Frank McCallister – Rest In Peace


FrankMcCallister Via Facebook this morning, I received an email from someone I did not know…

"Frank had a massive heart attack last Wednesday and passed away this morning at 1:50."

My first thought was “who is this person sending me an email about someone called Frank…” I checked their friends and it showed one person. Frank McCallister. No – I thought it can’t be so. I checked with the other SBS MVPs and found that yes – sadly it was.  Frank McCallister passed away last night after a heart attack earlier in the week.

For those that knew him, they knew a kind, gentle soul that would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. They knew a man who had many many stories to share and always got a laugh or two. They knew a man who would always pull a group into line if they got a bit to far one way or the other.  They knew a man who was always respectful of everyone he met.

Frank shared once with me some of his experiences as a test fighter pilot. I figure he must have been a damn good pilot to have live such a long life. Frank contributed to the community via a number of SBS focused newsgroups and mailing lists and helped thousands of people in his time. He seldom asked for help in return.

Frank – you will be missed. May you rest in peace.

Category: People I meet
Published: 28/02/2009 9:46 AM

He came… He saw… He listened – Thanks Nick!


Last Wednesday was the last SMB iT Professional meeting that Nick King and I had the chance to do last week.  Sydney finished off a whirlwind 3 day tour of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Nick’s visit to Australia was something he personally asked to do as he wanted to get a good feel on what we as Aussies needed from Microsoft.  Being a Kiwi, Nick knows all too well how us Aussies can be so very direct in our feedback.  That attitude and understanding meant that the people that attended these meetings were able to be very open as to what they thought was good and bad about everything SBS and EBS related (some even tried to give feedback on Windows 7).

Some of the things Nick was involved in this week included…

1. He took heavy “feedback” on the SBS and EBS Hands on labs that were presented around Australia by Excomm in November last year. Nick was very open in revealing that they made changes based on the feedback given and that the revised content which will be available in the coming months should be far more relevant to us all.

2. Nick held open sessions on most any topic related to SBS and EBS and attendees found out how some of the inner workings of SBS and EBS worked to a greater degree.

3. Nick also presented free form sessions on Migration, Virtualisation and the EBS Preparation and Planning Wizard which lead on to other topics that people wanted to know more about.

I’ll be posting later this week additional information that Nick promised us – I’m flying around Australia this week and next doing a Licensing/Hyper-V session with Microsoft Australia.

Category: SBS 2008 / Cougar
Published: 25/02/2009 9:23 AM

SBS 2008 R2 – I want it now!


SBS2008R2FAKE Funny you know – SBS 2008 was released in November last year, and we all know that it’s based on Windows Server 2008 which was released in February 2008.  Given that many people have still not made the move to SBS 2008 nor understand it’s features and configuration properly, I find it amusing to hear that people are wanting SBS 2008 R2.  Microsoft have not even announced if there will be an SBS 2008 R2 or when it will be available and yet people are assuming that it will be and that it will contain everything in Windows Server 2008 R2.  May I remind you that when Microsoft released SBS 2003 R2, they did NOT put all the features of Windows Server 2003 R2 into it.  Instead they focused on other pain points that the SMB customers needed resolved – the primary one being patch management and in that they totally automated the deployment of client side patches and eased the burden on the administrator all round.  Why then are people wanting “the next big thing” when they don’t even have a decent grasp on the current product?

Many of the features of Windows Server 2008 R2 rely on having Vista Enterprise deployed.  Given that the majority of SMB clients purchase their workstation OS with their desktop and this is Vista Business, I fail to see how they will pony up the extra $$$ to move up scale.

Guy – for my part, I’m focusing on what is here and now.  I’m focusing on playing with the products we have and seeing how I can get the best out of them for my customers.  Once I’ve had them installed for 12 months in my customer base and I’ve taught myself all I can about them, then I’ll look at the next versions for use in my customer base.  My advice for what it’s worth is to do the same.  With the current financial times we are in, focus on what you can deliver now.  Focus on doing the best job for your clients. Focus on getting referral business from those clients and not try to sell the next bright shiny object that passes by.

And yes the box shot above is my lame impression of what SBS 2008 R2 might look like… maybe I’ll create something cool for April 1st… <evil grin>

Category: SBS 2008 / Cougar
Published: 21/02/2009 12:39 PM

HP ConfigureAIDER DX is Here.


image As reported last week in my blog, HP have listened to community feedback and are re-releasing the HP ConfigureAIDER progam which made it so easy for us to spec and quote HP Servers.  You can download it direct from HP here 


As you cen see in the screen below, only a few of the servers are included right now. Others will be added over the coming weeks/months to build out the entire configuration once more.

Thanks HP for listening.


Published: 16/02/2009 11:49 PM

Nicholas King hits town.


Next week, Microsoft Technical Product Manager, Nicholas King will make a visit through the Eastern capitals of Australia.  Nick is actually a Kiwi (but we won’t hold that against him) normally based in Microsoft Redmond campus and he’s responsible for all the technical training / information that the SBS and EBS teams produce.  As part of his visit here in Australia, we’ve managed to get him to visit Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney and conduct an open session for the SBSC and SMB IT Professional community and an hour or so of training – I picked migration as the topic everyone seems to be asking me about right now, but Nick can talk on any level.

Venues/Dates/Times are below – so make sure you respond to the various polls in the relevant usergroup list.

Brisbane – Monday February 16th

Microsoft Offices – 6pm


Melbourne – Tuesday February 17th

Microsoft Offices – 6pm


Sydney – Wednesday February 18th

Microsoft North Ryde – 6pm

Category: Training
Published: 15/02/2009 9:06 PM

Trend WFBS 5.1 on SBS 2008


Microsoft has been investigating an issue that affects all Windows Server 2008 products, but is shown up more so by things like Trend WFBS 5.1 and other antivirus software.  The issue is that anything that uses the common firewall driver in 2008 will be affected.  SBS2008 servers may start to have Active Directory errors, issues accessing the server via RDP and a variety of other errors.  All this will start after 5 to 7 days.  The only workaround so far has been to schedule a reboot of the affected server every 5 to 7 days.

It’s important to note that the issue is NOT to do with TrendMicro products as it happens also with other AV vendors as well.  It’s a Microsoft issue and they have been working hard on resolving the issue.  Microsoft have now released a hotfix for this which you can obtain from the URL below. The MS KB 961775 is not available just yet but should be out shortly.

Category: SBS 2008 / Cougar
Published: 12/02/2009 8:30 AM

Windows 7 Beta and SBS 2008


SBS2008 is designed to allow the end user to easily connect computers to the SBS 2008 network.  It does this via the Connect computer wizard where all the user needs to do is to type in http://connect into their Internet Explorer on their new PC and it will walk them through the rest of the process doing all the hard work.  Microsoft have tested this and support it with Windows XP Pro, and Vista Business, Enterprise and Ultimate editions.  Many people are now using Windows 7 beta to see how it performs vs. Vista.  Bearing in mind that the Windows 7 beta is JUST THAT – a beta, and should not be used for production use, it’s no surprise that the default installation of SBS 2008 will not automatically work with the Connect computer wizard.

Never fear though because Microsoft have this week released a blog post that details how you can modify SBS 2008 to support the addition of Windows 7 beta.  The link here will show you more on how to make it happen.

Category: SBS 2008 / Cougar
Published: 11/02/2009 7:51 AM

HP Australia – listening to the SMB IT Professional community


image Tonight we had the first meeting of the SMB IT Professionals group in Sydney for the year.  We had some really good presentations from HP, StorageCraft and LogMeIn.  The big thing of the night was the announcement by local HP Server Product manager, Ari Palandjian that following huge community feedback HP Australia will be bringing back the HP ConfigureAider program that we all love so much.  It’s estimated that the new release will be out next Monday (all going well).  The slide below shows more info. 

The other thing I want to applaud HP for is for trying hard to meet the feedback we gave them in terms of their configuration.  The new bundles from HP are a great start in terms of having 4GB minimum with a minimum configuration of DIMMs as well as things like battery backed cache for the higher end servers.  Sure the price point for these servers might not be the level we all have been used to over the past few years, but personally I think we’ve been spoiled by the decreasing price of SBS 2003 over the years vs. the new price and hardware requirements of SBS 2008.

Thanks HP for listening to the community. It’s a great start and I applaud you for continuing to listen to our needs and build systems that help us sell more.


Category: SMBiTPro
Published: 10/02/2009 7:56 PM

Hyper-V and SBS/EBS coming soon


I’ll be travelling the country side later this month working with Microsoft to deliver some sessions on Licensing and Hyper-V.  My session will be focused just on Hyper-V with SBS and EBS.  The outline is below.  You can register for the event here

Hyper-V with SBS and EBS

Want to know more about how to run SBS and EBS in a Hyper-V environment? Wayne Small will share his real world experiences on how Hyper-V with SBS environments. You will learn everything from the 101 basics through to advanced migration techniques using Hyper-V. Built using real world scenarios and real world clients, this 1 hour session will give you the basics to get up and running.  We might even have time to cover some exam tips for the Hyper-V and SBS/EBS exams!

I’ll have done the Hyper-V Exam by then and will be able to give some tips and tricks on how to pass that too!  I look forward to seeing you at this event!

One of the cool things about this event too is the Licensing side of the event.  “THE MAN” for licensing in Australia – Thomas Kablau will be there talking about Licensing.  Now Thomas is “The Man” when it comes to licensing here in Australia, so there is NOTHING he can not answer or advise on.  If you have ANY licensing questions then this is THE session to come to.


Category: Training
Published: 6/02/2009 10:46 AM