The Windows Server Notebook

June 14, 2010  7:03 PM

Microsoft works to extend identity management to the cloud

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

You might not believe this, but one thing I took away from TechEd 2010 last week is that Microsoft reps seem to have a real issue with the term “cloud.” This point was brought up in nearly every conversation I had – how “the cloud” is too broad a term, and what the company is really invested in is cloud computing.

Judging by the number of times I heard some variation of this, it’s clear that this is something that Microsoft is determined to drive home. In fact, the point was reinforced several times during the opening keynote, where the focus was on extending the data and tools that IT professionals use on premise to a cloud computing environment.

While this was a major topic at Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) 2010 in regards to System Center, it was even more so at TechEd, where Active Directory was added to the mix. I sat down with Microsoft’s Justin Graham not long after the keynote, and while we spent a good amount of time discussing what to expect from Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 SP1, we also chatted a little about Microsoft’s plans for AD in the cloud and the company’s overall strategy.

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June 7, 2010  5:01 PM

Cloud talk dominates TechEd 2010 keynote

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

Microsoft's Bob Muglia delivers the opening keynote at TechEd 2010.

It’s very warm and muggy here in New Orleans for Microsoft TechEd 2010, but it was cool, comfortable (and initially, loud) for the opening keynote with Microsoft president of server and tools business Bob Muglia and other company reps.

A lot of topics were covered during the 1 1/2-plus hour presentation, but as expected, the cloud dominated most of the conversation. The big theme was centered on how IT professionals can extend the tools and data they currently use on premise (Active Directory, System Center products, etc.) to cloud computing environments. Muglia once again stressed that Mirosoft is fully-committed to the cloud, and that while it will ultimately affect everyone, it’s developers and IT professionals that are the focus right now.

Here are some other quick points from the keynote: Continued »

May 25, 2010  8:14 PM

Beta drops for next System Center Configuration Manager release

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

Microsoft has released the first beta for its upcoming systems and client management product, tentatively dubbed System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) v.Next. The new release is designed to provide self-service application management for end users and simplify the administration of network infrastructures and clients.

Jeff Wettlaufer, senior product manager for Microsoft System Center, briefly described some of the beta’s new features in a company blog post. These include automation enhancements for content distribution, troubleshooting and compliance remediation (as you probably know, automation is an incredibly hot topic right now, as made evident by at least one recent Microsoft acquisition).

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April 27, 2010  5:31 PM

Active Directory on your iPhone? There’s an app for that

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

A new app could help simplify the management of Active Directory-related help desk calls straight from your mobile phone. It’s called AD HelpDesk, a brand new iPhone app designed to aid with the most common of all help desk requests – password issues.
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April 26, 2010  9:04 PM

Recapping Microsoft Management Summit 2010

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

I thought I’d take a quick moment to run through some of the key points I took away from Microsoft Management Summit 2010 this year for those who weren’t able to attend. I was only there Tuesday and part of Wednesday, but spoke to quite a few people (both Microsoft folks and attendees), and came away with some interesting tidbits. Continued »

March 18, 2010  9:10 PM

First look at Windows 2008 R2 SP1 puts emphasis on virtualization

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

UPDATE! (6/21/2010)

A lot more info has come out recently regarding the first service packs for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. This Q&A with Microsoft’s Justin Graham provides more details on dynamic memory, Remote FX, and what else to expect from SP1.

ORIGINAL POST (3/18/2010)

As it turns out, Microsoft’s much-publicized Desktop Virtualization Hour that took place earlier today included a little surprise – a first look at the upcoming service pack (SP) for Windows Server 2008 R2. Now I say “little” because the company didn’t reveal too much, but the first bit of info we have on the SP1 for both R2 and Windows 7 is all about virtualization.
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March 5, 2010  8:55 PM

x86 systems, Windows Server on the rise

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

While overall server revenue has been down for the past year, one area that continues to grow is the x86 system market. This is according to the latest IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker report.

The fact that x86 systems are on the rise is interesting when you take into account the climate of the server market overall. IDC states that while Q4 2009 was down in terms of year-over-year quarterly revenue, it also marked the second straight quarter-to-quarter rise. What’s interesting is that, as the report pointed out, Q4 is traditionally not a golden period for x86 systems. So why is change in the air?
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March 2, 2010  7:26 PM

Microsoft AppFabric takes next step toward official release

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

The second beta for Microsoft’s new Windows Server AppFabric technology is now available for download, and the company is encouraging those who give it a test drive to send along their feedback. Microsoft is eying Q3 of this year for the official launch for AppFabric, and has noted that any suggestions from those using .NET 4 and Windows Server before that delivery date are welcome.

Right about now you might be thinking, “Hey that’s great – so what exactly is AppFabric?”
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February 22, 2010  6:42 PM

SQL Azure and what it means to performance

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

Brent Ozar and Kevin Kline

With Microsoft’s Azure platform now in full-effect, one of the questions affecting DBAs and developers is “How does it change what I do?”

I spoke with SQL Server MVPs Brent Ozar and Kevin Kline of Quest Software earlier about some of the performance implications for putting databases in the cloud with SQL Azure. The two are set to co-host a free, all-day virtual training session covering general SQL Server performance tuning and troubleshooting on Mar. 3.

“There’s a certain set of skills out there in the marketplace that are ‘evergreen’, and every year there are people that come into the business that haven’t learned those skills. And performance tuning and troubleshooting are at the top of the list,” said Kline about the session. He added that the all-day event gives them time to not only go over the general process points for getting started, but also the specific commands and techniques needed for proper troubleshooting and tuning.

But what about the cloud? Surely, throwing SQL Azure and other cloud-databases into the mix is going to have some implications in regards to how people think about performance. Here are some of the key points that database pros should keep in mind.
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February 2, 2010  6:43 PM

News Roundup: Lots going on with Microsoft System Center

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

While 2010 is still very young, Microsoft is wasting no time adding updates and new releases to its System Center suite of products. Naturally, there are a lot of different tools and variations involved, so here is a little rundown of what’s been going on:
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