Would you say, that in your organisation, you've got an effective management strategy? By management strategy, I mean from an IT perspective. Can you ensure your machines are operating effectively? How are they patched and updated? Is it a very manual process? Wouldn't that time be better spent doing other things that could potentially be growing the business?
Well, if you haven't got an effective management strategy, do you want one? If so, do you want to look after it yourself (manage your management I guess!) or do you want to allow someone to do it for you?
AKCSL have seen an opportunity in the market, based on Microsoft technologies, and are offering a solution to manage your infrastructure, without you having to worry at all! Aimed at the SME market, their SystemAssure solution is the first ‘Powered by ClearPointe’ Remote Systems Management solution in Europe, based on Microsoft System Center and Remote Operations Manager.
This is a great example of Partners getting on the bandwagon of software + services, and providing a remote solution that really can allow business to concentrate on running their business rather than spending time worrying about IT problems.
The core services provided by SystemAssure comprise:-
Can you offer this service in your organisation too? I'd say so. What are the key components from a Microsoft perspective?
In a nutshell, System Center Essentials sits on the customer site, and provides:
Unified Experience - Essentials 2007 provides a unified solution to help optimise the experience of performing a broad set of tasks across your entire IT environment. You also get a single console from which you can view and manage your servers, clients, hardware, software, and IT services.
Proactive Management - Essentials 2007 accelerates troubleshooting and problem resolution. It’s a self-managing solution that notifies you as soon as a problem occurs, then helps you proactively diagnose and fix it, accelerating problem resolution. Essentials 2007 also automates system updates and data collection for your IT environment, so it’s more secure and up-to-date.
Increased Efficiency - Essentials 2007 simplifies complex management tasks like packaging and deploying software, adding Web site monitoring, and creating and configuring Group Policy. Essentials 2007 wizards also help you quickly and easily configure security settings, deploy updates, and discover assets
Once Essentials 2007 is in place, You'll need System Center Operations Manager 2007 in your organisation. This effectively provides the front end for you, as the administrator of the remote site. You then need something to connect the 2 System Center servers. That something, is System Center Remote Operations Manager 2007.
The Remote Operations Manager 2007 solution includes the following:
Once you've all 3 in place, you, as the Partner, are providing a management service to your clients, and you, as the customer, and receiving a reliable, scalable and efficient management service. Everyone's a winner baby! :-)
Both the new Zune media software, and device firmware have been released today and I have to be honest, I'm really impressed. I'm impressed for a few reasons actually. Firstly, that we've improved the interface of the Zune media software sitting on your PC by a huge amount. It's almost like your music is now contained in a cool Silverlight bubble, that makes navigating between your device, your library, and the online marketplace, a real pleasure.
That's my Zune, above, by the way. Now I haven't got a different one to compare to, but I'm hoping that if I connected a pink one, it would be reflected in the image instead of the black one (which is actually my Zune). It's the little personal touches that can make all the differences - let me know if that is the case - I'm sure it will be, seeing as it's identified mine as an old version, rather than the even swankier new version!
It's just such a shame that the device isn't here in the UK yet. I think mine's great - sure it's a little big, but it feels solid, the screen quality is superb, video being a particular highlight, battery life is ok, but the new interface is slick, and intuitive, even using the old device rather than the new.
What can you expect from the new Zune firmware? Well, in the least part, it's a breath of fresh air into my new device - there aren't many manufacturers of portable media devices that will allow you to update your firmware to have the latest cool technology - usually you need a whole new device.
If you head over to http://www.zune.net/en-US/ you'll find all the information you need, including links to download the new PC software (which you can just update from your current Zune software should you have it installed), you'll find links to the TV adverts, the Zune social and the Zune Marketplace, but best of all, you'll also have access to the devices themselves, and Zune Originals - where you can really tailor your new Zune with a collection of cool engraved artwork.
As soon as you connect your device to the new PC software, you'll be prompted to update your firmware - easy as that!
Zune is really going places, and it's looking very cool - just release it in the UK!!!
It's out. I've been wanted to tell people since I heard about this last week, and it's finally been made public.
Hyper-V; the artist formerly known as Viridian, will be available in 3 of the 8 Windows Server 2008 versions, so customers will need to choose whether they want a Hyper-V version or not. The breakdown is as follows:
Pricing for Windows Server 2008 will be no more than 1% higher than for Windows Server 2003. The prices listed are for a one-off purchase of a perpetual license, not volume licenses.
So, those 5 versions will ship without Hyper-V, however, when the versions incorporating Hyper-V technology become available, they will be priced as follows:
On a licensing front, you still get the four free running virtual instances of Windows Server 2008 on top, and for Datacenter, you get unlimited virtualisation rights. The new addition is for Windows Server Standard 2008 in which you now get 1 running virtual instance, whereas on 2003 you got none.
So, all that kind of makes sense? Now for the BIG announcement. We're releasing a standalone version of the Hypervisor. Yes, that's right. Hyper-V Server. It will be priced at $28 regardless of the number of processors. No Windows on there by default. Just the Hypervisor. Great if you want to run, for example, virtual machines from Sun or Linux. This is absolutely fantastic news and it's going to be really interesting to see how this pans out over the next year...
Notice how the price difference between the Hyper-V enabled versions, and the non-Hyper-V versions. Just $28. The same $28 that goes to make up the cost of the Hyper-V Server. This is a change from the announcements we've made throughout the Windows Server 2008 campaign, that Windows Server virtualisation would be free, it would be a role, and at no extra cost, but, at $28, the cost really is minimal. I will look for the official reasoning with interest.
On top of that, we've also got the Partners on board,:
"In addition, Microsoft Hyper-V Server will increase original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners’ ability to offer customers simplified, reliable and cost-effective virtualization solutions that can easily plug in to their existing infrastructure. Partners including Dell Inc., Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Fujitsu Ltd., Hitachi Ltd., HP, IBM Corp., Lenovo, NEC Corp. and Unisys are already committed to working with Microsoft to offer solutions based on Microsoft Hyper-V Server once it is available" WebWire
"We've also announced the Server Virtualization Validation Program. Beginning in June 2008, vendors will be able to self-test and validate certain technical requirements of their server virtualization software running Windows Server 2008 and prior versions. The program will enable Microsoft to offer cooperative technical support to customers running Windows Server on validated, non-Windows server virtualization software" WebWire
Make sure you check out the following resources:
If you are developing applications for the next generation of Server software, namely, Windows Server 2008, I'd strongly advise you to take a look at http://microsoft.mrmpslc.com/InnovateOnWindowsServer/Default.aspx.
By taking part in the Innovate on Windows Server program, not only does it give your applications, as the developer, the logo for delivering a certified solution, but it also gives your customers peace of mind, that this solution will integrate with Windows Server 2008 seamlessly.
So, the question is, can you afford not to get your application certified, when a competitor might?
You can get all the info you need at http://microsoft.mrmpslc.com/InnovateOnWindowsServer/Default.aspx which includes:
Both of the programs above ('Works With and Certified For') are beta programs, as Windows Server 2008 is still in development, but you can still enroll for the program by following the links above. The enrollment period only opened on 1st November, so you've still got plenty of time.
Anything like the one above? Mine sure would, although the Xbox would be a little closer to the PC, and the wireless controller would obviously be next to me as I worked. Also, where's the home cinema system? :-)
Anyway, the idea is to explore the virtual office, which is packed with information on the 2007 Microsoft Office system, Windows Vista and Exchange Server 2007! There are little tid-bits of information scattered throughout the office, along with links to further information. I've just had a go, and the amount of information in there is excellent. There are even links to case studies for the different technologies.
Do you know the best bit? If, when you're looking around the Dream Office, you see a gold key, click on it. When you collect 3 keys, you can fill in your details and be entered into a prize draw to win your very own dream office! Cool!
You may as well have a go, you've nothing to lose, and you get some great Vista, Office and Exchange info to boot.
Don't forget to have a quick go on the Scaletrix! :-)
OK, so maybe not that old....
It's an idea though! You have an old machine sat around, doing nothing, waiting to be retired, so why not make use of it? You could easily turn it into a Media Center, Windows based or otherwise, serving up content throughout the machines in your house, recording TV whilst you're away etc. Alternatively, you could pick up a copy of Windows Home Server, install it, and then you have an ideal platform for serving up your content, be it your digital memories, music, or your home movies, regardless of whether you are in the home or not! It also serves as a great platform to create and run cool applications on! What are you waiting for!
Rich sent me through a useful link to get you started down the Media Center path. He's got links to complete media solutions, but also to software for recording of TV, managing files, accessing your PC remotely and more. He's even provided links to support forums, so you shouldn't go wrong!
You can find the list here: http://www.virtualhosting.com/blog/2007/how-to-turn-your-old-computer-into-the-ultimate-media-center-100-resources-and-tools/
My favourite has to be #63 - How To Build the Ultimate Windows Media Center 2005 Machine on a Budget - how the author manages to get this quote in: ""One OS to rule them all... one OS to bind them."—adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings" I'll never know....
There's a couple of new useful FAQ's that have been released for the UK audience, aimed to answer some of the common questions that you have around licensing. Both the licensing and response management teams are committed to keeping this information fresh and relevant, so check back regularly with your questions, and if you have any, fire them through to the team!
You can access the relevant sites here:
There are questions around Vista downgrade rights, Office 2007 through Terminal Services and more. Useful stuff I'd say! :-)
You can also visit the Licensing homepage here.