January, 2009

  • February edition of TechNet Magazine online

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    Microsoft Office: Business Intelligence with SharePoint and Excel

    A good business intelligence strategy can both streamline business processes and boost productivity and profit. And rolling out a solution with tools that you already have may be easier than you think. Find out how you can integrate Microsoft Office Excel and Excel Services with SharePoint to create a business intelligence solution.A good business intelligence strategy can both streamline business processes and boost productivity and profit. And rolling out a solution with tools that you already have may be easier than you think. Find out how you can integrate Microsoft Office Excel and Excel Services with SharePoint to create business intelligence solution.

    SQL Server: Understanding Logging and Recovery in SQL Server

    Logging and recovery are critical parts of SQL Server, but they are often poorly understood. Paul Randal gives an overview of how the logging and recovery features work in SQL Server and explains the transaction log and recovery models to help you maintain a better database.

    Virtualization: Automating Virtual Machine Host Deployment

    Hyper-V-based environments are relatively easy to automate, making it a trivial task to deploy and redeploy entire test environments with just a few clicks. Here’s what you need to know to start deploying Hyper-V servers, virtual machines, guest operating systems, and server applications with no need for administrator interaction.

    Microsoft Dynamics: Deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

    CRM is not just a sales and marketing management tool. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a scalable, enterprise-class system that when appropriately configured and deployed can handle small teams, enterprise-wide solutions and everything in between. Here is a guide to planning the right solution for your environment.

     

  • TechDays: Management and System Center sessions

    in my previous post I highlighted the security sessions at the event, now I wanted to talk about the different management sessions I planned for you. Management of your infrastructure using our System Center portfolio will help your company to reduce costs, automate your operations and improve your applications availability.

    Here is the session list:

    Windows PowerShell v2: the IT revolution, part two

    The first version of Windows PowerShell radically simplified IT administration through a new interactive shell environment, scripting technology and layering of admin GUIs. Come and see the next release of PowerShell in all its glory: tons of new cmdlets, interactive script debugging, the new graphical environment "ISE", script cmdlets, modules, built-in support for transactions, first-class WMI objects, the Unified Code Execution Model and management for distributed environments using WSMAN and remoting.

    Speaker: Bart de Smet – Microsoft Corp

    System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Technical Overview

    Configuration Manager was released to market a year ago, and since then, a few important updates have been made to the core product. This session will cover a technical overview of Configuration Manager 2007, including updates in Service Pack 1, R2, and the upcoming SP2. Included in this session will be a focus on the core capabilities, but also the new support for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista SP1 platforms, as well as introduce some new features such as the Intel AMT integration and Asset Intelligence 1.5. With the R2 release of Configuration Manager, additional capabilities such as Application Virtualization Management, SQL Reporting, Forefront integration, Client Status Reporting and Server Provisioning have also been introduced. Finally this session will highlight the Configuration Manager support for Windows 7, and outline the plans for Service Pack 2. This session promises to be technical and full of lots of demonstrations.

    Speaker: Jeff Wettlaufer – Microsoft Corp

    Application Virtualization and Configuration Manager 2007

    With the release of Configuration Manager R2, the traditional Software Distribution feature has been extended to seamlessly integrate virtual application support. As part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, customers who have access to the Application Virtualization (App-V) capability, can now also use Configuration Manager to centrally manage their virtual application services. This session will demonstrate how the latest version of Microsoft Application Virtualization integrates tightly with System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 to provide a powerful solution to deploy and manage virtual applications across an organization's many distributed desktops. This session promises to be technical and full of lots of demonstrations.

    Speaker: Jeff Wettlaufer – Microsoft Corp

    Configmgr (R2) Task sequences – a very flexible delivery engine

    Configmgr 2007 is the first Microsoft systems management product released that has Osdeployment built-in. The Configmgr implementation of Osdeployment is built on Task sequences. These task sequences can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. This session will give you the run down, starting from some basic built-in task sequences, over tweaking them with a bunch of conditions and task sequence variable so you can make them do just about everyting you want (except for setting coffee).

    Speaker: Kim Oppalfens – MVP SCCM

    System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008: Technical Overview and futures

    This session will provide an overview of SC VMM 2008 and highlight some of the improvements and new features that will be available in Systems Center VMM 2008 R2

    Speaker: Nigel Cain – Microsoft Corp

    What's new in System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2

    This session will showcase some of the improvements and new features that will be available in Systems Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 and provide you with an overview of what is planned for the next major release of the product

    Speaker: Nigel Cain – Microsoft Corp

    Technical introduction into System Center Service Manager

    This session will provide an overview of how Service Manager integrates across the System Center suite of products to provide automation of MOF/ITIL based best practices. Topics covered include the out-of-the-box solutions, System Center integrations, and high-level over view of technology components like workflow, forms and the CMDB.

    Speaker: Nigel Cain – Microsoft Corp

  • TechDays: Security sessions

    With this post I want to highlight the different security sessions we planned for the TechDays 2009. I have some good speaker line-up with Steve Riley as one of the main actors.

    My preferred session in this track is definitely the Virtualization security one. More and more customers are adopting Hyper-V as a virtualization platform but do you know how to secure your virtual machines or your host operating system. Further we will have a NAP, UAC and Privacy session, here is the complete list of sessions:

     

    Protecting your network: NAP, IPsec and Server and Domain Isolation.

    A few years ago, corporate firewalls were considered adequate protection for client computers against the threats from the Internet. Nowadays, especially with mobile computers, that is no longer the case. In this session, we discuss how new technologies such as Network Access Protection (NAP) and Server and Domain Isolation (SDI) can help protect network assets by segmenting your network logically, instead of physically by using firewalls. Several upcoming Microsoft products integrate with NAP, so it is important to understand that technology well.

    Speaker: Ronald Beekelaar

     

    Virtualization and security: what does it mean for me?

    Virtualization is the Next Big Thing™, and certainly you’ve at least examined it, and probably are using several virtualized servers already. How are you handling the security of your images? How are you securing the guest and host operating systems, and the applications you’re running? Virtualization raises certain unique security requirements, and provides some interesting security capabilities, too. Join Steve Riley as he explores the interesting aspects of virtualization and security.

    Speaker: Steve Riley

    Understand UAC and make it work for you.

    UAC is often spoken of in a negative way even though it’s one of the great security enhancements brought by vista. Looking forward at windows 7 it’s clear that UAC is here to stay. It’s high time to debunk the myths, learn the core of UAC, how you can make it work for you and a best practice with user accounts and rights.
    During this session well look what UAC is, how it works in the core, how UAC detects the need for elevation, how we can manipulate UAC by using manifests and manage it through group policies.

    Speaker: Tom Decaluwe

    Privacy: the why, what, and how

    Which data breach did you read about this week? Seems like you can’t scan the news without reading about yet another lost laptop, compromised database, or stolen identity. Privacy is suddenly becoming a necessary element of conducting business. It’s mostly viewed as a cost, and indeed that’s true: new government regulations around the world have begun to impose strict and complicated privacy requirements on businesses. But might there also be ways privacy could become a business enabler, perhaps providing competitive differentiation? What kinds of privacy policies, procedures, tools, and techniques are useful? How should people implement these? What’s the link between security and privacy, anyway—are they complimentary or in opposition? Steve Riley will begin providing some answers to these and other thorny issues related to privacy.

    Speaker: Steve Riley

     

    Register for the TechDays

  • How to boot from a VHD with Windows 7

    One of the new functionalities of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is that you can boot directly from a VHD file.

    Next to that you will also be able to natively create and mount VHD files using either the diskpart command or the Diskmanagement mmc console.

    In this post I”ll explain to you how I created my VHD file, deployed an OS onto and added as a boot device. The OS we are going to deploy is my Windows 7 demo machine. I like the fact that I now have a multiboot machine without the need for local installations. So my default boot device is just my normal production installation and my second boot device is my VHD file.

     

    Let’s start with creating the VHD file. First open the Computer Management MMC and right click onto Disk Management

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    You will se that there is now the option to create or attach (mount) a VHD file. In our case we will create the VHD file.

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    Here you have the choice between a dynamically expanding disk which allows you to start with less disk space allocated comparing to a fixed size disk. However this comes at a cost, which is a slight performance impact.

     

    For my demo machine i decided to create a fixed disk of 25GB called W7Demo.vhd, know that you will need at least 25GB of free space on your physical disk. The fixed size disk takes the defined amount of disk space even if you don’t use it within the VHD file. This takes a while to create.

    Once the VHD file is created the system will mount it as a drive and you need to initialize it and finally create a partition onto the disk.

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    When this step if finished you will see that you have an additional disk into your system that you can use to write data onto it.

    My goal now is to get an OS deployed onto the VHD file. This is actually a quite simple process:

     

    First you take either a Windows DVD or an existing WIM file. In my case I had a WIM file that was used to deploy Windows 7 demo machines. The WIM file included the W7 OS install and all Office application I needed for my demo machine. Now you use the tool called ImageX which you can find onto the  “Windows Automated Installation Kit” (WAIK).

     

    Open a command prompt with Administrative rights and type the following command to deploy the image:

    imagex /apply d:\mywim.wim 1 f:\

     

    D:\mywim.wim is my WIM file that I want apply.

    F:\ is my mounted VHD file.

     

    Now that our OS is deployed we need to add the VHD as a boot device.

     

    Bcdedit.exe /copy {current} /d “Description”

    Note: Returns a GUID that you’ll use to replace ‘GUID’ below

    Bcdedit.exe /set GUID device vhd=[locate]\<dir>\<fname>

    Bcdedit.exe /set GUID osdevice vhd=[locate]\<dir>\<fname>

    Bcdedit /set GUID detecthal on

     

    Now just reboot your system and you will be able to select the VHD entry we just made and boot from the VHD file. You will notice that you have access to all HW resources and that the only the disk is loaded through a Virtual Disk Service. Just to be clear this has nothing to do with Virtualization as we are running the OS directly onto the physical box and not from a virtualization platform.

     

    Make sure that the VHD or WIM you deploy is a Sysprepped one which will remove all HW specific information. For more information about sysprep visit How sysprep works ? and What is Sysprep ?

     

  • TechDays Pre-Conference completed

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    The TechDays registration is open for a while now and many of you registered so far but there is still room to accommodate more IT Pro’s. In this post I want to highlight the Pre-Conference which will be a full day about Windows Server 2008 R2 with some great speakers including myself :)

     

    The Sessions:

    Windows Server 2008 R2: Streamlined Management

    Managing the network, servers and lines of communication is of paramount importance to any administrator. Windows Server 2008 R2 has made notable changes that will facilitate these tasks. One of the main focuses in the design and development of Windows Server 2008 R2 was increased Manageability. Come join this session to get an overview of the new features coming in Windows Server 2008 R2. Additionally we will provide you with an overview of what's new in Active Directory and Server Core.

    Speaker: Daniel van Soest

     

    Introducing Windows Server 2008 R2 Cluster Shared Volumes

    This session will introduce and give an overview of the new feature for Windows Server 2008 R2 Failover Clustering called Cluster Shared Volumes (codename Centipede).  For the first time in a decade the cluster architecture is innovating to enable Hyper-V.  This is a new enhancement never seen before and one of the biggest features for Windows Server 2008 R2, a session you just won't want to miss.

    Speaker: Arlindo Alves

     

    Virtualization in Windows Server 2008 R2

    In this session you will get an inside view at the new virtualization technologies, including Hyper-V V2, Remote Desktop services with the new broker technology to make Virtual Desktop Infrastructure possible out of the box. Next to that we will talk about the new boot from VHD functionality and how you can easily create, mount and use VHD natively in Windows Server 2008 R2

    Speaker: Corey Hynes

     

    BranchCache ™  - Helping you save on WAN Bandwidth consumption at Branch Offices

    BranchCache is a new Feature in Windows Server 2008R2 and Windows 7 that helps reduces the bandwidth consumed and improves end user experience while accessing intranet based HTTP and SMB content. This session introduces challenges in network performance often faced by remote branch offices which accessing content stored in servers located in DataCenters across trans-continental Wide Area Networks, and how BranchCache helps in addressing these challenges. The session includes details of how this technology works and includes a demonstration of this new feature in Windows Server 2008R2 and Windows 7.

    Speaker: Vikram Gosh

     

    Direct Access: Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

    Speaker: Steve Riley (TBC)

     

    Beside this great content you get another benefit when you register for the pre-conference. We are providing 6 Month TechNet Plus subscription for the first 250 attendees of the Pre-Conference.

    Hope to see you there.

  • Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Beta released

    We just release Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Beta the next version of Hyper-V Server  which is our Standalone Hypervisor based Server Virtualization offering.

    The Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 contains additional functionality compared to the Hyper-V Server. We’ve included the following capabilities:

    • Failover Clustering
    • Live Migration
    • Support up to 1TB of memory

     

    Have a look at the following table for a more comprehensive list.

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    Download the Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Beta Configuration Tool Guide

    Download the Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 ISO file

    Read the Beta Overview Document

     

  • SQLUG Event Thu, January 29: The Holy Trinity for SQL Server DBAs: Indexes, Execution Plans and the optimizer

    This UG-evening will start with an introduction of the basics of index design (the heap,clustered/non clustered indexes and covering of a query by an index). Later we will discuss how the optimizer works, why it can be wrong (statistics, procedure cache) and how to correct this. Another part of the session will be some advanced features of indexing like partitioning, locking and  filtered indexes. We will of course not forget indexed views and computed column indexes. If there is some time left we can also look at spatial indexes and xml indexes

    Speaker: Marc Mertens is trainer at Global Knowledge .

    Date: Thursday, January 29th

    Agenda:
    18:00 - 18:30 Registration and welcome with a drink & sandwich
    18:30 - 20:00 Part 1 of the session
    20:00 - 20:30 pause
    20:30 - 22:00 Part 2 of the session
    22:00 - ... Networking with your peers

    Location: Global Knowledge Mechelen.

    We want to remind that registration is obligatory. You can register here.

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  • Windows 7 Beta for TechNet subscribers

    In case you didn’t noticed it yet but yesterday we officially kicked off the Windows 7 beta and it’s now available on TechNet for the TechNet Subscribers.

    For a more in-depth view of Windows 7 and how it will impact your day-to-day work, take a look at the feature articles on the Springboard Series, "First Look at Windows 7 for IT professionals," and the "Top 10 things IT Pros need to know about Windows 7.” Or for even more background on the fundamentals, visit the Engineering Windows 7 blog.

    Enjoy testing 7.

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  • Infrastructure Planning and Design Guides: Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 SP1

    Infrastructure Planning and Design Guides-Release Announcement: Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 SP1

    The Infrastructure Planning and Design team has released a new guide, Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 SP1.
    Looking to protect your organization's data but not quite sure how to do this? This guide leads the reader through the process of planning a Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2007 SP1 infrastructure. Work through the infrastructure design process in a logical, sequential order. This guide enables the reader to quickly identify what types of data will be protected, what the recovery goals are, and the protection strategy to achieve those goals. Other benefits of using this guide include best practice design guidance from the product group and an optimized infrastructure to best meet the business requirements.
    Download the guide by visiting
    http://www.microsoft.com/ipd and selecting "Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 SP1" under the Guidance section, toward the top of the page.

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  • January edition of TechNet Magazine online

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    Identity Management: An Introduction to Identity Lifecycle Manager 2

    The upcoming release of Microsoft Identity Lifecycle Manager “2” offers many new features and enhancements. Explore the new portal experience and find out how you can cut costs with self-service tools, increase security compliance with business process modeling, and reduce development time with simplified development tools.

    Windows Administration: Expanded Control with Group Policy Preferences

    The new Group Policy Preferences feature found in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista provides more than 3,000 settings, greatly expanding what administrators can do with Group Policy. Here’s a guide to using Group Policy Preferences to manage your environment.

    Windows Administration: Deploying Applications with Terminal Services

    Without too much effort, you can deploy a terminal server to host the applications you need in your environment. But there are some important decisions you’ll need to make to ensure your implementation meets user expectations. Greg Shields discusses the various options you have and explains how they will affect you.

    SQL Server 2008: Advanced Troubleshooting with Extended Events

    SQL Server 2008 includes a new “eventing” mechanism called SQL Server Extended Events that enables some sophisticated troubleshooting. Get an overview of Extended Events and find out how you can use this new functionality for monitoring and troubleshooting.

    Microsoft Office: Getting Started with Project Server 2007

    Project Server 2007 delivers significant enhancements, not only to the features and functionality for users but also for administrators. Alan Maddison explores some of the most significant new features and walks you through the installation and configuration of Microsoft Office Project Server 2007.