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  • Blog Post: What is ADFS, and why you should care?

    Active Directory Federated Services (ADFS) doesn’t sound like the most exciting topic for a post, but I am going to post on it anyway precisely because it is boring. First let me log in to windows with a Live ID.. You’ll notice I have used my Microsoft alias to sign in, and I haven’t entered my password...
  • Blog Post: Event: IT Camp Leeds Feb 28th

    Back in December Simon and I invited a few friends along to help us beta test a different kind of event, an IT Camp .  The idea is simply to do smaller, more interactive events where discussions and questions are encouraged.  The presenters, (Simon and I) being a bit more in the background...
  • Blog Post: Back to Skool

    Getting time, and resources to stay current with technology is always hard for IT professionals even when that training applies directly to your role. If you are thinking of cross training because for whatever reason you can’t see a future in doing what you are currently doing then you’re...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft Virtual Academy

    I don’t think data centre management or the private cloud is particularly difficult to learn, but it could be easier to find out where to start.  Of course if your focus is virtualisation or you only make tools in this space then your site should make this journey pretty straight forward. ...
  • Blog Post: Project Atlanta part 1 – Introduction

    In the post Christmas rush to get fit the well off will have personal trainers assigned to them to help get back into shape. Similarly in the world of SQL there is an abundance of experts to help ensure that SQL server is as lean and mean as possible, however not everyone can afford that expertise, or...
  • Blog Post: How Dense are you?

    One of the drivers to moving to the cloud be that public or private is the promised reduced management overhead and cost savings. Part of this comes from how effectively infrastructure can be utilised and so partially idle virtual machines can be consolidated alongside each other to get the most out...
  • Blog Post: Bye bye Atlanta, Hello System Center Advisor

    One of the many announcements to come out of the recent Microsoft Management Summit was System Center Advisor . Essentially this is Operations Manager (SCOM) in the cloud, so a sort of InTune for servers.  I had a look at the precursor to this, Project Atlanta back in January, but at the time it...
  • Blog Post: Five New Year’s Resolutions for 2011

    I  think a lot of people, IT Professionals included are worried about the year ahead, so here are some likely problems and my new year resolutions: Energy prices are spiralling This means the cost of moving whole atoms rather than just electrons is even more pronounced than ever, so moving data...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft is all in

    When Steve Ballmer says “We’re all in the cloud”  this should be viewed in the same way as when  Bill Gates talked about “a PC in every home”.  I could quote statistics on the investment Microsoft is making in the cloud or show you some cool pictures of containers in one of the data centres...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft, and Hadoop for Big Data

    Despite common misconceptions Microsoft now has extensive interoperability with open source technologies for example you can run a php application on Azure, get support from us to run RedHat, SUSE or CentOs on Hyper-V and manage your applications from System Center. ,  So extending this approach...
  • Blog Post: Give us the tools and we’ll finish the job

    I have spent the day dug in at the Cabinet War Rooms in London for Inframon’s annual War on Cost event with the top experts in systems management .  The venue was chosen to reflect the them of the event and much like world war 2 the Americans in the form  of 9 Microsoft experts from the System...
  • Blog Post: System Center 2012–It’s all about the application

    The Accountants, sales guys and lawyers in your business don’t understand or care about how fast your hypervisor is or how many nodes there are in your cluster. What they care about is that the e-mail works the intranet is up and the business can trade with its customers. In short they care about...
  • Blog Post: Project Atlanta part 2–Installation

    Following on from last post I thought I had better fire up Atlanta to see what it cold find out about my demon environment. I made this screencast as I installed and configured it .. It only took a few minutes to get to the stage where I had two servers, one (Oxford-DC, a server with no SQL Server on...
  • Blog Post: Have a word with your accountant

    I spent yesterday afternoon at a CIMA members meeting to discuss enterprise 2.0, on the back of some commissioned research by Manchester Business School (Heba El-Sayed and Chris Westrup). It occurred to me that a lot of this plays well into the world of the IT professional not least because both professions...
  • Blog Post: Cloud and emerging economies

    I just noticed a comment on our UK TechNet blog about how public cloud could put emerging economies at more of a disadvantage than those in developed countries. The comment I saw specifically mentioned broadband as the problem as  cloud services need internet connectivity.  However while in...
  • Blog Post: Conversations on the Cloud

    One way to get interesting interviews is to put a group of people with differing views in a room and fire up the cameras.  So when Zane Adam (general manager for Azure) was over for IPExpo we thought is would be interesting to get him to talk to some of the leading lights in the Vmware community...
  • Blog Post: Private Cloud?

    Private Cloud is probably the most over used and least understood term in IT at the moment. Gartner’s definition of private cloud is “A style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service to customers using Internet technologies.” What does...
  • Blog Post: Managing a hybrid cloud with System Center 2012

    Hybrid cloud is the term applied to the increasingly common scenario where a business runs some of its services in the public cloud but retains some on premises, although it is also possible to use assets from both to provide a service as well. For some business this is just a transitional step as more...
  • Blog Post: Notes & Queries from TechDays 2011

    I have been at TechDays Live all last week and although I did a bit of presenting, I was mainly there to listen and keep the week running smoothly.  I scribbled down a few notes during the various sessions I was in which I thought might be of interest: Easyjet have an amazing set of stories around...
  • Blog Post: Reach for the Cloud - System Center 2012

      For me the most interesting stuff in the System Center 2012 is the cloud stuff.  Some of this is obvious there’s cloud button in Virtual Machine Manager (VMM)  2012, and there’s even a new product in the line up, currently called Concero that is totally cloud focused as you can see from...
  • Blog Post: Managing SQL Azure

    Effective management of  the cloud is essential, and SQL Azure is no exception to this.  Until a couple of days ago the only way to do this was to fire up SQL Server Management Studio in SQL Server 2008 R2. However the Azure team have now released a public beta of Project Houston a lightweight...
  • Blog Post: Cloud Security

    The biggest blocker to public cloud usage is concern about security and privacy.  This usually falls into one or all of these particular concerns: Do I trust cloud provider X to look after my data? Can I legally use cloud provider X given the regulatory framework in the UK? Can I setup good security...
  • Blog Post: What is the Private Cloud?

    One of my most read blog posts is Private Cloud? which means that the private cloud is of interest and hopefully what I wrote went over fairly well.  However greater minds than mine actually design all of this  and one of those minds is Zane Adam who is pretty much in charge of Windows Azure...
  • Blog Post: Cloud Cookery class

    Cooks would rather not wash up, and the best chefs have someone else do the shopping prepare the vegetables etc. and often end up planning and managing the menus and kitchens. In our IT professional world I would rather not worry about patching, I hate doing all the repetitive boring stuff and would...
  • Blog Post: SQL Bits 11 - Notes & Queries

    If you didn’t manage to fight your fight your way through the Everton & Liverpool fans to SQL Bits I thought you might like to see some of the random questions I got asked.. How do I manage SQL Azure? I think the key thing about developing for the cloud is to ensure that your application can handle...