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

June, 2011

UK  TechNet Flash Newsletter
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  • Seen the Windows Small Business Server migration portal?

    The Windows Small Business Server Migration Portal is now live on TechNet, providing a multitude of SBS migration resources, including whitepapers, BPA downloads, wikis and community links. Head over to TechNet now to get some assistance with your migration to SBS 2008, SBS 2011 Standard or SBS 2011 Essentials.

    For more info and guidance with all versions of Windows Small Business Server, visit the TechNet TechCentre.


  • Office 365 launch – download the introduction for administrators

    If you missed the launch of Office 365 you can catch the video announcement at the Microsoft News Centre.

    Getting down to practicalities, there’s an introduction to Office 365 for administrators here. If you missed yesterday’s post, have a look now to get the new deployment guide and some other useful references to get you on your way.

  • How Microsoft deployed Windows Phone 7 in the enterprise

    Microsoft IT was responsible for supporting the first ever Windows Phone 7 company wide deployment to over 50,000 employees. Cross-company, Cross-team collaboration, planning, and focused marketing were the keys to deploying and supporting Windows Phones successfully to permanent employees around the world. Check in to TechNet Edge to watch.

    Get more information about how Windows Phone works for business in our special feature over on TechNet.

    If you’d just like a general Windows Phone overview, take a look at its dedicated area on the website. You’ll also find App Hub interesting if you dabble in development in your spare time.

  • Get ready for Office 365 – deployment guide now available

    With all this talk of Office 365, now’s a very good time to take a look at the new deployment guide.

    Whether you already know all about Office 365,or you’re wondering what it’s all about, you can find helpful resources here. You’ll find some more helpful info at the links below:

    Explore Office 365 at your desk on 30 June

    Office 365 Jump Start videos – watch on demand on TechNet Edge

    Introducing Office 365 (Tech.Days session)

    An Overview of Office 365 Tech.Days session)

    Real World Experience of Office 365 by Cloud Business (Tech.Days session)

    Real World Customer Experience of Office 365: Q&A with London Borough of Ealing (Tech.Days session)

  • MUCUGL: July 2011 – An Introduction to Lync


    Are you based in and around London and keen to learn more about Lync Server?  Check out MUCUGL - one of our newest User Group communities. MUCUGL focus on all things Lync and UC.  On the 28 July, MUCUGL will be holding their first event – An Introduction to Lync

    Kicking off at 6pm – the event agenda is as follows:

    18:00 – 18:20 (High Level)Adam Jacobs will introduce Lync Server and some high level differences over OCs

    18:20 – 18:40 (Deep Dive) - In the second session Justin Morris will talk about the resilience capability available in Lync Server, demonstrating how the Microsoft UC stack could replace an enterprise PBX.

    18:40 – 19.10 – Networking

    19:10 – 19:40 – Chalk and Talk Session. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own topics for discussion, e.g. particular adoption or environmental barriers (existing voice setup, business case suggestions or integration opportunities)

    19:40 – 20:00 – Finally, Tom Arbuthnot will cover off an industry update, including notable new resources, announcements and futures. Q&A... and then to the pub!

    Interested in attending? Sign up here.

  • The week that was on the UK TechNet blog - 20-24 June

    Happy Friday, folks. Don’t miss your chance to pick up some great prizes – you’ve got to be in it to win it!

    Have a great weekend.

  • TechNet competition round-up – prizes not to be missed!

    Wet though it may be, we’re enjoying the summer here at TechNet Towers, and as you might have noticed, we’re in the mood for a competition or two. This post pulls together all our current competition fun so you can see at a glance what’s up for grabs and how you can win.

    First up, TechDays online, our series of webcasts on the topics of desktop, private cloud and public cloud. To enter these three draws you need to collect the links from each online session. They’re all recorded here if you missed any.


    This competition is open until 11.59:59 p.m. on 22 July 2011. Find full terms and conditions here.

    That’s not all - we have three more great prizes available! All you have to do is register for the Deployment Learning Portal.


    There are some great resources here to help you learn how to deploy Windows 7. You can test your knowledge in tests written by certification exam bodies and get your mitts on the following swag:

    • · Laptop - Intel® Core™ i3-370M processor, Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit, Memory: 3GB, Hard drive: 320GB
    • · Xbox 360 with 3 games (Fable II, Halo 3, Gears of War 2) and an Xbox Kinect
    • · Win Phone 7 - HTC 7 Mozart

    Read the full terms and conditions here and enter before 11.59:59 p.m. on 31 July 2011.

    Good luck!

  • System Center Orchestrator beta – a first look

    Of all the bits of System Center to come out next year it is Orchestrator I am most interested in, as it is one of the enablers to create a private cloud. It’s a new bit of the System Center suite and is the glue that not only integrates the rest of System Center, but also most of the popular non-Microsoft tools in the systems management space e.g. HP, BMC, CA, Symantec and Vmware. It has been developed from the acquisition of Opalis, and if you were familiar with that, Orchestrator is very similar except it is now in .Net and has a much simpler installation process.

    Very simply, if you have to do the same task more than ten times then it's probably something that should be automated.  For the low level techie this might mean scripting in PowerShell, and although this might work and you might be able to reach all of the moving parts you need to, it is difficult to change, maintain and debug. On the other hand, Orchestrator allows you to map and design the process visually with very little coding:

    • Each step (object) of the process (a runbook in Orchestrator speak) might be working with a different part of your infrastructure, such as the file system, active directory, e-mail etc.  This is where the rich integration in Orchestrator shows up as it understands what other tools can do and what data they can supply and respond to.  This knowledge about what systems management tools can do is encapsulated into integration packs which are rather like management pack in System Center Operations Manager (SCOM).
    • Each step can get, set and pass data to another step like a user name, a machine name or an error condition.  This published data, as it is called, passes along a data bus and is eventually stored in a SQL Server database.
    • You have flow control to wait for event, loop, and conditionally branch.
    • You then build and deploy this task from your designer to the Orchestrator server.
    • Monitors can be setup to initiate workflow by watching for events in your system.  Note that in System Center Service Manager 2012 runbooks can be directly invoked as part of an incident.

    Creating the right runbooks will transform your data centre into more of a private cloud, for example:

    • A runbook can respond to a helpdesk incident to provision a new service.
    • Doing that endlessly, however, will mean you will end up running out of physical servers so other runbooks can be created to end of life servers.
    • Runbooks can respond to events, indicating services are idle or are under pressure and reallocate resources to better balance operational needs.

    If all that sounds interesting then the beta of Orchestrator is now available to download. If you do plan to evaluate it, here are few things you need to know:

    • Orchestrator has a server component and a web console to monitor it and then there is a designer to create your runbooks.  The easiest way to deploy Orchestrator is put everything including the designer on the one server and remote desktop into it. The only exception might be to deploy its data store to an existing database server.
    • The integration packs I mentioned for connecting to System Center and other systems management tools aren’t included in the beta download (they will be for release), so you can get them by downloading Opalis 6.3 180 day trial, as these are compatible with Orchestrator.
    • If you have been using Opalis before you can export your policies and then import into Orchestrator as runbooks.  There may be some legacy objects that won’t work or need to be adapted which will block a runbook being deployed, and you’ll have to fix that.

    For further resources visit the System Center TechCentre on TechNet.

  • Be in it to win it – Tech.Days online competitions are all now open


    Our Tech.Days online webcast series has now finished. Thank you to everyone who joined us - we hope you found the series useful.

    Yesterday’s final sessions covered Governance Risk & Compliance in the Cloud. If you missed it you can view the recording here.

    On to the fun bit – now all three Tech.Days online tracks have closed, all the competitions are open! If you’ve diligently collected all the links from the webinars and noted where they sent you, you’re all ready to enter. If you missed any sessions watch the recordings and fill in the gaps.

    Here’s a reminder of what’s up for grabs:

    Desktop webcasts track – enter here to be in with a chance of winning a Canon EOS 1000D digital SLR camera

    Private Cloud webcasts track – enter here to be in with a chance of winning a Samsung PS42C450 42” plasma TV

    Public Cloud webcasts track – enter here to be in with a chance of winning a Sony Blu-ray Disc/DVD Home Theatre System BDV-E370

  • Explore Office 365 at your desk on 30 June

    Microsoft Office 365

    Got 75 minutes free on 30 June? Put this online conference in your calendar at 10am and join us to explore Office 365.

    We’ll help you:

    • Understand the cloud opportunity

    • Demonstrate the features and functionality of Office 365 with a promise of no jargon or IT speak

    • Make it clear how you can progress by taking a trial or contacting a partner

    You should attend if:

    • You work in a small or medium business

    • IT is at least partly your responsibility (IT Decision Maker, Business Decision Maker, Office Manager, Administrator etc)

    • You've heard about "The Cloud" or "Office 365" and think they sound interesting, but don't know too much more.

    Sign up here.