I just finished my last official Q3 TechNet Event today in Albuquerque, NM. The “Tour” started in Phoenix on February 23rd; took me to Burbank on February 25th and Irvine on February 26th. As I sit on the plane ride home, I decided to put some quick thoughts down and share with everyone.
Session 1: Windows Azure
Windows Azure was the first session and as I expected, the initial interest was low (prior to delivering the session). The same could be said of the level of understanding around our Cloud Computing strategy and what Azure actually offered. In all four cities, I received quite a few questions during the session as well as afterwards. Evidently more people are interested in Azure once they get an understanding of what it is and what it has to offer. Keep in mind that we are still in our infancy, so don’t expect it to offer every possible feature / capability that you can get if you host it yourself or use a hoster.
Session 2: Building Test Environment using Hyper-V
My second session covered things to know when building a test environment using Hyper-V (R2). I was quite clear that my session was focused on using Hyper-V for a lab / test / demo environment and NOT for production. The two environments are totally different and you would configure Hyper-V differently depending on what you are doing. For example, I would never, never, never use a laptop to run my virtualization environment in production. I do want to review a few things that I covered around how I use Hyper-V.
Working with VHDs and Base OS Images
Working with Virtual Networks
Session 3: Automating Windows 7 Deployment
In the third session, I went through the key steps required to use the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2010 to create a Light Touch (LT) deployment of Windows 7. Both of the tools that I discussed and demoed are free tools that anyone can download and use. As I mentioned in my session, both of these kits have great tools / capabilities included in them. Because of that, I highly recommend that you read the documentation and prescriptive guidance available with the tools before you start using the tools.
The thing to keep in mind about using the MDT to deploy Windows 7 images, is that the deployment to target computers is not a block level copy, but an installation of Windows 7 that just happens to be automated with all the necessary options and settings that you configured. This is great because a 6 month old Windows 7 Image can still be deployed to new hardware that has out of the box drivers as well as the ability to incorporate patches or hot fixes that have come out since the image was created.
Even though applications can be included in MDT 2010 to deploy with Windows 7 to new computers, you must use the appropriate tool to configure the application package (such as the Office Resource Kit for Office, etc.).
I hope this quick recap helps.
It was a very informative event. Always nice to hear from Microsoft themselves on the newer technology they are bringing to us.