Cloud Myopia – Is it affecting the way partners view Microsoft?

It has been a about 18 months that Microsoft has shifted its talking points to the cloud and maybe longer. At least one prominent partner is putting the EX in Exchange and leading the way away from Microsoft. 


During the same time frame I have been hearing from partners and while looking into the cloud they have not been doing so because their clients have been driving them that way. They are not doing it because there is a good business model. This has really been a vendor driven buzz and not a market driven buzz. The question is, does Microsoft’s singular message around the cloud, which is completely different than the way you built a company, have a negative affect on partner loyalty?


In my own view I see the long term advantages of the cloud in a device driven world. And devices are getting more powerful day by day. What I don’t see is the wholesale switch that Microsoft gives the impression is happening. What I would have expected would be a gradual adoption of an increasing number of technologies which leverage solutions intuitively. Instead we are seeing product cancellations and redirected investment in products of the future. We are also seeing partners choose products which reflect their customers best interests and they appear to be recommending other vendors.


I don’t believe partners are hearing what they want to from Microsoft. I don’t believe they are hearing the continued investment in on premise solutions. If you ask, Microsoft employees will footnote that they are still in the on premise market. The top leadership at Microsoft is putting the pressure on for everyone to myopically present the cloud story. Partner loyalty is changing. I hope Microsoft improves its messaging and focuses on the business they built as well as the business they are building.


Jeff Loucks
Available Technology
Available Technology

Green IT – Moves into the realm of cost accounting

Green IT has moved over the past five years from the realm of corporate social responsibility messaging into the world of cost accounting. In short, Green IT has gone mainstream, as organizations across the board associate green not only with environmental sustainability, but also with operational savings achieved through greater business efficiency. But what is the source of this transition, and what scenarios now move organizations into planning and implementing green solutions?
Read more here


Jeff Loucks
Available Technology
Available Technology

USB 3.0 Speed and Compatibility

USB 3.0 Speed and Compatibility


Source: http://www.startech.com/University/USB3.aspx?CID=3


In late 2008, version 3.0 of the USB specification was released to the USB-IF, which enabled developers to begin implementation in future products.


For a product to be classified as USB 3.0 compliant, it must meet several requirements. From a performance standpoint, two of the objectives that must be met for a product to be certified as USB 3.0 compliant are:
Support for data rates of up to 5Gbps
Backward compatibility with USB 2.0
Speed
With a data transfer rate of 5Gbps – roughly 10x as fast as was specified in USB revision 2.0 and 400x times as fast as the original USB specifications (1.0/1.1), USB 3.0 delivers a solution that more suitably harnesses the capability of modern storage devices and the large file sizes of high quality media.


Although the speed supported by USB 3.0 would be overkill for external hard drives to date, given the current mechanical performance capabilities of the drives, USB 3.0 is the ideal solution for various RAID applications (RAID 0) or SSDs (Solid State Drives) wherein drive data transfer rates exceed those supported by USB 2.0 or eSATA.


Backward Compatibility


Based simply on the number of USB devices that have shipped to date worldwide – estimated at 10 billion7 and counting – the backward compatibility of USB 3.0 with USB 2.0 is vital.


Although for a device to utilize the full capability of USB 3.0, a USB 3.0 compliant host bus and USB 3.0 cable are required, a USB 3.0 device (such as a USB 3.0 external hard drive enclosure, or USB 3.0 hard drive docking station) would still be able to function at typical USB 2.0 speeds when connected to a USB 2.0 host8. This is extremely important as it means much less expense for users who would have had to replace their existing USB devices with newer models for the sake of compatibility with the new standard.


Power Management


Another core benefit of USB 3.0 is its power efficiency, which is more conducive to energy conscious computer architecture. Some of the main power management enhancements are:
Replaces continual Device Polling with asynchronous notifications, utilizing fewer system resources
The introduction of link power management states, which enable power savings when the connection between the host and the device is idle
The transition to low power states can be initiated by either the host or the device, which helps minimize the amount of overall power drawn from the host
“Suspend” capabilities that enable devices to remove power from all of their circuitry or only portions of the circuitry that are not in use


Jeff Loucks
Available Technology
Available Technology

How to Gems from the EBS team!

Windows Essential Business Server Team Blog : Our Technical Findings While Developing EBS v2:
http://blogs.technet.com/essentialbusinessserver/archive/2010/04/07/our-technical-findings-while-developing-ebs-v2.aspx

During the development of EBS v2, we tackled quite a few challenges in integrating Microsoft server technologies. We developed solutions and workarounds, proved them through exhaustive testing, and implemented them in EBSv2. Due to external factors, EBS v2 did not release to public. Therefore, we decided to gather some of our solutions and findings, and share it with our community.

1. Performing an ‘isolated’ installation of Exchange 2010

There is no supported way to rollback a failed Exchange installation from the forest. However, there is a proven way to control and contain the Exchange installation inside the forest, so that in case it fails and blocks, it doesn’t spread across the domain and leave the forest in an undesirable state. We implemented this approach in our automated EBS v2 installation and verified it in Beta and RC0 releases. A generalized version of this solution is presented below:

1. Select the Schema master domain controller in the domain you wish to install Exchange in. You must select the Schema master because Exchange installation starts by extending the schema and this operation c6. Use n only be targeted to the schema master.

2. Ensure a full inbound and outbound replication has completed to this domain controller and the DC is healthy (no concerning errors in eventlog, dcdiag, etc.).

3. Disable the outbound replication channels to the DC. You can do this with repadmin.exe /options +DISABLE_OUTBOUND_REPL. This step effectively isolates the DC from the rest of the domain and all changes on this DC will remain exclusively on this DC.

4. Install Exchange 2010 on any server in the domain that can contact the isolated DC, while targeting the installation to the isolated DC. It is very important to target the installation to that DC, else Exchange will pick any DC that finds best. You can use Setup.cmd /DC:<isolated DC name> to target the isolated DC.

5. If Exchange installation fails and you get blocked recovering from the failure, simply force-demote the DC and re-promote it again. This demotion will take all the Exchange residues with it and the new DC, like all other DCs will be unaware of the Exchange failure.  

6. If the Exchange installation succeeds and passes your verification, then re-open the replication channels (repadmin.exe /options -DISABLE_OUTBOUND_REPL) and allow a few minutes for all DCs to see the changes. The replication latency depends on the size of the domain and speed of connections.  

2. How to work around FSE installation issues on an Exchange server running on top of a DC?

If you are installing the Forefront Security on an Exchange server the setup executable will stop the Exchange Information Store and Transport services, configure Exchange, and restart the services. FSE will wait up to 120 seconds for the Exchange services to start up again and if they don’t, it will error out. Typically Exchange Information Store and Transport should both start within 120 seconds, however, we did experience that occasionally the service takes longer to start, especially when Exchange is installed on a Domain controller.

If you encounter such a problem with FSE installation, simply stop the Exchange Transport and Information Store services and retry FSE setup. FSE will only attempt to start the services if they were initially running. Else, it will simply complete setup, report success, and leave the services untouched. FSE installation typically requires a reboot, which will automatically restart the Exchange Information Store and Transport services.    

3. How we solved problems with Exchange running on a Domain Controller in EBS

The detailed article can be found at:

http://blogs.technet.com/essentialbusinessserver/archive/2009/06/25/how-we-solved-problems-with-exchange-running-on-a-domain-controller-in-ebs.aspx

4. How to recover EBS 2008 Messaging server objects after an accidental Active Directory server object deletion

The detailed article can be found at:

http://blogs.technet.com/essentialbusinessserver/archive/2010/01/27/how-to-recover-ebs-2008-messaging-server-objects-after-an-accidental-active-directory-server-object-deletion.aspx

5. Integrating the all new Exchange Pre-deployment analyzer into deployment planning

Several years ago Exchange released an Exchange BPA v2.8 that could be deployed on (almost) any domain-joined machine and examined the ‘readiness’ of the domain and forest for an Exchange installation. Exchange discontinued this stand-alone tool until recently, that they released Exchange Pre-deployment analyzer for Exchange 2010. This tool is also standalone and can even run from a domain-joined Vista client. You can find the ExPDA at: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=88b304e7-9912-4cb0-8ead-7479dab1abf2&displaylang=en

We certainly recommend that as part of your deployment planning run the readiness checks of this tool. You can also automate the process with a VB script that executes ExPDACmd.exe, dumps the report in an XML file, and read the Errors out of the file using searchExpression = "//Message[@Error=’Error’]".

6. Use the Exchange Remote Connectivity Analyzer:

The https://www.testexchangeconnectivity.com is a great resource for anyone to test whether they have setup the ActiveSync, EWS, RPC over Http, SMTP, etc. settings correctly. The ActiveSync test will simulate a mobile device and test connectivity. The Outlook tests simulate an Outlook connecting via Outlook Anywhere. The SMTP tests will walk through all steps for an inbound and outbound email delivery.  

7. Installing Remote desktop gateway and publishing in ISA/Forefront TM

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc771530(WS.10).aspx provides in depth details on how to configure Remote desktop gateway (formerly TS gateway) in various scenarios.

8. Publishing OWA in ISA

Following article provides information on how to configure OWA in ISA http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290113

Jeff Loucks
Available Technology
Available Technology