but obviously not! Hat tip to Sean at one of our Partners, Computer2000, who, at a recent event, told me about a Management Pack that had been developed by one of our Gold Certified Partners in Denmark which, wait for it, monitors the health of a coffee pot.
I didn’t believe it either, but it’s true! There’s a video and everything! You have to check out the video – I don’t know how he’s keeping a straight face whilst talking about this :-)
Now, before you rush out and set this up, there are a couple of pre-requisites you’ll need to be aware of, such as you’ll need System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, the .NET Framework 3.5, and a network connected camera to monitor the coffee pot, but most importantly, you’ll need a coffee pot which is transparent. This may upset many of you who have invested in one of the many different coloured coffee pots out there. I’m sure, if you’re more of a tea drinker like me, there’s the potential to adapt this for tea too, although don’t leave the tea-bag in for too long, as you’ll end up with a ‘cuppa’ that can only be described as terrible :-)
Joking aside though, what this shows is the flexibility of something like Operations Manager. Being able to create your own customised Management Packs, tailored to what is important to you, is one of it’s key strengths and really helps you to make management relevant to your specific environment. The guys have even provided the secret sauce, I.e. the content of the management pack, so there’s potential for modification and tailoring to your environment.
I’ve just received notification that the Infrastructure Planning and Design Guide for Service Manager 2010 has just been published, and anyone who’s weighing up a deployment, or simply wants to know more about it, should find this free guide very useful. As a quick refresher, here’s what an IPD guide actually is:
Infrastructure Planning and Design Guides streamline the planning process by:
So, in a nutshell, they’re deigned to help you plan the deployment of a technology, in this case, Service Manager 2010, but there are loads of them already published over at http://microsoft.com/ipd so chances are, if you’re weighing up certain Microsoft technologies, there should be a guide to help.
This Service Manager 2010 IPD is currently in beta, so based on feedback, some bits are subject to change, however even in it’s current state, it’ll take the IT architect through an easy-to-follow process for successfully designing the servers and components for a System Center Service Manager implementation, resulting in a design that is sized, configured, and appropriately placed to deliver the stated business benefits, while also considering the performance, capacity, and fault tolerance of the system. For me, that’s the key element. I’m currently planning (I use the term loosely) a rollout of SCSM for my lab, but I’m not quite sure of the best sizing for my small environment, and although the answer is on TechNet, somewhere in the vast library, sometimes it’s tricky to find the definitive sizing guide for my environment. Hopefully this will help!
The guide covers these key steps in the System Center Service Manager infrastructure design process:
The IPD Guide for System Center Service Manager 2010 can help you reduce planning time and costs, and ensure a successful rollout of System Center Service Manager - helping your organization to more quickly benefit from this platform for automating and adapting IT Service Management best practices such as those found in Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) and the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL).
Interested? Follow these steps!
Join the IPD Guide Beta Program
Subscribe to the IPD beta program and we will notify you when new beta guides become available for your review and feedback. These are open beta downloads. If you are not already a member of the IPD Beta Program and would like to join, follow these steps:
If you’re already a member of the IPD Guide Beta Program, just grab the download from here.
That image won’t make much sense at this stage, but work with me here! On Friday 5th November, one of our key System Center Partners, Inframon, are hosting an event in London focused purely on System Center, and the range of technologies which exist as part of the brand. Whether you’re a ‘Configuration Manager kinda-guy’, or maybe Operations Manager floats your boat, there’s going to be something for everyone. Don’t forget the sparkly new Service Manager, along with the awesome Opalis – these, and more, will all be showcased on the day, and if that’s not enough, Inframon have snagged a speaker list which reads like a ‘who’s who’ in the System Center world….
Oh, and it’s held at the Cabinet War Rooms in London, a historic underground complex that housed a British government command centre throughout the Second World War. With a theme like ‘The War on Cost 2010’, where else could you hold it? I presented at the event last year, and it was on HMS Belfast if I recall correctly! I’ll be on my holidays whilst the event is on this year which is a shame for me, as it’s a great opportunity to connect directly with the Product Teams who are working on the technologies over in the US. If you are free on the 5th November, I would strongly recommend going along, but to entice you a little more, here’s the line-up:
So there you have it – a plethora of System Center knowledge concentrated in one place – definitely worth a day of your time if you can spare it! You can read the whole, detailed agenda over on the War on Cost website.
Don’t forget to Register if you want to attend!
Hat tip to Jonathan Almquist for this one – it’s something I’ll be installing ASAP!
For those of you who have rolled out, or are planning to roll out, a combination of System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, and System Center Data Protection Manager 2010, this free Management Pack could be of use to you. The management pack monitors the health status of System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 and its components. It alerts the admin on critical health state and it provides certain break fix tasks to take corrective actions. The management pack is targeted to provide central monitoring solution for System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 customers.
It’s currently available in English only at this time, but will be localised in a few weeks. You can read more about the Management Pack, and download it, here.
Hot off the press, the Release Candidate for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 has been released!
You can grab the Release Candidate from here, however there are a couple of things you should know about before you steam right ahead!
There are also a couple of useful resources that you may want to take a look at:
Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 Release Candidate FAQ
Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 Release Candidate Documentation
If you’re managing your Hyper-V hosts with SCVMM 2008 R2, you may want to hold off on the SP1 build for your hosts initially (or play with it on an alternative server) as the current release of SCVMM won’t support SP1 of Hyper-V just yet, but I’m sure there will be an accompanying build in the near future.
If all of this is new to you, and you’re not even sure what’s coming with SP1, then this should help you get up to speed:
No more advice from me – again, the download is here!
As many of your know, one of the key elements of my job is to work with Partners and Customers around our Optimised Desktop story. If you’re not familiar, it’s the idea that actually, believe it or not, VDI isn’t the right solution for everyone and that an optimised desktop, with associated benefits, can be achieved through a variety of ways, VDI being one of them. Terminal Services, now replaced by Remote Desktop Services, RDS, is one area that always sparks a bit of debate. Many people assume session-based computing has been superseded by VDI, and that it’s very much a one or the other type scenario. I wonder who gave them that idea? This couldn’t be further from the truth, with both Microsoft and Citrix still continuing to invest in the platform to provide the highest density, and greatest ROI for a remote working environment, especially suited to the task/knowledge workers. Many of the Partners, and more specifically, the customers that see me demonstrate our RDS solution, typically follow up with ‘So does this mean I don’t need Citrix anymore?’. One of the reasons they are asking this question, is because they’ve just seen me deliver a local, LAN-based RDS demo, utilising RDP 7.0 (soon to be 7.1…) and for all intents and purposes, the user experience is pretty darn good, and naturally, the tendency is to compare it with their, perhaps legacy, Presentation Server deployment that’s due for an upgrade.
It’s when we introduce the unpredictable WAN element that things begin to change.
Don’t get me wrong, RDP is leaps and bounds better than what it was, but it’s still designed primarily for the LAN, and hence the upcoming feature in Service Pack 1; RemoteFX, will only function over the LAN (with RDP anyway). This is where protocols like Citrix HDX (High Definition eXperience), VMware PCoIP (PC over IP), Quest’s EOP Xtream, and Ericom Blaze all claim to streamline and enhance the connection to a remote environment over WAN links, but the claim is, some do it better than others…
This is where the interesting read comes in.
Over on Virtualization.info, Alessandro provides details on what I would describe as a lightweight test performed by Chris Wolf, at Gartner, where, at 200ms latency, in a real-world scenario, Citrix HDX outperforms VMware PCoIP. It was a simple test, and by no means took into account all of the best practices that I’m sure exist for both platforms (as detailed on this blog, talking about the PCoIP performance in the scenario tested by Chris) but still, Citrix won out at 200ms, but both performed well at 120ms latency. How would RDP compare here? I wouldn’t like to say. As the latency starts to creep up, inevitably the user experience will start to deteriorate more so than the other protocols discussed, but just remember what it;s designed for. You can read more about the improvements in RDP 7 here.
So to answer my question from earlier – ‘Does this mean I don’t need Citrix anymore?’ – the answer is, if you’re doing anything over the WAN, with higher latencies, then Citrix, for the session based environment, will certainly provide you with a richer experience. Don’t also forget the other benefits around increased scalability, manageability, USB device support, end-device flexibility (iPhone, iPad, Linux, Mac etc.) and this is just scratching the surface. Citrix, along with Partners such as Quest, Ericom and more, will always offer value-add on top of the Microsoft platform – the key thing is, for many organisations, is working out what’s right for you, what functionality you need, and keeping it within budget!
No benchmark test will allow you to simulate your conditions, and your environment, hence gathering detailed user requirements and delivering a Proof of Concept is essential, but just from reading the article on Virtualization.info, and also across on Chris Wolf’s blog, you’d be inevitably leaning towards Citrix from a protocol perspective, however don’t write off others such as Quest, who with EOP Xtream may just surprise you!
Judging by the number of questions I receive on licensing, both via this blog, and also face to face, I’ve got a feeling these sessions will be of use to you. If you feel that you don’t quite get our licensing around both Server Virtualisation and Desktop Virtualisation, then these 2 sessions could be for you.
Deciphering Windows Server Licensing w/ a Focus on Server Virtualisation
Confused about the options available to license Windows Server? Interested in virtualising your existing Windows Servers but aren’t sure how this will impact your licensing requirements? This session breaks down the components of Windows Server licensing, especially virtualisation.
How to License Microsoft’s Virtual Desktop Technology
Virtual Desktop represents a major opportunity for customers to simplify the management and deployment of technology. This session will provide the basics as well as examples of how to license virtual desktops.
Don’t forget, these sessions are free for Microsoft Partners, and will be recorded, so if you can’t make the actual time, make sure you still register as you’ll then be notified when the recording is available for you to download.
I’ve been writing this blog for a number of years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever had such a barren spell of posts. You have to look back to the 15th July for the last real post on Microsoft technology, and frankly, I’m disappointed and embarrassed! So much has happened since July. I flew out to the US right at the end of July for our annual internal technical conference, which effectively involves many Microsoft people from across the globe learning about the latest and greatest Microsoft technologies, both released, and upcoming. The best way to think about it is like an internal TechEd, minus the confidential stuff obviously. I spent a large amount of my time in System Center sessions, as for me, System Center is going to be the key to the Dynamic Datacenter, the Optimised Datacenter, or, the Private Cloud. Some of the things I saw, across products like Opalis and Service Manager, I thought, were absolutely fantastic, yet still to this day I just haven’t had time to get them installed in my lab – shocking! Aside from the absorption of technical information (think plugging into the Matrix) there is inevitably the copious amount of shopping, especially from the UK guys. I’m yet to find anyone who’s actually bought the Abercrombie and Fitch after shave/cologne, but all you see around the office in the weeks after the conference are people in A&F!
Post July, one of the chaps in our team decided to move on to pastures new, and we have literally just hired the new head to replace him, but in the meantime, his workload, and work with his Partners had to be distributed, and because he looked after System Center, and Management & Virtualisation are so inherently linked, it came over to me. Nightmare! Still – that’s what I love about this role – the immersion in technology. I’m one of those people who needs to understand a technology fully before I can talk about and explain it to others. Hyper-V is one of those technologies, however System Center, especially with some of the newer technologies, is a new learning ground for me, so it’s been all hands to the pumps since then both learning, and presenting!
Both VMworld’s came and went, and Citrix Synergy, Microsoft’s TechEd, and more are just around the corner, and you can bet your bottom dollar there will be plenty of announcements coming soon, especially in relation to my newly adopted technologies in the System Center suite. It’s been an incredibly exciting and fast moving couple of months, technology wise, and I’ll certainly be trying to keep up on the blog, fingers crossed!
I’ve got a whopping 99 items in my Newsletter/Blog folder, excluding this one, some of which is so old now, that if I posted it here, you’d start to question my sanity, especially if you keep up with technology news on a daily basis, however there will be instances where I do post some of the older stuff, because chances are, somebody, somewhere, will be looking for that, and in my view, every little helps. Plus, then I can remove it from my Newsletter/Blog folder!