Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

May, 2009

  • Dual Boot from VHD Using Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

    windows7rc_bloglogo

    Executive Summary

    Boot from VHD is a new technique for installing and maintaining operating system environments.  Unlike virtual machines, the operating system that is running from a “boot from VHD” environment is using the actual hardware instead of emulated hardware.  This means a developer could easily use WPF and the full GPU processing power of a high end graphics card.  In another scenario, this technology makes it easy to setup and run Windows Server 2008 R2 with the Hyper-V role, thus supporting 64 bit virtualization workloads.

    The Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) is the container for the installed operating system.  Because everything is inside a single file, there are a number of benefits that can be realized for data center server environments, as well as managed desktop environments.  The following article dives into the technical details of implementing two operating systems.  Both are installed in a VHD file and can easily be booted by selecting the preferred environment at power on.  This could easily be scripted and automated.

    The Installation Foundation – Windows PE

    The Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) has been updated for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.  One of those improvements is the ability to use a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) file as the target for an installation of the operating system (OS).

    This has some interesting implications.  Booting from a .VHD file that contains an entire OS seems rather magical.  I mean think about it.  You go to look at a hard drive and there’s a single file but Windows Server 2008 R2 is installed inside it.  This would certainly simplify the ability to boot your servers on a completely new environment with little effort.  This is going to turn change management on its ear.

    The same is true for the desktop OS, Windows 7.  You can install Windows 7 inside a .VHD file.  Again, the OS is installed inside a single file and thus makes it rather easy to move or change out and bring up a completely different version of the environment.  This will make test environments for developers super easy to construct and test discrete sets of applications or components.

    One thing that is not well known is how easy it is to create the initial .VHD file and install the operating system into it.  The supported and documented ways are geared towards very well defined support scenarios.  You can see the supported scenarios in the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK).  Most people have been reluctant to take the time to learn this because it involves the use of imagex captures and applies.

    What if you could install with just the DVD?

    You can.  All you need is a hard drive with disk space and the DVD for Windows 7 RC or Windows Server 2008 R2 RC.  In fact, when I was investigating the tools for this article I used a brand spanking new Hitachi 2.5” 320GB 7200rpm hard drive and both DVDs to create a dual boot environment.  Nothing more.  And it’s much simpler than I thought.  The key is WinPE and DISKPART.  Here is the screencast demonstration of the tools in action.

    The Screencast Video – 23 minutes – Win7 and R2 Dual Boot via VHD

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    The Command Sequence Used in the Video

    1. Boot your machine with a blank hard drive using the Windows 7 DVD.
    2. Click next on the language screen if English is appropriate.
    3. SHIFT+F10 to launch a WinPE command console.  Although the commands below are in upper case, the commands are not case sensitive.  I am only using upper case for readability here.
    4. Enter DISKPART to run the utility.
    5. LIST DISK to see the available disks in your system.  I am assuming a single raw disk.
    6. SEL DISK 0
    7. CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
    8. FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK
    9. LIST VOL
    10. ASSIGN
    11. LIST VOL
    12. CREATE VDISK FILE=c:\windows7rc.vhd MAXIMUM=200000 TYPE=EXPANDABLE
    13. SELECT VDISK FILE=c:\windows7rc.vhd
    14. ATTACH VDISK
    15. CRE PART PRI
    16. FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK
    17. ASSIGN LETTER=V:
    18. LIST VOL
    19. LIST VDISK
    20. exit DISPART
    21. exit WinPE command console
    22. Install to the newly created 200GB (fuzzy math) virtual hard disk which looks just like a partition to Windows Setup
    23. Repeat steps 11-18 for the Windows Server 2008 R2 VHD but with the obvious changes for the vdisk filename, size, etc.

    Other References and Articles

    Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 RC – get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=60a07e71-0acb-453a-8035-d30ead27ef72.  This is the bible for the supported methods of using “Boot from VHD”. 

    Windows Virtualization Blog – see their VHD boot post at http://blogs.technet.com/virtualization/archive/2009/05/14/native-vhd-support-in-windows-7.aspx.  Particularly interesting is the performance area of the post.

    Knom’s Developer Corner – another nice post at http://blogs.msdn.com/knom/archive/2009/04/07/windows-7-vhd-boot-setup-guideline.aspx.

    So What’s Next ???

    Tomorrow I am going to backup my existing Windows 7 production hard drive.  Windows 7 is installed in the traditional fashion on a 200GB drive right now.  I am going to restore the backup to a larger disk then install Windows Server 2008 R2 RC into a .VHD and test mixing them.  That’s a bit of a hybrid and one I think a lot of developers might be interested in.  It would certainly demonstrate you can have a traditional implementation of your production OS, but flip to any other Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows 7 testbed very easily.  I’ll follow-up here or another post when I get that implemented.  Enjoy.

    [UPDATE for 5/23/2009] As I indicated just above, I wanted to run an extension of the test I recorded.  I backed up my 200GB Windows 7 RC environment then restored it to a 320GB drive.  After that, I booted from the Windows Server 2008 R2 RC DVD and created a bootable VHD with R2 inside.  The VHD is stored in a folder at the root of my 320GB disk.  The R2 setup program fixed up the bcdstore area and I now have a dual boot hybrid.  Windows 7 is installed in the traditional manner.  R2 is booting from the VHD.  Both are available on the selection menu at power up. Interesting stuff for sure.

    [UPDATE for 5/25/2009] Since I received a couple of questions out of band on how I captured the demo, let me explain.  The demo was captured using Camtasia v6.0.2.  The demo was a Hyper-V virtual machine, not native hardware.  I had mentioned that in some of the preliminary takes but I guess I didn't make that clear in the final take.  Therefore, the booted OS in the screencast is actually using the emulated hardware of the virtual machine.  Everything you see in the demo works on my native hardware, a Lenovo ThinkPad T61p.

    One other thing, the VHD that is being booted from will expand to the maximum size specified at creation.  It will revert to the used size when you shut it down.  Keep this in mind because that buffer must exist at boot time or else.

    [UPDATE for 6/14/2009]  Although this article was originally written using a blank hard drive, I have received a few suggestions for adds, so here they are. 

    1. Backup your machine first.  Yep, this is a good idea as always if you are messing with a drive you care about.
    2. Decrypt the drive if using BitLocker.
  • What do you use for URL and keyword blocking?

    Today I trekked down to the local Fry’s and picked up a couple of items I’ve been wanting and needing.  The first item was the Netgear FVS318 ProSafe VPN Firewall.  On paper this firewall has everything I need, except one thing.  Throughput. 

    image I have a Verizon FIOS internet connection.  The 25/5 plan I have gives me great speed.  But after connecting the Netgear FVS318 and running some speed tests, it became all too obvious very quickly this was going to be a swift return.  I was only getting download speeds of 7MB and upload speeds of 3MB.  In other words, this device was a terrible bottleneck.  So I didn’t even bother testing URL blocking or content filtering.  The picture at right is what it’s supposed to look like.

    So back to the question in the title.  What do you use at the gateway level to block websites or do content filtering?  I was talking with a nice man and his wife about their needs, and they would also like content filtering via keywords.  I noticed the FVS318 allows for 32 URLs or keywords, but that seems like a pretty small list.  If you have teens, you know why I am asking.

    Most of the consumer grade firewalls seem to be lacking this feature.  I used to do this easily with the ISA Firewall Server that was part of Microsoft Small Business Server, but I am no longer using a business class static ip plan internet connection.  Maybe it’s time to move back.  My wife is pretty fed up with hosted email.

    Recommendations and advice welcome.  Thanks.

    One last thing to the parents reading this.  Do yourself a favor and do not put computers in the bedrooms of your home.  Keep all of the computers and game consoles in a common area.  This includes laptops.

  • Windows Server 2008 Interop with Linux and OS X

    We’re a little over halfway done with the Interop Road Show I helped create.  Last week Matt Hester did a simulcast of the live event from Chicago.  Although he did a great job, I wanted to capture the demos with Camtasia v6.0.2 and provide some high quality audio and video of the demos, so here they are.

    A Party of Protocols

    There are a number of ways to invite Linux, UNIX, and OS X to the Windows Server Active Directory party.  The operating systems we use today will interoperate in many ways because each includes some level of common protocol support.  Support for HTTP is an obvious protocol they all share.  SMB is also commonly used for access to Windows file system shares.  In the UNIX world, NFS ruled the ether for years.  Thankfully directory and security protocols like LDAP and Kerberos have also become common in the desktop and server operating systems.

    There are pros and cons to any approach to integrating heterogeneous environments.  Usually this means there will be tradeoffs on functionality.  Thankfully, there is a robust market out there to lower the number of tradeoffs and attempt to provide near seamless coexistence and integration.

    For those of you that get TechNet Magazine, you probably noticed the December 2008 issue devoted to this subject.  You also probably noticed it isn’t necessarily trivial to do everything you might set out to accomplish.  As Matt likes to say, get some sleep, get up early, and eat your Nerdflakes because you are going to need them.

    I shopped the partner market.  I wanted to see if there were some products you should consider that ease the pain.  There are and you should by all means evaluate the products from Centrify, Quest, Likewise and others.  You’ll notice I am using Centrify DirectControl. 

    The main reason for that is simple.  Linux, OS X and UNIX and Windows include support for authentication, directories and file sharing.  That capability is built into the OS.  However, if you want to do desktop management, you really need help from an additional set of agents and code.  You’ll see what I mean in demo number three below.

    Adding SUSE Linux to Active Directory (AD)

    In the video just below, we are going to add a SLED 10 SP2 virtual machine to the contoso.com domain.  We’ll first check and verify the vm is able to find the domain controllers and that we have good connectivity.  Then we’ll join the domain and reboot the vm.  Check it out.

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    Security Security

    Now that our workstation vm is a citizen of the contoso.com domain, we can start doing the stuff that would be a normal next step.  For instance, we would want to verify user principals from AD can login on the Linux machine and use it.  We would also want to check the security model and verify share and file permissions are working as expected.  Checkout this next video on that subject.

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    Bow to Group Policy

    Now that we can see networking, authentication and security is working properly, we can start to take advantage of the management infrastructure.  For this demo, we are going to make a simple change to the SLED 10 SP2 GNOME settings to verify Group Policy Object (GPO) settings are flowing from Windows to Linux.

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    Summary

    There is obviously a lot more to this subject, but as you can see, interoperability between Windows Server 2008 and a number of other server and desktop operating systems is quite good.  You can do this the easy way, or you can do it the not so easy way.  It’s really going to depend on your needs.  If you have no need for desktop management via group policies, then you should investigate the native integration possibilities.  If you have more advanced management needs to get the wild wild west tamed, then I would highly recommend looking at the partner tools.

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 – DirectAccess RC Step-by-Step Guide released

    ws2008 r2 blog logo DirectAccess is a new feature in the Windows® 7 and Windows Server® 2008 R2 operating systems that enables remote users to securely access intranet shares, Web sites, and applications without connecting to a virtual private network (VPN). This paper contains an introduction to DirectAccess and instructions for setting up a test lab to demonstrate DirectAccess with a simulated Internet, intranet, and home network using the Release Candidate versions of Windows 7 and Window Server 2008 R2.

    With any luck (time permitting), I’ll be using the end result of this guide next week for my R2 demonstrations in Houston.  It’s complicated and time consuming so no promises.  I have a ton of honey dues this week leading up to Mommies Day.

    Get the guide @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=8d47ed5f-d217-4d84-b698-f39360d82fac.

  • How would you like to tell Snake Doctor “The Unit” is cancelled?

    image

    Not me. Thanks to Matt Hester for bringing this to my attention and ruining my weekend.

  • Installing the Windows Server 2008 R2 RC on a Lenovo ThinkPad T61p

    ws2008 r2 blog logo Windows 7 sure got the attention of a lot of you this week, but let’s not forget big brother, Windows Server 2008 R2 also shipped the release candidate.  Considering Hyper-V is a core tool for me and many of you, I was eager to download and install the RC bits on my Lenovo ThinkPad T61p.

    The good news is that many of the core drivers you’ll want, install directly from the Windows Server 2008 R2 RC DVD.  These drivers are known as “inbox” drivers.  A couple of drivers will also flow off the update.microsoft.com servers.

    There is one notable exception.  The video driver doesn’t install from the DVD and doesn’t flow off the update.microsoft.com servers.  That was a little disappointing because it means you have to do some work to get all of the eye candy.  Heck, even if you have no plans to turn on Aero, you’ll still want the video driver for multimon support.  With all of that in mind, here are the steps I went through in order to establish my new Hyper-V v2.0 demo environment:

    1. Install Windows Server 2008 R2.  My machine is connected to my GigE backbone via the T61p ethernet adaptor.
    2. From R2, use IE8 to go to http://catalog.update.microsoft.com
    3. Install the MU Catalog ActiveX control.
    4. Search for “NVIDIA Quadro FX 570M”.
    5. Click the Last Update column heading to sort in descending order.
    6. The Windows 7 RC driver you want is currently the fourth item in the list.  It’s the driver dated 2/25/2009, version 8.15.11.8171 with a file size of 79.8 MB.  That’s the 64 bit driver you’ll need for R2 and your T61p.  Add it to your basket.
    7. Click view basket in the top right portion of your screen under the Search field.
    8. Click the download button.  Most likely you’ll need to enable popups for this site.
    9. Click the Browse button and pick a folder to download the goods into.
    10. Click the Continue button.  Downloading should automatically commence.
    11. Click the Close button when the download completes. You are done with this site for now.
    12. You’ll notice that a directory named “NVIDIA driver update for NVIDIA Quadro FX 570M (Prerelease - WDDM 1.1)” is created in the folder you specified in step 9 above.  Double click the folder name.
    13. Double click the .CAB file in the folder.
    14. Select all files.
    15. Right mouse the files and extract them to a new folder.  For example, use c:\temp.
    16. Run c:\temp\setup.exe
    17. Restart after the installation is complete.
    18. At this point you have video and ethernet networking.  You could go right to installing the Hyper-V role at this point, but I install some other features first to allow me to do Camtasia screen captures and such.  With that in mind, launch Server Manager.
    19. Install the Desktop Experience and Wireless LAN Service features.
    20. Restart when prompted.
    21. After the reboot and subsequent launch of Server Manager, you should see it report success for the installation of both features.  This is a good time to connect to a wireless network if desired.
    22. Start | Admin Tools | Services
    23. Start the Themes service and set it to automatic.
    24. Right mouse click your desktop and select the Personalize menu item.
    25. Click the Windows 7 Aero theme.  This should turn on Aero glass.  However, the machine is set for performance not appearance, so you will want to tweak that for full eye candy.  Assuming of course you want that for a personal Windows Server 2008 R2 install.  You would never do that on a real server.
    26. Start | Right mouse click Computer | select Properties.
    27. Click Advanced system settings in the top left portion of the screen.  You can also get to this a variety of other ways.
    28. Click the Settings button.  I am assuming you are on the Advanced tab at this point.
    29. On the Visual Effect tab, click the “Adjust for best appearance” radio button.  This turns on full eye candy and of course takes some of the performance from your system. 
    30. Install the Hyper-V role.
    31. If you want audio, turn on the Windows Audio service.

    Some of you will likely want to install the other banged out drivers and try to make Windows Server 2008 R2 your daily workstation environment.  I have no intention of doing that.  I use Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise for that.  Enjoy your new Hyper-V virtual machine execution environment!!!

  • Does the Kindle DX make you drool ???

    image

    I really like my Kindle 2.  So needless to say I was more than interested in the announcements today by Amazon. But after reading up on the Kindle DX, I am not drooling for the new bigger device.  First of all, the new device is more expensive and I thought the Kindle 2 was already too expensive.  Second, it looks pretty big.  I like the small form factor Kindle 2, so I’m not sure I’d want anything any bigger in my backpack.  I guess it remains to be seen if they sell well.  Good luck competing with those netbook dollars. 

  • Remote Server Admin Tools (RSAT) for Windows 7 RC – now available

    ws2008 r2 blog logo Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 RC enables IT administrators to manage roles and features that are installed on remote computers that are running Windows Server 2008 R2 (and, for some roles and features, Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003) from a remote computer that is running Windows 7 RC.

    It includes support for remote management of computers that are running either the Server Core or full installation options of Windows Server 2008 R2, and for some roles and features, Windows Server 2008. Some roles and features on Windows Server 2003 can be managed remotely by using Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 RC, although the Server Core installation option is not available with the Windows Server 2003 operating system.

    This feature is comparable in functionality to the Windows Server 2003 Administrative Tools Pack and Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1).

    Go get them @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=f6c62797-791c-48e3-b754-c7c0a09f32f3&displaylang=en.

  • The Death of Twitter and Short URLs ???

    The first time I saw twitter and the little URL converters that shorten big long URLs into tiny undecipherable URL thingies, I just knew this was a technology looking for a problem.  I was right.  Sure enough, the bad guys have already started using Twitter as a platform for their antics.  See http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/30/new-twitter-virus-best-video/ for some information on one of the latest worms taking advantage of the technology.

    image The Impact

    I have already started educating my family members on the problem.  You don’t think it’s a problem?  Think again.  The service is currently down.  And this sort of thing will likely have me shutting down my twitter account.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to worry about the risk associated with this sort of nefarious activity.

    How do you know that the tweet coming from someone you follow is actually coming from them?  And even if you have some reasonable assurance, what security checks are in the platform and ANY of the twitter clients to prevent you from going to a web site that is trying to steal personal information?  None that I can tell.

    Think about it.  Think about how much money has been spent trying to stop spam on email systems and the internet.  Do you really think a system like twitter with celebrities' millions of followers aren't just ripe for abuse?  Aren’t those tiny little URLs cute.  Target rich.

    And the bad guys know it.  You were warned.

  • Hardware Virtualization and Planning for Windows Virtual PC

    windows 7 blog background Many of you have started to study the new features and additions available for Windows 7.  The virtualization group in Microsoft took the covers off a new product called Windows Virtual PC.  Windows Virtual PC has some fascinating features which will be welcome additions to those of you that have been using Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 over the years.

    Before we get into those features, some research and planning is in order.  If you are planning to use Windows Virtual PC, then you need to be aware that a prerequisite is hardware virtualization.  Intel and AMD both ship processors that support hardware virtualization. 

    Intel CPU hardware virtualization is called Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT).  AMD also includes AMD Virtualization (AMD-V) in a number of their processors.  You would think that all of the modern processors would ship with these capabilities.  However, you would be wrong.  Not all processors are created equally and it isn’t easy to tell them apart.  Here are a couple of examples of what I am talking about:

    Example 1

    1. Go to http://processorfinder.intel.com/Default.aspx.
    2. Click the Notebook radio button.
    3. Click the “Select a processor family” drop down list and click “Intel® Core™2 Quad Mobile Processor
    4. The result should show the Q9100 and Q9000 processors.  In the Supported Features list, click Intel Virtualization Technology then click the “Filter on Selections” button.
    5. Observe the Q9100 disappears. 

    Yep, you read that correctly.  The Intel® Core™2 Quad Mobile Processor Q9100 does not have Intel VT and therefore a laptop purchased with that Quad processor will not run Windows Virtual PC.  And therefore it won’t run Windows XP Mode.

    Example 2

    1. Go to http://processorfinder.intel.com/Default.aspx.
    2. Click the Notebook radio button.
    3. Click the “Select a processor family” drop down list and click “Intel® Core™2 Duo Mobile Processor
    4. The result should show 109 different processors.  In the Supported Features list, click Intel Virtualization Technology then click the “Filter on Selections” button.
    5. Observe only 86 processors remain.

    Yep, you read that correctly.  23 Core 2 Duo processors don’t have Intel VT and therefore won’t run Windows Virtual PC.

    Summary

    If you are planning to use Windows Virtual PC, please plan your hardware purchases carefully.  This is especially true if you are planning to use Window XP Mode to run legacy applications on Windows 7 using this feature set.  Both Intel and AMD have documented the specs of their processors, chipsets and families.  Don’t assume the OEM makers will have this clearly defined on the laptop and desktop purchasing sites.  It’s going to be all too easy to make a mistake if you aren’t careful.

  • IT Pro Momentum Program Results – Ginger Grady

    IT Pro Momentum

    Your name:   Ginger Grady

    Company name: 

    Your geographic location (country):   USA

    Public disclosure of your name and company name allowed? (Yes or No)  Name only, not company

    Objectives of the project:  What problem did you set out to solve?  I am testing Windows 7 compatibility with companies current software and hardware.

    Are you piloting or deploying the products?   I will be piloting starting in May.  Deployment will not start until all programs being run are compatible.

    Products used in the project (all that apply):   Windows 7 and IE 8

    Project description:  I am testing compatibility between programs that we are using already with Windows 7.

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied?  Did you solve the problem?

    Are you going to save money?  How much over how many years?

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program?    We tried to make this as easy as possible on everyone.  I like program and have recommended it to several other IT friends. 

  • I spy the Windows 7 RC download !!!

    windows 7 blog background Both the 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 RC are available in five languages: English, German, Japanese, French, and Spanish. Just choose the version that fits the system you'll be using for the test, pick your language and click go to register for and download the software.

    Downloading Windows 7 RC could take a few hours. The exact time will depend on your internet provider, bandwidth, and traffic. The good news is that once you start the download, you won't have to answer any more questions – you can walk away while it finishes. If it gets interrupted, it'll restart where it left off. See this FAQ for details.

    Go get it @ http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/download.aspx

    Looks like the download service is rocking and rolling at the moment.  In order to write this blog post, I needed to download and install Windows Live Writer, look up my FTP password, and get the profile all setup.  The download manager (as indicated below) has already downloaded half in that short period of time.

    image

    Let’s hope that kind of performance continues through the week and weekend.  I think you are really going to enjoy the release candidate. Enjoy!

  • Summer is here and so is laptop heat !!!

    I finally found something that might make my Dell Latitude D820 or Apple MackBook Pro tolerable to use on the couch.  You see, both of those machines generate a pretty significant amount of heat, and if you are already hot natured, you aren’t going to use them very long on your lap without a NASA class heat shield. Especially in the summer of Texas.

    image

    Enter from stage left the Logitech Comfort Lapdesk for Notebooks.  I am using it at the moment with my Lenovo Thinkpad T61p.  I like it a lot already.  It is the perfect size and weight.  It’s super light weight and has a really nice firm cushion below the plastic surfaces.  The T61p is a 15.4” widescreen machine.  This leaves about 1.5 inches on each side of the laptop when it is sitting on the top plastic surface.  A 17” laptop would be edge to edge.  In other words, there is no room for a mouse, which is fine with me.

    So if you like to use a laptop but want some relief from the heat generated by today's powerful laptops, then you should checkout this new product.  I have a sneaky suspicion that my wife is going to steal this from me tonight.  That’s ok because I am going back to Fry’s tomorrow anyway to return a firewall.  I’ll probably pick up another one of these laptop firewalls for her/me while I am there.

    Time will tell how well it holds up to abuse.  At $39 I’m not expecting years and years, but I am hopeful it will last a year or two.

  • Lust on Wheels

    image

  • Zune HD Announced

    05-26ZuneHD_lg

    See the Press Release details at http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/press/2009/may09/05-26ZuneHDPR.mspx

    Zune HD is the next iteration of the Zune device family and brings a new level of listening and viewing experiences to the portable media player category.

    • Zune HD comes with a built-in HD Radio receiver so users can listen to higher-quality sound than traditional radio on the go. Users also will have access to the additional song and artist data broadcast by HD Radio stations as well as additional channels from their favorite stations multicasting in HD. If you don’t like the song playing on your station’s HD channel, switch to its HD2 or HD3 channels for additional programming.
    • The bright OLED touch screen interface allows users to flip through music, movies and other content with ease, and the 16:9 widescreen format display (480x272 resolution) offers a premium viewing experience on the go.
    • The HD-compatible output lets Zune HD customers playback supported HD video files from the device through a premium high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) audiovisual docking station (sold separately) direct to an HD TV in 720p.*
    • Zune HD will include a full-screen Internet browser optimized for multitouch functionality.
    • Zune HD is Wi-Fi enabled, allowing for instant streaming to the device from the more than 5 million-track Zune music store.

    More information on Zune and related images is available at http://www.zune.net/press and http://www.zune.net/ZuneHD

  • Interop Road Show Webcast - live this week on 5/6/2009

    interop_header_interior On Wednesday May 6th, we’ll be broadcasting the Interop Road Show.  Actually it’s going to be a bit of a simulcast.  Matt Hester will be in Downers Grove, IL doing a live delivery of the sessions, and we’ll pick up the audio and demonstrations via the magic of Microsoft LiveMeeting.

    In addition to having Matt present the sessions, we’ll also have Kevin Remde and Shawn Travers onsite helping to manage the questions and get Matt’s attention.  And that’s not all.  I’ll also be helping answer questions, but from the shady umbrella of my pool patio.

    How do you attend this event virtually?

    Easy.  Just head on over to the http://www.microsoft.com/events area and click the Live Webcasts link in the top left navigation area.  This will dump out a list of the upcoming webcasts.  You should see the webcast in the list for May 6, 2009.  Of course, you could just click the direct link and register.

    As with all of our webcasts, this event will be recorded and barring any technical issues will be available for download and offline playback a few days later.  In addition to that, I will also be recording some high quality versions of the demos this week using Camtasia and will make them available here on my blog, as well as on the edge.technet.com website.

    What are we going over in the sessions?

    A ton!  In the first session we discuss how to add Linux or OS X desktops to an Active Directory (AD) environment.  We’ll authenticate against AD, test permissions, and assorted other fun stuff.  In that session we’ll also use a partner product from Centrify called DirectControl to add Active Directory Group Policy integration to the mix.  We’ll test pushing some GPO settings to a Linux virtual machine and see how this flows.  A review of the available DirectControl OS X settings will also be briefly reviewed.

    The second and third sessions cover how to install and use Open Source Software (OSS) on Windows Server 2008.  In the second session we’ll implement Apache, PHP, and MySQL then drop Drupal on top of that.  We’ll then migrate the Drupal site to IIS and demonstrate Wordpress running on IIS, MySQL and PHP.  The last session demonstrates integration of PHP with SQL Server 2008.  I’ll save the rest of the demo surprises to Matt.  Grin.

    This will be a rather long webcast primarily because it’s really a live event that we are sharing via LiveMeeting.  There will be breaks between each session of approximately 20-30 minutes in duration.  The cool thing about this type of event is that you get to ask questions without interrupting the speaker.  So ask away!!!

    Event Information

    Language(s): English.

    Product(s): Windows Server 2008, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, Apache, MySQL, PHP, IIS7, SQL Server 2008

    Audience(s): IT Manager,IT Professional.

    Duration: 240 Minutes

    Start Date: Wednesday, May 06, 2009 6:30 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada)

    Event registration: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032414587&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US.

  • Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista SP2 – now available

    ws2008 Service Pack 2 for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista (SP2) is an update to Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 that supports new kinds of hardware and emerging hardware standards, and includes all updates delivered since SP1. SP2 simplifies administration by enabling IT administrators to deploy and support a single service pack for clients and servers. Please see the Windows Server SP2/Windows Vista SP2 page on TechNet/MSDN for additional details and documentation.

    SP2 is an update to Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista that incorporates improvements discovered through automated feedback, as well as updates that have been delivered since SP1. By providing these fixes integrated into a single service pack for both client and server, Microsoft provides a single high-quality update that minimizes deployment and testing complexity for customers.

    Service Pack 1 is a prerequisite for installing Service Pack 2. Please make sure that your system is running Service Pack 1 before you install Service Pack 2.

    x86 is @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=a4dd31d5-f907-4406-9012-a5c3199ea2b3&DisplayLang=en.

    x64 is @ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=656c9d4a-55ec-4972-a0d7-b1a6fedf51a7&DisplayLang=en

    For those of you with TechNet or MSDN subscriptions, you can find the fully integrated version (.ISO image) of Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 on the TechNet subscriber download center.

  • Revisiting Application Compatibility in Windows 7

    windows7rc_bloglogo Blogging is funny.  Like all writers you go through dry spells on things to write about.  I never really worry about it because like you, I actually have a day job and it keeps me plenty busy.  Another reason is because good topics tend to bubble up naturally.  Application compatibility is one of those topics. 

    As we all know, application compatibility can make or break an operating system.  This is especially true on the desktop.  I was reading an internal thread and someone was complaining about not being able to install some printer software for their home office printer.  Deja vu.

    This reminded me to go take a hard look at the current application compatibility picture for Windows 7 and write about some of the information that is at your fingertips.  I was really pleased to find a couple of resources you should look closely at for the hardware and applications you are using, or plan to use with Windows 7.

    The Windows 7 Focus

    As always, you should really take a close look at the development team goals for this release of the operating system.  The Windows 7 Engineering blog offers great insight into those goals.  See their general post on the subject at http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/03/03/application-compatibility-testing-for-windows-7.aspx.  That was published in March and they published an International follow-up a few days later at http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2009/03/09/application-compatibility-testing-international.aspx.  This should give you a good idea of how serious this is treated.

    The Mother Load

    It’s always fun to find the gold nugget.  I was digging around in the application compat areas and ran across something I think all of you have asked for at one time or another.  Sure enough, we now have a downloadable spreadsheet called of all things the “Application Compatibility List”.  I know, pick your jaw off the floor.  Maybe it’s been around for a long time and I just forgot about it, but it’s a start.  A pretty nice one, too.  Now granted it’s currently geared towards Windows Vista, but if your app runs on Vista, you have a good shot at it running on Windows 7, too.  Read the disclaimers in the spreadsheet carefully.  As I understand it, some of the information isn’t from Microsoft so I assume it’s coming from the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT).

    Search Online

    My personal preference would be to have an online searchable database for hardware and software compatibility.  Ask and yee shall receive.

    image

    See the compatibility search area at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/.  As you can see here, there is a rich amount of information on software and hardware.

    Other Resources

    There are a number of other resources that are always at your disposal.  We do of course to webcasts on this subject and will have more on this particular subject over the next few months.  In the meantime, make sure to familiarize yourself with the  Application Compatibility Tech Center.  The Deployment Tech Center is right next to it and goes hand in hand with application testing.

  • We have mice!

    New mouse's (mice's?) have been discovered. I’m a lefty so I would probably opt for the one below since I am mousedextrous. 

    Blue6000For more information on the new mice and keyboards, checkout the press release at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2009/may09/05-19BlueTrackPhaseIIPR.mspx.  And you can always get more information at http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/

    I have to admit though that the mouse above looks like a VW Beattle compared to the R8 just below it.  The Audi R8 is hot.  Can we get a Bluetrack R8 mouse?  Grin.

  • Bueller? Bueller?

    Bueller

    Remember this house from the movie?  It’s for sale.

  • IT Pro Momentum Program Results – Choctaw Electric Cooperative

    IT Pro Momentum

    Company name: Choctaw Electric Cooperative

    Your name:  Derek Martin

    Your geographic location (country): USA

    Public disclosure of your name and company name allowed? (Yes or No) Yes

    Objectives of the project:  What problem did you set out to solve? Quite a few problems – main one being branch office file mess.  We’ll be using branch cache the day we roll into production.  Another is Direct Access – we recently ditched the VPN in favor of TS Gateway but to have Direct Access up and going will be a HUGE benefit – probably will eliminate the TS Gateway!

    Are you piloting or deploying the products? We’ll be moving into production the day it RTWs

    Products used in the project (all that apply):  Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V (we are making our branch offices a single server with multiple VMs on them to spread some of the risk out).

    Project description:  With several remote offices and file servers scattered here and there, we needed a way that was better than DFS for our users to have copies of their files.  Using Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 we have demonstrated the ability to have those files immediately available without any network latency issues at all offices on all computers.  Additionally, with Direct Access we’ve demonstrated that not only is our VPN no longer necessary (although Teredo was really hard to wrap our minds around) but the TS server can now only be used for a few very specific (read bloated JAVA apps).

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied?  Did you solve the problem? Yes and Yes!

    Are you going to save money?  How much over how many years? In terms of support costs because things will be so much easier, we’ll probably save a couple thousand dollars per year. 

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program?  Would you have done this project without the IT Pro Momentum program? Any suggestions for improvements are appreciated.  We tried to make this as easy as possible on everyone.  You guys did great – getting us access to the bits was a phenomenal help because it is one thing to read all of the pre-release docs to learn how to set things up but quite another to actually be able to build a lab and see things like Direct Access and branch cache.

  • Interop Road Show – webcast playback and downloads now available

    Last week I took off for vacation.  It was one of those marathon honey due vacations and I am happy to say I accomplished most of what I set out to do.  The house is painted.  The trees and bushes are trimmed.  The pool is in top shape and ready for frolicking. 

    I also took some time to help Matt Hester deliver a simulcast of the Interop Road Show we’ve been doing.  He did the delivery and I answered the question on LiveMeeting.  Of course we recorded the LiveMeeting audio, slides and demos and they are now ready for your viewing pleasure.  You’ll see they are available in .WMV format (my fav) and the LiveMeeting format.

    When you start listening to session one, you’ll notice Matt’s mic is over driving the system.  It was adjusted about 7 minutes into the session so it’s much more comfortable at around 9 minutes. Here the are:

    Get the rest of the information about the webcast on Matt’s blog at http://blogs.technet.com/matthewms/archive/2009/05/13/integrate-your-it-environment-roadshow-questions-answers-and-resources.aspx.

  • IT Pro Momentum Program Results – Anon Company 5

    IT Pro Momentum

    Your geographic location (country): USA

    Public disclosure of your name and company name allowed? No

    Objectives of the project: What problem did you set out to solve? Too many of our servers are running at poor utilization. Whether it be to many server roles on one hardware device or lack of disk space due to improper partitioning.

    Are you piloting or deploying the products? We are piloting, but I am hoping this project will go live in the future.

    Products used in the project (all that apply): We used Server 2008 and Hyper-V

    Project description: Our goal was take the physical servers that we already have and load them up with virtual machines to replace the OS being installed directly to the device. In theory this would give us more available server space and more utilization on the servers (many of ours only run at around 8% utilization during busy days). We have 14 servers and were hoping to clear up at least 3-4 of them to be available for redundancy.

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied? This still hasn’t gone live, but our test environment indicates that this situation is going to work out very well. I am excited for the project.

    Are you going to save money? We will certainly save money, but I’m not sure exactly how much. The biggest savings we will get are in the prevention of having to buy a new server every 6 months.

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program? Would you have done this project without the IT Pro Momentum program? I can honestly say we probably would not have started this project without the help of the IT Pro Momentum program. The trials we received of the software were indispensable in our efforts to get this rolling. It would probably have been another couple of years before we got anywhere with this otherwise. I do have to admit that I did not dig deep enough into the momentum community. There is a huge wealth of knowledge there that we did not tap enough. As the project continues I look forward to getting some opinions from other people on their experiences in doing this. Overall the program has been a huge help in our implementation of this project. We are greatly appreciative.

  • IT Pro Momentum Program Results – Anon Company 3

    IT Pro Momentum

    Your geographic location (country): USA

    Public disclosure of your name and company name allowed? (Yes or No)  NO – at least at this point.

    Objectives of the project:  What problem did you set out to solve? Mainly just to stay current and not get too far behind in terms of the desktop OS. From an admin side we’re looking to streamline the deployment process with some of the new tools and features for Win7 to save us time in the long run. We also like some of the gains from upgrading our DCs to Win Server 2008 R2 later on.

    Are you piloting or deploying the products?  We will pilot to a few people first with a later phased production deployment

    Products used in the project (all that apply): Windows Server 2008, Windows 7

    Project description:  Looking to automate windows 7 roll-out with MDT. We did the same with Vista, but many of the steps were still manual. This time we want to automate the whole install with user state migration as well. Total migration will be for about 50 users about a third of which are laptops. We currently have the Windows 7 beta and are looking at the changes in MDT for it.

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied?  Did you solve the problem?  Haven’t completed the project yet so don’t know.

    Keith.Combs – as I have indicated in other blog posts on Momentum results, it isn’t unusual to not have all of the answers at this point.  The project is still being piloted.

    Are you going to save money?  How much over how many years?  Theoretically we’ll see gains in employee productivity, but that is somewhat nebulous and difficult to put a number to. We have Software Assurance, so there would be those licensing savings over buying the licenses outright.

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program?  Excellent idea!

    Would you have done this project without the IT Pro Momentum program?  Yes

    Any suggestions for improvements are appreciated.  We tried to make this as easy as possible on everyone.  Honestly I’ll have to get deeper into the project before I’ll know.

  • IT Pro Momentum Program Results – OldCastle Materials

    IT Pro Momentum

    Your name:  Bob Hinton               

    Company name:  OldCastle Materials

    Your geographic location (country):  USA

    Public disclosure of your name and company name allowed? (Yes or No)  Yes

    Objectives of the project:  What problem did you set out to solve?  Testing of Windows 7 Beta

    Are you piloting or deploying the products?  Definitely piloting right now.  I really like Windows 7 so far – testing has gone very well.  We’ll start testing in production once Windows 7 goes live.

    Products used in the project (all that apply):  Windows 7

    Project description:  It has definitely been a success. Our testing has been limited to a few desktops so far due to time constraints, but so far everything has run fine.  We run most of our applications in a Citrix environment, so I didn’t expect to have many issues.  I am impressed with the speed of 7 vs Vista.  I’ve run it on some pretty low-end PCs and it performs well.

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied?  Did you solve the problem?  No issues.

    Are you going to save money?  We’ll see.  Initially we’ll probably see a higher volume of support calls due to the differences between Windows 7 and XP.

    How much over how many years?  No way to tell.

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program?   I love it!  I’ll definitely keep the Technet subscription up to date, as it has been a lifesaver.

    Would you have done this project without the IT Pro Momentum program?  Yes, but I probably would have waited a little longer to start.

  • IT Pro Momentum Program Results – Active-Office Systems Ltd.

    IT Pro Momentum

    Your name: James Hunter-Paterson

    Company name: Active-Office Systems Ltd

    Your geographic location (country): UK

    Public disclosure of your name and company name allowed? (Yes or No) YES

    Objectives of the project:  What problem did you set out to solve? To establish opportunities to host a client’s entire IT infrastructure using Hyper-V and RDS

    Are you piloting or deploying the products? We are in Pilot Stage at the moment.

    Products used in the project (all that apply): Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, RDS, Forefront TMG

    Project description:  We developed a virtualization platform using Hyper-V to host multiple tenants in secure virtual containers. Using these containers we could deploy RDS to allow the hosting of a client’s entire IT infrastructure in our virtual environment accessed via a Remote Desktop or Remote App session. This solution allowed for the flexibility we required in terms of deploying  modular blocks of storage, processor and RAM to host multiple virtual servers for SMB customers. Using the Momentum program we were able to successfully complete our POC testing and establish we can deliver enterprise grade security and remote access technology at a price point suitable for the SMB. This allows us to take care of the complexity of running the technology and allows the client to concentrate on consuming the service anyplace, anytime, anywhere.

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied?  Did you solve the problem? Yes

    Are you going to save money?  How much over how many years? Yes, difficult to quantify at this stage, but reduced hardware, power and cooling will definitely be achieved driving our datacenter costs and final sales price.

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program?  Would you have done this project without the IT Pro Momentum program?  Great experience having access to the technology.

  • Sony PSP Go coming to E3 next week?

    PSP_Go

  • IT Pro Momentum Results - Professional Computer Services

    IT Pro Momentum

    Your name: Warren M Pierro

    Company name: Professional Computer Services

    Your geographic location (country): USA

    Public disclosure of your name and company name allowed? (Yes or No) Yes

    Objectives of the project:  What problem did you set out to solve? Replace Windows Vista Business with Window7

    Are you piloting or deploying the products? Piloting on my own system. I am a little disappointed that there is no upgrade to the RC1 or released version when it comes out. Sure I can reload the system but that is more lost time.

    Products used in the project (all that apply):  Windows 7

    Project description:  Downloaded and installed Windows 7 on my office PC. This was to replace Vista business that I received in my MAPS. I was not happy with Vista and had many issues with 3rd party apps and software. Driver coverage was spotty. UAC was very annoying and there was no way to turn it off. Let me say that I was pleasantly surprised when I installed Windows 7 on my white box PC. Even though Windows 7 was still Beta, it found and installed all the drivers for my hardware. The best part was the ability to turn off that annoying UAC. Sure, Linux and MACs have had this forever but why does Microsoft have to copy them? Everything was going great until the last SP from Microsoft. Now I am getting all kinds of strange issues. ( windows taking too long to open, network drop out, application hangs) I have Office 2007 enterprise installed and QuickBooks 2008. My antivirus is Vipre enterprise. The PC is on a Windows SBS 2003 domain.

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied?  Did you solve the problem? Yes, initially. Now since the issues have appeared I am back to the beginning.

    Are you going to save money?  How much over how many years? Probably, lost time costs a lot when you are constantly fixing you PC instead of doing business.

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program?  Would you have done this project without the IT Pro Momentum program? No, I would have had to wait until I received Windows 7 in my MAPS and by that time my customers would probably already have it. That is I big problem when I am expected to advise them on future purchase and technology.

  • SparkStart – registration now open

    bizspark

    SparkStart is a full day of business and technology discussion (open format) and learning event for startups (“startup bootcamp”).  This event will also be a networking opportunity for those startups who are new to the BizSpark program and not yet enrolled in the program and would like to mingle and learn from key business and technology influencers.  It will also be an event for those startups who are recently enrolled and need to keep the momentum going by learning key strategies for success, both in business, and in technology. 

    We will have 6 tracks (3 business, 2 technology, and one demo) on key business topics such as “Funding”, “Marketing”, and “Production”.  Each business track will feature a panel of business experts.  Panel members from the business community and moderators are experts in their field, both from the Dallas/Fort Worth area and from all over Texas that include bootstrappers, venture capitalists, angels, incubators, and consulting.

    We will feature technology topics such as “RIA Development”, “Cloud Development”, and provide an opportunity to visit our “Envisioning Center” where we will be demonstrating our web technologies and the Microsoft Surface (http://www.microsoft.com/surface/) throughout the day.  Attendees will literally get to see what our large customer executives see at the Microsoft Technology Center in Dallas in our envisioning room in order to inspire, ideate, and get answers to vital questions. 

    We will also have a “sign-up” station for startups who want to sign up for BizSpark and begin immediately receiving the benefits e.g. software, support, and visibility.  (http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark)

    We hope you’ll consider spending June 12th, 2009 - 10:00am to 4:30pm with us. Register Here.

    Where

    Microsoft Technology Center – Dallas

    7000 State Highway 161, Building LC1

    Irving, TX 75039

    469-775-0000

    clip_image001 clip_image002 clip_image003

  • IT Pro Momentum Program Results – Anon Company 7

    IT Pro Momentum

    Public disclosure of your name and company name allowed? (No at present; maybe Yes after PR/Legal verify)

    Objectives of the project:  What problem did you set out to solve?  We currently use DeepFreeze to protect our Student Desktops however this causes issues with patching, AV updates and software deployment. We wanted to remove DeepFreeze and use Group Policy and Mandatory Profiles, WSUS or SCCM for patching and Windows Server 2008 (upgraded our 2003 DC’s). We have also decided to implement Office 2007 and are working with local MS to provide a more robust toolbar. (Windows 7 will be deployed to Staff first (we bypassed Vista) and the students may receive W7 in the second semester)

    Are you piloting or deploying the products?  We are piloting now and over the next 8 weeks; if the pilot is successful we will roll out to all student desktops for semester 1.

    Products used in the project (all that apply):  Windows XP (if W7 was ready for semester 1 we may reconsider?), Office 2007, WSUS at present hopefully moving to SCCM, Windows Server 2008 (upgrading DC’s from 2003),  Exchange Labs, Skydrive (I wish we could mount the drive locally).

    Project description:  By using DeepFreeze (which is a good product – does as it says on the tin) we were restricted in what we can include in our common desktop; labs had to be reimaged with new applications which means extra work and long hours. Our pilot of group policy lockdowns (and login scripts) and mandatory profiles takes us a huge step closer to a fully managed desktop. Our issue at present is patching out of hours; our Learning Resource Centre (Library) PC’s all shutdown for 10pm and as the PC’s are 3 years old some of them don’t have wake on lan. We are actively looking at thin clients but Web 2.0 services with audio and video can be choppy which means waiting until either Windows Server 2008 R2 or VMware View 3.x (sorry for the vmware comment but I’m trying to be honest).

    Keith.Combs – Honesty is good.  I like to keep it real.  Competition is good and we need to earn your business.

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied?  Did you solve the problem? Still testing but yes I do believe we have satisfied our current problem.

    Are you going to save money?  How much over how many years?  Yes, our main ROI will be on time and man/woman hours. No actual figures as of yet.

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program?  Would you have done this project without the IT Pro Momentum program?  Yes, we would have done the project anyway, but the program did assist. I would have liked for the program to provide more information on W7 and W2K8R2 as we could have used these applications as our base rather than XP/W2K8.

  • IT Pro Momentum Results – Anon Company 8

    IT Pro Momentum

    Country: United States (Tennessee)

    Public Disclosure of your name and Company name allowed? No

    Objectives of the project: We evaluated Hyper-V and SCVMM as a viable enterprise-level virtualization solution to run some critical machines and reduce TCO.

    Are you piloting or deploying the products?: Yes, we have purchased SCVMM (and some other tools ,too) and will soon be rolling out a Hyper-V infrastructure. Consisting of Hyper-V Failover Clustering and some other Hyper-V standalone hosts.

    Products used in project: Windows Server 2008, HyperV Server, SCVMM

    Project Description: As an underfunded public institution we needed a cost effective, yet reliable, solution to hosting several new services we are bringing online. With dozens of physical sites and low budgets for purchasing additional servers, we decided to pursue virtualization. After meeting with reps for VMWare and Citrix (XenServer), we decided to also look at Hyper-V. Although still in its infancy, Hyper-V offers most of the features we were after and the ones it did not have will be released in R2 version. It was also cost effective due to the affordable price of SCVMM and discounts associated with our type of institution.

    Were the objectives stated at the beginning satisfied?: Yes, we will be rolling out Server 2008 w/ Hyper V

    Are you going to be saving money?: Yes. Its difficult to pinpoint an exact number, but using virtualization allowed us to purchase many fewer physical machines as well as provided another reason to purchase storage appliances and put our money where it needed to be spent.

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum Program? Love it! It’s a fantastic idea and I have to say that it definitely helped us test these products with ease, considering all of the information, tools and software at our fingertips to test with. Thanks Microsoft.

  • IT Pro Momentum Program Results – Anon Company 1

    IT Pro Momentum

    For those of you that read my blog and have come to my live events lately, you’ll recall I mentioned a program we call the IT Pro Momentum Program.  It’s one of the best, if not the best programs I’ve seen us come up with in a rather long time.  What I haven’t disclosed until now are the results we are seeing from some of the customers who choose to participate in the program.

    For each customer that joined up, I asked them a series of questions after they reached a certain phase in the process.  They know their answers are going to be shared with you.  Many of them are quite bashful and have instructed me to keep their information anonymous.  I am teasing about the bashful part.  I know that isn’t the case.  I do however respect the wishes of my customers so most of the results will be reported in such a way you cannot tell who the company is.  Therefore, the blog posts like this one will have an anonymous company name, but the details are real.  I will be correcting typos and spelling in most cases.  The rest I will try to leave pretty raw.  I will put my comments in a different color.

    Company Location - USA

    Objectives of the Project -  “To discover all the possible problems in every scenario that our company will run across.”

    Keith.Combs - I really like this objective.  This is exactly what Momentum is for.  Break things now long before your back is against the wall.  Figure out what the issues are.  Get help from our support org.  Iterate back through your plan with the fixes and try again.

    Are you piloting or deploying the products? “I'm right now piloting the products and my deploying plan is on schedule to happen when Windows 7 gets RTM'd.”

    Products used in the project (all that apply) - “Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V, Windows 7 and Exchanger 2010”

    Project description - “My main aim is to test drive Windows 7 to prepare our business for the coming refreshment of OS from Microsoft. Except for some minor issues with driver incompatibility, no other big problems ever occurred. We plan to deploy Windows 7 when it become final. I hope after all I can conclude it as one big success, which seems quite possible according to my experience with the coming Windows up till now.”

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied?  Did you solve the problem? “Yep. They were all satisfied. The only problem I came across is the brand new Windows doesn't support one of our client programs, but later with a driver update, we solved it.”

    Are you going to save money?  How much over how many years?  “Yep. I'd like to save $300,000 over the next two years for our IT infrastructure.”

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program?  Would you have done this project without the IT Pro Momentum program? Any suggestions for improvements are appreciated.  We tried to make this as easy as possible on everyone. - “IT Pro Momentum is SUPERB GREAT! I wouldn't be possible to finish all my testings and evaluations without any access to IT Pro Momentum. I'd like to suggest if we can have more prompt information about the popular tech, like Windows 7 RC for now.”

  • IT Pro Momentum Results – Anon Company 9

    IT Pro Momentum

    Public disclosure of your name and company name allowed? (Yes or No) No, thank you.

    Objectives of the project:  What problem did you set out to solve? Research and see if implementing Windows 7 would be a viable option for my customers.  In general, test Windows 7 to see the ease of deployment and usability for end users. Verify certain bugs, and report them.

    Are you piloting or deploying the products?  I realize you are likely piloting first, but just let me know if you plan to move forward into a production deployment. Piloting, at the moment. Testing to see if the deployment phase into a live environment would work (i.e ease of moving users from Windows XP into a Windows 7 environment) Still working on usability for end users as it is a pretty big gap to go from Windows XP into a 7 enviroment.

    Products used in the project (all that apply):  Windows 7

    Project description:  Windows 7 seems to be a much more robust system than Windows Vista, and possibly XP. I’ve ran numerous testing rigs with the OS (32 and 64 bit) with no major hiccups (Virtual PC seems to need some work with compatibility with it’s network driver). I’ve seen a lot less use of system resources with this OS than previous versions of Windows, although it’s a tough race with XP as I haven’t ran down specific tests between the two.  The install of the OS is very smooth and took me generally less than 15 minutes on any system I installed it on. UAC is a lot less annoying than it was in Vista, actually I left it enabled during my Windows 7 testing as the majority of it never bothered me, unlike Vista!  The system I have tested it on, I was happy to see that they actually located the RAID drivers and anything I had installed on the machine. Although some were generic drivers, they still worked fine.

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied?  Did you solve the problem? No real problem to solve as this was more a test phase than anything.  The objectives are definitely satisfied, however I am still testing so I can’t give you a COMPLETE run down of everything, but so far things are smooth.

    Are you going to save money?  How much over how many years? This still has yet to be determined as costs associated with training end users on a new O/S is up in the air. So honestly I can’t answer this one.

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program?  Would you have done this project without the IT Pro Momentum program? Any suggestions for improvements are appreciated. This is a great program that gives both ways.  We get to use MS products and we in turn give you the feedback we encounter using the products.  I think this helps IT people out to determine what they can and can’t use in their particular environment. I believe having access to Technet is a HUGE feature to give people to give MS feedback about their products, as I stated it’s a give-give relationship which works well for both sides. I would suggest however, that the Technet sub. be done a little faster, as sometimes access to the products that we want to test we don’t have access to( I think I am waiting still to get my Technet sub activated.)

  • IT Pro Momentum Results – O’Sullivan Consulting – Windows 7

    IT Pro Momentum

    Your name: William V. O'Sullivan

    Company name: O'Sullivan Consulting

    Your geographic location (country): Illinois USA

    Public disclosure of your name and company name allowed? (Yes or No) Yes

    Objectives of the project: What problem did you set out to solve? Secure desktop systems and upgrade to Windows 7.

    Are you piloting or deploying the products? Piloting, and would be willing to deploy in the next couple of months.

    Products used in the project (all that apply):  We are using Windows 7 and server 2008 SP2. Windows Server 2008 SP2 has been utilized.

    Project description:  I have successfully upgraded the client machines: all machines were wiped and loaded with Windows 7 RC. The response has been excellent: users say their systems are fast, and we have not had complaints about Windows 7. There is necessary training because office 2007 was utilized for the upgrade and this coupled with Windows 7, is a significant change for most users. Users are running as users, and not admins on the workstation.

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied? Did you solve the problem? We are very satisfied with this project, in that we have clients that are running a release candidate and thoroughly enjoying the speed of the new OS.

    Are you going to save money? How much over how many years? Hopefully in support and backup costs because of the cached and offline files.

  • IT Pro Momentum Program Results – Anon Company 4

    IT Pro Momentum

    Public disclosure of your name and company name allowed?  No

    Objectives of the project:  What problem did you set out to solve?  The objective was to reduce the dependencies for the onsite technicians, and to completely automate the OS deployment with PXE boot.

    Products used in the project (all that apply):  SCCM 2007 R2, Windows 2008, Hyper V, SQL 2005 SP 2

    Project description:  We have a project, where the company wanted to completely rebuild the Infrastructure, with the right technologies from Microsoft with lowering operational and management costs and are rightly suited to their needs. Our client has offices round the globe ( have to manage 5000 Desktops + 50 servers with 13 Active directory sites in a single forest) We are half way through in our implementation :) , which involves SCCM R2--> used for Desktop Management (especially for the operating system deployment) across all the sites.

      We have completed the testing for OSD with multicast options, seems to work great ! ( but though the company's infra at some places does not support the multicast options) , still the testing's are in progress.. and we should hear a confirmation from the client on the closure of the OSD requirements.

      We are also evaluating Hyper V, (at present  we use Hyper V with guest OS's for regular patch testing) I personally like the snapshot feature :) Still not up to the mark with SCVMM (installed 2008 R2 ) for the physical to virtual migrations and the integration with SCOM 2007

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied?  Did you solve the problem?  Yes, certainly. But the actual deployment of the OSD, or the migration has not started.

    Are you going to save money?  How much over how many years?  We would definitely be saving money for the client

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program?  Would you have done this project without the IT Pro Momentum program?  I think its a good way, to keep people involved in such programs. We would have missed the beta's on the technet subscriptions if IT Pro Momentum  Program.  Lastly, I am excited to be a part of the Tech Ed happening this May. And a regular reader of your blog.

  • IT Pro Momentum Program Results – O’Sullivan Consulting – Windows Server 2008

    IT Pro Momentum

    Your name: William V. O'Sullivan

    Company name: O'Sullivan Consulting

    Your geographic location (country): Illinois USA

    Public disclosure of your name and company name allowed? (Yes or No) Yes

    Objectives of the project: What problem did you set out to solve? Upgrade servers to Windows Server 2008 R2.

    Are you piloting or deploying the products? We have been utilizing R2 servers for months now, and hyper V, and plan on utlilizing Microsoft's

    Products used in the project (all that apply):  We have been utilizing Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V and Windows 7. We are running Sharepoint servers and Exchange 2007 on these servers.

    Project description: I have successfully upgraded the client machines: all machines were wiped and loaded with Windows 7 RC. The response has been excellent: users say their systems are fast, and we have not had complaints about Windows 7. We have now also upgraded all servers to Windows server 2008 R2

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied? Did you solve the problem? We have clients spread out over a significant distance, and we are trying out the new Windows Direct Access.

    Are you going to save money? How much over how many years? Maintaining the same look and feel of being connected to the office will help our users be more productive and secure. We can keep the remote machines up to date with our policies even if they are not on our network, and do not have VPN access.

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program? Would you have done this project without the IT Pro Momentum program?  This IT Pro Momentum program is an excellent idea for testing new Microsoft products and obtaining support.

  • IT Pro Momentum Program Results - Logikworx

    IT Pro Momentum

    Company name: Logikworx

    Your name: John Obeto

    Your geographic location (country): USA

    Public disclosure of your name and company name allowed? (Yes or No) Yes

    Objectives of the project:  What problem did you set out to solve?: Create an orderly migration program to upgrade our client companies, and all their users from Microsoft Windows Vista to Windows 7, within a relatively short period of time after Windows 7 RTMs.

    Are you piloting or deploying the products? We will deploy Windows 7 in two phases: 1) By completely immersing Logikworx, subsidiary companies, and affiliates in Windows 7 as of the RC build, and 2) Be ready to implement Windows 7 on systems at five (5) selected companies on the day that it RTMs, which is generally a couple of months before general availability.  

    Products used in the project (all that apply): Microsoft Windows 7, Windows Server 2008  - Standard, EBS, and SBS flavors, Hyper V, MDOP. We are also trying out SoftGrid to see if some Windows 2000-era applications can be brought forward. 

    Project description:  Migrate several hundred small businesses from Windows Vista to Windows 7 in 18 months

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied?  Did you solve the problem?  By reapplying techniques we successfully utilized during our Windows XP to Windows Vista migration, we believe we can meet our stated objectives.

    Are you going to save money?  How much over how many years?  Indubitably, on the saving of money! For our clients, and for us as well. Cost savings vary, based on the differing sizes in our client base.

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program?  Would you have done this project without the IT Pro Momentum program? Any suggestions for improvements are appreciated.  We tried to make this as easy as possible on everyone. Totally needed idea! I think that it would prod IMO, IT managers to start planning for deploying Windows 7, and other products in the Microsoft stack, earlier,

  • IT Pro Momentum Program Results – Anon Company 2

    IT Pro Momentum

    Company Location - Pennsylvania

    Objectives of the Project -  “We need to be preemptive on Evaluating Windows Server 2008 R2   and windows 7 to  address remote access and security concerns.”

    Are you piloting or deploying the products? “Our organization is behind in the Server space  but  cutting edge in the Virtualization space.  We are hoping to bring our test Environment up to Windows 2008 R2  in a timely matter then work on  a plan to upgrade production.  We also want to take a hard look at Windows 7 and see if it fits moving forward.”

    Products used in the project (all that apply) - “Windows 2008 R2  and windows 7 are being evaluated at this time”

    Project description - “As  the projects are Pilots for the test environment the no major milestone has been achieved at this time.  What was noted  was the ease of installation of both Server and Desktop OS, and the ability to quickly configure the Server with the Roles and functions we feel we need for a successful pilot.”

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied?  Did you solve the problem? Not at this time.

    Keith.Combs – for pilot projects, this might be a typical response.  Keep in mind this is a snapshot in time and the objectives might not be achieved until much later. 

    Are you going to save money?  How much over how many years?  “N/A”

    Keith.Combs – I am actually following up with the contact on this.  If this is a new system so it is actually a new investment, I can see why it’s not saving money over a previously deployed solution”

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program?  Would you have done this project without the IT Pro Momentum program? Any suggestions for improvements are appreciated.  We tried to make this as easy as possible on everyone. - “The concept of the program is great  The Forums are helpful and the  tracking that cn be done view the site is helpful  at the pilot stage.  Yes, we would have used technet   and the technet forums.  The plus to IT Pro Momentum  is  its targeted to the early adopters and testers.  Keep up the great blog posts   they are helpful  and informative ”

  • IT Pro Momentum Program Results – Anon Company 6

    IT Pro Momentum

    Public disclosure of your name and company name allowed? (Yes or No) No

    Objectives of the project:  What problem did you set out to solve? Solve inefficiencies and improve our virtualized server and VDI  environments.

    Are you piloting or deploying the products?  Piloting now in our test lab. I do plan to deploy, but due diligence requires a POC for each.

    Products used in the project (all that apply):  Hyper-V (vs Xenserver and ESX) and Windows 7 (VDI)

    Project description: The project is based around determining which product can help us resolve existing issues within our server virtualization environment and provide us the best one going forward. Honestly, Hyper-V has lagged behind the competition in our scenarios, but may see improvement once R2 becomes reality (our POC guidelines do not allow us to POC beta products). As for VDI, we have implemented a new solution and are attempting to determine the best way to deliver Windows 7 to our user base.

    Were the objective stated at the beginning satisfied?  Did you solve the problem? Most of the existing issues have been resolved with the products mentioned.

    Are you going to save money?  How much over how many years? That is yet to be determined as we are having a hard time identifying the “true” costs associated with Hyper-V, specifically towards the management applications. As for Windows 7, we do not know what that cost is yet.

    What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program?  Would you have done this project without the IT Pro Momentum program? Any suggestions for improvements are appreciated.  I think the program is wonderful! I admit that we would have done the project anyways, as we have an EA and have access to all of the bits and information already. The Technet subscription was great, but I already have one along with an MSDN account. For companies that don’t have that luxury, it is a nice incentive to participate.

    I believe a program like this has real value in getting closer to the IT folks that do the actual testing and evaluations, especially smaller to mid-sized companies that may not have all the resources available to launch projects such as this. Keep up the great work – this is definitely a feather in the Microsoft hat for me.