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I received a rather disheartening email from Microsoft last evening.  Effective August 31, 2013, they will be retiring the TechNet supscription service.  THis means no more full license downloads of Microsoft products such as Small Business Server, SQL, Exchange, Windows, SCOM, etc.  If you want those, you will need to either rebuild your computer with evaluation software every 30,60, or 90 days, or you can pay for the MSDN subscription which is over 10 times the price.  Details from the email are below.  A separate article will be posted in the near future detailing alternatives to all of the products available on TechNet.

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Tomcat installation on 64-bit Windows

Developer and engineer skills seem to overlap lass and less as technologies progress.  That leaves developers dependant upon system administrators to provide the platforms for development, and system administrators dependant upon developers for scripting complex workflows and applications.  The goal is to do this as inexpensively as possible.

Apache and Tomcat are respected technologies that run the majority of servers on the internet today. In fact, many browser based-products installed on local machines utilize Tomcat on the back-end. For example, the HP suite of QA and testing tools all utilize Tomcat for their scripting engine. You could use a commercial product such as WebSphere, but at the current price of over $13,000 for a single processor, why would you? 

Tomcat can be a bit tricky to install on Windows Server 2008 R2. This is because it is a 32-bit application that you are trying to run as a service on a 64-bit operating system. It will work, but you need some special tweaking in order to make it happy. Whenever possible, it is best to install Tomcat on Linux. This also saves on licensing costs. But as the purpose of this document is to explain how to do it on 64-bit Windows, let's see how to do it.

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Slipstreaming Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM

The purpose of this is to guide the installer through updating their installation media with all of the current patches that should be applied at install to Windows Server 2008 R2. These instructions can be easily adapted to any Windows installation media.

By slipstreaming all of the available patches into the installation, you reduce the amount of time it takes to deploy an operating system. A typical operating system install with the release-to-market installation media is typically one hour. Add the time to install all of the patches through the multiple required reboots and you have increased that time dramatically to over six hours. If you were to build those patches into the installation media, you cut that time back down to one hour. Bear in mind that the process described below does take some time to complete. But it is better to spend the time doing it once than each time you install a system. This will also save on your bandwidth utilization and network latency. If you keep your media current, this process will go much faster.

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Installing OTRS on Debian

As promised, here is the second lesson in the series - How to install OTRS on the Debian base install we created earlier in Microsoft Hyper-V.  This lesson does not depend on Debian being a Hyper-V instance.  It will work whether Debian is hosted or on a bare metal box.

The lesson is based upon the instructions for Debian 5.0.4 found over at OtterHub.  Details on the required modules and settings can be found at that link.  There are only minor modifications for the later version.  Thanks to the authors for the instructions.

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