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March, 2011

UK  TechNet Flash Newsletter
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  • IT Professionals and the cloud infographic

    We’ve just released the results of a study of 1,979 IT Professionals and their opinion about the cloud and I decided to take the numbers and turn them into an infographic, you can get the full report and more here but the number of organisations using more
  • A brief overview of the Microsoft Management Summit 2011

    Last week was probably one of the few times when I wished I was in Vegas, as it played host to a sold out Microsoft Management Summit (MMS).  The easiest way to describe the many announcements made was that the entire System Center suite will be upgraded this year and the product team also announced a a couple of new things as well.  To get a sense of this you can watch the keynote on TechNet edge, and here’s a quick run down of what caught my eye...


    System Center Virtual Machine Manager

    SCVMM 2012 will be another step on the path to a private cloud. It allows you dynamically pool compute, network and storage across your data centre to provide and cost-effective Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).  Part of this is that SCVMM can be used to manage (and I don’t mean just migrate) the three major hypervisors (Hyper-V, Vmware and Citrix XenServer). BTW SCVMM 2012 will still have a self service portal for the business to provision services and any work you have done with this SCVMM 2008 will work with SCVMM 2012 behind it.

    Oh and one other thing SCVMM includes server app-v to separate and manage the application from its underlying infrastructure even to the point of deploying an application to Azure and not have the infrastructure in house at all.  If you want to see what all of this actually looks like and/or you are beta mad like me then you might want to download the prebuilt  SCVMM2012 beta virtual machine and put it through its paces (note it’s not supported for use in production).  

    In the meantime SP1 of SCVMM2008 R2 has now been released which supports the dynamic memory feature of Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.  There is a trial install on the SCVMM site and a full version of it on TechNet for subscribers.


    System Center Advisor

    This is another example of the truth behind the Microsoft marketing message of 'We’re all in'. This is a cloud service like Windows Intune (also released at MMS) but this is designed to monitor the health of servers, not PCs, so essentially Operations Manager in the cloud.  Don’t panic too much - you don’t need to connect all your servers to the internet to get the benefit of this - it works just like Operations Manager by having a designated gateway server that pulls telemetry form the other servers, and only this one then needs to communicate with SCA.  This was originally called Project Atlanta and I have 3 posts showing this in action (part1 introduction, part 2 installation, part 3 management) albeit just for managing SQL Server.


    System Center Configuration Manager

    SCCM 2012 will have a couple of key features: better support for users’ identities across multiple real and virtual desktops, and management of VDI deployments, including built in support for Citrix XenApp.



    For me the most interesting bit of the System Center suite was the Opalis acquisition, and in its next incarnation it will be called Orchestrator.  This not only orchestrates System Center, it works with pretty well any tool in the system management space to provide run book automation, such as third party help desk solutions and the management tools that come with many hardware platforms.



    Perhaps the hardest and the easiest of the new announcements is Concero, which will connect to every service you have, be it on premise or in the cloud, and move them seamlessly between the two.

    This early screenshot shown at MMS give you some idea of where this is going:

    Find out more - come to our virtualisation and management day at TechDays. Register now!

  • Optimized Desktop unplugged Slides

    Just a quick one to provide people access to the slides from todays OD unplugged session in London.  I can’t share my demo just now but I will record it…here are the slides for OD unplugged .  But also embedded in the post here courtesy of Windows more
  • Reminder: You can still catch day 2 & 3 of the Microsoft Virtualization for VMware Professionals Jump Start online training

    We mentioned this a while back but I have seen just seen some pretty good feedback from Day 1 so thought I would send a quick reminder. Remember this is Pacific Time so it would mean a late night! The great news is that this will be available on demand from The Microsoft Virtual Academy soon after

    Outline of the 2 days remaining:

    Session Two | “Management” | March 30, 2011 | 10am-4pm PDT
    What time is this in my region? | Register Here
    10:00am – 11:00pm System Center Suite Overview w/ focus on DPM

    11:00am – 12:00pm Virtual Machine Manager 2012 | Part 1

    12:00pm – 1:00pm Lunch Break

    1:00pm – 1:30pm Virtual Machine Manager 2012 | Part 2

    1:30pm – 2:30pm Automation with System Center Opalis & PowerShell

    2:30pm – 4:00pm Private Cloud Solutions, Architecture & VMM SSP 2.0

    Session Three | “VDI” | March 31, 2011 | 10am-4pm PDT
    What time is this in my region? | Register Here

    10:00am – 11:00pm Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Architecture | Part 1

    11:00am – 12:00pm Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Architecture | Part 2

    12:00pm – 1:00pm Lunch Break

    1:00pm – 2:30pm v-Alliance Solution Overview

    2:30pm – 4:00pm Application Delivery for VDI

  • Free tools and guidance from Microsoft Solution Accelerators

    So, what are Solution Accelerators?

    Tools and guidance that help you solve your deployment, planning, and operational IT problems. They are free and fully supported.

    Sounds interesting - what can I do with them?

    Find out a whole lot more on the dedicated TechNet Solution Accelerators page. You can also follow the team on Twitter.

  • Announcing the Tech.Days Online Microsoft Management Summit, 21st April from 1pm


    With the Microsoft Management Summit having taken place last week, we were inspired to set up a new Tech.Days Online Conference to showcase the System Center suite of products. So here goes....

    On Thursday 21st April from 1pm we will be putting on a Tech.Days Online Microsoft Management Summit, where you can get up to speed with how Microsoft’s current portfolio of management tools, the System Center suite, can empower you in your cloud computing journey and help you manage a wide range of different devices in your organisation. With a breadth of topics presented by industry IT management experts, this virtual summit provides a “can’t miss” opportunity to be among the first to learn about current technologies spanning System Center, Windows Server, and Windows Azure. Witness the power of being able to use a common toolset, in a consistent way for your desktop, datacenter, cloud infrastructure and applications and get a good grounding on what is available currently before learning what is coming in the next versions of the products at the UK’s best of MMS event in London in May. You can access the sessions with Live Meeting or watch them a few days later.

    Please find the full agenda below and register here.

    Session One



    Live Meeting link

    Microsoft System Center: From the Desktop to the Datacenter to the Cloud
    (Cliff Evans, Microsoft)

    Join us for an overview of: how Microsoft can help IT operations evolve to embrace cloud computing; how you can enable the efficiency and flexibility of the private cloud; and how you can optimize, secure and manage your datacenter today. Learn how Microsoft's cloud and datacenter vision will be enhanced over the next 18 months, with upcoming releases and additional enhancements to the products you use today including: Operations Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, Service Manager, Configuration Manager and Opalis.


    Track One Live Meeting link

    Track Two Live Meeting link

    Session Two


    System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Technical Update

    (Ellis Paul, Microsoft)

    System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 is the latest release of Microsoft's flagship monitoring product. This session will give you a technical overview of the Operations Manager 2007 R2 platform as well as covering the latest developments which have taken place since the R2 release. Topics will include, cross platform monitoring, MP Templates and Service Level Tracking as well as cumulative updates for SP1 and R2, new tools for diagnosis and troubleshooting, and new support for monitoring in the cloud.

    System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3 Technical Update

    (Andy Taylor)

    System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3 is the latest release of our flagship System Center product. This session will give a technical overview of the latest features included in the new R3 release. Topics will include Power Management, Scale and Performance improvements, and OS Deployment enhancements. This session will also cover the most recent additions to the core product, such as the Dashboard and MDT 2010, as well as providing critical planning information to help your organisation prepare for the next release of Configuration Manager, (v.Next), currently in beta.

    Session Three



    System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 in the Datacenter

    (Anthony Tyler, Microsoft)

    This session will focus on leveraging DPM’s protection and recovery capabilities in large datacenters. We will look at how DPM protects and recovers application workloads such as SQL, Exchange and SharePoint - as well as virtual machines within Hyper-V. The session is full of demonstrations, including that of the new self-service restore capability for database administrators. We will also look at combining on-premises and off-premises protection, using both DPM’s built-in replication mechanisms as well as cloud-based DPM-partner repositories

    System Center Service Manager 2010 – A Deep Dive on How to Automate ITIL or MOF

    (Paul Collins, Microsoft)

    Learn how Service Manager, through the power of its integrated platform, makes it easy to implement change, incident and problem management. Learn how easy it is to create and maintain a baseline CMDB. Learn how to get immediate value while maintaining your legacy systems through integration with Opalis.

    Session Four



    Extending System Center Operations Manager with AVIcode Application Monitoring

    (Gordon Mckenna, Inframon)

    Microsoft recently acquired AVIcode. Join us to discover what is new in application monitoring for Microsoft customers through the AVIcode technologies, as well as other solutions from our partner community in extending Operations Manager and possibly find the solution to your immediate end-to-end service monitoring needs. Come and see the latest technology within the System Center family and understand the breadth of monitoring options currently available

    Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2: Advanced Virtualization Management

    (Julius Davies, Microsoft)

    In this session you will learn how the advanced management capabilities of Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 can manage your Virtual Infrastructure effectively and efficiently. Learn how to provision VMs in the most efficient way, and see how PowerShell enables automation and saves you a lot of time. This session will also cover what’s new in Service Pack 1 for SCVMM 2008 R2, and you will take away lots of useful PowerShell scripts, troubleshooting hints, cool tips and tricks, and best practices to help manage your virtual Infrastructure.

    Session Five


    System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal 2.0: The Private Cloud Story

    (Clive Watson, Microsoft)

    Join us for a walk through Microsoft's new private cloud story. Learn how to build your own, internal private cloud solution with Microsoft Hyper-V, System Center Virtual Machine Manager and the new Self Service Portal 3.0. See how you can drive more efficient use of your IT infrastructure using batch processing and chargeback reporting putting you back in control of your costs.

    Opalis: Introduction and Technical Overview

    (Greg Charman, Microsoft)

    What is Opalis? How is Opalis being used by customers today? Where does Opalis fit in with System Center? Join us to discover the answers to these and many more questions about this industry-leading Automation, Integration and Orchestration technology


    Click hereto register. There will be a dedicated Q&A session at the end of each track, but please start posting your questions through this blog, or to @technetuk using #uktechdaysmms and we will endeavour to answer them.

    Live Meeting Update

    Sorry to those of you using Macs – we're having a problem connecting Live Meeting to Macs. Our friends across the pond are on it, but we doubt it will be fixed in time for this online conference. Sorry.
    For those of you using Internet Explorer 9, this problem has now been solved. But there is still a slight 'but' – so we'll send out special instructions on how to join once you've registered.

  • Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials released to manufacturing

    The Small Business Server (SBS) engineering team has just signed off the release version of SBS 2011 Essentials This now starts a process to make the product available for purchase and evaluation.

    Ideal as a first server for small businesses with up to 25 users, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials provides a cost-effective and easy-to-use solution to help protect data, organize and access business information from virtually anywhere, support the applications needed to run a business, and quickly connect to online services for e-mail, collaboration and line-of-business applications.

    Here’s a quick Q and A. You can find answers to other questions here on the SBS forums, or on the SBS Facebook site.

    ·When can I get purchase SBS 2011 Essentials?

    We expect SBS 2011 Essentials to be made available via all channels including VL starting May 1.

    What languages is SBS 2011 Essentials available in?

    SBS 2011 Essentials will be released in 19 languages including Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional, Taiwan), Chinese (Hong Kong), Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.

    When will OEMs offer SBS 2011 Essentials?

    Many OEMs and System Builders have already started building specific form factors and solutions based on SBS 2011 Essentials. We expect to start seeing them in the market starting May.

    When will the Evaluation for SBS 2011 Essentials be made available?

    The evaluation for SBS 2011 Essentials will be released in early April.

    When will I be able to download SBS 2011 Essentials via my TechNet or MSDN subscription?

    SBS 2011 Essentials will be made available on MSDN and TechNet also in early April.

    When will I be able to download SBS 2011 Essentials via MAPs or MPN?

    All new releases must go through various regional certification statuses. During this time, we cannot make SBS 2011 Essentials available via MAPs or MPN. When all compliance processes have been completed, they will be published immediately.

    What is the difference between SBS2011 Standard and SBS 2011 Essentials?

    You can learn more about this at the official SBS 2011 website, and on the SBS 2011 TechNet site.


  • Join the Windows Intune technology tune up - 4pm, 31 March

    Join Microsoft Technical Fellow and host Mark Russinovich for the Windows Intune Technology Tune-up. This virtual roundtable event is your chance to ask a panel of IT professionals and Windows Intune experts your questions about cloud-based PC management.

    This event is designed to jumpstart your trial of Windows Intune and includes product demonstrations, how-to tips and tricks and live Q&A from viewers. The event will be broadcast live over the web at 9:00 AM PST (4pm in the UK) and will be available for on-demand replay following the broadcast. Download the trial and come armed with your questions to the Windows Intune Technology Tune-up.

    Register here.

  • 3 days left to claim your free Windows 7 Resource kit (RRP£54.99) and 40% discount at Microsoft Press

    Our Windows 7 Deployment Learning Portal offer expires on 31 March at 11.59pm, so hurry over and take the assessment today! As well as grabbing a free Windows 7 Resource Kit, worth £54.99, and a 40% discount on Microsoft Press titles, you’ll get help identifying the strengths and gaps in your knowledge around Windows 7 deployment and lots of targeted learning.

    The questions in the portal are written by the same people who write the certification exams, so if you plan to take them, the assessment is great practice.

    Here’s a taster of some of the questions:

    Windows 7 deployment methods and technologies

    You have 1,000 computers on your network that run Windows Vista and Windows XP. You need to identify the computers that you can install Windows 7 on. Which tool should you use?

    · Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAP)

    · Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK)

    · Windows Deployment Services (WDS)

    · Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM)

    Prepare the environment for a Windows 7 deployment

    Which tool should you use to create a Windows PE build environment?

    · Copype.cmd

    · Dism.exe

    · Oscdimg.exe

    · Wpeutil.exe

    If you want to check your answers to these and other questions, visit the portal now. While you’re there complete all 11 modules and get your free book and discount. You'll find full details and terms and conditions here.


  • Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack (MDOP) 2011 now available

    App-V 4.6 SP1 and MED-V 2.0 are now available as part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack (MDOP) 2011. Read more details on the MDOP blog to find out how App-V 4.6 SP1 makes application virtualisation easy, fast and predictable and see how MED-V 2.0 helps with solving the last mile of application compatibility. For further technical resources visit the Springboard Series MDOP TechCentre.