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

January, 2013

UK  TechNet Flash Newsletter
  • Evaluate This–Remote Desktop Services

    In my last post I showed how easy it is to create virtual desktops in Windows Server 2012, and while that’s now a core part of providing remote desktops to your users there is still the good old fashioned terminal services, or to give its modern name Remote Desktop Services (RDS). RDS also changes quite a lot in Windows Server 2012 and so I have made this short screencast to show how to set it up..


    VDI and RDS are designed to compliment each other:

    • The client is using the same protocol (RDP - Remote Desktop Protocol) to interact with a remote desktop or a virtual desktop
    • They share services for example; the remote desktop web access portal for users to access remote desktops and applications, and the remote desktop broker that controls access to the resources on offer.
    • You can create RD RemoteApp applications from both an RDS Pool or a VDI Pool.  If you aren’t familiar with RD RemoteApp it’s a way of delivering an individual application over RDP so it looks like it’s on a users desktop but actually its executing server side. I have seen it being used for providing legacy applications or those that need to run in a secure environment.

    So when to use what?

    I think this comes down to efficiency and manageability.  You can support far more (typically 12x)  remote users with RDS than with VDI running on the same server hardware.  So if possible use RDS complimented with technologies like App-v to virtualise application delivery to delegated users.  That way you’ll just have to maintain the few servers providing RDS and secure the users profile disks. 

    It may be that some or of all your users can’t use RDS because they applications they want don‘t ‘like’  being run from and RDS server.  In that case the next most efficient option is pooled VDI where a virtual desktop is shared rather than being dedicated to a particular user. In this scenario you just have manage one virtual desktop, and then control the deployment of revisions to that (which may just include patches or whole new applications). Your final option is to give your users personal virtual desktops which means that each of these needs to be managed in exactly the same way as if they have real desktops.  What’s good about VD/RDS in Windows Server is that the users get a good experience either way with multi touch support, smooth video streaming and USB redirect so they can use webcams, dongle, card readers etc.

  • Windows 8 Licensing Made Simple


    Whether you want to upgrade your PCs to Windows 8, gain access to exclusive offerings such as Windows 8 Enterprise edition and the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, or use Windows with greater flexibility, there is a Microsoft Volume Licensing solution that is right for your organization.

    Learn how simple Windows 8 Licensing is when you take the new MVA product Licensing course. This course covers:

    · Windows 8 editions - identifying the type of user for each edition

    · Consumerization of IT and today’s tech savvy trends

    · Review the channels through which these editions can be purchased

    · The licensing and flexibility of Windows 8 Licensing and go into more detail on various editions

    · Companion Device Licensing

    · Several typical real life customer scenarios that gives you realistic business situations where Windows 8 licensing is applied

    I can’t promise Licensing is made exciting, but I can promise that it is made very simple whether you have basic or expert knowledge it is extremely handy.

    Here we see the channels through which Windows 8 is made available. For example, Windows RT is only available through the OEM channel as a pre-configured system on certified hardware. It offers users a consistent Windows experience.




    Did you know that you can purchase upgrade licenses through a Volume Licensing program to gain access to Windows 8 Pro? Upgrades are available through Microsoft Volume Licensing programs for small to midsize organizations such as Open License, Open Value, Open Value Subscription or Select Plus.

    From the Eligible Professional Grade Offerings with Windows 8 Pro, learn how to take advantage of the convenience and flexibility available through the various Volume Licensing Programs. Especially important is the availability of Software Assurance for our Windows Desktop operating systems designed to enable customers to implement new flexible work style scenarios.

    Understand how there is increased value with Software Assurance. In addition to new version rights, SA provides exclusive access to enterprise offerings, such as Windows 8 Enterprise edition and to the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack (MDOP).

    SA offers greater flexibility for how customers use Windows. For example there is a new use right called Windows To Go, allowing employees to access a corporate image running Windows 8 Enterprise from a bootable USB.


    Qualifying operating systems - Properly licensed Microsoft operating systems (such as Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP) have either a full operating system (OS) license or the combination of an upgrade operating system license and a pre-existing, full operating system license. Only certain editions of the Windows operating system qualify for upgrades under Volume Licensing agreements.

    If your OS license qualifies, you can purchase the Windows 8 Pro Upgrade license, under your Volume Licensing agreement. It is important to understand that Windows licenses that are available through Volume Licensing are upgrade-only licenses and can only be acquired on top of a base OS license.

    To learn more, take the assessment, print your certificate and become a certified licensing expert for Windows 8 just like that!

    Start Here

  • Tech.Days Online is Back! 24th/25th/26th April


    New years resolution: must blog more!  It's only taken me to the end of January to start my resolution but I'm going to try one blog article per month.  

    We're bringing back Tech.Days Online on the 24th/25th & 26th of April.  This time with more days and more topics.  Simon and Andrew will be back and we'll be introducing some new faces as well!   We will also be providing free MVA points for the learning! 

    If you can't spare the time to get out of the office or have a travel restrictions, then this is a great opportunity to learn from your browser!

    -       Learn online from the comfort of your own desk

    -       Register once and dip in and out of the sessions you want to attend

    -       Half an hour, bite size sessions on the topics you most want to hear about

    -       Dedicated sessions for IT Professionals and Developers.

    -       Ask the experts questions throughout the three days

    -       50 free MVA points for anyone that attends

    -       Plus the opportunity to win loads of cool prizes!

    Day One: Visual Studio 2012 - 24th April

    Dedicated to developers and testers, learn more about Visual Studio 2012 ‘the tool for developing for Windows 8’ and hear from our experts and ALM Partners.  We will cover Agile development with Team Foundation Server 2012, testing capabilities of VS and the new Team Foundation Service.  We also welcome your views on what additional development content you would like us to include.  We will update the agenda nearer the time, so you can choose which sessions are of most interest to you.  Link to the survey to have your say.

    Day Two and Day Three - 25th & 26th April

    Two whole days solely devoted to IT Professionals, but there’s a twist; we want your help to set the agenda. Complete our short survey and choose the topics, speakers and content that you want to learn more about, so you get the most out of your time with us.

    Register for your place now, and we’ll confirm the agenda in a couple of weeks-time based on the results of our survey. Once we’ve confirmed the agenda, you can then choose to attend the sessions that are of most interest to you.

    WWMDB Individual ID%%


    I'm going to try and keep to my new years resolution of one blog article per month to complement the articles the rest of the team are regularly writing.  I do need your help, if you don't see an article by me in a month, send me an tweet, ask me where it is :)


    Thanks for reading, we look forward to seeing you online at Tech.Days in April





  • Cloud powered ‘change agents’ driving business transformation

    Guest Post by Rob Fraser, Cloud Services CTO, Microsoft Ltd

    A new study from Forrester, commissioned by Microsoft Ltd, has found that cloud computing is empowering ‘change agents’ from all corners of an organisation to deliver business innovation and drive positive business change.

    Essentially, it shows that where there are certain types of people who are willing to push boundaries and innovate within their organisation, with applications and services delivered via the cloud acting as catalysts for positive change.

    You might expect then that the study would reveal a sort of ‘wild west’ of IT, with un-sanctioned projects popping up all over the place and creating an unmanageable IT environment, what is often referred to as shadow IT. But the reality is quite the opposite. It shows that the most successful cloud deployments are those with strong alignment between business and IT and that all projects from those interviewed had engagement from IT.

    This is clearly good news to ensure IT environments remain secure and adopt the correct rigour towards governance and privacy. But Forrester did make some bold recommendations to IT as cloud adoption becomes more widespread.

    IT to evolve

    The study suggests that IT departments could consider becoming ‘cloud brokers’, offering a marketplace of services and applications which the business can call on to innovate and deliver value (see how Microsoft is supporting this at

    Skills to change

    Forrester suggests that cloud computing is accelerating the shift in skills requirements for the IT function from technology to business management. One of the study contributors, the head of IT at a UK University said: “We will have to start having people with different skills. 80% of the [IT] department today consists of technical resources, 20% is business. We will shift to more business management skills when managing multiple [cloud] services.”

    Maintain the close alignment between IT and business

    Independent of the origin or executive sponsorship of a cloud project, successful initiatives require strong collaboration between business and IT. Forrester states that “The vision of ‘swiping a credit card’ and getting a complete, functional cloud solution is a fairy tale in most cases.”

    Ultimately, we think that cloud computing will provide the impetus for IT leaders to become agents of change within their organisations and fulfil a long-promised role. IT is sometimes said to be 80 per cent focused on ‘keeping the lights on’ – the day-to-day operations that keep essential services up and running. However, the cloud means IT can start to find a way forward to providing new capabilities, adding new value and working with the business to create new offerings.

    What do you think? Has cloud driven innovation in your organisation and how have you kept control over shadow IT deployments? Please share your examples with us or join the discussion at

    To read the full report, visit

  • All those ways you didn't think Office was going to change your life

    To celebrate the launch of Microsoft Office 365 in the UK we are holding a unique event taking place based on and around the specially created Route 365 bus. The 365 will travel through London for a day, playing host to a fascinating selection of speakers sharing their personal stories of how technology supports and improves their day to day lives.

    Highlights include Tess Daly, Will Greenwood and Sally Whittle all giving their personal accounts of how technology is enhancing their working and personal lives. Members of the public are invited to join the bus and get involved both online and in the real world, to ask them about their experience. Attendees and members of the public will be joined by artists, musicians and entertainers as the bus moves through London, with the whole experience being streamed live at

    The entire journey is being used to show how Office 365, including OneNote, PowerPoint, Excel and Word allows you to work and stay connected, even while you are on the move.

    Far be it for us to succumb to hype and bombast when we're launching a new product such as Office 365. However, when we challenged ourselves to discover all the truly unexpected ways that people weave Office into their daily lives, we couldn't have expected such a variety of imaginative solutions to everyday problems. From using OneNote as a shopping list to sticking Excel to the fridge door as the family diary, Office has become part of the fabric of modern life. So we set ourselves the challenge of seeing just how far we can push Office 365, with connectivity and the cloud built right in.

    We said we wanted to dream up a way that would show people the real power of Office. That's why today, we're asking thousands of people to Catch the 365. The Route 365 is a specially kitted out Routemaster bus that's travelling the streets of London (you can follow its journey live here: On this bus, we've invited special guests to give highly personal presentations on something that's close to their hearts, either in their working life or personal life or both. Microsoft Ambassador, Former British Lion, Rugby World Cup Winner and Sky Sports analyst, Will Greenwood has agreed to step onto the Route 365 to talk about how he uses mobile technologies and software such as Word and Excel to stay on top of his busy work schedule as a rugby analyst and journalist, especially during events like the British & Irish Lions tour, which kicks off this summer.

    Founder of Tots 100 and the Mum and Dad Blogger awards, Sally Whittle will use PowerPoint to share her experience of running a successful business while bringing up children.

    Bridget MacPherson, of the Phoenix School in Leicestershire will share her passionate position on change in education. And Juliette McMullen will give us her unexpected insights into bringing up toddlers with the help of OneNote and Excel. And to top it all off, Tess Daly has promised to become a surprise passenger, to talk about how everyday technologies have helped her build her media and business careers, whilst being a high-profile mum.

    The speakers will be using the Ignite format for their talks, which means they will use PowerPoint to do a five-minute presentation, with 20 slides auto-forwarding every 15 seconds. If you've never watched an Ignite talk, this is worth seeing as it is a high-energy way to tell a personal story. And if you want to ask our speakers questions that they can answer live, online, please do so by tweeting your question using the hashtag #catchthe365

    The entire bus-based experience will be streamed live, including musical moments and tablet art from Paul Kercal, to But if you're in Central London, why not check out our live location using the Bing Map on the website and come down to try out the new Office and get involved with all the fun of the day.  We will be taking over Leicester Square in central London from 12pm to 3pm today. We will also be running competitions throughout the day, so please check out the website or follow us on Twitter to find out how you could win yourself a copy of Office 365.

  • In the hot seat: Jason Zander

    Who is Jason Zander

    I'm the corporate vice president for the development team of Windows Azure in the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft.  I've worked on lots of products in twenty years at Microsoft with the unifying theme of building platforms and tools for developers to do great work.  I love writing code!  And I love working on a team where developing software and helping others build and deliver their own software is a core mission.

    What will the interview cover?

    When Jason Zander came over last year I got a chance to put together a series of interview questions and grill him about Visual Studio 2012.  At the time Jason was directing the Visual Studio team and since then he has gone on to head up Windows Azure.

    In this interview we covered everything from key features to the process that the Visual Studio team take for software development and testing.  I even asked those awkward questions around how do developers feedback to the development team and get noticed!

    Here’s what happened!

    Useful Links

    If you would like to find more about what Jason Zander is up to you can take a look at his blog and follow him on Twitter.

    And remember to take up our latest offer!


  • Evaluate This–VDI

    Microsoft is serious about Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, and the first sign of this in Windows server is when you try and add a role or feature..


    If you opt for install Remote Desktop Services Installation and select Virtual Desktops as in my short screencast you can see that a lot of work has gone in to making this as simple as possible.  However there is more to VDI in Windows Server 2012 than a good installation experience for example:

    • Hardware Optimisation with RemoteFX.  Making use of spare CPU capacity on your hosts to spoof a powerful graphics card into the desktops for multi-touch, and multiple screens
    • Dynamic memory has start up memory settings as an option so you can quickly start a Windows 7/8 VM with a lot of memory then peg it back to a lower running value until the VM is under memory pressure when it can get more subject to priorities you set.
    • User Profile Disks.  These are differencing disks where each users state and profile are stored.  These differences are based on the gold image you use to create your VDI environment for example a Windows 8 machine with Office 2010 on.  The clever bit is that if you wanted to revise or patch this gold image, say to put Office 2013 on, then you can do this without users’ losing their profiles and they’ll get the new version once they log off and log in again.


    In this screencast I put all of the  Pooled VDI virtual machines’ storage onto a highly available file server (this  post shows you how I built that) and this is where my user profile disks are also stored so that no matter which physical host a user gets their pooled desktop from they will still get their own user settings.

    I used a separate VM for each role in my remote desktop infrastructure, however if you elect for a quick setup then you can have all the roles on the one physical host from which the virtual desktops will run as well.

    There’s a more details lab guide here, and you can easily navigate to other labs form here for a quick setup as well.  Either way you’ll need an Evaluation Copy of Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8

  • Install SharePoint 2013 on AzureVM–How to


    seit 21.1.2013 gibt es eine Guideline wie man SharePoint 2013 & SQL Server in Azure VM einrichtet. In der Beschreibung geht es um die Voraussetzungen und Regel was erlaubt ist und was nicht. Die 56 Seiten sind sehr interessant für SharePoint und SQL Geeks.

    Ich habe mir mal die Mühe gemacht und die interessantesten Punkte herauskopiert:

    Deployment Considerations for SharePoint 2013 on Windows Azure Virtual Machines:

    1. VHD-Type: fixed vs. dynamic:
    A VHD can be in either a fixed format or a dynamic format, but only the fixed format of VHD files is supported in Windows Azure Virtual Machines. Therefore, it is also required for SharePoint that VHD drives be in fixed format.

    2. Hybrid Farm – WFE in Azure und DB-Server onpremise:
    For customer’s SharePoint 2013 deployment, they will need to have their SQL servers also located on Windows Azure Virtual Machines. It is not supported to have the SQL Servers on premise or in another datacenter, talking to the SharePoint Virtual Machines on Windows Azure.

    3. Garantie der QoS für das Netzwerk: 1 ms Latenz-Regel
    Therefore, all SharePoint Virtual Machines in the Windows Azure Virtual Machines farm should be in the same affinity group and be on the same VNET. Also Microsoft, does not support a wide area network (WAN) topology in which a server that is running SQL Server is deployed remotely from other components of the farm over a network that has latency greater than 1 millisecond (ms). This topology has not been tested and is not supported. For more information, please see:

    Im Blogpost "Windows Azure Virtual Network–Wie baut man ein Netzwerk in der Cloud mit eigenem DNS-Server" zeige ich im Detail wie das Netzwerk erstellt wird.

    4. weitere Hardware Themen:

    The following are not supported in a Virtual Machine on Windows Azure:

    - Multiple IP addresses in a Virtual Machine

    - 32 Bit Applications in a Virtual Machine

    - Static IP addresses:

    o Dynamic addresses must therefore be used instead, which requires that customers create a Windows Azure Virtual Network. Dynamic addresses are effectively become static once they are assigned. (the dhcp lease Zeit ist extreme lang, so wirkt die dynamische IP wie eine statische)

    5. Sysprep Rules für SharePoint:
    SysPrep is only supported in the following scenarios with SharePoint:

    · SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration (PSConfig) Wizard has not yet been run after the SharePoint installation.

    · SharePoint has not been installed in Standalone mode (Database and SharePoint on the same box). Standalone installation is unsupported due to configuration changes made during install that will not be properly adjusted by SysPrep.

    6. Cluster & Hochverfügbarkeit & Disaster Recovery
    Windows Azure Virtual Machines support for high availability and/or disaster recovery is currently limited to Database Mirroring and Log Shipping. Currently, AlwaysOn Failover Cluster Instances are not supported. However, Windows Server Failover Cluster to support Availability Groups (non-shared Storage) is currently supported. It is not supported for other uses.

    7. Active Directory in Azure für SharePoint:
    There are two options available for customers who are running their SharePoint Virtual Machines on Windows Azure Virtual Machines and need to decide where to host their AD Domain Controllers:

    1. Hosting Active Directory Domain Controllers on Windows Azure Virtual Machines

    2. Connecting to On Premise Active Directory Domain Controllers

    (a) For this scenario, customers should keep in mind the latency that is involved here when connecting to their on premise Active Directory. This option might have performance and cost impact.

    [ich bevorzuge den Eigene DC als AzureVM]

    Subnets must be defined in Windows Server AD DS, a site created, the subnets linked to that site, and connected to other sites using appropriate site-links.

    [Update: 17.9.2013]

    Zu guter Letzt wissen wir alle, SharePoint arbeitet immer mit dem SQL Server zusammen. Eine Weisheit besagt: Geht es dem SQL Server schlecht, dann wird es dem SharePoint Sever ebenfalls schlecht ergehen. Aus diesem Grund lege ich jedem diesen Erfahrungsbericht mit Performancekennzahlen ans Herz:

    Performance Guidance for SQL Server in Windows Azure Virtual Machines


    Viel Spaß damit.

    Liebe Grüße


  • Evaluate This – Hyper-V Replica

    In many of the screencast in this series I have moved a VM around my demo setup, however there has only been the one copy of it whether it was on a scale-out file server, in a cluster or both. In any production environment you would want to augment this with additional disaster recovery techniques including have a backup of the key virtual machines somewhere.

    Replica in Windows Server 2012 is a partial answer to this.  You setup a  process to make an offline copy of a given virtual machine (VM) on another server and continually keep it updated. This replica VM can be updated over “UK speed” (don’t get me started!) broadband and you can also maintain up to 4 roiling snapshots enabling you to go back past a data error you may want to correct.   This screencast shows you how to set it up ..




    The replica is always off and it’s up to you under what conditions you invoke failover and of course you can script this in PowerShell with Start-VMFailover as well as all of the configuration for Replica I did in the screencast.

    The principal and replica can either be a cluster or an individual server. 

    In my demo all the servers belong to the same domain but if that’s not the case then you can use CredSSP to set this up. One use of this is that hosters are planning to offer replica as a service so you’ll be able to set your critical VMs to be replicated (is that English?) over the internet into their data centres as a service.

    As I briefly mention in the screencast you can also set your replicated VM to preserve it’s network settings when you fail over to it in its new location,

  • Ich bin wieder unterwegs auf der Office 2013 Roadshow

    Hallo @all,

    die Termine stehen fest und die Agenda ist festgezurrt. An folgenden Terminen findet unsere Office 2013 Roadshow statt:

    Die Agenda umfasst Themen wie das Neue Office 2013, Exchange 2013, Office 365, Lync 2013 und nicht zu vergessen SharePoint 2013.

    Wir sehen uns auf der Tour.

    Liebe Grüße