Like TechNet UK on Facebook
TechNet Team Blogs
There are some great preview roadshows coming up for System Center 2012 over the next few months all around the UK. They'll include forward-looking content as well as real-life customer examples and practical advice.
You can join Microsoft and one of four expert partners in Reading, Manchester, London or Birmingham and discover how to empower your business with System Center 2012 management solutions. Registration links and the agenda for the days are below.
16th November 2011
6th December 2011
Imperial War Museum
14th December 2011
18th January 2012
I’ve been digging around on the TechNet Wiki and came across this recently updated article on Hyper-V Tools. It contains a whole host of resources, both Microsoft and Third-party, many of which are free.
Take a look and let us know your thoughts! Are there any tools that you think are missing?
Don’t forget you can also learn more about virtualisation and a whole host of other subjects at the Microsoft Virtual Academy.
System Center solutions help you manage your physical and virtual IT environments across datacenters, desktops, and devices. Using these integrated and automated management solutions, you can be a more productive service provider for your business. As a result of feedback we have gathered from all around the IT Pro universe, some great changes have been made to the System Center Evaluation experience.
With the release of the System Center 2012 beta evaluation in the TechNet Evaluation Center, you can now download and evaluate the most current versions of System Center 2012 products with a single registration. This includes all of the following pre-release products:
However, if you aren’t ready to evaluate all the System Center products you can select the specific products you want to evaluate, again with only one simple registration as opposed to the multiple registrations previously required.
Head over to the System Center 2012 Evaluation Center and check it out!
Before I get into this post I know the term Private Cloud is a dirty word for many IT Professionals, partly because it is seen as marketing fluff and partly because each vendor seems to have their own definition. The Private Cloud definition Microsoft uses is from the National Institute of Science & Technology. I don’t accept this as spin, it’s about taking best practice from running large scale data centres and making it available as techniques and software to those organisations who can’t or won’t move their services to a public cloud provider. This provides some of the tangible benefits of the public cloud like greater agility and efficiency but in your own data centre or one run specifically on your behalf. The key to this management and specifically automation; automation to respond automatically to known events and automation to requests for change from customers.
Automation means less human intervention, giving repeatability and consistency with a by product of reduced response times to requests. However the human bit of human intervention is the IT Professional so does that mean that they are so much excess baggage in a modern organisation?
To answer that I will use the same roles my desktop counterpart Simon May used in his article about the affects of the public cloud on IT Departments:
The helpdesker (a.k.a. Frontline support analyst)
These guys are still needed especially in dealing with the “how do I?” request from the users, but of course their ability to help individuals will be limited by the service level the business want from the help desk. Cutting back the help desk can be short sighted as their ability to help the user population can greatly increase their productivity, but this is hard to measure and therefore this might be under threat as well.
In a private cloud world a helpdesk request for “fix it for me it’s broken” , should mean that the helpdesk team will know about some issues before they arise because of there will be management tools like System Center in place. The service monitoring tools will tell them that a service is down while the desktop management suite will pick up any issue with the user’s desktop ( be it physical or virtual) before they do. So less time spent searching for what’s wrong leaving more time to concentrate on resolving the issue.
The desktop technician (a.k.a. 2nd level support, a.k.a “Dave in IT”)
If the desktop itself is the problem then in a private cloud style world this is either a commoditised or virtualised and can be swapped out. Even in the world of VDI the desktop is the desktop and most tech problems are down to drivers apps and connectivity, so these guys will still be pretty busy. However remote administration either with EasyAssist in Win 7 or Remote Desktop means that problems can be solved remotely. In my world Dave is a guy in Salt Lake City or Ravi in Hyderabad depending on the time of day. This is a good thing as we have 24 hour cover and we can be green and inclusive in our workforce by giving these people the tools to work at home.
The other key request that goes through the service desk , is requests for something new be it an application, a service on a virtual machine or a new starter will all be automated once the request has been through an approval process. This will have an impact on the size of the team but this should be offset by spending more time on strategic projects like implementing upgrades and designing new services.
The server huggers
On the surface of it, the private cloud is much more likely to the number of data centre administrators by allowing each one to manage many more servers (be they physical or virtual).
Actually these guys are already in decline as physical servers are virtualised. However virtualisation alone is NOT private cloud so this decline could be offset by out of control virtual server sprawl. However the routine administration of servers has already been outsourced in many companies and government departments, and the pressure is on the large system integrators (Cap Gemini, CSC, EDS etc.) who now run those data centres to make further savings and pass them onto their customers.
So for my money the only roles at risk are the ones that involve a lot of repetitive process, and lets face humans aren’t too good at that. Of course this type of work has already been eroded by offshoring and outsourcing so actually Private Cloud is just evolution not revolution here. Also skills in data and user management will continue to be required as before no matter where the database, mailbox , content management system actually is. The other thing to bear in mind is that the automation the private cloud brings to the data centre will be balanced by increased demand for richer services , compliance and the raw demand to store more stuff.
I think uncertainty is the issue here; uncertainty about the survival of your business, the future of your role in it, and if you have been doing the same thing for a while what else is out there. I can’t advise you on how to fix your business but the mitigation for all of theses issues is education and training. You don’t needed to outrun the lion of redundancy you just need to be running faster than the other guys he’s chasing, and to do that in a toughening job market you need more skills and the right attitude.
So my top tip would be to start with the free Microsoft Virtual Academy before going on to some wider or later certification. If you aren’t in work at all right now then Britain Works would be the place to start.
The 20th October 2011 was another milestone as we look towards End of Support (EoS) for Windows XP. Checking my countdown gadget tells me that we’re now at only 894 days until the XP support switch is flicked to off, and no support means Windows XP becomes a significant risk for your business. After April 8th 2014 there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.
It’s hard to believe it, but ten years have passed since Windows XP was first launched, and the workplace has changed quite a bit. Today’s businesses, big or small, face trends that were not mainstream a decade ago – highly mobile and distributed workforces, new compliance regulations, more consumer devices in the workplace, and an increased emphasis on operational efficiency. The modern workplace needs modern technology to support and embrace all these changes.
There’s no denying that XP was a massive step forward and a great OS in it’s own time. It made working on a PC more user friendly and fun, adding support for Wireless Internet and a new UI. However you don’t start to realise how much has changed since then until you look at what we didn’t have. When XP was first released nobody was talking about it on Facebook, that didn’t exist until 2004. We were still 6 years away from the first iPhone, the first Xbox was yet to make it to market and tablet computers were somewhat different to the devices that are increasingly common today.
To further put things into perspective, using XP today is akin to trying to synchronise your iPhone 3G with Windows 98 or stream from your Windows 95 PC to your shiny new Xbox 360.
April 2014 might sound like an awful long way away, but if you think about the amount of time your Windows 7 migration could take from end to end, there really is no time to waste. Working from their own projected timelines, Gartner have noted that it would be “dangerous for organizations now running XP to attempt to skip Windows 7 and move directly to Windows 8”. Indeed, they have been saying for over a year that organisations should look to have migrated off of Windows XP by the end of 2012, and the most recent statistics from StatCounter seem to show that people have been heeding their warning.
OS Share Worldwide. Source: StatCounter
OS Share UK. Source: StatCounter
This October, for the first time, the worldwide share of PCs running Windows 7 overtook that of those running Windows XP and the trend shows no sign of slowing. This is nothing new in the UK though, where Windows 7 share has outstripped that of XP for well over a year.
It’s all well and good singing the praises of Windows 7, and it is widely viewed as the superior OS, but we’re also well aware that it’s not always simple making the switch. This is especially true for many IT Pros working in complex organisations with a vast number of legacy applications. To make sure you and your business aren’t left behind, we have a whole host of great resources available to give you a helping hand and I’ve listed a few of them below for you to check out.
Last fortnight your tips on ease of use earned Sam a stay of execution – check out all the great responses here. Now she needs to know, how she can make sure all the applications her company currently uses on XP will continue to work on Windows 7?
To enter, create a short video clip (less than 3 minutes) and keep your eyes peeled on the blog to find out where to post it. Be as creative as you like, add music, text or just record direct from your webcam. We still have lots of limited edition mugs to give away to new entrants, as well as a Sony 32” Full HD TV, Blu-ray Home Cinema System & Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray for this fortnight’s best video. Remember to promote your video wherever you can to be in with a chance of winning our GRAND PRIZE – a 3D TV, Full HD 3D Ready Camcorder and 3D Conversion Lens for the highest number of views!
Check out the Windows 7 Tech Centre for some ideas on what to talk about and Tweet #SaveSam.
Further information, full Terms & Conditions and some more tips are available here.
EDIT 11/10 - Post your video as a response to the video here.
We’re busy planning away for our Windows 7 Deployment – Why and How online conference next Tuesday. Hopefully you’ll be joining us on the day, make sure you head over here and register for free now if you haven’t already.
We put the wheels in motion for this event as a result of discussions with our readers, and after getting yet more great feedback we have made some changes to the agenda. We’re consolidating the day into more concise sessions so that you can find out what you need to quickly and easily, without taking a whole day out of work. The amount of time dedicated to hearing TechNet Blog reader Paul Cooke’s real-world migration story has also been extended. He’ll be coming from Plymouth City Council, to tell us about how he and his team have implemented hot desking using Windows 7, Office 2010, App-V and Lync 2010.
But we don’t want to stop there; we still have a half-hour slot where we want you to tell us what you want to hear! So please leave a comment below – would you rather we discuss General Deployment Challenges, take a deep look at the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit or a deep look at SysPrep?
When we get some time out from bringing you all the latest IT Pro news, events and competitions, we like to do our bit for charity here at TechNet. The Developer Partner Evangelism (DPE) Group at Microsoft, of which TechNet is a part, are undertaking a ‘Store Wars’ challenge in conjunction with Naomi House and Jacks Place Children’s Hospice. As part of the fundraising for this wonderful charity our team members have come up with two great opportunities.
Over the next couple of days we are holding two auctions, one for a days Architecture Design Session for your company in the Microsoft Technology Centre and one for a days Interactive Marketing Session with our experts. But here’s the catch – you don’t know what everyone else is bidding, so you have to bid what’s you think it’s worth!
The deadline to get your bid in is Friday 14th October at 3pm, for updates on the highest bids take a look at the @RomseySoft Twitter account.
Further information on the prizes, Naomi House and how to enter can be found below. Many thanks for your support.
A One-Day Architecture Design Session in the Microsoft Technology Centre
This session focuses on the objectives of your business and looks at how the latest Microsoft technologies can help you meet your goals and explore new business opportunities. We’ll provide architectural guidance, consultation on preferred practices, and risk analysis to chief technology officers, architects, and senior members of your development team. The ADS will be facilitated by senior Microsoft architects with deep knowledge of key technologies across client, server, database, mobile and cloud, and with extensive experience of aligning business requirements and technology strategy. For more information, please see the Microsoft Technology Centre website.
Make your Bid for the MTC
A One-Day Interactive Marketing Session - Marketing to the Next Level
Phil Cross and Sara Allison are 2 Marketers in Microsoft DPE and would be delighted to work with a partner for a day sharing insight, experiences and laughs in an interactive workshop session based on specific challenges you are facing. The outcome would be to give you some ideas and tangible steps to take your marketing to the next level. Obviously we are doing this to raise money for charity and whilst we are not professional trainers we do live and breathe marketing to a huge audience every single day.
Phil has many years’ experience in Marketing both outside and inside Microsoft, from product management through to driving customer satisfaction to thousands of IT Professionals and Students. Obviously to do this you have to be creative with channels and resources! Sara is the editor of the UK Microsoft Developer Network website, blog and newsletter, as well as Ubelly, the unofficial official Microsoft blog for developers who love the web. As well as enjoying developing creative stories to engage her audience, she’s also keen on using social media and good old face to face communication to listen to what people want to hear about and help spread the word.
Make your Bid for the Marketing Experience
About Naomi House
Every day, Naomi House helps to relieve the pressures faced by families caring for a very sick child who won’t live to become an adult. Since 1997 we have been able to provide a home-from home environment to over 600 families thanks to the support of thousands of individuals, hundreds of volunteers and many local companies. Your support can make such a difference. Whether you can donate money or time, we offer a range of ways to help children with life-limiting conditions and their families to enjoy precious time together at Naomi House. Naomi House relies heavily on donations. We receive over 90% of our funding from supporters across Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, West Sussex, Surrey and Wiltshire. Every donation, large or small makes a difference, to the children and families who receive support from us. Hundreds of children and families benefit from the work of Naomi House each year, your donation can help to ensure that we can continue to give them the support they need. For more information visit www.naomihouse.org.uk
Terms and Conditions
1. ELIGIBILITY: This competition is open to any person resident in the UK who is 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:
Method 1 (For Prize 1) - Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org containing your contact details and bid amount, stating “MTC Charity Auction” in the e-mail subject line.
Method 2 (For Prize 2) - Send an e-mail to email@example.com containing your contact details and bid amount, stating “Marketing Experience Auction Bid” in the e-mail subject line.
Microsoft is not responsible for lost, corrupted or delayed entries. Only one entry per person will be accepted. No purchase necessary. 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 09.00:00 am BST on 10 October 2011 until 15.00:00 p.m. on 14 October 2011(inclusive). 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 shall be used for the purposes of this competition only.
5. SELECTION OF WINNERS: There will be two winners, one for each Entry Method. The winners will be the entrants who have submitted the highest bid through the methods defined above by the closing date. In the case of two identical bids for one Prize having been received, the winner will be the individual whose bid was received first.
Rachel Peck will notify the winners by email by 17 October 2011. If a potential winner cannot be contacted, through no fault of Microsoft, within FIVE (5) working days after the first attempt, an alternative winner with the next highest bid amount will be selected. The winner may be required to become involved in further publicity or advertising.
The winner must submit their winning bid amount through the Virgin Money Giving donation page here no later than 12:00:00 on 18 October 2011. Failure to submit your winning bid amount will result in an alternative winner being selected.
6. PRIZE: A total of two (2) prizes are available, one (1) per entry method.
Prize 1 - A one-day Architecture Design Session in the Microsoft Technology Centre. This session focuses on the objectives of your business and looks at how the latest Microsoft technologies can help you meet your goals and explore new business opportunities. We’ll provide architectural guidance, consultation on preferred practices, and risk analysis to chief technology officers, architects, and senior members of your development team. The ADS will be facilitated by senior Microsoft architects with deep knowledge of key technologies across client, server, database, mobile and cloud, and with extensive experience of aligning business requirements and technology strategy.
Prize 2 - A one-day Marketing Interactive Session- Marketing to the Next Level. Phil Cross and Sara Allison are 2 Marketers in Microsoft DPE and would be delighted to work with a partner for a day sharing insight, experiences and laughs in an interactive workshop session based on specific challenges you are facing. The outcome would be to give you some ideas and tangible steps to take your marketing to the next level.
Prizes are as stated and are not transferable. No cash alternatives available.
7. WINNERS LIST: The winner consents to their first name and surname being made publicly available. The winners surname will be available for a period of 30 days after the closing date by emailing Rachel Peck at 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.
All Money raised will be donated to Naomi House; Microsoft will not accrue any financial benefit from this auction.
Each day we will announce the value of the leading bid through twitter using the account @RomseySoft.
Promoter: Microsoft Limited, Microsoft Campus, Thames Valley Park, Reading, RG6 1WG, England
After much deliberation our judges have reached a decision on the winner of last fortnight's Save Sam competition. Congratulations to 'thelongclimb', a limited edition mug and Acer Aspire ICONIA TAB will be winging their way to you very soon! While thelongclimb's video may have been judged the best by our panel, it isn't the leader in our race to gain the most views and win the GRAND PRIZE – a 3D TV, Full HD 3D Ready Camcorder and 3D Conversion Lens, that honour is currently held by 'pauliddon'. Whose video do you think is best? Let us know in the comments.
You can watch all the entries so far, including last fortnight's winning video and the current front runner in the race for our grand prize, below. Think you can do better? There's just under a week to get your entry in for this fortnight's competition.
Many thanks and congratulations to all of our entries, limited edition mugs will be on their way!
We're a week into the entry period for Sam's latest question on Windows 7 compatibility, so it's high time that we gave you the link to the video to which you need to post your response. So without further ado, here it is! Post your video as a response to this one by Monday 17 October to get your hands on a free limited edition mug and be in with a chance of winning a Sony 32” Full HD TV, Blu-ray Home Cinema System & Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray! As soon as you're video's online promote it everywhere you can, be that Twitter, Blogs, Forums or anywhere else you can think of to ramp up your views and put yourself in the running for our GRAND PRIZE – a 3D TV, Full HD 3D Ready Camcorder and 3D Conversion Lens.
The eagle-eyed among you (and the not so eagled-eyed) will probably notice that Sam's had a bit of a makeover, but don't let that big grin fool you, her job is still at risk without your help!