This week I clocked up a lot of miles doing another 4 corners tour of Ireland, with the MSFT partner team, speaking to MSFT partners in Belfast, Galway and Cork.  It covered a number of things with different speakers, cloud, Windows 8, Windows Server 8, and I spoke for around an hour on System Center 2012 and Windows Server 8 Hyper-V.  The audience was mostly a manager/sales audience so we kept more to the business side of things, but some tech just proves the argument, and I had a feeling that nothing would do that better than Hyper-V Replica.

If you’re presenting to this kind of audience, it’s one thing to show them a new product they can sell, and that will get some interest/traction.  But if you can show them a whole new service that they can develop and use to do develop yet another service, and be able to sell this to the breadth audience that hears way too much about Fortune1000 tech, then you really have a winner.  And that’s Hyper-V Replica:

  • A DR replication solution built into Hyper-V, at no extra cost, designed for small/medium businesses with commercial broadband
  • Replicate from host-host, host-cluster, cluster-host, or cluster-cluster.
  • Replicate office to office, data centre to data centre, branch office to HQ, or customer to hosting provider (which could be a managed IT services company with some colo hosted rack space) … and maybe use that as an entry point into a cloud/IaaS solution for SMEs.

And that’s the hook there.  Most MSFT partners have experience with s/w based replication in the past.  It’s troublesome, and often assumes lots of low latency bandwidth and a 3rd witness site.  Not so with Hyper-V Replica, as I demonstrated in this video:

Of all the stuff I’ve presented in the last 2 weeks, Hyper-V Replica was the one that caused the most buzz, and rightfully so in my opinion.  It’s an elegant design; the genius is the “simplicity” of it.  It should prove to be reliable, and perfect for the audience it’s being aimed at.


That got your attention Smile In the movie Time Cop, the catch with time travel was that a person who went back in time could not be in the same place as their past self or the universe would implode or something.

Note: Movie nerds and Dr. Sheldon Cooper wannabes can save their efforts and keep the correction comments to themselves.

The same is true with a server or application.  It really can’t exist twice in the same network or your career might implode or something.  Think about it, you enable DR replication of virtual machines from one place to another.  You want to test your DR, so you bring the replica VMs online … on the same network.  Good things will happen, right, won’t they?!?!?!  Two machines with identical names, identical application interactions on the network, identical IP addresses, both active on the same network at the same time during the work day … nope; nothing good can come of that.

Hyper-V Replica has you covered.  You just need to remember to configure it after you enable VM replication and if testing failover is even a slight possibility (I”m sure you could automate this with POSH but I’m too lazy to look – it is after 9pm no a Sunday night when I’m right this post).

You’ll be auto asked after you enable Replica if you want to configure network settings.  If you do (you can revisit later by editing the settings of the VM and expanding Network Adapter) then you’ll see this:


In Network Adapter – Test Failover you’ll have the option to set a Virtual Switch.  See how it is not configured to connect to a network by default?  Phew!  When you do a test failover of a Replica VM, then the VM will power up on this virtual switch.  Obviously this should be an isolated virtual switch (e.g. Internal or Private), and it should exist on all possible replica hosts (if the DR site is clustered), to avoid the Time Cop rule.


I was checking out the details of the new Microsoft partner Management And Virtualisation competency when I saw that three new System Center 2012 exams are coming soon after the GA of System Center 2012:

Get studying!

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Over the weekend, Mike Sterling (PM for the open source side of Hyper-V), tweeted that:

Since it has been a while, will make it worth it…Ubuntu 12.04 has Hyper-V drivers included by default for easy VM deployment.

Pretty good news for the heterogeneous data centre!  Ubuntu 12.04 is not RTM yet (nearly).  According to Softpedia News this is the release schedule for Ubuntu 12.04:

  • April 19th, 2012 – Release Candidate release
  • April 26th, 2012 – Final release of Ubuntu 12.04

This follows the recent news that the Hyper-V components are now live in Linux Kernel 3.3 (under heading “2.6. Input”):

Move the hid-hyperv driver out of staging(commit)

Add another couple of notches to the Hyper-V belt.  Well done Mike & team!

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Here’s one quick video I recorded using Camtasia yesterday, featuring WS2012 Hyper-V snapshots and live merge:



Quite a while ago, I switched from using Internet Explorer to Google Chrome as my default browser of choice.  I just got tired of IE being slow and crashing.  That switch has worked out pretty well.  In fact where it’s most noticeable is when logging into services like Microsoft Connect where IE can get it’s knickers into a twist and refuses to let you log in because of “site problems”.  It’s kind of ironic that I don’t get that with Chrome on a Microsoft site Smile

Yeah, yeah, I’m an MVP and I work in a Microsoft centric world … but I also want to use a dependable tool … and MVPs are defined as being independent experts – my advice is worthless if I just tout the “company line” and I don’t actually work for “the company”.

I have been using Google as my default page and search engine since I first became aware of the service.  I decided to switch to Bing a couple of months ago.  Yeah … Bing is my default site and search engine on Chrome!  For the most part, it’s fine.  But there are times when I’m after something precise when it fails me, and I have to switch to Google to get the result I want.  I’d say I’m about 80% confident in Bing where I’d be 90% confident in Google.

When in the USA for the MVP Summit the Curse of Zune (things that work one way or are available in the USA, and aren’t available or work differently outside of the USA) that Bing suffers from was very noticeable.  Bing in the USA is a completely different creature than Bing from Ireland.  I wish Microsoft would realise that the vast majority of customers reside outside the 50 states, and realising this is how Google (search) and Apple (iTunes) have dominance in their respective fields.


If you read this blog or follow me on Twitter then you know I do a lot of demos.  You might also know that my work laptop, aka “The Beast”, is pretty powerful and I’ve been using it to demo stuff like Windows Intune, Windows 8 Hyper-V, and System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.  But sometimes you need more …. like a couple of servers so you can demo NIC teaming, clustering, Hyper-V Replica, Live Migration, and so forth.  It’s one thing to lug around The Beast, but it’s a whole other deal to ship around servers and their networking!

So how am I going to demo this stuff on the road?  The answer should be be The RDS Gateway to remotely log into the environment and show it off.  Regular followers know that I couldn’t even get reliable Internet access in hotels when I was trying to log into the Windows Intune portal on a recent Intune roadshow for partners.  1 of the 3 hotels worked OK, 1 I had to use y 3G “Mi-fi” (barely got a signal), and 1 required me distracting with 1 hand while tricking with the other.  Hotel internet on this island (Belfast is actually worse than The Republic, which is surprising to me) is awful and cannot be depended on for a live demo.

So if I can’t carry servers about, and I can’t reliably RDP into them (like I should be able to), then what do I do?  Unfortunately, the answer is canned demos.  I don’t like doing this; the audience appreciates it less and I don’t get the same buzz when pressing CTRL + P to pause and un-pause a recorded video.  Though there was a lot of fun during the W2008 launch in Dublin …. but that’s a whole other Oscar-esque story.

So what tool do I use for this?  I’ve acquired a copy of TechSmith Camtasia to record videos (can do sound as well) of my demos.  Instead of doing the usual demo, I’ll play the resulting videos and pause where required to speak over them.

I needed some Hyper-V demos for a road show next week so I started recording as soon as I got Camtasia yesterday.  It was so easy to use.  It wouldn’t work on Windows Server 8 but I wasn’t surprised … it’s a whole new OS still in Beta.  I’m sure that support will come in time.  Instead, I installed it on my Windows 7 installation on my laptop, RDPd into my server and recorded.  Recording and editing was such a breeze.  I wish everything was this intuitive and easy.  Pick your screen selection (full screen or area), sound or not, hit record.  Stop the recording, save the raw data, and then edit to clip out bits where required.  I’ve used this to clean up the start/ends and to trim out the progress bar stuff that kills precious time in a presentation.  You then can “produce” a final video in a size/quality of your choosing depending on purpose (presentation, web, etc).  I recorded (set the laptop resolution) in a projector friendly resolution of 1200 * 768; the natural 1900 * whatever would have produce a few dots on the screen for viewers of the presentation.  The resulting MP4 files were actually only a few MB which is great.

I tweeted that I was recording with it and almost immediately I was asked if I’d be sharing videos.  Yeah, I will – after I’ve done the partner road show next week – there’s no audio so you won’t learn much but you will see a few Windows Server 8 things in action I suppose.

Anyway, based on my experience so far, Camtasia has been a nice acquisition.  I haven’t even learned what it can actually do beyond the basics that I’ve used it for.  I expect there’s much more!



We’ve all started touching our laptops after playing with Win8 touch.  I can beat that.

I keep my Windows 8 Build slate PC front and central … sitting in its docking station connected to my LCD TV by a HDMI cable.  I use it to watch stuff that I can’t get through my XBox 360, such as tonight when I decided to watch yesterday’s TWiT Windows Weekly.

I got the stream going and moved IE half way over to the TV.  And then … *sigh* … and then I reached out to my TV to maximize the streaming video on the TV.

Grr!  There’s a special place in hell for you Steven Sinofsky! Smile with tongue out

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That was one seriously full day today.  In a nutshell we had:

  • Introduction and setting the scene by Art Coughlan (MS Ireland sales)
  • The System Center story and licensing by Gavin McShera (MS Ireland sales)
  • A story from the real world by Damian Flynn (MVP, Cloud & Datacenter management)
  • Windows Server 8 by Dave Northey (MS Ireland DPE)

With the PowerPoint done, we moved on to a demo-centric afternoon based on real-world scenarios:

  • Device lifecycle management featuring ConfigMgr and Endpoint Protection by me
  • Application models and monitoring by Kevin Greene (Ergo)
  • Orchestration & automation of cloud by Damian Flynn (again)
  • Orchestration & self service by Paul Keely (MVP, Cloud & Datacenter management)

We repeat the show in Belfast next Tuesday.  If you’re registered, you really do not want to miss this show.  The material and gathering of speakers will not be repeated.

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Windows Server 8 allows us to store virtual machines on file shares.  As Taylor Brown explains, when you are managing VMs from RSAT on your desktop, and those VMs are running on a host and stored on a file server, then your authentication is between you and the host.  The file server doesn’t know who you are and rejects your efforts.

Up to now, un-merged snapshots were the big gotcha in Windows Server 2008/R2 Hyper-V.  I suspect this Kerberos “issue” will be the new one, especially because SMB for storing VMs will probably be widely adopted in the breadth market.

The solution is constrained delegation, which is something you’ve been doing if you’ve been sharing ISO files so that VMs can mount them across the network.  Taylor Brown goes into some detail on a best practice method for enabling constrained delegation for correctly managing VMs that are stored on an SMB file share.


Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V has just achieved EAL 4+ security certification from the Federal Office for Information Security (Bundesamtes für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik – BSI) in Germany.  According to Wikipedia:

EAL4 is the highest level at which it is likely to be economically feasible to retrofit to an existing product line. EAL4 is therefore applicable in those circumstances where developers or users require a moderate to high level of independently assured security in conventional commodity TOEs and are prepared to incur additional security-specific engineering costs.

Thanks to Dariusz Porowski (@DariuszPorowski) for the heads up on this news.


I just had a bit of a head scratcher while building my ConfigMgr 2012 lab.  I had created an application to deploy Lync 2010 by policy to a collection of devices.  The “mandatory assignment” (this is old terminology for legacy packages/advertisements) was to install the Lync 2010 client as soon as possible.

I refreshed policy on my test machine and got this error in Software Center:

Past Due – Will Be Retired

Huh?!?!  I didn’t set an expiration on the deployment.  I could not figure this out.  The AppEnforce log in C:WindowsCCMLogs held the clue to this mysterious error:

Command Line: setup.exe /install /silent

The installer is called LyncSetup.exe, not Setup.exe.  I corrected the Deployment Type in my application for Lync 2010 and reran machine policy on the client machine.  The install now worked.  Then the real test: I manually uninstalled Lync, and ran the Application Deployment Evaluation Cycle on the client.  The reinstall (by policy) worked perfectly.


Bloomberg is reporting that Windows 8 will be generally available in October of this year.  That’s not so different to the Windows 7 schedule:

Windows 7 was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009, and reached general retail availability worldwide on October 22, 2009.

Therefore I won’t be surprised to see Windows 8 (client and server) RTM in July or August.

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A new release of MAP is out

The Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit is an agentless, automated, multi-product planning and assessment tool for quicker and easier desktop and server migrations. MAP provides detailed readiness assessment reports and executive proposals with extensive hardware and software information, and actionable recommendations to help organizations accelerate their IT infrastructure planning process, and gather more detail on assets that reside within their current environment. MAP also provides private and public cloud planning assessments, and server utilization data for Hyper-V server virtualization planning; identifying server placements, and performing virtualization candidate assessments, including ROI analysis for server consolidation with Hyper-V. Other significant new features in MAP 6.5 include the discovery of active Windows devices, Software Usage Tracking for Forefront Endpoint Protection (FEP), and the discovery of Oracle instances on Itanium-based servers with HP-UX to assist in the planning of migration to SQL Server.

I’ve said plenty about MAP in the past.  Here’s how I sum it up now: when people come to me with stupid questions or design issues, I already know what their answer will be when I ask for their assessment data – there will be none.  If you can’t figure that logic out, then you should go pick fruit instead of working in IT.

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I am one of a number of guest presenters at the Microsoft Ireland System Center 2012 launch events in Dublin (this Thursday) and Belfast (next Tuesday).  Each of the 4 guests are presenting different aspects of System Center in the afternoon with 40-45 minute slots for each of us. 

I have a background in SMS/Configuration Manager (I was an MVP for 1 year before switching to Hyper-V) and the others tend to focus on VMM/OpsMgr/Service Manager/Orchestrator so I decided I’d go for the product that I happen to love most of the lot … the one that lets an IT megalomaniac have his/her way with a network.  OpsMgr might be the product that I would always put in 3rd in a new network (DCs first, Hyper-V second), but ConfigMgr would never be far behind because I can get so much information from it and use it to deploy and control the entire lifecycle of the PCs.  So that’s what I’ll be focusing on in my presentation.

The lab “looks” something like this:


The “beast” laptop is booting from Windows 8 (the client OS) Consumer Preview and Hyper-V is enabled.  I have my VMs stored on the SSD.  The laptop is connected to Wi-fi with DHCP enabled, making it mobile – perfect for demos.  I need to be able to demo OS deployment with my lab so I need DHCP that is insulated from the physical world.  Therefore my lab guests are running on an internal virtual switch rather than an external one.

I still need Internet access.  That’s why I have an external virtual switch.  It is configured to enable the parent (the Win 8 OS on the laptop) to share the Wi-fi connection.  I have set up a virtual proxy server to enable the isolated guests to have Internet access – the Configuration Manager Primary Site Server needs to download updates from Microsoft. 

I also need the parent partition to access the internal virtual switch (to copy files to machines and to RDP into VMs for the demo – RDP performs better than Virtual Connect) and to simultaneously access the Wi-Fi network.  DNS was an issue.  The solution?  I have configured the Internal local area connection on the parent partition with an IP config for the Internal network.  The browser is also configured to use the guest proxy.  Problem solved and I’ve accelerated browser performance.

I have to set the presentation in stone still.  I got the lab 95% to where I want it but the presentation will be demo-centric:

  1. Talk about ConfigMgr
  2. The new approach of ConfigMgr and new features, then switch to demo
  3. OS deployment
  4. Security (Endpoint Protection, patching and firewall policy)
  5. End user experience – solve a problem using the Application Catalog
  6. Admin experience – New console, s/w deployment, custom policy, auditing, reporting, dashboards, etc.

Considering the focus of Configuration Manager 2012 is controlled, secure, and audited empowerment of the end user then I want to show as much of that as possible.  That’s the goal anyway Smile


I’ve just read Dear Hyper-V fans, I’ll take that apology now by apparent VMware apologist Ken Hess on ZDNet.  I guess this fanboy who poses as a journalist is upset over the recent hypervisor vote on ZDNet where Hyper-V beat vSphere.

In his article, Hess says:

If you used VMware, you wouldn’t have to reboot your vulnerable systems after patching for the RDP Worm today. Sure, you’ll still have to patch all of your Windows VMs that ride on top of your VMware hosts but at least you don’t have to patch and reboot the VMware host system.

Huh!  Strange that.  Is Hess saying that VMware never releases patches for vSphere?  I think if you follow that link then you might find a different answer to that.  Or maybe the almighty VMware never have to release a security fix for vSphere?  Woops, wrong again Kenny-boy.  Maybe vSphere security fixes don’t require a host reboot?

Host Reboot Required


Oh it appears they do. 

OK, we don’t have downtime for VMs then?

Virtual Machine Migration or Shutdown Required Yes

Damn.  Ken must have seen something.  I know; patching vSphere must be easy just like it is for Hyper-V (where Automatic Updates, WSUS, System Center Configuration Manager, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012, or Windows 8 Cluster Aware Update are all options):

ESXi hosts can be updated by manually downloading the patch ZIP file from the VMware download page and installing the VIB by using the esxcli software vib command. Additionally, the system can be updated using the image profile and the esxcli software profile command

Dagnammit, that sounds like a lot of work to me.  At least the patch is probably small.

297.7 MB

OK, so is Ken Hess just a fill of it, so-called-journalist, FUD fool, or is he just an uneducated moron?  Hey real journalists, I respect your ability to report news fairly, but guys like this do your trade no good.  But I guess maybe Hess isn’t a journalist. 

Maybe he’s a consultant or admin – I’d sure hate to be his client or employer because it appears that Kenny-boy has never checked the vSphere site for patches.  The fact is that any complex piece of code requires bug fixes and security patches.  To deny that … well … to deny that makes you moron.

Me wonders if Windows Server 8 Hyper-V has ‘em scared? Winking smile

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A new Hyper-V KB article appeared online overnight for a situation where Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 may hang on boot with the Hyper-V role enabled. 

“Consider the following scenario:

  • Install Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2.
  • Enable the Hyper-V Role under Server Roles.
  • The machine hangs or encounters a 0x3E bugcheck  (MULTIPROCESSOR_CONFIGURATION_NOT_SUPPORTED) after you restart the machine.

On a system with Mixed Processor Steppings, the Memory type range registers are not consistent across all the processors. When the Hyper-V role is enabled, this can cause system instability.

Ensure that all Processor Steppings are consistent (MTRR Capabilities) across all processors that are installed on the system. 

This has been reported to occur with the following combination of processors/Server hardware:
- HP BL460G1/G5 with Intel Xeon 5110 and E5310 processors installed”.

Personally, I thought people would know better than to mix processors in a single host like this.


Before the MVP Summit, a few of us were lucky enough to receive an invitation, via Didier Van Hoye,  to visit with the IT team in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle.  It was a pleasure to spend a few hours with them, tour their facility, and chat about tech.

Didier has the details and photos in his blog post on the visit so please head on over to check it out. 


The memory optimization mechanism that was added in Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 Hyper-V, Dynamic Memory (DM), improves with WS2012.

Minimum Memory

Windows 8/WS2012 are doing some really clever things; you might have heard of MinWin. That was an effort by Microsoft to reduce the footprint of Windows 8. The primary beneficiary was Windows On ARM (WOA) where tablets may have lesser resources than a normal PC. A second beneficiary is virtualisation; memory is a bottleneck in dense virtualisation, such as VDI or VM hosting, and being able to squeeze down the run-size of Windows 8 so we can squeeze even more running Windows 8 VMs onto a host. That means that Windows 8 can actually use less than 512 MB RAM that is listed as a system requirement. In fact, when idle, it can drop well below 512 MB RAM. In the lab at work, I’ve observed Windows Server 2012 VMs with requiring as little as 312 MB RAM without being manually squeezed.

But there’s a catch: Windows boot requires 512 MB RAM. If we set Startup Memory to 512 MB then how could we get those savings if we couldn’t balloon down?

A “new” feature of DM is Minimum Memory. I say “new” because it actually existed under the covers in W2008 R2 SP1 but Microsoft really didn’t want us to use it. And that’s why the majority of us never knew it was there. Minimum Memory allows you to specify an amount of memory, which is smaller than Startup Memory, and allows an idle VM to balloon down to at least the Minimum Memory amount if there is unused memory in the VM. For example, a VM would start with 512 MB RAM. Once it is booted, and the integration components are started, if the VM is idle, it might balloon down from 512 MB to whatever it requires plus the buffer (20% by default).

Using Minimum Memory, we can allow idle VMs to throttle back their memory consumption to below their Startup Memory requirement. In a small farm, this might never happen. But in a large farm, such as VDI, hosting, or in a large private cloud, there very well may be many VMs that do little 90% of the time. Their freed up RAM can be used to service the needs of other VMs that do need the memory or to increase VM density on a host.

Smart Paging

Let’s get this clear before the FUD starts and the VMware fanboys wet themselves: Hyper-V does not do second level paging (like VMware does because it overcommits memory) for VMs. Second level paging is considered inefficient because no hypervisor can have no vision into a VMs memory use and prioritise/page it effectively.

But … there is a situation where Hyper-V could do with a little bit more memory. Let’s consider those idle VMs that have ballooned down to their minimum memory. What if we had a host with a LOT of RAM, and we patched/rebooted a large percentage of VDI VMs, maybe even all of them. We’d go from a situation where we had lots of VMs using their Minimum Memory to a lot of VMs using their Startup Memory. What if we had to reset a lot of those VMs? Or what if we rebooted a host and the VMs set to auto-start required their Startup Memory and it wasn’t available?

There are very rare occasions where Hyper-V will need to provide more memory than is available. How rare will these occasions be? Very: if a host is running happily along with VMs idled down to their Minimum Memory, and they only reason they need more than that is to start up, then you actually have a pretty healthy host with a very brief requirement for more memory. In the real world, things like Failover Clustering, VMM Dynamic Optimization, VMM/OpsMgr PRO, and Live Migration will mitigate this squeeze on memory by moving running VMs. But Hyper-V must do something for those rare occasions where a normally non-contended host temporarily requires memory to service boot up for those otherwise idle VMs.

That’s where Smart Paging comes in. Smart Paging is engaged in one of these, and only one of these scenarios if there is not enough host memory for a VM to meet its Startup Memory requirement:

  • A host reboot
  • A VM reboot
  • A VM reset

A Smart Paging file is created (by default) in each VMs’ storage location. This paging file will temporarily provide additional memory to the VMs. I stress “temporarily” because you will get alert if a VM is still using the Smart Paging file after 30 minutes. Eventually each previously idle VM will balloon back down below their Startup Memory and alleviate the temporary pressure.

Disk Requirements

If you’ve read my Dynamic Memory paper or heard me speak on the topic then you know that I’ve advised you to consider the amount of available physical memory when sizing VM storage because of the need for varying sized BIN files. This could be complicated by having many CSVs in a cluster and require some conservative estimates.

We are seeing some changes with the BIN file. You will only need to reserve disk space now if your VMs are set to automatically save their state during a clean host shutdown. This save state action is exactly why the BIN file was required. No auto-save state, no need for BIN file.


Another thing you should know about after hearing me speak or reading my guide is MemoryReserve. This is the automatically calculated setting that conserves memory for the parent partition so it has enough resources for its own operations, e.g. doing a backup of VMs, monitoring, AV scans, servicing administrator logons, etc. In Windows Server 2012, Microsoft has changed this automatic calculation so that more memory is reserved for the parent partition, thus better enabling management components to work more effectively with less memory pressure caused by expanding VMs. I don’t know the details of the algorithm, and I’m still in favour of manually configuring this setting to something that I know, control, and can change if required (registry or custom GPO).


Mark Minasi’s mini-IT conference is back in action in 2012.  It might be mini in size, but it swings a big game in content.  The speakers include big conference names like Mark Minasi and Don Jones.  You’ll also find a bunch of MVPs, Microsoft employees, and industry experts speaking and attending.  Being a mini-conference, this is a place where you can get to spend time with these people without the having to run away to some meeting or their next session.

This is the first Minasi Conference I won’t be able to attend.  Unfortunately my calendar is nuts and a few things, like this and the Vienna PubForum, have had to be dropped Sad smile

Sunday – April 29th 2012

  • 12:00 – Conference Registration Begins
  • 1.00 – Opening Session led by Mark Minasi + Don Jones, What has changed in the last 3 years, how to stay on TOP!
  • 2.00 – Session 1: Mark Minasi – 10 (or more) things that you don’t know about Windows Server 8
  • 3:15 – Break
  • 3:30 – Don Jones
  • 4:00 – Ed Wilson – Microsoft Scripting guy on everything but PosH 3
  • 4:30 – Break
  • 4:45 – Mark Minasi
  • 6:00 – Welcome Reception

Monday  – April 30th  2012

  • 9:00 – Jimi Vigotti – how I do it and how you can to (with the right kit).
  • 10:15 – Dave Bisson – Enterprise App Store
  • 11:30 – Break
  • 11:45 – Stacy Hein – SQL Server at scale. Office 365 style
  • 1:00 – Lunch (Provided)
  • 1:45 – Todd Lammle – The next step.
  • 3:00 – James Summerlin – SQL Server Integration Services – More in-depth than last time!
  • 4:15 – Break
  • 4:30 – James Adgate – Security in The Enterprise in 2012:  Managing DLP Programs and Driving Standards for Secure Coding of Home Grown Web-Facing Enterprise Applications.
  • 5:45 – Offsite Dinner Organized with Transportation

Tuesday – May 1st 2012

  • 9:00 – James Summerlin – Juniper, Life after TMG/ ISA
  • 10:30  –Scott Calvet – TBC Desktop Virtualization VMware View 5
  • 11:00 – Dennis Olidis – Free Tools to Troubleshoot and Diagnose your Windows System
  • 12:30 – Lunch (Provided)
  • 1:00 – Eric Rux  – TBC– Using Windows in your Home!
  • 2:15 – Break
  • 2:30 – A N Other – Microsoft Conferencing, Skype and Lync
  • 3:45 – Break
  • 4:00 – Curt Spanburg – Microsoft Business Application Survival Skills for the IT Admin
  • 5:30 – Dinner (on your own) at a local restaurant. Last chance to rub elbows.

Wednesday -  May 2nd 2012

  • 9.00  – Ultan Kinahan – Fixing the big stuff!
  • 10:00 – Ton Siemons – Comparing Hypervisors, VMware, HyperV and Xen
  • 11:15 – Break
  • 11:30 – Michael Ferguson – Managing Security
  • 12:45 – Closing and Lunch
  • 2:00 – Unofficial Round Table

You can learn more about the registration on the official site, and on-going conversation regarding the event can be found on Mark’s forum.

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And the final patch (there’s more so you should check out the Failover Clustering patching wiki) for clustering.  I’m only listing the Hyper-V related ones. 

“Consider the following scenario:

  • You set a preferred node in a Windows Server 2008 R2-based failover cluster.
  • You set the failback policy of this node to Allow Failback, select the Failback between option, and then set a failback time interval.
  • You move a cluster resource group from the preferred node to another node.
  • You try to shut down the preferred node.

In this scenario, the shutdown operation stops responding at the Shutting down Cluster Service phase. It takes about 30 minutes for the node to shut down.

This issue occurs because the Cluster service tries to fail back the resource group every 15 minutes when the following conditions are true:

  • A failback time interval is set.
  • The time that is used to shut down the node is longer than the failback time interval.

When the failback process fails, the thread that performs the operation sleeps for 15 minutes. If you try to shut down the Cluster service on this node, the operation waits until the cluster shutdown times out”.

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft.


It’s a busy patch download and test day for you Hyper-V admins!  Another (there’s more to come) patch for CSV.  This Hotfix refers to a "0x0000003B" stop error when a connection to a CSV is lost on a Windows Server 2008 R2-based failover cluster.

“Consider the following scenario:

  • You enable the cluster shared volume (CSV) feature on a Windows Server 2008 R2-based failover cluster.
  • You add some disks to the list of cluster shared volumes.
  • The connection to a disk is lost unexpectedly.

In this scenario, you receive a Stop error message that resembles the following:

STOP: 0x0000003B (parameter1, parameter2, parameter3, parameter4)


  • This Stop error describes a SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION issue.
  • The parameters in this Stop error message vary, depending on the configuration of the computer.
  • Not all "0x0000003B" Stop errors are caused by this issue.

This issue occurs because of a race condition in Partition Manager (Partmgr.sys). Partition Manager does not use a removal lock for the read/write I/O request packet (IRP). This behavior causes Partition Manager to access a nonexistent device object. Therefore, you receive the Stop error message that is mentioned in the "Symptoms" section”.

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft.


Another Hyper-V related (clustering this time) hotfix was just released by Microsoft.  The situation is when redirected mode is enabled unexpectedly in a Cluster Shared Volume when you are running a third-party application in a Windows Server 2008 R2-based cluster.

“Consider the following scenario:

  • You are running a third-party application in a Windows Server 2008 R2-based cluster that has the Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) feature enabled.
  • The third-party application has a mini-filter driver that uses an altitude value to determine the load order of the mini-filter driver.
  • The altitude value contains a decimal point.
  • You set a Cluster Shared Volume to online mode.

In this scenario, the Cluster Shared Volume is set to redirected mode.  This issue occurs because the cluster service assumes that the altitude value is an integer when the cluster service parses the altitude value”.

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft.


Microsoft has just released a hotfix for people running W2008 R2 Hyper-V where they cannot restore a VM that has a ; in it’s name or folder path.

“If the name or the directory path of a virtual machine contains a semicolon (;) on a server that is running Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1), you cannot restore the virtual machine.

This issue occurs because the Hyper-V Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) writer incorrectly parses the configuration information in the backup metadata document of the virtual machine if the configuration information contains a semicolon”.

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft.


Security experts are urging people to deploy MS12-020, a security hotfix that was released this week. 

This security update resolves two privately reported vulnerabilities in the Remote Desktop Protocol. The more severe of these vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if an attacker sends a sequence of specially crafted RDP packets to an affected system.

This is the sort of vulnerability that will be seized upon very quickly by hackers because RDP is typically enabled on high value assets – servers.  Deploy or be shamed like those who are still being hammered by Conficker.  In my opinion, it is professional negligence not to get patched for something like this.  BTW, I’ve read that people expect scripted attacks for this vulnerability within 30 days.  You have been warned!

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