Today is is the 25th anniversary of Microsoft in Ireland.  Their location has evolved a good bit over the years.  Originally it was a CD pressing location and where localization was done.  Now there are lots of developers working on coding the latest version of Windows and Azure services, European computing services are/were run from here, and Dublin is one of the 2 geo-located Azure data centres.

There is something going on but it appears to be reserved to the people MS are selling to – Azure and software developers were mentioned on the news.

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In case you missed it in one of my MMS posts, the beta for ConfigMgr 2007 R3 is now public and is available on Connect.  I received the following in an email earlier today:

“Yesterday at the Microsoft Management Summit, Brad Anderson announced during his keynote the release of ConfigMgr07 R3 Beta. Power management is at the core of the R3 release, it addresses the need that many organizations have to monitor and reduce the power consumption of their computers. ConfigMgr07 R3 Power Management leverages the power management features built into Windows to apply relevant and consistent settings to computers in the organization. There are three major components to power management in ConfigMgr07 R3:

  1. Monitoring and Planning: Power Management collects information about computer usage and power settings for computers in the origination. Reports are provided to allow the administrator to analyze this data and determine optimal power management settings for computers.
  2. Enforcement: Power management allows the administrator to create power plans which can be applied to collections of computers. These power plans configure Windows power management settings on computers, and different power plans can be configured for peak and non-peak working hours.
  3. Compliance: After applying power plans to computers in the organization, the administrator can run reports to validate that power settings were correctly applied and to calculate power and carbon footprint savings across collections of computers.

In addition to power management, ConfigMgr07 R3 will provide customers with enhanced scale and performance support (scale to 300K managed clients per hierarchy, delta AD discovery, dynamic collection updates), as well as enablement of further capabilities for operating system deployment. A full list of the R3 features can be found on Microsoft Connect at the “What’s new in R3” post”.

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IrishDev reports that the Irish government has added 5 Dell servers to the Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) scheme.  This allows the purchaser to write off 100% of the purchase price of energy efficient servers against the profits of that year.  The models in question (there are limited specifications) are:

  • PowerEdge R210 with Intel X3470
  • PowerEdge T310 with Intel X3470
  • PowerEdge R410 with Intel X5570
  • PowerEdge R610 with Intel X5570
  • PowerEdge R710 with Intel X5570

You might know that I prefer Dell and HP (my personal favourite) servers to everyone else purely because of the level of System Center integration that is available.  If you’re a Dell house and you are considering a virtualization project (Hyper-V, Xen, VMware) then these are the models to consider to make the most of your energy, minimise your carbon footprint, and maximise consolidation.

You can search for approved products on the SEI site.  It appears the only approved storage systems are from EMC and only 2 HP servers (HP DL360 G6 5570 and HP DL380 G6 5520).


Thanks to Tim Bolton for making me aware of this.  It appears that MuckAfee (aka McAfee) distributed a bad AV update that breaks PC’s.  The malware definition file quarantined a critical XP system file.  They admit that “The problem occurs with the 5958 virus definition file (DAT) that was released on April 21 at 2:00 P.M. GMT+1 (6:00 A.M. Pacific).”

You know what?  I really don’t get why people still use MuckAfee or Sin-Mantec software.  Both have had these issues in the past.  This sort of failure makes me wonder about a complete lack of quality control in the release process.  People have been burned and they continue to hand over money for this trash.  Would you really go to a doctor who amputates your leg instead of extracting your appendix and then return to him again with an ingrown toe nail?  Seriously?  Get real and buy some decent software. 

You do have options!  Trend Micro’s up front cost may seem expensive but it is per user based.  AVG’s business product is fine – and very cheap.  Microsoft’s corporate and home solutions are easy to manage and lightweight on the machine. 

But I guess I’m wasting wear and tear on my keyboard.  Those same people who’ve just seen their XP PC’s die will renew their support contracts because they just don’t want to know better.  So be it.

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Microsoft blogged a method to make a published fix that can run as a ConfigMgr task sequence.  Now didn’t I say ConfigMgr was powerful?!?!?

IBM Makes 200 Redundant in Ireland

200 people in the server manufacturing side of IBM are being made jobless, it was announced today.  The work is being moved to Singapore.


I’m blogging live once again using the live webcast from the Microsoft Management Summit 2010.  Today’s featured speaker is Brad Anderson.

Anderson says that Windows Update updated 90million Windows 7 computers in March 2010.  This session will focus on management of the PC.  The role of the desktop administrator will change, involving cloud (that’s #1) and security.

Configuration Manager 2007 R3

As promised by Jeff Wettlaufer in a TechNet Edge video, Configuration Manager 2007 R3 is now in public beta (after a lengthy TAP).  Jeff comes on stage to show power management of R3.  This is all about learning about power usage, policy creation/enforcement, and reporting.

We see power consumption reporting being enabled on a collection.  A series of reports are viewed, e.g. the cost (local cost defined by you) of the power based on KwH.  That might be useful for servers.  Power management settings are also configured in the collection.  All the familiar ones are available from Windows 7.  You can define peak and non-peak as well as on battery and plugged in.  You can also define a wake-policy to tell a machine to power up, get some policy/updates and go back to sleep.  Now you run reports to see how you improved your power consumption, e.g. environmental impact.  You can quantify the savings from pre- and post-policy.  A report shows the types of activity that keep computers awake in relation to computers/monitors being active/asleep.  Handy for tuning policy or trying to figure out why something never powers down.

The CEO of 1E is featured in a video.  He couldnt’ travel because of the travel chaos.  MS missed a UC demo opportunity here.  1E is one of the biggest players in extending ConfigMgr functionality.  They’ve built upon the power management of ConfigMgr with a product called Night Watchman.  Claims it saves Dell $26/PC/year in power costs.

XenApp Management with ConfigMgr

A distribution type for XenApp can be created in ConfigMgr Software Distribution.  New package and programs are created in there.  A advertisement is set up to install the package onto the XenApp servers.  Users get drained from the servers, the apps get installed and then users can log in.

Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX

Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 is now talked about and how the new Hyper-V features positively impact VDI – more machines per host and better graphics.

Michael Kleef comes out to demo.  This is the first time non-NDA people get a demo as far as I know.  You can see a VM being started up with 1GB RAM and it will be able to grow to 3GB RAM.  Additional memory will be allocated as required and released back to the host when not required.  The current usage is shown in the Hyper-V console.  VMM will get an update to enable this management.

RemoteFX is aimed at VDI. The host has a high end graphics card.  This will be shared by Hyper-V VM’s on the host for graphics processing for the VDI machines.  A demo of 720P video is shown running on a remote VM.  Aero features like peek and flip are there.  The GPU does the work, not the CPU.  This is shown in Performance Monitor.

ConfigMgr Advanced Hardware Power Management

ConfigMgr can audit machines that aren’t even powered up, e.g. Dell 11G servers.  You get an audit of the racked, networked machines that are still powered off.  When ready, ConfigMgr can power them up and deploy an OS.

ConfigMgr To Consolidate Security – Forefront

ConfigMgr allows you to eliminate a separate security infrastructure by integrating with ForeFront End Point Protection.  You don’t need new servers and you get an integrated console.  Updating, policy analysis, reporting were already there since the 2007 R1 release.

Demo: Forefront appears in ConfigMgr as a set of packages by default.  The install program has logic to be able to remove other AV solutions – just like Trend Micro has/had (it’s been a while).  A set of collections based on different states are created – allowing context sensitive advertisements.  A new Forefront node is created for policy creation.  Here you can configure scan preferences, exclusions, how to get updates (default is ConfigMgr), scheduled scans, etc.  You can then assign the policy to a collection.  Reports are available to show status breakdowns, infections, etc.

This is a tidy solution.  I still see lots of people not adopting it which is unfortunate.

System Center Configuration Manager in the Cloud

He said “cloud”!  You know the drinking game rules: 1 shot – now!  OK – put the bottle down.  You’d already have alcohol poisoning if we played the MMS 2010 cloud drinking game.

Here’ comes Windows Intune.  See my previous launch post.  An admission that this is not nearly (not even way) as powerful as ConfigMgr.  However, it will be updated quite frequently.  It’s not a rival to ConfigMgr but it will be an alternative entry point to centralised management.

We get a very quick Windows Intune demo where we see update management.  We see something ConfigMgr doesn’t have – update automatic approval policies like WSUS has.

Service Manager

We hear how a corporation used the beta to create a CMDB (ITIL/MOF configuration manager database) that integrated many System Center databases into one.  That was done in 2 hours: a singe data warehouse for all configuration data.  Nice!

On top of Service Manager 2010 MS has built in some auditing functionality.  SMSD customers have access to Service Manager now.

NOW Service Manager gets the welcome it should have.  Nicely done by the speaker :-)  The team deserves a lot of credit – they wrote a product, got bad feedback, scrapped it and started all over.  Not many will do that.

We get a demo on how Service Manager is used to assist with PCI compliance – stuff to do with credit card payments processing certification.  A library of 350 (!) compliance documents is built into the package.  You can pull from this.  The demo pulls documents to do with American Express.  Objectives are presented that IT will understand.  Now you work on them, update your progress and track your progress.  Some of this could be duplicated in other projects but Service Manager knows this and strips out redundant new steps.  There is integration into OpsMgr, ConfigMgr and AD.  Demonstration of compliance can be done using this too, making auditing much easier.

User Focused

This is something I firmly believe in: we need to put some power back in the users hands, e.g. self service provisioning.  Whether it be OS deployment, virtual machine deployment, software deployment, etc.

ConfigMgr v.Next is demonstrated now.  It has some cool user focused stuff. 

Desired Configuration Management (DCM) is shown.  It will have remediation, not just the current reporting feature.  In the demo, a file association no longer works.  That’s because someone has uninstalled it.  ConfigMgr uses a state to decide what software should be installed.  AT LAST!  This has been needed since SMS 0.0.  V.Next will remediate the state (software is assigned to the PC but missing) by reinstalling the software.  DCM can also remediate things like firewall, IE settings, etc.  Enabling the remediation is a simple tick box operation for the administrator.  Doh – the demo falls into the trap of trying to do things too quick in ConfigMgr.  ConfigMgr is not meant to be a hurried product.  Things in large enterprises take time.

The beta will be out in May.  Everything is re-rewritten to leverage the DCM state engine.  That’s the way it should be.

Road Map

VMM v.Next, ConfigMgr v.Next, OpsMgr v.Next, Service Manager 2010 R2 all appear in 2011.  MMS 2011 will be a crazy busy conference.


That was a keynote that had the content you want – lots of demos and lots of new stuff.  Nicely done!


SQL Server 2008 R2 was released to manufacturing.  As usual, a free (and limited scale/functionality) Express edition was also released.  There are three packages, from the version just with the core components, the version with management functionality, and the version that has management and more advanced features:

  • SQL Server 2008 R2 Express: The Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 R2 Express RTM is a powerful and reliable data management system that delivers a rich set of features, data protection, and performance for embedded applications, lightweight Web Sites and applications, and local data stores. Designed for easy deployment and rapid prototyping, this download includes support for Sysprep, Microsoft’s System Preparation Utility for Microsoft Windows operating system deployment.
  • SQL 2008 R2 Express with Management Tools: an easy-to-use version of the SQL Server Express data platform that includes the graphical management tool SQL Server Management Studio (SMSS) Express
  • SQL 2008 R2 Express with Advanced Services: an easy-to-use version of the SQL Server Express data platform that includes the graphical management tool SQL Server Management Studio (SMSS) Express, powerful features for reporting, and advanced text-based search capabilities

The requirements for the Express edition are:

  • Windows 7; Windows Server 2003; Windows Server 2008; Windows Server 2008 R2; Windows Vista; Windows XP
  • 32-bit systems: Computer with Intel or compatible 1GHz or faster processor (2 GHz or faster is recommended.)
  • 64-bit systems: 1.4 GHz or faster processor
  • Minimum of 512 MB of RAM (2 GB or more is recommended.)
  • 2.2 GB of available hard disk space
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I’m tuning into the live webcast of today’s (there’s another tomorrow) Microsoft Management Summit 2010 keynote featuring server management.  I’ll be doing my best to blog about new stuff as it happens.

System Center Service Manager 2010 is announced as RTM.  Sorry dudes!  YEARS of work (and rework) and I thought you’d get more of a launch than that.

Jeez, an hour later and I’ve not got much more to report.  There’s a lot of talk about cloud (nothing new) and a lot of talk about old concepts (using System Center to do more, and more engineering rather than operations).

EDIT: Someone on Twitter counted the number of times “cloud” was mentioned.  The final count was 83.  Cloud OD.

The next generation of System Center data center is based on lessons from Azure and Bing.  Edwin Yuen hits the stage.  Now we’re cooking!

VMM v.Next

It looks quite different!  It has the cleaner v.Next interface rather than the Outlook 2007 one we are used to.  Server application virtualization, SQL models and MSDeploy (IIS) packages live in the library.  The template model is evolved to a service template spanning multiple servers or tiers.  We see a demo of a 3 tier application.  You can drop OS templates (that we know) and “Server App-V”/MSDeploy packages which we can drop into the model.  You can say that you want X numbers of server in a tier in the model.  You can tier your storage to standard or high performance.  So you’ve got X variations of servers made from a few Server App-V images and OS templates. 

Seriously – I could use this right now.  I have recurring deployments that I could model like this.

You can integrate with WSUS and perform a patching compliance report based on the VHD in the library!  You can then remediate this image in the library.  Now – VMM knows which VMM managed VM’s need to be updated!  You don’t need to patch the running VM OS.   You can <Update Service>, to replace the running OS, while keeping the Server App-V package.

Operations Manager & Azure

How you can monitor Azure and on-premises for seamless application monitoring using OpsMgr 2007 R2.  We see a distributed application containing traditional monitored items (including databases and web watchers) and an Azure presence.  OpsMgr integrates into Azure using a soon-to-be-released (“later this year sometime”) management pack to gather performance information.  A task is there to add new web role instances in Azure.  Nice and simple! 

Deployment of more Azure instances is based on real (synthetic transaction monitoring) measured performance data.  Expansion (or withdrawal) of new instances can be easily done through the same monitoring interface based in your site.

That’s the end.  Really only had good content in the last 22 minutes of a 82 minute keynote.  A quite short post compared to what I would do at an MS Ireland event lasting the same time (see last week for a 3 hour session).


Office 2010 activation has gone the way of Windows and now supports both MAK and KMS.  This download gives you an update for KMS activation.

“An Office 2010 KMS host is required if you want to use KMS activation for your volume licensing editions of Office 2010 suites or applications, Microsoft Project 2010 or Microsoft Visio 2010. When Office 2010 volume edition client products are installed, they will automatically search for a KMS host on your organization’s DNS server for activation. All volume editions of Office 2010 client products are pre-installed with a KMS client key, so you will not need to install a product key.

This download contains an executable file that will extract and install KMS host license files. These license files are required for the KMS host service to recognize Office 2010 KMS host keys. It will also prompt you to enter your Office 2010 KMS host key and activate that key. After this is done, you may need to use the slmgr.vbs script to further configure your KMS host”.


Lots of experts were predicting that Iceland was to become the new digital hub of the world.  Abundant free geo thermal power, a cold climate, new gigantic connectors to the rest of the world, brand new data centres … and then something happened.  Now what was it … I only saw something on the news recently and it’s gone and slipped my mind …. ah yeah: Mother nature decided to tip a great big hole in the country and cover the northern hemisphere with ash.  It appears this might cause companies to think twice about locating critical IT resources in the already-financially crippled country.


Two downloads appeared on Microsoft’s site over the weekend for you BI freaks to get started into SharePoint 2010:

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Microsoft Ireland are hosting a “best of” event with content and some speakers from the Microsoft Management Summit that is on this week.  Registration is open now.  The two sessions I’m most looking forward to are the ConfigMgr V.Next one by Jeff Wettlaufer and the Opalis session by Greg Charman.

It sounds like something similar is being done in the UK so you folks should watch the local blogs, events pages and emails.  Considering all the volcano ash disruptions, very few people from Europe who were even registered will get to go.


You’ve probably seen bits hear and there about a new Microsoft cloud light version of Configuration Manager.  Details of the newly launched Windows Intune service just appeared.

It gives some auditing, policy management and malware/update management.  You can what this is like below.


Here is what it does:

  • Manage PCs through web-based console: Windows Intune provides a web-based console for IT to administrate their PCs. Administrators can manage PCs from anywhere.
  • Manage updates: Administrators can centrally manage the deployment of Microsoft updates and service packs to all PCs.
  • Protection from malware: Windows Intune helps protect PCs from the latest threats with malware protection built on the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine that you can manage through the Web-based console.
  • Proactively monitor PCs: Receive alerts on updates and threats so that you can proactively identify and resolve problems with your PCs—before it impacts end users and your business.
  • Provide remote assistance: Resolve PC issues, regardless of where you or your users are located, with remote assistance.
  • Track hardware and software inventory: Track hardware and software assets used in your business to efficiently manage your assets, licenses, and compliance.
  • Set security policies: Centrally manage update, firewall, and malware protection policies, even on remote machines outside the corporate network

The service is being released to 1,000 customers and MS partners today in the USA, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico.  Customers of this Intune service will be elligible to upgrade to Windows 7 (and future versions) Enterprise (useful for the last above bullet point if you can manage BitLocker and BitLocker-to-go).

The target customers are “businesses that need a cost-effective, simple way to manage and secure their PCs. For businesses with a highly mobile and distributed workforce, the Windows Intune cloud service can help you manage and secure PCs in the office or on the road—so end users can remain productive and better protected”.

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Data Protection Manager 2010 and System Center Essentials 2010 were both announced as being released to manufacturing today.

DPM is MS’s backup solution and is the one that has the ability to backup a Hyper-V CSV.  The catch is that it puts the CSV into redirected IO mode.  Thus the preference is to use a storage provider with a supported VSS provider.  That allows you to safely backup running VM’s and maintain database consistency when recovered  -> VSS runs all the way through the stack.  You can even recover single files!

SCE 2010 is the all-in-one package that has the best of ConfigMgr, OpsMgr and now with VMM so you can manage W2008 R2 Hyper-V.  This makes it the ideal systems management solution for small-medium companies.


I’m Famous – In Poland

Monika Pyszczek, from Poland, was a colleague of mine in a past job.  Monika saw me being quoted in a training material for Hyper-V.  She’s posted a blog post – there’s also a funny photo that shows what happens to engineers who misbehave :-)


I got the dreaded email this week.  Contained in it was the attachment.  Every potential MVP or MVP up for annual renewal in the UK/Ireland is sent a spreadsheet that asks for your last year of activity.  My renewal (or not) is July so the review process for me started this week.  The spreadsheet can take a couple of hours to complete if you have done a good bit of work.  Luckily I keep records of the activity so it’s just a matter of copy/pasting.  After this it is wait until July 1st and then refresh the MVP profile site to see if my name is still up there.  A mail is sent later that day either congratulating you or expressing the bad news.

I heard this week that we got 3 new MVP’s in Ireland this month, one in OpsMgr, one in UC and one in CRM … there’s a lot of privacy stuff wrapped up in it so we think those were the specialties.  Well done folks!  We did lose one MVP late last year … but only because he became a MS employee.  We think our numbers here are around 13-14, still quite a rare species, and still only half of what it should be.

Discussions were held this week to also re-launch the Windows user group.  Attendances were dropping off.  We think it’s because asking people to come to a venue every month on a Friday morning was tough – people are losing jobs all over the place and there are exactly zero legitimate IT pro job openings (I hear there are plenty of fake ads for CV/resume harvesting).  We also know that evening events and very-early morning events are non-starters.

Another MVP, John McCabe (Unified Communications) has expressed interest in helping out which is more than welcome.  We’re looking now at doing bigger, multi-track, day long events about 3 times a year, with a keynote speaker, maybe from Redmond (any Redmond folks fancy a trip to Dublin?  If so, I’ll put you in contact with the right person in the Irish sub).  Most of the product expert speakers will be from the community, mainly from Ireland but some invitees from abroad.  The provisional date for the first one is in September.  I think it could be a pretty fantastic event with a nice mix of content covering different aspects of the business that IT Pro’s in Ireland work with and care about.  More details on that later.  Oh you can safely bet I’ll be talking about something in the virtualization world.

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Microsoft Ireland has sent out a link to a website hosting a recorded stream of the launch events in Dublin earlier this week.

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Microsoft released some information to go with the 2010 RTM of tonight:

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Office 2010 RTM

I just saw on the Office blog that Office 2010 products have been released to manufacturing.  The released products are Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, Visio 2010 and Project 2010.

Volume license customers with Software Assurance can start downloading on May 1st.  The official launch will be on on May 12th with a virtual event featuring Stephen Elop.  Retail will be available in June with pre-order available now.  News on MSDN and TechNet releases is being kept suspiciously quiet.  I suspect MS might be trying to avoid what happened with Windows 7 – everyone hitting refresh until it eventually appeared and then they all got slow downloads and moaned on Twitter.

I’ll be sticking with Office 2007 for a while – I’m kinda constrained by the support for the custom ribbon that my publisher uses for formatting.  I’ll probably upgrade the work machine when the partner pack is updated.  I’ve been on the CTP for quite a while now.


Microsoft has posted a fix to enable you to select RedHat as the OS of a VM in VMM 2008 R2, 2008 and 2007.  Without the fix you get this error:

Error (10637)

The virtualization software on host <server> does not support the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 operating system.

The problem is that the VMM database needs a tiny adjustment.  You can do this easily enough using SQL Management Studio or SQL Management Studio Express.  First, you should back up the database (don’t come crying to me if you didn’t!).  You then need to create a new query with the following:

update tbl_IL_OS

set OSFlags=0×14

where Name like ‘Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5%’

Run the query and you should be sorted.

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HP G7 Servers

HP has announced the G7 generation of servers.  There seems to be 3 models to start with, all Opteron based.  I’m looking at a video for the DL 385 G7.  Wow!  It takes up to 2 * 12 Core Opteron processors, 12MB L3 cache, with 4 channels of DDR3 memory.  You get double the RAM capacity and 66% throughput compared to the same G6 machine.  24 Dimms with 256GB total capacity.  You have the choice of the usual ECC RAM, cheaper unbuffered RAM and low power RAM.  There are 4 NIC’s built into it – aimed squarely at, but hardly limited to, virtualisation.

The cheaper RAM might be an option for clustered virtualisation were power reduction isn’t the primary goal.  Board fails?  OK – the VM fails over to another host.

New storage controllers with battery and flash backed caches are included.  There is an extra PCIx slot giving you 6 generation 2 slots.

An SD card reader is built in, handy for OEM provided ESXi or Hyper-V Server installations that boot from a card.  Interesting – HP always used to use Compact Flash.

ILO3 promises much better (3 times faster) remote administration.  The big flaw in ILO2 was remote media.  That’s improved now.  You can script power usage for low power (UPS) scenarios.  There is also a power measurement feature now.

There are 8 built in SFF slots.  You can add another cage to have a total of 16.  Instead of 8 SFF, you can use 6 LFF disks (larger capacities).

That’s a very impressive 2U server!

A DL165 G7 (1U) and SL165z G7 were also announced.  The DL165 G7 has 4 NIC’s and 24 DIMM slots for traditional and virtualization server computing.  Some of the other metrics are the same as above.  The SL165z G7 is for extreme scale out computing and constrained spaces.  It’s a cross between rack and blade servers.  It appears to be of a similar spec to the DL165 G7.


The Microsoft Management Summit has the reputation of being the MS conference to go to if you can only go to one of them.  It’s aimed at the techies and has techie content.  This year will be an interesting one.

  • Somewhere behind the scenes, ConfigMgr v.Next is taking shape.  We got a sneak peak at TechEd last November.  There’s probably more detail available now.
  • ConfigMgr 2007 R3 should be ready by now.  It was due around the end of Q1.  We’re beyond that.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the announcement was made on Monday, in line with the conference for System Center junkies.
  • DPM 2010 is also due around now.  Don’t be shocked to hear a lot about it next week.
  • We’re about half way through the current release life of OpsMgr 2007 R2.  I wonder if there’s going to be some talk about OpsMgr v.Next?
  • There’s lots of other stuff that if you forced me to guess, I’d say will be happen on Monday too.
  • Attendees will probably start to get some meat on the bones of the new Opalis acquisition.  Everything I’ve read so far seems like it was written by Citrix Marketing: all fur, no meat.  There will allegedly be integrations into other System Center products at the end of the year.

According to a tweet I saw a couple of days ago, the keynotes will be streamed live.  Tuesday will focus on servers.  Wednesday will focus on clients.  I’ll be trying to tune in if it isn’t at some crazy hour locally.


Here are the details of the keynotes:

  • Tuesday, April 20, 8:30 – 9:45 AM PST:  Managing Systems from the Datacenter to the Cloud,  Bob Muglia, president, Microsoft Server and Tools
  • Wednesday, April 21, 8:30 – 9:45 AM PST:  User Centric Client Management, Brad Anderson, corporate vice president, Management and Services Division

The Simple Pleasures in Life

I had what I would describe as a rotten day today with a few nice little bits thrown in here and there to keep me sane.  I went over to the shops at the end of the day to pick up some food for the rest of the week.  As I was returning I got a call and was chatting away while driving through an area in central Ireland called the Curragh (where the horse racing track is) Plains.  Since I started doing wildlife photography my eyes have sharpened up to notice little things.

Zooming along at (the speed limit, officer) a quick pace I see this flash of brown sitting on the fence.  I park at the end of the plains and finish the call.

I knew it was a bird of prey.  A small one, falcon shaped.  There are no Peregrines here because a mound of clay breaks the horizons in these parts.  It was not bulky enough for a Buzzard, which is a hawk.  And it was too small for one of the wandering Red Kites.  It was too big for a Hobby or a Merlin.  That left me with one remaining option.  I grabbed my binoculars from the car boot, regretting that my camera gear wasn’t there.  “Ah”, I thought, “It’ll be long gone by now”.

I wandered over and scanned as I walked.  I saw the little blob on the concrete fence in the distance.  I moved closer, a bit at a time as I took a close look through the glasses.  Eventually I found myself within 15 metres of her.  She was a Kestrel, perched with her brown back to the sun, watching the cars zip by within 8 feet of her.  Occasionally she’d face me, her yellow-rimmed eyes catching the light.  Now I really was gutted I hadn’t got my camera with me.  I sat down, just to relax.  She was chilled out so why shouldn’t I be?

10 minutes of chilling with this little fantastic “wind hover” (they hover to scan for small prey beneath them) and the real world crept back in.  I have a chapter to submit on Sunday and a concurrent one to complete.  I stood back up and started backing away.  I was a bit worried that maybe she’d been hit and stunned by a car.  It was OK, she took off and flew about 50 yards away to park again on the fence.

10 minutes of chilling out with one of the wonders of nature was a nice way to cap today off.


“This update for FTP 7.5 for IIS 7.0 fixes the problem where the directory listing does not function correctly when a site contains over 50 virtual directories”.

An installer is available for x64 and x86.   It applies to Windows Server 2008 SP 2 and Windows Vista if running FTP 7.5 on IIS7 only.


The ConfigMgr 2007 Dashboard is a recently released free add-on from MS to allow you to quickly view the status of the most important items in your deployment.  The listed benefits are:

  • Actionable information out of the box. The dashboard comes with a wide range of valuable, built-in reports that IT managers can access without using the Configuration Manager console.
  • Centralized, near-real-time access to key information. The graphical dashboard lets customers view any Configuration Manager data set in near-real time—without leaving their desk.
  • Easy to build and configure. The dashboard’s wizard-based tools let customers easily create new dashboards in minutes.
  • Easy to customize. The dashboard can easily be customized to meet the needs of different departments and other groups. Any data set in the Configuration Manager database can be presented on the dashboard, in chart, gauge, and table formats.
  • Flexible & interactive. Users can easily filter data and create ad hoc, custom views. Filters allow users to quickly drill down from high-level to more specific data.

It had been a long time since I’d done any ConfigMgr work.  But recent lab work using a couple of deployments got me hooked with this uber powerful system.  It’s huge, can put it’s fingers (at your control) into everything, and puts you firmly in control.  Pair it with OpsMgr and the network is tamed like a wild horse.  The Dashboard will give you a customisable at-a-glimpse view of what is going on in ConfigMgr, just like you already can do with dashboards in OpsMgr.

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