We’ve just launched our new Partner Player to Partners – a video hosting tool, providing another way in which to consume Microsoft-related information, alongside our e-newsletters, blogs and RSS feeds, designed to drive Partner satisfaction and grow Partner businesses.
What videos are available to Partners?
Along with the launch of the Partner Player, we also launched a series of videocasts to help your partners understand how to get the most value from the Partner Programme. These videocasts are an online extension of the classroom Kickstart training course to provide ‘back to basics’ training to Partner. Partners can access the videos on the Partner Player, or follow the training path on the Kickstart portal page.
Partners can also find videos supporting the Windows Essential Server Solutions launch, a Sell The Stack video by John Noakes, and live footage from the Software+Services Steve Ballmer event.
Just visit the Partner Player and start watching the videos. Or if you prefer, you can filter the videos to your tier level (Registered, Certified or Gold Certified), your role or video type, or just pick a video from our recommended list.
Access it here! Enjoy!
Definitely worth a look if you get chance – the IT Pro Evangelist Team in the US are running a series of 20 webcasts discussing a number of the facets of Microsoft Virtualisation. In their own words:
“The objectives of this series are not only to help you develop technical depth on various virtualization solutions with level 300 sessions, but to appreciate the essentials of a typical virtualization project in a real world implementation.”
The session list is as follows:
Click on the links above to register for the webcasts. View the original post here.
Are you familiar with the SMSe? What about the eSML? Well, to cut a long story short, the eSML (Enterprise Server Management License) is now the SMSe (Server Management Suite Enterprise) and basically, it’s a single license for all 4 of the core System Center technologies:
- Virtual Machine Manager – For Virtual Estate Management - Operations Manager – For Centralised Monitoring - Configuration Manager – For Centralised Patching, Deployment, Image Management etc - Data Protection Manager – For Centralised Backup of Windows, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL etc
You can obviously buy these separately, and they’ll all provide different benefits to an infrastructure, however, as a suite, you can really drive towards a self-managing, dynamic infrastructure, with management technologies that understand one another, can work effectively together, and really streamline an environment.
Buying the technologies is one thing, but implementing them is something different entirely. With that in mind, I’d like to bring the following course to your attention:
44HOL004 - The Systems Center Suite - SMSe Technical Bootcamp
“The SMSe Bootcamp is a dynamic, new 3-day training course from the System Center Technical Readiness team which brings together the core products from Microsoft’s System Center Suite in a series of “Real World”, datacenter management scenarios. The course has been specifically designed for Technical Consultants to give them the skills and understanding they need to successfully implement the System Center Suite for customers and end users. The course consists of a series of instructor led, hands on labs (HOL), which guide the student through the steps required to both successfully configure and use System Center Operations Manager 2007 (OpsMgr), System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (ConfigMgr), System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 (DPM) and System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) in conjunction with core datacenter applications such as Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2007 running on the Microsoft Hyper-V platform”
For just under £200, for a 3 day course, I’d say it’s exceptional value. Not only will you get hands on experience with the technologies as a set of technologies, not just a disparate set of tools, but you’ll also get a look at a new 5 day POC engagement kit for partners that is designed to give you all the materials and scripts you need to carry out a complete Proof Of Concept for a customer around the System Center Suite. You’ll also get a look at some of the Microsoft Technical Resources that are available to you to help you out with any aspect of your experience in implementing and using the System Center Suite in the field.
Great Value! :-)
Remember way back on 1st October, when I blogged about the release of Microsoft’s free hypervisor based virtualisation solution, Hyper-V Server 2008?
In that post, I talked about the cost (free), along with it’s capabilities, what it would be good for, yet at the same time, what it wouldn’t be suitable for. At the time, I felt Hyper-V Server 2008 was a great solution for things like VDI (Virtual Desktops), Test & Dev, Staging, Simple Consolidation etc. The reason it didn’t say anything related to ‘Enterprise’, and ‘Large Production Environments’ was because I felt it was lacking in a few key areas.
As you can see, there was no high availability, and thus no quick migration, plus, it topped out at 32GB RAM in the physical box (which I thought was less of an issue), but it also didn’t support as many logical processors as Hyper-V in WS2008 Enterprise or Datacenter did. Shame.
The great thing was, that you didn’t need any CALs for it, so you didn’t need to upgrade your CALs on your desktops, to 2008, like you do with Hyper-V as part of Windows Server 2008. More on that another time.
So, the big news. Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 removes those limitations, and brings even more cool stuff, some of which, I can’t even tell you about yet! What can I tell you? Firstly, check out the table below.
Firstly, if you compare the left column (Hyper-V Server 2008) with the middle column (Hyper-V Server 2008 R2), you can see some big improvements:
As you can see from the screengrab above, the Failover Clustering Role is in there, but how do you set it up? Use the Remote Server Administration Tools that I blogged about earlier (hopefully), or use Windows Server 2008 R2 with a GUI!! They should allow you to build a Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Failover Cluster, with no problems whatsoever!
Looking at the table above again, the things that surprises me the most, is that the specs for Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, are pretty much identical to that of Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition. This is a BIG Deal.
Think about the scenarios that this lends itself to! Think, for an SMB, who wants to consolidate current licenses onto a low cost virtualisation platform. What choices do they have? Well, currently, Hyper-V Server 2008 is a great solution, however it doesn’t allow these SMB’s to have any high availability or migration capability, so, it’s not right for everyone. Customers then may think about going for VMware ESXi, which is a small footprint, hypervisor based solution for the SMB, that’s also designed as a path up to ESX in the future. ESXi however, is also a single box solution, unless you buy the vCenter management technology, which enables the unlocking of the High Availability / Migration capability, but you have to pay for those. ESXi also has some nice memory features, and runs a large number of Linux guest OS’s too. I think the main advantage ESXi has over Hyper-V Server 2008, is that it can be used to provide HA / Migration (yes, at a cost), whereas Hyper-V Server 2008 will never be able to do that. This has all changed with Hyper-V Server 2008 R2. If you now compare ESXi with HVS2008 R2, a lot of the specs are similar – HVS R2 wins slightly on the physical memory support (1TB vs. 256GB), but when it gets to that large, I doubt it’s a big deal) ESXi will still win on a few bits, however I think the key win for HVS 2008 R2 is, HA / Live Migration is built in, for free, and you don’t need a dedicated management product, like SCVMM or vCenter, to enable it. This is a big deal for SMBs. They can virtualise on a powerful, resilient platform, and utilise their current licensing too. Brill.
One advantage that ESXi currently does have, is the ability to pop it on a flash device, or embed it into hardware, so it’ll run fast, and OEMs can ship it big time, so customers can buy a ‘Virtualisation Appliance’ which is ready to rock. Will HVS 2008 R2 bring this functionality? Who knows…?
I can’t wait for HVS 2008 R2 to ship – Microsoft are bringing virtualisation to the masses with this release. All this for free too. Blimey. I need to get on the Xbox 360 to calm down :-)
After my post a few days back, talking about the availability of both Windows 7 Client, and Windows Server 2008 R2, I’d like to take this chance to follow up with some supplementary information about the next release of the Remote Server Administration Tools, for Windows 7 Client. Ben has already taken the chance to blog about the release, but I’d like to follow up with a few extra points of useful information. Firstly, what are they?
“The Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 enable 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. 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, 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)”
So, if you want to manage the roles and features on your servers, but you don’t want to visit them locally, or remote desktop to them, RSAT is the download for you. It’s especially useful for Server Core deployments!
One of the nice new additions to Windows Server 2008 R2, over and above Windows Server 2008, is Remote Server Manager, which means that I can actually enable Roles and Features remotely, rather than just managing the ones that were already enabled in 2008. So, if you are at a Win 7 Client box, and you have a vanilla install of 2008 R2 on another box, you can, from the Win 7 Client, not only enable the roles and features, but manage them too. This is great news, and a welcome improvement over pure WS2008.
One area that I believe the Remote Server Admin Tools will be critical, will be for managing the next release of Hyper-V Server 2008, namely, Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 (I know, original hey :-))
Grab RSAT, and all the info you need on installation, from here.
Also, don’t forget about using the excellent HVremote, to "automagically" configure Hyper-V Remote Management in conjunction with RSAT! John’s got all the details on this tool on his blog, here.
From here: Microsoft and Marathon Technologies Expand Relationship to Provide Fault Tolerant Computing to More Businesses – this is great news!
I have to say, going forward into the ‘next generation’ of virtualisation platforms, with Citrix XenServer, and VI4 / vSphere from VMware, I was a little bit jealous of one of their features, namely, Fault Tolerance. Fault Tolerance, when it comes to Virtual Machines, basically works like this; You have a VM where you want Zero downtime for a VM – so you say, well, let’s make it Highly Available, using Hyper-V Failover Clustering, VMware HA, or the like. Well, that’s great, however, with traditional HA, should you lose the physical box that the VM is running on, that VM will go down too, and reboot on another physical node, which is great, but it doesn’t give us Zero downtime.
So, what do you do if you need Zero downtime for a VM? Well, VMware seemed to have it nailed with the upcoming vSphere, and there is a great demo video of VMware Fault Tolerance already on the web. Basically, you select a VM that you want to make ‘Fault Tolerant’, and that VM, utilising VMotion technology, is replicated to another physical host, and kept in sync (yet not actually live and accessible by users), again, using VMotion. Should physical node 1 go down, so will the VM, however the VM that’s identical on physical node 2, now springs into life, and takes over, with no loss of data etc. Cool stuff. Not only that, but because that VM is ‘Fault Tolerant’, it needs another replica somewhere to remain that way, so, another VM replica is created on another available physical node! You’ll always have (providing you have enough physical kit!) 2 copies of the same VM, in almost like an active-ready-to-be-active style state.
So, when I saw this, I thought, very cool feature indeed. Then I found one of our Partners, Marathon technologies, provide the same functionality (in some ways, as Scott alludes to here, it may actually be slightly more powerful under the covers, but a bit to early to say yet) for Citrix XenServer 5. There is a great video of that, below:
You can view a bigger version of this video, here. So, as you can see, it’s a great explanation, and a simple solution to work with, yet the results are excellent, with a number of ‘levels’ working under the covers.
The great thing is, is that we’ve announced an agreement with Marathon to bring these technologies to the Microsoft Hyper-V platform, starting with the R2 wave of technologies. This is great news, and a huge boost for customers. With Windows Server 2008 R2, out of the box, for free, customers will have Live Migration, built on Failover Clustering, so, for planned downtime, manual Live Migrations will keep systems up and running, with no interruption, however, should a physical box go down unplanned, the VMs will reboot on another node. Should this not be enough for customers, Marathon’s everRun will bring the Zero downtime that is desired.
Great stuff – and you can read all about it here.
As a follow up to my post back on the 10th December, where I discussed the beta of the Infrastructure and Planning Design Guide for DPM 2007 SP1, I can now confirm that the final release of that guide has been published, and is available in the usual place.
As a quick recap:
“Considering a data protection strategy for your organization? This guide leads the reader through the process of planning a Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2007 SP1 infrastructure. Work through the infrastructure design process in a logical, sequential order. This IPD guide enables the reader to quickly identify what types of data will be protected, what the recovery goals are, and the protection strategy to achieve those goals. Other benefits of using this guide include best practice design guidance from the product group and an optimized infrastructure to best meet the business requirements”
It’s come round pretty fast I have to say, but Microsoft have announced availability, through MSDN and TechNet (non-MSDN/TechNet subscribers can download them from Friday 9th January), of the beta’s of Windows 7 client, and better still, Windows Server 2008 R2.
I’ve been using Windows 7 Client for a while now, and I’m really impressed. It’s stable, performant, and it’s improved the way I work in terms of accessing my information, and working with it in productive ways. The early benchmarks are also looking pretty good, trumping both Vista, and XP, in a number of different categories, so good news so far!
You can read about Windows 7 Client, what’s new, and what’s cool, for general consumers, and businesses, here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/default.aspx and you can view some cool videos too: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/beta-videos.aspx. Cool stuff, I think you’ll agree.
Cool as Windows 7 Client is, for me, Windows Server 2008 R2, along with its increasingly advanced Virtualisation technologies, is where it’s at. The guys at the Windows Server blog have already announced some of their favourite key features that made it into the beta:
I’ve been testing the beta of Windows Server 2008 R2 on a couple of Dell PowerEdge T605’s (12GB RAM, Dual Proc CPU etc), with a software iSCSI Target as my shared storage, and the Live Migration works great, the Cluster Shared Volumes are simple and easy to use, but extremely powerful and resilient under the covers. Now you can experience it too, so download it, try it, and feed back to Microsoft to make the final release even better. I’ve got a feeling that Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2 are coming quicker than we think….
I would also recommend taking a look at some of these links and resources:
Enjoy, and have fun with the betas!
I’m seeing more and more blog posts out there on the web, that talk about the use of PowerShell to perform certain tasks and actions. For those of you not familiar, from Wikipedia:
Windows PowerShell is an extensible command-line shell and associated scripting language from Microsoft. It was released in 2006 and is currently available for Windows XP SP2/SP3, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista and is included in Windows Server 2008 as an optional feature.
So, it’s actually called Windows PowerShell? So that means I can only use it to do stuff to Windows? Nope. In the Virtualisation space alone, VMware are using it, (in fact, they even ran a contest on it!) Citrix are using it, and as you can expect, Microsoft’s Hyper-V can be manipulated by PowerShell.
Why would you want to use PowerShell. Well, I’m not a PowerShell expert, but like any script, for me, it’s about repeatable actions. If I want to create a virtual machine in Hyper-V, I know that I can quickly go through a wizard to create that VM to my satisfaction, but what if I want to create 100 VMs, or 1000, overnight, ready for when I come in in the morning? How do I do that with a wizard? God knows! However, I know that I can write one script in PowerShell, utilise a couple of variables here and there, and bang, run script and create the VMs I need. Anyone who saw me speak at the SQL 2008 Launch back in October, where we also discussed Hyper-V, would have seen me create a load of VMs on a remote Hyper-V Server box, using PowerShell.
Where do you get started with PowerShell and Hyper-V? Good question! There are loads of entry points into learning about PowerShell. It may be good to get some grounding with the PowerShell Owners Manual!! That should get you over the basics, but what about the Hyper-V specific commands for PowerShell? Well, James O’Neill has written a fair few posts about PowerShell on his blog, and he’s even provided a good sized library of PowerShell Hyper-V stuff on CodePlex, so why not reuse his work and save yourself some time!
So, I’ve given you the basics, the Hyper-V specific stuff, but what if, like me, you still prefer a GUI?
Well, the guys over at PowerGui.org have built a GUI for PowerShell – isn’t that handy! By default, PowerGui allows administration of Windows, however with the PowerGui PowerPacks, you can effectively bring in more and more capability into the GUI, all for free! Windows IT Pro magazine recently featured an article on the top 10 features of PowerGui too!
The most recent PowerPack addition to the family, is the Hyper-V PowerPack, which brings in the ability to manage Hyper-V using PowerGui.
Download PowerGui now and get scripting!