TechNet UK

Useful tools, tips & resource for IT professionals including daily news, downloads, how-to info and practical advice from the Microsoft UK TechNet team, partners and MVP's

November, 2010

UK  TechNet Flash Newsletter
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  • Help! I need somebody…

    The Microsoft Customer Service and Support chaps have pulled together all the most common help scenarios that they come across into 141 packages covering Windows, Office, Server, Security and developer. You can find in depth information covering scenarios such as Platform Application Compatibility, Windows Server 2008 R2 Cluster installation with Hyper-V and UAG Set-up and Configuration.

    If those 141 pre-set scenarios don’t quite answer your questions, then the team are available on the phone to provide one-off advice and guidance. They have just decided to remove hourly billing for the service and it is now available at a fixed price. If you need help, give us a call.


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  • And the Windows Phone 7 winner is…

    …Jackie  Openshaw, with her sterling effort,‘On that fateful day in November 2010, Windows Azure became self-aware.


    Congratulations Jackie – we’ve sent you a Tweet – contact us with your address details when you get a moment.

    Thanks to everyone who took part in the competition. Look out for more fun coming to the blog very soon.


  • The week that was on the UK TechNet blog - 22-26 November

    We know you’re a busy bunch, so here’s your short and sweet regular round up of the latest goings on from the UK TechNet blog. See you next week Smile

  • TechEd Europe 2010 – see the videos here

    Microsoft Tech·Ed Online

    Missed TechEd Europe? Catch up with all the latest videos from the event here.

  • Update available for Internet Explorer 9 beta

    Visit TechNet support for this week’s update for Windows Internet Explorer 9 Beta. This update improves the reliability of Internet Explorer 9 Beta in various scenarios.

    You can find it here.


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  • Creating a Private Cloud – Part 2: Configuration

    As promised, here’s Alan Le Marquand’s second and final post about creating a Private Cloud. In this post Alan continues from part one to cover the configuration side of the System Center products to deliver Private Cloud type functionality.

    You can find more virtualisation and cloud resources on TechNet.


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  • Creating a Private Cloud – Part one: Setup

    In part one of two blog posts, Alan Le Marquand outlines what you’ll need to set up a private cloud. in your organisation. Here’s a taster – just click through to Alan’s blog to read the full article. I’ll be posting the second part of the series tomorrow, so look out for it around lunchtime.

    For a Private Cloud or Customer Cloud, whichever name you prefer, to have an effective IT as a Service offering requires some key elements to be in-place.

    • First you need a management tool that allows you to monitor the servers providing the virtualization services. The tool should also allow you to easily move services around the machines, and ideally provide you with guidance on what actions to take should resource become over utilised.
    • Secondly, you need a tool that allows for the Business units in your organization to be self-sufficient in requesting and managing their services, while at the same time provide you with a method to calculate charge-back costs.

    Read the rest here.

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  • The Future of Microsoft BI

    PASS  collided with TechEd Berlin this year so I only got to see all the Denali announcements, on the video streams.  Business intelligence (BI) is once again front and centre and while there are  significant improvements to scale and performance, the main effort has been to improve agility and ease of design to both reporting and analysis.  This is most obvious in the new BI Semantic Model (BISM) which is a three layer mechanism for describing data and business logic to be consumed in Excel, Reporting Services and SharePoint, the three layers being:

    • the Data Access Layer which describes where the data comes from
    • the Business Logic Layer with all the calculations in as well as describing the hierarchies in the data (e.g. week –> quarter –> year –> all years)
    • the Data Model consumed by the end user tools

    This approach is an extension to PowerPivot introduced in SQL Server 2008 R2, and is complimentary to but not a replacement for the existing analytical engine in current and previous editions of SQL Server namely Analysis Services (SSAS) and its associated Unified Dimensional Model (UDM). You maybe wondering why there are two different methods for doing BI as per the diagram below where the new BISM is on the left and the SSAS/UDM is on the right ..

    This is simply a recognition that there is a tradeoff between ease of use and complexity.  On the one hand large and complex businesses like Yahoo need BI solutions to model this complexity and and scale so they have developed cubes in SSAS which can handle this.  However these require considerable expertise  and effort to create. On the other hand even in the first iteration of PowerPivot is is fairly easy for an end user (or information worker as Microsoft calls them)  to create a large model with some complex logic in it from a variety of sources.  In Denali some of the design work will be more of an IT function  for example the work needed in the Data Access Layer of BISM and the whole design experience will be in a new Visual Studio 2010 (project Juneau).  However the BISM design experience will be far more collaborative and I would expect the business of designing hierarchies and building calculations to be more information worker responsibilities wiht the IT team focusing on data qulaity and the data access layer.

    I think this will help to make analytics more pervasive, both to a new audience of users and to non BI IT Professionals who have found analysis services difficult to get to grips with.  This is a good thing and the skills learnt here will still be applicable to SSAS.

    For the definitive word on the details of BI in Denali You should refer to this post on the Data Platform Insiders blog.

  • Have you seen the Microsoft Lync 2010 launch video?

    Get a great intro to Microsoft Lync Server 2010 with this video fresh from last week’s virtual launch. There are more videos  here to help you with migration from Office Communications Server 2007 R2.

    Visit the Lync TechCentre for the best of the rest.


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  • Have we taught you well?

    Calling all IT professionals -  my colleagues in the Microsoft Learning Certification team would like to learn more about you and what you think of our IT Pro exams so that we can continue to improve and offer you relevant, high-quality exam content. We’d be very grateful if you could spend a few moments filling out this quick survey. It’ll be online until 30 November. Don’t worry, we won’t be keeping hold of any personal details or tracking your responses with cookies, or anything like that :)

    Thanks for your input.