I remember when I was a developer (yes I really was!!!!) and it came round to TechEd and I ALWAYS wanted to go. Eventually I did manage to persuade my boss to let me go, I actually went twice and it was one of my best conference experiences. What has this got to do with me you're thinking. Well, it's come back round to that time of year and tickets are now available to purchase. Your boss isn't sure about whether to send you or not and you are trying to put together a business case for them sending you.
We thought it might be a nice and quite fun idea to create a competition with the opportunity for you to win a place at TechEd Europe or a range of prizes that could help you expand your knowledge of Microsoft tools and technologies.
What do you have to do?
Remember to tell your friends about your competition entry by Tweeting: "I've just submitted my top tip to convince my boss to send me to TechEd Europe http://bit.ly/ACdb0L #technetuk"
The deadline for this competition is 11am 16th April 2012 and then all entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges.
The prize list is as follows:
We will announce the winner by 26th April 2012 on the TechNet Blog.
Terms & 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: Entry into this competition is by response to the question posed by Microsoft on the TechNet UK Blog. The entry to this competition is by:
1. Leave a response on the TechNet UK Blog against this post.
2. Register on the MVA website.
You must complete both parts of the entry process in order to be eligible for this competition.
Incomplete, damaged, defaced or illegible entries may be deemed invalid at the sole discretion of Microsoft. Entry constitutes full and unconditional acceptance of these Terms and Conditions. Microsoft reserve the right to disqualify anyone in breach of these Terms and Conditions.
3. TIMING: This competition runs from 10.00:00 am GMT on 14 March 2012 until 11.00:00 am BST on 16 April 2012 (inclusive) (The “Competition Period”).
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: The competition winners will be determined by a panel of 3 judges within five (5) working days of the close of the Competition Period. The panel of judges will include at least one independent member.
The judges will evaluate the entries based on the following criteria ("Criteria"): - The clarity and relevance of the response to the question; - The likelihood that the advice given would result in a manager sending an employee to TechEd Europe;. - The creativity shown through the response.
The winners will be notified within ten (10) working days of the close of the Competition Period. Entrants submitting written responses will be contacted through the forum messaging system. If a potential winner cannot be contacted, through no fault of Microsoft, within 5 days after the first attempt, an alternative winner will be selected. The winner may be required to become involved in further publicity or advertising, including but not limited to the use of winning answers in Microsoft publications.
Prizes may consist of more than one item, where more than one item is shown they are combined and treated as a single prize. There will be a maximum of One (1) prize per person. There are Three (3) best response prizes are available for this competition :
– First Prize 1 x Ticket to TechEd Europe, excluding flights & accommodation and all other costs.
- Second Prize 1 x Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone
- Third Prize 1 x Microsoft Branded camp bag (red) containing a Win 7 Resource Kit & Windows Server Resource Kit & some additional surprises!
All responses that meet the entry criteria will be entered into the competition for best answer.
Prizes as stated and non-transferable. No cash or other alternatives available. Microsoft reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. The prizes will be sent by 16 May 2012. If no entries are received or the received entries are not deemed to meet the Criteria, the prize will be retained by Microsoft. Prizes may be considered a taxable benefit and winners will be directly responsible for accounting for any tax liability arising on their prize.
7. WINNERS LIST: The winner consents to their first name and surname being made publicly available. The winner’s surnames will be available for a period of 30 days after the end of the Entry Period by emailing Sarah Lamb at email@example.com.
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.
9. Microsoft cannot guarantee the performance of any third party and shall not be liable for any act or default by a third party. Participants in this promotion agree that Microsoft will have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, losses, costs, damage or disappointment of any kind resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly from acceptance, misuse or use of a prize, or from participation in this promotion. Nothing in this clause shall limit Microsoft’s liability in respect of death or personal injury arising out of its own negligence or arising out of fraud.
Promoter: Microsoft Limited, Microsoft Campus, Thames Valley Park, Reading, RG6 1WG, England
Ian Woodgate is Managing Director of PointBeyond Limited, the UK’s leading SharePoint Business Application specialists. Ian has a background in financial services and and IT. He has worked with SharePoint since its first release as a developer and subsequently as a solution architect. Ian regularly speaks at events around the country, focusing on the subject of delivering business applications using SharePoint, and recently wrote PointBeyond’s white paper ‘Delivering Maximum Business Value With A SharePoint Based Application Strategy’. He also runs the SharePoint UK user group meetings in Southampton. You can contact Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @IanWoodgate.
This is the first of a series of articles in which we discuss how you can use InfoPath 2010 to quickly create and deploy business applications in the cloud with SharePoint Online, part of the Microsoft Office 365 platform. We’ll show how to publish a simple InfoPath form to SharePoint Online, and future articles will build upon this example.
For those not familiar, InfoPath is a Microsoft application that allows users to easily create and publish forms for collecting structured information. The InfoPath application ships with Microsoft Office Professional 2010, and is also available for separate purchase.
InfoPath solutions can be created by both developers and IT professionals, as well as tech-savvy business users such as analysts and information workers. Users can take advantage of the powerful combination of InfoPath and SharePoint 2010 to quickly create complete browser based applications without the need for custom code.
InfoPath ships with templates for common business forms such as Absence Request, Change Order, and Status Report. You can extend the sample forms or create new forms from a blank canvas.
InfoPath allows you to add business rules to validate data being entered (e.g. data must be a number) or to allow data entry on certain conditions (e.g. only an approver can view the approvals section). Rules are added using menus and configuration, so no coding is required, though InfoPath does support custom coding to enable more advanced customisations. Information that is collected when forms are filled out is saved as XML.
You can add your own custom branding and formatting so that your forms reflect your overall corporate style. And you can interact with data located on premise or in the cloud by creating connections to SQL Server, Access, web services, or SharePoint lists.
When forms are published to SharePoint, InfoPath Forms Services, a component of SharePoint 2010, renders them as HTML web forms, so end users do not require any extra software in order to access forms and submit data. Browsers supported by InfoPath Forms Services includes Internet Explorer 7 and upwards, as well as other modern browsers such as Google Chrome and Apple Safari.
It’s no secret that with InfoPath and SharePoint, you can quickly create and deploy business applications without the need for custom code and long, costly development cycles. Perhaps less known is that you can get the same benefits with Office 365 and SharePoint Online. You do need Office 365 plan E3 or E4, or SharePoint Online (Plan 2) if you want your forms to be browser enabled though, since only these plans include InfoPath Forms Services.
InfoPath forms provide more than enough power for creating data-focused applications such as absence reporting, expense approvals, and IT help desk requests. You wouldn’t want to use InfoPath and SharePoint to replace your current ERP system, but the combination is more than acceptable for a wide range of basic applications that are on most organisations’ development backlogs.
Let’s have a quick look at how to create, publish, fill, and submit a simple InfoPath form. In this demo, we’ll use a basic purchase order request form with a simple approval process. For the purposes of this article we have kept the form self-contained and it is therefore very simple. There are many ways in which it could be extended, some of which will be mentioned later.
The form used in this demo can be downloaded from here, along with instructions on the changes that are needed for deployment to your environment or SharePoint online site.
Using the InfoPath Office client we have placed controls on the form to enable the capture of the following information:
The form allows the application of sophisticated rule-based validation and formatting options. These can all be seen on the downloadable form. For example, the Request Approval section is configured to only be displayed when the form has been submitted for approval and is only shown to the specified approver.
The form is shown open in InfoPath below. The data structure and the rules applied to the ‘Submit for Approval’ button can be seen:
Before attempting to publish the form go to site settings in SharePoint and ensure you have the ‘SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features’ feature activated under Site collection features. Also be sure to make the changes in the instructions that accompany the download.
Once the form is ready you can publish directly from InfoPath to your Office 365 SharePoint site. This will create a new form library in your chosen site. From the File menu in InfoPath, select the Publish tab. Click on ‘Publish form to a SharePoint Library’:
In the publishing wizard, enter the URL to your Office 365 SharePoint site and click ‘Next’:
Enter your Office365 credentials:
In the next screen ensure the ‘Enable this form to be filled out by using a browser’ checkbox is selected and select the Form Library radio button, then click ‘Next’:
In the next screen, choose to ‘Create a new form library’ to host your form or update the form if you have an existing Form Library:
Enter a suitable name and description and click ‘Next’:
Click ‘Next’ on the following screen leaving values as default:
Click ‘Publish’ on the summary screen:
The form is now available at the SharePoint Online address specified. InfoPath Forms Services will render the form as HTML, so that users can fill it in from their browser. When viewing the Form Library, clicking on the ‘Add document’ link will open the form in the browser. A user can now fill this in and submit it:
Once submitted the approver can open and review the form in a read-only view and approve/reject as appropriate:
If a form has been submitted and a non-approver attempts to open the form, the rules result in the following view being displayed:
This example demonstrates the power that InfoPath and SharePoint Online provide to quickly create form-based business applications in the cloud. This example, while quite basic, could easily be extended to accommodate more real-world scenarios. For example, you could:
We hope that this simple example demonstrates how you to quickly build and publish powerful business applications on the SharePoint Online platform using InfoPath and without needing custom code.
In a future article, we will present more advanced features such as additional workflow capabilities and integration with web services and SQL Azure data.
With Windows Server 2012, organisations receive the capabilities they need to meet today's ever changing IT requirements through a fundamental shift toward cloud computing. The Windows Server 2012 licensing MVA course covers how to license Windows Server 2012, and will assist you in understanding which edition is the right solution for your organization and how to migrate from earlier editions of Windows Server.
The course takes a look at the four Windows Server 2012 editions. It will help you to understand how the processor + CAL model for Windows Server 2012 Datacenter and Standard editions work for your organisation. Did you know Windows Server 2012 Standard edition now have all the same features and capabilities as Datacenter edition with each license covering up to 2 physical processors on a server? They are both Private Cloud optimised solutions. The Datacenter edition is ideal for highly virtualised environments as it provides for unlimited virtualisation. If your organisation is rapidly growing with high-density virtualisation needs then this edition is ideal. Datacenter and Standard editions are only differentiated by virtualisation rights as the Datacenter edition provides for unlimited virtualisation whereas Standard edition provides organisations with 2 virtual instances with each license.
Windows Server 2012 Essentials is a cloud connected first server ideal for small businesses with up to 25 users providing organisations with the flexibility to have email in the cloud, run line of business applications, or run email on premises. Windows Server 2012 Foundation is an economical general purpose server for physical computing continues to be a server model with no CAL requirements.
Every user or device that accesses an instance of Windows Server 2012 requires a CAL. Learn how to choose the best and most economical CAL based on your particular scenario. The 2 CALs are Device and User CALs. Device CALs is an access license required for every device used by any user and most appropriate for organisations with multiple users accessing an instance of Windows Server on a single device e.g. shift workers. User CALs are required for every named user accessing the server and is most appropriate for organisations with many roaming employees who need access to the corporate network.
The course also takes you through a simplified Windows Server 2008 to 2012 comparison. Windows 2008 R2 Datacenter and Standard editions had different capabilities whereas Windows Server 2012 editions both share the same improvements in capability and licensing. Learn how both editions benefit from the increased processor support, memory and other features once again are only differentiated by virtualisation rights.
You are able to downgrade your bits to previous versions of Windows Server as illustrated below but it is important to remember that Downgrade Rights allow you to downgrade the bits only but the license rules of the purchase version still apply.
For those of you with Windows Server 2008 we review the difference between the previous and the new version for Windows Server 2012 by going through common scenarios. You can increase or grow your virtualisation instances in 2 ways:
1. If you want a lightly virtualised envrionment you can choose to assign multiple Standard edition licenses to a single server often referred to as stacking licenses. Each standard license increases your virtualisation rights by
2. If you want to move to a highly virtualised environment and have active SA you can use your Step-up benefit to move from Standard edition to Datacenter edition
All this and much more scenarios, learnings and instances are covered on this course to solve your licensing headaches. Take the course now and kick-start your path to becoming a Microsoft licensing expert! Start Here
Be sure to also download the free Evaluation copy of Windows Server 2012 and have a play with the software.
We have just got the initial details of the Windows Server 2012 technical launch event that is due to happen here in the UK. Get into your diaries and save the date! 25th September 2012!!! Trust me you NEED to be there! I’m still twisting arms to get the details of where this event will be but for now get the date in your diary.
To go along with this event we are running a couple of competitions. The first is a bit of a geeky design competition and I think it’s right up your alley! Here’s why…
We have 29 HP ProLiant MicroServer’s to give away in association with Servers Plus at the Windows Server 2012 Launch event in association with Servers Plus for attendees at the launch event on 25th September 2012 (Terms & Conditions available here). But that’s not all!!! There’s a second competition!!!
It’s summer time and everything should be bright and fun -that includes the MicroServer! That’s where the design competition comes in!!! You will need all your design skills to the ready as you will need to personalise, pimp or otherwise customize the server! Be as wicked and wild with your designs as you like!
Here are the judging criteria for the design:
To help you with creating your design we have a template that provides you with the dimensions that you are designing for. Here’s the template (PDF). The design here was one used by Servers Plus from a competition they ran last year and submitting it does not count as an entry!
To enter the competition:
You can also share your amazing designs with one another on our Facebook Page or on Twitter.
You can use the MicroServer for your own testing and personal use. Why not install Windows Server 2012 either standard or the bare metal version. Try setting up a virtual server host and guest, create a storage pool or simply familiarize yourself with the new management console. If you are feeling a little daring try your hand at some PowerShell with the new PowerShell console and one of the many new commandlets.
So get designing now! And remember to sign up for the technical launch event to claim your prize in person and see who wins machines with your design on them!
Windows Server 2012 Design Competition Terms & Conditions
1. ELIGIBILITY. This promotion is open to any person resident in the United Kingdom who is eighteen (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. ENTRY. Visit http://blogs.technet.com/b/uktechnet/archive/2012/08/01/announcing-the-windows-server-2012-uk-technical-launch-event-amp-competition.aspx and submit a link to your design, name and email address.
To the extent that entry requires the submission of user-generated content such as photos, videos, music, artwork, essays, etc., entrants warrant that their entry is their original work, has not been copied from others, and does not violate the privacy, intellectual property rights or other rights of any other person or entity.
Entries will be ineligible for the prize draw if they:
· are incomplete;
· exceed the maximum number of entries allowed per person;
· violate the rights of any other person or entity; or
· are received outside of the Promotion Period set out below.
Only one (1) entry per person will be accepted. No purchase necessary to enter the promotion. Entry constitutes full and unconditional acceptance of these Terms and Conditions. Microsoft is not responsible for lost, corrupted or delayed entries. Microsoft reserves the right to disqualify anyone who violates these Terms and Conditions.
3. TIMING. This promotion runs from 12.01:00 am GMT on Start date, 1st August 2012 until 11.59:59 p.m. GMT on End date, 26th August 2012 (inclusive) (the “Promotion Period”).
4. USE OF YOUR ENTRY. Personal data which you provide when you enter may be used for future Microsoft marketing activity if you indicate your consent on the entry form (if applicable). Otherwise your personal data will be used by Microsoft and agents acting on Microsoft’s behalf only for the operation of this promotion.
5. SELECTION OF WINNERS. All valid entries will be judged as a finalist.
Winning entries will be determined by a panel of judges with at least one independent judge on 27th August 2012. Judging will be based on:
· Originality & Uniqueness of entry
· Inspirational, amusement and entertainment of entry
· Cleverness of incorporating aspects of Windows Server 2012 into the design
A maximum of one prize per eligible entry is allowed. Winners will be notified by email to the address provided by the potential winner by 25th September 2012. If a potential winner has not confirmed receipt of the notification within TEN (10) days after the first attempt, an alternative winner will be selected on the same basis as described above (either at random for prize draws or according to the same judging criteria for competitions). Winners may be asked to provide identification proving their eligibility before they are entitled to receive the prize. Winners may be required to participate in further publicity or advertising.
6. PRIZE(S). There will be one prize in total. The prize will be as follows:
· One HP ProLiant MicroServer with winners design printed on decal (£230 approximate value)
Prizes are as stated and are not transferable. No cash alternatives available. Microsoft reserves the right to substitute the prizes with prizes of equal or greater value. All prizes will be sent by Microsoft or its agent no later than 28 days after the prize draw has been made by Microsoft. Unless otherwise stated, all prizes are subject to their manufacturer's warranty and/or terms and conditions.
Prizes may be considered as a taxable benefit to the winners. Winners will be directly responsible for accounting for and paying to HMRC, or other relevant tax authority, any tax liability arising on their prize. Please contact email@example.com for any query related to the taxable amount for reporting to HMRC, or other relevant tax authority.
7. WINNERS LIST. Each winner consents to his/her surname being made publicly available upon request. Winners names will be available for a period of 28 days after the selection of winners by written request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. OTHER. No correspondence will be entered into regarding either this promotion 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 promotion at any time but only before the delivery of prizes, without notice.
Participants in this promotion agree that Microsoft will have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, costs, damage, disappointment or losses of any kind resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly from acceptance, misuse or use of a prize, or from participation in this promotion. Nothing in this clause shall limit Microsoft’s liability in respect of death or personal injury arising out of its own negligence or liability arising out of Microsoft’s fraud.
Microsoft cannot guarantee the performance of any third party and shall not be liable for any act or default by a third party.
9. SPIRIT OF THE COMPETITION. If an entrant attempts to compromise the integrity or the legitimate operation of this promotion by hacking or by cheating or committing fraud in ANY way, we may seek damages from that entrant to the fullest extent permitted by law. Further, we will disqualify that entrant’s entry to this promotion and may ban the entrant from participating in any of our future promotions, so please play fairly.
Promoter: Microsoft Limited (“Microsoft”), Microsoft Campus, Thames Valley Park, Reading, RG6 1WG, England
John can be described as a creative, proactive and quality orientated Security Cleared, ITIL 3 Certified Management and IT Professional. He is a veteran MVP and a former Microsoft MSDN “Regional Director” which demonstrates a respected technical background. He is co-author of several books including “Professional Microsoft .NET Windows Forms”, “Professional .NET for Java Developers Using C#”, “Professional JSP” and “Beginning JSP Web Development”. John is an enthusiastic, technically diverse, well informed and forward thinking IT specialist with a very credible market reputation.
The following article is a great blow-by-blow overview of several key areas relating to SharePoint 2010, providing solid grounds on which develop your knowledge of the solution.
There is a new must have book coming out soon called "The SharePoint 2010 Handbook". Its about as close as you can get to the real world delivery of a SharePoint 2010 platform and covers topics that many other books are dedicated to covering yet in a very succinct way.
The book ensures that the information you will most likely need is there to help you understand what aspects of SharePoint are important, without leading you down into the technical depths of areas you would be better placed to seek from a dedicated book about that subject.
The chapters have been composed by some of the worlds leading authorities on SharePoint 2010 and you will certainly recognise many of the authors names. What is refreshing is that the editors sought out some entirely new authors who have contributed their recent experiences from a newcomer’s perspective.
The chapters have been carefully selected and complied from real world experiences drawn from the most demanding and successful implementations of SharePoint to date. Some of the chapters are modified from sessions that have been delivered at some of the worlds leading SharePoint conferences and have been chosen because they were such successful conference sessions and transposed well to a book chapter.
I'll cover each chapter here with a brief synopsis, and in no specific order given the book is yet to be published. Keeps your eyes open for information on this, the chapter contents really are quite unique and will be equally useful to IT Pro and Dev audiences alike, both new and experienced.
The Art Of SharePoint Success
Microsoft SharePoint products and technologies have been in the market for ten years the fourth version, SharePoint 2010, was released in November 2009. There is no doubt that SharePoint is a phenomenal success: It is Microsoft’s fastest selling server based product ever and has generated approaching two billion dollars in sales revenue for Microsoft. The only other Microsoft Server products to generate this level of revenue are SQL Server and Exchange Server, and SharePoint has reached this milestone more quickly than the others.
There have been over one hundred million SharePoint licenses have been sold worldwide and I.T. industry analysts such as Forrester Research and Gartner rank SharePoint as a leader in a number of different technology markets including Search, Enterprise Content Management, Social Computing, Collaboration, Information Access and Horizontal Portals.
SharePoint will be at the heart of Microsoft’s information worker strategy for many years to come. Yet despite its market success many organisations seem to struggle to realise the full value from investments in SharePoint products and technologies. In 2010 AIIM survey found that forty seven percent of organisations that have deployed SharePoint use it primarily as a file share. In May 2011 research commissioned by Fujitsu shows that SharePoint is the most common collaboration tool used by UK businesses, Ninety two per cent of Enterprise organisations using collaboration technology use SharePoint. But the research also shows that on average only sixty percent of SharePoint sites are considered active, and forty percent of IT managers don’t believe that the collaboration platform is driving cost savings.
This chapter first explores the challenges facing organisations investing in SharePoint based initiatives, and then presents a framework for success consisting of four elements; Governance, Strategy, Transition, and Architecture. Governance relates to defining the accountability for the ensuring a return on the investment in SharePoint. Strategy discusses how SharePoint relates to organisational objectives. Transition considers the challenges of organisational change and user adoption and Architecture relates to the way that SharePoint is deployed to the business as a set of distinct but inter-related services.
Governance relates to the process and plans used to define expectations, grant power, and verify performance. SharePoint Governance describes the specific plans and procedures for managing your SharePoint environment.
SharePoint’s widespread adoption, broad capabilities, ease of use, and multiple deployment and hosting options have made it easy for anyone to get started using SharePoint. It’s this same flexibility that can also make SharePoint difficult to effectively manage. In order to optimize the use and growth of SharePoint, your SharePoint Governance Plan should be used to define expectations, grant and restrict rights, as well as maintain and verify usage and performance.
Due to vast differences in SharePoint environments, a SharePoint Governance Plan should be adapted to your specific environment, regardless of how simple or complex your environment is. This chapter will serve as a guidebook outlining processes for the administration, maintenance, and support of your SharePoint solution.
There are three primary goals of this chapter: To provide a recommended structure for a SharePoint Governing Board responsible for governing and supporting the SharePoint solution. To provide recommended governing policies and procedures of the SharePoint environment within three distinct areas (IT Governance, Application Governance, and Information Governance) and to provide a recommended user adoption and training strategy for the people using and maintaining SharePoint.
Structuring a SharePoint 2010 Practice
SharePoint 2010 is simply put, nothing like SharePoint 2007! It is vastly more scalable, significantly more complex, and hugely appealing as an information management hub. A consequence of the successful re-architecture of the product to such a strategic hub product and the core of the Microsoft tools strategy is that programmes and projects, and consequently employers and recruiters need to think carefully about the new range of planning roles and skill sets required to satisfy a successful end to end delivery of SharePoint 2010. This chapter will show the reader how (and equally as important why) to correctly structure a SharePoint Practice or programme of delivery to plan for internal career progression and assist with staff retention and to identify and exploit the correct roles to staff modern demanding SharePoint 2010 delivery programmes.
SharePoint Security and Authentication Notes
SharePoint 2010 provides different options for authentication of users as well as authentication to external line-of-business systems. During the design and implementation of a SharePoint 2010 solution, the chosen authentication method could impact or restrict the availability of some SharePoint functionality and the options for interacting with external systems.
This chapter will discuss the different options and architectural considerations for user authentication and for authenticating to external systems. It will cover classic mode authentication and claims based authentication. It will cover NTLM, Kerberos, Clear Text Authentication, Forms Based Authentication and Trusted Claims Providers, the Claims to Windows Token Service and the Secure Store Service Application. It will also give a brief overview of options for exposing
SharePoint 2010 sites securely across the Internet, such as using Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway, and the implications of doing this and how to ensure the security of business data exposed using SharePoint.
The chapter will provide information on configuring and troubleshooting the authentication options such as Kerberos, Clear Text and Forms Based Authentication, the differences between the SharePoint 2010 FBA implementation and ASP.Net forms authentication and the implications for interoperability between SharePoint and ASP.net applications. It will also provide information on the limitations of certain functionality (such as search based alerts and the people picker) for Forms Based Authentication and Trusted Claims providers.
SharePoint User Adoption
There is a common misconception that merely installing SharePoint makes for a successful implementation. It is how the people in the company effectively adopt the solution that is the true measure of success. Have you asked yourself how you will get people to use the solution?
Anyone can cope when there is only one table booked in a restaurant; but what happens when you are booked to capacity with a waiting list - are you geared to cope with that demand? What if you get no bookings at all? Could you explain to your investors why no-one is visiting?
SharePoint user adoption is about how to get to a full house, how to be prepared for the rush, and how to manage it once it happens. People will not magically adopt SharePoint, there are measures you need to put into place to ensure that happens. If this is done correctly, you will have a very high adoption rate and consequently good return on investment for the capital outlay of the infrastructure.
This chapter will cover what you need to do in order to achieve that.
Social Networking and SharePoint
The word ‘Social’ has become a very popular term over the last couple of years. Everyone is familiar with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These so-called Social sites attract (hundreds) millions of visitors per day! So how does this translate to SharePoint 2010? What Social features are available? Social features were also available (albeit limitedly) in the previous version Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007).
The main feature was the My Site. This site is a personal page for every user within a SharePoint Intranet portal. The user was able to provide valuable information for colleagues, such as a mobile number, e-mail address, manager or skills. Other users were able to use the MOSS 2007 search engine to find a colleague with the skill ‘Writing marketing material’, for example. By using these features, users were able to connect and share information with each other.
This has been improved in SharePoint 2010 and loads of new features are now available. This chapter describes these features, and how they can improve the collaboration within your organisation. Talking points covered include My Sites, Tags and Notes, Ratings and Social Search. Most importantly, the author addresses how they are all connected and what advantages they provide for companies.
Business Intelligence Solutions with SharePoint 2010
In this chapter we will explore the variety of tools available in SharePoint 2010 to provide business intelligence to your business users. We will examine the pros and cons of each tool along the way, and look at a couple of methods of building a powerful dashboard from the items we construct.
Creating dashboards and drill downs using Business Connectivity Services, SharePoint Designer, Filter Web Parts and Reporting Technologies.
This chapter covers the creation of dashboards and drill downs utilising SharePoint Designer 2010, Business Connectivity Services, Secure Store Service, Business Data Catalog Permissions & Actions. It demonstrates Filtering Web Parts & Connections to List Web Parts and explores Excel Services.
The chapter will be a guide to using SharePoint Designer 2010 to connect to SQL Server data sources with External Content Types. It will discuss the rationale for using the Secure Store Service and the Business Data Catalog.
It does this by utilising a real world Customer Information Portal scenario for a Products & Service Company. The company has a requirement to bring together information from various disparate systems within the network to aid a number of departments.
Branding for beginners
This chapter looks at the considerations you need to make as a SharePoint Brander in a small business environment where you may be the only SharePoint "expert" in your organisation. We will take an example and go from OOTB to a custom design with little effort.
Configuring the Search Refinement Panel
The Search Refinement Panel is one of the most powerful, yet misunderstood, Web Parts in SharePoint 2010. Appearing on every search results page this Web Part can be easily customized to provide tremendous business value from small to large enterprises.
Exploring different options for implementing customisations
An important decision to make while planning the implementation of any SharePoint solution is how exactly it should be created. Two commonly used options are leveraging the out of the box available functionality through customization in the browser and development of solutions using custom code.
Considering all these possibilities, when evaluating the correct course to take for a solution implementation, organizations need to take into account the pros and cons of the different approaches, and weigh them against each other.
This chapter will compare these approaches with each other and describe the capabilities, as well as the benefits and the drawbacks of each approach, allowing a decision maker to better understand which method is useful in which situation and choose the best option.
SharePoint Test Environment
Test environments for most IT professionals are a no-brainer -- major system changes should be tested once, twice, even three times to provide the best possible experience to end users with little to no interruption in service. Recent virtualization technologies have made this easier than ever; one only needs to spin-up a new instance of a virtual machine and off they go with an entire SharePoint environment at their disposal.
SharePoint administrators will painfully learn, however, that this testing model doesn’t adapt well to the componentized structure underlying a well-built SharePoint system. This chapter will make the case for building and maintaining a fully-scaled test environment that is architecturally similar to an organization’s production environment.
It will support this recommendation with lessons learned from the authors personal experience administering a small SharePoint farm. This case can be argued further to include more than one test environment. If an organization chooses to develop solutions for SharePoint they should consider building in one environment, certifying the build in another test environment, and then implementing the solution in the production environment.
Using one or more fully-scaled test environments is the only way to understand the implications of a major system change. They also provide a mechanism for rehearsing these system changes. With such a tool at their disposal, SharePoint administrators can maintain and administer their systems with confidence.
InfoPath 2010 - What's new?
This chapter is dedicated to exploring the capabilities of InfoPath 2010. What can InfoPath can do for you? What are the key improvements to InfoPath 2010 and the impact on form design and development.
InfoPath 2010 has interesting license implications and this deserves some attention. The chapter also discusses key concept and building blocks of InfoPath Forms (such as rules, data connection, design template and data validation) using scenario based solution. The chapter also demonstrates how to write c# code for control and form events.
InfoPath is an agile/rapid design tool for creating forms. InfoPath is intricately linked with SharePoint so it would be ideal if you know the basics of SharePoint 2010. This chapter will give you a solid foundation for people new to SharePoint and will allow more advanced users to see what is new in InfoPath 2010.
The chapter ends by discussing potential issues and what users might be expecting from Microsoft for the next release.
SharePoint Server-based Data Storage and Data Access
This chapter guides readers through the basic storage and data access options available in SharePoint 2010 application development projects. The matching of application business requirements with the appropriate storage and data access technique is vital for achieving a successful project.
SharePoint 2010 Automated Code Deployment
During the past several years SharePoint has quickly become one of the leading collaboration technologies. Businesses today are taking the SharePoint framework from the development labs into mission critical production environments which require application high availability. This chapter will describe methods and concepts which will ensure you will be able to build and deploy custom code into Intranet and/or Internet facing production farm(s) using Visual Studio 2010, Team Foundation Server 2010, and SharePoint 2010. Further, a description of the concepts and tools necessary to ensure code consistency throughout the development lifecycle will be included.
SharePoint Internet facing sites often have additional requirements, network bottlenecks, and limited downtime constraints which make deploying code from the development arena through QA/staging, and finally into production SharePoint farms more restrictive. The new capabilities provided in Visual Studio 2010, Team Foundation Server 2010, and SharePoint 2010 make this process much easier than before.
This chapter will provide examples for all flavours of deployments (timerjobs, page layouts, webparts, etc.) so you don’t have to learn as you go! You’ll get an in-depth look at how these tools can help you successfully deploy code into production SharePoint 2010 farms.
SharePoint Workspace 2010 – extending the SharePoint collaboration platform
SharePoint Workspace 2010 (SPW 2010) offers a multiple-featured and versatile collaboration platform - sharing folders (like Dropbox), 'offline' & mobile SharePoint client that can sync back to the central SharePoint servers and peer-to-peer collaborative (Groove) workspaces without centralized servers (like Napster).
This chapter will explore the features of SPW 2010 - the 'Swiss-Army' of collaboration platform, how it integrates to SharePoint servers and how applications are built and used productively for collaboration. The chapter will illustrate some examples how SPW can be used in business scenarios and how it was used in other situations –Katrina & Tsunami disaster relief efforts.
SharePoint Workspace has several application building capabilities - Web Services, tool add-ins, InfoPath Forms and integrating with SharePoint Server using Business Connectivity Services (BCS). All these can enrich the SharePoint collaborative platform data with mobile and external applications.
Useful SharePoint Links
Sharepoint 2010 Product Site
SharePoint TechCenter on TechNet
SharePoint 2010 Learning Plan
Here’s the blurb:
Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 7 with SP1 enables IT administrators to manage roles and features that are installed on computers that are running Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2003, from a remote computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows 7 with SP1.
Christmas comes but once a year, which is similar to the frequency in which I blog. I thought as it’s the season of good will, I would write a blog that details some of the free stuff we have to offer.
Free Training - Microsoft Virtual Academy
We know budgets for training are not what they use to be and that we’ve just had a wave of new products launched. The Virtual Academy is a great way to get up to speed with our products, learning at a pace that suits the individual. I have had some feedback that perception is that this is a site for issuing marketing slide and that’s really not the case. I bumped into a former colleague the other day who works in one of our key partners. He mentioned the Academy and how it had helped him skill up on some areas of Windows Server 2012 that were unfamiliar. Try it, what do you have to lose? My current score is 1257 let me know if you’re doing better!
Get your free training now - www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com
Free Books & How To Guides
There are lots of free books available on Microsoft Technology, I thought I’d collate some of my favourites:
I’m not sure how long this book will be available for free so download early to avoid disappointment:
Introducing Windows 8- An Overview for IT Professionals - PDF ebook
Introducing Windows 8-An Overview for IT Professionals – Mobi format for Kindle
Introducing Windows 8-An Overview for IT Professionals – ePub format
There is a great guide to getting started with Windows Server 2012 to be found on TechNet: http://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh831620
Also our own @DeepFat has been getting hands on with some videos with some of the features he likes. The series can be found here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/andrew/archive/2012/12/08/evaluate-this-an-introduction.aspx
If databases are more your thing then check out Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2012:
I’ve found further free books here:
<Update> one of my colleagues got in touch to say there are even more free books detailed on his blog:
Free Events: Tech.Days
Our free events sell out quicker than the latest Tamagochi/Tracy Island Pokémon thing (I think you get my drift). I regularly get emails from grumpy un-happy IT Pros that go something along the line of “You’ve sent me an invite to x event and it’s full, why invite people to full events” The truth of the matter is that we have some events that have sold out in less than 20 minutes. As a team we want to deliver as many events, to as many people that we can. We are however constrained by the amount of bandwidth the team can deliver and the money we have to deliver events.
My top tips on getting a place at one of our free events:
1) Follow us on Twitter if you use it, @TechNetUK it’s one of the first places we will announce an event on
2) Keep an eye on http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/techdays/events.aspx, we are working on a RSS feed but until then this is the first place any event will be posted
3) Send us an email UKITPro@microsoft.com “Hey Guys any events coming up?” Certain times of the year lend themselves to more events in the calendar due to the workings of a large organisation like Microsoft.
Find out about events near you now: http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/techdays/events.aspx
Get involved with User Groups
We’ve recently launched our new usergroup community portal: https://www.technicalcommunity.com. There is a bunch of great people running UserGroups up and down the country. Having worked with many of them I have always found them to be friendly and open to sharing knowledge. You will find that the range of technologies is comprehensive and it’s a great way to meet people with similar interests and network.
Free Software and Templates
The majority of our software is sold but there are some nuggets that are free
If you’re not running Windows 8 then you should be thinking about AntiVirus as part of defence in depth. If you’ve not got a solution or your trial period has run out, have a think about Security Essentials.
You don’t need to spend lots of money on expensive software to create movies, Movie maker is a great free tool.
If you want an easier solution then walking round with a CD in your hand to install software and then search the web for drivers then this may be it. It’s not a comprehensive as System Center but will still help automate the deployment process.
Want to create the next Unhappy Birds or FaceFriendBook? Or simply create a app that displays news on the go. Visual Studio Express is free and helps you unleash the inner developer.
Powerpoint Templates: http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/templates/results.aspx?qu=presentations
If I’m writing a new set of slides, my process for slide design is as follows:
There is another way, on the office.microsoft.com template page there are a number of templates that can avoid the repetition of above.
Congratulations on getting to the bottom of my blog piece. I hope that you find some of the above useful, if you do please leave a comment.
Have a great festive holiday and look forward to hearing from me about this time next year :)
Rachel has asked us (Simon & Andrew) to identify the key skills that will help your career survive and thrive as businesses start to transition some or all of their services to the cloud. We aren’t suggesting you learn all of these, but if you focus on at least one technology plus the ‘soft’ skills below your future will be more secure as a result. We’ve also pulled in some resources to get you started.
Authentication and Identity
No matter where your data and services are, your users are going to need to get at them, and to do that they need to identify who they are and be accorded the appropriate privileges. Traditionally Active Directory has been providing this service in the local data centre and has been extended over the years to allow users and services on other operating systems e.g. Linux and Apple Macs, and more recently iPads, to work seamlessly across them to get mail, docs and services. Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS), extends this interoperability to the cloud - not just Microsoft’s, but third parties like SalesForce - and supports OpenID used by Yahoo Google and others.
To find out more:
I am an ex-DBA so my top recommendation is to get to know SQL Server. SQL Server has provided me with a great career and is another area of technology that won’t be much changed by the cloud. First of all no matter where the data is, DBAs will be needed in some capacity to manage it. Not only that but databases are only ever-increasing as storage becomes cheaper and cheaper.
Not every database will move to the cloud, and alongside the CloudPower messaging from Microsoft you’ll also see that in partnership with the server manufacturers there's a raft of new appliances specifically designed for different workloads of SQL Server e.g. business intelligence, data warehousing and OLTP (On-Line Transaction Processing), so there will still be some high-end databases that remain un-virtualised. Many organisations will be moving to hybrid clouds – I can see many web applications having a SQL Azure backend database, and SQL Azure does actually remove some of the work of the DBA e.g. high availability and configuration. However it also presents new challenges such as synching data between cloud and local, audit, query optimisation.
A final thought: typically 12% mention SQL Server as a skill on any of the top job sites.
The best resources for learning what SQL Server can do are
Process and automation
Given that cloud is supposed to be about agility you would think that standardising business processes and adopting ITIL standards for process management might be at odds with each other. The answer is simply process automation – taking those standard procedures and making them happen across the disparate systems in your infrastructure. So as well as looking at getting ITIL accredited you might want to think about putting your processes into code. You could become a PowerShell/PowerCLI guru and write miles of code to do this but there is a better way - System Center Orchestrator (SCOrch), the glue and gaffer tape in the System Center armoury. This allows you to hook your help desk up to the hardware, the hypervisor (theirs or ours), the virtual machine , the operating system and the application itself and map out your process so the business can understand it and sign it off. This then gets rid of the drudgery, leaving you to get on with the new project work that's been backing up on your desk over the last year.
It's an interesting time to get into this space, as the System Center lineup is in the process of being completely overhauled. There are beta releases of some of the new versions available now including SCorch, Virtual Machine Manager, Operations Manager, and Configuration Manager, with more due over the next couple of months. This will mean more detailed training on the Microsoft Virtual Academy, as well as various events we will be running in the UK this autumn.
Not really my world but the network engineers are all doing very well out of the cloud, the storage explosion, and the challenges of running lots of virtual machines on consolidated physical servers.
I put this in partly to be controversial but mostly because it’s too important to be left to the marketing department. The IT department and its members in particular need to be much better at promoting their work to the business and setting out the services on offer. On an individual level you need to build your internal brand, hopefully as a can-do trusted advisor who understands the business. Some of this is part of the day job - the way you respond to requests and follow through to see that your users are happy - some of it should be proactive, like going to business meetings to brief them on your latest projects and ideas. Building your brand outside the office can also be useful, so joining special interest groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, and helping and asking for advice on Twitter and forums can establish your credibility for your next role.
Not so much a networking role as skills around bringing different parts of cloud architectures together as one holistic unit. I think it's difficult for businesses to identify solutions that can be "pure cloud" beyond those Internet-based services that they moved long ago and new solutions they create from scratch - a far more realistic approach is hybrid cloud in which public and private clouds are stitched together. In addition to the networking and identity/authentication skills above, there's a strong need for people who understand the plumbing. That is, how to connect a cloud service to data stored in a private data centre or how to connect two public clouds together. Parts of this role depend on having some developer skills and some IT pro skills.
You'll see increasingly from Microsoft that management of the public cloud is a BIG deal. It's not just about a place to put something and have it run cheaply (although it partly is), it's also about being able to make sure that what happens there is what you expect is happening. To that end you'll see more and more that Windows Azure and System Center work well together. Right now the best thing to do is to try out monitoring a Windows Azure application using this evaluation for Windows Azure monitoring with SCOM. You don't even need an application to monitor as there's one included in the eval. As we move forward to System Center 2012 you'll see even more deep integration and you can try the betas for System Center here: System Center Configuration Manager 2012 Beta 2 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Beta
Data Security Architecture
Deep understanding of data and what it contains has always been a pivotal part of security, and this is going to become even more important in the future. We currently live in a world without harmonised data laws and that means it's hard to place all your data into the public cloud immediately. What you can do is place safe portions of it there. By understanding the data you know what's safe to place in the cloud and what could create too much risk for your business to accept. This role is much more about providing insight back to the business to enable it to make better decisions about what to do, rather than preventing it from doing anything. It's important not to paralyse your business by over analysing risk without understanding of reward.
The list above doesn't really look all that different from one we'd have written a couple of years ago; the roles and the content of those roles have changed somewhat. but guess what - that's the nature of our industry. Technology changes. The really big shift here is one that's been happening for years, it's the integration of business skills and understanding them as a core of the technology skill set. Are we seeing this spread happen across all segments? To answer that lets look at things simplistically - big businesses and small - big having large dedicated IT depts and small having as many as four IT guys. IT guys in small businesses have always had to have many strings to their bow, often requiring them to have more general skill sets and giving them less time. These folks have always needed broad business knowledge as a part of that skill set. For them, cloud technologies, especially public cloud, are likely to free up more time to do more interesting things. In large IT teams business skills were often forsaken for deep, deep technical skill sets that the business didn't understand so they needed more people to translate those deep skills back to the business. Today we see a shift towards the end users becoming more tech savvy and so the need for translators is lessened as there's a smaller gap for the deep, deep techies to fill when translating things back to the business. It looks as if that gap is shrinking further as some of the clunky work done at that deep level is automated with the cloud, again giving the deepest of techies more time to do what the business actually values.
Microsoft Virtual Academy
At first glance you could be forgiven for thinking that deploying a Windows 8 to a bunch of enterprise devices is hard, complex or time consuming. The reality is that Windows 8 apps are actually quite easy to deploy once you understand the basic requirements and methods for deployment. The nomenclature that we use here has changed a little since the source of our apps has changed with the Windows Store. Deeplinking is the process of deploying an advertisement through a company portal that an app is available (or recommended you could say) for installation by your company, the application package remains in the store. Sideloading is the process of taking the application package provided to you by your in house Line of Business (LoB) developers or a 3rd party software vendor (ISV). Let’s take a look at both more carefully.
Requirements for modern UI apps
Before we look too deeply (pun intended) at Deeplinking and Sideloading lets look at the requirements for successful installation of a Windows 8 app.
With that understood lets take a look at how we install an app on a device. Typically a user finds the app in the Windows Store and taps Install or Buy, both of which start the app installation although Buy obviously also completes a purchase transaction with the Windows Store. The key thing though is that installing and buying an app are essentially the same process – essentially the user is consenting to the install, and more importantly they are consenting to the association of the app with their personal Microsoft account.
Now lets consider the Deeplinking process. Deeplinking can be performed using either System Center Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 or Windows Intune for Windows 8 devices. For Windows RT devices System Center Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 can be linked up with Windows Intune to support deeplinking. The two products can also be linked to support Windows 8 clients if you want to centralise management too. I’ve created a series of videos, The Deployment Sessions, that explain how to make the links required and how do the deployments.
Once you’ve decided upon your deployment targets and your deployment method it’s time to build your deployment. The first thing you’ll need to do is to designate a device as your reference device, just as you would for any other type of applications packaging. In this case though you won’t need to run a monitor app to capture what the app is doing. Simply go to the Windows Store and install the app. Now go to a Configuration Manager console and create an application in the Software Library making sure to select Windows app package (in the Windows Store). You’ll then be asked to specify the location which you do by connecting to your reference computer by name (you’ll need to have run winrm quickconfig on the reference machine first). The wizard will return a list of all the apps installed on the device, then simply select the app you need, complete the Wizard and deploy just like you would any other (msi or App-V) application. Whilst completing the deployment wizard you’ll be able to say if the app should be available or required, normally a required app will be installed for the user and an available app will just appear in the Configuration Manager Application Catalog. However with deeplinked apps this isn’t the case.
When deeplinking in Config Manager 2012 SP1 a required installation will still need user interaction, the store will open for them to the right app but they will have to click / tap Install. This is because the app is being added to their personal Microsoft account so they need to consent. Required then becomes a constant reminder to the user to install the app, and arguably this looses it’s value. Most users are today comfortable with the idea of a store, the device in their pocket almost certainly has one, so self service should be a key consideration in your deployment plan.
Deeplinking with Windows Intune differs from the above in that you don’t need to install the app onto the reference device, you simply need to get the URL for the app from the Windows Store. There are a couple of ways to achieve this, but I commonly email the app to myself using the Share charm. You will also notice that available is the only option within Windows Intune for a deeplinked app.
The only other thing to mention on deeplinking is that it’s available on platforms other than Windows. Deeplinking works for Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8 and also for Android from Google Play and for iOS devices from the Apple App Store.
Lets take a look at the Sideloading process. Sideloading is the business of taking an Appx Package which is generated from Visual Studio at build time and installing that package onto a target device. The appx package is signed at the time of building the app by the developer, usually with a certificate issued by your enterprise CA but a certificate issued by any trusted CA can be used. This type of deployment is most commonly used for Line of Business (LoB) apps. As with Deeplinking both Windows Intune and System Center Configuration Manager 2012 Sp1 can be used but also PowerShell can be used.
The first step to Sideloading is to obtain the appx package and to place it on a share that you can access from Configuration Manager or from Windows Intune. The second step is to add the app into the Configuration Manager console and create an application in the Software Library making sure to select Windows app package (appx file). You’ll then be asked to specify the location of the appx file and specify details about the app. You’ll then need to deploy the app to a collection of users that you want to have access to it. If you want you can also add the app to any Task Sequences you use to deploy your operating systems.
If you’ve chosen to do your deployment to a Windows RT device using Windows Intune and you’re using an enterprise CA to sign the Appx package you’ll need to provide that certificate to your Windows RT devices since they cannot join your domain. Windows Intune takes care of this for you and if you’ve got your Windows Intune account linked to Configuration Manager you can add the certificate you’ll use to sign your apps through the Windows RT tab of your Windows Intune subscription in the Hierarchy Configuration node of the Administration Workspace. Once provided this certificate will be automatically added to your Windows RT device. You’ll also need to provide a Sideloading Product Key which is available from the Volume Licensing Portal in the same place and again Windows Intune will allocate a key and enable sideloading on any enrolled Windows RT devices.
I’ve created an ongoing series of videos on my blog entitled The Deployment Sessions that will walk you through most of the permutations of deployment of Windows 8 apps, using Configuration Manager 2012 Sp1 and Windows Intune.
Angela Cataldo works for Firebrand Training as a subject matter expert and instructor for SQL Server and System Centre. For over 10 years Angela specialized in SQL Server, delivering training and consultancy services to a number of companies throughout the UK and Europe guiding and mentoring customers to follow Microsoft Best Practice and assist in their understanding and adoption of SQL innovative features.
Before SQL Server 2012, databases have always had a degree of portability. But with SQL Server 2012 we can now embrace the powerful new manageability and security features of Contained Databases - which make a database much more portable.
Why do we need Contained Databases?
SQL Server security has always been managed at two levels:
Logins are managed at Server level, and users are managed at Database level. This means permissions for SQL Server have to be defined in two or more locations, and this can cause confusion.
Also, having to manage logins and users separately can cause problems when it comes to maintaining high availability and disaster recovery solutions. And the need to regularly synchronise logins against failover and secondary servers; to avoid problems such as orphaned users.
So with the introduction of containment and the concept of boundaries in SQL Server 2012; a database can become free of external dependencies, server level metadata, settings and security logins.
For a Database Administrator this can also potentially help with the problem we have all faced after recovering a database: repairing a large numbers of logins using the sp_change_users_login stored procedure.
What is a Contained Database?
In simple terms it is a database that is isolated from other databases, and isolated from the instance of SQL Server that is hosting the database.
There are four ways that SQL Server 2012 helps to isolate databases from the instance:
How to create a Contained Database
In this example I am going to demonstrate - in four steps - how to create and authenticate against a Contained Database:
First I need to enable contained database authentication, by executing the following code as a New Query in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) against the master database:
The first sp_configure line reports on the current setting and the second sp_configure line enables the server-level setting. This allows SQL Server to defer authentication to the database, provided that we have configured the users correctly with the right authentication.
Now I can create a contained database, executing the following code as a New Query in SSMS:
If we take a look at the Database properties of this database we can see on the Options Select a Page the menu option for Containment Type:
You can also use SSMS to configure containment for databases.
Now we have a contained database we next need to create a user by executing the following code as a New Query in SSMS:
For further syntax of Create User see SQL Server Books Online: CREATE USER, examples cover:
You can also use SSMS to create a contained user, for User Type selecting SQL User with password:
We can also take an existing user and convert it to a contained user executing stored procedure sp_migrate_user_to_contained.
For an explanation of syntax see SQL Server Books Online: sp_migrate_user_to_contained
Now we can take the final step and login in as a Contained Database user, ensuring that in the Connection Properties, under Connect to database, is our Contained Database AdventureWorks2012.
When connecting to a contained database, if the user does not have a login in the master database, the connection string must include the contained database name as the initial catalog. The initial catalog parameter is always required for a contained database user with password.
In four simple steps I have enabled database level authentication, created a contained database and contained user then logged into SQL Server Management Studio as the new user.
What else do I need to know?
As a Database Administrator, security is a major concern and there are unique threats when using Contained Databases that must be considered. Thankfully SQL Server Books Online has a dedicated page on these implications: Security Best Practices with Contained Databases.
An example is passwords in a database require to be strong, complex passwords - and cannot be protected by domain password policies. Therefore, wherever possible create contained users for domain logins and take advantage of Windows Authentication.
Contained databases are set to be one of the top new features for DBAs. Plus AlwaysOn Availability Groups are also new to SQL Server 2012 - helping to simplify environmental and failover concerns, to ensure a highly available disaster recovery solution. SQL Server 2012 Database Containment is simply one of the best things to have happened to SQL Server.