TechNet is pleased to announce a brand new series of technical events...
TechNet on the Road
In this new series, we will be stepping away from PPT and concentrating on a demo-packed full day. We will be visiting 5 locations (Reading, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Scotland) across the UK every few months.
We start off with the first series in September with an action packed day full of Windows Server 2008 and management technologies – products to be covered include: Windows Server 2008, Windows Deployment Services, Windows Server Virtualisation, Windows Server 2008 ‘Server Core’, System Center Operations Manager (SCOM, formerly Microsoft Operations Manager, MOM), System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) and Windows PowerShell.
Vista After Hours
This is where James and I present! Register now!!
Back by popular demand! We ran 2 of these back in May and the response from attendees was incredible. Here is just one example. These events are for technology enthusiasts – after you attend these you will be buzzing! The event covers what’s in Windows Vista out of the box and how you can extend it. Products we will cover include: Windows Vista (Search, Photography, Movie Maker, DVD Maker, Back up and Restore Center, Network and Sharing Center and more), Windows SideShow, digital picture frames, Home Server, Xbox 360, Media Centre, Windows Live Gaming and Virtual Earth
24 September 2007, Reading: Zero Touch Deployment of Windows Vista & Microsoft Office
This session will look at the ROI and long term, ongoing benefits to the manageability of your desktop environment; the deployment tools and support you are entitled to as part of your current Microsoft Agreement (if you have one); and how to access and utilise tools and services for zero touch deployment. This event is one of two pilots to see if we can meet your needs in this area and is specifically aimed at IT Professionals in medium-sized organisations.
28 August 2007, Reading: Application Management – the Foundation for Desktop Environments
This session, focused towards large organisations, will look at the application-related technical obstacles and overheads which can stand in the way of achieving a flexible, desktop environment, capable of responding to ever-changing business and physical needs. This event is one of two pilots to see if we can meet your needs in this area.
Again back by popular demand! Jackie Elleker scored some of the best presenter scores with these events previously! Attend this course to understand Microsoft Licensing and how best to apply it in your company to fit in with your business needs. This session is aimed at IT professionals who wish to gain a better understanding of Microsoft’s software licensing. The briefing assumes no previous or in-depth technical licensing experience.
Last minute testing today with the Xbox 360 Elite, Zune, the T7-HSA and...what's that other controller...?
This is just the start....
If you still want to register for the events, you can still do it:
Home vs Work vs Public? Ever wondered what happens when you choose one of these selections the first time you connect to a new network?
Vista is clever. We all know that. In this case, Vista has the ability to automatically configure security and other settings based on the type of network to which the computer is connected. This new feature makes computing more secure and easier for users because they no longer have to be aware of the type of network that they are connected to and configure security settings to prevent unwanted access. A related feature for developers makes it easier to enhance applications by automatically adjusting settings and behaviors for changes in network conditions and for different network types.
The use of the icons, along with a useful description means that even the most non-IT savvy people among us can make an informed decision and choose the setting that is correct for their current situation.
There is also another one, that you don't get the choice of becoming part of, and that is the Domain network. You can see this one the 2nd image above. All the settings for this type of network are received from Group Policy, and although, the first time I connected to this network, I was presented with the usual dialog box, after this point, Vista knows I'm on a Domain network and the settings are automatically pushed to my machine.
The Cable Guy, also known as Joseph Davies, has written an excellent article going into a bit more depth around the topic, so if you are interested, I'd definitely have a look. He's also included some information that would be relevant to developers around Network Awareness API's.
Read it here: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/community/columns/cableguy/cg0906.mspx
Back in June, it was announced that Microsoft would no longer be including the ability to save to PDF from within the 2007 Microsoft Office System, which was a shame, because many users out there, as Steve Marsh mentions, would find it incredibly useful.
Well, it's time to rejoice, as it's back, as a free download, and it is available now. According to the download webpage, "This download allows you to export and save to the PDF and XPS formats in eight 2007 Microsoft Office programs. It also allows you to send as e-mail attachment in the PDF and XPS formats in a subset of these programs. Specific features vary by program"
It works with the following programs:
And for all those interested....here it is:
For more information on the 2007 Microsoft Office System, head on over and see Steve Marsh, or the Office Rocker!
Final Action: Download the 2007 Microsoft Office Add-in: Microsoft Save as PDF or XPS
For the last few weeks, in any spare moment I’ve had, I’ve been working away on a little side project to help enable our Partners and Customers to better understand our Virtualisation technologies. Today, I’m happy to announce the launch of virtualboy.tv.
Found over at http://virtualboytv.blip.tv, I’ll be hosting videos of myself talking about Microsoft virtualisation technologies, with accompanying slides, yet also showcasing a number of homegrown demos, that I’ve built, that you can watch in the browser, or download the full fidelity, original copy, to use offline.
So, what does it all look like?
Well, if you navigate over to the homepage, http://virtualboytv.blip.tv, you’ll be greeted with the ‘Show Player’, which is kind of like an always-on, episodic video player, so, the most recently uploaded video is shown in the main window, and all the episodes that have been uploaded prior to this one are on the right hand side. Clicking on an episode on the right, plays the video in the central window. You can embed individual videos in your own pages, and I’ll be doing this as I add new content over the next few weeks and months.
From the homepage, in the top-right corner, if you click on Episode Archive, you’ll see a thumbnail of all uploaded videos, and clicking one of them, will take you to a dedicated page for that video. From here, if you want to download the original version of the video (1024 x 768 WMV and above!), then look, on the right hand side of the page, for:
As it states, right-click, and save as. Easy! So, you can quickly check out a video in the browser, then download it and use it offline if you see fit. Either way, they’ll give you a great grounding into the technologies, and you’ll be able to see them in action, first hand, with me explaining what’s happening at every step of the way.
You can even subscribe to RSS (although if you’re subscribed to this blog, I’ll announce each new video on here anyway!) You can even add it to iTunes, although bear with me on that one as I think it’s still being set up! I haven’t encoded them in .mov so I’ll get on to that soon – for now, ignore the iTunes bit! :-)
If you do choose to subscribe to the RSS feed, you’ll get this:
This means, you’ll just have to right-click the WMV file, and save target as! Easy!
In terms of current content then, what’s been uploaded?
Microsoft Server Virtualisation Overview
This video discusses the Microsoft Server Virtualisation Technologies, which includes aspects such as Hyper-V, Windows Server 2008, Clustering, Migrations and we also take a look at what's coming down the line with the R2 wave of technologies.
Hyper-V Server 2008: Installing, Configuring & Managing
This demo walks through a network based deployment of Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 using Windows Deployment Services. I then go on to configure locally, and manage remotely,
1. Hyper-V: Installing, Configuring & Managing
This video demonstrates the installation of Hyper-V as part of Windows Server 2008, and how to get started using the technology, via the MMC Management Console.
2. Hyper-V: Understanding Integration Services
This video demonstrates configuring a virtual machine with and without Integration Services, and highlights the different experiences in both scenarios.
3. Hyper-V: Exports & Snapshots
This demo walks through snapshotting and exporting of virtual machines with Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V.
4. Hyper-V: PowerShell Management
This demo walks through enabling PowerShell on Windows Server 2008, and subsequently using it to manage Hyper-V.
5. Hyper-V: Configuring Failover Clustering
This video demonstrates enabling, configuring, and managing the Failover Clustering capability within Windows Server 2008.
6. Hyper-V: Failover & Migration of VMs
This demo explains failover and quick migration capabilities of Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V.
7. Hyper-V: Multiple VMs per LUN
This demo walks through setting up multiple virtual machines on individual LUNs of shared storage, and observing failover and migration behaviours.
Enjoy, and feedback / requests welcome!
Vizioncore, a wholly owned subsidiary of Quest (the vWorkspace guys!), have released a free Management Pack for System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 which enables the monitoring of VMware virtual infrastructures. Now, before I get into the features and capabilities of what the MP gives you, it’s important to point out that this is the first free MP to deliver these capabilities, and may stir things up a little over at both Veeam and Bridgeways, who both have established MP’s for OpsMgr to enable monitoring of VMware environments. It’s important to say, both Veeam and Bridgeways offer trails of their solutions, so it would be important to compare the different MP’s for yourselves, however looking at a high level, one of the key elements that Veeam seems to have today, is that it’s PRO-enabled, thus provides more automated, dynamic and agile responses within the environment based on changing conditions. That’s not to say both Bridgeways and Vizioncore won’t evolve their technologies in the future, and bring in PRO capabilities, however today, you would have to classify it as a differentiator for Veeam. One you have to pay for however.
So, what are the key features of the Vizioncore MP?
There’s even more features here…
What’s nice from my perspective, is the growth of the ecosystem around the Microsoft virtualisation platform, from Partners that have, in the past, been quite VMware focused. That’s more Vizioncore than Quest, but still, it’s moving in the right direction.
If you’re interested, you can get all the info, and download the MP, from here.
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!
One of the new capabilities of Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows 7, is Core Parking.
As we move closer to the release of Windows Server 2008 R2, and combine this with the innovation in CPU technologies that Intel and AMD are producing, it’s clear that CPU’s are getting more powerful, more capable, more-core-heavy (6 and 8 core chips are either here, or imminent) and more efficient, yet we need to ensure that the OS that is running on these CPU’s can take advantage of these CPU improvements. I’m pleased to say that the R2/7 wave of technologies are right on the money.
As you can see from the diagram, it shows a single quad-core processor, but this could equally be a 6 or 8 core processor. You can see that 3 of the 4 cores on this chip are ‘inactive’, or ‘parked’. This means that those cores aren’t using as much power, and thus, the overall power consumption of that server is decreased. Now, I’m not going to say that this is going to change the world and cut your electricity bills buy 2/3rd’s, but every little helps in a very green-focused climate. Best thing about it is, it’s just there, in the OS, managed by the Kernel.
So, as an example, if I’ve got a number of VMs, running on a host, and those VM’s resource needs, from a CPU perspective, could easily be handled by fewer cores than I have in my box, the OS will ‘move’ processing for those VMs onto the fewer cores, and ‘park’ the spare ones, giving some power back to the server. Again, the amount won’t be huge, but over a period of months, it will add up to be a noticeable difference I’m sure, however at the end of the day, it’s an OS capability, so you’re not buying the power related features.
Don’t worry though – resuming from ‘parked’ isn’t like resuming your laptop from sleep – this is practically instant resuming!
It doesn’t just stop there – Windows Server 2008 R2 also provides reduced processor power consumption by adjusting processor speed:
Windows Server 2008 R2 has the ability to adjust the ACPI “P-states” of processors and subsequently adjust server power consumption. ACPI “P-states” are the processor performance states within the ACPI specification. Depending on the processor architecture, Windows Server 2008 R2 can adjust the “P-states” of individual processors and provide very fine control over power consumption.
There’s a nice example of that here.
How can you see Core Parking? Well, if you open up Resource Monitor, click on the CPU tab, adjust your view appropriately, and viola, check out the parking on that!
This is a 16 core (4 x quad core) box, running 5 (pretty idle) VMs, but still, only 2 of my 16 cores are active at this point in time, and you have to have a minimum of 1, so that isn’t bad! It might not always be the same 2 – it will fluctuate from time to time, but still, it gives you a good idea that something is happening, and that little something will save you money, and improve your green credentials, and, like a hell of a lot of other things, it’s just out of the box with Windows Server 2008 R2, regardless of Hyper-V virtualisation.
This is another opportunity for Microsoft Partners to get involved in one of the biggest ever opportunities around Microsoft technologies. Virtualisation isn’t about products, it’s about solutions. Solutions that you, as Microsoft Partners, can provide to your customers, to better suit their needs, at the price point that’s right.
In my opinion, Microsoft’s virtualisation platform is about choice. It’s not about the ‘you need everything’ approach. Combining pieces of the Microsoft virtualisation strategy in different ways can bring compelling results for businesses – not interested in virtualising servers? Fine – but what about desktops? What about your apps? How do you deploy your applications today? How would things improve if they were virtual? How do you patch your servers? How do you patch your desktops? How would this change if they are no longer physical? These are just some of the questions that you may have, and this event is aimed at answering them, and showcasing the possibilities around the technologies.
The day is split up into a morning, for the Business Decision Makers in your infrastructure, and the afternoon, for the techies (I’ll be there!)
09.00 — Registration
09.30 — Discover Microsoft Virtualisation
11.00 — Break
11.30 — Discover Microsoft Virtualisation cont'd
13.00 — Lunch and networking
14.00 — From Desktop to the Datacenter Part 1
15.15 — Break
15.30 — From Desktop to the Datacenter Part 2
17.00 — Close
I’ll be taking the second half of the day, and showcasing a number of technologies around Server, Desktop, Application and Presentation Virtualisation, and combining this with Partner technologies from the likes of Citrix, Quest and Sanbolic.
It’s being held here:
Microsoft UK, Microsoft Campus, Building 3 Thames Valley Park, Reading Berkshire RG6 1WG, United Kingdom.
It’s on the 23rd September, and you can register here:
See you there!
I’ve just come off the stage at our UK SQL 2008 & Virtualisation launch, where I’ve had the opportunity to reveal (at least at the time, it was!) an exclusive…that Hyper-V Server 2008 was now available! Great stuff! But what is it?
Well, Hyper-V Server 2008 is a separate product, a speciality server if you will, that is priced at a whopping £0, which, even at today’s exchange rates, equates to $0 :-) But what do you get for your money (or not, in this case!). Well, the Hyper-V elements are effectively the same as they are in Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, but with one big difference. Windows. Well, kind of. There are still the core components of the kernel in the sense of all the Windows-Hypervisor related bits, along with the driver model, but, unlike Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, there are no other roles available for install – it’s purely a hypervisor solution, installs on the bare-metal, and allows you to run up to 128 VMs on a single box (or 192 if you’re using the latest Intel 6-core chips!)
This table gives a good summary of the differentiators between Hyper-V Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V:
Key things to draw out are that there is no GUI – well, kind of:
Is this a problem? Nope. Manage it from another GUI installation of Windows Server 2008, or Vista SP1 with the Remote Server Administration Tools (x64 and x86 versions available). There’s no clustering element to it. Is this a problem? Yes and no, or, it depends. It’s a problem if you need those features, but if you need those features, you’d roll up to Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and have them built in. If we compare that with VMware’s minimal ESXi, you’d need to buy Virtual Center, and then ensure you’ve bought the relevant license for HA, and if you want migration capability, VMotion licenses too. Obviously you can buy these as packages to reduce cost, but out of the box, ESXi and Hyper-V Server 2008 aren’t too dissimilar, albeit ESXi has a smaller footprint on disk (what’s a few megabytes (or so) between friends? :-)), and can be clustered should you buy the stuff mentioned above. You won’t be able to cluster Hyper-V Server 2008 – not in this version anyway…
What else is different? Well, that’s pretty much it – you don’t get any fancy licensing advantages, like you do with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (4 free VMs) and Datacenter (Unlimited free VMs) so it’s similar to ESX and ESXi in that sense.
What is it going to be good for?
This is a key question, and personally, I'd agree with what the guys have put on the site.
Test and Dev is a good one – you could use Hyper-V Server 2008 almost like a staging area – get the VMs tested, and working, then move them, offline, across to your live environment, running Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V (or Hyper-V Server 2008 if you prefer!). Either way, no change required to the VM or it’s Virtual Hard Disk (.vhd). Good news!
Basic consolidation is another – I guess the use of the word basic reflects Hyper-V Server 2008’s lack of clustering capability, and thus you can’t really achieve dynamic infrastructures running on it like you could with Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and VMware, Citrix et al.
Branch Office is an interesting one – stick Hyper-V Server 2008 on an isolated branch server (there’s already over 400 Certified Servers that will run both Hyper-V Server and Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and plenty that aren’t certified (but Hyper-V will run fantastically, like my Dell D630 laptop) and virtualise your Domain Controller (Read-Only hopefully), File Server, Print Server etc etc, and re-use licenses you’ve already acquired in the past! Obviously not OEM licenses, as these live and die with the hardware. I think the big use of branch office virtualisation is more around server isolation rather than purely consolidation. Each branch will be different though!
Final one is VDI, or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. Why is this a good candidate? Well, think about it…do you need Virtual Desktops to be highly available, and move around during the day? Well, in some environments maybe, but when you’ve got a decent brokering technology like Citrix’s XenDesktop or Quest’s Virtual Access Suite, they are handling the starting and stopping of VMs, along with the intelligent directing of users from their Thin Client (for example) to their virtualised desktop. If a user loses their session, or the VM goes down, the broker should sort them out and redirect them quickly, so any loss of productivity should be minimal. I would say it’s an acceptable loss based on the cost savings made with the solution.
Will Hyper-V Server 2008 work with PowerShell? Absolutely – I just demo’d on stage, executing a PowerShell script (written by James O’Neill, hosted on Codeplex) where it generated 20 VMs, and started them, in about 1 minute, from a 2008 box, executed against the Hyper-V Server 2008. Saved me a hell of a lot of time, and very easy to do.
Can Hyper-V Server 2008 integrate with my other Microsoft management tools? Yep. It can be patched by SC Configuration Manager 2007, Backed up by Data Protection Manager 2007 SP1 (Due soon!), monitored using System Center Operations Manager 2007, and best of all, managed by System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 – 1 suite to manage them all :-) Change in behaviour? No. Cost savings? Absolutely.
Happy Hyper-V Server-ing! :-)