Hot off the TechNet press, so to speak, you can now download the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 Release Candidate. Here’s the blurb:
Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 RC helps keep your PCs and servers on the latest support level, provides ongoing improvements to the Windows Operating System (OS), includes previous updates delivered over Windows Update as well as continuing incremental updates to the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 platforms based on customer and partner feedback, and is easy for organizations to deploy a single set of updates.
Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 RC will help you:
Here are four things you should consider when you decide whether to deploy a 64-bit or 32-bit version of Office 2010.
Following last week’s Windows Phone 7 launch I stumbled across this little gem in the Microsoft Download Centre.
The new Windows Phone 7 Enterprise Mobility Kit helps you to find out how Windows Phone 7 can enhance mobile productivity in your business while working with your existing set up. Take a look here.
If you’re more interested in exploring the development side of Windows Phone 7, check out the App Hub for all the tools and guidelines you need to get involved. You can also get a more general ‘we all love a new gadget’ view just here.
Ok, deep breath – long sentence coming up…
This free, yes, free 400+ page ebook Understanding Microsoft Virtualization Solutions: From the Desktop to the Datacenter, 2nd Edition is the book for IT professionals who want to learn more about the latest Microsoft virtualization technologies, including Hyper-V and Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5, Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization, Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, and Microsoft’s private and public cloud computing platforms including Windows Azure.
Thanks to Simon May for writing this post and being as bouncy as ever the morning after UKPDC10, when the rest of us are just about managing to operate at all. You can also read this post on Simon’s blog.
I love it when we put on a good show, geeks, streams, quizzes, phones and most importantly TECH! Last night we played host to a whole bunch of people at the Microsoft Campus in Reading who all left happy (twitter says so #ukpdc10) and who all learnt some new stuff about Azure, Windows Phone 7, and IE9. There were some stonking announcements on the HD feed from Redmond given by a Steve Ballmer, and Bob Muglia and special guest stars like Pixar studios and Buzz Light-year. This was a developer conference so what’s important to the IT Pro in what was announced?
TIP: If you don’t know what Azure is yet jump to my blog and subscribe where I’ll be explaining it next week but…
Windows Azure is true PaaS self scale-able (elastic) computing that grows and shrinks as the application needs to. At PDC10 we announced new Virtual Machine(VM) role which is a rock star move because with the VM role you can move an existing application to the cloud. How is such a feat achieved? Simple, take your application, install it on Windows 2008 R2 and take an image to a VHD file (super easy if you’re using Hyper-V ‘cos you already have the file) then copy-and-paste to file to the cloud server. With this new VM role you can do pretty much what you want, run the services you want and run scheduled tasks if you want to. Because it’s your server in the cloud you get to be the race car driver, make the decisions and be involved in the engineering process. I can’t stress how excited this role makes me as an IT Professional…but it gets even better.
Next your the VM role will be able to take your Windows 2003 Servers (but do yourself a favour and go to 2008 R2, you might as well) and you’ll be able to build the VMs in the cloud rather than just on premise.
The Web Role gets the enhancement of full features IIS, meaning that one role can run multiple sites and you can install IIS modules…oh yeah and management becomes familiar with Remote Desktop (RDP) and by elevating privileges you can do more complex deployments. So it’s now possible to install MSI files on a web role for example. By the way the PDC site and even Channel 9 are running on Azure.
The announcement of Windows Azure Connect means you can plumb Windows Azure into your internal network. That’s right you can domain join your Azure server roles so it’s just like it’s on premise, in your private data centre. Just by way of an example that means you could deploy your Intranet site to a Web Role or your expenses application to a VM Role and bosh it’s just there…you can probably use the VM Role to poke a DC up there too! It’s all done using familiar IP networking and VPN like connections. That sounds like a job for the IT Professional to me. Next year will bring SSL/TLS encryption for the pipes and Dynamic content caching so less stuff goes over the pipes (a bit like branch cache for the cloud) and a build out of the networking infrastructure.
Azure Licensing can be seen as too costly for some people so we’ve downsized! There’s a new Extra Small instance that costs just $0.05 per hour for a 1Ghz CPU, 768MB RAM and 20GB of storage…that sounds like the perfect kit to base my first instance on of an elastic application. All the Windows Azure Roles are Compute Instances and so are charged the same. There’s no CAL requirement to connect to an Azure VM role (awesome) and the Azure role license is covered through the compute costs…making it as cheap as (silicone) chips!
It’s all about to go Beta and we at UK TechNet will let you know when we drop the beta bomb.
So IT Pro’s need to skill up on:
You’ll be wanting to Azure to get your head around it…trials are included as part of your MSDN subscription too.
Community Technology Previews were announced for a bunch of new features including Reporting so reports can be authored using SQL Services Reporting tools and embedded in the database. Data Sync CTP 2 can sync databases across datacentres and with the data on your premises in your own SQL Server. That means you can have multiple geo-redundant SQL database or even just keep the data closest to the people who need it. So say you have your business has 10 people in Japan, 10 people in Europe and 100 people data mining in India the guys in Japan and Europe can access the DB from SQL Azure from their fastest local DC and the guys in India receive a “caching” effect of having the data sync to their local SQL Server saving on the cost of the main Internet pipe to the office.
The lightweight Database Manager formerly known as “Houston” (stunning Siverlight based app if you have a look) has entered CTP too and will become part of the developer portal.
DBAs and IT Pros doing SQL stuff need to skill up on:
You’ll be wanting to Try SQL Azure to get your head around it…trials are included as part of your MSDN subscription too.
Platform Preview 6 of Internet Explorer 9 was introduced at PDC10 and whilst the Beta is out and has rocked 10 million downloads already PP6 is important. It’s what you need to run to assess your stuff against IE9 whilst still using IE8 – which is exactly what you need to do right now, you’d don’t want to be deploying Beta code (even if it’s awesome) to your user base. There’s not a huge amount of IT Professional stuff in IE9 just yet, but this video (which is HTML5 by the way if your browser is capable) shows off the new platform preview and IE Test Drive Site.
Windows Phone 7
Oh boy was there a lot of love in the room for this last night. We gave a couple away, more devs came with their own phones…everyone loved them!
You might not know who Scott Guthrie is but he’s a demo-god, dev-god and he’s famed for his red shirts. He live built a Windows Phone 7 app that dynamically searches eBay using odata to help you buy red shirts…it took about 5 minutes. Do that on another mobile device.
We’ve only just released the phone so there were no new announcements other than the inclusion of oData. I’ll be releasing some info on how WP7 can be used by business and by IT Pros next week so stay tuned to my blog.
I’m excited by the VM Role, it adds a whole new dimension to Azure, Windows Phone 7 is amazing and the developer experience, just like the user experience is 2nd to none , IE9 is beautifying the web for 10 million people already. Oh yeah, we also had a Kinect at the event and this is what people had to say about it (#nowhereneardeadyet!):
@pauliom: Trying to decide what to concentrate on after #ukpdc10. Better wp7 storage/tombstoning, tfs in azure, rx, or getting an xbox kinect? about 5 hours ago via TweetStation
@pauliom: RT @mtaulty: I only played with kinect at #ukpdc10 tonight for 5 minutes and it won me over - seems just as natural as it looks on the demos. about 5 hours ago via MetroTwit
@JonAlb: Thanks to all organisers of #ukpdc10 a fantastic evening :) just two requests... can I have a phone and can I have an xbox kinect? about 14 hours ago via MetroTwit
@ajnt: Xbox Kinect is amazing! Great idea having it at #UKPDC10. 3d person tracking including face recognition. 10th November UK launch. about 14 hours ago via web
@JonAlb: playing on the xbox kinect was very cool, the ping pong game (wiff waff) was ace! you REALLY get into it, realistic tennis elbow! #Ukpdc10 about 14 hours ago via MetroTwit
@GrahamWilmott: #ukpdc10 just played with #kinect about 15 hours ago via HTC Peep
s@tack72: RT @simonster: can I just ask, who at #ukpdc10 thinks Kinect is AWESOME? about 16 hours ago via MetroTwit
@gthevenot: OK Microsoft, no free #WP7 at #ukpdc10, what about free #kinect then ? about 16 hours ago via web
@brandondjmurphy: Remember when wii was first released. Triple that and double that and you will come close to the kinect experience #ukpdc10 about 17 hours ago via Mobile Web
@Paul_Dunscombe: Playing with kinect. Looks like a wii killer. #ukpdc10 about 17 hours ago via Tweets60
@westleyl: Noooooo, our beer .. RT @petemill: Finally made it to #ukpdc10 - helping myself to beer. Played with the kinect. Recognition is incredbile! about 17 hours ago via Seesmic for Android
@CLaueR: RT @petemill: Finally made it to #ukpdc10 - helping myself to beer. Played with the kinect. Recognition is incredbile! Bowling arm hurts about 17 hours ago via Twitter for Windows Phone
@petemill: Finally made it to #ukpdc10 - helping myself to beer. Played with the kinect. Recognition is incredbile! Bowling arm hurts about 17 hours ago via Twitter for Windows Phonef
@blakepender: SB: Kinect is remarkable! Talking about it being great :D #ukpdc10 about 19 hours ago via txt
@pauliom: At #ukpdc10 as a backing dancer to lady gaga apparently #kinect making a t1t of myself about 20 hours ago via TweetStation
@brandondjmurphy: At #ukpdc10, impressed with the kinect. about 20 hours ago via Mobile Web
@johanbarnard: #UKPDC10. Dance Central on #Kinect http://twitpic.com/31lul4
Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of our most trusted communications and collaboration products with the latest version of our desktop suite for businesses of all sizes. Take a look at the posh new website here.
It is recognised throughout IT circles that every PC should have some form of virus, malware and firewall protection. While most companies have a managed anti-virus, malware and firewall solution deployed, home users are often not protected. Buying a PC with a trial subscription, many home users either think they are protected or never get around to purchasing a paid for version after the subscription has expired.
To address the issue of protecting home PC’s Microsoft provides a free download of Microsoft Security Essentials. Microsoft Security Essentials is a real time protection service for home PC uses from viruses and other malicious code. It offers a very simplistic user interface and notifies the user if they are protected with red and green icons in notification area. Updates and Scanning can be scheduled to run automatically or run manually - and that’s about as technical as it gets.
Complimenting Microsoft Security Essentials is the inbuilt Windows Desktop firewall, which can help in preventing hackers or from gaining access to a home users PC. The Windows firewall can also, in the unlikely event that the anti-virus did not detect the virus or malware, stop your computer from proliferation of the malicious software to other computers.
The anti-virus software is now free, the Windows Firewall has been there for some time, so there is now no excuse not to have a PC that is protected for free – IT Pro’s just need to spread the message.
Also due to the phenomenal success of the Microsoft Security Essentials product, it was recently announced that Microsoft Security Essentials is now available to the Small Business Market, for companies with up to 10 PCs. If a company has more than 10 PCs then it may be more beneficial to look at a managed solution such as the Microsoft Forefront Suite, which offers centralised management and reporting.
To see how Security Essentials and Forefront products work together, take a look at this short film by Andrew Fryer.
MVP-DS, Microsoft Certified Master: 2008 Directory, MCT,MCITP:EA:SA,MCSE
This week we announced the availability of Office for Mac 2011 in TechNet Subscription. Have a read through the release announcement here.
This 60 day hosted trial of Microsoft Exchange and Lync 2010 enables you to access the complete suite of Unified Messaging, IM/Presence, Conferencing and Desktop sharing an Enterprise Voice. You’ll be able to see peers setup in the same trial environment and you can also federate with other OCS users within or outside the company.
Come on people - you have until 1st November to send in your techy-themed pumpkin carvings. Here are the details again in case you missed them, along with some of our own efforts, above. Gifted, I know. Thanks to those of you who’ve sent in entries already.
Never let it be said that the UK TechNet team would let an occasion go unmarked, and this year’s Halloween is no exception. We’ve come up with a frighteningly fabulous competition idea, and you can get the kids involved in this one, too.
We’ve got five copies of the Microsoft Windows 7 Administrator’s Pocket Consultant to give away in return for some photographic evidence of your amazing pumpkin carving talents. We’d like you to send us a snap of your techy pumpkin designs – the more elaborate, the better. Throw out the challenge to your kids, wives, husbands or even any particularly creative pets, then send a photo to me with your name and address. We’ll pick our favourite five and publish them on the blog in time for the next TechNet Flash.
This is fun, so naturally we must balance it out with something quite boring – here’s that thing. Terms and conditions below.
1. ELIGIBILITY: This competition is open to any TechNet Flash subscribers who reside in the UK and who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. Employees of Microsoft or its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising or promotion agencies are not eligible, nor are members of these employees’ families (defined as parents, children, siblings, spouse and life partners).
2. TO ENTER: To enter send your entry via email to email@example.com. Entries will not be returned. A completed entry is to send a photo of your techy pumpkin carving as featured in the TechNet newsletter on 14 October 2010. The best five entries will win the prize. Only one entry per person will be accepted. Incomplete, damaged, defaced or illegible entries may be deemed invalid at the sole discretion of Microsoft. Entry constitutes full and unconditional acceptance of these Terms and Conditions. Microsoft reserves the right to disqualify anyone in breach of these Terms and Conditions.
3. TIMING: This competition runs from 8am GMT 14 October The closing date of this competition is 5pm GMT 1 November 2010. Completed entries must reach Microsoft no later than the closing date.
4. USE OF DATA: Personal data which you provide when you enter this competition will not be used for future Microsoft UK marketing activity.
5. SELECTION OF WINNER: The five winners will be picked by three judges and notified by email on 1 November 2010 at Microsoft campus. The winners may be required to become involved in further publicity or advertising and consent to their pumpkin photo being published on the TechNet blog.
6. PRIZE: The prize is one copy of the Microsoft Windows 7 Administrator’s Pocket Consultant with an estimated retail price of £17.00. Prize as stated and non- transferable. No cash or other alternatives available. Microsoft reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. The prize will be sent no later than 2 November 2010. Prize may be considered a taxable benefit and the winner will be directly responsible for accounting for any tax liability arising on their prize.
7. WINNERS LIST: The winner consents to their surname being made publicly available. The winner’s surname will be available for a period of 3 weeks after the closing date by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
8. OTHER: No correspondence will be entered into regarding either this competition or these Terms and Conditions. In the unlikely event of a dispute, Microsoft’s decision shall be final. Microsoft reserves the right to amend, modify, cancel or withdraw this competition at any time without notice.
9. Microsoft cannot guarantee the performance of any third party and shall not be liable for any act or default by a third party. Participants in this promotion agree that Microsoft will have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, losses, costs, damage or disappointment of any kind resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly from acceptance, misuse or use of a prize, or from participation in this promotion. Nothing in this clause shall limit Microsoft’s liability in respect of death or personal injury arising out of its own negligence or arising out of fraud.
Promoter: Microsoft Limited, Microsoft Campus, Thames Valley Park, Reading, RG6 1WG, England