Again, I’ve lifted this from the SCE blog, and again, I’ll weigh in once I’ve pulled it down, and had the chance to try this bad boy out! This one could be a little gem for the SMB space, who want the advanced capabilities provided by Hyper-V, but want to wrap around it, a comprehensive set of management tools, designed with SMB in mind. From the SCE blog:
“For those of you who were with us for the release of System Center Essentials 2007 a little over two years ago, you know that this is Microsoft’s IT management solution specifically designed for midsized businesses. From one console, SCE allows you to monitor and manage your servers, clients, hardware, software, and IT services.
Over the last two years, we’ve been getting some great feedback from customers using SCE 2007, investigating ways to improve on the existing features AND address a new trend we’ve been seeing with customers’ virtualising server workloads. Based on all this input, the engineering team has invested a lot of work into making the following updates in this next release”
This really is one of those technologies where you need to get your hands dirty with it, and that’s certainly something I’ll be doing over the next few weeks, when I get the chance. SCE was a powerful technology before, and that was just with a combination of bits from SCOM/SCCM – now with SCVMM included, it’s becoming even more of a compelling solution for the SMB space…
Grab it here.
View a video of the new stuff, here.
I’ve pinched this straight from the release documentation, so apologies for that. I’ll weigh in with my opinions once I’ve pulled it down and played with it, which, up to now, I haven’t had the chance to do. Key thing for me in this release is that it provides backup capability for Hyper-V VMs sat on Cluster Shared Volumes.
DPM 2010 Beta builds on the success of DPM 2007 as the Microsoft backup and recovery solution for Windows customers in four significant areas:
1. Continuous data protection of Windows application and file servers to seamlessly integrated disk, tape, and cloud—with support for a growing list of Microsoft technologies, such as:
Along with new workloads and support of the latest generation of Microsoft application servers, these platforms are gaining several new protection and recovery capabilities. Some enhancement examples include:
2. Robust and flexible protection and recovery for the following Microsoft virtualization environments:
3. Industry-leading Windows client protection:
4. Scalability, reliability, and manageability:
This list is a partial representation of the full feature set planned for DPM 2010. Test out it yourself by downloading DPM 2010 Beta.
There’s even more information to be found over at the DPM Blog.
Definitely worth a look if you’re thinking about a backup technology to protect CSV based VMs, among other things! Enjoy!
For those of you ‘not in the know’, the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit is a free tool that makes it easier for Microsoft customers and partners to quickly identify what servers, workstations, and network devices are in their IT environment. This agentless and scalable toolkit has the ability to discover all computers within Active Directory and workgroup environments. It performs key functions that include hardware and device inventory, hardware compatibility analysis, and generation of actionable, environment-specific IT proposals for migration to most major Microsoft technologies. What else does it do?
Loads of stuff! For free!
Well, here’s the latest gossip – IBM have worked with MS to bring to market an IBM-specific version of MAP…
This release, based on the MAP Toolkit platform, was developed by IBM at the IBM Center for Microsoft Technologies to accelerate the adoption of server virtualization hardware including IBM System x and BladeCenter together with Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualisation technology. Now customized for IBM, the MAP Toolkit allows more specific recommendations of IBM server hardware. Example are shown below (click to enlarge)
Get MAP Toolkit Now
The Infrastructure Planning and Design team has released two updated virtualisation guides: Windows Server Virtualisation (Hyper-V) and System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
These guides, updated to reflect the features and functionalities of Windows Server 2008 R2 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2, outline the critical infrastructure design elements that are crucial to a successful implementation of these virtualisation products.
The Infrastructure Planning and Design Guide for Windows Server Virtualisation takes the reader through the process of designing components, layout, and connectivity in a logical, sequential order. Identification of the Hyper-V server hosts required is presented in easy-to-follow steps, helping the reader to design and plan virtual server datacenters. The Infrastructure Planning and Design Guide for Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager assists readers in the design and implementation of SCVMM architecture, thus enabling centralized administration of physical and virtual machines. Identification of the VMM server instances required is one of the simple, seven-step design processes presented in this guide.
For any consultant offering services around Microsoft Virtualisation, I’d say these are two pretty useful guides to have in your back pocket when working with customers.
More useful webcasts for the upcoming month of October (which also happens to be my birthday month, *cough* 30th *cough*…). All 3 of these sessions are important for a variety of reasons, but the one that interests me, straight off the bat, is the App-V Cost Savings session. Reason being, a number of organisations are put off buying App-V, as it’s part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack for Software Assurance, meaning you need a current Windows Client license and SA to buy MDOP. This combined cost can be perceived as quite expensive, however, with the kind of cost savings described in this session, this may be enough to prove otherwise to customers, and provide them with a much more streamlined rollout of future technology, like Windows 7.
Cross Selling Windows Server 2008 R2
Presented by Justin Graham, Kevin Watt and William Lewallen
Thursday, October 8th 2009 – 16:00-17:00 GMT
The Windows Server business group in collaboration with various business groups have developed recommendations and prescriptive guidance on how to bring product and scenario information to life and position a complete solution to customers. You have unique knowledge of the needs of the sales teams, partners, and customers in your area - combine the information in this playbook with your experience to prepare your teams for success.
Proving App-V Cost Saving to Prepare for Windows 7 Deployments
Presented by Alexander Rublowsky and Karri Alexion-Tiernan
Wednesday, October 14th 2009 – 17:00-18:00 GMT
App-V can save $155/PC/Yr in direct costs (11.6% of PC TCO) plus $125/PC/YR in user productivity gains. This session will review the results of this research to ensure you have the necessary background and understanding to successfully deliver this material in an effort to drive, Windows 7 deployment and MDOP sales and renewals in your accounts. This savings is based on 6 customer cost studies, 45 case studies, industry analyst research, and the PC Lifecycle Cost Study (Optimized Desktop). The sources of direct savings generated by App-V are detailed across automated deployment, patching/updates, non-standard applications, image management, PC provisioning and replacement, and installation risk, as well as productivity gains.
Why Windows Server 2008 R2 should be your and your customer’s platform of choice
Presented by Sangita Jayaraman
Thursday, October 15th 2009 - 16:00-17:00 GMT
Would you like to know how Windows Server 2008 R2 compares to the competition, in particular, Red Hat Enterprise Linux? In this session, you will see why the Windows Server R2 platform is the most competitive offering in today's marketplace. Join us for an in-depth look at the value Microsoft provides vs. Red Hat and other Linux providers and what you can expect from this partnership with Microsoft.
…This tool could be very useful to you indeed! The interactive benefits tool helps you to understand which Software Assurance benefits you’re entitled to with each of our licensing agreements – the easy way. A new, user-friendly comparison table shows at-a-glance which of the sizeable suite of benefits you can access. Easy!
I’m not sure there is any difference in these two versions, but I’ll provide them both nonetheless:
Simply tick your chosen agreement (or, multiple if you want to compare side-by-side)…
then see your results (click to enlarge)…
Use the icons scattered about to find out more information, and for those wondering what App, Sys and Ser mean:
This past week has been a little bit different for me, in the sense that I’ve been talking with Partners and Customers about Windows 7. Naturally it’s in conjunction with Windows Server 2008 R2, which naturally leads me on to Hyper-V and System Center, however, the first part of this post is going to focus on one of the new capabilities in Windows 7; Federated Search.
One of the key pillars in Windows 7 is the ability to make users more productive, no matter where they are. When I first started using Vista, for me, the biggest innovation wasn’t around the graphics, or the security, but in fact, the search capability. It fundamentally changed the way I accessed applications, documents, files, folders, emails and more. My process now consists of pressing the Windows key, typing what I want to find on my machine, and bang, the first set of results appear in the Start Menu, and if I want to see more of the results, I can expand that view and start filtering accordingly. However, times have changed, and users want to be able to get hold of information even faster, but not just local information. Users want information from the web, from SharePoint sites, from their local machine, and more, so the Search Federation capability in Windows 7 should help to get them on that journey…
Here’s an example of what I mean:
This is an example of a custom Search Connector, that I made in about 1 minute. This enables me, should I want it to, to enter search terms in the top right box, and the system would go away and return results specific to the search terms, but from my blog only:
Pretty handy I’d say! So how do you create your own? This video will help you:
Find out how to expand the search capability of Windows 7 to include not only local data, but external data. This demonstration will cover the creation of a new search connector to an external site and other activities.
So that was little gem #1, but what about #2? Well, there’s one particular product, within the System Center family, which seems like it’s been in development for donkeys years. It used to be known as System Center Service Desk, but now it’s known as System Center Service Manager, and could well be the next big thing in automating IT processes, workflows, and more, within an IT environment. To learn more, check out this video:
If you’re still curious after this, find out more here, and try it out for yourself at http://microsoftservicemanagertestdrive.com/
Have a good weekend!
Microsoft VDI Part III: Client Side Experiences
In this video, it's time to step into the shoes of a user and see what kind of experience they can expect using Microsoft VDI. We'll look at the effects Custom RDP settings can have, and look at the different ways we can access the Virtual Desktops, including the use of RemoteApp and Desktop Connection, which is a Windows 7 specific capability. We'll also look at the quality of content such as Windows Movie files, and how they are handled over RDP. Important note - the video recording does not give an accurate representation of the video quality that RDP7 is capable of - I urge you to try it for yourself to see just how good it is!
Duration: 22m 05s
Grab the download, and more, from VirtualboyTV.
Microsoft VDI Part II: Virtual Desktop Configuration
In this video, I show you how to make the necessary configuration changes to your chosen Virtual Desktop OS's to get them ready for being a Virtual Desktop. I then go on to create 2 types of Virtual Desktop; Pooled, and Personal. I managed to get the Edge watermark the right size this time! :-)
Duration: 12m 42s
As always, grab the download, and more, from the VirtualboyTV site.
27th July was the last VBTV video! I’m slipping behind here! Oh well, the wait is over, but why was it so long?? Well, remember the RDS Series I produced a couple of months back? At the end of the series, I promised to deliver a VDI series too. Now, I actually recorded the VDI videos at the same time as the RDS ones, however, I didn’t get chance to edit them before RTM of 2008 R2, so I thought people would appreciate some VDI videos, from scratch, on RTM code, and here they come:
Microsoft VDI Part I: Server Side Configuration
In this video, I walk through the server side configuration of the VDI environment. This includes configuring the Web Portal, the Connection Broker, and an RDS Session Host in Redirection Mode. Apologies in advance for the size of the Edge watermark – I think I got a little carried away!
Duration: 28m 21s
Download the video, and more, from the VirtualboyTV site.