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February, 2012

UK  TechNet Flash Newsletter
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  • Competition: Share the Love for SQLBits with TechNet UK

    SQLBits LogoThe weather has chilled somewhat in the UK this last week and the SQLBits Conference is coming up fast… with snow forecast next week we thought that it would be a great idea share some love for the conference and keep a few of you warm and cozy.  So we’re offering up 3 NorthFace fleeces in our competition to keep you warm this winter. They are pretty awesome and come complete with the SQL 2012 logo on the left shoulder. (To show off your geek credentials!)

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    For a chance to win a fleece:

    1. Follow @TechNetUK
    2. Tweet “I’m sharing the love for the #sqlbitsconference Please keep me warm with a NorthFace Fleece by retweeting this! http://bit.ly/zFxnj2
    3. Join our Facebook Page
    4.  Share this post with your friends on Facebook

    Each tweet, retweet and share that you generate will result in an entry into the competition. But remember you must be following us or have joined our Facebook page.

    The competition closes at midday GMT on Tuesday 14th February when we will announce the three winners! Good luck!

    Please note this competition is open to UK residents only. Prizes are non-transferable and a cash alternative will not be given.

  • The Week that Was 31st Jan - 5th Feb

    Last week was a busy one with everything from cloud services to competitions and event announcements.  There were also a couple of interesting case studies on Virtualisation and infrastructure as well and a bit on mobile. 

    You don’t have to be an engineer to find something useful in the list below.

    If you would like to receive this sort of content directly to your inbox just sign up to our newsletter.  Or if you prefer it tweeted to you follow us on Twitter.  We also have a Facebook page for those who prefer to get their content that way.

  • Catch up on the latest Architecture News

    Running for four years in Yorkshire, this March sees the successful Architecture Forum come south. Black Marble and Microsoft invite you to join us for an unique opportunity to learn about the latest technologies and best practices from luminaries in the field of computing with a focus on Architecture.

    This year we have an exciting range of speakers covering how you can meet the challenging business environment, while still equipping Architects with the knowledge and tools needed to succeed.

    Since the demise of the Architecture Insight Conference, no event focusing on Architecture and the Microsoft Platform has run in London – Until now that is!

    The forum will cover the following topics: Microsoft .NET, Microsoft .NET Framework, Microsoft BizTalk Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft System Center and Microsoft Visual Studio.

    The final agenda is yet to be confirmed, but we aim to stay close to the event that ran in December in Yorkshire and it is best suited to architects, IT decision makers and IT implementers.

    Confirmed speakers include:

    · Simon May, Andrew Fryer, Giles Davies, Simon Thurman (Microsoft)

    · Gary Short, Danny Crone, Robert Hogg (external)

    For more information and to sign up for this event please register here.

  • The Week that Was 6th - 13th Feb

    Last week was a bit of an events week!  We featured 3 different styles of events from architecture to technical and management.  None of which should be missed at all! We also put out the TechNet newsletter which was all about private cloud! If you’re looking for any links relating to this topic the newsletter is a great place to start!

    And just so you remember we are currently running a competition for 3 SQL Server NorthFace fleeces. The competition ends tomorrow so get your entries in fast!

  • Guest Post: PowerShell – Now’s a Great Time To Learn More

    Thomas LeeBy Thomas Lee – PowerShell MVPMVP Logo

    Thomas is a UK IT Pro, with over 40 year’s experience in the IT field. He’s presently a PowerShell MCP and is very busy doing writing, consulting and training around some of the key Microsoft technologies including PowerShell, Lync and Windows Server/client. In his spare time, he lives in a small cottage with wife, daughter, a nice wine cellar and a large collection of Grateful Dead live recordings.

    Without doubt, 2012 is the year when YOU need to learn PowerShell. And if you already know something about PowerShell, then it’s a great time to learn even more! I know I say this a lot to everyone who will listen, but I really do believe that now is a great time to hone up your PowerShell skills. Let me tell you why and how you can do this.

    We’re in that period between major product releases – Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 have shipped and is now being widely deployed. Of course not everyone is using the latest, but lots of firms are or are planning to in the near future. You might be one of them, and using PowerShell will help you in deploying and managing these two products.

    The next major OS product release will not happen until the end of this year (plus or minus) when Microsoft are expected to ship Windows 8 (server and client). And with the new OS comes Office 15, including new versions of the Office productivity suite plus new versions of Exchange and Lync. The next versions of System Center (particularly System Center Virtual Machine Manager) will feature PowerShell too. What’s more – PowerShell is being adopted by third party vendors too – Firms such as Symantec, VMware and Cisco are all adopting PowerShell as their key management interface.

    Windows, Exchange and Lync are based on the use of PowerShell. Each application comes with a GUI that provides some parts of the overall management interface. But to do it all, you will simply need to know PowerShell. With these new releases PowerShell becomes ever more pervasive across the application stacks.

    So how do you learn or learn more about PowerShell? As is so often the case with PowerShell, you have options. As I see it there are two broad ways you can learn PowerShell – or any product for that matter. The first is via self-study – reading on your own, testing what you know by using the product then reading more, etc. The second is to attend a training course.

    Self-study is the way most of the more advanced folks learn – they are often learning the product while the product is still being developed, long before there are any training courses. The self-study option is certain a possible one – there is a mountain of introductory, intermediate and advanced material just a search engine query away. I use Twitter to search for anything related to PowerShell to find at least some of the better on-line resources and I use my search engine to find more about specific topics.

    As for training, here you have a raft of different types of training. A good place to start is with Microsoft’s Official Curriculum course 10325A. This is a great course, but I’m biased as I was the Tech editor and I teach this around Europe! This 5 day class provides a good introduction to PowerShell itself and to the cmdlets found in Windows Server 2008 R2.

    If you want a shorter course, I run a variety of beginner through to advanced courses, including a 2 day weekend PowerShell PowerCamp. The PowerCamp covers as much as the 5 day class would, but in two very intensive (and modestly priced) days. The next PowerCamp is being held on April 21-22 at Microsoft’s Cardinal Place offices in London Victoria. We’ll be covering the basics of PowerShell and I’ll be including more on PowerShell 3.

    If Hands-on training is not your thing, then there are a number of video options. Train Signal has a series of PowerShell videos, for example. And Plural sight currently has a couple of video courses with more in production (I’m the author of one and am currently writing a second). Video learning can be a great way for novices to supplement their existing knowledge as well as for folks new to PowerShell.

    What ever approach you take, it’s time to get to grips with PowerShell and take your IT Pro skills to a new level.

    Useful Links:

    Scripting Center

    Download Windows PowerShell 2.0

    Windows PowerShell Quick Reference

    Windows PowerShell Script Repository

    Script Center Library


  • Case Study & Videos: TechNet Readers help save £494,000 with Windows 7 Upgrade

    logo_mslogo-h_webRegular readers of the TechNet Blog may remember that back in September Paul Cooke from Plymouth City Council won a competition we were running to come along 4000010681[1]and present alongside Andrew and Simon at the ‘Windows 7 Deployment – Why and How’ online conference. We were so impressed by Plymouth’s deployment story that when the opportunity came along to develop it into a fully-fledged case study we jumped at the chance!

    Project Manager Paul and IT Architect Tom Unwin have been working with their team to implement a “desk hopping” scheme for office-based staff, aimed at provisioning eight desks for every 10 employees. This has involved upgrades not just to Windows XP, but also to the Citrix Presentation Server 4.5 backend, Office and their Meridan and Cisco IP telephone system. Through fully utilising their new Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) Plymouth are moving to an end-to-end Microsoft stack, delivering Windows 7, Lync Server 2010, Office 2010 and Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 with Windows Server 2008 R2.

    Not content with just a case study, we’ve dug out some footage from the original online conference to bring you Paul & Tom’s reworked presentation as well as a previously unseen Q&A session.

    Here’s a snippet from the case study of their results so far, for the full story head over to the Microsoft Case Studies website.

    “Employee reaction to the new ways of working has been extremely positive. They can log on at any computer using the same settings and are benefiting from increased productivity. Over the next three years, the authority will significantly reduce office accommodation costs by selling or repurposing buildings it no longer requires. With its Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, the council will save 26 per cent on its licensing, which equates to an estimated £494,000 over three years. And, by deploying Lync 2010, Plymouth has avoided the cost of replacing or upgrading its telephone system—a major contribution to the council’s savings target of £30 million (U.S.$47 million).”

    Here are those all important links:

    If you like what you see, please do pass it on to your colleagues. You never know, it might provide your boss the necessary encouragement to begin an upgrade of your own!

  • Share the Love Competition Winners Announced!

    ANKU_001AMWL_0C5AEFL_682 001On Wednesday 1st February we launched the Share the Love competition for our community to win one of three SQL Server branded NorthFace Fleeces. (as shown below)

    The Three winners are:

    Jen Stirrup

    Daniel Sutton

    Dave Morrisson

    Congratulations folks and look out for additional competitions on our Facebook page and Twitter account in the future!

  • Microsoft System Center and BMC Management Tools Integration and Interaction

    In his second guest post Greg Charman from Kelverion has a look at BMC integration. Many customers have made large investments in both Microsoft System Center and BMC Datacenter Management Tools. Historically integrating these two vendors product sets ...read more
  • Exploiting Orchestrator - Tips to avoid the hidden bear traps

    Following on from my last post about getting started with System Center 2012 Orchestrator, I asked a good friend of mine Greg Charman from Kelverion , to share some of his experience.   System Center 2012 Orchestrator and its predecessor Opalis 6 ...read more
  • Superglue now available for System Center 2012

    One of my frustrations to date when showing off System Center 2012 is that it doesn’t quite fit together yet; each of the individual products is in beta and works pretty well, however joining them up is not there yet.  This is not because there’s ...read more