Restoring SBS 2008

Recently a client’s SBS 2008 server crashed! Never a good thing. For some reason we were unable to recover the System (C:) drive by regenerating the mirror. As a final resort I decided to recover the server from the backup. SBS 2008 has a somewhat different backup than previous versions and I had never had the misfortune, until now, to need to restore from one. As with any server restore, I was filled with apprehension. A failed restore can have a major impact on a client.

The restore process is actually pretty easy with SBS 2008. I did a little research first (do a Bing search on SBS 2008 Restore) so I had an idea of the process. The first main tricky thing was after booting from the SBS 2008 installation DVD to select to Repair the Computer, which is in the lower left of the screen, instead of selecting Install. Next I had to provide the RAID drivers on a USB flash drive. Once done, I had the option of wiping out the existing drives (reformatting) and whether to leave the data drive alone. I chose to restore both drives.

The actual restore took about 35 minutes for both the System and Data drives. A reboot was required and then it was back up and running. I was VERY impressed with the restore process of SBS 2008. It is so much better than in the old days.

Later I’ll blog how we were able to function while the server was out of service.

Convergence 2010 After Action Report – I

This past week I attended Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2010 in Atlanta. Convergence is the annual Microsoft conference for the Dynamics products. MS CRM is a prominent member of this product group. The conference was held in the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), a huge convention center in downtown Atlanta. LOTS of walking. Anne Stanton reported putting 24,000 clicks on her CRMUG pedometer the first couple of days!

I arrived Friday evening and was very excited to be invited to dinner with Erik von Hoof, CEO of CWR Mobility of The Netherlands. It was an extremely enjoyable evening where I got to meet and get to know a couple of his primary sales staff, including Mark Corley for the US. Mark was with Microsoft’s CRM team for quite some time and it was very interesting learning about the history of the product.

DayONE of Convergence was sponsored mainly by the CRM User Group, CRMUG. It started off at 1:30 with a general session run by CRMUG’s Mark Rhodes. This was an overview of the CRMUG and the benefits of membership and an explanation of activities. Following that were Interactive Sessions where attendees got to discuss various CRM topics. I facilitated the Managing CRM Data along with John Johnston of Volvo Construction Equipment. We had a large crowd of over 75 folks. Still I managed to get them to rearrange their chairs into a large circle so everyone could see who was making a comment. The discussion was very lively. That evening culminated in a Convergence Reception which was held in a LARGE hall of the CWCC. The food and company were great and I made many new contacts. One of the most memorable moments was as I was leaving and encountered a giant walking TREE!

I’ll follow up with part II for the kickoff of the main conference. Stay tuned.

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2010

I’m getting ready to attend Microsoft’s Convergence, it’s annual conference for its Dynamics division. This is one of the largest conferences that Microsoft holds, hosting around 10,000 folks. Unlike a lot of Microsoft conferences, this one is largely focused on end users/customers as well as Microsoft partners.

The conference starts this Saturday in Atlanta and goes through Tuesday. Each day is crammed full of break-out sessions and interactive discussions. I’ll be facilitating a couple of those sessions, “Managing Your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Data” and “Accelerating Your Business”. These are CRMUG sponsored sessions. I’ll also be helping out CRMUG as I can.

It should be a great conference with a full schedules of sessions all day and receptions and parties all night. I’m anticipating being a pretty pooped puppy by the time it’s over. I’ll blog my experiences as I can.

CRMUG Forms TOLA Regional Chapter

The Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, & Arkansas (TOLA) Regional Chapter of the CRM User Group (www.CRMUG.com) held its inaugural meeting on Thursday, April 8th, at the Microsoft Office in Irving, Texas. We had a great turn out for our first meeting with approximately 20 joining in. The attendees mainly represented user organizations as opposed to Microsoft partners selling CRM. Although partners are welcome (I’m one), being mainly users allows the members to more freely share their experiences and learn from each other.

Lunch was sponsored by Sean Myers, President and CEO of Endeavor Commerce, www.SmartCatalog.com, a local Dallas area partner. Sean presented a great overview of his product, SmartCatalog (www.SmartCatalog.net). His presentation was pretty much a deep dive into SmartCatalog rather than a sales pitch. It showed a good example of what can be done with Microsoft CRM and how versatile it can be. I think this kind of presentation from other vendors (and lunch sponsors) will be of great benefit and interest to the group moving forward.

James Johnston with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM UX team gave a presentation via LiveMeeting. I’m not at liberty to discuss it as it was under NDA. But he gave the attendees a glimpse into the upcoming CRM 5. One of the advantages of belonging to a group like this is access to such information.

Yours truly wrapped up the meeting with a presentation on various resources that are available on line for users, developers, & implementers to seek and share information about CRM with their peers.

The prime-mover of the group is Syed Ali with PrintPlace.com in Arlington, Texas. He is the visionary who conceived of the group, coordinated with the national organization, and organized the meeting. Please contact Syed at Sali@printplace.com for information on future meetings and how you can be involved. We hope to have meetings in other locations such as Oklahoma City, Houston, Austin, and of course, San Antonio. Thanks also to our sponsors at Microsoft, Brett Bergman and Tom Pertzborn who made the facilities at Microsoft available.

Involvement in user groups such as CRMUG and our TOLA Chapter are a great way to more about a product like Microsoft Dynamics CRM and take better advantage of its capabilities. I hope you will join us at a future meeting.