Posts Tagged Microsoft tech•ed Europe 2009

Microsoft tech•ed Europe 2009, Berlin, 13 November 2009

Going home very early this morning, but as a TechEd newbie I made a few notes & tips to self:



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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
MGT11-IS Get Virtualized with Microsoft System Center Essentials!
OFS322 Overview of Social Computing in SharePoint 2010
SVR207 Windows Server 2008 R2 File Classification Infrastructure: Managing your file data more effectively.
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 (

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

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, 10 November 2009

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

Continuing the post on TechEd Europe started on Monday I’ve decided to write daily, there is just too much for one mega-post.  In fact, most sessions have enough quality content to justify their own posts, but I’ll save you from this! 😉   It’s a massive geekfest!  ja!

First session of the day for me is:

CLI302 – How Windows Storage Is Changing: Everything’s Going VHD!

Mark Minasi, internationally recognised technical guru, funny guy, great speaker (his next session on IPv6 in the afternoon was one of the most over-subscribed sessions of the event and I didn’t get in 😦 )

Load Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 on a system, and you’ll notice something sort of strange: there’s no boot record or BCD folder. Look at other Windows 7/R2 systems, and you may notice something even stranger: there’s only one file on the hard disk, and yet you can boot the system and run a normal Windows system. What’s going on here? Simple: Windows 7 gets a lot of press for its faster-than-Vista performance and newer user interface, but there’s a lot more to it also, including native support of VHD files (that’s how a one-file system boots) as well as a new default disk structure, support of direct-to-disk ISO burning, and more. Whether you’re going to Windows 7 sometime soon or five years from now, you’ll want to be prepared for the changes that Windows 7 brings to storage—and who better to prepare you than veteran Windows explainer Mark Minasi? Join Mark for this quick look at Windows 7/R2 storage and save yourself having to read a small mountain of whitepapers!

Mark Minasi: “come to the command line, the command line will set you free!.  If we want the full power my friends… the command line!”

Also, ignore the V in VHD, there’s nothing Virtual about VHD’s

How easy is it to create a VHD?

  create vdisk file=filename maximum=sizeinmegabytes [type=fixed|expandable]
  select vdisk=drive:path
  attach vdisk  (can attach as read-only)

Of course, it can also be done through the GUI, although this is lame!  come to the command line!  (I like this guy lots!)

Creating a bootable VHD image:
  1) Take your gold image machine and sysprep it
  2) Attach an extra drive
  3) Image the system to the drive  (/verify /check)
  4) Create a new vhd
  5) Select the vhd
  6) Apply the wim file to the vhd (imagex /apply)
  7) Detach the vhd

You now have a sysprep’d gold image that you can deploy and boot from on as many machines as you like.  Sysinternals also have a tool that does the same and used the same API’s so is functionally identical

Basic VHD boot:
  1) Copy the VHD to a local hard drive
  2) Use BCDEDIT to create a new OS entry that points at the VHD

bcdedit /copy (copy the resultant GUID to the clipboard!)

What about making a system that has no installed O/S – just a pure boot from VHD

If you do this – insomnia!  you cannot hybernate a VHD system!

How to setup WinPE – newsletter #59 on
Create the system.wim – newsletter #61

MGT213 – Introducing Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager v3 Beta

Jason Buffington, Technical Product Manager, DPM

The third generation of Microsoft’s backup and recovery solution began public beta in October 2009. In this session, we spend most of the hour demonstrating what’s changed, the new capabilities, and what you should be planning for with Data Protection Manager.

Agent deployment changes, can install as before, but also attach to an existing agent which covers for agents behind firewalls, externally installed, etc.

Disk Allocation – changes to support collocating data in the  DPM storage pool, also the ability to Automatically grow the volumes – woohoo!!  (single biggest request for DPM into Microsoft)

Client support – as in client workstations, laptops, etc.  Much improved support for remote clients over long, thin links.  Capabilities to enforce an IT policy for backup but also allow the end user to add to the protection (with controls, i.e. IT can still enforce exclusions such as no MP3s).

“I like one throat to choke” – i.e. using a Microsoft backup tool to backup Microsoft

Using DPM to provide Disaster Recovery, i.e. replace a.n.other replication technologies by having another offsite DPM server (can do very funky automated recovery into a VM using VMM).

One thing to remember if you don’t attend another DPM session.  For compliance, PCI, Sarbanes, whatever!  If you have your offsite DPM server with the tape drive at that location you are already backing up and storing in a seperate geographic location – “You don’t have to pay the guy to lose your tapes for you!”

DPM 2010 Scalability
100 servers, 1000 clients, up to 2000 databases per server
Significantly increases fan-in of data sources per DPM server

DPM Recovery – specify ‘latest’ will not just restore the last DPM replica point, but also play back the transaction logs to the point of failure 🙂 – “scary smart people who have taken DPM management to a whole new level”

you heard it hear 1st…
DPM 2010 from RC onwards will support backup of non-domain joined clients, i.e. none AD clients 🙂 – this got a major applause (fortunately no ‘high-fives’).

Feedback – Jason is an excellent, engaging presenter with deep understanding of the product with massively relevant content, way more interesting than the SQL performance tuning I was going to do. 😉

BOF04 – Snapshots in Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V

Marcos Nogueira
Snapshots in Hyper-V are a very powerful feature that when used properly can save you from disaster. On the other hand, snapshots, if used incorrectly, can bring a server down. Can snapshot replace a backup? At this BoF session we discuss the best practices for snapshots and some common usage scenarios.

Interactive, audience led session.  Not helped by folks not that keen on talking, and the speaker, sorry host (is not a demo, presentation), didn’t sound confident although should do with 3000 VM’s in his enviornment!

My question about snapshot avhd merge issues, even if you delete the snapshot striaght after the test the avhd/s will continue to grown until either the VM is shutdown or saved.  Is there any other way of merging the AVHD files back in e.g. a ‘live merge’

Using snapshots in development through test, qa, etc. to manage iteration testing

MGT314 – How to Protect SharePoint and Other Application Servers with Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager

Another session with Jason Buffington of DPM fame, we are now the DPM’ers!

In this session we look at the challenges and special requirements for protecting and recovering Microsoft SharePoint Server, as well as Microsoft Exchange Server, and Microsoft SQL Server. We discuss how Data Protection Manager (DPM) uses the native application VSS writers to ensure supportable backups and recoveries, and discuss the implementation specifics for protecting these key platforms. The discussion focuses mainly on DPM 2007 SP1 implementations for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, SQL Server 2008, and Exchange Server 2007, but concludes with a glimpse into what DPM v3 is planning for O14 and E14.

DPM2010 new features for SharePoint – auto protection of new content dB’s, no need for a recovery sharepoint farm

Tip – for workload specific DPM information goto e.g. – how to’s, videos, sandboxed demo enviornments, why you need it (for the boss), etc.

Tip – DPM can restore to tape, e.g. when asked for a copy of last month’s backup for the auditor, rather than give them a tape containing EVERYTHING (and you know you’ll never get it back), you can just give them the data they need from the time they want it.

Further training… TechNet virtual labs – for hands-on learning with DPM 2007 SP1

SVR308 – Storage and Hyper-V: The Choices You Can Make and the Things You Need to Know

Storage and virtualisation are two of the hottest technologies in IT right now—and they’re even better together. Microsoft is delivering new products into both spaces, and understanding the impacts that storage has on a server virtualisation design is key to understanding and successfully building a virtual infrastructure. This session talks about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going. We give you the information you need to know to make the right storage decisions in this new virtual world.

Hyper-V Architecture overview
Key to have the HCL/supported hardware (we know this, but it’s especially important for clustering)

Hyper-V Storage
SAN: iSCSI, Fibre Channel, SAS
NAS is not supported (stick an iSCSI target on it!)

Storage parameters / constraints..
Max VHD size 2048GB / 2TB

Tip – ISO”s on network shares, and especially with remote management.. needs a computer account & constrained delegation!  (gets round issue of needing local ISO’s on the nodes… ahhh!  learnt something! :-))

Hyper-V Constrained Delegation

Hyper-V Constrained Delegation

Differencing VHDs – performance vs. chain length – above 8 the performance delta becomes significant

Hyper-V and AV..

SAN Boot and Hyper-V
  Boot host from SAN (FC or iSCSI)
  Boot child VM frin iSCSI (PXE solution such as emmboot)

iSCSI performance best practises with Hyper-V..
  Jumbo Frames since R2 🙂

Live Migration/HA Best Practises
  Multi-Path IO (MPIO) is your friend
  Standardise names of virtual switches
  Use ISO’s not real CD/DVD as will break live migration

Sizing Storage for Hyper-V
  see pic

HA with Hyper-V using MPIO & FC SAN
  see pic

DAT306 – Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services Best Practices

Chris Baldwin (

Chris started by admitting to talking far too quickly, so excuse this post, maybe disjointed!

Is there anything you could be doing better with SQL Server Reporting Services? This session explores some of the best practices associated with report design and report server deployment. Topics range from the best way to plan your scale out architecture, to the best way to optimise your reports design for performance.

DAT306 - Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services Best Practices


Server Deployment
  Backup/Restore… see pic
  Security – use read-only accounts, be wary of unecessary use of Windows Integrated, if really paranoid can be disabled for RS (server properties)
  Monitoring & Planning – use VS2005 to perform load testing on RS, RS caches so beware testing results, can use ‘NullRenderer’ subscription to pre-process and prime the cache ahead of use
  One-Box deployments useful, but not great for production due to lack of scale

Report Design and layout
  Understanding Tablix
  Report performance analysis and optimisation – subreports can negatively impac, move subreport layout up into main report, merge main report and subreport datasets

Data Visualisation
  .. will post pics!

RS Architecture..

pics to post!



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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 – 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, 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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