Assess Infrastructure Readiness for OS Migration and Virtualization with the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator!
No IT project can be successful unless the specific network environment is well understood. To help IT professionals and Microsoft Partners solve common migration issues and assist them in planning their virtualization efforts, the Microsoft Solution Accelerators team is proud to announce the release of the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator in support of the Windows Server 2008 Launch Wave.
The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator (or MAP) is the next-generation version of the agent-less assessment platform from Microsoft. In this new version, MAP has an improved user interface and expanded its capabilities into areas of server migration and virtualization assessments while retaining all of the features found in its predecessor – the Windows Vista Hardware Assessment (WVHA) tool. Assessment areas covered in MAP include:
The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator performs three key functions - including hardware and device inventory, compatibility analysis, and readiness reporting.
MAP is based upon an agent-less infrastructure scanning technology that allows users to conduct a network inventory of their servers, desktops, applications, and devices - all without installing any software agents on each machine being assessed. This tool has the ability to discover machines within Active-Directory managed domains and forests as well as workgroups.
With the new user interface and enterprise-scale inventory engine, users can generate multiple technology migration reports and proposals for their OS migration and virtualization projects in a matter of hours.
Fast and Zero-Touch. Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator provides secure network-wide assessment of a typical environment in a matter of hours instead of days, all without the deployment of any software agents on each inventoried machines.
Saves Pre-Sales and Planning Time. For most IT consultants and Microsoft Partners, a detailed network inventory and assessment of servers and desktops would typically take days of manual labor. With MAP, they can now drastically reduce the time it takes for the same inventory to a matter of hours; allowing them more time to focus their efforts on critical pre-sales engagement tasks. For IT professionals, it significantly reduces the time it takes to gather the information to make the business case for client and server migration as well as for their upcoming virtualization projects.
Actionable Recommendations and Reporting. MAP offers valuable inventory and readiness assessment reports with specific upgrade recommendations and virtualization candidate reports that make it easier for IT migration and deployment projects to get off the ground and running.
From Desktops to Servers. MAP provides technology assessment and planning recommendations for many Microsoft products including Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Hyper-V, Virtual Server 2005 R2, Microsoft Application Virtualization (SoftGrid), Terminal Services, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007, and more.
Last week we kicked of the Microsoft DreamSpark student program , this program (http://channel8.msdn.com) makes available, at no charge, a broad range of development and design software for download. The program is now available to more than 35 million college students in Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. Broad global coverage, as well as an expansion of the program to high school students around the world, potentially reaching up to 1 billion students worldwide, will continue throughout the next year.
Here is the list of software that will be available in the program:
• Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition • Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition • XNA Game Studio 2.0 • 12-month free Academic membership in the XNA Creators Club
Microsoft designer tools. This ultra-versatile suite of tools will enable students to vividly bring their creative visions to life in vibrant new Web site designs and more effective digital content, including animation, imagery and photography. • Expression Studio, including • Expression Web • Expression Blend • Expression Design • Expression Media • Microsoft platform resources. The foundation for development and design platforms, these products deliver a security-enhanced, reliable and manageable environment for students to more quickly turn ideas into reality. • SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition • Windows Server, Standard Edition
Source: View article...
You've made two things clear since our first release: You want more space; and you want SkyDrive where you are. Today we're giving you both. You now have five times the space you had before — that’s 5GB of free online storage for your favorite documents, pictures, and other files.
SkyDrive is also available now in 38 countries/regions. In addition to Great Britain, India, and the U.S., we’re live in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Turkey.
This release also includes bug fixes and improvements to make the site even faster and more reliable. We’re proud of this release — so proud, in fact, that we’re officially removing the Beta tag!
Source: Welcome to the bigger, better, faster SkyDrive!
We are pleased to announce that--while broad RTW availability is still scheduled for March--the SP1 Update RTM bits are available now to TechNet subscribers. If you are subscriber, please visit TechNet Plus Subscriptions and sign in to access Top Subscriber Downloads. If you have a prior version of the SP1 beta installed, you must uninstall it prior to installing the final version. Check out Things to know before you download Windows Vista SP1 for more information, and for updated details on all aspects of Windows Vista SP1, stop by the Windows Vista TechCenter. For a closer look Inside Vista SP1 File Copy Improvements pull up Mark Russinovich's blog and learn about the evolution of the file copy.
The Belgian WinSec UG organizes another event on Feb 26th about Windows 2008 security.
In the film `The Matrix', Neo has to choose between taking the blue and the red pill. If he takes the blue pill he will be able to continue in a reality with which he is comfortable because he understands it, but is ultimately a facade. If on the other hand he opts for the red pill everything he has accepted as reality thus far will be altered. He will see the world through new eyes, and most importantly, this new world view may be more troubling than the one he is familiar with. Just as Neo had options in the way he could view the world, so do we in the information security community. This session will try to convince you that this is something we must try to change if we are to achieve greater security, and present you with a more realistic `red pill' world view. Discussion will center on the implications this has for an effective pro-active defense and the solutions Microsoft offers to help you reach an adequate level of protection for today’s I.T. threats. The session will provide a detailed overview of why Windows Server 2008 is a better choice for proactively protecting your I.T. assets against malware. It focuses on the malware prevention, isolation and remediation technologies that are bundled with the Windows Server 2008 operating system.
Speaker: Jan De Clercq - HP
Netpro will close the sessions with an overview of their offering for Windows Server 2008 security.
The UG evening will be closed with a drawing, the lucky winner will receive a free entrance ticket for the Belgian TechDays 2008
When: Feb 26th - Session start 19:00 - Doors Open 18:00
Where: Offices Microsoft Belgium
Register: Send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and specify event attendance.
Last week I gave a System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 session for a Belgian partner and I had the opportunity to talk to some of the IT Pro's who attended my session and here is an excerpt of a mail I received from one of those IT Professionals who relies on our Technology to run their infrastructure.
Following your presentation and our discussion, I would like to provide you with more information on my current virtualization strategy & projects :
A resources optimization initiative set off a new Infrastructure Strategy. The core approach is centralizing IT resource management achieve consolidation and move forward to a more dynamic infrastructure while reducing costs.
High Level Description and Scope
The main scope is reducing the number of legacy servers via Virtualization Technology. The new Infrastructure relies on high-speed SAN and IP network. The backbone builds on Microsoft System Center and Virtual Server Technologies and SQL 2005 as highly available datatier
The Infrastructure meets our customers highest security requirements including advanced auditing, reporting, use of strong Kerberos Based authentication and authorization along with SSL encryption
The backbone fully integrates with Active Directory, Exchange and MOM 2005 legacy Infrastructure
Available - Resilient
High Availability is achieved using Virtual Server 2005R2SP1 and Microsoft Cluster Integration. The resiliency is achieved via System Center Data Protection Manager which provides advanced snapshots and ability to quickly recover virtual machines.
Scalable and Flexible
The infrastructure has been designed to adapt to the customer demands. Flexibility is achieved via System Center Virtual Machine Manager which delivers fast and efficient provisioning from a single management console. Furthermore the design is ready for next generation Hypervisor Hyper-V
The chosen solution is highly economical and achieves 45% difference with VMWare competitor while bringing unique advantages.
Do you want to learn how to install a perfect slick running SQL server our next event’s a must attend as we have two specialist from the SQL server user group that will spend a whole day showing and training us in the art of SQL server deployment”.
Event Name: The art of SQL server deployment Where: Spes Nostra - Koning Albertstraat 50 - 8520 Kuurne When: Saturday March 29th - 9:30 - 17:00 Program:
Topics of the day:
You must register for this event in advance by mail to email@example.com, places are limited so be fast to register!
The Infrastructure Planning and Design guides are the next version of Windows Server System Reference Architecture. This series aims to clarify and streamline design processes for Microsoft infrastructure technologies, each addressing a unique infrastructure technology or scenario. All guides share a common structure including:
These guides complement product documentation by exposing and focusing on infrastructure design options. Accelerator Description Infrastructure Planning and Design: Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services This guide leads the reader step by step through the process of planning a Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services infrastructure. The guide addresses the fundamental decisions and tasks involved in:
Infrastructure Planning and Design: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Domain Services Active Directory® controls the core security of the Microsoft Windows® network environment. The directory service is responsible for authenticating user and computer accounts within the Active Directory infrastructure. In addition, the directory service provides a mechanism for centralized, delegated administration of resources within the forest. To develop and implement a successful design of Active Directory, numerous questions must be answered and many decisions and strategies must be determined. Considerations for performance, security, manageability, scalability, and many other criteria must be addressed if the design is to be successful. The purpose of this guide is to assist designers in the decision-making process by providing a clear and concise path for designing the Active Directory infrastructure, given the relative context. This guide relies on best practices and real-world experience to offer considerations and alternatives at each point in the design.
Infrastructure Planning & Design Beta Releases The Infrastructure Planning and Design Beta Release for Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Domain Services and Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services are available as an open beta download. To download, please follow this link: https://connect.microsoft.com/Downloads/DownloadDetails.aspx?SiteID=14&DownloadID=7925
Another major milestone for Microsoft, the RTM Windows Server 2008 and Vista SP1 has just been announced.
for the past 3 years more than 5000 people have contributed to those products and finally we are ready to ship. Started downloading as I speak (write).
Have a look at the Windows Server blog for more info :http://blogs.technet.com/windowsserver/archive/2008/02/04/windows-server-2008-rtm.aspx
Do you want to know more about Windows Server 2008 and Vista SP1 come and join us during the HeroesHappenHere launch experience event in Ghent.
Thinking about upgrading – see guidance posted here: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2008/feb08/02-04WS2008.mspx
As promised during my previous post about the Launch experience here is a list of Topics covered in the IT Pro Track:
Speaker: Jan Declercq This session provides examples of attacks against Active Directory and shows how you can protect your enterprise directory against them. The attacks addressed in this presentation include password cracking-, elevation of privilege-, and denial-of-service-based attacks. The session will help you understand some of the inner details of the AD authentication and authorization systems – such as LM hashing and Kerberos pre-authentication, cached credentials, SIDHistory, and token bloat… – and how these can create attack opportunities. Most importantly, this session illustrates the need for organizations to have a rock-solid AD administrative delegation and auditing model and a proven AD disaster recovery plan.
Speaker: Daniel Van Soest Windows Server 2008 makes significant improvements in server manageability with a one-stop administrative solution called Server Manager. This streamlined management tool allows IT administrators to complete setup of Windows Server using the Initial Configuration Tasks page, and configure and manage server roles and features with prescriptive wizards and a unified management console. WinRM is the new and improved WMI protocol for Windows Remote Management. This session will present and demonstrate the capabilities of Server Manager and how to extend this with the WinRM functionality and tools.
Speaker: Kevin Rhodes This session will review the functionality and architecture of Network Access Protection (NAP), look at the pro’s and con’s of enforcement mechanisms and then discuss deployment design and execution. It will talk about the experiences from the Microsoft deployment of NAP and how those lessons learned can be applied in deployment planning.
Speaker: Rory McCaw This session will cover the new managed services solution Microsoft is building to enable partners to create a services-based business by delivering remote IT managed services to small and midsized businesses. Supported by System Center Operations Manager 2007 (Operations Manager 2007) and System Center Essentials 2007 (Essentials 2007) technology, this combined solution creates a powerful platform with which you can provide remote software update management, monitoring and troubleshooting of customer environments over a secure internet connection. In addition, you will be able to extend the service to show your customers the value of the services you provide.
Speaker: Scott Schnoll This session covers the spectrum of recovery, availability and resiliency. It opens with an over of the recovery features in Exchange 2007 SP1, and how to use them to recover from small, medium and large scale failures. Then, we dive deep into high availability strategies and features, including load balancing, redundancy, failover clusters and continuous replication. The rest of the session covers datacenter resilience, including backup site preparation and activation, and resiliency strategies.
Speaker: Steffen Krause Reporting Services 2008 has much to offer. See the new architecture, which no longer needs Internet Information Server (IIS) and provides new features like better memory management and enhanced rendering. Learn about the new, completely flexible Tablix layout which enables you to combine fixed and dynamic columns and multiple parallel groupings in one report. And finally, take a look at the new chart and gauge controls and how you can create great looking visual reports.
Speaker: Bart De Smet With PowerShell 1.0 being a huge success, we’re streaming forward for an even more impressive 2.0 release. We’ll focus on the various forms of remoting, improvements to the PowerShell language, the Universal Code Execution Model, restricted runspaces, script cmdlets, script internationalization, script debugging support, eventing, the graphical PowerShell, and much more. This is your chance to come and see Windows PowerShell 2.0 in action and to learn how it will help you being more productive in managing your IT infrastructure.
Speaker: Tony Krijnen Microsoft Windows Vista has monitoring tools on board that look at the reliability of the operating system, drivers and applications. Windows Vista SP1 leverages that data and besides new updates it will improve reliability, Besides the improvements we also take a look at the deployment of Windows Vista SP1. What are the common problems you need to be aware of? What are the different ways to install Windows Vista SP1? performance, application compatibility, and device compatibility. In this breakout we will talk about the areas improved upon in Service Pack 1. What was changed for File copy, resume from hibernation and standby? What are the new tools for performance?
Speaker: Edwin Yuen Learn about the architecture and deeper technical details of the System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) and how to use that knowledge to better manage your virtual machines. Topics to be covered are technical review of the physical to virtual migration process, using Powershell with SCVMM, advanced deployment topologies, SAN integration.
Note this is just a small part of the agenda, to see a more complete list check out this link: http://www.microsoft.com/belux/heroeshappenhere/abstracts.aspx?type=itpro
As mentioned earlier if you want to join now is the time as we are going to sell out very soon.
Register for the TechDays 2008
During the roadshow I delivered a few days ago I've received a lot of questions about the upgrade path for Windows Server 2008. Now the "Ask the Performance team" blog posted a very interesting article about the upgrade path and resource limitations of Windows Server 2008.
Here is the upgrade path for Windows Server 2008:
Read the full post if you want more information about upgrading to and resource limits of Windows Server 2008
Busy times over here, the last weeks, months I have been doing a lot of stuff, delivering a roadshow around Windows Server 2008, planning an Academic roadshow but most of all I've been working onto the agenda of our two upcoming events or is it one event.
Yes in Belgium we will celebrate the launch of Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 on March 11th followed by the TechDays 2008 on March 12th and 13th.
On day one Bill Hilf, General Manager Platform Strategy - Microsoft Corp, will kick of the event with the opening keynote, the plan is to have Ward Ralston as a second speaker during this keynote.
After the keynote there will be 3 tracks with each 3 sessions of 45min, the goal of those sessions is to show you what the three products can do, what has been in improved, what are the benefits for you. I'll be the speaker of one of the first breakout sessions and will give you a brief overview of what's new in Windows Server 2008.
On day two and three we have the TechDays and this event has been a success over the past couple of years and used to be called Dev & IT Pro Days.
Whilst launch day was about what the TechDays will be more on how you can use, deploy, manage, .... the different products covered during this event.
We will kickoff the TechDays 2008 event with a keynote, speaker has still to be announced and after the keynote the attendees will have the choice between 7 concurrent sessions, 3 for the IT Pro's (us), 3 for the Developers (them) and 1 for the Architects (us and them) with a total of 35 sessions on day one and another 35 sessions on day two.
For this event we the content team were able to secure quite some corporate speakers:
Brian Delahunty - Program Manager - IIS Edwin Yuen - Senior Product Manager - System Center Virtual Machine Manager Jason Buffington - Senior Technical Product Manager - System Center Data Protection Manager Kai Axford - Senior Security Strategist Kevin Rhodes - Senior Group Program Manager - NAP Bart De Smet - SDE WPF Team Dandy Weyn - Curriculum Manager - SQL Scott Schnoll - Principal Technical Writer - Exchange Ward Ralston - Group Technical Product Manager - Windows Server
Brian Delahunty - Program Manager - IIS
Edwin Yuen - Senior Product Manager - System Center Virtual Machine Manager
Jason Buffington - Senior Technical Product Manager - System Center Data Protection Manager
Kai Axford - Senior Security Strategist
Kevin Rhodes - Senior Group Program Manager - NAP
Bart De Smet - SDE WPF Team
Dandy Weyn - Curriculum Manager - SQL
Scott Schnoll - Principal Technical Writer - Exchange
Ward Ralston - Group Technical Product Manager - Windows Server
Beside those we will have some speakers from the Belgian Community:
Ilse Van Criekinge - Global Knowledge - MVP Exchange - ProExchange Kurt Roggen - Guidance - Blog Kim Oppalfens - MVP System Center Configuration Manager - Blog Geert Baeke - Xylos - Blog Patrick Tisseghem - U2U - MVP SharePoint
Ilse Van Criekinge - Global Knowledge - MVP Exchange - ProExchange
Kurt Roggen - Guidance - Blog
Kim Oppalfens - MVP System Center Configuration Manager - Blog
Geert Baeke - Xylos - Blog
Patrick Tisseghem - U2U - MVP SharePoint
It has been quite a challenge to get such a speaker line up and I'm sure that the attendees will enjoy the sessions as much as I will do.
Do you want to join us during this three day Launch Experience? We do still have some room left, not much so be fast as we going to sell out very soon! Register Here
In my next post I'll give you a preview of the different sessions.
The XNA Belgian User Group organizes the February 2008 XNA Contest
This contest is open for developers and designers, working on XNA Games. The development and demo can be done on a PC platform or XBOX 360. The participants can form teams of 2 people working together. Participants have to be 16 years old at the days of the finals, but not older than 36 years (born between February 23, 1972 and February 23, 1992) AND live in Belgium.
The contest is based on a ’starter kit’, consisting of a ‘nearly finished’ game, build on top of XNA. The purpose of the contest is to extend this starter kit in the best and most creative way. The starter kit will be made available from February 1 on http://www.xnabug.net/starterkits.htm Submissions will be judged on creativity, innovation and ‘playability’ of the demo.
What can you win: The winning team will receive an XBOX 360 elite for every participant (up to 2). Every team presenting / demo during the finals will receive an XNA Creators Club account and more. The finals will take place in the auditoria of Groep T, Campus Vesalius, Vesaliusstraat 13, 3000 Leuven (INFO). For more information: http://www.xnabug.net http://www.microsoft.com/xna
Hyper-V is changing the way networking works if you compare it to Virtual Server. Today I was reconfiguring my Hyper-V server and suddenly I've lost my RDP connection. Why did I lost my connection to the server? Well I was reconfiguring the networking settings and I wanted to add a network adapter to all my existing Virtual Machines. I created a new network which I called the external network because it was bound to my physical network interface. The moment I clicked on apply the connection was lost. I had to connect my screen and keyboard again to find out what happened, after troubleshooting a bit I saw that my NIC configuration was changed from static to DHCP address.
Why is this happening because when you create a Virtual Network with your physical NIC the way the Parent Partition connects to the network is changed.
The parent partition is actually using a Virtual Nic witch is connected to the physical one through the Virtual Network switch. Ben Armstrong wrote an interesting post about how the networking component changed in Hyper-V
If you are planning to deploy Windows Server 2008 - Server Core installations in your network I would strongly advise you to use the following tip.
In all my Server core installations I change the default prompt to something like this:
Imagine you have more than one Server core box and you are connecting to them by using the Terminal Services Remote Programs. Guess what you get, yes just a prompt and if you don't add more information than the path you will have a hard time to now on which machine you are executing commands, therefore do change the default prompt and add at least the servername. How can you do that?
Quite simple open the registry editor, yes there is one on server core too, and navigate to the following key
There should be a key called Prompt, if it's not there create one using the following settings.
Value Name: Prompt
Data Type: REG_EXPAND_SZ
Value Data: $_Server:[%servername%]$_Username:[%username%]$_$T$_$p$g
With this value you get the prompt as shown in the above picture.
Here are some of the special codes you can use:
Now you will always know on which server you are working even when connecting through remote apps. :)
This session will start with an introduction to System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (aka SCCM 2007), formerly named Systems Management Server or SMS for short. The introduction should help new SCCM administrators understand what features the newly released SCCM 2007 brings, and how these features can help maintain a large computer park. By the end of this session I hope you'll never know how you managed to get by without Configmgr 2007.
For new and experienced system administrators alike, the session also lists the new features that were added to SCCM 2007 since the release of SMS 2003, including old functionality that was removed. Don't worry, SCCM 2007 administrators received plenty new things in return for anything that was removed. Some of these enhancements might seem like relatively small changed, but most of them are implementations of longstanding Design Change Requests, and by consequence are things that have been asked by the SMS/SCCM 2007 community for quite awhile. Small as these changes might be they are bound to make your life as a systems administrator easier, and I bet you will be thinking "Finally" when hearing about some of these enhancements. Trust me, SCCM 2007 is a thrilling new release where the product team did as much as possible to steer systems management in the direction where systems managers told them to go.
Speaker : Kim Oppalfens - Blog
Date/Time: Wednesday, February 20th, 2008 17:30 PM - 20:00 PM
Where: Utopolis Mechelen