Mission Critical Confidence, Breakthrough Business Insight
SQL Server “Denali” will help organizations unlock breakthrough insights across the organization as well quickly build solutions and extend data across on-premises and public cloud backed by mission critical confidence.
Come to this free, half day seminar, to learn how, with SQL Server “Denali”, you can get you the nines and performance you need, especially for mission critical workloads. See how “Denali” will help unlock exciting new insights with self-service pervasive data discovery across structured, unstructured and cloud data sources backed by IT management and insight, credible consistent data and large-scale data warehousing and analytics solutions.
Dublin, Monday 7th November 2011. Learn more and register here.
Belfast, Tuesday 8th November 2011. Learn more and register here.
Cork, Wednesday 9th November 2011. Learn more and register here.
Galway, Thursday 10th November 2011. Learn more and register here.
1.00 – 1:30pm Registration / SQL Denali Overview
1:30 – 3:00pm Denali Always On Deep Dive (Level 300)
SQL Server Denali offers a huge leap forward in terms of high availability. This session is an introduction to the high availability changes in Denali and a demonstration of the key features and benefits.
This session will be useful for anyone who is working in a high availability environment or currently using replication to provide reporting and looking for a neater solution.
During the demonstration we will show how to seamlessly upgrade a database from SQL 2005+ to Denali with ZERO down time and then use the Always on features to simplify reporting, availability and disaster recovery.
Target Audience: SQL DBA and IT Pro working with high availability, reporting, disaster recovery, replication or within a data centre.
If you are working with clustering, log shipping, replication, mirroring or reporting then this is an important session for you.
3:30 – 3:30pm Coffee Break
3:30 – 5:00pm Introduction to the BI Semantec Model (Level 200)
SQL Server Denali Introduces the BI Semantic Model which bridges the gap between Self Service Business Intelligence and Corporate Business Intelligence.
In this session we will introduce the new Tabular Model and improvements in tools like PowerPivot and Reporting Services to dynamically and rapidly develop and deploy BI solutions
Target Audience: DBA and Business Intelligence Professionals.
If you are currently working with Analysis Services, PowerPivot, Reporting Services or any other BI product then this is an important session for you.
Bob Duffy has been designing database solutions for 18 years. He is both a Microsoft MVP for SQL Server and also one of a select few Microsoft Certified Architects for SQL 2005/8 (aka SQL Ranger).
Currently Bob is heading up SQL/BI consultancy and the SQL Centre of Excellence at Prodata. His main role is helping customers in Ireland with enterprise SQL Design, Performance Tuning, Business Intelligence, consolidation and upgrade planning. Including lots of experience on multi-terabyte databases.
Bob worked with Microsoft as a Senior Consultant and was the Western European Community Lead for SQL Server. While there, he also won Customer CPE Champion Award in 2007 and the Great People Great Performer Award in 2008.
Bob has spoken at many events including SqlBits, TechNet and MSDN, The Irish Java Technology Conference, The SQL 2008 Technical Launch (Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Galway), the SQL Ireland Users Group, MTUG (Microsoft Technology Users Group) and the Irish SQL Academy Programme. Bob was also on the working group for the new SQL 2008 Master syllabus, helping set and grade exam questions.
Bob has designed more than 250 database solutions during his career, and worked on some of the largest database systems in Europe
Ah, freelancers have the life don’t they? They only work the hours they want to, don’t have to pay taxes, and they don’t have to put up with crappy office politics. Actually – speaking as a freelancer- that’s nearly true. Except for the taxes. They do have to be paid. However, before you type up your resignation and dash out to hang up your freelance shingle, do consider the following.
Get your accounts computerised: It is so much easier to invoice, track receipts, see what profit you are making and sort out your taxes when you have been keeping up to date with a computerised accounts package. Look into Sage or Quickbooks or you could look at an Irish solution – SortMyBooks both of which have basic inexpensive versions. Track your money carefully as you will now be facing feast and famine and you need to be able to cope with both.
Spend as much time mastering your craft as marketing: yes, I know we are all constantly told the importance of marketing and there are many resources out there for that. But the best and easiest way to get business is referrals and that comes through doing a good job – a mixture of craftsmanship, courtesy and reliability. And ask people to refer you as well. Sometimes people don’t refer you simply because they don’t know.
Build alliances with other people in your industry: Some of the best work I have ever gotten has come through other trainers. E.g. you can’t do a piece of work but you can recommend someone who can and vice versa. People in your industry understand the challenges you face and are far more willing to help than you might think. Don’t forget to return the favour. I stopped referring work to people who did not thank me for work I sent to them. Equally I now have strong friendships with other trainers.
Can you cope with uncertainty? Freelance works ebbs and flows so that work you thought was a sure thing will be postponed or cancelled. Other work will appear from somewhere else – often in a surprising way. If you are someone who likes to know exactly how much you will be working and earning over a month – freelancing is probably not for you.
You will probably not make enough to live on in the 1st 12-18 months: I’m sure someone will contradict me but you will probably need to have savings or a supportive spouse if you just go cold turkey into freelancing. On the other hand you could build up what Pam Slim of Escape from Cubicle Nation calls a side hustle before you go completely freelance – that makes it much more doable.
Do subcontracting but also keep an eye on the direct work: When you start out freelancing it’s very easy just to take the subcontracted work ( you just show up and do it) but don’t forget that you will probably be receiving about a third of what the customer is paying and YOU get a lot of the flak when things go wrong – as they will from time to time. So even from the beginning, work towards getting some direct gigs with clients – the pay is better and it’s probably the same work.
It’s a great life – if it’s for you: I’ve been freelance since 1997 and I love it. It means I get valued for what I bring to the table (not on how long I have been in an organisation), I get to work with wonderful people and politely avoid the obnoxious gits. I have gotten to spend more time with my family than I would have otherwise and I am learning all the time.
Anne Walsh MCT.
If you have something to share with The Irish IT Professional community, email me and we can discuss becoming a guest blogger.
Bob Barker from SJ Berwin LLP, shared this with me the other day – it’s very innovative (but only a stop gap – as Bob explains):
What we’re doing with Microsoft technology won’t help sell any MS products I’m afraid, but has enabled us to migrate to Windows 7 and Office 2010 without delay. In our case, we were concerned over the investment required to upgrade our SMS environment to SCCM 2007 (in order to deploy Windows 7), given where the product is in its life span and the likelihood of similar investment to implement SCCM 2012. Our dilemma was wanting to rollout Windows 7 without delay but not wanting to do so with a beta of SCCM 2012 nor invest in a soon to be replaced SCCM 2007.
Using standard Microsoft deployment tools, our solution was to build a Windows 7 & Office 2010 image and deploy this via some very basic VB script and (here’s the clever bit) Windows PE loaded as an OEM partition on every machine. Having the facility to run Windows PE whenever we want and then have it run any script we want means we have full control over the PC and from there we simply follow the recommended and well documented method of installing Windows 7. Given we have already packaged our applications into MSI’s (albeit for deployment via AD for now), we are able to refresh our entire PC estate using a “light touch” method and have kept our SMS upgrade budget safe for SCCM 2012.
I should add using MDT 2010 was a very strong candidate but as our firm has around 1300 PCs in a dozen or so offices around the world, I decided not to invest the time to learn and troubleshoot that tool and potentially go through the same exercise with SCCM 2012. It also helps that we have basic scripting skills.
Nice one Bob – we’re all looking forward to your SCCM 2012 order!
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I wanted to take a minute to position Microsoft’s Private Cloud offering.
Let me start with a definition – just so we’re all starting on the same page:
“Private cloud is the implementation of cloud services on resources that are dedicated to your organisation, whether they exist on-premises or off-premises. With a private cloud, you get many of the benefits of public cloud computing—including self-service, scalability, and elasticity—with the additional control and customisation available from dedicated resources.”
As far as I’m concerned Private Cloud technology is All about the App (that’s the only reason IT systems exist after all), Cross Platform from the Metal up (we don’t want to be locked into any one provider), Best In-Class Performance (who wants second best) and the Cloud On Your Terms (you decide where to run your Apps – on premise, off premise with a local service provider or in the public cloud with someone like Microsoft).
Some vendors call their virtualisation offerings a Private Cloud. Virtualisation is obviously the underlying technology in a Private Cloud, but unless it is highly automated, is scalable and elastic, and offers self-service, it’s not. Lots of people do virtualisation, not many do Private Cloud.
Microsoft’s Private Cloud is built using Windows Server 2008 R2 – which runs on anyone’s hardware (we don’t tie you to any one provider or any particular model of server). We’re both storage and network agnostic too!
Windows Server 2008 R2 includes our free hypervisor (Hyper-V) – which is called out as the best on the market to virtualise tier 1 data centre applications
System Centre (Microsoft’s management suite) manages everything from the physical servers all the way up to users interacting with applications - including hypervisors from Microsoft & VMware (and soon Xen), Windows Operating systems and Linux (we fully support SUSE, RedHat and CentOS and are constantly bringing in more distributions). And pretty much any application that runs on those operating systems. System Centre also lets you manage a service, which is an aggregation of a number of elements – your Exchange messaging service, for example, is an aggregation of physical servers, hypervisors, operating systems, Exchange Server, DNS, Active Directory, Global Catalog servers, network switches, firewalls and gateways, Anti-Virus solutions and the performance of Outlook on user’s PCs (I’m certain I missed something!). Everything has to be up and running and mail has to be flowing for you to be 100% certain that your messaging service is operational.
And a Self-service Portal – of which we have the choice of a few depending on the size of your organisation, the level of automation you need and whether you will be charging for your Private Cloud services.
I’m going to be posting a lot more detail on Microsoft’s Private Cloud over the next while. In the meantime you can download everything you will need to build your Private Cloud from here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/system-center/trial.aspx
System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2012 delivers industry leading fabric management, virtual machine management and services deployment in private cloud environments. In this short (7 minute) video, Damian Flynn talks about and demonstrates the installation and configuration of SCVMM 2012.
You can download SCVMM 2012 from here.
Damian Flynn is an MVP for Microsoft’s Virtual Machine technologies. He works for Lionbridge Technologies as an Infrastructure Architect. You can follow Damian at http://damianflynn.com and @damian_flynn
In our continuing efforts to improve your experience with Microsoft Ireland, we would love to hear from you on what areas we are doing well in, and where there is room for improvement.
You will soon receive an invitation to the Microsoft Customer and Partner Satisfaction Survey. This survey gives us a sense of whether or not we are providing value to IT Professionals in Ireland and what improvements can be made in terms of products, service and the local team. I would really appreciate it if you could take the time to complete it.
As you may (or may not) know, I am held personally responsible for your satisfaction with Microsoft Ireland – it is my job to come up with ideas and turn them into a reality that meet your needs and help you to have a better experience with Microsoft Ireland. I look at previous surveys and look for the reasons for your dissatisfaction with us as a starting point for my plans. I’d like to take a minute to point out what we have been doing to address these issues, but please note that there are things that I can influence locally and there are things that I cannot!
Product quality is a very tricky thing for me to influence locally, although you’d be surprised. If you go to http://connect.microsoft.com you’ll see a buttons for products accepting both bugs and suggestions – it does work (I’ve had a few of my suggestions implemented over the years), but you do need to get in early. I’d suggest that the likes of Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 are fantastic products, as are pretty much our entire current product set. I’d say it’s a bit unfair to give negative product feedback if you’re still using older versions – it was fixed in the next release!
I do hear this one quite a lot. But to be honest it’s more to do with not knowing how or where to find stuff. Did you know for example, that if you need information on product XYZ, all you need to do is go to http://www.microsoft.com/XYZ (obviously you replace XYZ with whatever you’re looking for – Windows, System Centre, IE, Security, etc.). This even works with non-American spellingsJ If you’re an IT Professional, you’re probably looking for technical content. In this case, navigate to http://technet.microsoft.com/XYZ - this works almost as well. And if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, it’s all about who you know! You all know me, so send me an email with your question and I’ll do my best to help.
3. Ease of Doing Business
I agree - Microsoft Ireland can be a hard nut to crack if you don’t know where to start. Some of you will have dedicated contacts for sales and support, but for everyone else, how do you know who you need to speak to? Go to http://www.microsoft.ie/contact and you’re a lot closer to knowing. The very first line on that page gives you both a phone number and a link to our online Help and Support centre where you’ll find a route into us for everything you could possible need. And if you’re really stuck, don’t forget that you know meJ
So that’s why people are dissatisfied with us. How about the things we do locally to make you satisfied?
The biggest thing we do is provide free training via in-person events or online. We try to get out and about around the country as often as possible (granted not as often as I’d like) – we were in Galway, Cork, Belfast and Dublin recently on our TechNet Live tour, where we covered anything from the Cloud to cool devices. We videoed each session and put them up here on TechNet Edge.
We also ran lots of training sessions on Private Cloud and SQL Server in Dublin. I know we need to get out more – and I’m working on that “issue”.
This year I’ll be spending the majority of my time working out how to help the Irish IT Professional Community start working together properly and how to fill the Skills Gap that we’re told exists. There’s an awful lot of really clever people in Ireland and all we have to do is work out how to get that knowledge into all of our heads. “Watch this space” is all I can say, but you can get involved now by signing up to my TechNet Newsletter to track my progress (and potentially win prizes – yes, I have prizes to give away).
We understand you are busy, but we would appreciate if you took 15 minutes to complete the survey. We need your candid feedback to make improvements that are meaningful and effective for you. Between 26th September and 21st October, you will receive an email invitation from email@example.com with a link to an online customer satisfaction survey. If you utilise a spam filter, please adjust the settings to allow email from the firstname.lastname@example.org. I assure you, this is a valid Microsoft survey.
Microsoft and the survey vendor will keep your information and responses to this survey strictly confidential in compliance with applicable data protection laws.
Thank you in advance for your participation and valuable input. You have our commitment that the results of the survey will be used in our efforts to better meet your needs.
Q. By far the most asked questions were about Windows 8 (both Client and Server).
A. Everything you want/need to know about Windows 8 Client is here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/
A. There’s some fantastic content about what we delivered at the //build conference here: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011
A. Specifically for Server, have a look at these two: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/windows-server/v8.aspx and http://blogs.technet.com/b/server-cloud/archive/2011/09/09/windows-server-8-an-introduction.aspx
Q. When is Windows Phone “Mango” out?
A. Now! Microsoft released the RTM version of Mango to the market at the end of September. All the mobile phone operators are doing a staggered release (a percentage of their customers every day). If you haven’t received it yet, use Bing to search for “force mango update”. Although this sounds a bit daft – it does work (I’ve gone with the total time for Zune to come back and tell me that my phone is up-to-date minus two seconds).
Q. How can I get all the power and control of Group Policies onto my home PCs?
A. Although Group Policy is designed to work in a domain environment, you can actually use it to some extent in a workgroup environment also. That’s because each Windows 2000 or later machine has a Local Group Policy Object (LGPO) that you can use to lock down settings on that machine. And if you have admin privileges on every machine in your workgroup, you can configure the LGPOs for your machines remotely from a single machine instead of having to walk around to each of them and log on locally. To configure the LGPO on a remote machine, open a new MMC console, add the Group Policy snap-in, and click Browse to set the focus to a different machine than the local computer.
Q. How reliable is the cloud when it comes to availability?
A. Very! Most cloud providers offer Service Level Agreements (SLAs) on their availability. We offer a 99.9%, financially backed SLA on Office 365 and a 99.95% for Azure.
A better question to ask however, is this: How long would your IT staff take to get a broken server back online (or get back from an ESB failure)? It will be a lot longer than 5 minutes, probably longer than a few hours – I’ve heard horror stories of weeks of downtime.
Keep the questions coming – we’re all benefitting from the answers!