April, 2006

  • MMS:: System Center “Essentials 2007”

    I saw an awesome session about this new product called System Center "Essentials 2007" (SCE 2007).

    SCE 2007 is an integrated management solution designed for the small & medium businesses with ~50 - 500 pc's

    The foundation technologies of SCE 2007 are:

    • Operations Manager 2007
    • Windows update services "v3"
    • Microsoft Update
    • SQL Server Express

    There is one unified console with different spaces dedicated to performing specific management tasks, with customizable views.

    Getting and Staying Secure

    • Update management capabilities built on WSUS technology
    • Support for third party updates, drivers , hotfixes and QFEs
    • Multi member group support for flexible targeting and deployment
    • Update compliance reporting
    • ...

    Monitoring

    • Monitoring is provided through the Operations Manager 2007 Management Packs and diagnostics tasks
    • Management Packs have been tuned for medium sized businesses to reduce the monitoring noise
    • Distributed Application monitoring
    • Inline tasks to "fix it now"
    • State, diagram performance and dashboard views with a neat "Daily Health Report"
    • ...

    With this daily health report you will easily have an overview of what is happening on your network, pretty cool I think.

    Server and Support End Users

    Deploy software to servers and clients on a simple manner:

    • Support for MSI and EXE applications
    • Deployment status reporting
    • Troubleshooting tasks and views
    • ...

    Take Remote Control of the servers and workstations in your environment.

       

    Keep track of what you have

    With more than 30 attributes collected about the hardware installed on your computers the SCE 2007 keeps track of your client and server environment.

    With this summary page you are able te see how many and which type of clients you have. It even shows you which applications and how much installations of them there are on your environment.

    Everything a small or medium business would ever need.

    Service Provider

    • Provides a single entry point for remote management over the internet of your customers server and client environments
    • Leverages Operations Manager 2007 as the Service Provider console

    Management services enabled include:

    • Manage customers over the internet in a secure manner
    • Centrally view customer problem data and health from a single console Report on problems and time spent working on customer issues
    • Perform remote diagnostics and troubleshooting
    • Provide a lightweight, simple setup and configuration
    • Site aware reporting
    • ..

       

     

    With the service provide you can easily monitor and update the health of your customers infrastructure.

    Roadmap

    Beta 2  - 2H  06  - Public beta available for download

    RTM     - H1 07

    This is a great product which has it all monitoring , deployment remote connections, it rulez.

    This was the best session I attended yet.  I can't wait to get my hands on it.

    Tags: SMS , MOM, System Center, Microsoft, System Center Essential

  • MMS:: Introducing System Center "Operations Manager 2007"

    With the new version of MOM called System Center " Operations Manager 2007"  (SCOM 2007) we really listened to what our customers wanted to have.

    Below is a short list of what our customers requested for the new versions of SCOM 2007.

    • Deeper integration with Active Directory
    • Provide a single UI
    • Make it easier to tune Management Packs (MP) for our environment
    • Smarter knowledge with integrated tasks
    • Ability to define and manage the health of distributed applications
    • ...

    With the SCOM 2007 we focused on three themes:

    • Easy to use
    • Knowledge driven
    • Service oriented

    Let's look closer on what we did for each of these themes:

    Easy to use

    • Added better AD integration for discovery, user accounts, management groups and agent configurations.
    • We made the MP xml based, this will allow the customers to tune the MP for their needs.
    • We now have a single operations console
      • with the possibility to create role based consoles for the operators
      • search is available throughout the console, you can also save searches for later usage
    • ...

    Knowledge driven

    Knowledge is one of the fundamentals of SCOM 2007 and the Dynamic Systems Initiative.

    • Creation of personalized views
    • easily resolve problems with knowledge views dashboards and inline tasks
    • Windows client utilization, reliability and error reporting for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Office
    • ...

    We will capture knowledge through models. The knowledge models will be based on the System Definition Model.

    Service Oriented

    • Monitoring the health of distributed applications down to the hardware level
    • Easy to use and modify, distributed applications templates and designer tool for creating MP's

    With the designer tool it will be possible to create your own model on how your distributed applications look like.

     

    Roadmap

    Public Beta Q2 2006

    Register now to receive the beta when it comes out http://www.microsoft.com/mom

    SCOM 2007 R2

    • Deep System Center "Service Desk" integration
    • Service Level Management focus
    • Capacity Management

    Tags: System Center, MOM

  • MMS:: Sneak peek - System Center "Configuration Manager 2007"

    This morning I attended the sneak preview System Center "Configuration Manager 2007" (SCCM 2007) session here at MMS.

    With the SCCM 2007 product we really wanted to make investments in the following key areas:

    • Simplicity
    • Deployment
    • Security

    Below I will highlight some of the improvements we made for these key areas.

    Simplicity

    • Easier installation process, which means if you install SMS you will have a working environment
    • Redundant infrastructure, we now support clustered SQL servers
    • Easier to use
      • New UI design
      • Sizeable dialogs for large datasets
      • Drag-n-drop and Multi Select support for key workflow scenarios
    • We finally added the ability to use a workstation as a distribution point
    • Wake On Lan (WOL) built-in into the product
    • Editable Advanced task sequencing
    • Native support for device management
    • ...

    Deployment

    • No OS deployment feature pack needed, has been integrated into SCCM 2007
    • Added support for Longhorn and Vista deployments
    • Build on Vista and Longhorn technologies, where we can store multiple OS images onto one image file (WIM format)
    • Deployment driven by customizable task sequences
    • Deployment from offline media like cd, dvd, etc
    • ...

    Security

    • SCCM2007  Security
      • Https traffic from client to server
      • Location awareness for client machines traveling between internet and intranet connections
      • ...
    • Windows Security
      • Network Access protection integration for the remediation of non healthy clients
      • We rebuild Software update experience
        • patch update procedure has been simplified, before we needed 18 clicks now we only need 6
        • Support for both mandatory and optional updates
        • We are using templates to create the updates tasks which makes it easier and faster to use
      • ...

    SCCM 2007 - Roadmap

    Beta 1 of the product is downloadable at the Microsoft Connect site

    Beta 1 Refresh will be available in June/July

    Beta 2 will be Q2 2007 and the product availability will be 1H 2007

    Tags: System Center, SMS, MMS

  • MMS:: Microsoft buys Assetmetrix

    During the keynote of  Kirill Tatarinov, Corporate VP, Windows Enterprise Management Division at Microsoft Corporation, he announced that Microsoft just bought a Canadian company called Assetmetrix.

    Assetmetrix maintains a software library of more than 100,000 identified software titles and more than 200 reports targeted to asset and license managers.

    The acquisition will enable us to deliver a more comprehensive asset and license management solution for customers of all sizes.

    AssetMetrix technology will be integrated into Microsoft’s existing tools, such as System Center Configuration Management (SMS).

    Source: MMS and www.assetmetrix.com

  • Vista:: Management features and Improvements

    Management features and Improvements in Vista:

    3 Management goals

    • Maintain PC configuration
    • Simplify configuration management
    • Desktop troubleshooting and task automation

    If we look at the Maintain Pc configuration item we can talk about different things:

    The first one is the "User Account Control" which has as goal running your applications as a standard user. A locked and well managed PC can save 40% (source: Gartner - Dec 2005)

    The second item is "Windows Resource Protection", protecting the configuration by preventing potentially damaging systems and configuration changes.

    • Code integrity, which I talked about during the last Technet evening, is a part of this.
    • Only Os trusted installer can change files, about 10.000 items are protected by this system.

    We have introduced different items in Vista to help you simplify the configuration management:

    • We're introducing over 500 new Group Policy settings across key areas like, power management, usb device installation, shell, tablet, printer deployment (per user and per computer, troubleshooting and diagnostics and many more.

      Let's take a close look at the printer group policy, you will be able to install printers by Group Policy an a per user or per computer base which means if a users logs on to another computer he still has his printers but could also have the printers that are created for that computer on that specific locations.

      We added the GPMC into the OS, with the SP1 timeframe we will add search and filter capabilities.
    • We're making improvements in reducing the pain of updates management by reducing the number of patches that will require reboots.

      What did we do in Vista to help you:

      -We can now apply patches directly to images
      -Auto update everything
      -Platform technology to reduce reboots this is called startup 
       manager
    • We're introducing Windows Remote Management – WinRM is a firewall friendly remote management tool.

     

    The third management goal was Desktop troubleshooting and task automation.

    • In Vista we're introducing the new event logging infrastructure, with this new event viewer we changed the way the event viewer looks like. It will be the single place to view events for all Vista components.

      You will be able to create and save views and filters to have another view of the events
    • The task scheduler has been completely rewritten. We added sophistcated scheduling options and new improved triggers for example start based on events, on time, etc..

      The task scheduler will also be fully scriptable and controllable by Group Policies.
    • Reliabilty Analysis console will help you understand the cause of hangs and disruptions. This tool will keep track of failing items 

    This is in a nutshell what we've done as Management features and Improvements in Vista.

     

    Go ahead and register yourself to the upcoming webcasts and learn more about Vista:

    TechNet Webcast: A Day in the Life of Windows Vista Productivity (Level 300)
    Wednesday, April 26, 2006
    11:30 A.M.–1:00 P.M. Pacific Time

    TechNet Webcast: Windows Vista Deployment Tools and Technologies (Level 200)
    Monday, May 1, 2006
    11:30 A.M.–12:30 P.M. Pacific Time

    TechNet Webcast: Tools and Techniques for Managing a Windows Vista Desktop (Level 200)
    Wednesday, May 3, 2006
    11:30 A.M.–12:30 P.M. Pacific Time

    TechNet Webcast: Business Desktop Deployment Workbench in Windows Vista (Level 300)
    Monday, May 8, 2006
    11:30 A.M.–12:30 P.M. Pacific Time

    TechNet Webcast: Application Compatibility Testing (Level 300)
    Wednesday, May 10, 2006
    11:30 A.M.–12:30 P.M. Pacific Time

    TechNet Webcast: User State Migration in Windows Vista (Level 300)
    Monday, May 15, 2006
    11:30 A.M.–12:30 P.M. Pacific Time

  • Part II of the MMS 2006 Keynote

    Like I already mentioned in my previous post about MMS 2006, Bob Muglia announcend a few other things.
    The first one is the rebranding of some of our products to the System Center Brand name.

    This means that the products like SMS and MOM will be changed into:

    With that branding Bob also announced a new product called System Center, codename "Service Desk"

    • This product will be focused on automating IT across people and processes including solutions for Incident, Problem, Asset, and Change Management with many new scenarios enabled via a powerful self-service portal. 
    • Critical to the Asset and Change Management functionality will be a CMDB (Configuration Management Database) built leveraging the System Definition Model
    • A core set of automated IT processes that map to our ITIL based Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) will be included as part of this solution 
    • This product will provide deep integration with existing Microsoft technologies including SMS, MOM, Office System and Windows.
    • We are delivering not only a product, but also a platform that will be easily extensible by customers and partners with solution packs, just like management packs and MOM.
    • This initial offering will be targeted at new and existing MOM and SMS customers who are requesting this kind of functionality.
    • I just saw a demo on this product where the IT team had found a resolution for a reported problem, the next step they did was creating a change request on the Service desk console.
      Using the workflow within this product (based on Workflow foundation), the system sended a request to the Change request manager with a link to the change request ticket. After approval the engineer can directly shedule the patch update onto the SMS system, when this is done the patch gets advertised through the SMS server.


    What is really great about this product is the tight integration with our products like MOM and SMS, in the console the Support Engineers can see where a call or incident has been reported from, this can be from MOM which founds for instance an issue onto the Exchange environment or can be a support call.

    We plan to release a public beta of System Center, codename "Service Desk" in H1 of 2007.

    IMAGE_025.jpg

    See live pictures and post on the Service Desk blog

    Read the press release here.

    The last two announcements during the keynote where that we are working on a management software for managing Virtual Server environment called codename "Carmine", he did not disclosed any information about that product, more information will follow in the coming months.

    The second announcement was that the "WS-Management" has been accepted as a standard by DTMF. WS-Management is a new web-services specification that provides a common way for systems to remotely access and exchange management information.

    More info about MMS 2006 in the upcoming posts.

  • "Monad" becomes Windows Powershell

    Today during Bob Muglia his keynote at the MMS 2006 conference he announced the new name of the formerly code name "Monad" as Windows Powershell

    Windows Powershell will be available for download in Q4 2006, but the RC1 can be downloaded from now on:

    Some of the key features of Windows Powershell are:

    • Over 130 standard commandlets ("cmdlets") for completing common system administration tasks such as working with the registry
    • Intuitive task-based scripting language and support for existing scripts and command line tools
    • Designed to allow command line and graphical user interface integration. For example all commands in Exchange 2007 can be completed either from the GUI or the command line

    Another interesting item is that Windows Powershell will be available for the following operating systems:

    • Windows XP Professional SP2
    • Windows Server 2003 SP2 and R2
    • Windows Vista
    • Windows Longhorn Server

    You can find even more information on the blog of the Powershell team or if you want to find some sample scripts

    Exchange 2007 and the new version of MOM will be the first products wich will rely on the powershell functionalities.

    Bob announced even more new products like System Center "Service Desk".

    I will post more on that later I have to go to the next session which is Data Protection Manager which is given by Jason Buffington, who was also delivering a DPM session at the Dev & IT Pro days in Belgium.

    Update: Exchange 12 will now be called Exchange 2007

     

    Tags: Monad, Powershell

  • Vista Security - Technet Evening

    The 19th of April I give my first Technet Evening about Windows Vista security enhancements. There where about 60 attendees which is good for a Technet Evening in Belgium.

    As it was the first time I did such a session I was quite nervous but after my first demo, who went well, I got more relaxed and I continued with my presentation and demo's.

    My plan was to post a wrap-up of this session for my blog readers but one of the attendees Gabriel Lozano-Morán already did it for me (thank you for that) you can find his complete and very good session wrap-up here.

    With that I can only conclude that (we) Microsoft did everything to make sure we will have the most secure OS on the market today (or should I say tomorrow).

    I would also point out to you that the next session will be held in may and Kurt Roggen will talk about Windows 2003 R2, especially about "Branch Offices scenarios".

    My next session will be in June and I will talk about Exchange 12

    So keep the Belgian Technet site , Dutch version and the French version, in mind, to register for both sessions.

    If any of you have any question about this Technet evening please let me know arlindo.alves@microsoft.com or just post a comment onto this post.


    Last but not least sign-up for the Beta Central program and receive Office 2007, Windows Vista and Exchange 12 beta's.

  • Microsoft Management Summit 2006

    After 14 hours of flights I finally arrived in San Diego where the Microsoft Management Summit 2006 will be held. The summit starts on monday with registration and the opening reception. Starting from tuesday I will blog about the new, exciting and usefull stuff.

    During those 4 days the focus of all content is on managing the dynamic IT environment using products, technologies and solutions from Microsoft. The solutions explored during the event will include the management of services running on Microsoft and non-Microsoft platforms, as well as best practices in managing the Windows IT environment.

    There are many breakout sessions, I will have to make some though decissions to choose the best ones:

    • SMS 2003
    • MOM 2005
    • System Center Data Protection Manager
    • System Center Capacity Planner
    • Management Best Practice Solutions based on MOF/ITIL Process
    • Windows Server yoUpdate Services
    • Windows Server 2003 R2 Management Technologies
    • Group Policy
    • WS-Management
    • WMI
    • MONAD (Microsoft Command Shell)

    During the event there will also be a focus on the new versions of some of our management products. I will post information on some of these items, as I planned to go to these sessions:

    • MOM V3
    • SMS V4
    • SMS R2
    • System Center Reporting Manager
    • WSUS 3.0 (Beta 1)
    • Windows Vista Management Technologies
      • MMC 3.0
      • OS Deployment solutions

    The first session I will attend is the keynote of Bob Muglia, Senior Vice President, Server and Tools Business at Microsoft Corporation. The session will cover the Windows Server System promises for simplifying IT, delivering on Self Managing Dynamic Systems and more.

    See Ya tomorrow.

  • Service Pack 1 for SQL Server is availlable

    The Service Pack 1 for SQL Server 2005 is available for download.

     

    This service pack is for the following versions of SQL:

       - Enterprise 
       - Developer 
       - Workgroup 
       - Standard 
       - Enterprise evaluation

     

    Read the KB Article 916940 to review the new features and improvements.

    Read the KB Article 913090 to review the list of fixes that SP1 will apply to SQL Server 2005.

     

    The SP1 for SQL Server Express edition can be found on this link

     

     

  • Successful upgrade of Vista

    Today I upgraded my Vista build 53xx to a newer one using the in place upgrade method.

    Just inserted my new DVD and run setup, after I entered my product key I could choose to upgrade the current Vista build, so that was what I did.

    As you can see on the screenshot below Vista setup is upgrading my machine.

    After a few reboots I got my login prompt again, I logged on my machine and the upgrade was completed successfully.

    All my settings where kept and the installed applications worked as before.

     

  • USB Flash Drive with micro pump

    While reading one of my fun stuff blogs I encountered this growing USB memory stick

     

     

    plusminus flashbag


    The size of the device changes depending on the amount of data it holds

     

    When switched off the the flashbag remains pumped up, so you can  estimate with the naked eye how much more pictures and music it can hold.

     

     

    Flashbag currently is a design concept.  Sources: http://www.plusminus.ru/ and http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/flash-drive/

    It is sometimes unbelievable whats in some people mind, but its funny project.

  • Upcoming Exchange "12" Webcasts

    After the first series of webcasts which can be viewed on demand (I included the list at the end of this post), we are launching a new series of Exchange "12" webcasts.

    Upcoming webcasts:

    TechNet Webcast: Improvements to Calendaring in Exchange "12" (Level 300) - Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    TechNet Webcast: Exchange "12" Management Shell and Scripting (Level 300) - Thursday, April 20, 2006

    TechNet Webcast: The Improved Exchange System Manager for Exchange "12" (Level 300) - Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    TechNet Webcast: Recipient Management and Permissions in Exchange "12" (Level 300) - Tuesday, May 2, 2006

    Here is the list of the On-Demand Webcasts:

  • April 2006 Security bulletins released

    The April 2006 Security bulletins have been released, we are offering five new security updates. Four of the updates affect Windows, while the fifth affects Windows and Office.

     

    Here is the list of updates:

    Critical Updates:

    MS06-013 - Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (912812)

    MS06-014 - Vulnerability in the Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC)(911562)

    MS06-015 - Vulnerability in Windows Explorer Could Allow Remote Code Execution (908531)

     

    Important and Moderate Updates:

    MS06-016 - Cumulative Security Update for Outlook Express (911567)

    MS06-017 - Vulnerability in Microsoft Front Page Server Extensions Could Allow Cross Site Scripting (917627)

     

    For more information about security you can always go to the security site

     

    Reminder:

    Do not forget the Technet webcast tonight : Information About April 2006 Security Bulletins

     

    As I already mentioned in a previous post you can always download the security patches as a single ISO file.

    The April 2006 update can be downloaded here.

  • Be the first to test Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange "12"

    After the developer communtiy already had their beta site, the IT Pro community will finally have their own beta site. We are launching the "Technet Beta Central" site.

    Here are the registration links for the Belgium community:

    Dutch Version

    French Version

    You will be the first to be notified when the Windows Vista, Office "12," and Exchange "12" public beta releases become available. Additionally, you will receive updates and information regularly through the Microsoft TechNet Flash newsletter, from the time you pre-register until the launch of the product.

    What will you find on the Beta Central site:

    Upcoming Public Beta Releases from Microsoft

     

    Office

    Windows Vista is a significant evolution of the PC desktop, and the industry is already reacting. Here are just a few of the new Windows Vista features:

    ·         WinFX—a programming model with managed code

    ·         Windows Presentation Foundation—the standardized display subsystem for Windows Vista

    ·         Windows Communication Foundation—the new Web service technology from Microsoft

     

    Office

    The 2007 Microsoft Office system uses XML to provide new functions that can help you develop high-quality corporate solutions. For example:

    ·         Compact file format—automatically compresses files up to 75 percent

    ·         Improved damaged-file recovery—modular data storage allows you to open files even when a component within is damaged

    ·         Safer documents—embedded code is identified and stored for special processing, allowing IT administrators to block unwanted macros or controls

     

    Office

    The next version of Microsoft Exchange Server, code-named Exchange "12", is designed to meet the growing demands of messaging for your organization. Exchange "12" offers a secure, reliable enterprise messaging platform that covers the fundamentals of e-mail and calendaring while delivering innovative new capabilities including:

    ·         64-bit support—delivers improved scalability and a greater return on storage investments

    ·         Command-line management—helps you flexibly control the system and automate specific operations using a scriptable shell (based on Windows "Monad")

    ·         New unified messaging features—enables users to access all their communications from a single inbox using familiar clients like Outlook, Outlook Web Access, mobile devices, and even a regular phone

     

    You don't have to register if you already have a Technet Plus subscription, Beta software is included into the subscription.

  • Windows Vista User Experience

    I was playing around with my new Vista build and wanted to log off the system, but I did not save my Word document so I've got the following error:

    I really liked this error window, it is exactly telling me why the system cannot log off. So I had the choice continue log off and loose my document or click cancel and save my document.

    This will really help the end-user to understand what is happening.

     

  • Network Access Protection


    While I am preparing for the Vista security overview TechNet evening I read about a new functionality of Longhorn Server and Windows Vista client, it is called Network Access Protection (NAP). I will talk a little bit about this during the presentation but here is already a preview of what this does.

    NAP will help you as an Administrator to make sure that the clients who are connecting to your network will be compliant with the policies you defined.

     

    How NAP works:

    1.      Client requests access to network and presents current health status

    2.      DHCP, VPN or Switch Router relays health status to Microsoft’s Network Policy Server

    3.      The Network Policy Server validates this against IT-defined health policies

    4.      If the machine is policy compliant, it’s given immediate access to the corporate network

    5.      If the machine is not policy compliant, it is put in a restricted VLAN and given access to fix up resources to download patches, configurations, signatures, etc.  Repeat 1-3.

    Network Access Protection functions on four levels.  It validates compliance to policy, restricts access based compliance to policy, remediates as necessary, and grants access accordingly.  NAP ensures the client’s ongoing compliance to policy. The NAP platform functions in realtime.  It recognizes quarantines and remediates threats before they can even pose a threat to your network.

    Visit the following site for more information about NAP.

    Note: NAP is not the same as Network Quarantaine in Windows 2003

  • Virtual Server - Linux support

    Qualified Linux Guest Operating Systems

    The following Linux operating systems have been tested and are on the list of supported guests for Virtual Server 2005 R2:


    Enterprise distributions:


    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 (update 6)

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0 (update 6)

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0

    SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9.0



    Standard distributions:


    Red Hat Linux 7.3

    Red Hat Linux 9.0

    SuSE Linux 9.2

    SuSE Linux 9.3

    SuSE Linux 10.0

    Download the Virtual Machine Additions for Linux, available from Microsoft Connect

    Support

    Customers who deploy supported guest operating systems in Virtual Server 2005 R2 can get product support through their normal Virtual Server 2005 R2 support channels. The Virtual Machine Additions for Linux will also be supported through the same channels.




  • Virtual Server 2005 R2 Enterprise Edition is free

    As of today we are offering the Virtual Server 2005 R2 EE 32 & 64 bit free of charge.

    What happens with VS2005 Standard Edition, it wil stop existing there is no need to, because the only difference between Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition was the amount of memory and processors that are supported.

    Why is it for free here is the answer:

    In the Windows Server “Longhorn” wave, virtualization will become part of the Windows platform via Windows hypervisor technology, and our customers will be able to run an unlimited number of virtual operating systems on one physical server running Windows Server “Longhorn” Datacenter Edition.

    Read the complete press release here

    You can download both versions from this site