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  • Blog Post: VDI–Shameless plug

    I have spent the last six months writing my first book, Getting Started with Windows VDI for Packt Publishing, basically because I want to create a one stop repository of the key elements you need to do this. The basic idea I had was to only use the Microsoft stack to do this and to explore the wider...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops Redux setting up Hyper-V in a hurry

    I am at Manchester United as I write this and one of the delegates wanted to quickly try out Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012R2. I thought I had an all up post on that but it turns out I don’t, so Nicholas Agbaji this is just for you! You’ll need a latptop/desktop running Windows 7/Windows 2008R2 or later...
  • Blog Post: Virtual Machine Manager 2012R2 Templates cubed

    Up until now in my Lab Ops series I have been using bits of PowerShell to create VM’s in a known state, however this requires a certain amount of editing and I would have to write a lot more code to automate it and properly log what is going on. Plus I would probably want a database to store variables...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops 19 – Software Defined Networking - where’s my stuff

    Well done if you got through my last post, I bolted a lot of stuff together and it all looks a bit confusing particularly if you are moving from Hyper-V to System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 (VMM). For a start where’s my network settings? When I was testing my rig I found I couldn’t swap out...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops 18 Getting started with Software Defined Networking

    In my last post I finished up where I had my host under management of Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) and that was about it. As with Hyper-V I can’t really use VMM until I have my fabric configured and after adding in hosts the first thing we need to do is look at Networking. To recap my current setup...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops part 17 - Getting Started with Virtual Machine Manager

    In my last post I talked a lot about the way all of System Center works, now I want to look at one part of it Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) as VMs in a modern data centre are at the core of the services we provide to our users. In the good old days we managed real servers that had real disks connected...
  • Blog Post: System Center: Use the right tool for the right job

    This post isn’t really about Lab Ops as it’s more theory than Ops, but before I dive in to the world of what you can do with System Center I wanted to stress one important concept: Use the right tool for the right job. That old saying that when you have a hammer everything looks like a nail can harm...
  • Blog Post: Lab Ops 2–The Lee-Robinson Script

    In my last post I mentioned how Marcus Robinson & had adapted PowerShell scripts by Thomas Lee to build a set of VMs to run a course in a reliable and repeatable way.  With Marcus’s permission I have put that Setup Script on SkyDrive, however he has a proper day job running his gold partnership...
  • Blog Post: Certifiable

    Yesterday I spent a great day at the Leeds Virtual Machine User Group, with attendees varying from the IT Professionals from most of the cities law firms, to local universities and colleges where both the IT guys and the students took time out to attend, so a great talking shop and the subject of IT...
  • Blog Post: Virtualisation for the DBA part 3 – SQL Server Performance

    As I have said already in this series the major concern most DBA’s have when virtualising SQL Server is performance. I think this is actually a bit of myth for a number reasons: Virtualisation just keeps getting better .  This is down to a partnership between the hardware and software industries...
  • 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: Microsoft Valuable Penguin

    I sometimes think the IT industry is a bit like a load of penguins on the pack ice, each one checking the others out to see who going to brave the ocean first.  In IT it’s nervousness about when to jump onto a new technology and if there is one technology that makes IT professionals really nervous...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server AlwaysOn in a virtual world

    Despite what I posted yesterday about clustering, mirroring is the preferred option for many DBAs in a virtual world although you can of course combine the two.  On the up side mirroring gives you one (and only one) copy of the database in another location which you can’t really use, and failover...
  • Blog Post: Virtualisation for the DBA part 2 – SQL Server Management

    Given the almost mandatory drive to server virtualisation in data centres, what do you need to worry about and what’s in SQL Server to help you? The biggest worry is probably  trying to manage everything, as typically many organisations simply create a virtual machine for every physical server they...
  • Blog Post: Moving virtual machines in parallel or in serial?

    If I want to copy 10 files from server A to server B it doesn’t matter whether I copy them one at a time or try and launch 10 copy processes at once, both methods will take about the same amount of time and the limiting factor is the network bandwidth I have.  Now imagine I want to migrate ten virtual...
  • Blog Post: Query Across the Mersey

    SQL Bits 9 , Adelphi Hotel Liverpool 29th September to 1 October 2011, what else do you need to know? Well possibly a few things if you are now reading the second line of this post or you haven’t been to them before.. It’s the biggest and best SQL event in Europe, I know this because we get people coming...
  • Blog Post: Dell and Hyper-V for the smaller business

    Over the last month I have been on tour with Dell showing what Hyper-V can do for small/medium businesses, and later this week I’ll be with them in Falmouth. The argument they put forward for Hyper-V is really simple: You want use a new server for virtualisation, and now that moderns servers...
  • Blog Post: Guest Clustering–What is it and do you need it?

    I am pretty sure the term guest clustering is not a standard industry term nor is it official Microsoft speak, so what do I mean by it? I mean the business of creating a cluster out of a group of virtual machines – you might call this a virtual cluster but that might confuse it with clustering physical...
  • Blog Post: Evaluate This – Hyper-V Replica

    In many of the screencast in this series I have moved a VM around my demo setup, however there has only been the one copy of it whether it was on a scale-out file server, in a cluster or both. In any production environment you would want to augment this with additional disaster recovery techniques including...
  • Blog Post: Evaluate This – NIC teaming

    In the third in this video series I wanted to show you NIC Teaming.. which is how you can provide a single network interface from multiple interface even if these are from different manufacturers. That's why in the video below I have used some Belkin USB Ethernet adapters combined with the on-board network...
  • Blog Post: Woodland Trust part 2

    In my second interview with Lionel Wilson Head of IS  at the Woodland Trust,  I wanted explore what the challenges are of moving from this .. .   into a new sustainable HQ that wouldn’t look out of place in  Grand Designs albeit on a larger scale. It’s packed full of passive and active...
  • Blog Post: Evaluate This–Storage Migration

    In some smaller organisations virtual machines (VM) often run on local storage DAS – Direct Attached Storage on the hosts whereas in bigger businesses many if not all production VMs are hosted on shared storage (e.g. a SAN) , so the virtual machine executes on a given host but the virtual hard disk and...
  • Blog Post: Superglue now available for System Center 2012

    One of my frustrations to date when showing off System Center 2012 is that it doesn’t quite fit together yet; each of the individual products is in beta and works pretty well, however joining them up is not there yet.  This is not because there’s a flaw in the line up or missing functionality, it...
  • Blog Post: System Center Advisor– now live

    I remember hearing about a Project Houston about a year ago, a cunning plan to allow Microsoft to check the heath of your SQL Server databases and the operating system it sits on. It is now live and it’s called System Center Advisor . It works by using an internet gateway server you setup which in turn...
  • Blog Post: Beta to release upgrade paths for Windows Server 2008 R2 sp1

    I see loads and loads of threads tweets and forum questions which run along the lines of “What is the upgrade path from [insert any Microsoft Product here] RC to RTM?” To which the answer is always “There isn’t one – you have to uninstall RC and install RTM”. First let me translate the acronyms: The...