Houston, got to take in an introductory session from the always-entertaining Joey Snow, Richard Campbell, and Rick Claus

Joey, Richard, Rick

…took in the enormity and quiet of the pre-convention center, after taking (and passing, w00t) a certification test in the awesome Certification Testing Center area…

Convention Center Awaits

…watched some partners and vendors set up their booths, dryly enjoying the metaphor of the sleeping racecar lying in wait…

Racecar Awaits

…and ran through an awesome Hands-on Lab (from holSystems) before I made my way back to the hotel. 

I can only look forward to what tomorrow holds…  I’ll be posting each day this week from the convention, so stay tuned!


Another Great Walk-For-Wishes…

2017-07-27T00:01:02+00:00 May 7th, 2014|Uncategorized| past weekend provided just the break in the weather we needed to have another fabulous Walk-For-Wishes® for 2014! 

I want to thank everyone for the *generous* donations, especially the folks at Coretek Services!  We had folks pitch in from all over the Internet as well, and it all went toward a great cause. 

Thanks to Sarah for putting together the walking team, and to our families for jumping in and being a part of the great experience at the good ol’ Detroit Zoo.  It went by too fast, and made me think that another family trip is in order, to head back to the Zoo and take it all in at a more leisurely pace. 

How about some totals?

For this 16th Annual Walk For Wishes®, the Make-A-Wish Michigan organization raised more than $378,000.00, which provides the ability to grant wishes to more than 400 Michigan kids this year.  We did that.  Together.  Pretty awesome, eh?

Of course, I want you to know that you can *STILL* donate, even after the walk: 

I assume that link will remain in place for some time, so go donate now! 

Thanks again, and see you next year for the Walk For Wishes® 2015…

Converting a VMware Linux Guest to Hyper-V…

2017-07-27T00:01:02+00:00 May 1st, 2014|Uncategorized|

If there were enough room, the full title for this article would actually be something more like, “Converting a Suse SLES or Opensuse Linux machine from either VMware Workstation or ESXi or to Hyper-V, even when you don’t have the VMware environment anymore…

To give you a little background, Microsoft recently released the MVMC v2 (, packed with some critical new features, including better handling of Linux VM guests.  And it just so happens that I have a small handful of dev/test Linux machines lying around from a VMware lab environment that I tore down a while ago that I’d love to have in my Hyper-V lab.  The problem is that I just don’t have the VMware workstation or space on my ESXi servers to bring the VMs back up and follow the standard documented procedure.

If you haven’t figured it out already, the basic problem here is that the Linux VMs (that came from the VMware environment) don’t have the Hyper-V drivers configured because they weren’t needed at installation (again, on VMware), but the Installation ISOs *do* have the drivers at the ready when booting the “rescue system”.

And while the very nice documentation provided with the converter kit (Microsoft_Virtual_Machine_Converter_Admin_Guide_2_0.docx) gets you close to knowing what you need to do, it doesn’t quite provide you with step-by step instructions, especially with the guests already downed or in an archive.


Without further ado, here’s how to convert and fix those Linux VMs.  Of course, there are a few particulars here; for instance, this procedure was tested with Opensuse versions 12.2 and 12.3, and SLES 11 sp3, but should be the same for other similar versions.  And it should go without saying that by following these instructions, you proceed at your own risk. 

Step 1: Install MVMC2

First, the installation.  Go to the MVMC2 download site, get the software, and install.  I recommend doing this on a Windows 8+ or Server 2012R2 machine, for a few small niceties (like defaulting to vhdx format, etc.).

Step2: Convert the Disk

Open Powershell *as Administrator* (right-click, run as Administrator), and load the module:

Import-Module "C:Program FilesMicrosoft Virtual Machine ConverterMvmcCmdlet.psd1"

We need to create a temporary folder for our converted disk — in my case on a separate drive from where my source VMs reside, to speed things up a tad:

md c:MvmcResults
cd c:MvmcResults

And then we can convert out source disk:

ConvertTo-MvmcVirtualHardDisk -SourceLiteralPath "E:Virtual MachinesOpensuse12.3Opensuse12.3.vmdk"

Next, move the newly converted disk to wherever you keep your virtual hard disks (I assume you have a designated location).

Then, create a Generation 1 Virtual Machine in Hyper-V (try to use the same name, memory settings, and so on as before), but choose to “Use an existing virtual hard disk” and set it to the newly converted hard disk.  But before you start it, attach the correct installation ISO (I use the tiny “network install” ISO).  Remember, it’s mandatory that you use the correct processor type ISO (32 vs. 64), and you should use the correct distro version.

Step 3: Boot and Mount the Alternate Root

Start the VM (booting from ISO), and choose “Rescue System” as the boot choice.  Tip: while the splash screen is up, hit the escape key and notice the Hyper-V drivers it chose; in my case it was only hv_netvsc and hv_storvsc, but you may have others.

Once at the “Rescue” prompt, enter “root” as the login.

Now, mount the proper disk partition for your root filesystem; this may take some guessing if you don’t remember which is which.  For instance, on some of my lab machines, I used /dev/sda2 as the full root filesystem.  On others, I created a separate partition for /boot, so the root file system was on /dev/sda3.  If you don’t know, you might have to mount a few of them and look and see what’s in them.  And of course, if you have a separate /boot, you’ll have to mount that too.  But for the examples that follow, we’ll assume the full root file system is all on /dev/sda2.

So mount the root filesystem under the alternate mount point, like this example:

# mount the root
mount /dev/sda2 /mnt
# you may have to mount /boot too, depending on your setup
# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot
# you must re-mount the live dev and proc
mount -–rbind /dev /mnt/dev
mount -–rbind /proc /mnt/proc
# set the chroot environment
chroot /mnt

…and then we’re ready to actually do some fixing.

Step 4: Fix the Modules

(These next instructions are re-interpreted from the MVMC2 guide, courtesy Microsoft):

Use vi to edit /etc/sysconfig/kernel to include the Hyper-V modules.  Sorry, there’s not enough room here to teach you how to use vi…  😉  Add the “hv_” modules to the end INITRD_MODULES line, which *may* look something like this:

INITRD_MODULES="mptspi ata_piix ata_generic vmxnet3 vmw_pvscsi vmxnet”

…or perhaps like this (this example does not have VMtools drivers):

INITRD_MODULES="mptspi ata_piix ata_generic”

…and with your change, you’re making it look more like this (again, we’re only adding the hv_ modules to the end):

INITRD_MODULES="mptspi ata_piix ata_generic vmxnet3 vmw_pvscsi vmxnet hv_vmbus hv_netvsc hv_storvsc”

And finally, recreate the initrd with something similar to the following command (this example is taken from one of my older ones). The kernel and initrd specified in the command must match your current kernel the machine boots with.

mkinitrd -k /boot/vmlinux-3.7.10-1.11-desktop.gz -i /boot/initrd-3.7.10-1.11-desktop

…and you’re done!  Type “exit” to end the chroot environment, and “init 0” to shut down.  Go to the settings of the VM, and detach the ISO, and boot it up.

Phew!  You did it.  Enjoy your Linuxy goodness…