You won’t find any predictions “year of VDI” or any of that $hite here. Instead, I’m going to look back on 2012.
January kicked off the year in style because I was invited to speak at the Hyper-V.nu community day in Amsterdam. That was a fun session, speaking to a full room of around 100 people about WS2012 Hyper-V networking. It was still early days so a lot of what we know and could talk about was still level 100.
In February we MVPs had the annual MVP Summit. As you can guess, for me that was a week of lots of Hyper-V and related content, that set me up for the rest of the year. I talk about the value networking aspect of the Summit a lot. This year, Hans Vredevoort (moved from clustering), Didier Van Hoye (first year), and Carsten Rachfahl (first year) joined the group and it was great to spend some time with them.
It was after this that my blogging on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V stepped up. Rather than doing the next-next-next stuff, I focused on the “how does it work” content. I’m a big fan of Hyper-V Replica … as a lot of you seem to be too because my explanation of that feature was my 2nd most popular post this year. Number 1? That was my post on Windows Server 2012 licensing (ask your reseller your questions on that topic).
A personal blogging highlight was when Mary Jo Foley asked if I’d write a guest post for her blog to be published while she was on vacation. That was very cool. And then I was referenced and quoted a few times on Mary Jo’s blog and on the Windows Weekly podcast!
I did more speaking this year than at any point before. Myself and Dave Northey (MSFT IE DPE) finished up the Hyper-V (W2008 R2) Immersion events in Belfast with some great feedback. I presented with Alex Juschin (RDS MVP) at the WS2012 Roadshow in Belfast, Dublin, London, and Edinburgh. I enjoyed getting over to the UK to present. I missed the early E2EVC but I presented at the Hamburg event and that was fun as usual. The E2E group are a great group to present to, whether they are enjoying or heckling you. New MVP, Thomas Maurer, joined us there and it was nice to meet with him for the first time. I travelled to the Dell/Quest TEC Europe 2012 event to present 2 * 75 minute sessions and once again was hanging out with Hans, Carsten, and Didier. I lost track of how many events I spoke at for work. Presenting is a large chunk of what I do in my job – there’s roadshows, product events, partner events, crash course training, customer meetings, and so on. I did my mileage report
The most exciting event I took part in was the UK launch of Windows Server 2012. I’d never presented before such a crowd: 1,000 people. That’s the size of a full room for Mark Russinovich at TechEd! I don’t really get nervous anymore, but it was a total buzz working with Andrew Fryer (MSFT UK DPE) on that one. Fellow Irish MVP Damian Flynn (and co-author) was over with me. Our regional MVP lead, Claire Smyth, was one of the organizers and she suggested that we set up in the sponsor hall. I asked if we could get some whiteboards. And what do you know? We have crowds surrounding us as we end up doing mini-presentations on Windows Server 2012 to everyone from the Fortune 500s to the SBS customers. I really enjoyed that event.
My contributions stretched into different media this year. I had a few whitepapers published for PC Pro throughout the year. I also did a number of podcasts, talking about …. WS2012 Hyper-V
My biggest contribution to the Hyper-V community in 2012 is not going to be public until early 2013. Myself, Patrick Lownds (MVP), Michel Luescher (MSFT MCS), and Damian have spent the last few months writing Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Installation And Configuration Guide with Hans as the tech reviewer. I started working on this book back in 2011 and there was a lot of work done to get it off the ground. The writing is complete. At this point we’re editing and reviewing. I am about 70% done with my editing/reviewing. The ETA is March 2013 but the book might be out before then.
Technology-wise this has been a crazy year. Just about every Microsoft product that an IT pro works with had a new version RTM in 2012:
- System Center 2012
- SQL Server 2012
- Windows Server 2012
- Windows 8
- Office 2013 (GA in 2013)
- All the Office 2013 on-premises services (GA in 2013)
- System Center 2012 SP1 (MSDN and TechNet)
- 2 updates to Windows Intune, including non-Windows mobile device management
In early 2013 we can look forward to the GA of System Center 2012 SP1 and The New Office, including vNext of Office 365.
Although my world focuses in the Server & Tools space, Windows 8 has been the headline maker. I’ve talked about this before: change gets a lot of hate. In my experience as a presenter on Windows 8, most of the haters have never even seen, let alone used, Windows 8. I love proving them wrong. I’m not a shill or apologiser; there are things I would have done differently or like to see improved, starting with the return of a true Beta program where people outside of the TAP program get to register measured feedback and log bugs. I don’t think that it’s any coincidence that the Windows 7 beta program was the biggest on record and Windows 7 was the best release of Windows (in all sorts of ways) yet. But having said that, I’ve just completed the upgrade of my final machine. My Ultrabook now runs Windows 8 and it’s running faster than ever, and just like my work PC, I’ll be mostly working in the desktop the same way that I did with Windows 7. Asus released all the drivers and my machine is running nicely. All my machines also run Office 2013, connecting to SkyDrive and Office 365.
I bought that Ultrabook when I was in Amsterdam at the Hyper-v.nu event. I love that it’s light, has nice battery life (newer machines are better), and it’s thin. Being thin was a big deal for me because I need to squeeze it into my very big camera bag. The only problem I have with the Asus UX31 is the quality of the keyboard. The springs are not strong enough. The Toshiba and Samsung alternatives were much better but I got it at a good price at the time. I raised some eyebrows when I said I was selling my iPad in the summer. It just wasn’t being used all that much anymore. I bought a kindle reader because I could use it in a photography hide without lighting up my face and scaring away the wildlife. And the battery life of the iPad wasn’t good enough to watch movies on a flight to Seattle. With much difficulty, thanks to the much publicised lack of supply by manufacturers, I bought a Windows 8 tablet. My choice was the Intel Atom (not the old Atom!!!!) powered, Samsung ATIV Smart PC. It runs Windows 8 Pro, and I’ve had it run for 13 hours while working and browsing. I got the optional keyboard which gives me the full laptop experience when docked, unlike the Surface.
At work, I got to play with lots of devices: The Sony slider, the Sony TAP 20, the Toshiba u925t slider, the Sony T13 touch ultrabook, and we got a Surface RT with the touch cover. I was impressed with the Surface build quality, especially when I slammed it off a concrete floor and it was 100% unharmed. You should have heard our lead Apple sales person scream when she saw it flying – she expected lots of broken gorilla glass I don’t like the keyboard cover – it’s floppy and can only be used on a large flat space, it doesn’t have magnets to hold it closed, and it’s not flush with the tablet when closed. I also found that the keyboard often didn’t register/de-register correctly.
Supply of designed-for-Windows 8 devices has been awful. On Sunday 30th December, 3 months after GA, was the first time that I saw a Windows RT device in a store in UK or Ireland. Admittedly, the Surface RT appeared in John Lewis in the UK a week before Christmas – way too late to compete with the iPad Mini which is selling faster than it can be supplied. I cannot understand why HP, Dell, Samsung, Acer, Asus, Lenovo and all the others have been so slow at putting stuff on shelves. I know that stores are looking for stock (I work for a distributor) because customers are not coming in to buy laptops anymore – they want tablets.
I promised no predictions – I lied The price of Windows tablets will become an issue in 2013. iPad Mini sells for justs under E350 in Ireland, around 150-200 less than the full iPad. The iPad Mini is outselling the bigger device. People like the size and they like the lower price. That makes the sexy Apple device 150 cheaper than the cheapest Windows 8 tablet (Surface RT) without the keyboard cover (another E100 and almost a requirement). Windows 8 tablets have to compete with the E250 Android tablets and the E350 iPad Mini or they will be stuck in Windows Phone hell.
2013 should be a big learning year. Early on myself, Hans, and Damian will be publishing the results of The Great Big Hyper-V Survey – work and book have delayed us. I expect that I’ll be doing lots of stuff on Office 365 and Windows Intune early in the year. And then I’ve a lot of System Center 2012 SP1 catching up to do. I’ve delayed a lot of my learning until SP1 came along. After that: who knows!?!?!?!
Events-wise, I’m going to the MVP Summit in February. I’ll try to go to TechEd NA 2013. I’m not sure about MMS 2013 – there was not much opportunity to learn at the 2012 event – the classes were too small and were instantly filled via pre-registration. I’ll hopefully do E2EVC again and I’d like to return to the UK for some community stuff. I’d love to present at a big conference like a TechEd but that’s outside my control – I can only submit sessions.
I’m looking forward to the launch of the Hyper-V book. We’ve put a lot of work into it, and a lot of the content isn’t published anywhere. Regular blog readers have noticed how much PowerShell I’ve been doing – I started at 0 and I’ve put a lot of examples into the book, varying from 1 liners to page-long scripts. And there is something else that I’m thinking about …
Hopefully you’ve all had a great holiday. I spent as much of Christmas away from work as I could. Hopefully you’ll all have a Hyper (-V) 2013!
This blog post is the property of Aidan Finn (@joe_elway / http://www.aidanfinn.com) and may not be reused in any manner without prior consent of Aidan Finn. You may quote one paragraph from this blog post if you link to the original blog post.
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