February, 2007

  • Longhorn:: Hypervisor - Windows Server Virtualization Demo

    I just posted the TechReady keynote demo, which I talked about earlier, on soapbox.

    In this demo you will see:

    • Windows Server Virtualization running on Server Core managed from another Windows Server Longhorn box
    • 64-bit hosts and 32-bit hosts and a Linux running on the same server core box
    • An 8-core virtual machine
    • System Center Virtual Machine Manager
    • System Center Operations Manager
    • Monitoring the VMs on the Server Core box 
    • Fire off a PowerShell script to hot-add another NIC to a SQL VHD Image

    This demo is just awesome. I loved the PowerShell script where Jeff just added another NIC to a VM.

    I can barely wait to get me hands on this kind of technology. Now I am already testing the Longhorn server but once I can get my hand onto the Windows Server Virtualization I will definitely move my VM towards this Technology.

    Video: Longhorn - Windows Server Virtualization 


  • Longhorn:: 10 Reasons to look at Windows Longhorn Part 2: PowerShell

    PowerShell is our newest and coolest command line shell and scripting language. It is built on the .Net Framework and introduces features that enable command-line users and script writers to leverage the power of that foundation. It introduces a number of powerful new concepts, but it enables you to reuse both the knowledge you have gained and the scripts you have created within the Windows Command Prompt and Windows Script Host environments.


    There are over 130 standard commandlets ("cmdlets") for completing common system administration tasks such as working with the registry. Exchange 2007 was the first team that worked with PowerShell and created over 350 cmdlets to manage an Exchange 2007 environment. Other products like Operations Manager 2007, Virtual Machine Manager are also leveraging the power of PowerShell. PowerShell is a verb-noun based scripting language for example the help command is Get-Help.


    With Vista now released we also introduced 13 new WMI providers like Bitlocker, TPM, IIS7, .... we are also able to query those WMI providers trough PowerShell.

    Lot's of customers ask us questions like do I have to learn .Net, I have a set of tools do I need to rewrite them? ...

    Well the good news is that you don't need to learn .Net and you can still use your existing tools. It's really easy to start with PowerShell you can learn on your own pace and there is online help available. What I personally do like about this shell is that it's very easy to try a script out, you can actually execute line by line and then put it in a script. This was rather difficult with for example VBScript where you had to debug the script.

    It's also easy to access your files and even registry from within the shell - "cd HKCU". With this simple command you just have access to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive in the registry.

    There are some third parties that leverages the power of Powershell:


    PowerGadgets (tutorial for IT Pro's)

    And I am sure that there are many other tools available today.


    Community Resources:

    Channel 9 tag: http://channel9.msdn.com/tags/Monad

    Team blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/PowerShell/O

    Mark van Orsouw’s blog: http://thepowershellguy.com

    Arul Kumaravel's Blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/arulk

    Lee Holmes' Blog: http://www.leeholmes.com/blog

    Abhishek Agrawal’s Blog: http://abhishek225.spaces.msn.com/PersonalSpace.aspx

    MshAnalyzer tool: http://www.karlprosser.com/coder/?cat=8

    I can't share a lot of information with you about how PowerShell and Longhorn server will work together but as soon as I know I will post it onto this blog.

    By the way there are two PowerShell sessions planned during the Dev & IT Pro Days 2007 - Bruce Payette will deliver them.


    10 Reasons to look at Windows Longhorn Part 1: Server Management Improvements

    The next blogpost I will talk about Internet Information Server 7.0 and what benefits the IT Professional will get out of this new version.

  • Office Open XML vs ODF

    While I think most of the IT Professionals (who are not developers) probably don't care about the Office Open XML (OOXML) vs ODF discussions that are going on. Until now I did not read a lot about what the biggest differences are and why people were against on of the other format.  It's now clear to me why IBM is against the Fast-Track ISO certification of OOXML. If they succeed in there objection than the OOXML ISO certification will take about 2 Years instead of the 6 months Fast-Track, which means they could try to push their new Lotus (which will include a Text editor, Spreadsheet tool that support the ODF format) products in many places where ODF or an ISO doc format is mandatory.

    One of common objections I read about is the fact that OOXML is to big (6000 pages). Why is it that big? Because we do support the backwards compatibility of our older Office products, the ODF format doesn't provide that. Why don't we support the ODF format natively, because when we were busy developing the Office 2007 platform the ODF format was not yet an ISO format and because we cannot support all document formats. However we rely on our ISV and Partner community to create add-on and/or plug-ins for our Office 2007 platform to support the ODF format. In fact we've sponsored a ODF Add-in project which had as goal to provide an Add-in to Microsoft Word XP/2003/2007 to allow opening and saving OpenDocument format (ODF) files.


    I personally do think that there is place for two ISO standards for handling documents format and that it's not about being against one or the other format but about which functionality, compatibility and features are important for the customers.


    I just finished reading some blogposts and articles about OOXML vs ODF. Here are some of the quotes I took from those posts and/or articles:


    "You don't have to implement the whole Open XML specification to use Open XML"




    <a href="http://www.mindjet.com/media/us/Real-World Open XML.wmv"><img src="http://blogs.technet.com/cs/Themes/default/images/video.gif" border="0" width="460" height="345"></a><br><a href="http://www.mindjet.com/media/us/Real-World Open XML.wmv">View Video</a><br>Format: wmv<br>Duration: 37 Minutes

    Michael Scherotter, Solutions Platform Evangelist for Mindjet - Webcast

    "In the on going debate between ODF and OpenXML, two things are becoming clear. The first is that both ODF and OpenXML are essentially proprietary formats dressed up to be open standards. The second is neither IBM nor Microsoft is going to back down.

    Microsoft's reason for avoiding ODF is clear. ODF does not have the features necessary to represent the binary Office formats with 100% accuracy. In addition, the specification is not complete enough to ensure compatibility between implementations."

    Jonathan Allen - http://www.infoq.com/news/2007/01/ODF-Notes

    "A common objection to OOXML is that the specification is "too big", that 6,000 pages is a bit too much for a specification and that this would prevent third parties from implementing support for the standard.

    Considering that for years we, the open source community, have been trying to extract as much information about protocols and file formats from Microsoft, this is actually a good thing.


    To make ODF successful, we need to make OpenOffice.org a better product, and we need to keep improving it. It is very easy to nitpick a standard, specially one that is as big as OOXML. But it is a lot harder to actually improve OpenOffice.org.

    If everyone complaining about OOXML was actually hacking on improving OpenOffice.org to make it a technically superior product in every sense we would not have to resort, as a community, to play a political case on weak grounds."

    Miguel de Icaza's - http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2007/Jan-30.html


    Other interesting links:



    Open XML formats blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/default.aspx



  • Longhorn:: 10 Reasons to look at Windows Longhorn Part 1

    In my previous blogpost I talked about which 10 reasons I would blog. Now the first one is Server Management Improvements.

    Server Management Improvements - Installation and Initial Configuration

    To start I wanted to point out that we've simplified the Server Installation procedure. My Longhorn server will be a Virtual one running on my freshly installed Virtual PC 2007. Let's take a look at the installation procedure:

    After booting my virtual machine with a Longhorn ISO file the installation procedure started.


    Basically you have to select which language you want the Longhorn server, the Time and Currency and the keyboard language.

    In the two following screens you hit the "Install Now" button and fill in the product key. You don't even have to fill in the product key this can be added after the installation procedure. So far nothing really new or special but the Next step is where we get to choose which version of Longhorn we want to install. You have the choice between a normal or a server core installation.

    I have chosen to install the Standard Edition, however in a future blogpost where I will talk about server core I will need to select Server Core. It's a choice you have to make because it's either a Full version or a Server Core version no up- or downgrade possible. I'll explain the server core in the near future.

    The last step is to select or create the partition where you want to install the server onto and start the actual installation. 25 Minutes later the server rebooted and I can start configuring the server.



    By default the Administrator account has been created and the account has no password. Just hit ctrl+alt+del and hit enter to login and do the initial configuration of the server. You see the installation procedure has been simplified we don't need to watch the setup screen and wait until the installation procedure ask us to configure the keyboard, etc, etc.


    Now it's when the new part of Longhorn server simplified setup/server management comes into action. The first time you login onto your server box you will receive this "Initial Configuration Tasks" window. Remember when you needed to configure a Windows 2003 server which different tasks and each on different locations and/or management tools you had to use. Now with Longhorn server this will be history.

    The "Initial Configuration Tasks" window has three different sections:

    1. Provide Computer information: here you will define the admin account, change the time zone (if necessary), configure your network settings and change the name (or add to a domain) of the server.
    2. Update this Server: here you can configure how the Windows Update and our Feedback systems will work. You can also manually check if there are any updates and install them.
    3. Customize this Server: Here is the very new part of Longhorn server because by default nothing is installed and with Longhorn server you will be able to install different server roles like: Active Directory Domain Services, Terminal Server, File Server, DNS, DHPC and many more server roles. Furthermore you can add different features to the server like the .Net 3.0 framework, Network Load Balancing, Windows Server Backup, etc, etc. To finalize the configuration you can enable the Remote Desktop and configure the integrated Firewall.

    With this tool I am able to configure my server for the role you need. You can choose to have a single role onto a server box, however adding multiple roles onto one box is also possible and more likely for the most environments.  There is a obvious difference between server roles and features. A server role describes the function of the server, the features don't describe to server role but serves as auxiliary or supporting functions.

    Now I have chosen not to select any server role and/or additional feature. I just changed the IP Address, Server name and enabled the Automatic updates. I did this solely for this blogpost as I will explain how the server manager will help you manage your environment from one central console per server. This is not an Enterprise management tool but is aimed to manage single servers.

    After rebooting the server the Server Manager console opens and if I had installed any server roles they would appear onto the management console.

    Server Management Improvements - Server Manager

    The server manager gives you an overview of the running system, it includes computer-, security information  and also shows us which roles and features are installed. It's also the central location to manage each of those roles because this MMC based console makes also usage of the Software Definition Model and knows every dependency of each role we can now monitor each role within this console.

    The many wizards built into Server Manager streamline the task of deploying servers in your enterprise by cutting the time it takes to install, configure, or remove roles, role services, and features. Multiple roles can be installed in a single session by using the Add Roles Wizard.

    Most importantly, Windows Longhorn Server performs dependency checks as you progress through the Server Manager wizards, ensuring that all the roles and role services needed by the role you selected are installed, and that none are removed that might still be required by remaining roles or role services.

    This tool can also be used to install or remove the different features needed for any particular server.

    Last but not least within this tool we gather all different management snap-ins of the server roles installed on the server and also some other snap-ins like diagnostics and configuration.



    In this example you can see that I installed the "Terminal Services" role by using the wizard and because of the monitoring possibilities the server manager shows us that there is a possible issue with that role. If I click on "Terminal Services" the role information page opens and shows me the information like events, system and service info.

    Here we can clearly see that the "Terminal Services Licensing" service is not running but should be running. From here I can also start the service.

    Notice that Longhorn Server will add the management snap-ins for each of the installed roles, as we have only Terminal Services the server manager screenshot above shows only the Terminal Services role management snap-in.


    In summary we have simplified the installation and initial configuration process to give you an Out of the Box Experience. With the Server Manager we give the Administrators a new single server tool to manage the entire server.


    In the next blogpost I will talk briefly about Windows PowerShell.


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  • Funcast:: BI: The Mac-Guyver Techniques : SQL Server Integration Services


    Today Gunter Staes delivered the first part of the BI Funcasts: BI: The Mac-Guyver Techniques : SQL Server Integration Services. This session has been recorded.

    View Session Recording


    Next Session - 28/02/2007

    The next session will be held on February 28th - BI: The Mac-Guyver Techniques : SQL Server Analysis Services.

    The registration for this session is not live yet but as soon as you can register I will post it on this blog.



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  • Microsoft Cluster Configuration Validation Wizard

    We just released this tool known as the "ClusPrep". The ClusPrep is a cluster validation tool that does a complete system inventory and runs focused tests on servers that are configured and ready for Microsoft Server Cluster installation (in other words, before the servers are a cluster). ClusPrep will also run the inventory and many of these same tests after clustering is installed, however, because of their potentially disruptive nature, most storage tests are not run if the servers are already a cluster.
    ClusPrep will validate that your system is configured properly by taking inventory of your system configuration and highlighting discrepancies in service pack levels, driver versions, etc.; evaluating and testing your network and storage configuration.
    If the results of your ClusPrep execution do not show errors (viewable in detail from the XML report) then you can have a high level of confidence that your subsequent cluster installation and/or operation will be successful.
    ClusPrep is a “client/server” tool: you install it on one machine (must be installed on a 32-bit architecture machine), and it drives tests on a collection of server machines (can be any architecture). All drivers and test agents are automatically installed on the servers as part of ClusPrep operation. In other words, the only install you do is on the machine from which you initiate the testing.


    This is the tool we also will use on our Longhorn cluster servers.




  • Longhorn:: What's new in Longhorn server blogpost series

    In the next couple of months I will be focusing onto Windows Server Codename "Longhorn". What will I do? First of all I will have some speaking engagements at different events. The first one will be on March 7 during the TechNet Evening - Overview of What's New in Windows Server "Longhorn" (I'll post the subscription link when it's available) and the second talk will be at the Dev & IT Pro days where I will talk about the work we did to make Terminal Services in Longhorn server even better.


    Next I will do several blogposts about What's New in Longhorn Server. In the first couple of blogposts I will talk about the 10 Reasons to prepare for Longhorn.

    What are the ten reasons? We'll there are probably more than Ten reasons but in the coming blogposts I will highlight what I think are 10 very good reasons to prepare for Longhorn server.

    Here is my list of possible topics:

      1. Server Management
      2. Windows PowerShell
      3. Internet Information Services 7.0
      4. Server Hardening
      5. Server Core
      6. Network Access Protection (NAP)
      7. Failover Clustering
      8. Branch Office Deployments
      9. Windows Server Virtualization
      10. New Terminal Services Capabilities

    In the first post (which I hopefully will post tomorrow) I will talk about how we simplified the Server Management going from the Installation procedure to the Server Manager tool.


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  • Public Beta 2 - System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Released

     Some highlights of this Beta 2 release of SCCM ’07:

    Admin UI – New MMC3.0 support, Search Folders, Easy Task access, Feature Landing pages and multi select

    OS Deployment – Complete deployment automation for Client and Server

    Desired Configuration Management – Policy based, model driven state management of device roles and regulatory reporting

    Software Update Management – Simplification of Patch Administration for MS, ISV and LoB applications.

    Security integration to Longhorn NAP – Policy based perimeter security integration with NAP services

    Internet Based Management – Manage your desktop, laptop, server or device anywhere anytime.

    Device Management – Over the air management of Windows mobile devices

    Software Distribution – Significant improvements in software distribution, adding granular control functionality to advertisements and collections.

    The public beta 2 is now available on the Connect Site

  • Windows Mobile 6 Released


    Today at the 3GSM World congress 2007 in Barcelona we announced the release of Windows Mobile 6.


    Here is a list of the improvements we've made:

    New mobile versions of Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint available for Windows Mobile 6 powered devices.

    Better-looking e-mail. Users view e-mail the way it was intended with its original pictures, tables and formatting, whether from a corporate e-mail server such as Exchange Server 2007, Web-based accounts such as Windows Live Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail, or a wide range of other service providers.

    Ease of viewing and editing of Office system documents. The new Office Mobile suite, built for all Windows Mobile powered devices, gives users a truly familiar and powerful experience with rich viewing and editing capabilities, without having to worry about the deletion of critical formatting and images.

    E-mail management and setup with fewer clicks. Nine new one-click options have been added, including Reply All, setting a flag, moving a message to a subfolder, and, of course, Delete. Users can set an automatic out-of-office reply while on the road when using a Windows Mobile 6 powered device and Exchange Server 2007.

    Synchronization with Windows Vista. Windows Vista™ and the Windows Mobile Device Center take the guesswork out of managing a device and swapping music, pictures, movies and Outlook information between PC and the device.

    Smart calendar bar. This innovative new feature gives users the ability to understand at a glance the day or week ahead and quickly determine open time on their schedules. With Exchange Server 2007, they can see who is attending a meeting and forward or reply to meeting requests.

    Web search, e-mail, instant messaging (IM) and blogging all together. Windows Live for Windows Mobile will provide customers with a rich set of services including Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger, Live Search and Windows Live Spaces, uniquely designed to work with Windows Mobile software. Users can also find all their contacts in one unified list and see presence information on their Windows Live Messenger contacts.

    Contacts with context. Call history is now placed where it belongs, in each individual contact card, so people spend less time searching and more time communicating.


    If you want to see a preview (screenshots) of Windows Mobile 6 go and check out the Great Long blogpost of Mr Mobile Jason Langridge.

    There is also a video interview with product manager Derek Snyder at the On10 site.


    Download the Windows Mobile 6 Fact Sheet


  • Vista:: Windows Volume Activation tools

    Today there are several options to the ways in which business customers can use volume activation technologies to activate multiple Windows Vista-based PCs in their desktop environments. For a brief description and links to the ‘new’ Windows Volume Activation tools, please see below:

    The Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) enables IT professionals to automate and centrally manage the volume activation process using a Multiple Activation Key (MAK). VAMT can perform both MAK proxy and MAK independent activation of single or multiple remote computers running volume editions of Windows Vista at once.  Additionally the tool provides the activation status of computers running any edition of Windows Vista in the environment, and also can return the remaining activation count for MAKs. 

    The Key Management Service (KMS) for Windows 2003 provides customers with much requested functionality of running KMS on Windows Server 2003. KMS enables customers to host a local service within their environment which can be used by volume editions of Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Enterprise for activation. KMS is currently available in x86 and x64 versions, for use with these Windows Server 2003 editions: Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter, Service Pack 1 or 2.

    The third tool, the KMS Management Pack for Management Operations Manager 2005 allows enterprise customers to monitor and report the health of the KMS host that is fulfilling the activation requests within their organization.  System administrators can create alerts for conditions that could indicate KMS outages or impending problems.  When coupled with other data sources, such as System Center Configuration Manager, IT professionals can have a complete view of all volume-licensed machines in their environment.  The MOM pack is currently available in x86 and x64 versions in English only.

    For more information about Windows Vista Volume Activation 2.0, please visit:  http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/plan/volact1.mspx


  • RSS Bandit on Vista it works :)

    I was working with Eric Denekamp about  a System Center Operations Manager 2007 session during the Dev & IT Pro days. Because I asked Eric his bio I found out on his blog (which has been added to my subscription list) that my until know preferred RSS feed reader. Yeah RSS Bandit I didn't used it for quite a time now because of compatibility issues with Windows Vista. Apparently they've adapted the software and it runs just fine now and even with the glass support.

    Because all this time I have been using GreatNews RSS reader I just forget to follow-up the development of RSS Bandit and know I cannot choose. Should I keep my current reader or go back and use RSS Bandit. Anyway RSS Bandit is installed I will see how this work out. You can always download RSS Bandit from here.


    Source: http://blogs.infosupport.com/ericd/archive/2007/01/24/They-fixed-it.aspx


  • ZoomIt

    During different presentations at TechReady I saw presenters zooming their screen to show the smaller parts of the window. I taught this was a feature of the beamer and apparently I was wrong. In fact this is done by a tool called ZoomIt which has been written by no one else than Mark Russinovich.



    Just assign a hotkey an you can start zooming in and also do some annotation. This tool rocks, now I will finally be able for example to show the details of a windows, message box.. whatever it's on the screen.

    Do you want to have this free tool? Go ahead and download it.


  • Dev & IT Pro Days: SQL Server 2005 and BI sessions

    During our annual Dev & IT Pro Days we will have 6 sessions that will have a SQL Server 2005 and Business Intelligence (BI) focus.

    SQL / BI Sessions Day 1:

    Microsoft Business Intelligence overview
    Microsoft BI offering consists of SQL Server as the BI platform, and Office as the information delivery platform. This presentation will provide an overview of all of the components of the Microsoft BI offering, architectural overview, and a demonstration to provide context for the in depth session that follow.


    Creating high impact Data Warehouse with Integration Services and Analysis Services
    SQL Server Integration Services is a robust, scalable, high performance ETL tool in SQL Server 2005. In this session, we'll show you how you can use Integration Services in a wide range of applications to solve large scale data integration and transformation challenges. In this session, we'll also show you best practices for upgrading to SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services,  and how to design your Analysis Services objects for enterprise scalability and performance. We will also cover a lot of new management abilities introduced in this version that will help you more easily manage your production servers.

    Enterprise Reporting with SQL Server Reporting Services
    SQL Server Reporting Services is the most widely used reporting system in the world. In this session, we'll cover best practices for upgrading your reports and report server to new version, security models for managed reports as well as Report Builder. In this session you will also learn how to set up your reporting server for high availability and high performance, how to monitor your reporting production system, and learn tips and tricks of running reporting in enterprise environment.


    Designing and deploying Performance Management applications with Office OBA
    Office Business Applications is a set of new products focusing on performance management, built on top of SQL Server BI platform. Learn more about building and managing scorecards with Business Scorecard Manager, enabling advanced analytics with Proclarity Analytics Server. Finally, we will talk about PerformancePoint Server, the new product coming to market in summer of 2007 that will integrate scorecarding, analytics, with budgeting and planning capabilities. Attendees will learn about the roadmap and best practices for managing and deploying performance management applications.


    The speakers for those sessions are:

    Ashvini Sharma
    Program Manager  - Microsoft Corp

    Ashvini Sharma is a Program Manager in SQL Server’s Strategy team where he’s working on various forward-looking projects. Prior to this role, Ashvini was with the SQL Server Business Intelligence team and has contributed as a tester, developer and development lead to SQL Server 7.0, 2000 and 2005, respectively. Ashvini graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1994.





    Jake Zborowski
    Product Manager in the Office Business Applications  - Microsoft Corp

    Jake Zborowski is a Product Manager in the Office Business Applications (OBA) group responsible for the core readiness for the breadth of the Microsoft Business Intelligence product offering. Jake joined Microsoft with the acquisition of ProClarity Corporation in May 2006. Jake spent three years as a Product Marketing Manager with ProClarity Corporation in charge of product messaging and sales readiness. Jake holds a bachelor of economics degree from Albertson College and an MBA from the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University.




    SQL -  MOSS/BI Sessions Day 2:

    MOSS 2007 Configuration of Excel Services, SSO &  Data Connections - The Mac Guyver Techniques !
    The new Excel Services in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 puts Excel spreadsheet calculation and rendering on the server. Excel Services enables managed and secure distribution of Excel reports, and the ability to incorporate spreadsheets into business intelligence dashboards and portals, protect the proprietary information in spreadsheets and build custom applications with Excel-based logic. This session explains Excel Services' basic concepts and architecture in combination with Single Sign On (SSO) & Centrally managed Data Connections. After this session you will be able to understand the concepts so that you will be able to set up a Excel Services in a secure & well managed way.  This session includes a conceptual introduction & Live Demo


    SQL Server in 2007: Working with Vista and SQL Server SP2
    SQL Server service pack 2 introduces a number of functional improvements and is required to work with the new Windows Vista operating system. This session is meant to get you up to speed quickly when working with SQL Server on the new operating system. I'll also highlight the interesting performance and maintainability improvements in the latest service pack and demonstrate how to apply these in existing systems.


    Gunter Staes
    Technology Advisor - Microsoft


    Bob Beauchemin
    Director of Developer Skills - SQLskills

    Bob Beauchemin is a database-centric application practitioner and architect, instructor, course author, writer, and Director of Developer Skills for SQLskills. Over the past two years he's been teaching his SQL Server 2005 course to 500 students worldwide through the Ascend program. He is lead author of the books "A Developer's Guide to SQL Server 2005" and "A First Look at SQL Server 2005 For Developers", author of "Essential ADO.NET" and has written articles on SQL Server and other databases, database security, ADO.NET, and OLE DB for MSDN, SQL Server Magazine, and others.



    Bob will also be available for a book signing session after his session!


  • Vista:: Windows Vista Hardware Assessment Tool Available


    This week we released the Windows Vista Hardware Assessment (WVHA) tool.

    WVHA is a desktop deployment assessment and planning tool designed to help you quickly assess your PCs’ if they are ready to run Windows Vista.

    It utilizes powerful queries including WMI, AD, LAN manager API, etc. to conduct the rapid inventory of PCs. Key Features include:

    • Assess PC’s network-wide within hours or a day
    • Provide summary Word report for BDM audience regarding inventory results, compatibility assessment and upgrade recommendations
    • Offer detailed Excel report for TDM/IT Implementers audience to include hardware/driver inventory, compatibility assessment and upgrade recommendations PC by PC

    Download the newly released Windows Vista Hardware Assessment tool today and learn how it accelerates Windows Vista deployment projects.



  • TechReady:: Keynote Bill Gates and more

    I did not have really lot's of time yet to blog about the things I learned here in Seattle, there so many interesting sessions that I need to attend which makes it difficult for me to find some time to blog about it.

    We just had the keynote session from Bill Gates and Kevin Schofield who is the General Manager of Microsoft Research, during that session we saw some amazing demo's of what Microsoft Research is doing. One of the coolest demo was that they used a normal webcam to show the magic of software. So he put different objects under the webcam and the software was recognizing what these object were. He used objects, like a can, keys, business card, cup and even a Zune. The best part was how the software recognized an Ipod. Id did not display Ipod, but I won't tell you what is was. I'll let you guess. :). A few months ago I wrote a blogpost about some of the cool stuff we are developing at Microsoft Research here is the link to a very cool movie, check it out.


    During Bill's keynote he talked about the new Windows Server Codename "Longhorn" platform and about how important the Virtualization stack will be in the future. I saw a really cool demo about the new Windows Virtualization technology in Longhorn. It was actually the first time I saw that Jeff Woolsey showed us a few different Virtual Machines the best one was an 8 CPU VM. He showed us how we can easily manage the VM environment with the System Center Virtual Machine manager, we even have a MOM pack for monitoring what's happening on those Virtual Machines. This is just awesome Technology I can't wait to get my hands onto that.


    Now I am attending the IIS 7 administration session which is an overview session about what great improvements we made onto the product towards us the IT Pro's. One of the nicest's features is the fact that there is no meta-data database anymore, the settings are stored in XML files which makes it possible for us to deploy multiple IIS servers with the same configuration settings in just a few seconds. Just copy the XML files to all other IIS servers and you are done. I will try to write another post somewhere this week about all the improvements in IIS 7.



  • Dev & IT Pro Days: Learn about the upcoming Longhorn Server Technology

    Yesterday I posted how to get PowerShelled during the Dev & IT Pro days. Today I want to point you to the different Longhorn Server sessions we are planning during the event.


    During the Pre-conference Ronald Beekelaar will talk about the new Hypervisor Virtualization Technology in Longhorn Server.

    During the main conference we will have 4 session with a Longhorn focus:

    An Administrator's Guide to Internet Information Services (IIS) 7

    Be one of the first to take a look at all the changes coming in the new redesigned IIS 7. This session will focus on new troubleshooting features, a breakdown of architecture and security improvements and the new IIS 7 configuration system. Walk through some demos showcasing IIS delegation administration control to non-administrators and new diagnostics tools. Also featured are the entirely new User Interface (UI) and updated Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) provider.

    What’s New in Windows Server “Longhorn”

    In this session, David Lowe, senior product manager for Windows Server, will present an overview of the new and enhanced features of Windows Server “Longhorn”. You will learn how Windows Server “Longhorn” provides more control, greater flexibility and increased protection to allow IT professionals to spend less time managing and maintaining their infrastructures, and more time using the new features to add business value. You will see demonstrations of many of the product’s new technologies, including IIS 7.0, Server Core, Active Directory, Terminal Services and Server Manager.

    Server Core: Running a Minimal Server

    Server Core is a new minimal installation option included in Windows Server “Longhorn”. A Server Core installation provides a minimal environment for running specific server roles Active Directory (AD), Domain Name System (DNS), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), WINS, Media Services, and File, reducing the servicing and management requirements and the attack surface for those server roles. In this session, we will discuss the reasons we are developing Server Core, the architecture of Server Core, as well as installation, configuration and administration of Server Core.

    Windows Server 'Longhorn' Terminal Services: Overview

    During this session Arlindo will dive into many of the new features in Terminal Services. We will explain how the new Terminal Services Gateway will provide secure remote access to the Terminal Server based application.See the Terminal Services Remote programs and the new PnP Device Re-direction in action and learn about the new single sign-on capabilities.After this session you should be able to articulate the value of the new features of Longhorn Terminal Services.

    The first three Longhorn sessions will be delivered by David Lowe who is a Senior Product Manager for the Windows Server group in Redmond. David was also a very well rated speaker at the TechEd event in Barcelona. The last Longhorn (Terminal Services) session will be delivered by Me.


    If you want to increase your knowledge about the Windows Codename "Longhorn" Server then this is you opportunity.


    Don't forget to Register, as you will get a 15% discount until February 28th - http://www.dev-itprodays.be


  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Hosted Trial

    Do you want to test Exchange 2007 without installing it?
    Here is your chance we are offering you a 5 day mail account that has been pre-popluated with sample mails, calendar items. You will be able to access your mailbox through Outlook Web Access, Office Outlook or an Exchange ActiveSync compatible application.

    Create your test account here 


  • Windows Live Mail is now Windows Live Hotmail

    I just received a mail about the fact that we are going to change the name of our Windows Live Mail service to Windows Live Hotmail.
    In the coming weeks we will rollout a public beta. I'll keep you posted.

    Meanwhile you can read about the name change details onto the Windows Live Team blog


  • Dev & IT Pro Days: Getting PowerShelled by Bruce Payette

    During the second day of the event we will have a PowerShell session "Think PowerShell" delivered by Bruce Payette.

    Bruce Payette
    is a founding member of the PowerShell team at Microsoft. He is a co-designer of the PowerShell language and the principal author of the language implementation.

    Bruce is also the author of the "Windows PowerShell in Action" book which has just been released a couple of days ago.

    We will have Bruce his book available at the book store during the event and there will also be a book signing session after the "Think PowerShell" session.


    I am also thinking about an additional session during lunch break, it would be more something like a chalk & talk where you can ask questions to Bruce and he will answer them, you could also bring some of your scripts to talk about that.


    What do you think about this idea? Should I set this up?




    Don't forget to Register, as you will get a 15% discount until February 28th



  • Virtual PC 2007 Release to Web

    Virtual PC 2007 has been released to web and guess what it's free.

    Here is a list of some of the key enhancements we've made:

    Optimized for Windows Vista. The virtualization architecture has been optimized for Windows Vista to provide improvements in performance, system resource usage, and stability. 

    Improved performance based on Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2.
    Virtual PC 2007 leverages the performance improvements introduced in Virtual Server 2005 R2. 

    Provides support for 64-bit host operating systems.
    You can run Virtual PC 2007 on 64-bit versions of Windows Vista. This means you can run 16-bit operating systems (such as Windows 98 SE) which are not supported natively on 64-bit versions of Windows Vista. 

    Provides support for sound devices in Windows Vista guest operating systems. Virtualized sound device drivers are available to Windows Vista guest operating systems. This allows Windows Vista guest operating systems to play sounds through the host operating system sound devices. Other guest operating systems will continue to have sound support as it exists in Virtual PC 2004 today. 

    PXE Booting. Boot from a remote virtual hard drive over a network.

    Download Virtual PC 2007

  • BeLux:: Upcoming TechNet Evening

    TechNet Evening : Overview of What's New in Windows Server "Longhorn"

    In this session we focus on key Windows Server code name 'Longhorn' features and the development philosophy behind these features. We will take a close look at Server Manager, Windows Firewall, Networking, Security, Failover Clustering, Server Core, Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0, Terminal Services (TS), and more! Join us and find out what Windows Server 'Longhorn' is all about.

    Level: 200

    Speaker: Arlindo Alves, IT Pro Evangelist, Microsoft

    When: March 7, 2007 / 18:00 - 20:00

    Where: NH Hotel, Diegem

    Register now

  • Podcast on Virtualization

    My Canadian colleague Rick Claus recorded a podcast with Jeff Woolsey Lead Program Manager for the Virtualization team. Remember one of my previous blogposts where I talked about the amazing demo I saw during Bill Gates his presentation, well Jeff was the guy.


    Jeff Woolsey Virtualization Podcast


    Source: http://blogs.technet.com/canitpro/archive/2007/02/26/podcast-chatting-about-virtualization-with-jeff-woolsey.aspx


  • Techready:: The Future of Unified Communication

    Tony Krijnen one of my famous dutch colleagues, although he just said he's not famous, has written a good blogpost about what hardware Microsoft together with partners are developing in the communication space. This will definitively change the way we will communicate with each other in the future.


    Check out the post : "The Future of Unified Communication"


  • Technical Readiness in Seattle

    I am in Seattle to attend at our annual Technical Readiness week called TechReady. We just had some keynote's and the opening keynote from Steve Ballmer was just great as usual. This weekend we've got an update on where are going to with our new products, not much I can tell right now.

    This week I will try to focus onto our new server platform Longhorn server, the second thing onto my agenda is talk to some of the corp speakers that are coming to the Dev & IT Pro Days.

    I will keep this blog updated with what I learn from the sessions if I can disclose it off course.

  • SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 Released

    Key enhancements to SQL Server SP2 include the following:

    Data Mining Add-ins for the 2007 Microsoft Office system enable data mining functionality from SQL Server Analysis Services to be used directly within Excel 2007 and Visio 2007.

    SQL Server Reporting Services compatibility with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 provides integration with the Report Center in SharePoint, enabling the seamless consumption and management of SSRS reports within SharePoint.

    SQL Server Analysis Services improvements for Excel 2007 and Excel Services relate to performance and functionality.

    Data compression is an important feature for data warehousing scenarios, requiring less disk storage of decimal data and increasing overall performance.

    Manageability enhancements, based on customer feedback, provide management capabilities for database administrators such as improvements in database maintenance plans, enhanced management reports and a new copy database wizard.

    Management reports added to SQL Server Express Edition enable customers to get insights into the performance of their Express Edition and SQL Server Compact Edition databases.

    Interoperability improvements including Oracle support in the Report Builder feature enable customers to use its functionality on top of Oracle data sources. Customers also have access to SQL Server Reporting Services to build reports on top of Hyperion’s Essbase cubes.


    Review what's new in SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2

    Download SQL Server 2005 SP2

    View Readme files for SQL Server 2005 SP2

    Download SQL Server 2005 Express Edition SP2