2010
11.08

I’m not at the poor cousin of the TechEd family this week.  Last year’s experience put me off.  However, I’m tuned into the keynote to see what’s happening.  The very good news is that Stephen Elop (the speaker at last year’s keynote where half of the room walked out) has left for Nokia and that Brad Anderson (Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Management & Security Division) is taking over the duty.

While I’m waiting … I would expect lots of System Center v.Next/2011 content to be on show this year.  Those products tend to make big headlines at MMS and almost all of the family has some big release next year .. OpsMgr, VMM, ConfigMgr.  Oh … here we go …

Brad starts off my pitching “the cloud”.  It’s not a surprise.  And the message is …. .everyone else in cloud is wrong; Platform-as-a-Service is the way to go.  The huge investment in Azure did not affect that ;-)  Dagnammit – I don’t have enough drink in the house for the “MS keynote – cloud drinking game”.

Windows Phone is next up.  It’s only launching today in the USA.  The first pitch is “choice”.  Obviously aiming at where MS feels Apple is weak, i.e. lack of handset variety.  Some would say that makes Apple is strong because the control the hardware/OS integration completely.  The see-it-all-at-once and social media integration in WP7 is very good on the face of it (I actually have an iPhone rather than WP7).  WP7 should also be controllable using System Center.  Not much reaction at all to a “do you want a demo of it?” question by Anderson.  Problem: geeks are at the show and they’ve already seen the demo.  It’s a demo of the apps really – aimed squarely at the developers in the audience.  Nice looking apps from Tesco and Ebay.  Eek, the developer demo is canned.  Looks pretty similar to what I saw in the PDC keynote. Dev stuff – I’m taking a quick power nap.  Brad is back with the news that since the European launch 3 weeks ago, 600 European apps are published.

We need to deliver apps to users in a predictable and secure way.  There is tension between users and IT – gimme gimme gimme versus control.  I smell ConfigMgr v.Next.  It’s all about IT delivery being focused on the user, e.g. user pulling down apps and the apps following the user around to different PCs if they are the “owner” PC.  User centric client computing is the brand that MS is using.  Ahh … SP1 first.  Ah … Windows 7 marketing first.

88% of worldwide businesses (what size is not mentioned) say they will move to Windows 7 in the next 2 years.

SP1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 new virtualisation features:

  • RemoteFX (previously blogged): big for VDI graphics in the LAN
  • Dynamic Memory (previously blogged).  Claiming a 40% density improvement in VDI.  Anderson claiming that will give Hyper-V the best density in VDI in the market.

Michael Kleef comes on stage.  He big-ups the Citrix relationship.  Citrix are embracing RemoteFX and it’ll feature in XenDesktop.  Now we see IE8 running in a XenDesktop VM via ICA.  A flash video in full fidelity and audio is playing.  HP BL460 blades are in the background and a perfmon view shows the CPU utilisation is minimal – because the work is being done by the GPU.  A Silverlight application in IE9 is run with lots of graphics, moving bits, and BI reporting.  Hmm, the Citrix WAN scaling tools can allegedly stretch RemoteFX over the WAN … interesting!

Back to the cloud with SaaS.  Office365 is a next generation replacement for BPOS.  Intune (very basic desktop management) is on deck.  Demo of Office365.  We’re in yawn-ville at the moment.  This keynote needs a shot of adrenaline.  InTune is being sold as “management”.  It’s very, very light compared to ConfigMgr.  Nice idea – but I’d rather see a cloud based child-site for ConfigMgr.  Anderson promises that InTune will become as rich as ConfigMgr.

A RC of ForeFront EndPoint Protection is available today.  It is based on the same architecture as ConfigMgr.  That means you can have one integrated infrastructure to manage desktops and servers configuration and security.  And that’s all there is about that.  I guess the ForeFront teams got more pop today than they did last year :-)

Now it’s cloud (IaaS), cloud (PaaS) and private cloud for the rest of the day.

Infrastructure as a Service.  Private Cloud computing from MS is Hyper-V and System Center.  What momentum does Hyper-V have?  Hyper-V has grown 12.6 points and VMware has grown over 4 points in the market over the last 2 years. 

Announcements:

  • Hyper-V Cloud: This is the partnership program that I’ve just blogged about.  It’s a bundle of software and hardware.  MS has a set of funds called Accelerate.
  • Lots of guides, etc: previously blogged.

HP Hyper-V partnership: HP Cloud Foundation for Hyper-V is an integration between HP Blade System Matrix and MS System Center.  HP is announcing HP CloudStart based on rapidly deploying private clouds based on Hyper-V.

What’s coming in the next version of System Center?  Greg Jenson has the answers.  3 key features:

  • Elastic
  • Shared infrastructure in the data centre
  • Deployed by an application owner by self-service

This is made possible by the next version of VMM.  We get the demo shown at TechEd NA 2010 in the Spring.  This features Server App-V.  VMM vNext is almost identical to what you get in Azure VM Role and that also has Server App-V.  Modelling of an n-tier app architecture is shown, highlighting elasticity.  That’s great for techies …. we want self service so that’s what’s up next!  We see some delegation of the service template to a potential app owner.  It’s similar to 2008 R2 but with a service template which describes an architecture rather than deploy a VM.  That’s understanding the business app owners and their needs.  Deploying a new service = deploy the template.  Things like IIS and SQL will be deployed as virtualised applications that are abstracted from their VM’s.  That allows zero downtime patching of VM’s from the template.

Azure Virtual Network allows a cross-premises domain between your site and Azure.  Azure VM Role allows you to run Windows Server 2008 R2 VMs.  I blogged about that announcement from PDC.

Power nap while Azure dev stuff is talked about.  Next we see OpsMgr using the RC (but supported) management pack for Azure to monitor an Azure based application.  It can respond to spikes in demand by spawning Azure instances.  Careful now; don’t want a nasty credit card bill at the end of the month because of elastic growth that incorrectly interprets slow response times.

Anderson wrapping up by saying that we will likely use a mix of cloud technologies.  We have different solutions to choose from and integrate to suit the needs of our businesses.

Over 70% of MS research/development resources are focused on the cloud.

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