Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

  • Only one test? I can handle that!

    Question:
    What's the first question that any new MCP, MCSA, or MCSE asks after they've successfully completed their last test?

    "Where's the bathroom?!"

    Um... okay... what's the SECOND question they ask (to themselves)?

    "Oh!  When is my certification going to expire?"

    Exactly.  Well, the good news is that you will ALWAYS be certified and maintain the certification you have achieved.  But of course... while my MCSE on Windows NT 3.51 was really cool at the time, today it doesn't carry much weight.   Expiration isn't the same thing as relevance.

    So, at least for the MCSE-level certifications, we usually had to either take the whole series of tests again, or take the upgrade tests (if available).  And since MCSE-level certs revolve around what the current version of the Windows Server is, we really have to watch the certification options when new versions of the server are released. 

    Well... guess what's coming? 

    "A new server product!" 

    Right.  So like many of you, I'm looking to upgrade my MCSE from 2003 to the new 2008 version when it arrives.

    Fortunately, to upgrade from an MCSE on 2003 to the new MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist) on 2008 we're only going to have to take one test: Exam 70-649. 

    And if you're an MCSA, the story is very similar.  For you it's Exam 70-648.

    "Only one test?  What's the catch?"

    I only know what I've read on the "Transitioning Your MCSE Skills to Windows Server 2008" page at Microsoft Learning... (or this one for MCSA transitions), but it looks like there will be a lot of information to cover.  I guarantee you - this is not going to be a test taken after a long night of cramming.  The site recommends at least three classroom courses, and lists three Microsoft Press Books that won't be released until April of next year.

    "So if I want to start now, where do I begin?"

    How about FREE e-Learning!  I also see on that page that "for a limited time" you can take any of (or all of) 4 e-learning clinics in a collection of online learning around Windows Server 2008. 

    Click here for the free e-learning - Collection 5934: Introducing Microsoft Server Codename "Longhorn" (Beta 3).

    So, armed with Virtual PC 2007 or Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1, and with the evaluation copy of Windows Server 2008 (in the form of the most recent pre-release - currently "Longhorn Beta 3"), you could work through these online courses while playing with your own configurations on virtual machines.  That'll give you a good, FREE head start on preparing for the exam.

    "But how much will that cost?"

    Have you not been paying attention?  The virtualization tools, the eval software, and the e-learning (for a limited time) are all free.

    "But what about the test?  How much will that cost?"

    Well, I just learned today in the MCP Flash e-mail that you can register for a 40% discount voucher on the exam price for either the upgrade from MCSA or MCSE.  So if you're planning on doing this, it looks like a good time to take advantage of it.  Click here to register for the voucher.

    The e-mail also contained this link to a recorded webcast around the Windows Server 2008 Certification Path, so you can view that to get a good picture of where certifications are headed in the next "wave".

    "Seriously.. Where's the bathroom?"

    <sigh> Down the hall.. first door on the right.

    ---

    So what are your plans?  Will you upgrade? 

  • TechEd 2007 Diaries - Day 0 - Road to Orlando

    Yeah baby!  Here we go!

    I'm currently sitting at gate G19 at MSP, looking at my plane getting loaded up. 

    I look around.  Geeks?  Yep.. there's one.  Got that "I'm going to TechEd" look of boundless enthusiasm and wonder.  And I wonder, "Will that change once he sees how much walking he's going to be doing in Orlando?"  Nah... he won't have a problem with that.  And I'm looking forward to losing a few pounds as well.

    "Are you kidding?  I hear that the food and snacks are endless at TechEd!"

    Yes, but somehow I always manage to lose a few.  And this year I'm counting on it.

    So.. the agenda for today:

    Land in Orlando at around 11:45am (provided the storms in the area don't delay the arrival).  Get rental, and head to the hotel.

    Late afternoon - Go pick up John Baker (my team mate and roommate on this trip) at the airport.

    Early evening - Go pick up Harold Wong (another teammate).

    Late late evening - Go pick up Bryan Von Axelson (yet another teammate). 

    That's about it for today, other than taking a few more pictures and videos for this here journal.

    --

    "Hey Kevin.. you promised you'd post some photos from past TechEds!"

    Yeah.. well, unfortunately my home server/media center had a power supply failure yesterday, so the photos are all redundantly saved on 2 hard disks... but the computer is dead until I get back from TechEd.  <sigh>  Stupid hardware problems....

  • Kevin's TechEd 2007 Video Diary 2

    Registration is open! 

     

    Here is my Video Diary from Day 1 of TechEd 2007.. Registration Day.  June 3rd, 2007.

     
    Video: Kevin's TechEd 2007 Video Diary 2

    And you can see the video streamed here.

    --

    "What's on your agenda for Monday, Kevin?"

    I'm going to the keynote, of course.  Then I need to catch up with the folks at Virtual TechEd area to see what I can do to help there, and to hand off a podcast interview that Bryan Von Axelson and I did with Connie Rennie - Regional Group Business Leader for the Microsoft MVP program. 

    I'll also be attending sessions, and perhaps interviewing a couple of the speakers. 

    The Vendor Exhibit Hall Reception is this evening, followed by some fun at the Jam Session.  I'll be taking videos (and I think I'll even have a video crew with me) for the evening events.  And of course I'll be taking my own photos and videos of the proceedings as well. 

  • Best of Questions and Answers for TechNet Webcast: Exchange Server 2007 Client Access and Web Services

    Here are the "Best Of" the questions and answers from today's TechNet Webcast: "Exchange Server 2007 Client Access and Web Services".

    Big thanks to John Weston and Harold Wong for assisting on the webcast by answering questions.  It's their effort that this all represents.

    And especially - thank you to all who attended! 

    -Kevin

    PS - Here is my resource page for this webcast

    ---

    Questions and Answers:

    “Can we download this webcast later just like the 24 hours exchange 2007 webcasts before?”
    Yes. It will be available here within 24 hours: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032341208&Culture=en-US

    “how to build high available CAS solution, which methods do we have?”
    Please take a look at this “High Availability” article: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb124721.aspx.

    “Good morning, I'm looking for suggested guidelines for setting up OWA using CAS in a internal and perimeter (Internet-facing) scenario. How best to approximate an Exchange 2003 Front-End/Back-End setup?”
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb232184.aspx is the good “Planning for Client Access Servers” article. It’s a good place to start.

    “Orlando has an event this next week? Regal Cinemas? Can't locate in on the Live Events site; not listed as a city for Florida.”
    There are TechNet Events taking place in Miami (6/5) and Tampa (6/7) this coming week. Tech Ed 2007 is taking place in Orlando this coming week (6/4 - 6/8). (Plug: http://www.technetevents.com)

    “I clicked the TechEd link, and the web page came up as a #404. Can't get to it.”
    I'm not sure what link you are referring to, but the Tech Ed 2007
    Home Page is here: http://www.microsoft.com/events/teched2007/default.mspx
    For TechNet Events go here: http://www.technetevents.com.

    “When we can get Russian language for unified messaging?”
    Unfortunately, Russian is not one of the languages we support via UM today: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/2007/evaluate/languages.mspx. I also don’t see it on the list for SP1. Sorry.

    “Is the user experience better with Windows Mobile 6 Outlook than with Windows Mobile 5 and if the hardware vendor HP refuses to provide an upgrade can the user get an upgrade directly from Microsoft?”
    Harold Wong Says:
    “In my personal opinion, the WM6 experience is better than WM5. I've been using WM6 for the last year and don't know how I would get along without some of the features that did not exist in WM5. In terms of WM6 OS upgrades directly from Microsoft, that will not happen. We do not provide these directly to the consumer / public. If you know where to search, you may find ‘bootleg’ copies that you can flash yourself. If you do this though, you will void any warranties and may render your device unusable.”

    “Great presentation, but I think maybe I was expecting a little more along the lines of installation and configuration as opposed to exploring features and enhancements. Will there be another webcast for this?”

    Have you looked at the “24 Hours of Exchange 2007” Webcast Series? http://www.microsoft.com/events/series/tnexchangeserver.mspx#24HoursofExchangeServer2007
    Harold Wong did a few sessions on Installing and Configuring Exchange 2007 along with the specific role configuration.

    “Great, thanks Harold. That's what I was looking for. Kevin, again, great presentation.”
    You're welcome!

    “When is Harold coming back to Los Angeles to present more features of Exchange 2007?”
    Harold Says:
    “I don't have anything planned currently. I will be in Reno in 2 weeks though. :-)”

    “What is the recommended ratio of front-end (CAS) Processor Cores v's Back-end mailbox Cores?”
    Please look here: http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2007/01/16/432222.aspx

    “Is there a list of 3rd party vendors to connect legacy PBX to Exchange 2007 for UM?”
    The two we have worked with the most are AudioCodes and Dialogic. Here is the link: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/telephony-advisor.mspx.

  • Questions from our TechNet Event in Omaha

    World Class Technical Events for IT Professionals

    Once again, I'm creating this blog post right in front of my audience! ..this time, in friendly Omaha, Nebraska.

    I will post the questions soon after the event is over, and then will fill in the answers as I get them - by the end of this week if possible.

    -Kevin

    ---

    Questions

    "Where is the 'Reliability and Performance Monitor' data stored?  Could I pull that information from multiple machines down to a central admin location and view that data?"

    I wasn't able to find a way to pull the data down - except this really should be doable; it's all based on data in the event logs.  So I imagine you could set up an event subscription the appropriate events, and perhaps use the tool to view that data locallay.

    Even better, though, is the ability to view the Reliability and Performance Monitor on a remote computer.  The tool allows you do connect to any machine you have appropriate administrative rights to, and view the reliability data on it.

    Here is he article that describes how to do this:  View Reliability Monitor on a Remote Computer

     

    "What about the 'Problem Reports and Solutions' data?  Can I archive it before I clear out the log?"

    [I haven't found the specific answer to this question yet.  This text is just a placeholder for the answer I will put here.]

    If you want more details on what information is collected, how it is stored, how it is communicated with Microsoft, and how you can configure settings through installation answerfile or group policy, check out this article:
    "Windows Error Reporting and the Problem Reports and Solutions Feature in Windows Vista"

     

    "How can I send FCS reports to someone else?"

    A huge benefit of using SQL Server Reporting Services is that you have all the rich capabilities of that product for viewing and sharing reports and data. 

    This article outlines some of that functionality at a high level: Microsoft SQL Server: Reporting Services Overview

     

    "If I'm running MOM 2005 and SCOM 2007, how many agents are on the client?  Is it two (one for MOM 2005 and one for SCOM 2007)?"

    Yes, for a time during your migration there will be two agents running on the monitored servers; until you're done with the migration and able to remove MOM 2005 from your environment.

  • Update: REPLACEMENT for the Admin Pack

    Two days ago I posted here about there not being an Admin Pack that will run on Windows Vista for administering Windows Server 2008 servers.  I did this after learning this from another blog, and during e-mail discussion threads.  The recommendation was to use RDP (Terminal Services) instead. 

    Fortunately, there is a group that is indeed building a replacement. 

    I've added this update to my original blog post (since it has been linked to by several other sites), and I wanted to make sure you saw this here also. 

    The final word was finally passed down from the group who are building a new tool to replace the Admin Pack for running on Vista, and I have received their permission to repeat it here.  Here is the verbatim quote:

    “The new feature with codename “Remote Server Administration Tools” (RSAT – Client) for managing WS08 from Vista SP1 Business, Enterprise and Ultimate will be released as an OOB [Out of Band] component shortly after Vista SP1 RTM.  In the meantime, you can leverage the Admin Pack for managing WS03 servers remotely (Instructions Here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930056).  The old Admin Pack will not work against WS08, though.”

    So.. that's good news!  You can use the Admin Pack to manage WS03 servers, or you can use the new Remote Server Administration Tools (which I understand will be much like the ones added to "Longhorn" Beta 3) when they become available, on Vista SP1.

  • Questions asked in Des Moines that I couldn't answer

    I'm trying something new here during my TechNet Event in Des Moines.  Rather than writing down the questions, I'm going to type them (which for me is faster) right into this new blog entry.  I'm connected to the Internet, so I'll post this right after the session this morning.. and then I'll have no excuse for not answering these in this post as an update later today or sometime tomorrow.

    If the answers aren't here when you see this - check back later.

    And - THANK YOU, DES MOINES!  You guys were a lot of fun, and asked very good questions!

    -Kevin

    ---

    Questions -

    "If I have an application error - I want it reported to some other party (the company who wrote the application) or in-house team.  Can it be done?  (Is this a part of the Windows Installer, perhaps?)"

    While I haven't seen any way to redirect this, I did find the MSDN page all about taking advantage of Windows Error Reporting for your own applications; so that your developers can pull reports on your applications directly from Microsoft.  "Using the WER service is like having thousands of testers reporting bugs on your company's applications." 

    You, as the user of an application, should hope (or request) that the developer of your application has already plugged in to using the WER engine at Microsoft.

    CLICK HERE for the details.

    NOTE also that, while Microsoft doesn't charge developers for this service; we do require that the development organization have a digital certificate that we can use to verify authenticity.  There will be some cost associated with buying that certificate from VeriSign or some other reputable certification authority. 

     

    "How does your PC determine it's on a new (or same) network as one you've been on before?  IP addressing may be the same - so will it think you're on the same network?"

    Well, I found a lot of great articles online about what Network Awareness is, the benefits of Network Awareness, and even how to take advantage of the Network Awareness APIs if you want your own applications to be network aware and change their behaviors accordingly.  But nowhere did it say specifically how Vista is able to detect and recognize a network from a previous connection in order to allow services such as the Windows Firewall Service to apply the appropriate network profile (Public, Private, Domain).

     A coworker of mine, Dan Woodman, did a little searching in the registry and found where Windows records the different networking profiles. 

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList contains "Signatures" and "Profiles" keys that appear to have the definitions of all of the networks you've connected to. 

    In the Signatures information, you see the SSID for wireless networks (or some other more generically assigned name like "Network 6", the MAC address of default gateway, and a DNS Suffix (when applicable).  So.. it would appear that based on those items, the network is able to be uniquely identified and recorded for future.  There is also then a Profile GUID which then uniquely points to a key under the Profiles entry - where the network Category is defined (0 = Public, 1 = Private, and 2 = Domain).

    Dan also found this article with even more detail about now Network Location Awareness works.

     

    "I have programs that come up 'unclassified' and blocked at startup.  How do I fix that?"

    The problem you are experiencing is a safety feature.  UAC (User Account Control) will not let programs run at startup if they require elevation.

    I've been told that the workaround for this is to either take them out of startup and launch them via the task scheduler, or to convert those applications to a service.

    I'll post links to specific KB or other info as I get it.

     

    "What are the licensing options and subscription fees or rules for Microsoft Forefront Client Security?"

    Forefront Client Security is bought as a subscription.  You buy the software on a month-by-month basis; and that's both the client security software as well as the server management software. 

    The Microsoft Forefront Client Security: How To Buy site has the details, as well as an estimate on what the retail costs will be.  (The software will be available for purchase after July 1st.)

    Also note - in addition to buying the standalone software, you can also get the Forefront Client Security Agent as a member of a product suite: either the full Forefront Security Suite, or the Enterprise CAL (Client Access License).

     

    "When is the RTM on the SCCM?"

    Currently we're looking at "Late Summer 2007" for the RTM (Release to Manufacturing) of System Center Configuration Manager 2007 - the next version of what is currently known as SMS. 

  • Resources for TechNet Webcast: Exchange Server 2007 Client Access and Web Services

     

    Register to view live or recorded webcast Here are some resources relating to the webcast I presented on June 1st, 2007, entitled “TechNet Webcast: Exchange Server 2007 Client Access and Web Services”.

    I hope you find them useful.

    Kevin

     

    --

     

    Getting to Know Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
    http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/preview/default.mspx

    Exchange Server 2007 Overview
    http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/preview/evaluation/overview.mspx

    Exchange Server TechCenter
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/default.mspx

    Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Technical Resources
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/2007/default.mspx

    Exchange Server 2007 Server Roles: Client Access
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/bb330840.aspx?wt.svl=2007resources

    Exchange Server 2007 Server Roles: Unified Messaging
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/bb288464.aspx?wt.svl=2007resources

    How to Connect a Unified Messaging Server to a Supported IP/VOIP Gateway
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb124360.aspx

    Telephony Advisor for Exchange Server 2007
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/telephony-advisor.mspx

    "Explore New Mobile Messaging Capabilities with Exchange 2007" - TechNet Magazine
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/technetmag/issues/2007/05/mobility/default.aspx?wt.svl=featured

    Exchange Server 2007 Learning Resources (FREE e-Learning for a limited time!)
    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/exchange2007/default.mspx

    Exchange Server In-Depth – Webcast Series
    http://www.microsoft.com/events/series/tnexchangeserver.mspx

    Exchange Team Blog – “You Had Me At ELHO”
    http://msexchangeteam.com/

    Unified Communications Group Team Blog
    http://blogs.technet.com/uc/

  • Kevin's TechEd 2007 Video Diary 1

    Just a quick (90 second) introductory video - to play with music and my new phone's camera capabilities. 

     
    Video: Kevin's TechEd 2007 Diary - Part 1

    And you can see the video streamed here.

    -Kevin

  • Vlad's Videos

    Just got linked to by Vlad.  So I'm happy to return the favor!

    He's got videos on his blog, too.  Check out his Preday Video.

    Hey Vlad!  Where're you at?

  • TechNet Radio Podcasts from TechEd

    My first podcasts were part of the set that were published to TechNet Radio this week.

    Check 'em out here.

    Also, watch http://www.virtualteched.com for podcasts and maybe some video interviews I and some of my team mates are doing this week.

    ..and thanks MUCH to the folks who gave up some valuable time to speak to us this week!

  • Danger Will Robinson!

    Looks like Lost in Space meets I, RobotGreetings all!

    First off - if you're wondering why the sudden silence after only two video diaries from TechEd, be assured that the rest are coming.  I got really busy at TechEd (go figure) recording Podcasts and having fun.  And then I had events plus a few days off the following week.  So, I fully intend to give you a few more belated video diary entries soon.  In the meantime, please check out the Podcasts I recorded for Virtual TechEd and TechNet Radio while I was there.

    But now... I just had to post this because I really really want one of these.  Father's Day has passed (and I had a very nice day), but my birthday is coming up really soon; so, start a collection now to help me to get my very own Robot B9 from the old TV Series "Lost In Space".   Bill Mumy as Will Robinson

    I learned about their availability from this blog entry in On 10.  

    Sweet!  Only $24,500!  Okay.. yeah, I won't be getting one any time soon.  But how cool would that be?!  I'm really geeking out over this today.  I have many fond memories as a 3-6 year old watching that show.  I didn't want to be a policeman or fireman.  What I really wanted was to be Will Robinson.

    ---

    UPDATE: Here's photo evidence: My brother Paul is holding the toy B9 we got for Christmas in 1968.

    Ah.. Christmas is fantastic when you're 5 years old!

     Click to see the full photo.  Thanks, Dad, for digitally scanning all those old family slides!

  • No AdminPak for Windows Vista

    Just wanted to answer a question here that I and my team mates have received many times...

    "What's the status on a Server AdminPak version that will work on Windows Vista?  Are they going to have one soon?"

    Initially, they were working on it.  However, the final word on the subject is: No.  Unfortunately not.

    The recommendation is that you use Remote Administration (Terminal Services) to a server in order to do that work now.

    --

    HAPPY UPDATE / CORRECTION:

    This debate has been going on within Microsoft in various e-mail threads.  The final word was finally passed down from the group who are building a new tool to replace the AdminPak for running on Vista, and I have received their permission to repeat it here.  Here is the verbatim quote:

    “The new feature with codename “Remote Server Administration Tools” (RSAT – Client) for managing WS08 from Vista SP1 Business, Enterprise and Ultimate will be released as an OOB component shortly after Vista SP1 RTM.  In the meantime, you can leverage the Admin Pack for managing WS03 servers remotely (Instructions Here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930056).  The old Admin Pack will not work against WS08, though.”