Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

June, 2008

  • The Security Show Episode 1 - Meet the Feds

    Long time friend and confidant Kai Axford is taking his mad skillz online.  As some of you are aware, Kai is a former member of my team and is now a Security Strategist for Microsoft.  Like me, Kai doesn't hold anything back and always has an entertaining and educational outlook on whatever subject he talks about.

    The "Security Show" is no exception.  The Security Show is Kai's innovation and was delivered and recorded at TechEd 2008 in Orlando, Florida.  I actually took my HD video camera with me to Florida just to record the show.  However, I show up and he has a full crew with four camera, multi source wireless audio, digital video feed switching, lighting and the whole darn enchilada.  Needless to say I got to watch the pros do the filming.

    The film company has offloaded the raw footage to Kai and Mr. Axford is editing the goods with the tools and techniques we've been trying on my team.  Kai tells me he has close to 5 hours of footage but he's chopping it up into bite size segments.  Here's the first part.

    Next week I'll be having lunch with Kai and we'll discuss some other methods of video distribution.  I'll see if I can't get Kai to offer the videos for offline viewing and use.  Enjoy this is the meantime.

    Oh, and don't forget that some of the Silverlight video players like the one above don't have a full screen button, but you can double click the player to make it go full screen.  Esc to get back out of full screen.

  • Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V wrap up

    ws2008 Most likely by now you’ve been bombarded with the news.  We entered the virtualization market today with a new product called Hyper-V.  It’s a downloadable and installable Windows Server 2008 role.  It’s pretty simple to install and use and I would advise taking your time learning what is happening under the covers with all of the new features.

    We shipped a ton of product and information today.  There are a few things you didn’t get that I know you’ll want.  For instance, the linux Integration Components for SUSE are not yet RTM so they’ll be just a little longer.  We don’t yet have the Hyper-V management pack for System Center Operations Manager complete.  We also still have a few goodies coming down the pipe that will solidify the management vision for the rest of the System Center family, like System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008.

    But we shipped, we shipped early, and shipping is a feature.  Let’s have a nice virtual round of applause for the entire Virtual product group!!!

    We’ll continue to provide a lot of air cover on our strategy and vision.  We are just getting started.  Over 90% of the worlds servers aren’t virtualized so to say that any one vendor is the dominant player right now is ridiculous.  Now obviously VMWare is the team to beat, but there’s a new player in town and I think you are going to like what you see in Hyper-V.  It’s fast.  It’s easy to setup.  And it’s reliable.  It’s designed to run huge workloads and we are already proving that.

    So here’s an array of reference links to get you started.  Enjoy!

    Key Microsoft Virtual Webs

    Some Interesting Articles

    Support Stuff

    Windows Server 2008 x64 Hyper-V

    This is the complete Hyper-V RTM package for Windows Server 2008 x64. This package must be installed on the Hyper-V Parent Partition. It includes the Hyper-V Server components for Full and Core installations. In addition, is contains the Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V Management components for Full installations.
    Get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=F3AB3D4B-63C8-4424-A738-BADED34D24ED

    Hyper-V Management Consoles

  • Should I Be Evil?

    There's been a considerable amount of discussion lately about Apple, our image, and if Microsoft employees should buy Apple products.  There is no official policy that says I can't buy an iPod, iPhone or a Mac.

    But how does this look to you?

    Do you think more or less of me if I do?  Do you care what kind of phone I use?  What kind of message am I sending to you if I purchase the 3G iPhone 2?  I mean after all, I'm a paid Microsoft Evangelist not an Apple Evangelist.

    What does evangelist mean exactly?  I always think it means I get to preach the Microsoft gospel.  Praise the Lord!!!  I like doing that.  I have high confidence in our products. But I grew up being a Consultant with one of the "Big Six" integrators where I was a trusted advisor and always recommended the best product or solution for the customer. 

    I already have a Mac.  My MacBook Pro is a Microsoft asset and I use it to understand where we are strong and weak relative to the competition.  When I do reporting on that type of analysis, I really try to be fair in my judgements and trust me, the Windows group hasn't been pleased with everything I've said.  Neither have the Apple enthusiasts.

    So, should I be evil and buy yet another Apple product or drive a stake in the ground and never buy again?

  • Since I'm an Evangelist, I should be running this...

    PraiseTheLord

    Story @ http://www.istartedsomething.com/20080625/the-holy-sku-microsoft-church-package/.

  • Bill Gates – Looking Back, Moving Ahead

    Bill is obviously a special guy.  I met him many years ago right after I joined Microsoft in 1996.  He seemed very normal to me then but the encounters I had were pretty brief.  I have of course seen him many times in person at our company meetings, on town halls, etc.  Bill is one of the reasons I came to Microsoft.  Not so much because of him personally, but because of the values I saw in the company he built that I liked.  To be more precise, I was working with the Exchange team in Seattle and just became captivated with the energy and diversity of the company.  I had to work here.

    There have been many changes in Microsoft over the years.  Just in my short 12 years I’ve seen the company morph in many ways.  It’s been a great ride so far and I am looking forward to another 12 years.  With that said, here’s a nice video looking back on some of the history Bill has etched in the silicon of the world.  I’m sure there is a lot more history to come.  Check it out.

    mms://msstudios.wmod.llnwd.net/a2294/o21/presspass/06-27-08Transition_Anthem_MBR.wmv
  • TIRED = Hemi, WIRED = Hydrogen

    image

    This thing sounds like a rolling H-bomb to me, but what do I know.  Here’s an excerpt from Ronn Motor Company:

    Hydrogen Fuel Injection (HFI):

    Produces hydrogen during vehicle operation through electrolysis of water using the power generated from the vehicles electrical system. A small amount of hydrogen added to the vehicles intake air/fuel mixture allows the engine to operate with less fossil fuel.  Ronn Motor Company will use this technology in its revolutionary Scorpion to achieve lower emissions and vastly improved fuel economy.

    For information @ http://www.ronnmotors.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4&Itemid=1.  You can have one for a mere $150,000.  See http://www.ronnmotors.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1&Itemid=3 for more information on plunking down your deposit.  See the Engineering section at http://www.ronnmotors.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7&Itemid=12.

  • My dog Elvis starts his Seal Team training

    Sealtraining

  • Looks like my Verizon FIOS data plan changes to 20/20 next week

    The heat is on and the ISP connection speeds here in the US are getting ready to get crazy.  With DOCSIS 3.0 rollouts happening in the cable company turf, Verizon announced today they are increasing the speeds of their fibre optic plans.

    Verizon had already offered the 50/20 Mbps and 20/20 Mbps services in its FiOS markets in Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.  The company is now expanding those offerings to new Verizon FiOS customers in parts of California, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington, replacing existing offerings of 30/15 Mbps and 15/15 Mbps services, respectively. 

    The mid-tier connection speed in those markets for new customers is being increased from 15/2 Mbps to 20/5 Mbps, and the basic service tier is being increased from 5/2 Mbps to 10/2 Mbps.  Existing FiOS Internet customers who are interested in the new speed options can call Verizon for information about the new plans.

    Chief Operating Officer DennyStrigl said in his remarks, "The appetite for bandwidth shows no signs of slowing down. Neither will we. We've already had successful trials of the 100-megabit home, which will be a reality faster than anybody thinks."

    See the complete announcement @ http://newscenter.verizon.com/press-releases/verizon/2008/verizon-extends.html

    [UPDATE]  Provisioning complete.  Upload still needs a little work, but getting there.

  • Time is running out – Register your US launch kit SQL Server 2008 today !!!

    image 

    You have about one week left to find your launch kit and the voucher in it, to register for your copy of SQL Server 2008.  The card says the deadline was 6/2/2008 but it’s was extended because we had a few events later than that in June.  I believe the new date is June 26, 2008 so don’t procrastinate any longer and forget.  Go to http://www.SQLServerHeroes.com and register.

  • Springboard Series – Security Virtual Roundtable Today at 9am PST

    vista_wallpaper With all of the activity last week at TechEd, I totally forgot about the next roundtable happening today.  Join Microsoft Technical Fellow Mark Russinovich and a panel of IT professionals and security MVPs as they discuss Windows Vista deployment, security configurations, challenges and real-world solutions. Ask your questions live during the event or email them in advance to vrtable@microsoft.com.

    Event Details:
    Springboard Live! Virtual Roundtable: Let’s Talk Windows Vista Security
    Wednesday, June 18, 2008
    9:00am Pacific Standard Time

    Register @ https://ms.istreamplanet.com/springboard/.

  • Silverlight Streaming Publishing Plug-in preview now available for EE 2

    For those of you using Silverlight Streaming at silverlight.live.com, I’m sure you’ll be happy to know we just made available a preview of the publishing plug-in for Expression Encoder 2.  I’ve been using this version for a few weeks and like the way it works.  I certainly like how it handles minor updates now.  Much better file management and republishing support.

    See the details at Jim Clark’s blog post at http://blogs.msdn.com/expressionencoder/archive/2008/06/14/8597856.aspx or skip right to the download @ SLSPlugin for Expression Encoder 2.msi.

  • Operation “No Snoring” – Phase I Complete

    Image:Deviated septum MRI.jpgFor years (decades) I have struggled with sinus problems.  I always thought it was just the “Combs Nose” because my father had sinus issues for years and I figured it was hereditary.  It was easy to think that.  I am allergic to the dust that gets kicked up when I mow the yard.  I am very allergic to Mountain Cedar pollen.  I’m sure there are lots of other things that wreak havoc with my sinuses.  Supposedly Dallas/Ft. Worth is a terrible place to live for allergy sufferers.

    Over the past 10 years, things have gotten progressively worse.  Ask my wife.  Heck, ask Kai Axford who was my roommate at the last TechReady (internal training) we attended.  Kai also snores so we had a symphony.

    Age doesn’t help matters, nor does the progression around the waist line.  I vowed to arrest the progression at the waist line a couple of months ago but haven’t really made an impact there just yet.  But I’m going to.

    I did however make a big change this morning.  I had surgery on my nose to straighten and correct the deviated septum I had.  I don’t think this alone will fix the issues I have, but it should open the airways again and allow me to breath much more naturally.  Septoplasty is the procedure I had and it is a relatively quick out patient procedure. 

    I have no idea how my nose got so messed up.  It could have been football, boxing, high speed water skiing crashes, or the many motorcycle wrecks I’ve survived on the street, trail, and during my competitive motocross years.  One particularly hairy hit is still perma etched in my brain, and practically on my face.  Let’s just say I can count the knobbies on the 21” wheel of my racing buddies bike to this day, as it got up close and very personal with my full coverage Bell helmet.

    I’ve been a little groggy all day as the anesthesia has progressively worn off but I have a pretty high pain tolerance so I am not taking any pain medicine, yet.   In a week they’ll take the splints out of my nose.  At that point there should be a dramatic change in breathing.  I can’t wait.  That will be Phase II.

    After that, I’m going to hit the gym, HARD.  Put up or shut up time.  Time to drop at least 20 pounds.  That will be Phase III.  Phase III really also includes a visit to my MD.  Time for a full checkup.

    So with any luck and some hard work over the next few months, I’ll kick snoring out of my life.  Let’s hope so.

  • Can Tiger Take Jack?

    81585729TL003_U_S_Open_Cham We need a time machine.  After Tiger’s win today at the U.S Open Championship you have to start to wonder how great Tiger really is.  I mean let’s face it, there’s no way to really compare the greats without a time machine and the ability to re-write history.

    Could Tiger hope to beat Harry Vardon?  What about Bobby Jones?  Ben Hogan?  And that just takes us through the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.  Anyone think Tiger could intimidate Ben Hogan?  Ha!  I kinda wonder what Tiger would do with wooden shafts.  Would they bend and break under his muscles?

    Then we get to the 60’s.  There’s a couple of guys there you may have heard of… like Jack Nicklaus.  You know, the Golden Bear?  Jack has eighteen major wins. 

    But who would intimidate who today?  Jack won his first major at 22 years of age.  Tiger won his first major at age 22.  Coincidence?  Jack won 7 of his 18 majors after he turned 32.  Tiger has 14 at the age of 32.

    Obviously both are awesome.  But I would love to see them both playing in the same final pairings at age 32 to see who comes out on top.  Now that would be a study in showmanship and mental turpitude.

    Where’s the time machine when we need one?

  • My bird is dead

    deadtwit I killed my twitter account.  I really don’t have the time to stay logged on 24/7 and you miss all the fun messages if you don’t.  Email is for old people.

    I swiped the pic from Hugh at gapingvoid.com and turned it upside down.  I hope he doesn’t mind.  If he does, I’ll remove it and draw one of my own.  I like Hugh’s work better.

  • 240 Multi-threaded Processing Cores – But will it run Hyper-V ???

    GeForce_GTX_280_3wayNVIDIA released the specs today on the new parallel processing processors that are part of the GTX 280 graphics cards.  I was checking out all of the comments and specs when I spied the part about 240 processing cores.

    I wonder if this bad boy will run Hyper-V?  Just teasing.  I can just imagine the marketing people are drooling over the multi-core licensing possibilities.  Blood suckers.  Grin. 

     

    Features of the GeForce GTX 280 and GeForce GTX 260 GPUs include:

    • 2nd Generation NVIDIA Unified Architecture: Delivers 50% more gaming performance over the Company’s previous NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra GPU through 240 enhanced processor cores that provide incredible shading horsepower at resolutions as high as 2560 x 1600.
    • 3-way NVIDIA SLI® Technology: Industry leading 3-way NVIDIA SLI technology offers amazing performance scaling by implementing 3-way alternate frame rendering (AFR) for the world’s fastest gaming solution under Windows Vista.
    • NVIDIA PureVideo® HD Technology: The combination of HD video decode acceleration and post-processing delivers unprecedented picture clarity, smooth video, accurate color, and precise image scaling for movies and video.
    • NVIDIA CUDA Technology: With the power of NVIDIA CUDA™ technology and the new CUDA runtime for Windows Vista, programmers can now offload the most intensive processing tasks from the CPU to the NVIDIA GPUs, putting the power of up to 240 multi-threaded processor cores to work.

    See the press release @ http://www.nvidia.com/object/io_1213610051114.html.

  • Lenovo ThinkStation S10 Workstation – a nice review of the goods

    Lenovo S10 Lenovo recently sent me a Lenovo ThinkStation S10 Workstation all tricked out with an Intel Extreme Quad processor, wicked fast video card, 15,000rpm SAS drives, etc.  I took a look at the opportunity and thought to myself I need another pair of eyes on this review.  I pretty much already know what a machine like this can do for my productivity.

    So I picked up the phone and called my buddy Matt Hester.  I asked Matt if he would have time to do a review of this machine.  Now I know his wife is getting ready to have their third child so the timing wasn’t very good from that perspective.  Matt indicated he would work it in and get the job done.  So I setup a time with him and trekked to Frisco, Texas to deliver the box.  I needed to borrow my wife’s Honda Element because the box the workstation arrived in is huge.  The box is one of those reusable shipping containers with Velcro straps and such.

    Matt has spent the better part of the past month falling in love with the workstation, or the dream of having a bad ass machine like it.  Anyone that has been using a laptop as a full time machine for a while will really appreciate the performance and productivity gains that can be achieved when using a quality desktop or workstation.

    With all of that in mind, see http://blogs.technet.com/matthewms/archive/2008/06/16/lenovo-thinkstation-s10-impressions.aspx.  If you are doing a lot of video editing or other CPU, graphics or I/O intensive operations, a machine like this is going to need to be seriously considered.  Enjoy.

  • What is the “Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP)” ???

    The Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP) is open to any vendor who delivers a virtualization machine solution that hosts Windows Server 2008, Windows 2000 Server Service Pack 4 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 and subsequent service packs. The virtualization solution can either be hypervisor-based or a hosted solution. The program enables vendors to validate various configurations so that customers of Windows Server can receive technical support in virtualized environments. Customers with validated solutions will benefit from the support provided by Microsoft as a part of the regular Windows Server technical support framework.

    The Server Virtualization Validation Program is not a logo program, rather a reference that companies and customers will be able to use in conjunction with their validated solutions.

    Validated Configurations Submissions Open in June 2008

    The upcoming list of validated configurations will enable customers to identify what scenarios have been tested and validated to work with Windows Server, similar to a support matrix for hardware devices. A validated configuration will consist of a specific version of third-party server virtualization software, a specific version of Windows Server, and a specific WHQL-certified hardware configuration. Additional information will be listed with the respective hardware configuration to enable customers to obtain support for their virtualization configuration.

    More information at http://www.windowsservercatalog.com/svvp/default.aspx.

  • What I learned at TechEd 2008 this week

    The annual pilgrimage to Orlando was fun and busy as usual.  This year I spent nearly 20 hours helping man the booth for the System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 team.  On the opposite side of our booth was the Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V booth.  As you might suspect, we were plenty busy handing out SCVMM eval kits and answering questions.  This was a similar setup to what we did in Las Vegas at the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS).

    The Facilities

    It was interesting to compare the two events.  MMS had 4000 people.  TechEd for IT Pros had around 9500.  But the conference hall at Orlando Convention Center seemed cavernous compared to the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.  They are of course very different venues, but Orlando just seemed too big to me (the facility).  I think I got that feeling because the Microsoft booths weren’t part of the other sponsor/exhibitor area.  The VMWare guys still managed to find my booth and get a copy of SCVMM 2008.  Funny, they were all out of ESXi when I showed up at theirs.  Go figure.

    The venue and food was fair.  I’ve had better conference food, that’s for sure.  I think for a North American event, the location needs to be reconsidered.  I think a more central location might be good.  Vegas is always a big draw but other cities and locations need to be considered.

    Booth Duty

    I learned that lots and lots of people are running ESX but are looking very seriously at Hyper-V and SCVMM 2008.  The keynote demos on Monday had a lot to do with helping generate this interest.  See the SCVMM 2008 keynote demo at mms://msstudios.wmod.llnwd.net/a2294/o21/presspass/data_center_MBR.wmv.  Sorry the video quality is so lame.  I guess they think all of you still have dial-up connections and can’t handle a HD or near HD quality version of the video.  320x180 video size.  What are we thinking?  Don’t answer that.  I know it’s lame.

    After the Monday keynote, there were a wide variety of questions, but three questions came up time and time again.  How much does SCVMM 2008 cost?  How do I setup clustering?  Does SCVMM 2008 do VMotion?  We will of course be going over that in more detail here on my blog over the next few weeks as we launch the new version of the product.

    I also learned that standing in a relatively stationary position for hours on end each day is hard on the feet.  How does the Queen’s Guard do it?  They must have some really good shoes.

    Video Cameras Everywhere

    Ok, it’s official.  Everyone has gone officially overboard with the whole “live” video thang.  I wonder how much we spent on all of the camera crews doing the interviews in the “fish bowl”, on the TechEd Online stage, etc.  Too much probably.  What’s weird to me is that everyone had high def cameras, but I have yet to see high quality video from the event.

    Harold Wong shot 10-12 video interviews with the Exchange team PM’s.  I convinced him to use my Bluetooth microphone and tri-pod.  I’m sure he’ll have them ready very soon and we’ll get them posted to his blog and mine.  Stay tuned for that.

    Kai Axford did the most innovative video segment I saw live.  Each day from 1-2pm EST Kai did “The Security Show”.  Kai’s guests included officers from the various US government agencies involved in cyber terrorism, computer crimes, porn, etc.  I can’t wait until they make those downloads available.

    Focus Groups

    The best meeting I went to by far was a focus group held to understand how people are getting information relevant for their jobs.  The most interesting aspect of the meeting to me wasn’t that I learned something new.  The most interesting aspect was that I was able to confirm some suspicions.  I’ll get the details (stats and comments) from all of the meetings and discuss them later but suffice it to say that the days of a 60 or 90 minute webcast are numbered.  Nobody has that much time anymore.  Everybody wants smaller quicker chunks of information.  That’s basically what I’ve been doing lately with my screencasts and will stay focused that way.

    We talked about all sorts of ideas on how to deliver information to the masses.  What will work.  What will not work.  It was a very refreshing discussion.

    The Exhibits

    I was really pleased with the number of companies that decided to display their hardware and software at TechEd.  There are a lot of cool software products out there that add value to the products you buy from Microsoft.  I had an interesting conversation with the VP from Quest Software at lunch one day.  It started off badly but ended very nicely.  I really need their help with some of the interop work I’ll be doing this year so I am hopeful they’ll give me a hand showing what is possible with Linux and OS X.

    There were a bunch of hardware vendors present as well.  Blades and virtualization everywhere.  Racks and racks of goodies on display by Dell, HP, etc.  Funny, I didn’t see Apple anywhere.

    The Most Popular Laptop

    Dell owns the IT Pro laptop market.  Dell Latitude and Precision notebooks were everywhere.  You would think Lenovo, HP, Gateway and Apple would make a respectable showing.  Not hardly.  And it was really obvious.  All around the venue were tables with power strips.  Sure, you would see the occasional lit Apple symbol or a flat black ThinkPad, but they were the exception not the rule.

    The fact there were soo many Dells scares me.  I have the Latitude D820.  It’s the Core Duo and one of the first D820’s made so it lacks the latest CPU.  It also has the NVIDIA Quadro NVS 120M which lacks the horsepower needed for running Windows Vista in the manner I am used to with the ThinkPad T61p.  Anyone have a Latitude D830 with the Quadro NVS 140M and want to comment on the performance and WinSAT scores you are getting? 

    I shutter to think all of those IT Pros are judging Windows Vista based on the performance of the Latitude D830, D630, D530 or D430.  Somebody set me straight, please.

    The Most Popular Game

    Server-Quest.  Chris Henley was the Master of Ceremonies for the game nearly each day.  I think the main reason was that Chris was hooked on the game.  Funny though, one of the guys that walked up on Wednesday blew through the game with a top 10 score on his first try.  The game is pretty interesting.  Whoever developed the game is very creative.

    Mark Is Tall

    Mark Russinovich is tall.  Like really tall.  When I was walking back from the focus group meeting, I noticed Mark and a small entourage of folks following him.  It was pretty hilarious to watch.  I really didn’t compute why at the time.  They looked like groupies having a hard time keeping up.  The next day I saw Mark again.  This time I saw him striding off in a different direction at a different angle.  Man, that guy takes really long steps.  No wonder the groupies the day before were having problems.  Mark takes one step for most peoples two.

    TechEd was fun.  But I’m glad to be home.  I do however look forward to next year.

  • Windows Essential Business Server - key whitepapers and guides

    Migrating DHCP Server Service to Windows Essential Business Server - This document explains the steps for preparing your environment to work with the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) Server service for Windows Essential Business Server

    Windows Essential Business Server Backup and Restore Guide - This document describes how to back up and restore key product technologies for Windows Essential Business Server.

    Migrating the DNS Role to Windows Essential Business Server - This document explains how to move the DNS role from your existing servers or devices to the Management Server and Messaging Server.

    Migrating Active Directory Domain Services Scripts, Roaming Profiles, Redirected Folders, and Home Directories to Windows Essential Business Server - This document explains how to migrate scripts, roaming profiles, redirected folders, and home directories from your existing servers to the Windows Essential Business Server Management Server.

    Windows Essential Business Server Administration Guide - This document explains how to administer Windows Essential Business Server by using the Administration Console.

    Windows Essential Business Server Getting Started Guide - This document summarizes the installation and configuration of Windows Essential Business Server in a production environment.

    Migrating Microsoft Exchange Server to Windows Essential Business Server - This document explains how to migrate existing mailboxes, offline address book generation processes, and public folder replicas to the Windows Essential Business Server Messaging Server.

    Windows Essential Business Server Product Overview - This document describes Windows Essential Business Server, its key applications and components, its component architecture, and the network topologies that it supports

    Migrating Windows Server Update Services to Windows Essential Business Server - This document explains the optional migration of Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) from an existing server in your environment to Windows Essential Business Server.

    Windows Essential Business Server Installation Guide - This document explains how to install Windows Essential Business Server in a production environment.

    Windows Essential Business Server Virtualization Guide - This document provides guidance for virtualizing Windows Essential Business Server 2008 Release Candidate 0 (RC0) with the Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V technology.

  • SQL Server 2008 RC0 – now available for download

    sql2008 SQL Server 2008 delivers on Microsoft’s Data Platform vision by helping your organization manage any data, any place, any time. It enables you to store data from structured, semi-structured, and unstructured documents, such as images and music, directly within the database. SQL Server 2008 delivers a rich set of integrated services that enable you to do more with your data such as query, search, synchronize, report, and analyze. Your data can be stored and accessed in your largest servers within the data center all the way down to desktops and mobile devices, enabling you to have control over your data no matter where it is stored.

    SQL Server 2008 enables you to consume your data within custom applications developed using Microsoft .NET and Visual Studio and within your service-oriented architecture (SOA) and business process through Microsoft BizTalk Server while information workers can access data directly in the tools they use every day, such as the 2007 Microsoft Office system. SQL Server 2008 delivers a trusted, productive, and intelligent data platform for all your data needs.

    Sound good?  Get more information at http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/overview.aspx.  Want the download?  It’s available right now to TechNet.  See http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/default.aspx for more information on the available subscriptions.  This download is available on the subscriber download area before any other channel.

  • Running A Bunch Of Vista SP1 VMs on Hyper-V With A Single Laptop

    In this case, a picture is worth a thousand words.  I spent some time this afternoon and evening setting up for a fun little test of the Lenovo ThinkPad T61p I have.  As you’ll recall from my previous post, my laptop is loaded up with 8GB of memory.  So I thought it would be cool to fire up a bunch of virtual machines to see how effectively Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V allocate and juggle memory.  I was able to get fourteen operating system instances running at the same time.  The host OS is of course Windows Server 2008 Enterprise x64 with Hyper-V RC1.  In the screenshot, you’ll notice I am running six instances of Windows Vista Enterprise SP1 x64 and seven instances of Windows Vista Enterprise SP1 x86.  Paging and disk I/O really went up after I fired up VM number eight. 

    That’s a total of 14 operating systems executing on a single laptop folks!!!

    I could have added more disk spindles to the test to improve the I/O bottleneck, but I decided to see what this would be like with a normal travel rig.  Therefore, there are three disks in use.  Two standard 2.5” SATA drives in the T61p, and your run of the mill external Maxtor drive attached via USB.  Not exactly exotic, but this is a memory test, not a demo that requires more efficient I/O.

    Here’s the screenshot.  You can click the image to get the larger view.

    14OperatingSystems 

    One other thing, the host environment is also running several other services when the screenshot was captured.  Active Directory, DNS, and several other role services are running.  I also noticed after I did this screenshot, that the VM highlighted and executing has 1024MB of memory allocated instead of 512 like the rest of the VMs.  I wanted to get 14 Windows Vista VM’s up and running on a single machine.  I could have done it.  Drat. Maybe next time.  Pretty kewl anyway.

    Now obviously this test isn’t very useable, but one thing it points out really nicely.  Memory allocations are accurate.  And, when you are running a laptop with 8GB of memory, you add a whole new dimension to the environment.  Now you can realistically run 7-8 virtual machines with a wide variety of products and technologies.  Enjoy.

    [Update for 6/7/2008] I altered the title.  I removed the reference to a world record since it really isn’t a certified world record.  Still pretty impressive though.

    [Update for 6/8/2008]  What do you do when you are doing laundry, packing and getting ready to travel to TechEd 2008?  Clean the pool?  Nope.  Cut the yard?  Naw, it can wait another week.  Hey, let’s run another test.  Here it is folks. Twenty Seven Windows Vista Enterprise SP1 Virtual Machines executing courtesy of Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V.  All of this is running on a single laptop, the world famous Lenovo ThinkPad T61p with 8GB of Kingston memory.  This time I added another hard drive and split the load.  I also used a couple of parent disks, and each VM is executing off a differencing virtual disk.  The first pic is of all the VMs executing.  Keep in mind this is a total of 28 operating systems running on a single laptop when you take into account the parent OS, Windows Server 2008.  The second pic shows me killing off the VM’s and the freeing up of the memory.  Nice staircase.

    27WindowsVistaVMs

    Pretty cool, eh?  I know you think this is crazy and unusable.  I did notice while firing them up under this configuration, that I could easily use 10 client virtual machines with the settings and hardware I used for this test.  So some interesting scenarios come to mind with the use of Group Policy, Patch Deployment, OS Deployment, etc.  I’ll experiment more in a week or so.  Nice.

    Here’s the screenshot of me slamming the door on all of the VM’s.  I just punched the “Turn Off” link which is hard core to the VM.  But that’s what snapshots are for.  I’ll fix them up later.

    GoodNight

    For those of you coming to TechEd 2008 in Orlando, feel free to stop by the System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 booth.  I’ll be working it a few hours each day.  Enough fun.  Time for me to get some of my last minute chores done. 

  • Windows Live Writer – new tech preview release available for download

    The Windows Live Writer team released a new tech preview earlier this week.  Here are some of the new features in this release:

    Video and Image Publishing Enhancements
    • Upload videos to Soapbox
    • Image cropping and tilting
    • Additional border styles
    • Support for LightBox and other image previewing effects (like Slimbox, Smoothbox, and others)
    • Support for centering images
    Editing Enhancements
    • Auto Linking
    • Smart quotes/typographic characters
    • Word count
    UI Improvements
    • Revised main toolbar
    • Tabs for view switching
    • Improved category control with search/filtering

    Get it @ http://download.microsoft.com/download/8/0/9/809604cd-bd08-42c8-b590-49c332059e64/writer.msi.  See the WLW team blog at http://windowslivewriter.spaces.live.com/.

  • My Lenovo ThinkPad T61p now has 8GB of RAM

    Kingston Technology was kind enough to sent some evaluation 4GB SoDIMMs to me for installation and testing.  They arrived a little later than expected this week but were sitting on the front porch when I got home tonight.  They are now installed and I thought a quick screenshot might be in order.  As you can see, the overall speed rating from the Windows Vista WinSAT assessment test is the same, but I have twice the capacity as before.

    I’ll be putting them through their paces as much as possible over the next few days before I head to TechEd 2008.  I need to finish getting through some UNIX interop content first thing in the morning then I’ll start building out an environment with some teeth.

    What’s the current laptop world record for the number of Windows Vista virtual machines that are executing?  Might be fun to put up a number before my flight.

    image

    See http://shop.kingston.com/partsinfo.asp?ktcpartno=KTL-TP667/4G or click the pic above for the Kingston ecommerce store price on the memory I received.

  • Old Orbs versus New Orbs

    I was all set to be impressed then came the letdown.  Someone sends me an email that clues me into this website at http://www.microsoftcommunities.com/.  Great, another community site.  Just what we need.  I’m sure someone is going to take offense to that comment, but seriously, how many community sites do we have now?  Too many. Begrudgingly I head over to the site to see if there’s anything interesting. 

    OrbsRight away I spot a catchy graphic similar to the screen capture at left.  The little circles catch my attention so I click the Orbs tab just above it.  I can see there’s a little launch button for the Silverlight 2 application so I click the button and launch the app.

    At first, I’m staring into deep space.  A black box on my screen with a legend at the bottom.  Then all of the sudden these little orb bubbles start popping up on the screen like bubbles coming up through a thick Texas crude.  I think to myself, “Black Gold, Texas Tea”.

    So I let the bubbles fill the screen nicely then hover over a few of them.  I notice one of the bubbles is a post in the Perimeter at http://edge.technet.com I did back on April 16, 2008.  Letdown.  I thought these would be new Orbs, not old moldy Orbs.

    This is an interesting Silverlight application and in the context of the community site helps visualize activity, but the Perimeter area on edge.technet.com is dead.  Don’t ask me why.  Maybe you can answer that.  But the forum area at http://forums.microsoft.com/technet/default.aspx is really busy so it would seem to be a better source of new orbs.

    As for yet another community site, someone needs to cry uncle.  For IT Pros, the starting place needs to be http://technet.microsoft.com.  Period.  It should be the starting point for all things IT Pro.  Reference information, events, forums, videos, etc.  That would include social bookmarking, orbs and all of the other stuff popping up.  Nobody is going to remember all of these sites.  But technet.microsoft.com is easy to remember.

    Ok, now for the trivial question.  What song did the phrase bolded above come from?

  • Windows Vista Complete PC screencast

    It’s been a while since I brought up a great feature in Windows Vista (not present in Windows XP) called Complete PC (CPC). Available in Windows Vista Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions, Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore is a image-based backup tool that will help you out of a tight spot if you need to recover your entire system.

    While file restore is useful in cases of file loss and data corruption, Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore is most useful for disaster recovery when your PC malfunctions. This feature helps you create complete PC backups, and then in the event of a serious system issue or data loss, Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore can restore your entire PC environment, including the operating system, installed programs, user settings, and data files.

    You can restore your PC back to its original state or onto another PC. Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore can be initiated from within Windows Vista or from the Windows Vista installation CD, if the PC is not able to start up normally from the hard disk.  This feature is also now integrated into Windows Server 2008 and part of the backup and recovery toolset on that platform.

    Here’s a screencast on Complete PC.  Don’t forget you can view this full screen by double clicking the video during playback or using the button on the far left of the player toolbar.

    Checkout the FAQ from the team that developed the feature.  It’ll answer some questions about security, network backups, etc.  If you really must have a Powerpoint slide deck on the subject, check this out.

  • Twitter is twittering out

    Twitter has gone down in flames the past few days.  Capacity issues.  I thought it was interesting that they are using a whale in the picture of the issue.  Is that symbolic?  Does it represent theirs views on “power users” like Robert Scoble that have 20,000 followers and are following 20,000 other people?  I have no idea but they certainly have an issue on their hands. 

    image

  • The Windows Server 2008 Step-by-Step Guide list is getting big

    ws2008 Every time I go back and review the list of step-by-step guides for Windows Server 2008 I am surprised to see it get bigger and bigger.  This evening is no exception.  Get any of the following guides @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=518d870c-fa3e-4f6a-97f5-acaf31de6dce&DisplayLang=en#filelist.

     

    Windows Server 2008 Step-by-Step Guides

    Creating_and_Deploying_Active_Directory_Rights_Management_Services_Templates_Step-by-Step_Guide.doc

    Deploying Active Directory Rights Management Services in a Multiple Forest Environment Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    Deploying Active Directory Rights Management Services in an Extranet Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    Deploying Active Directory Rights Management Services with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Step-By-Step Guide.doc

    Deploying an Active Directory Rights Management Services Licensing-only Cluster Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    Deploying SSTP Remote Access Step by Step Guide.doc

    Removing Active Directory Rights Management Services Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    Server Manager Scenarios Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    Server_Core_Installation_Option_of_Windows_Server_2008_Step-By-Step_Guide.doc

    Step_by_Step_Guide_to_Customizing_TS_Web_Access_by_Using_Windows_SharePoint_Services.doc

    Step-by-Step Guide for Configuring a Two-Node File Server Failover Cluster in Windows Server 2008.doc

    Step-by-Step Guide for Configuring a Two-Node Print Server Failover Cluster in Windows Server 2008.doc

    Step-by-Step Guide for File Server Resource Manager in Windows Server 2008.doc

    Step-by-Step Guide for Storage Manager for SANs in Windows Server 2008.doc

    Step-by-Step Guide to Deploying Policies for Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.doc

    Step-by-Step_Guide_for_Configuring_Network_Load_Balancing_with_Terminal_Services_in_Windows_Server_2008.doc

    Step-by-Step_Guide_for_Windows_Deployment_Services_in_Windows_Server_2008.doc

    Using Identity Federation with Active Directory Rights Management Services Step-by-Step Guide.doc

    Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Certificate Services Step-By-Step Guide.doc

    Windows Server 2008 Foundation Network Guide.doc

    Windows Server 2008 Network Policy Server (NPS) Operations Guide.doc

    Windows Server 2008 Step-by-Step Guide for DNS in Small Networks.doc

    Windows Server 2008 TS Gateway Server Step-By-Step Setup Guide.doc

    Windows Server 2008 TS Licensing Step-By-Step Guide.doc

    Windows_ Server_Active_Directory_Rights_Management_Services_Step-by-Step_Guide.doc

    Windows_Server_2008_Terminal_Services_RemoteApp_Step-by-Step_Guide.doc

    Windows_Server_2008_TS_Session_Broker_Load_Balancing_Step-By-Step_Guide.doc

  • TCP/IP Fundamentals for Windows – PDF download available

    This online book is a structured, introductory approach to the basic concepts and principles of the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) protocol suite, how the most important protocols function, and their basic configuration in the Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 families of operating systems. This book is primarily a discussion of concepts and principles to lay a conceptual foundation for the TCP/IP protocol suite and provides an integrated discussion of both Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

    Get it @ http://download.microsoft.com/download/9/4/6/946958ef-7b86-4ddc-bfdb-c7ed2af4ce51/TCPIP_Fund.pdf.