Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tech Insights 2011 - Useful FREE WIndows Tools to assist in a Windows 7 Migration

Tech Insights 2011 was awesome... as always. The session that I delivered this year was on sharing Useful Tools to Assist in Assessment, Deployment and Managing a Windows 7 Infrastructure.

Here is the slide deck from my session:

Also.. recorded it if you want to view it:

If the video does not display well, View it in Vimeo

Check out for details about the event and announcements for Tech Insights 2012

Saturday, November 12, 2011

SQL 2012 New Licensing scheme under virtualization

Looking at SQL Server licensing today, we could actually save some money based on how it is licensed under a Virtualization scenario. An example is as follows:

SCENARIO: You have a 2 X Quad Core Processor in the Host Server, and had SQL Server installed in a virtual machine. In the Virtual Machine, you assigned 4 Virtual CPUs.

LICENSING CALC: To license the SQL Server on Processor licensing, we would calculate as follows:
                                   [no. of Virtual CPUs] / [no. of total physical cores] = 4 / 8 = 0.5
                                   Round up the result to the nearest whole number = 1      
                                   This means that you would need to license it with 1 Processor License

This is huge savings as you would only need to purchase 1 Proc license even though the Host Server had 2 Processors.

This will change in the upcoming launch of SQL Server 2012.

SQL Server 2012 will have 2 licensing models.

  1. The traditional Server + CAL licensing
  2. The new Core based license
Under this new licensing structure, when purchasing the neccessary license for SQL Server in a Virtual Machine, you would have to purchase it based on the no. of Virtual Cores assigned to the VM. Therefore if you had assigned 4 Cores, then you would have to purchase SQL Server Enterprise 2012 with 4 Cores. Microsoft currently states also that the minimum purchase for Cores type structure is 4 Cores.

I am waiting on the actual pricing to see how this plays out on a costing play field. Then we can make our conclusions on how this will affect Virtualization based SQL installations.

Here is the official Microsoft site:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Windows Intune v2 Released with new stuff

Windows Intune v2 released today with some long needed additions for decent pc management.

Standard features such as inventory, forefront protection, monitoring and alerting were present and added the following:

1. Software Deployment

Intune now has the ability to deploy software from the cloud to any managed PC. You will first have to upload the neccessary software to the cloud service and the space provided is 2GB

Uploading is simple, just click on the link provided and the wizard will request for the location of the file

Some new reports are useful relating to Licensing. If you upload your Microsoft Agreement number, Intune will capture all the neccessary purchase records and report to you in Intune for you to compare with the installed software

Other subtle features are, the ability to execute remote tasks such as Run a Malware Scan, Reboot the machine AND ability to perform basic hardware reporting customizations

Check out Windows Intune:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tech Ed NZ: Managing IT as a Service

THe second topic that we presented at Tech Ed New Zealand.

Covered how to use solutions such as Operations Manager, Service Manager, Orchestrator and the upcoming VMM2012 to assist in Private Cloud deployments and managing infrastructures that will be providing IT services

Check it out:

Tech Ed New Zealand: What's Coming in VMM 2012

Presented the upcoming features of VMM 2012 at Tech Ed New Zealand 2011 with my colleague Lai Yoong Seng.

Covered Deployment and Infrastructure changes, Fabric Management, Cloud Management and Services Management.

Check it out:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

System Center App Controller announced

At the 2nd day keynote of WPC today, Satya Nadella announced the official name for Project Concero... system Center App Controller. System Center App Controller will provide a single console for managing both your Private and Public Cloud infrastructures. From the console you will be able to manage your virtual machines in the private cloud, provision more, create clouds etc. It's key differentiator is tha ability to manage the cloud infrastructure from a Sevice standpoint. Using the designer tool, an administrator can create a relationship of applications with the necessary operating system and virtual machine settings. When provisioning a Service, SCAP will then automatically create the necessary virtual machines, configurations, and applications to both the private or private cloud infra depending on the admin.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

SCOM 2007 R2 Resource Kit is released

The Resource Kit for SCOM 2007 R2 has been released. It will include 3 important tools:

  • Scheduled Maintenance Mode
  • Clean MOM - to cleanly remove installation of R2
  • MP Event Analyzer - to analyze event based rules and monitors
Check out Rob's post on the SCOM Product Team Blogsite:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

MDT 2012 Beta launched

The MDT 2012 Beta program is publicly launched. Access it here:

The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit has been used very effectively by our team to assist in deployment of Windows 7 operating systems. Using the MDT2010 tool, we've used it together with SCCM to extend capabilities of the Task Sequencing engine.

excerpt from the from the Beta Team...

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 Beta 1 rides the next wave of System Center releases with support for System Center Configuration Manager 2012. For Lite Touch installations, MDT 2012 improves the overall client-side user experience, while also providing behind-the-scenes enhancements for partitioning, UEFI, and user state migration. These features, combined with many small enhancements, bug fixes, and a smooth and simple upgrade process, make MDT 2012 Beta 1 more reliable and flexible than ever.

Key Benefits:

  • Fully leverages the capabilities provided by System Center Configuration Manager 2012 for OS deployment.
  • Improved Lite Touch user experience and functionality.
  • A smooth and simple upgrade process for all existing MDT users.

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    Comparing SMS2003, SCCM 2007 and SCCM 2012

    I started listing down comparative differences between SMS 2003, SCCM 2007 and SCCM 2012 and with the help of Wei King to finish off the list, here is what we came up with...

    SCCM 2012
    Hardware & Software Inventory
    Automatic Client Health Remediation
    Software Distribution
    Computer based targeting
    User based targeting

    State-based Application Distribution

    Self-service portal

    App-V Package Deployment

    Xen-App Package Deployment

    Uninstallation via Software Center

    User-Device Affinity

    Distribution Point Groups

    Boundary Groups

    Application Revision History

    Content Management

    Software Updates
    Via WSUS
    Via WSUS
    3rd party application

    Automatic Software Updates Deployment Rules

    Automatic clean-up of Superseded and Expired Updates

    Software Metering
    Collection-based Policies

    Remote Administration
    Remote Tools
    Remote Tools & Remote Desktop
    Remote Tools + Ctrl-Alt-Del
    Basic & SQL Reporting
    SQL Reporting Services
    Administrator Console
    User-friendly ribbon

    Status reporting

    Agent Managed
    Integrate with Active Directory
    Automatic Boundary Discovery

    Forest Discovery

    Discovery of Computers
    Operating System Deployment

    Offline Servicing of OS Image

    Task Sequence

    Maintenance Windows

    Desired Configuration Management

    Automatic Remediation of Configuration Drift

    Internet Based Client Management

    Integration with Windows Server 2008 Network Access Protection

    Intel vPro Intergration

    ü SP1
    Role-based Access Control

    Power Management

    ü R3
    User Power Management Opt-out

    Windows Mobile Device Management

    Non-Windows Mobile Device Management


     Note: *P = Partial

    NOTE: The above was done in comparison to SCCM 2012 Beta 2 and what we know that will be supported in the eventual release

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Resetting my Outlook Inbox Name

    For some irritating reason... my Outlook 'Inbox' got renamed to 'image001.jpg'


    checking in my OWA... its the same..


    What is going on??!?!?!?1

    Tried to look into the right-click menus and properties etc on how to rename it.. NOTHING!

    Looking around on the web I found that the Outlook.exe executable had some switches. Found something that looked like may solve my problem. So.. said a prayer.. then tried it..

    Close Outlook --> Open Command Prompt --> Run '
    C:\ProgramFiles\Microsoft Office\Office14\Outlook.exe /resetfoldernames'

    Hooraaayyyy!!! back to 'Inbox' :)

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    SCORCH-ing HOT!

    It is official - System Center Opalis has now been renamed to System Center Orchestrator. SCORCH! The Microsoft main page has not been changed yet but I'm sure its soon enough.

    MMS2011: Keynote Day 2 - Brad Anderson

    Just finished the Keynote Day 2. Here are my cliff notes:

    • Announcing System Center Configuration Manager Beta 2 to Public
      • Ability to manage and control Windows, iPhone, iPad, Symbian and Android mobile devices
      • Ability to report on inventory, status, on the mobile devices and even remotely wipe out the phone in the event of a lost phone
      • Ability to deploy Citrix XenApp and Microsoft App-V applications
      • Management of users devices can now be done from a single pane
      • Superceding feature - ability to automatically uninstall an application when installing a new version
      • Self Service Catalog for users to pick and choose applications to be installed on their computers
      • Ability to manage Citrix Xen Desktop
      • Extending inventory items now easily done via console instead of having to modify smsdef.mof
      • Auto deployment rules can be configured to automatic download of updates and deploy.
    • Announcing Forefront Endpoint Protection will now be part of Core CAL
    • Announcing the inclusion of Microsoft Bitlocker Administration and Monitoring as part of the MDOP Suite
    • Announcing MMS2012 will be April 16 - 20 back at the VENETIAN, Las Vegas!

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    MMS2011: Keynote 1 - Brad Anderson

    Just attended the first keynote of MMS2011 with Brad Anderson. Here are some cliff notes of what was announced:

    • Announcement and showcase of System Center Project Concero
      • A Web Based management tool directed at managing private and public clouds
      • Providing self service to application owners to manage their own cloud infrastructure from a cloud, VM or service model perspective.
      • Provides the ability to view both infrastructures on the Private Cloud and those hosted on Azure
      • Unique management perspective in managing the infrastructure "Services" rather than servers/VMs.
      • Will have built in integration with Service Manager that provides the self service portal to request for change and additional resources to the Admin
    • Announcement of Sytstem Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Beta
      • Will have support for Xen, VMWare, Hyper-V. Possibly the only one in the market that has cross platform hypervisor management support
      • Ability to manage load balancers as part of the service
      • ability to discover bare metal computers through protocols like IPMI and DCMI and provision OS and VMs
      • VMM Service Template function - kind of like a recipe of what makes up an application service. could be mixing OS, applications etc.
      • Ability to seperate the OS and the Application so that there is no dependency. This will allow admins to update Operating Systems individually and keep lesser images; patch them seperately from the application.
      • Ability to virtualize the Application via Server App-V to achieve the seperatino of App and OS. Deployment can then be seemless for multiple environments so as not neccessary to keep multiple sets of images.
    • Announcing System Center Operations Manager Project 2012
      • Will include Network Device monitoring out of the box
      • Ability to show the connections between the network device and the servers
      • Dashboards provides views such as network device average response time etc
      • will have deep integration with AVICODE (Application Monitoring)
    • Announcing Project Atlanta is now officially knowned as System Center Advisor
      • Provides Configuration Change Management for supported applications and OS
      • At launch will support SQL, Windows Server, Hyper-V, AD
      • Agents installed on servers, report the configuration data up to the Advisor cloud service
      • Rules available to check configuration against best practices, known issues, knowledgebase
      • Responses back to the customer could be best practice advisory, hotfixes for known configuration issues
      • Tracks configuration change for the servers
      • Licensing: FREE if you have Software Assurance on the related App/OS

    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    TechNet Free Subscription on Passing a Virtualization Exam

    Want a FREE TechNet subscription? Well.. quickly go take a Microsoft Virtualization exam and.. well.. PASS it! Offer is for first 1000 only! between March 1 - June 30 2011

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    App-V superflow published

    About a week ago, a new superflow documentation was released. This is the App-V deployment Superflow. Highly useful document if u need a step by step guide to install the App-V componentt. Flowcharts are provided to showcase the steps process.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Getting Rid of the Outlook 2010 Panning Hand

    So i suddenly had this Hand in my Outlook 2010 Reading Pane and couldn't freakin get rid of it! This meant that I could not highlight any text and copy anything! Everytime I clicked the hand it would just PAN. Clik.. PAN... Click.. PAN... Spent a couple of hours trying to figure out how to get rid of it!!! ^&*(*&^..

    then... i accidentally pressed [ESC] and *poof.... gone. Back to normal. DUH!!

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    SCOM placed in Leader Quadrant

    Operations Manager 2007 R2 and its AVICode acquisition has been placed in the Gardner Magic Quadrant as a Leader. However, reading the review, there is a little error in their comment about licensing. In the Weaknesses description, it states that OpsMgr licenses can only be acquired with the System Management Suite. This is not right as OpsMgr can be purchased as a standalone product. Read it here

    Friday, February 4, 2011