Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

Pure Microsoft

Pure Microsoft

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I’ve been listening to our customers a lot lately.  I get a lot of good feedback here, but it’s no substitute for the direct frank conversations we’ve had at the live events, launch events and conferences like MMS or TechEd.

One of the complaints I’ve been hearing more and more is centered around our content.  The crux of the complaint is that we aren’t real world in the demos we do on webcasts, screencasts, live events, hands on labs, etc.

As much as I’d like a raised floor data center at my home or office location to simulate more real work conditions, that just isn’t in my personal budget and I am unlikely to get much through our expense reporting process before it gets red flagged.

So, what would be a happy medium?  Are there some core products that you use everyday that we should be including in our mix?  Software is probably easier to purchase and use, but keep in mind a lot of us don’t have racks of servers to use when we are out on the road delivering events or webcasts.  We typically carry one laptop and that's about it.

Thoughts?

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  • can't you use the Server 2008 Terminal Services (ie over http) to connect back to some demo machines u have in a lab / Datacenter

  • Sure, but your assuming there is a datacenter or lab to start with.  Again, what products are pervasively used that you don't see in our content that would make it "real" ???

  • We should create a Hyper-V environment of VMs that are all the typical machines that an approved fakename company would have, clients, servers, firewalls, the whole shebang. Do demos with this "contoso-type" environment.

  • Use an external drive and VM's...I'd throw on typical software in various combinations: anti-virus engines at the client/server level - Symantec/Computer Associates/Trend Micro; Backup software for pcs, servers and server engines - Symantec Backup Exec or Net Backup/HP/CA; ERP engines - MS, SAP, Infor, Epicor, etc.

    Those are some of the things I would have liked to see (or their competitors) loaded up on some demos I've seen.  Having various builds of 3rd party would allow you to tailor the demo a little more.  Granted that adds more knowledge overhead tothe presenter becasue you'd want to be capable in the third party apps as well as the MS technology your presenting also.

  • For many years all Microsoft courses, labs, demos and exams have focused around Contoso, Fabrikam and Tailspin Toys.  As a previous post said - why not build them?!  Microsoft has the resources to turn these fictitous companies into actual environments based on Virtual Servers in a central lab.  Build co-existing messaging infrastructures (like most real-world companies have), set up some trusts between the 3 as if they are merging, let problems surface in the day to day of the environment and leave some of them like most companies do!  I think the main complaint is that we see these perfectly configured Microsoft labs where products look fantastic then try implementing them in our own and find we have a coexistence issue or a hotfix is required or a trust has stopped working.  Fair enough we're told pre-installation that KBxxxx installed must be installed then we see an error free wizard run but it would be good to see what happens when you don't have it installed, for example.

    Microsoft have the resources to build these three companies into actual working environments based on VM's.  The resources are there to enable remote access to the VM's and to provide a virtualisation platform for each trainer/demo to fire up an isolated copy of the baselined environment to demo and trash.  That takes the exercise from "We're going to install SCCM into an environment that has a DC and member server" to "We're building SCCM into a production environment for Contoso today".

    Besides, if Microsoft were to do this it would also assist with exams.  Baseline the environments in VM's and list the configuration - then base the exam questions around it.  The fact that on Q1 Contoso has 1 AD site a 2 DC's, then on Q15 Contoso has NT4 and wants to upgrade, not only makes the exams confusing but also not real world.  Real world we make decisions to solve problems a la exam type questions based on an environment we know or can at least fully investigate before answering!

    Build these fictitous companies - share them - write actual whitepapers on how things were implemented to raise the baseline of the environment and by doing this, help a lot of people!

  • Is there any list of companies that are pure Microsoft?

    I heard freightliner was, but that's the only name I have.

    I'm looking to work for a "pure microsoft" environment. I dont mind a mac or two in the advertising dept, but the rest should be pure.

    No Flash, no Acrobat, no Sun Java.

    I created a small 240 user LAN, and its pure MS, and runs flawlessly. All the apps are either MS, or are Vista 32 bit logo certified. I havent seen a crash since Win98.

    One $160 call (which I have not yet used) to Microsoft and they solve a problem with Outlook 2007 running on Vista, hitting a Sharepoint server,through an ISA firewall, over a Microsoft IPSEC PPTP VPN, using a SQL server 2008 database.

    There's no finger pointing to another 3rd party app or company, that causes a problem.