Here is a general introduction to some of the tools available in Server 2012, worth knowing especially for hybrid scenarios with customers running windows 2012 and Lync cloud environments.

Deep within Windows 2012 is something called NDF (Network Diagnostics Framework) and ETW (Event Tracing for Windows) which facilitates much of the functionality found traditionally in NetMon, Wireshark, etc.

This command set allows, for example, a network trace to be taken without a protocol analyzer installed

Netsh Trace start capture = yes

<Reproduce
failure condition>

Netsh Trace stop

This produces an “.etl” trace which can be read directly with network monitor or converted to XML.   In addition this capture contains a much richer set of metadata for debug analysis.

More details can be read about this here: Network Diagnostics and Tracing - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee624046(v=WS.10).aspx

For end users we provide the Troubleshooting Wizard which is hosted in the Microsoft Support Diagnostic Tool (msdt.exe). The wizard can be launched by the Troubleshooting control panel applet, and it provides a manual entry point to the Network Diagnostics Framework for users.  These wizards are much improved and can fix or identify several issues.

There are also many Power shell commandlets  which expose network diagnostic and configuration parameters.

See: Windows Troubleshooting Platform - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd323778(VS.85).aspx
 

Those of you who don't know about Network Monitor 3.4 - the new version provides several compelling features - http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=4865

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/933741
 

http://blogs.technet.com/b/netmon

 

Windows Server 2012 IPAM

IPAM, as known as IP Address Management is an important part of any IT infrastructure. As organizations grow, IP management becomes more challenging as well.

With introduction of virtualization and IPV6, IP management can be even more challenging. IPAM is more of a model for provisioning, discovering, maintaining and auditing IP address in the customers IT environment. IPAM usually integrates other infrastructure components such as DHCP and DNS.

Windows Server 2012 now provides full IPAM solution that integrates with its DNS and DHCP services. This feature that’s part of Windows Server 2012 does not require additional license except for the operation system itself. IPAM feature Windows Server 2012 includes majority of the features compared to 3rd party vendors. Here is the list:

 •         Support for IPv4 and IPv6

•         Automatic environment discovery

•         Trend monitoring and IP allocation statistics

•         Support for reporting

 •         Allow importing from csv file

•         Full integration with Microsoft DNS and DHCP

•         APIs support for 3rd party DHCP servers and SCVMM ( Microsoft version of VMware vCenter)

•         Auditing for configuration changes

•         Logon event tracking of IP Addresses

•         Agentless deployment via GPO

•         Logical visualization of IP ranges

•         Support for Custom Field attributes

IPAM allows IT administrators to single value and multivalued custom attributes addition to the built-in ones. This allows for custom attribute tagging for defining logical groups which display IP address subnets in logical perspective. IPAM supports for CSV file import of IP address
and IP ranges. This requires that column fields in the csv must match the IPAM field columns. When import, the order of the columns in CSV doesn’t matter but field names must match. Use the “Import-NamsRange” to import IP addresses from CSV file. IMO, IP address tracking feature in Windows Server 2012 IPAM is a game changer. It is essential to have trail of IP devices during a specific time used by the end user. Current DHCP technology only keeps track of current DHCP leases. Theses leases change expires and change which makes it hard to track down who had the particular address at certain time.

 

Windows Server 2012 IPAM Requirements: 

•         Healthy Active Directory ( IPAM Server must be part of the domain )

•         Access to domain controller for automatic discovery

•         “Account logon” event logging must be on for Address Tracking feature

•         IPAM should not collocate with other roles

•         IPAM cannot collocate with Active Directory role

To install IPAM features, use the “Add Roles and Features Wizard”. After installing IPAM feature on your Windows Server 2012, you are ready to configure and deploy. You can choose to manual provisioning method or deploy via Group Policy for managed DHCP and DNS servers. As always Microsoft recommends using GPO to provision IPAM configuration. A mentioned in last a few artices, IPAM automatically discover DNS and DHCP servers by utilizing Active Directory. “Involke-IpamGpoProvisioning” PowerShell command to crete IPAM GPOs. This powershell command will create a GPO for DHCP, DNS and NPS.