July, 2008

  • TechEd IT Professionals – Early bird registration

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    You might already know that I am together with my my colleague Dave Northey the track owner for the Windows Server track at TechEd IT Professional EMEA.

    On Tuesday we had our track owners meeting in London where every track owner had to present their track. We spent the hole day going through all the tracks one by one, reviewing the proposed content and speakers. I must admit that most of the track owners did a hell of job and that this years conference will be one with high quality sessions and speakers. It’s always great to see with how much dedication and passion all the track owners are working onto the event to give you the attendees the best possible experience.

    This years Windows Server track will have a lot of focus onto the Virtualization technology with Hyper-V, SCVMM and Terminal services. Beside the virtualization focus we will also host sessions around clustering, server core, server deployment and much more. Next to that we plan to have different talks around future technology. I can’t disclose much now but stay tuned to this blog and as soon as I get the green light I will let you know. Dave and I try to find the right mix between current and future technology.

    Feedback is always welcome, if you have an idea or any topic suggestion please feel free to send them to arlindo.alves@microsoft.com

    Don’t forget that the Early bird registration ends on July 31th.

  • Sign up for Live Mesh

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    I’ve been using Live Mesh for a while now and loving it. I synchronize my favorites folders between my computers so I don’t have to worry about having all my favorites available at each computer. Once configured you don’t have to do anything to get your files synchronized, if you add a favorite onto one computer it automatically gets synchronized to all other computers that you configured. When you sign up for Live Mesh you get 5GB online storage to synch files with your Live mesh desktop. You can add devices to the live mesh and configure which folder should be synchronized with which device. If you don’t want to synchronize files onto the live mesh desktop you can change the synchronization settings and only synchronize between the devices. You don’t consume any of the 5GB online space when synchronizing between devices only. You can also add other people to a synchronized folder, so they can the get access to everything you want to share with them.

    Until recently the Live Mesh beta program was a private beta but some days ago I came across the following announcement:

    We are now accepting new customers on Live Mesh!

    Signing up for Live Mesh now!
    The Live Mesh team is pleased to announce that we have simplified the signup process for our US customers. We are doubling the upper limit of our technology preview program. Our technology preview is still limited to ensure great performance and experience for our customers. You can now use Live Mesh just by signing in to
    www.mesh.com with a valid Windows Live ID. No waiting list at this time!

    International Customers
    With Live Mesh open to more people in the US, our international friends can join in the fun early as well - with one caveat: you must be willing to change your Windows operating system region and language setting to EN-US. Once you do this you will be able to immediately sign in to Live Mesh with a valid Windows Live ID. Please be aware that this may cause other applications that specifically require your native country region and language settings to encounter problems.

    Feedback
    Once you've begun using Live Mesh, we'd love to hear from you! We are working hard to create the best experience and appreciate any feedback you have. Please
    send us feedback using our online form. You can also submit (and view others’) feedback and bugs here on the Microsoft Connect website.

    While writing this blogpost I received a mail from my colleague with the message that we also opened up the mobile mesh portal to beta users. So you can access your synched folders or even upload files to the folders from your mobile.

    Read more about the mobile mesh portal

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  • Updating your Virtual Machines and SCVMM to support Hyper-V RTM

    Today I finally found the time to update my demo environment which was still based on Hyper-V RC0 and SCVMM 2008 Beta. I want to share all the steps needed to perform the upgrade and updates. My demo environment consists out of 3 physical servers, one dc and two Hyper-V machines all in the same domain. My SCVMM 2008 Beta is running as a virtual machine on Hyper-V.

    First of all I’ve deleted all my snapshots and then updated my Hyper-V machines to RTM by installing the KB950050 which is now available through windows update. Installing this update requires a reboot and  also make sure to take the following guidelines into consideration:

    • Saved state files are not supported between the Release Candidate (RC) and the release version of Hyper-V. All virtual machines should be shut down correctly before you install the release version of Hyper-V.
      Note If you have already applied the release version of Hyper-V, virtual machines in a saved state will not start.
    • Snapshot files are not supported between the Release Candidate (RC) and release version of Hyper-V. All virtual machine snapshots should be deleted by using the "Delete Snapshot Subtree" option for each virtual machine.
      Note After you delete the snapshots and after you shut down the virtual machines, the changes that exist in the snapshot files (.avhd files) will merge into the parent virtual hard disk file (.vhd).
      This operation can take a while. To verify that the snapshots have merged into the parent virtual hard disk file, locate the snapshots, and then verify that no .avhd files exist.

    Note The saved state and snapshot files are compatible if you are upgrading from Release Candidate 1 (RC1) to the release version of Hyper-V.

    The next step is to install the same patch onto my Domain Controller so I have the new Hyper-V management tools installed.

    So I have now updated my 3 physical machines to the latest updates and in the next steps I will update all my virtual machines.

    The last step in the process is to install the SCVMM 2008 patch, unfortunately I found out that I had an older version of SCVMM Beta (2.0.3193.0) running and I had to upgrade this one to the latest beta version  (2.0.3194.0) and then apply the patch needed to support Hyper-V RTM. The SCVMM patch can be found onto connect.microsoft.com

    The upgrade process is pretty straightforward and takes not much time but be aware of the reboots needed.

  • Microsoft Application Request Routing for IIS 7 CTP1

    Application Request Routing for IIS7 is a proxy based routing module that forwards HTTP requests to content servers based on HTTP headers and server variables, and load balance algorithms.  Application Request Routing can be used to:

    • Increase application availability and scalability.
    • Better utilize content server resources.
    • Facilitate application deployment including pilot management and A/B testing.
    • Lower management costs and create opportunities for shared hosters.

    Application Request Routing relies on URL rewrite module to inspect the incoming HTTP requests to make the routing decisions, and therefore, the URL rewrite module is required to enable Application Request Routing features.

    Download the modules:

    Features:

    • HTTP based routing decisions
      Unlike hardware load balancers that make the routing decisions at the IP level, Application Request Routing makes the routing decisions at the application level.  Working with URL rewrite module, powerful routing rules can be written based on HTTP headers and server variables.
    • Load balance algorithms
      A user selected load balance algorithm is applied to determine which content server is most appropriate to service the HTTP requests.  Six algorithms are provided.
    • Health monitoring
      Both live traffic and specific URL test are used to determine the health of content servers.  A set of configuration parameters are provided to define the meaning of server health.
    • Client affinity
      Using a cookie, Application Request Routing can affinitize all requests from a client to a content server.  It differentiates the clients behind NAT, so each client is treated independently.  This feature requires that the clients accept cookies.
    • Host name affinity
      “Host name affinity” is a specific feature for shared hosters. It changes the deployment topology to minimize and streamline administration and to create additional business opportunities.  For more information on this scenario refer to
      Overview of Shared Hosting Deployment Using Application Request Routing.
    • Multiple server groups
      Application Request Routing can manage multiple server groups, which are logical groupings of content servers in an environment.  This feature allows Application Request Routing to be used in pilot management and A/B testing scenarios.
    • Management and monitoring via UI
      All configuration settings and aggregated runtime statistics of Application Request Routing are managed and viewable via IIS Manager.
    • Failed Request Tracing Rules
      Specific traces have been added to quickly troubleshoot and diagnose Application Request Routing.

    Using the module

    These articles explain how to configure and achieve the core scenarios using Application Request Routing.  It is recommended that the articles are read in the following order as the scenarios get richer with each article:

     

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  • August Edition of TechNet Magazine online

    image SQL Server: Top Tips for Effective Database Maintenance
    Far too often, people who are not trained database administrators somehow end up responsible for a database. They lack the proper training and knowledge to maintain their database, and problems begin to develop. Here’s a primer for all those involuntary DBAs who need a crash course in database maintenance best practices.

    Windows Administration: Taking Your Server’s Pulse
    Your users are complaining that a server is running poorly—do you know where to look to diagnose the problem? PerfMon can be an indispensable tool for this as it has numerous diagnostic capabilities. Get an overview of the key indicators you should use to diagnose a variety of common bottlenecks that can slow down your servers.

    System Center: Windows PowerShell in System Center Operations Manager
    Windows PowerShell has been integrated into System Center Operations Manager 2007, offering a powerful way to perform and automate common administrative tasks. Get an overview of how you can use Windows PowerShell in OpsMgr to perform routine maintenance, manage agents, and more.

    Internet Information Services: Scaling ASP.NET Applications: Lessons Learned
    The key to successfully scaling an ASP.NET application is having a collaborative effort between developers and network administrators, starting at the beginning of the application’s lifecycle. Find out what factors are necessary to scale an application, and see how this collaboration can help ensure the application will run as intended.

  • Community Day 2008 Session recordings

    Last week 9 User Groups, Belgian Dynamics Community, Biwug, IT-Talks, Pro-Exchange, SCUG, SQLUG, Visug, Winsec, and XNAbug have decided to combine their efforts again and organized another joint-event called Communityday.


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    We took the time to record 6 of the 9 sessions and published them onto our Chopsticks platform.


    Community Day 2008 Session Recordings

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    What’s coming in SCCM 2007 R2

    http://www.microsoft.com/belux/technet/nl/chopsticks/default.aspx?id=528

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    Windows Server 2008: 10 Reasons to Upgrade

    http://www.microsoft.com/belux/technet/nl/chopsticks/default.aspx?id=526

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    Exchange Public Folders vs SharePoint

    http://www.microsoft.com/belux/technet/nl/chopsticks/default.aspx?id=523

     

     

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    SQL Server 2008: Data Types (Dutch)

    http://www.microsoft.com/belux/technet/nl/chopsticks/default.aspx?id=518

     

     

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    SQL Server 2008: Why Upgrade – Top 10 New Features

    http://www.microsoft.com/belux/technet/nl/chopsticks/default.aspx?id=515

     

     

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    LINQ and the Entity Framework

    http://www.microsoft.com/belux/msdn/nl/chopsticks/default.aspx?id=513