I'm Back...

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OK, I've been back from my holidays for three days now.  I've nearly caught up with everything that I missed while I was away and somehow squeezed in a day and a half out of the office talking to customers.

Something I often find when talking to non-Microsoft people is the lack of awareness of new Microsoft product releases (there's been a few in the last few weeks alone).  I hadn't intended this becoming a marketing bulletin for new stuff, but figured it was worth calling out a few (just in case you also are not aware of them):

We completed System Center Capacity Planner 2006 (SSCP) just before Christmas - it will be in your Technet Plus subscriptions this month.  The last beta can be found here:  SSCP is all about helping you size and plan your Exchange and MOM deployments.  Future releases will help with other products (SQL & the likes).

System Center Data Protection Manager 2006 (DPM) ( has been available for about a month now.  It's all about backup to, and recovery from disk - reducing the backup & retsore windows (initially just for File data, but extending to Exchange and SQL in future releases).

Windows Server 2003 R2 is a re-release of Windows Server 2003 roughly two years after we initially shipped.  It's basically Windows Server 2003 with SP1 applied, it includes everything that has shipped for Windows Server 2003 since it shipped (things like: 64-bit support, version 2.0 of the .Net Framework, Windows SharePoint Services, Automatic Deployment Services, etc) and a couple of great solutions to big business problems: Do I put a server in a branch/remote office or not?  How do I enable resource sharing between separate directories without duplicating users? and how do I manage file servers more effectively?  More info here:

Virtual Server 2005 R2 was launched at IT Forum in November and is a major update to our award winning (and very cost effective) virtualisation technology.  It includes things like 64-bit support and clustering.  More info here:

I'm off to Seattle on Saturday for my annuall "dipping" in Microsoft technologies - more on this next week.

I still want to close with a tip (seeing as my last one was so successful that it's now been included on the advanced search page on

I'm often asked things like "wouldn't it be great if Microsoft added this feature to this product?" or "This feature is so complicated to use, why don't Microsoft make it easier by changing it?"  Well I'm probably the wrong person to ask, but there is a process for getting your "wishes" answered.  Just send a mail to and your wishes will be listened to.  The MS Wish Program is your route into the product groups for feature changes.  Do note however, that most (about 90%) of requests are for features that already exist in the products...

That's it for today.  I'll post again from Seattle next week.


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