2014
07.31

Microsoft published a KB article to help you when the Hyper-V Best Practice Analyzer (BPA) does not exit or appears to hang/crash.

Symptoms

Hyper-V Best Practice Analyzer (BPA) does not exit under the following conditions:

  • A virtual machine already exists.
  • The virtual machine is connected to a vhd or vhdx as the hard disk drive. However, the vhd or vhdx file itself is renamed or deleted, and does not exist in reality.

Cause

The PowerShell script as seen here runs internally when running the Hyper-V BPA:

C:\Windows\System32\BestPractices\v1.0\Models\Microsoft\Windows\Hyper-V\Hyper-V.ps1

However, due to a defect in the script, the information retrieval process goes into a loop, and the BPA does not exit until timeout.

Workaround

You need to delete the non-existing vhd or vhdx from the virtual machine settings, and then rerun BPA for Hyper-V by following these steps:

  1. Start Hyper-V Manager.
  2. Select the virtual machine that is connected to a non-existing vhd or vhdx, then right-click and open Settings.
  3. From the virtual machine settings window, click on the non-existing hard drive, and then click Delete.
  4. Click OK to close the virtual machine setting window.
  5. Rerun BPA for Hyper-V from Server Manager.

The article claims to apply to Windows Server 2012 (WS2012).

2014
07.31

Very quiet 24 hours in the Microsoft world. The only bit of news I have for you is Microsoft’s newest (48 hours old) statements regarding the US government trying to spy on non-USA located emails.

2014
07.30

The big news here for MSFT techies are the releases of update rollups for SysCtr 2012 SP1 and SysCtr 2012 R2. Please wait 1 month before deploying to avoid the inevitable issues (history indicates that I am probably right) and use that time to carefully review the installation instructions.

2014
07.30

I do not know what the root cause of my location-specific outage last Friday was. I know that my Vodafone Ireland broadband at home was affected. I also know that Sky Ireland broadband was affected. But others internationally and the ISPs at work had no issues. It was all very strange … and the problem appears to have sorted itself out today (the following Wednesday).

Anywho, business (and sarcy posts) as normal!

2014
07.29

Another slow 24 hours:

2014
07.28

It was a quiet weekend. Note a useful scripts for health checking a Scale-Out File Server (SOFS) by Jose Barreto.

2014
07.28

If you’re affected by this issue then you should have read this post. Microsoft posted a KB article for when virtual machines lose network connectivity when you use Broadcom NetXtreme 1-gigabit network adapters on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V.

Symptoms

When you have Hyper-V running on Microsoft Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2 together with Broadcom NetXtreme 1-gigabit network adapters (but not NetXtreme II network adapters), you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Virtual machines may randomly lose network connectivity. The network adapter seems to be working in the virtual machine. However, you cannot ping or access network resources from the virtual machine. Restarting the virtual machine does not resolve the issue.
  • You cannot ping or connect to a virtual machine from a remote computer.

These symptoms may occur on some or all virtual machines on the server that is running Hyper-V. Restarting the server immediately resolves network connectivity to all the virtual machines.

Cause

This is a known issue with Broadcom NetXtreme 1-gigabit network adapters that use the b57nd60a.sys driver when VMQ is enabled on the network adapter. (By default, VMQ is enabled.)

The latest versions of the driver are 16.2 and 16.4, depending on which OEM version that you are using or whether you are using the Broadcom driver version. Broadcom designates these driver versions as 57xx-based chipsets. They include 5714, 5715, 5717, 5718, 5719, 5720, 5721, 5722, 5723, and 5780.

These drivers are also sold under different model numbers by some server OEMs. HP sells these drivers under model numbers NC1xx, NC3xx, and NC7xx.

Workaround

Broadcom is aware of this issue and will release a driver update to resolve the issue. In the meantime, you can work around the issue by disabling VMQ on each affected Broadcom network adapter by using the Set-NetAdapterVmq Windows PowerShell command. For example, if you have a dual-port network adapter, and if the ports are named NIC 1 and NIC 2 in Windows, you would disable VMQ on each adapter by using the following commands:

Set-NetAdapterVmq -Name “NIC 1″ -Enabled $False
Set-NetAdapterVmq -Name “NIC 2″ -Enabled $False

You can confirm that VMQ is disabled on the correct network adapters by using the Get-NetAdapterVmq Windows PowerShell command.

Note By default, VMQ is disabled on the Hyper-V virtual switch for virtual machines that are using 1-gigabit network adapters. VMQ is enabled on a Hyper-V virtual switch only when the system is using 10-gigabit or faster network adapters. This means that by disabling VMQ on the Broadcom network adapter, you are not losing network performance or any other benefits because this is the default. However, you have to work around the driver issue.

Get-NetAdapterVmqQueue shows the virtual machine queues (VMQs) that are allocated on network adapters. You will not see any virtual machine queues that are allocated to 1-gigabit network adapters by default.

Sigh. I hope Broadcom are quicker about releasing a fix than Emulex (customers are waiting 10 or 11 months now?).

2014
07.25

My site is hosted on Azure in the Dublin (Europe North) region. On Friday morning, I was checking something when I saw my site was not loading correctly – it was either offline or VERY slow. So I check the Azure status and saw it was offline. I restarted the application pool and the problem remained. I rebooted. MySQL took an age to load, but the site was still not loading … from home.

I have endpoint monitoring configured. Notice that Amsterdam was showing an issue and Chicago was not. Strange, eh? I’ve worked in hosting and I know how localised these problems can be. So it was time to start digging.

I asked online and people in Denmark were OK. Folks in Belfast and Netherlands had connection problems. Later, Denmark went offline and Amsterdam came back!

image

 

From Home (Vodafone Ireland – very slow/no access) I ran a tracert:

image

From the lab at work (Magnet ISP – access OK) I had different results:

image

From a VM with an ISP (Blacknight – access OK) I had different results again:

image

It was very odd. Nothing was red on the Azure status site. I’m guessing there was a localized issue within Azure that affected just a subset of us, or there was an external routing issue that affected some ISPs.

It’s still like this as I post … in other words, the site is fine for some and offline for others.

EDIT (30/7/2014):

I came home today to find that my site was once again available via my ISP.

 

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2014
07.25

image

Well done, Simon! You win this award because you:

  • You asked someone else to do your searching even when the answer is easy to find.
  • Even when I responded with a LMGTFY response where the first 5 links gave you your answer, you still wanted me to do the clicking and reading for you.
  • And then you go uppity about it Smile

Heck, 2 of the links were written by Microsoft, one by me, one on Hyper-V.nu and one by Thomas Maurer. We community contributors spend a lot of time writing this stuff. Please don’t expect us to read it to you too.

You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.

2014
07.24

Congratulations to my MVP colleagues, Alessandro Cardoso and Benedict Berger on the recent publication of their respective books.

System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager Cookbook, 2nd Edition

Alessandro wrote this second edition book to focus on SCVMM 2012 R2, available from Amazon:

Overview

  • Create, deploy, and manage datacenters and private and hybrid clouds with hybrid hypervisors using VMM 2012 R2
  • Integrate and manage fabric (compute, storages, gateways, and networking), services and resources, and deploy clusters from bare metal servers
  • Explore VMM 2012 R2 features such as Windows 2012 R2 and SQL 2012 support, converged networks, network virtualization, live migration, Linux VMs, and resource throttling and availability

What you will learn from this book

  • Plan and design a VMM architecture for real-world deployment
  • Configure network virtualization, gateway integration, storage integration, resource throttling, and availability options
  • Integrate SC Operations Manager (SCOM) with VMM to monitor your infrastructure
  • Integrate SC APP Controller (SCAC) with VMM to manage private and public clouds (Azure)
  • Deploy clusters with VMM Bare Metal
  • Create and deploy virtual machines from templates
  • Deploy a highly available VMM Management server
  • Manage Hyper-V, VMware, and Citrix from VMM
  • Upgrade from previous VMM versions

Hyper-V Best Practices

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Benedict wrote this book, available from Amazon:

This is a step-by-step guide to implement best practice configurations from real-world scenarios, enhanced with practical examples, screenshots, and step-by-step explanations.This book is intended for those who already have some basic experience with Hyper-V and now want to gain additional capabilities and knowledge of Hyper-V.If you have used Hyper-V in a lab environment before and now want to close the knowledge gap to transfer your Hyper-V environment to production, this is the book for you!

Congratulations to both authors!

Before anyone asks – no, I am not planning an update to the WS2012 Hyper-V book. It’s too much work for too little return in too small a window (Windows Server vNext Preview will be announced in October, 12 months after the RTM of WS2012 R2).

2014
07.24

Very little for you today:

2014
07.23

Microsoft’s data centres are pretty “green”. And when I say green, I mean that they build & install only what they absolutely need, and they focus very heavily on power. A common measurement stick is Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), which Wikipedia defines as:

… how much energy is used by the computing equipment (in contrast to cooling and other overhead).

The lower the number, the better. Microsoft does not share their PUE publicly, but according to the Green (Low Carbon) Data Center Blog the:

… PUE figures for its newest data centers which range from 1.13 to 1.2.

That’s an incredibly efficient achievement. I know quite a bit about how Microsoft do this, but I’m under NDA, after NDA, after NDA :) All I can say is jump at the chance if you ever have an opportunity to tour on of the Microsoft Global Foundation Services modern data centres.

So what drives Microsoft? Sure, getting the likes of Greenpeace on your side is always good,especially when trying to sell business to environmentally sensitive customers. But the biggest reason for electrical efficiency is to save money. Electricity is only becoming more and more expensive. Data centers are growing in size and number, and are competing for this limited resource with each other, and with us (customers, consumers, businesses, etc). So saving a hundredth from a PUE figure could be worth millions of dollars every year (if not more!).

According to Fool.com, Microsoft has gone one step further by acquiring 20 years of power supply from a wind farm in Illinois, USA. This produces 175MW of power, all for Microsoft! And before that, Microsoft agreed to purchase 100% of production from a wind farm in Texas.

In theory, this is a renewable energy source with a pretty fixed cost. That contrasts nicely with competing for electricity from producers that are using dwindling carbon-based fuels. The strategy allows Microsoft to budget long-term, and it doesn’t hurt that renewable power will get a nod of approval from those wearing vegan trousers. It makes sense that Microsoft will continue this trend worldwide, thus making property costs and climate the only variations in the cost of operating Azure in different regions.

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2014
07.23

It was 8 months ago when I purchased my Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8, an 8” Android tablet. I raved about the form factor, price ($206.99 on Amazon.com, £150.99 on Amazon UK, €153.06 on Amazon Germany), and all that jazz.

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So how has the tablet worked out?

I mentioned in my previous post that I was going to test the battery life in my upcoming travels. I did:

  1. I charged up the tablet overnight in Berlin
  2. Watched video flying from Berlin to London
  3. Watched video flying from London to San Francisco
  4. The battery was at 54% when I checked into the hotel in the west coast of the USA

And that was before a firmware update that increase published battery life from 16 hours to 18 hours. I suspect that this device pulls power from dark matter in the universe. It is incredible, with only Kindle readers beating it.

The screen is not the best for viewing photos … but let’s be clear. The machine is CHEAP and works great for video.

I probably use this device more than any machine other than my PC at work. I travel with it, using it to keep myself entertained in hotels, airports, planes, etc. I keep it at my bedside locker, so I can check up on things when I hit the snooze button in the mornings. It has replaced my Kindle reader as my way of consuming books – the extra large battery doubles as a comfortable handle.

I’ve used a Micro-SD to expand the paltry 16 GB of inbuilt storage. Using a SD converter, I can quicky copy content from a PC/laptop onto the machine. Combined with the hotspot on my phone, I have easy Internet access. Throw in ProXPN and I am accessing Netflix USA while in Europe, and UK/Irish services while abroad. My Bose headphones give me perfect sound in a noisy environment.

The lightweight CPU has not been an issue for me. I don’t play many games – but Robocop, Plants VS Zombies 2, and the Angry Birds carting thing play fine.

I have a lot of good things to say about this device. I wish it was a Windows machine – I do have a Toshiba Encore tablet but the Yoga wins on battery life (against almost everything) and apps (quantity & quality VS Windows).

I strongly recommend this tablet to anyone needing an affordable mobile device, and who would like to complete their journey with some battery life left …. which is actually a big deal with airport security now.

2014
07.23

Overnight Microsoft news is dominated by their Q4 2014 (MSFT  financial year is July-June and just started FY 2015) returns.

2014
07.21

In a blog post on Channel 9, Microsoft has announced that TechEd North America is no longer … and has been replaced by Microsoft’s Unified Technology Event for Enterprises. Yes Microsoft’s Unified Technology Event for Enterprises. I had to copy & paste that cos it doesn’t exactly stick in the mind. So MUTEE replaces TechEd.

Huh.

image

Now we have proof that marketing people ARE actually paid by the letter.

The reason for the rename is:

You talked, we listened… The world of IT and enterprise development and your needs are rapidly changing. In a cloud first, mobile first world you need …

And they go on to list the stuff that was present at TechEd.

And who exactly (outside of Microsoft) asked for this? Let them stand up and be counted (and knocked in the head by a flying brick).

So they’ve “re-imagined” (sigh!) TechEd as [copy & paste] Microsoft’s Unified Technology Event for Enterprises [/copy & paste] for marketing Kool-Aid.

Anywho, MUTEE TechEd North America 2015 will be on in Chicago (direct flight for me with immigration in Dublin!!!!) on May the 4th (start the Star Wars puns about a bad character called MUTEE). Note that it’s a 5 day event, not a 4 day one? I like that.

The Office blog also published a post. It appears that this will be one IT super conference, instead of the lots of conferences. That is a very positive thing, especially for people who did MEC, TechEd, etc.

By the way, I’m using the tag #StillCallingItTechEd on Twitter. I think everyone outside of Redmond will stick with the TechEd name. It stinks of marketing speak with naming for the sake of renaming, without any imagination.

EDIT 1:

OK, that was quite a … sarcastic post. If we (I mean “If I”) think about this for a moment, it means that there is one big event for IT pros to attend. And hopefully, this will be BIG, not just TechEd sized (there are bigger IT events from Oracle, VMware, etc). That is a very positive thing; we’d have one thing on the calendar – one to plan for, one to travel to, one to be away from work/family for. And it would be one event to budget for! But I’m still not calling it MUTEE.

EDIT 2:

Here is a post by the Server & Cloud blog. Nothing new there.

2014
07.21

Microsoft released this KB for when Hyper-V virtual machines cannot be connected to sometimes when TCP connections reconnect in Windows Server 2012 R2.

Symptoms

This article describes an issue when TCP connections reconnect in Windows Server 2012 R2. A hotfix is available to resolve this issue. This issue occurs when Hyper-V virtual machines are running on a Windows Server 2012 R2 failover cluster.

A hotfix is available to resolve this issue.

2014
07.21

Not much news floating about. But the first two items in my summary makes me worry about Microsoft. V- staff (contractors) are going to be blocked from network access intermittently, making them redundant, and baldy needed human testers are being made redundant.

2014
07.21

Microsoft recently clarified their documentation by releasing a specific page to list the supported guest or virtual machine operating systems on Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V (including Hyper-V Server 2012 R2) and Windows 8.1. This page lists the supported Windows client and servers OSs. On the list you will curently (21 July 2014) find:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Window Server 2008 R2 with SP1
  • Windows Server 2008 with SP2
  • Windows Home Server 2011
  • Windows Small Business Server 2011
  • Windows Server 2003 with SP1
  • Windows Server 2003 with SP2
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7 with SP1
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista with SP2
  • Windows XP with SP3
  • Windows XP x64 with SP2

Remember: “supported” and “it works” are two very different things in the Microsoft world:

  • Supported: You call Microsoft, and they will assist, including engineering if there is a bug (subject to time/effort vs priority).
  • It works: Lots of operating systems can install and run in Hyper-V VMs, but they fall outside of the support statements. In other words, they might work fine, but Microsoft won’t support them.

Microsoft DOES support a wide array of Linux distributions/editions/architectures. There is a specific support page for Linux because of the complexity that the variety of distributions introduce. Newer releases come with the Hyper-V Linux Integration Services (LIS) as a part of the install. Older ones require you to download the LIS and install them into the guest OS. On the list you will curently (21 July 2014) find:

  • CentOS 5.5-5.6, 5.7-5.8, 5.9-5.10, 6.0-6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 7.0
  • RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.5-5.6, 5.7-5.8, 5.9-5.10, 6.0-6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 7.0
  • Debian 7.0-7.4
  • Oracle Linux UEK R3 QU1, UEK R3 QU2, 6.4, 6.5
  • Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 11 SP2, 11 SP3
  • Open SUSE 12.3
  • Ubuntu 12.04, 12.10, 13.04, 13.10, 14.04

The support pages (particularly the Linux ones) are subject to frequent change so I suggest that you use the links in this post as a jumping point to get to the newest release by Microsoft. I will not be updating this post to reflect the latest changes – this is a blog, not a documentation site.

2014
07.19

Other than the fact that this might be the venue of the most important product announcements in Microsoft’s recent history … hmm … let me think …

Hear what community members say about TechEd at the TechEd Roundtable

I have also recorded a video (on Instagram) that discusess how to convince your boss that you need to go to TechEd Europe.

But honestly, traditional learning mechanisms can no longer keep up with sprint development, new features out every few weeks, and RTMs every 12-18 months. TechEd is like a triple espresso shot of learning … you take 4-5 days, depending on travel, out of your regular work schedule and get immersed in new tech, from keynote, to foundation, to deep dive … and maybe throw in some hands on labs and certification while you’re at it. I learn at TechEd (as an MVP I also am lucky to have MVP sources); a lot of what I write about is sourced from TechEd sessions or materials. TechEd sessions give me access to wide amounts of information … and I can chat with the Microsoft experts in the expo hall afterwards.

There is nothing else like this learning experience in the Microsoft world for the general public. And I’m pretty sure that TechEd Europe 2014 will be a very special education opportunity. We’re on the threshold of a very interesting time.

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2014
07.18

I work for a Toshiba distributor so every now and then they let me put my hands on something new … or sometimes something that isn’t coming out for quite a while. A few months ago I got to hold and play with the new Toshiba 8” and 10” Encore 2 tablets. Both were pre-production models. I just got my hands on a production version of the 8” Toshiba Encore 2 (WT8-B-102), running Windows 8.1 with April 2014 Update.

To be precise, this is running Windows With Bing, the free (to OEMs) edition of Windows that is hard coded with Bing as the search engine. The idea is that instead of OEMs paying for Windows and then taking money from another search engine to set them up as the default, the OEM gets a free copy of Windows, and this brings down the cost of the h/w for the consumer.

Capture

This is a consumer tablet. It has an Atom processor so it does not run the doomed Windows RT. It’s running a 32-bit copy of Windows 8.1. There is 1GB RAM and 32 GB of storage … don’t fret! This is the April 2014 version of Windows so it features the new magic installation that consumes a lot less space. This tablet has just over 20 GB free out of the box. That’s a big improvement over the original 32 GB Encore which I own. And 1 GB is enough for the light weight consumer stuff that you’ll do with this tablet: apps.

The tablet is slimmer than the Encore 1 and has a smooth back. It is grey instead of “gold”. Also, the Windows button has moved to the top edge, instead of a capacitive button on the front-bottom; I guess that reduces costs.

image

The Micro-HDMI port of the Encore 1 is gone – cost savings for the masses, I guess. It’s not a big deal; Windows 8.1 defaults to portrait mode on 8” devices and that’s incompatible with a TV. There is an audio jack on the top and an open Micro-SD port on the side for easy access. On the base there is actually a place to tie a wrist cord if you should want one.

There is a normal micro-USB 2.0 port, unlike the dodgy one you get in a Dell Venue 8, which breaks if you do plug in a normal USB cable “upside down” – which the Dell unfortunately allows you to do. One teeny design thing I don’t like: the included power chord is angled and obstructs easy access to the Windows button. You can use any old (Windows or Android) phone charger cable and that solves the issue. The box also includes a USB dongle; with this you can plug in your USB stick/drive into the tablet and it also has an additional micro-USB port so you can continue to power the tablet while using a USB device.

The cameras are 1.2 MP on the front and 5 MP on the back. There is no 3G/LTE option – the thinking here is that people already have mobile phone plans and can enable a hotspot. There is no stylus (above you see a normal pen for a sense of scale) – this is a consumer machine.

I am told that the retail price in Ireland will be around €220 – I only see our buy price as distributors. I have seen this tablet for sale for under €250 on Irish online stores. Amazon.com has it on sale for under $240. Amazon UK has it for under £180. It’s not on Amazon.de yet.

It’s a nice tablet at an affordable price, and has made form factor improvements over the first version. The biggest improvement, though, is the additional free storage capacity in the 32 GB model, thanks to Windows 8.1 April 2014 Update. The only real concern is apps – which is outside of Toshiba’s (Lenovo, Dell, Asus, etc) control, and it’s something that Microsoft must do a better job at sorting out. Either the apps suck (Kindle reader for Windows) or don’t exist, and there are still too many cra-apps in the hard-to-navigate Windows Store.

I hopefully will get to play with the new 10” Encore 2 (under $270 on Amazon.com) in the near future.

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2014
07.18

As expected, Satya Nadella announced the redundancy of 18,000 employees from Microsoft. 13,000 of those will go in the next 6 months. 12,500 will go from the Nokia businesses. And after that, it appears that Redmond (MSFT HQ) will be hit heavily. It appears that non-core businesses will be targeted, such as Xbox Entertainment Studios.

Nadella has talked about making Microsoft more agile by removing layers of decision making, i.e. management. That’s important to be able to operate at the speeds that cloud sprint development requires. It also sounds like another reorganisation is taking place; Nadella doesn’t appear to like what Ballmer did before he left. Much of this is to undo the silos between teams in the same groups that should be working closer together.

I have also read that a lot of v- contractors will be let go. This is unfortunate – these are people on very short contracts who are often filling in very important positions that a manager has not had budget for hiring a full time employee.

Hopefully, Microsoft will not be letting go the necessary people that keep the core businesses going. I know how shitty it is to be made redundant, even from a very profitable company. Best of luck to all involved.

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2014
07.17

Microsoft announced last week that they had acquired InMage, a company that specialises in replication to the cloud. Microsoft is adding InMage to Azure Site Recovery (ASR) to enable replication to Azure. ASR enables you to use Hyper-V Replica (HVR) to replicate VMs to Azure IaaS. So what does InMage Scout (the product) add?

The key piece of the list of features is:

Support for major enterprise platforms, including Windows, AIX, Linux, VMware, Solaris, XenServer and Hyper-V

Imagine being able to replicate not just Hyper-V, but also vSphere and physical (Windows and Linux) workloads to Azure. Potentially, this is a much bigger solution. Potentially.

And potential is … lost opportunity.

That’s because the decision makers in ASR are, in my opinion, disconnected from reality living way too nicely in the Microsoft ivory tower. Why?

  • ASR can only be used by customers that manage Hyper-V using SCVMM. SCVMM can only be bought as a part of the System Center SML. The SML is cheap for larger businesses, but it’s way too expensive for most SMEs.
  • Only EA customers (large businesses) can get access to InMage:

The Azure Site Recovery subscription license will be available through the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement beginning August 1, 2014 and is the only offer through which InMage Scout usage may currently be purchased.

So, SME’s cannot use ASR or the cool new features that are coming. Large enterprises typically already own or want to own their own DR. And the sweet spot market for a hosted virtual DR (DRaaS) is the SME … the market that cannot afford or get access to ASR.

Oh, the madness continues.

2014
07.17

We wondered what Microsoft would do with Lync and Skype back in 2011 when Microsoft made the surprise acquisition of the Luxembourg company. There was a clear divide. Lync was a bulky on-premises corporate tool with phone system aspirations. Skype was a cloud-based consumer product that offered phone services in addition to voice, video and IM.

Skype went on to kill of Live (MSN) Messenger for IM – and unfortunately Skype’s chat has since not improved itself to keep up with what Messenger was as an IM tool. And Skype has other awful behaviours, particularly if you own multiple devices – such as showing you online when you are not, ringing on one device even though you have answered on another, and so on.

Lync went online (phone system availability is limited by country/partner) as a part of Office 365. And other than that, it’s not really improved much.

We did get an integration, somewhat between the 2 disparate MSFT communications tools; a Skype user can chat with a Lync user.

But in this era when Microsoft says that we are using 1 account and 1 (or many) device to span both work and play, do we really want two chat tools with two very different experiences?

In my opinion, Skype offers a superior experience to Lync. I’ve always found the Lync client and experience to be a bit ropey. How many of us have been in Lync events and spent an age waiting for PowerPoint decks to appear, demos to load, or been asked by moderators to flash status if we can/cannot hear. How many of us have had to restart because Lync audio isn’t working? I never get that with Skype.

And look at where the development investment is going. Skype Translate is a genuinely valuable business feature, enabling people who speak different languages to communicate, albeit with some minor hiccups in the sneak previews.

image Skype Translate in action at WPC 2014

I would be fine with the Lync client going away in favour of Skype. I would do the following:

  • Enable Skype clients to be joined (via policy or sign-up) to a Lync service for control – business still needs control
  • Fix the ringing/status issues of Skype
  • Drop the Lync client as it exists
  • Enable 2 profiles in Skype – work and personal, so a user can opt out of work communications outside of hours
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2014
07.17

This week’s Microsoft news has been dominated by the cryptic letter by Satya Nadella and the pending (and obviously required) layoffs after the completion Nokia acquisition. Let’s stick to the techie stuff:

2014
07.16

The end of support for Windows Server 2003 (W2003) and Windows Server 2003 R2 (W2003 R2) is July 14, 2015. This includes Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 R2. That gives you one year to get off of these server operating systems before all security updates stop. This date will NOT be extended.

image

Why won’t it be extended? Microsoft wants you to do one of three things:

  • Upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Upgrade via deploying Hyper-V
  • Upgrade/migrate to Microsoft Azure

And to be honest, you’re using a server operating system that is currently 11 years old. The features you’ve been asking for are probably in newer versions of Windows Server.

Upgrading will not be easy. You have AD’s to upgrade, LOB applications that are dependent on server resources. And most W2003 installs were 32-bit, there are no more 32-bit server operating systems, and you cannot upgrade x86 to x64. You will have to perform migrations.

So NOW is the time to start planning.

For Microsoft partners that are service providers:

  • We estimate that over 50% of servers in Ireland are of the W2003/R2 generation
  • 92% of Irish business are SME’s and a large percentage of those were SBS customers. Consider deploying Office 365 to replace SBS, and maybe put in Server Essentials if they still require a local server for bulk data/printer sharing.
  • Microsoft (WPC 2014) said that there are 22,000,000 W2003/R2 servers worldwide. That equates to an estimated $6,000,000,000 of business.

Start having the conversations now. Start planning now. Waiting until 2015 will be a fools errand. BTW, there are no stupid questions, only stupid people.

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