On Wednesday 7th October, come and connect with the Microsoft UK team at the number one UK channel event, Microsoft Partner Network 2009. Join us at Wembley Stadium to hear about current Microsoft strategies and the direction we're taking our business, for insights into some of the innovative technologies we're launching this year, and information about how we can work better together for greater success.
It's going to be an exciting year: we're making the change from Microsoft Partner Programme to Microsoft Partner Network and we're keen to make sure you get the most out of your relationship with us.
A Fresh Look at the Market
Microsoft Partner Network 2009 will explore strategies that enable you to continue to meet customers' needs and exploit new opportunities. Designed for Partner executives and sales leads, this event follows on from the Worldwide Partner Conference in July and provides more details of our UK execution plans. Join us for:
To register your place at this essential event, click below, and enter invite code: 22BAF4 or call: 0870 166 6670
Some useful resources below – if you can’t catch them live, make sure you check out the recording!
Planning and Deploying Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V: Part 1 Plan with the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 4.0 and Infrastructure Planning and Design Guides
Presented by: Baldwin Ng; Fergus Stewart
This session has already been broadcast, and I’m pretty sure the recording will be made available on the Partner Learning Centre in the coming days / weeks. If you head on over there, sign in, and do a search for WNS138AL, you may be able to register (free) and watch it.
Planning and Deploying Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V: Part 2 Deploy Windows Server 2008 R2 with Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010
Presented by: Michael Niehaus
27/8/2009 - 16:00 PM (GMT)
Gain a strategic competitive advantage by reducing deployment costs using the latest deployment toolkit for Windows Server 2008 R2 deployment projects. The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 provides a common console with the comprehensive tools and guidance needed to efficiently manage Windows Server 2008 R2 deployment projects. Attend this Partner Academy Live session and see how new features like flexible driver management and access to deployment shares from any location will help simplify deployment and make your job easier. Part 2 of a 4 part series.
Register for this webcast!
Planning and Deploying Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V: Part 3 Manage with Service Level Dashboard 2.0 for System Center Operations Manager R2
Presented by: Raghu Kethineni
8/9/2009 - 16:00 PM (GMT)
Keep your customers’ mission-critical applications up and running! Attend this Partner Academy Live session and learn how you can use this graphical dashboard to help customers keep track system availability and performance in near-real time, heading off problems before they occur. The dashboard also lets you easily create role-specific dashboards to support different departments, like HR, Finance, or Operations. Part 3 of a 4 part series.
Register for this webcast! <- This one is definitely worth a watch!
Anyone who’s played with Windows 7 will/should know about Windows XP Mode. If you’re not familiar, quickly, read here, then come back!
So, XP Mode allows a seamless integration between a virtualised Windows XP instance, and a locally installed Windows Vista, however, it’s configured locally, managed, well, pretty much locally, so in terms of an infrastructure wide rollout, it’s not what you’d class as centralised. If you did want to roll out Windows XP Mode centrally, you’d first have to push out Virtual PC to the end user devices, then you’d have to somehow push the XP mode image (about 400MB+) to the devices, then you’d have to configure the settings of that XP Mode image, and then, to centrally manage it you’d have to join it to the domain manually (but I guess some of it could be scripted etc) and then, and only then, does it really become part of your centrally managed infrastructure.
There is an easier way. MED-V. Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualisation is effectively the same concept as above, however it centrally automates much of what I’ve said above. Rather than go into too much detail, have a watch of the video below and see what you think. It’s not a virtualboy video, so don’t expect my voice, or zoom/pan effects – it’s just good quality informative content.
I’m pleased to say, that just a few months after the R2 release of System Center Operations Manager R2, and only weeks after the RTM of Windows Server 2008 R2, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 is here.
I blogged a few weeks back, about the improvements seen from Beta to RC, but now’s the time to get hold of the finished product! So, what’s in there?
System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 (VMM) is a comprehensive management solution for the virtualized datacenter. It enables increased physical server utilization, centralized management of virtual machine infrastructure, and rapid provisioning of new virtual machines by the administrator, delegated administrator, and authorized end users.
VMM 2008 R2 can manage all the platforms managed by VMM 2008 and adds support for Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V. Windows Server 2008 R2 includes significant feature improvements to Hyper-V. VMM 2008 R2 leverages these new platform enhancements and extends the feature set of VMM 2008.
Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V Host Management
Where can you get it? RIGHT HERE!
Other useful resources include:
Again, download the evaluation here!
I’m off to Devon for a few days (to get away from vThis, and –V that!) and admittedly, the weather doesn’t look that great, but fear not, I’ve picked up a copy of ‘Mastering System Center Configuration Manager R2’, so I'll be keeping up with technology and expanding my skill set, hopefully. I guess that’s the biggest problem when technology is both your job, and your hobby – I won’t actually mind reading that type of book on holiday, because I’m always keen to learn more, but er’ indoors would much rather read a trashy paperback! Anyway, I digress.
So, I’ll be away – in the meantime, I’d hope you get the chance to at least pull down Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM. If you do one thing this weekend, even if you don’t install it, just pull it down from the web, and get yourself ready for what is arguably, the finest OS (client or server), Microsoft have ever produced. From File Classification Infrastructure to Applocker, DirectAccess to BranchCache, and from RDS to Hyper-V, there has never been so much infrastructure capability built into a single OS. It’s sublime to use, solid, scalable, performant, and incredibly capable.
That’s right, you can get it, right now, 7 days earlier than planned, from that link above. All the versions are on there, from Web through to Datacenter. In terms of the standalone, free, Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, I can’t find this just yet on Microsoft.com (I imagine it will end up here.) but it is on TechNet/MSDN:
While I’m away, if you want to get up to speed with these technologies, you shouldn’t go too far wrong over at http://virtualboytv.com. It’s go-go-go for Microsoft Virtualisation - We just need SCVMM 2008 R2 to reach RTM and we’ll really be cooking on gas! Speaking of which, dinner’s ready. See you all in a few days.
I blogged about Jeff’s analysis of the ‘Hypervisor Footprint' Debate’ a few days back, but that was only Part 1. Part 2 of Jeff’s analysis is now online, yet this time, compares the full Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, with the full VMware ESX 3.5.
Needless to say, it makes interesting reading, even for a Friday evening (UK :-))
Read it here.
Hot on the heels of my previous post around App-V, many of you are now thinking “I want to have a play with that – where can I get the bits?”. Well, if you were looking for the App-V 4.5 (current release) bits, you’d have to have an MSDN/TechNet account, and download it from there, however, seeing as this is a beta, and we want as many people to test it as possible, it’s open to everyone with a Windows Live ID! Happy Days!
From the App-V blog:
This will be the first version of App-V to support both x64 and x86 Windows platforms. The primary focus of this release is to enable App-V to take advantage of 64-bit Windows platforms including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. We’ve also made some improvements in the App-V Sequencer such as simplifying the workflow for creating virtual applications and adding the ability to sequence true 64-bit applications, a first to market! For customers running Windows XP or Windows Vista, you can also use App-V 4.6 Beta and take advantage of the support for Office 2010, 64-bit platform support and additional features in the release.
So, where can you get it?
HERE! Make sure you leave feedback through Connect too, it’ll make the product better!
Anything else you should know, especially around this new found x64 capability?
This blog post should help you there. Again, from the App-V blog: The App-V 4.6 beta was just released on Monday and we are excited to have released the product we have been working on for the past few months to our customers. Throughout the week, we have received a number of questions about what is supported between 32-bit and 64-bit sequencing, along with running the sequenced applications on the 32-bit and 64-bit App-V client, so I wanted to address those questions and share more details with everyone here. Our vision for App-V 4.6 is to allow you to keep all of your existing sequencing investments and be able to leverage 64-bit moving forward, in a simple and straight forward manner.
Very useful reading, I’d say. Expect an App-V 4.6 Overview video on the Virtualboy TV site in the coming weeks….
For me, one of the coolest technologies in the virtualisation space, is Application Virtualisation. For Microsoft, this is ‘the artist formerly known as SoftGrid’, now known as Microsoft Application Virtualisation, or App-V.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, App-V is a different way of packaging, and then delivering applications, using streaming technologies, over the network, to the endpoint OS. If you are curious about the different moving parts in an App-V deployment, or just want to learn a little about it, I stumbled upon a superb little article which explains the different parts in a concise, and clear way.
The article is based on a pre-release of App-V 4.5 (which has no subsequently released), but that’s not the point – if you want to get your head around it, this is a great starting point. The author, Anthony Kinner, came to Microsoft through the acquisition of Softricity (who made SoftGrid), and designed the first training course for SoftGrid, so, technically, he should know his stuff :-)
Check it out here. Enjoy.
More of an FYI than anything else, and another example of Microsoft’s ongoing efforts to provide a secure virtualisation platform for customers.
We are pleased to announce that the certification results have been published, and the Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V role is now certified at the Common Criteria level EAL4 augmented by ALC_FLR.3 (also known as EAL4+)!
According to Wikipedia, The Common Criteria certification is a framework in which computer system users can specify their security requirements, vendors can then implement and/or make claims about the security attributes of their products, and testing laboratories can evaluate the products to determine if they actually meet the claims. In other words, Common Criteria provides assurance that the process of specification, implementation and evaluation of a computer security product has been conducted in a rigorous and standard manner. This is vital to our customers (especially government agencies) worldwide. It provides them reassurance to know that Hyper-V has gone through a rigorous and internationally-accepted security review.
If you’re so inclined, you can read the published document here.
For those of you who are more interested in R2 (Fair enough!), this kind of submission isn’t something, i assume, that can really be started before RTM, and now that we’ve hit RTM for Hyper-V in R2, I’m sure the relevant parties are already getting the process underway. At least you know, for now, the platform R2 has grown from, is pretty darn secure.
Anyone who reads this blog will know that I’m incredibly passionate about Microsoft Virtualisation, the capabilities it can provide into an infrastructure and the great value for money it provides whilst doing so. What really pees me off however, is when the information around Microsoft Virtualisation that circulates the web, is plain inaccurate (a.k.a FUD). Things like the image from a table below. Whilst the footprint information about Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V is more or less accurate, the statement around an ‘easier target for security attacks and a performance overhead’ is false. If you want to know just how false the information is, and how ‘bad’ Microsoft patching actually is, I’d strongly recommend checking out Jeff’s post…
Also, quotes like this (from here http://www.vmware.com/technology/whyvmware/architectures.html#c132894) “Microsoft attempted to follow VMware’s lead to reduce the attack surface of its virtualization platform by offering Windows Server Core (a subset of Windows Server 2008) as an alternative parent partition to a full Windows Server 2008 install. However, the disk footprint of Server Core in its virtualization role is still approximately 2.6 gigabytes (GB). Until Microsoft changes its virtualization architecture to remove its dependency on Windows, it will remain large and vulnerable to Windows patches, updates, and security breaches. All of the proprietary Xen-based offerings, such as those from Citrix, Oracle, Red Hat, Novell, Virtual Iron, etc., face similar issues by relying upon general purpose Linux as a core part of their virtualization architectures.” don’t tend to quite add up, especially after you’ve read Jeff’s explanation of the truth around patching, and security breaches.
Finally, images like this:
Yes, Hyper-V has a larger footprint on disk than VMware’s ESXi, but does that make it any less secure, any less patched, any less reliable, any less performant, or any less robust? See for yourself.
As for security, and I’m sure this is something that Jeff will address in future posts, but as a first look, show me VMware’s Security Development Lifecycle, as a methodology to develop secure code…(click on the image to enlarge…)
Security by deniability? For those of you who repeat the search, and click on the first VMware link, you’ll see it takes you to a website detailing the benefits of VMware Lab Manager…
As for patching, reliability, performance etc, I’ll hand over to Jeff for that one – definitely worth a read…