HP’s community blog has a post on what they think will be hot in 2009.

  1. Power: We all got stung by the increased power costs in 2008.  As usual, when oil went up, power costs immediately went up.  When oil costs came down, power costs stayed up.  Unfortunately, that’s the trend for the ongoing future.  We need to get more out of every watt we consume.  In Ireland we saw a little bit of marketing efforts about IT power consumption last year.  I think power consumption will become a decision making factor in 2009.  I know in 2008 we were doing that, we went with one model of Cisco switch over another because of it.  We went with blade servers because of it.  And we deployed machine virtualisation because of it.
  2. TCO: "Total Cost of Ownership" is one of those annoying consulting phrases from the mid-nineties.  It’s back.  Things like cloud computing and software-as-a-service have brought TCO back into play.  We’re re-thinking about the need to own and manage a server(s) because we need an accounting system.  Why build a power station in your back yard when you just want to turn on a light in the kitchen?
  3. Capacity Planning: Money is tight and those people who are deploying systems want to deploy them right, first time.  They don’t want a machine that’s over-spec’ed or a solution that needs to be re-engineered because it’s not up to scratch.  Microsoft has made some efforts with System Center Capacity Planner.  I recently mentioned the volume sizing tool for DPM 2007.  You should have a look at my posts for Hyper-V on RAM sizing and LUN sizing too.  Beware of dealing with service providers where you only get to talk to salesmen.  There’s absolutely zero capacity planning going on when you deal with them.
  4. Packaged Infrastructure: I think HP are selling things like pre-built blades/storage/clusters here.  I’ll agree with it.  Buying in a pre-built solution is much easier than buying servers from A, racks from B and storage from C, only to find incompatibilities, missing components and engineers saying "they’re responsible for that, not us".  Again, you might want to look at managed server hosting where all of this is taken care of for you.
  5. Unified is hot: Welcome back to the mid-nineties :-)  Back then we used to hear about things like CA Unicenter as being the unified solution for managing an IT infrastructure.  I consulted on that stuff and it was good, as long as you loved patching … every week and on every machine starting directly after installing the software to get core functionality working *exhausting*.  People got burned and along came open source.  Then the point solution was the buzz.  We’re back again at unified solutions.  We have HP servers, SAN fabric and storage and it definitely works out better than a jumble.  The integration makes us flexible …. fungible even (thanks Dave for that word!).  We have integrated management thanks to Microsoft System Center, e.g. health and performance from OpsMgr and virtualisation from VMM.  That’s all tied together using Active Directory.  For h/w management I have one interface.  For everything else, I have System Center.
  6. Performance per sq ft, per dollar per watt is HOT.  Moore’s Law is NOT:  Agreed.  For 90% of servers, a single 4 core CPU is more than enough.  We’re all about getting more from less now.  For load balanced servers we can get more out of running fewer machines with x64 operating systems.  We can consolidate servers using virtualisation.  Space and power are expensive so we want to cut those costs.  Even now when we don’t have money, we can probably justify the cost of a virtualisation project by the reductions in space and power.
  7. DAS is hot, SAN is not:  Yes and No.  There’s two ways to look at this.  If you know that you have limited and predictable storage requirements then DAS is the way to go.  However, if you need large scale or unlimited growth storage then SAN is the only choice.  I’ve looked at the cost per GB of DAS VS SAN.  DAS for small amounts is cheaper for the purchase but more expensive per GB than SAN as time goes by.  DAS also eliminates server flexibility.
  8. Virtual infrastructure is HOT.  Virtual machines are NOT: 100% agreed.  I think I read somewhere that Gartner said that the real challenge with virtualisation is the management of it.  With virtualisation everything becomes intangible.  Virtual machines are files on a disk.  Virtual networks are settings in software.  This is why we went with Hyper-V.  Virtual Machine Manager 2008 gives fantastic centralised management.  It ties in with OpsMgr 2007 SP1 to give us top-bottom and cradle-grave management of the entire network, regardless of whether I’m dealing with virtual machines, virtual networks, physical machines, services, applications, hardware, storage or physical networking.
  9. Dynamic Core Utilisation: The days of one application – one processor are over.  Virtualisation has made sure of that.  Are you one of those people who has a dedicated anti-virus server, a dedicated WSUS server, etc?  You should have a look at virtualisation now.  MS is planning some really cool improvements with Core Parking to take this to the next level so that unused loads don’t consume resources.  VMware does a nice job with VI3 too.

"Springboard Series Virtual Roundtable

Windows 7: To the Beta and Beyond

Date: Thursday, February 12th

Time: 11:00am Pacific Time


Join Mark Russinovich and a panel of subject matter experts for a live discussion of what’s in store for IT pros with Windows 7. Learn about the evolution of features like Group Policy, BitLocker™ To Go, DirectAccess, BranchCache™, and Software Restriction then get tips on troubleshooting, deployment, and application compatibility. Bring your questions—Mark and the panel will answer as many as they can during the hour-long event, then publish the rest in a Q&A after the event".


Microsoft posted their second quarter results today.  Desktop software sales were down 8%.  Server licensing was up 15%.  Games (X-Box) is doing well, as was reported in Irish media, bucking the general trend.   Due to market instability, MS is not providing guidance on performance for the rest of their fiscal year.

Some 5000 redundancies were also announced.  This is much less than the numbers that had been rumoured before.  20 out of 1200 are rumoured to be affected in Microsoft Ireland.

"In light of the further deterioration of global economic conditions, Microsoft announced additional steps to manage costs, including the reduction of headcount-related expenses, vendors and contingent staff, facilities, capital expenditures and marketing. As part of this plan, Microsoft will eliminate up to 5,000 jobs in R&D, marketing, sales, finance, legal, HR, and IT over the next 18 months, including 1,400 jobs today. These initiatives will reduce the company’s annual operating expense run rate by approximately $1.5 billion and reduce fiscal year 2009 capital expenditures by $700 million".


It’s not uncommon to see people who need a portable lab or demonstration environment looking at Hyper-V on a laptop as their solution.  Windows Server 2008 runs quite nicely on a laptop.  In fact, because the default install has almost no functionality it can actually run faster than Vista.  There’s a few downsides to running Hyper-V on a laptop:

  • Slow/small disk: Dave Northey in Microsoft Ireland has shown how to get around that if you have the budget.  Choosing a laptop that supports 8GB RAM, using a solid state disk and plugging in large disk for your VM’s sorts all this out.
  • Wireless Networking: Wifi NIC’s are not supported in Hyper-V.  However, there is a workaround, courtesy of the Virtual PC Guy.
  • Hibernation is not available: Hyper-V was seen purely as a server solution.  Seeing as server operate 24 hours per day, the developers didn’t see the need for hibernation.  If you’re running Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V enabled then you cannot hibernate.  However, Ben Armstrong is back again with some good news.  Windows Server 2008 R2 can allow you to boot up the laptop in one of two modes.  One allows Hyper-V with no hibernation and the other allows hibernation with no Hyper-V.  Just power up the laptop into the correct mode for your situation, e.g. normal office mode or lab/demonstration mode.

DPM Volume Sizing Tool

The one and the big question that you’ll get asked about Data Protection Manager is "how big must the storage volumes be to do backup to disk?".  Microsoft has released a sizing tool to help.

“DPMvolumeSizing gathers data for DPM volume sizing purposes and applies DPM sizing rules to obtain DPM replica and recovery point volume requirements. Scripts collect and save information in a format tuned to easily import into an Excel workbook containing DPM sizing formulas for DPM-supported workloads. The User Guide (DPMv2VolSizeTool.doc) details how to import data and use the worksheets in the DPMVolumeSizing.xlsx workbook. This tool is validated to work for Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Virtual Server, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services workloads.

Feature Bullet Summary:

  • Collects information on data sources to protect from a list of servers
  • Appends or overwrites collected information as desired
  • Facilitates importing collected information in Excel workbook
  • Applies DPM 2007 sizing rules for storage pool volumes
  • Totals DPM 2007 storage pool needs based on imported information"

Hyper-V and SBS 2008

I picked up some useful information at the Windows User Group meeting last night where David Houston talked about Small Business Server 2008.  The main things for me revolved around Hyper-V:

  • SBS 2008 is supported when it runs as a VM in Hyper-V.
  • Running the Hyper-V role on an SBS 2008 server is not supported and certainly not recommended.
  • You can purchase SBS 2008 Premium and run the Hyper-V role on the second (license included) server.

Citrix and Intel have announced that they intend to release a Xen-based virtualisation product for desktops and laptops that will run at chip level.  That’s good news seeing as it’s now looking like that MS will not be releasing Hyper-V for Windows 7.


The Windows Deployment blog lists a number of changes in how Windows OS deployment will change with Windows 7, and probably Windows Server 2008 R2.  Don’t worry, it’s not like the massive change from the text based systems of WNT/W2K/WXP to "Panther" in Vista and W2008.  MS are making modifications and improvements to the current system which they claim will make it easier and quicker to deploy.  Some of these include:

  • DISM sounds like it’s replacing WISM and will include more tools, e.g. ImageX.
  • Using Diskpart to mount offline VHD’s, e.g "surfacing" them.
  • WinPE is changing.  ImageX moves into DISM and the default WPE image contains no functionality.
  • WinRE (Recovery Environment) is installed on the OS by default.
  • A tiny hidden BitLocker volume is created by default.
  • Moving upwards between versions of Windows 7 shouldn’t require a reinstall/upgrade.  Functionality is hidden depending on the license key you use.
  • Speaking of which: manually entered license keys are not entered during setup anymore.  This allows lab/evaluation work.  You now enter them afterwards.
  • WAIK is supposed to be improving.

Other new stuff to expect include

  • WDS in Windows Server 2008 R2 will include multicast with multiple stream transfer.  This means that faster clients can work on one stream and slower clients can work on another.  Your localised network/NIC/disk bottlenecks won’t slow down everyone at once.
  • Dynamic Driver Provisioning will allow you to store client drivers on the WDS server and hopefully remove messy image updating – that scares many people away.  Drivers are downloaded at install time.
  • WDS VHD Native Boot: VHD Native Boot uses a Virtual Hard Disk to store an OS and it’s applications/data.  The VHD is deployed to a machine.  The machine has a small boot up partition for the essential files to start the machine.  The second partition is where a VHD (or many VHD’s) are located.  The VHD is mounted as a volume and the machine boots from it’s contents.  WDS will be able to deploy these VHD’s.  This makes for "fungible" machines, i.e. a user’s computing environment is tied to the VHD and not the hardware.

The Expected MS PUR Update

Microsoft has updated the Product Usage Rights documents for Hyper-V for internal or volume/OEM licenses.  Chris Wolf has a post that discusses the changes.  Here’s the high/low lights:

  • If you run Windows 2003 guests on a Windows 2008 Hyper-V host server and that host is your only W2008 machine (and offering no other services) then you no longer need W2008 CAL’s.  This is a good thing.  Prior to this update you would have needed W2008 CAL’s, strictly speaking.
  • Server OS licenses can only be moved between clustered hosts once every 90 days unless there is adequate licensing for the guest OS on all hosts.  This is a bad, VERY bad thing.

The server OS requirement is plain silly.  It’s trying to steer people towards buying Windows 2008 Data Center edition.   DC edition for a host is a perfect solution for anyone using more than 4 guests on a 2 node cluster (more than 8 on a 3 node, etc) using volume licenses.  Why?  Because you get unlimited free server OS licenses for guests.  Your Data Center Edition licenses covers all of the server OS license requirements for all of your guests.

But this stinks for anyone not in that scenario.  What about VMware ESX?  What about SPLA (hosting license scheme from MS).  SPLA virtualisation licensing was written by a neanderthal with no grip on reality.  We’re stuck with DC edition only being available for unauthenticated (no CAL scenario) implementations.  Some eejit decided that it would be illegal to run authenticated guest OS’s on an unauthenticated host even if you paid for the guest OS! 

So what’s going to happen?  Quite simply people are going to flick a middle finger at the PUR like they’ve been doing for years and license how they see fit.  They’ll license their guest OS and CAL’s, move VM’s around as necessary and place them on whatever hosts they have to.  Making up rules for the sake of complicating things is now warranted and the sooner MS’s licensing monkeys see this, the better.

This is in no way a criticism of the MS products.  I like them.  I’ve chosen to use them because of their current performance/managability and because of where MS is taking them in the near future.  But the licensing managers in MS need to be taken outside and put down like "ol’ yeller" by Microsoft’s executives.


I was just browsing through the features of Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2.  One of them was new to me.  MS are including a VDI connection broker.

VDI is where virtual machines run a desktop operating system.  Clients use a thin client (or stripped down PC) to log into a VM using a protocol such as RDP or ICA (in the Citrix implementation).  In this Hyper-V solution, the broker supports:

  • Persistent VM’s: Each user is assigned a VM that is always there for them.  Their software and data stays on the machine when they log off.  When they log in again, they log into that same VM.
  • Pooled VM’s: A standard template VM is created.  A new VM is created from the template when a new user logs in.  Standard tools like shared folders and folder redirection (Intellimirror) mean that the user stores nothing on the VM.  The user is never guaranteed to log into that VM again.  Ideally, the VM is trashed when the user logs off, maybe only keeping a certain number of deployed VM’s free in advance of users logging in – to save resources.  I don’t know if that’s in Windows Server 2008 R2.

It’s nice to hear MS are working on this.  I hope they also work on making this available through the Remote Desktop Services Gateway.


This is a series of blog posts that will details the when’s, how’s and why’s of virtualising OpsMgr 2007.


If you are backing up Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V Virtual Machines using Volume Shadow Copy Service then you should check out a new hotfix.  It rectifies 3 issues:

Issue 1

If you back up a Hyper-V virtual machine that has multiple volumes, the backup may fail. If you check the VMMS event log after the backup failure occurs, the following event is logged:
Log Name: Microsoft-Windows-Hyper-V-VMMS-Admin
Source: Microsoft-Windows-Hyper-V-VMMS
Event ID: 10104
Level: Error
Failed to revert to VSS snapshot on one or more virtual hard disks of the virtual machine ‘%1′. (Virtual machine ID %2)

Issue 2

The Microsoft Hyper-V VSS Writer may enter an unstable state if a backup of the Hyper-V virtual machine fails. If you run the vssadmin list writers command, the Microsoft Hyper-V VSS Writer is not listed. To return the Microsoft Hyper-V VSS Writer to a stable state, the Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management service must be restarted.

Issue 3

You cannot restore a Hyper-V virtual machine if the virtual machine was configured to use a legacy network adapter.


I mentioned a while ago that I had a problem with refreshing the VMM agent on my Hyper-V lab machine in Virtual Machine Manager 2008.  The error produced in the job was:

"Error (1700) The Virtual Machine Manager service on the CINWSVR008 server stopped while this job was running. This may have been caused by a system restart.   

Recommended Action To restart this job, navigate to the Jobs view and select the job in the results pane. Then, in the Actions pane, click Restart."

At the same time I’d get errors 1 and 1999 in the VM Manager application log in event viewer.  The key word to note is PostVirtualNetworkUpdate.

It turns out that this is bad.  I’ve previously mentioned how it was bad to every configure HP’s network card teaming on the BL460C if you intended to run Hyper-V?  Guess what?  This appears to apply to any server.  My lab machine is a DL380G5 which has different NIC hardware than the NIC’s on my BL460C’s that I’m using for VM networking.  Here’s what MS PSS had to say:

"This is a known bug and it is fixed in the next version.  The issue is caused by Hyper-V reporting 2 NICs with the same name.  Here are the known workarounds:

  1. Update drivers in the hope that that resets names.
  2. Avoid binding VM’s to either of the duplicate NICs.
  3. Disable all but one of the duplicate NICs on the host.
  4. Disable host refresh and only do on-demand refresh (for all hosts but the affected one).

The bug ID is 38264 and will be included in the next product release (R2).  Other than these stated “workarounds” there isn’t much else that can be done".


Option 2 is out.  The server has 2 NIC’s only: one for the parent and one for guests.  That also rules out option 3.  Option 4 is a no-no.  There’s no way I’m disabling automatic refresh on a VMM server that manages my cluster where VM’s can be migrated from A to B.  A bit more searching on my part and I found that the driver upgrade seemed to work for some people on HP hardware.

I’ve applied the latest drivers to this machine but no joy with that.  The MS engineer looking at the call has come up with another idea which I’m going to look at asap.

EDIT #1:

After further work with a very patient and responsive MS engineer we’ve run out of ideas.  This one doesn’t fit previously diagnosed cases.  BTW, the engineer in question is coincidentally publishing a blog post on this issue later this week.  My case is being forwarded to the product group to see if they have further ideas.

EDIT #2:

The MS engineer working the case, Mike Briggs, has documented a workaround that seems to fit most scenarios with these symptoms.

EDIT #3:

I’ve been informed that the developers are now working on a bug fix.  Yeap, I found a new one that isn’t covered by the above.  It seems my NIC configuration doesn’t quite fit the profile of the above, i.e. no lingering ghost NIC’s.  There’s no schedule on the release of the fix; the procedure is that your call gets closed when it gets to this part of the process.


I just read the announcement that MED-V 1.0 (the renamed Kidaro product for desktop virtualisation) has been released as a public beta.  Don’t get all jumping for joy!

The final release will be a part of Microsoft Desktop Opimization Pack (MDOP) – where all good products go to die.  You see, the problem is that MDOP is only available to buy for Software Assurance (of the desktop) customers.  I told one of the MS guys not to do with Kidaro at a meeting at TechEd EMEA 2008.  It’s certain death for what could have been an excellent solution.

Software Assurance is one of those nice to have things.  Look at Vista.  How many companies rushed out and bought Vista just because there was a new version of Windows for the desktop?  Not that many considering the concern about the importance of Windows 7 market acceptance.  Times are tough now and businesses aren’t going to upgrade desktops that work fine for a couple of new features, hence they won’t buy Software Assurance.  The OEM license is fine for them – and I hate saying that because it limits my deployment options to nothing. 

Restricting new software to just the SA customers seems plain stupid to me.  Well, I guess that simplifies my schedule setting for conferences and reduces the numbers of local events I need to go to.


MS Ireland is running an event called Virtualisation Unplugged at short notice in Cork and Belfast.

Who should attend: IT Managers, IT Professionals

Summary: Virtualisation Unplugged is a full day technical session with Microsoft experts to discover a complete set of virtualisation tools from desktop to datacentre that will improve business continuity and maximise ROI. The day will cover loads of technologies including Windows Server 2008, Hyper-V, System Centre Virtual Machine Manager, Terminal Services and Application Virtualisation.
James O’Neill, Virtualisation expert from the UK sub, has had great success touring all over the UK delivering this seminar and we are delighted to bring him to Ireland to deliver two ‘Virtualisation Unplugged’ tour dates here. Date: 3rd February, 4th February

Belfast (3rd) –
Register Here!
Cork, (4th) – Register Here!

Cost: Free Event


Tim on the Minasi Forum sent me a link to a blog post by Scott Lowe.  The creators, Sanbolic, of a cluster file system called Melia FS are claiming that their cluster file system is superior to Microsoft’s new cluster file system in Windows Server 2008 R2.  A cluster file system is a requirement for Live Migration or VMotion.  Anyone who is beta testing is being offered a free license for the Sanbolic software.

Credit: Tim Berk.


Worm Alert: Conficker

I just got an email from our TAM in Microsoft.  It must be important because we don’t normally get mails like this from MS.  They’re warning us that a worm called Conficker is rampant at the moment.  You are vulnerable if you have not deployed the security update MS08-067.  If you do get infected by Conficker or Banload then there is a fix.

That security patch was released in October 2008.  See how important it is to perform your updates?  Don’t blame MS if you get hit by this one.  And yes, Linux and Mac have security updates too!


You’ve probably read this already elsewhere (it was hard to miss!) but here you go anyway:

The next generation of Windows for desktops and servers have been released as public betas.  Windows 7 is the successor to Windows Vista.  You can download it from here.  Windows Vista may not have had the features to make you want to upgrade from XP but Windows 7 might just have them.  The really cools ones are when Windows 7 is teamed with Windows Server 2008 R2.  These include BranchCache and and DirectAccess.  By the way, contrary to rumours spread by the uninformed, Windows 7 is not a new version of Windows XP.  It is an evolution of Windows Vista.  If your software and devices work on Vista they should work on Windows 7.

Windows Server 2008 R2 brings some new stuff and can be viewed as Windows Server 2008 V1.1.  Mark Russinovich talked about the new features of power savings and virtualisation at TechEd EMEA.  There are evolutionary improvements all around including web services, virtualisation (Hyper-V will have live migration AKA VMotion thanks to a new cluster file system), power savings and new remote access and branch office/remote computing access.  You can download the beta now.

By the way, these betas are very popular right now so the links are being hammered.  Downloads might be slow for a few days.


MS Events Coming Up In Ireland

There’s a great deal of IT pro community activity taking place in the next few months in Ireland (thanks to the hard work being done by Enda Flynn).

In February there will be 1 or 2 full day events on Microsoft virtualisation technologies.  It looks like that one will be run in Belfast and the other somewhere in the southwest.

In March there will be an event that’s currently being called TechDays.  It’s going to be a full day of multiple tracks, e.g. server, desktop, virtualisation, management, etc.  It will feature the best material from the recent TechEd as well as material that’s gone public since then, presented by Ireland’s best IT Pro’s.

I’ll definitely be mentioning the events on here once I have firm details.  The Windows User Group will also get notified.  In the meantime you can keep an eye on the (free) TechNet Ireland newsletter and Enda will give more details to subscribers when he has them.


I normally use Windows Vista but I have an XP VM for doing lots of admin work – this allows me to VPN into the data centre on the VM while I VPN into the office network from the host laptop (or surf the net safely).  The idea is to separate my working environment from my surfing/email environment.

I just set up a CentOS VM on Hyper-V.  Hey, can you believe I actually know how to install *NIX!  I can’t do much more with them but I can get them running :-)  Anyway, there’s no integration components for CentOS so I couldn’t use a console window via RDP to the host to get the final setup of the VM done, e.g. allow remote telnet/SSH admin (which I’ll have to google).  I need mouse access and that requires IC’s using the console via RDP.

The solution?  I’m hoping that’ll be get onto the VM console via the web or self-service portal.  But there are a few pre-requisites:


I just read an article that says there will be a change in MS’s Product Usage Rights (PUR) document.  Right now, if you are using internal licensing (and subject to CAL’s) then you’ve got some complications.  The January 2009 defines a scenario where if you have …

  • A few Windows 2008 Servers running Hyper-V
  • Many VM’s on those hosts running Windows 2003
  • Many users that are accessing the Windows 2003 VM’s only (not the Windows 2008 servers)

… then you must have Windows 2008 CAL’s!  The author states that MS are changing the PUR and hope to get something out by the end of January 2009.  Hopefully they will because this licensing requirements is just plain silly and wipes out the cost benefits of Hyper-V over any other virtualisation product.

Credit: Data Center Strategies.


Microsoft has released some documentation on two of the killer features in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7:


Windows 7 Shortcuts

Tim Sneath has posted a long list of shortcuts to getting things done in Windows 7.  I know it’s early days but we’re unfortunately already seeing some of the disconnect from the market.  When Vista was in beta we heard lots about "pretty" and "burning photos to DVD".  Balmer seemed to focus on the home user market in a recent keynote.  Most everything I’m reading about Windows 7 is the same claptrap that businesses don’t care about.  Where’s the information and presentations about BranchCache and RemoteAccess?  These are the real killer features?

There’s three things in this post that I found interesting:

  • A claim that Windows 7 has a smaller installation footprint.
  • You can install Windows 7 from a USB stick: format the stick with FAT32 and use xcopy <DVD drive letter>: <USB drive letter>: /e /f to copy the installation files.
  • WIN+P will bring up a projector menu so you can easily configure projector settings and displays.  No more driver dependant messing.

Oh yeah, WIN+E no longer opens Windows Explorer.  Yes, let’s get rid of something that all power users use for absolutely no other reason than to direct you to the latest fan-dabby-doozee piece of multimedia crap that power users have no use for.

Come on MS!  Don’t get into the "we are not considered that for this release" mind set that stopped me from actually contributing feedback in previous betas.

Credit: Tim Sneath.


I’m not going to get political (well not too much so) here.  If you believe in global warming you’ll stop reading this post and turn off your browser.  You are killing the planet ;-)

According to some scientists, "20 milligrams of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere for every second that an average web site is viewed".  Don’t let your local green (I’m now thinking green means taxation and not environmentalism) party know about this or they’ll introduce web site taxes.

If you are concerned about carbon emissions or saving budget on power then there’s a few ways to reduce the impact:

  • Get more from each web server: Use Windows 2008 X64 for more capacity.  IIS7 is exponentially more efficient than IIS6.
  • Reduce physical server numbers by adopting machine virtualisation, e.g. Hyper-V or VMware ESX.  Note that VMware are working on a nice power saving feature (only supported in test now) and Windows 2008 R2 (Hyper-V V2) will include Core Parking to reduce power usage.
  • Use hosted servers: Why build your own computer room/data centre when a shared services provider can give you one?  This reduces your total costs (don’t just think of "how much is a server?").  Using a shared system can give you a smaller power bill and a reduced cost of ownership with higher up times – remember to check out hosting company claims and verify their SLA is worth more than the paper/web site it’s written on!
  • Use virtualisation in a hosted environment: You can take advantage of both solutions to have a greater impact.

Whether you believe in global warming or not, there’s no doubting your belief in the bottom line, especially these days.  Reducing your power bill by reducing your physical server numbers and using shared services will do that for you.

EDIT: Oh yeah, I don’t really believe surfing the net is killing the planet but I’m pretty sure the taxation party will look on it as an opportunity.  Heck, they can’t make up their minds if we have too much water or not enough!


I just read on Ben Armstrong’s blog that both the beta releases of Windows 7 and Windows 7 2008 R2 come with the Hyper-V integration components built in.  That means they’ll run as fast as possible (considering they’re betas with un-tuned code and debugging code still in place) on Hyper-V.  He also says this is true of Hyper-V on Windows 2008 and Windows 2008 R2.

Sweet!  I downloaded them last night so I’ll hopefully get to do some work on them in our virtual lab environment.  I’ll happily accept sponsorship if someone can give me hardware to run a Windows 2008 R2 cluster lab :)

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