Words and Software

Technical writing for Windows 10. (old: Intelligent Systems Service, Data Protection Manager, and Operations Manager)

August, 2008

  • The speed of moving data

    I'm clearing out some of the blog posts I've clipped over the years and came across one that I saved when I was working on DPM. Jonathan Schwartz's article on how long it takes to move a petabyte of data caught my attention because it related to the DPM issue of when you might prefer tape storage to disk storage.

    A petabyte is awfully huge, of course. As he explains, "A petabyte is a thousand terabytes, which is a million gigabytes, or a billion megabytes. Or 8 billion megabits." But thinking it over...my own little PC at home has 500 GB now. And 2000 workstations could be a decent size company. Not that all those workstations would fill up their 500 GB hard drives, but it made the data size not so inconceivable to me. Lots of servers, lots of data to maintain and archive - the numbers could get pretty big.

    Then he does the math:

    "So if you had a half megabit per second internet connection, which is relatively high in the US (relatively low compared to residential bandwidth available in, say, Korea), it'd take you 16 billion seconds, or 266 million minutes, or 507 years to transmit the data."

    Thus supporting his contention that it is "faster to send a petabyte of data from San Francisco to Hong Kong by sailboat, than by the internet." Cool, huh?

  • MP guides online: a question for you

    This is a question about the root page for the two management pack guide libraries (operating system guides and server guides). All of the guides are listed in the left navigation pane, beneath the parent page:

    In addition, when you click the parent page itself, the guides are listed and linked on that page:

    The question is: does the list on the parent page ("Guides available in this section"), which mirrors the navigation pane, add any value for you? If we removed the links from the parent page and you had to use the navigation pane instead, would you care?

    I'd really appreciate your opinions, either by leaving a comment here or emailing mpgfeed AT microsoft.com.

  • An operating system, a horse, and transparency

    Catching up on my Microsoft-related blog feeds this morning, I counted at least a dozen blogs announcing the new Windows 7 blog -- some rah-rah posts, some just passing it on, some speculating as to how much information the blog will actually provide, plus some conversations on the pros and cons of transparency.

    Coincidentally, last night I came across an example that illustrates when transparency is the best solution for a situation.

    You see, the town of Hickman, Nebraska has made national news because they want to evict an old horse from city limits. I'm guessing that they've been inundated with queries, complaints, and accusations as a result. So, they turned their city's homepage into a timeline of events to explain the situation to all of us who probably couldn't find Hickman on a map and have no intention of moving there but feel it's our business whether the horse stays or goes. (You can probably tell that my sympathy has shifted toward the town's side...)

    In my aspect as a customer, I'd be fascinated by similar disclosure about a product in development. But I can also imagine reading "Discussed flippeting the gibbet. Decided it wasn't feasible in this timeline." and being disappointed, because although I'd never had cause to flippet a gibbet before, now that it had been suggested and taken away, I wanted that feature back!

  • Correction to knowledge for SDK SPN Registration alert

    Thanks to a sharp-eyed customer, an error in the resolution procedure for alert "SDK SPN Registration" has been identified. The resolution is below, with the error and change in bold:


    You can use SetSPN.exe to register the SPNs for the SDK service. Here are the commands that you need to execute using an account which has domain administrator rights:
    • Setspn.exe –A MSOMSDK/[RMS FQDN] domain\username (this is the SDK service account name)
    • Setspn.exe –A MSOMSDK/[RMS NETBIOS] domain\username


    You can use SetSPN.exe to register the SPNs for the SDK service. Here are the commands that you need to execute using an account which has domain administrator rights:
    • Setspn.exe –A MSOMSdkSvc/[RMS FQDN] domain\username (this is the SDK service account name)
    • Setspn.exe –A MSOMSdkSvc/[RMS NETBIOS] domain\username

    Update: edited the commands to replace the less-than and more-than signs with brackets, because they caused the commands to display incorrectly in html - sorry!

  • Change control: content preview

    The next revision of the Operations Guide for Ops Manager will include an expanded section on management packs. We've added some procedures (both GUI and script) and some conceptual information. Here's a preview from the management pack lifecycle topic:

    Best Practices for Change Control

    The following are some best practices to follow when managing Operations Manager management packs:

    • Maintain an archive of management pack versions to enable you to roll back changes when necessary. An efficient method for maintaining the archive is by using version control software, such as Microsoft SourceSafe or Windows SharePoint Services. Another method is to use a file share on the network with individual folders for each management pack version.
    • When you set overrides for a management pack, save them to a management pack that is named ManagementPack_Override, where ManagementPack is the name of the sealed management pack to which the overrides apply. For example, overrides to the management pack Microsoft.InformationWorker.Office.XP.mp would be saved to Microsoft.InformationWorker.Office.XP_Overrides.xml.
    • When a management pack is updated, update the corresponding _Overrides.xml file with the new version number. You must use an XML editor to update the version number of the _Overrides.xml file. If you make changes to an _Overrides.xml file but do not change the version attribute, you can import the file but the settings in the file will not be applied.
    • Document the overrides that you make to management packs. When you set an override, add an explanation of the action you are taking and the reason for it to the description field by clicking Edit in the Details pane of the Override Properties dialog box. You may also want to maintain a spreadsheet or other form to document changes that you make to management packs.