Archive for Windows 7

How much Value Added Software does one machine need…? aka bloatware, crapware and the like!

Be warned, it’s another rant Winking smile

We recently installed a new HP Pro 3120 SSF Series machine that ships with Windows 7 Pro and Office 2010.  The name Pro is a little over-egged as they are actually low-end machines as a replacement the DX24xx range.  The SSF or Space Saver Form is quite correct as its basically a half depth Micro Tower – think back to the Compaq Evo SSF but not nearly as well made.

Now, I’ve always been a fan of HP for their reliability, build quality, and typically a huge fan of their normally excellent Value Added Software – am thinking ProLiant servers, Insight Manager, SmartStart, etc.  However the shipped build on this machine which is aimed at the business market has got me thinking what the guys at HP have been smoking!  maybe too close to their colleagues at Apple!

The Out Of the Box Experience (OOBE) this machine is great, it covers the HP setup routine, registration, updates configuration, and what appears to be a McAfee opt-out.

However, upon booting into Windows for the 1st time its soon apparent that there is a truly massive  clean-up / bloatware removal task needed if being used in a standardised business build, starting with:

– HP Games (18 of them)
– McAfee Browser Protection Service
– McAfee Firewall Protection Service
– McAfee Virus and Spyware Protection Service

the McAfee stuff was a real sneaky one, especially as I quite clearly chose NOT to use McAfee.

Additionally we are removing:

HP Advisor – a 93MB toolbar with links to eBay, McAfee, Huddle, Biz Solutions (actually Solutions and Offers for your business AKA marketing guff!)
Device Access Manager for HP ProtectTools
Drive Encryption for HP ProtectTools
File Sanitizer for HP ProtectTools

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A new (media center) PC test – the Tranquil ixL i5 Power PC…

Something we rarely talk about on the blog but enthuse and evangilise to many is Windows Media Center. I’ve been building and using Media Center for our primary entertainment system since the days of Window XP Media Center Edition beta’s c.2002-03.

I’ve built several systems for various friends and family over the years, but when our main home media center based on a Shuttle SG36M died due to a PSU failure (also took out the motherboard – a bummer!), it was time to be looking for a new machine (the brightside to the failure I guess! ;-))

As a long time listener of Ian Dixon’s podcast at http://thedigitallifestyle.com I’d heard of Tranquil (http://www.tranquilpc.co.uk) who are based in Manchester. Tranquil produce fanless pieces of highend exotica covering Media Centers, Home Servers, and powerful new Intel i5 based PC’s…

Now Tranquil don’t produce ‘cheap’ kit and fortunately I’m a believer in ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ so £459 + VAT later I’d ordered the ixL i5 Power PC with an Intel i5-650 (and a CD/DVD optical drive).

I got my order in late on Tuesday, and this morning a very nice looking box arrived..

..with a complimentary Boost bar! – how they knew my hangover needed a sugar fix I don’t know, but the experience certainly started great! 🙂

Over the weekend I’m looking forward to getting a couple of gigs of 1066Mhz RAM, a Corsair 128GB SSD, and my Hauppauge dual DVB-T in there and seeing how she flys with some test builds.. likely Win7 32-bit and Windows Server 2008 R2 (for testing as a Hyper-V platform plus 64-bit driver support), but first work and clients to see… 😦

Returning at the weekend for my first test built I grabbed a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate (32-bit) which installed painlessly enough, but did list the following as needy of drivers:

Display adapter driver – http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&ProdId=3144&DwnldID=19099&lang=eng
Ethernet (network) driver – http://downloadcenter.intel.com/download.aspx?url=/19059/a08/PROWin32.exe&DwnldId=19059&lang=eng
PCI Serial Port –
PCI Simple Communications Controller (read IR RX) –

With no documentation or driver media in the box, if you’ve ordered anything but a pre-built system you will need to go and find driver support from the web, however as the sytem is based on a current Intel desktop motherboard, the Intel® Desktop Board DH57JG, this is a fairly trivial task.

A visit to http://www.intel.com/products/desktop/motherboards/dh57jg/dh57jg-overview.htm will get you covered with 32 & 64-bit drivers for Windows 7, Vista, XP Pro, plus 32-bit for XP Home, and even Windows XP Media Center Edition (one day I might restore an image of XPMCE as I still have the Compaq D510 SSF PC I used in the first builds back in 2002-3!).

Going for the lazy option I grabbed the network driver first so I could let Windows Update do its worst on the rest – 35 updates later, inc. Intel HD Graphics (Intel listed 15.17.4.2119 as , Microsoft Update provided 8.15.10.2119 – the last digits being significant, the same) and a restart resulted in still needing the PCI Serial Port & Communications Controller (likely the same driver)

At the same time, I’d recommend:

http://www.intel.com/p/en_US/support/highlights/dsktpboards/dh57jg – which includes a link to Automatically detect and update drivers and software
http://www.intel.com/support/detect.htm (the really lazy option – but it works really well, after I’d been struggling getting the audio outputs to work, bar SPDIF)

http://www.intel.com/design/motherbd/software/dolby/index.htm

Chipset: Intel® Chipset Device Software for Intel® Desktop Boards – http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=10884&lang=eng
(this one may also address the PCI Simple Communications Controller / IR reciever, but I’m having no luck just yet…)

Intel® Desktop Utilities for 4 & 5 Series Desktop Boards – http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=18934&lang=eng

Intel® HD Graphics Driver for Windows* Vista and Windows* 7 15.17.7.2141 – http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&ProdId=3144&DwnldID=19099&lang=eng

Audio: Realtek* ALC Audio Driver – http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?DwnldID=19018

I mentioned performance updates coming soon, on Windows 7 32-bit with the above drivers the Performance Information and Tools (Windows Experience Index) gave a rating of 4.8, comprised of:

Processor: 6.9
Memory: 5.5
Graphics: 4.8
Gaming graphics: 5.3
Primary hard disk: 5.9

Thermal performance and other hardware monitors curtousy of the Intel Hardware Monitor application:

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Microsoft Techdays: Virtualization Summit – From the Desktop to the Datacenter

Full agenda below, but key points for me:

VDI & App-V – still virtualise your apps when using VDI to leverage further coat savings & ROI

Win2008 R2 SP1 – Hyper-V gets ‘Dynamic Memory’ not same as memory over-commit but shares a pool of real server memory across VDI VM’s
‘Remote-FX’ – graphics rich across TS/RDP/VDI using server graphics capabilities – putting high-end GPU’s in the server!

‘Private Cloud’ & ‘Partner Cloud’ – enabling cloud based computing without the budget of Azure or Amazon Web Services!

Using optimised desktop for on-demand application provisioning & apparent coexistance of non-compatible apps

One image per major hardware type – more emphasis on process for application delivery & customisation/personalisation of the desktop.

Deploying Personal Virtual Desktops by using Remote Desktop Services Web Access step-by-step guide

VDI using Dynamic (“Non-Persistent”) Virtual Desktops
– master VDI image then pesonalisation & customisation streamed to image delta – discarded at logoff, roaming profile intact

Pooled VDI experience vs. RDS architecture (Shared Session Virtualisation)

giving a video interview with Stuart Leddy for TechNet Flash 🙂

Having an insightful chat with David Overton (SBS Guy) around the prospective launch date of SBS2008 R2.. we think that the announcement won’t be until WPC in July, and then tabled for release in the last calendar quarter of 2010 and very likley post Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1… hmmm!

Formal / published event information below..

Event Overview
Looking at virtualization but unsure about your options? Thinking about Windows 7 migration? Interested in VDI and server virtualization? Want to save on costs but wondering about ROI? Have more questions than answers on the topic?

This 1-day event will provide you with an understanding of the key products & technologies enabling seamless physical and virtual management, interoperable tools, and cost-savings & value. Microsoft Virtualization provides a completely virtualised infrastructure for your organisation, from the datacenter to desktop to the cloud. Please mark your calendar for Microsoft Virtualization Summit on Monday 12 April 2010 in London. Join us and interact live with Microsoft, key partnerships and early adopter customers in this informative event near you.

For all the latest agenda and speaker information, please visit our UK Techdays website: http://www.microsoft.com/uk/techdays

Virtualization Summit –
From the Desktop to the Datacentre

Vue Cinema Shepherds Bush, Screen 9.

Looking at virtualization but unsure about your options? Thinking about Windows 7 migration? Interested in VDI and server virtualization? Want to save on costs but wondering about ROI? Have more questions than answers on the topic? This 1-day event will provide you with an understanding of the key products & technologies enabling seamless physical and virtual management, interoperable tools, and cost-savings & value. Microsoft Virtualization provides a completely virtualized infrastructure for your organisation, from the datacenter to desktop to the cloud. Please mark your calendar for Microsoft Virtualization Summit on Monday 12 April 2010 in London. Join us and interact live with Microsoft, key partnerships and early adopter customers in this informative event near you.
8.30am – 9.30am Registration
9.30am – 10.30am Virtualization 360 to End-To-End Virtualization
Dai Vu, Director, Microsoft Corp

Organisations today face many challenges and have certain priorities they must address. With Microsoft Virtualization they can address these challenges and concerns with the essential capabilities Microsoft delivers through the products they already own. When you couple Microsoft Virtualization solutions with integrated management to bring it all together you now have the visibility into your environment, while increasing your capability to respond to the ever changing business requirements. Also, learn how Microsoft Desktop Virtualization can help organisations with their access, data security, and compliance concerns while also providing anywhere access for their users. Learn how Microsoft Virtualization solutions in the datacenter help IT save money, increase availability and improve agility through the dynamic platform and management capabilities we provide to our customers. This allows IT to be more service-centric in how they provide to their customers. This vision of Virtualization will show that Microsoft today has the capabilities you need today with a path to the future.
10.30am – 11.30pm Next Generation Optimised Desktop
Keith Baker, Datacenter Technology Specialist

Many organisations are using Windows 7 migration as an opportunity to change how they provision and manage their desktops. The Windows Optimised Desktop is a vision for how organizations can bring down the costs of client computing while maximising flexibility, security, and manageability. Learn about the next generation of the Windows Optimised Desktop, which includes new technologies in Windows 7, Desktop Virtualization, Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack (MDOP) and System Center.
11.30pm – 12.00pm Break
12.00pm – 1.00pm Implementing a Comprehensive VDI Solution
Matt McSpirit, Partner Technology Advisor – Virtualisation & Management

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is one of the hottest topics in IT today and is an important cornerstone of the Microsoft’s Optimised Desktop strategy. Desktop Virtualization offers new and powerful opportunities for IT to deliver and manage corporate desktops and to respond to various user needs in a flexible way. For organisations to realise the full benefits of VDI, they need to ensure they choose a solution that addresses the key issues they face today. This session helps outlines the Microsoft VDI offering and benefits of an integrated and comprehensive approach toward desktop flexibility and manageability.
1.00pm – 2.00pm Extended Break – Time to grab a bite nearby
2.00pm – 3.00pm Physical to Virtual Management with System Center
Julius Davies & Clive Watson, Datacenter Technology Specialists

Virtualization has transformed how IT can deliver the applications and services to their customers in a very dynamic climate. But not all applications and machines are great candidates for virtualization, and it will take some time for IT to move all of the applications that can be converted to virtual machines. This session will discuss how an IT organisation can leverage System Center, a comprehensive set of integrated management tools, allowing you to keep complexity to a minimum and streamline operations. A common management environment reduces training, ensures uniform policy application and simplifies maintenance by leveraging your existing software, personnel, and most importantly, your existing IT management process.
3.00pm – 3.30pm Break
3.30pm – 4.30pm Deploying Business Critical Workloads and Applications
Dai Vu, Director Microsoft Corp

This session will cover how Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V provides an optimal platform for running your business critical workloads like Exchange, SQL and SharePoint as well as other various applications and workloads, including best practices, key concepts and other considerations.
4.30pm – 5.30pm Building a Foundation for Your Private Cloud
Sohbat Ali, Solution Architect

Windows Server 2008 R2 and the Microsoft System Center family of products are enabling customers to build the foundation for a private cloud infrastructure by using the Dynamic Infrastructure Toolkit for System Center (availability scheduled in the first half of 2010). This free, partner-extensible toolkit will provide you architectural roadmap, deployment guidance, best practices, and familiar tools to create agile, virtualized IT infrastructures. This session will provide more information on the toolkit components, and how you can improve your datacenter efficiency by lowering the overall costs of on-boarding, deployment, and management.

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Training – Updating Your Technology Knowledge of Microsoft Windows XP to Windows 7

 

Activity description: 44CO135 – Updating Your Technology Knowledge of Microsoft Windows XP to Windows 7 (M6291)

Summary:

This two-day instructor-led course provides students with the knowledge and skills to work with the new technologies in Windows Vista and Windows 7. This course is intended for individuals who already have experience with Windows XP to upgrade their skills to Windows 7.

Objectives:

After completing this course, students will be able to:

•Manage the desktop settings that personalize the computing experience.
•Describe how Windows 7 Beta Search enhancements improve productivity.
•Implement Search Federation to search remote data sources within the enterprise infrastructure.
•Describe the new Group Policy Preferences and Administrative Templates that are available to IT professionals who manage Group Policy Objects.
•Describe how IT professionals use the Group Policy Management Console to create scripts that manage Group Policy Objects.
•Identify and use the improvements made to the latest version of PowerShell.
•Describe how DirectAccess enables IT professionals to remotely manage and update user PCs.
•Describe the platform and network requirements necessary to implement DirectAccess.
•Describe the VPN reconnection features and the platform and network requirements.
•Illustrate how to use Group Policy to prevent specific types of files from being synchronized to the server.
•Describe how BranchCache improves user productivity in branch offices by caching content from remote file and Web servers in branch locations.
•Administer new User Account Control security settings to improve the end-user computing experience.
•Describe how AppLocker enables IT Professionals to specify the programs that are allowed to run on user desktops.
•Describe how Windows 7 Beta improves upon the firewall policy by allowing IT professionals to identify multiple active firewall profiles.
•Describe new Windows 7 Beta features as they relate to Windows Deployment Services and virtualization.
•Explain how the Problem Steps Recorder can be used to reproduce and record experiences with an application failure.
•Summarize key components of the Windows Troubleshooting Platform and run the troubleshooting wizard from the Start menu for a specific problem.
•Identify how unified tracing provides IT professionals with a single tool for troubleshooting issues in the Windows 7 Beta networking stack.
•Describe how Windows Management Instrumentation provides IT professionals with programmatic access to reliability data, enabling them to check stability status and review recent events remotely.
•Describe how to use the Device Manager and Devices and Printers to manage devices

Top tips & resources picked up during the course…

– Windows 7 is the last O/S from Microsoft available in a 32-bit sku, the reason still available on x86/32-bit is due to global economic conditions, to extend the life of older hardware (and not limiting the deployment of 7).

– Group Policy Preferences brought in with Server 2008 and allows user changes after the policy has been deployed.
Group Policy Audit Tool – auditpol.exe
AD DS Auditing Step-by-Step Guide – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc731607(WS.10).aspx

– Deployment accelerators at www.microsoft.com/springboard (‘Quickly access resources designed to ease the deployment and management of your Windows client infrastructure’), also check Stephen Rose at http://blogs.technet.com/stephenrose/

– DirectAccess & SBS… wait for SBS 2008 R2

– Windows 7 & Windows Server 2008 R2 is DoD Suite B compliant
Use BitLocker and BitLocker to go on all your mobile devices

– Google hacking… Andy showed us the interesting stuff that can be done with Google Hacking e.g. goto www.google.com and type in the search bar site:mil filetype:pdf “top secret”
also the use of the ‘similar’ button to get around site logon

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Microsoft tech•ed Europe 2009, Berlin, 12 November 2009

Slighty shabby and a late start to Thursday following the Windows Server 2008 R2 EAP dinner followed by the 1E TechEd party – a heavy night! 

For the dinner, the UK team chose a fabulous Italian restaurant called Bacco (www.bacco.de/english/restaurant/restaurant.html) which I’d definately go back to and hosted a great evening… many thanks to Stuart, Gareth, Neil, Alex, etc. from Microsoft UK. 

We were also joined by Allen Stewart & Rajesh Dave from corp.  Allen is Principal PM for Windows Server and Raj is a PM for Windows Hyper-V.  Both very interesting & incredibly knowledgable guys with deep understanding across a wide range of topics (and not just Microsoft!).
I pestered them for info on Hyper-V thin provisioning of memory and whilst they couldn’t confirm anything as we all said ‘we live in hope!’ 😉 

…as for the  night, I’d been invited to the 1E TechEd Europe party at Spindler & Klatt www.spindlerklatt.de – an uuber trendy restaurant/club in East Berlin frequented by the likes of Angelina, Clooney, and now Cook! 

What a great party and many many thanks to the team at 1E (www.1e.com).  Did I mention I was the 4th member of the business in the founding year?  (yes I probably did & several times.. lots to drunk! ;-)) We went our separate ways in 1999, oh for a slice of that now… anyway, moving on! 

Seriously though hats off to Samir, Mark, and Phil – they have built a company that knows how to throw a great party (regarded as the best at TechEd), and a team of very bright, talented people who have a lot of respect for the company and its founders. 

Ouch my head is pounding!  time to go to sessions, starting with… 

ITS211 Keeping Your CIO Happy: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 SLA Scorecarding with Operations Manager 2007 and SQL Server 2008

Gordon McKenna & Sean Roberts speaking at TechEd
Presenters: Gordon McKenna, Sean Roberts, www.inframon.com
Thu 11/12 | 10:45-12:00 | London 2 – Hall 7-1b
Learn how you can create CIO level SLA scorecards in SharePoint Server 2007 for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 using some of the new features in Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services and to create Executive SLA views of your Operational Environment. The session looks at why these types of views are important to many companies, what impact this can have on your business, and what simple steps you can take to achieve very effective, high-level executive views of everything from performance and availability of your key LOB services and applications, whether important SLAs and KPIs are being achieved and whether your IT department is meeting the day-to-day needs of your business. The key demos in this session take you through the steps you need to implement effective business scorecarding in SharePoint Server 2007 using key metrics collected in the Operations Manager 2007 Datawarehouse based on “real-world” experiences gained from the field. After attending this presentation you will have a good insight into how CIO Scorecards can help you add value to your Operations Manager deployments, helping you to show real value to your executives.
Tip – to remove parameter data from Ops Mgr reports imported into a SharePoint webpart, suffix the url with &rc:Parameters=collapsed
Cracking session from Gordon & Sean on how to try and keep your CIO happy (if that’s possible! ;-))
blog Daniel Savage

Service Level dashboard – free solution accelerator dashboard on Microsoft 

SVR401 & 402 DirectAccess Technical Drilldown, Part 1 of 2: IPv6 and Transition Technologies + Part 2 of 2: Putting It All Together

John Cradock presents DirectAccess Technical Drilldown, Part 1 of 2: IPv6 and Transition Technologies 

Presenter: John Craddock (www.xtseminars.co.uk)
Thu 11/12 | 13:30-14:45 | Helsinki – Hall 7-2a
Take a sprinkling of Windows 7, add Windows Server 2008 R2, IPv6 and IPsec and you have a solution that will allow direct access to your corporate network without the need for VPNs. Come to these demo-rich sessions and learn how to integrate DirectAccess into your environment. In Part 1 learn about IPv6 addressing, host configuration and transitioning technologies including 6to4, ISATAP, Teredo and IPHTTPS. Through a series of demos learn how to build an IPv6 Network and interoperate with IPv4 networks and hosts. In Part 2 we add the details of IPSec, and components that are only available with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to build the DirectAccess infrastructure. Learn how to control access to corporate resources and manage Internet connected PCs through group policy. Part 1 is highly recommended as a prerequisite for Part 2.
John Craddock is an extremely talented AD/identity expert, and deeply technical across many other fields – in this case IPv6 & DA.
I was also lucky enough to have a drink with John and my old Microsoft PSS chum Paul Duffy on Monday night at the cleverly named hotel ‘Berlin Berlin’.
John is a genuine international industry expert and a thoroughly nice bloke with it!   Paul, another ‘genie-I’ went on to become PM for Office Communicator and knows a thing or ten about OCS amongst other subjects to a deep level.  This probably explains why these two know each other!
Anyway, back to the session plus my own notes, links, etc.
Gems & Tips
– be careful, not all apps will be compatible – test!
– to be native will likely mean new network gear, is new network layer (layer 2 unchanged)
– hex is back!  use of double colon notation, but can only be used once per address
– cannot mix with ipV4 mask bit notation
– host derived with mac address which has privacy issues, Win7 & R2 generate random based on interface, can be disabled (revert to mac based) with netsh interface ipv6 set global randomizeidentifiers=disabled
– route print -6 will show IPv6 route table
– ::1 is IPv6 loopback
– if you have a registered IPv4 address then you automatically have an IPv6 address on the 6to4 network
6to4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6to4 states 6to4 performs three functions:
  1. Assigns a block of IPv6 address space to any host or network that has a global IPv4 address.
  2. Encapsulates IPv6 packets inside IPv4 packets for transmission over an IPv4 network using 6in4.
  3. Routes traffic between 6to4 and “native” IPv6 networks.

– you need to manually unblock ISATAP entry in DNS which can be done via the registry or command line, e.g. 

C:\>dnscmd /config /globalqueryblocklist wpad 

Registry property globalqueryblocklist successfully reset.
Command completed successfully. 

ISATAP is a huge subject in it’s own right, the Intra-site Automatic Tunnel Addressing Protocol Deployment Guide is available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=0f3a8868-e337-43d1-b271-b8c8702344cd&displaylang=en 

Putting it all together..

– Check tunnel endpoint authentication using ‘klist’ to list Kerberos data
– Use NRTP to direct DNS queries to a specific server for a particular names space (view using ‘netsh namespace show effectivepolicy’)
– PKI needs to be right as certificates are the foundations
– you must publish the revocation list
– NLS (Nework Location Server) is just a https website accessible from the DA server, e.g. nls.corp.example.com
– if it doesn’t work, it could be a couple of days troubleshooting! 

If you’re thinking of setting this up in a virtual lab, I also took note from Allen Stewart’s blog at http://blogs.technet.com/wincat/

…if you’re planning to virtualize your lab environment on Hyper-V, you should ensure you’re using Legacy Network Adapters for the child partition where you’re running the DAS. Using the default synthetic NICs is OK for all the other resources in the test lab, but for the DAS itself, it’s important to have both the Internet and Corpnet NICs as legacy ones, to ensure proper passing of traffic between both sides of the DAS. If you use the default synthetic adapters, you may end up in a situation where traffic doesn’t properly flow from the outside to the inside, even though all your IPsec, 6to4, Teredo, and IP-HTTPS settings are correct. Basically, you’ll be in a situation where connectivity will fail at a basic level, with you not even being to successfully ping the internal DNS server using its ISATAP address.If you’ve already built your lab on Hyper-V using the synthetic adapters, the fix is pretty simple. Just replace them with legacy ones, reconfigure the IP addressing as specified in the guide and rerun the DirectAccess wizard, again supplying all the information specified in the guide. After doing so, all your traffic should flow properly.

– Thanks Allen!

DAT312 All You Needed to Know about Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Failover Clustering

Presenter: Gopal Ashok
Thu 11/12 | 17:00-18:15 | London 3 – Hall 7-1b
There are major architectural changes in SQL Server 2008 for failover cluster setup and management, geared towards increased reliability and high-availability. To learn all the benefits and changes, attend this session for a comprehensive overview direct from the product development group. We cover SQL Server 2008 failover clustering setup, underlying Windows Server cluster and how SQL Server uses it, what’s new in SQL Server 2008 for failover clustering, differences from previous versions of SQL Server and future directions. This includes details of SQL Server 2008 failover clustering setup operations together with demos to illustrate the new setup.

– new features
– applications need retry mechanisms built in to provide seamless failover
– no longer have to take down the cluster to upgrade, supports rolling upgrades 

Want to deploy stretched clusters?  lots do.  As in separate geo-redundant clusters, not separate nodes e.g. 

Stretched SQL Clusters or the doodles of an artist?

Stretched SQL Clusters or the doodles of an artist?

– sql 2008 failover clustering install breaks on windows server 2008 R2 and needs to be slipstreamed with SP1 (If only we knew this last weekend!)
(slipstreaming is incorporating patches into the installation media to effect a higher level of install base over RTM – Microsoft tend to do this but not always quickly!)
see http://blogs.msdn.com/psssql/archive/2009/03/17/how-to-fix-your-sql-server-2008-setup-before-you-run-setup-part-ii.aspx for more info
– during upgrades to a 2-node cluster there will be a period of time when you are exposed to node failure, and must not have a failover attempt for fear of corruption.  removing the node from the cluster owners will stop premature attempted failover. 

Further Microsoft resources.. (will add others also) 

      SQL Server ® 2008 Failover Clustering White Paper: http://sqlcat.com/whitepapers/archive/2009/07/08/sql-server-2008-failover-clustering.aspx 

      Recommended  Books Online  Doc Refresh #7 (May, 2009), or later: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms130214.aspx 

      Failover Clusters – Getting Started: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms189134.aspx 

      Rolling upgrade process and best practice: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms191295.aspx 

      Maintaining a Failover Cluster: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms178061.aspx 

      Setup command line usage: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms144259.aspx 

      Configuration.ini file usage: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd239405.aspx 

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Microsoft tech•ed Europe 2009, Berlin, 11 November 2009

A daily update from Microsoft tech•ed Europe 2009, Berlin, 8-13 November 2009

Not the best day for me in terms of TechEd objectives (i.e. attending learning sessions, etc.) with the first post of the day saying ‘decisions decisions… for sessions just 09:00-10:15’ as struggled to choose between:

DAT302 Top 10 Best Practices for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services
or
MGT11-IS Get Virtualized with Microsoft System Center Essentials!
or
OFS322 Overview of Social Computing in SharePoint 2010
or
SVR207 Windows Server 2008 R2 File Classification Infrastructure: Managing your file data more effectively.
or
SVR319 Multi-Site Clustering with Windows Server 2008 R2

Ended up doing none of the above, but did have a productive breakfast meeting with Stuart Leddy, UK Windows Server Product Marketing Manager.  Stuart has been heading up the Windows Server 2008 R2 UK EAP activities that we have been involved in with Ascom Network Testing (http://blog.thefullcircle.com/2009/11/05/the-full-circle-secures-ascom-network-testing-for-windows-server-2008-r2-early-adopter-program/)

The day turned into going from one full session to the next, and walking back and forth for what seemed like miles in between!
my TechEd tip for the day – for popular sessions get there 10 minutes before they start!

Eventually did get into a 1st choice session I wanted at 12:20…

MGT03-DEMO Introduction to Microsoft System Center Essentials 2010

Presenters: Ravikiran Chintalapudi, David Mills, Eamon O’Reilly, Jeremy Winter
 
Come see the new customer-driven enhancements and fully integrated virtual management capabilities in the next release of Microsoft’s unified IT Management solution for medium-sized businesses, System Center Essentials 2010!
 
– great product, can manage 50 servers and 200 clients
 
 

SVR307 Security Best Practices for Hyper-V and Server Virtualisation

Jeff Woolsey, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Virtualization
http://blogs.technet.com/virtualization/

Virtualisation is one of the hottest topics in IT today and security is a top priory for IT staff. In this session we cover security best practices for Hyper-V and introduce the Hyper-V Security Guide. This guide is Microsoft’s reference for hardening servers running Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V enabled.

– Use of BitLocker
– AV scanning of offline VHD images… stale/dormant VMs that get reintroduced to the corporate network then can wreak havoc to new vulnerability exploits.  first product to do this is McAfee VirusScan Enterprise for Offline Virtual Images (rolls off the toungue!)
– AV configuration… added benefit of passthrough disks – host AV will scan these disks.  install AV on the guests!
– VHD performance, 2nd most popular VM workload in Microsoft is SQL! fixed disk performance is now on par with raw/real disk!  but remember spindles still count!
– Dynamic VHDs are now up to 15x faster with R2 – still a 10-15% performance hit over fixed, and the risk of disk over commit
– Multipath I/O (MPIO) in R2 & Win7 is soo much easier with iSCSI Quick Connect
– Advanced Storage Capabilities… storage dedupe and replication, if it is block based it will work
Hyper-V Networking – don’t forget the parent is a VM too!  the Hypervisor slides in beneath the O/S once enabled.  More NICs the better, min 2, min 3 with iSCSI
Jumbo Frames… Significant performance increases, but the infrastructure must support it.  also needs to be end-to-end.  confirm test with ping host -l 4000 -f – if you get a response you have jumbo frames
Virtual Machine Queues – Hyper-V R2 supports processing offloading to newer network adaptors (Intel, Broadcom, etc.), most benefit with 10Gb/E
– more tips… turn off screen savers in guests, in Windows Server 2003 create using 2-way to ensure MP HAL

more of a best practise and walkthrough of some basic tasks like not forgetting to install Intergration Component, good session and great blogger (not me – Jeff! ;-))

 

DAT301 Building and Implementing a High Availability Strategy for Your Enterprise

Presenter: Gopal Ashok
Wed 11/11 | 17:30-18:45 | London 3 – Hall 7-1b
Every business has mission-critical applications running on Microsoft SQL Server that require maximum uptime. Some application data is more critical than others and requires strict guarantees with regard to data loss. Depending on the application requirements and IT constraints, the availability strategy and corresponding technology choices will vary. As an architect, DBA, or IT admin it is important to develop the right HA strategy and corresponding solution which meets the availability requirement and at the same time provides the cost benefit for your organisation. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Always On Technologies provide a full range of options to minimise downtime and maintain appropriate levels of application availability. Come to this session to learn how to develop a comprehensive HA solution using the Always On technologies. The session walks you through the various technologies and features, providing a cost-benefit analysis and comparison, talks about the key decision points to consider when choosing a technology, and showcases real-world examples of how these technologies are currently used to provide a High Availability solution for various customer environments around the world.

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Microsoft tech•ed Europe 2009, Berlin, 9 November 2009

<if you are reading this the week of 9th November then apologies up front, its published but is really a working draft>

Microsoft TechEd Europe 2009, Berlin 8-13th November, 2009

So this week I’m a TechEd & Berlin virgin, although I guess I’m not alone as there are over 7200 people from 104 countries attending this event! (ignore the later picture, it’s out of date before it was taken).

MD of German MS Business

www.citymosiac.de – Berlin Social Media project to mark 20yrs since collapse of the Berlin Wall

Stephen Elop, President, Microsoft Business Division
you can’t save your way to success, simply cost cutting not the answer
do more with less has become “with less, do more” – the new efficiency
UK govnt. Embracing cloud computing to increase efficiencies

Customer evidence from Statoil (Petter Wersland), NASDAQ OMX (Carl-Magnus Hallberg), Chester Zoo (Phil Morris)

Statoil – Exchange 2010 TAP, reduced storage by 60% but increased mailbox size 40-fold!
Identity & access & the cloud – complexities need to be addressed.

NASDAQ – latency issues due to disperse geography with low-long bandwidth, use of Win7 & Branch-cache.  Emphasis on IT & technology alignment with business projects, close to the strategy of the business.

Chester Zoo – Virtualisation saved £11K in electricity alone, being a Zoo obvious green agenda alignment.  Chester Zoo installed 50km of fibre optics, and have wireless cameras throughout the complex, inc. In cages – IT manager has been attacked by monkeys.. (literally!)

Windows 7 had over 7m beta users
Win7 was the biggest pre-order product on amazon.co.uk, dethroning Harry Potter “Windows 7 is King””  (oh dear!)

Cloud Computing

Microsoft Online Services

Exchange Online – adopters inc. GSK, Aeon, etc,  often in conjunction with on premises Exchange

Exchange 2010 GA today, RTM launch

Julia White, Director, Exchange 2010 Product Team

Demoed a mailbox move whilst in use…. err? Is that new?  Didn’t show the client at the end of the move process… was there a prompt?

Exchange 2010 mail tips that advise the user of issues before they click send, e.g. incorrect distribution groups, Out of Office, etc.

Speech to text and vice-versa

Outlook Web Access now, Outlook Web App

Unified Messaging improvements, also integrated into OWA

Transport rules that can apply actions to email types regardless of sender choices (or lack of – e.g. adding DRM to certain types of email)

DRM working across access types (mobile, browser… demo used FireFox)

Multi-mailbox search capabilities

Forester claim a complete ROI on Exchange 2010 deployment in 6 months!
Various ForeFront launches announced today

 

IT Infrastructure

Apparently (allegedly) 70% of the world’s servers are running Windows

–          Windows Server 2008 R2 stats – 460,000 downloads thus far

Robert Whabe, Corporate VP, Microsoft Server & Tools Business

Evolution of the Datacenter – green IT, virtualisation moving to private then public cloud

BranchCache reduced MS Mexico sales office bandwidth by 90%

SCOM/OpsMgr Dashboard demo showing KPI & summarised

Jeff Wettlaufer, Technical PM, System Center
Bunch of redelivered stuff around SCVMM e.g. PRO, Live Migration, power mgmt, etc.

 

Devlopers! Developers! Devlopers!

An auditorium for over 7000

Many signs pointing to TechEd, but where is it?!?!

F'F'F'Five degrees in Berlin

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