Monthly Archives: April 2007

Microsoft Silverlight Streaming – Home

Wow - more good news in the wake of the announcement that SilverLight was “born”.

On the SilverLight Live site you can get 4GB of hosting space for free – so if you want to try your hand in SilverLight head on over and start tapping those keys.

Cheers and happy coding!!! 

Link to Microsoft Silverlight Streaming – Home

Microsoft for Partner Roadshow Plus: Coming soon to a city near you!

Here’s some great news for the Perth MSFT Partners – the roadshow is here. 5 more sleeps and it’s rock and roll.

I’d suggest you hurry up and register if you haven’t already!!!

 

Dear Partner,

The Microsoft for Partner Roadshow Plus kicks off in Perth in just six days! If you haven’t already registered for one of the cities on the Roadshow tour, then make sure you register today.

A Microsoft for Partner Roadshow Premiere

For the very first time, Microsoft Australia is introducing interactive and instructor-led technical training sessions at the Microsoft for Partner Roadshow. So, in addition to the valuable business update and product roadmap information you will get at no charge, you can also choose to attend two of the very affordable technical training sessions.

For just $129 per person, you get six hours of hands-on lab training, delivered by Microsoft Technical Specialists. At this price, you can’t afford NOT to miss it!

Secure your spot and register today!

Don’t forget: Partner Briefings in Hobart and Darwin

The Partner Briefing sessions have been designed exclusively for our Partners in Hobart and Darwin, and will provide the latest product updates, complimentary technical training, and the opportunity to chat with the Microsoft team and experts.

Register for the Partner Briefing session today!

Kind regards,
The Microsoft Australia Partner Team


Please note: The Microsoft for Partner Roadshow Plus Registration Web site takes credit card only, so make sure you have your credit card details handy.

Still related with Silverlight

Lutz has released a new version of Reflector with Silverlight support (if you already downloaded a previous version, just run the update checker if you don”t get prompted for an automatic update). There”s alsoe  monotone demo app for silverlight. Go get it!

SDKs for Silverlight available!

What can I say? I should have complained earlier! :,,)

Sleep now, you’ll need it

http://www.conference2007.sbsmigration.com/

So Jeff is on IM telling me about the latest updates on the New Orleans IT Pro conference….and I think I’m going to start an extra hour of sleep each night in preparation starting now.  I’m pooped just hearing about the entertainment he has planned let alone the sessions.

First off the room rate of $119 a night is guaranteed until the end of this week (which, as a conference hotel person and high maintenance female that I am is a STEAL btw) but the hotel will honor that rate until the hotel runs out of space…good for us slow pokes who haven’t booked yet… and then he’s telling me that he’s going to need to let people know about the live performances that will be the Entertainers for the weekend…. Friday night is a Jazz trio led by a 12 time NOLA Jazz Festival performer, Tim Laughlin, Sunday night is a band led by the rhythm guitarist who did the studio and tour for Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint together with his 4 piece rhythm section and two female vocalists on the riverboat dinner cruise ship that is sponsored by the Microsoft Small Business Server product team.

Mind you this is the same weekend that Pirates of the Caribbean comes out in the cinemas, so skip the long lines for Johnny Depp’s latest flick and instead come to the real home of the Caribbean.  I think we’ll have lots more fun.  (Besides … Dean Paron is planning to be there… and he is way more interesting than Johnny Depp and cuter too don’t you think?)

Silverlight SDKs links broken

damn! there goes all the joy!

Silvelight beta is out!

According to Mike Harsh, there”s a new release with .NET support. It seems like now we”ve got a new site, new forums and new samples. Everything is concentrated on a single page. It”s time to start looking at Silverlight!

Taking the Plunge

I did it.  No – hell didn’t freeze over, and no – pigs aren’t flying.  But yes, I just recently did some network reconfiguration here at the office, moving from a dual-nic SBS Premium setup with ISA 2004 to a single-nic setup with a hardware router/firewall instead.   Gasp!  The horror! . . .

I’ll admit that for a long time I thought it would be a cold day in hell before you could pull ISA from my dead hands – but I would also be lying if I didn’t tell you that I definitely had a love/hate relationship with ISA – and it usually depended on the hour as to whether I was loving it or hating it.

So what is my thinking?  You know, if someone figures that one out would you please clue me in? smile_teeth    

Like most technology decisions, this was motivated by business needs – both the business needs of our clients as well as our own business needs to profitably deliver quality services to our clients.  First – we’re seeing an increased demand in managed security with the SMB client.  Second – we are continuously looking for ways to increase productivity and gain efficiency.  Third, we’re revamping our product offerings to better line up with our core business as an MSP by adding products that allow for additional recurring revenue opportunities.

So, the big question is what did we decide on to replace ISA 2004 in our office?  CheckPoint’s Safe@Office 500W Unified Threat-Management device.  Now why did this solution win out?

1)   Affordability / Flexibility.  The CheckPoint has several base models to choose from (wired or wireless with 5/25/Unlimited clients)  And nice add-on services including gateway anti-virus, anti-spam, web content filtering, etc.  The base models make it affordable to get this device into smaller clients who wouldn’t normally consider ISA.  Additionally, the add-on services allow clients to purchase features cafeteria-style and provide us with additional recurring revenue.

2)   Efficiency in Management.  CheckPoint offers their Security Management Portal for centralized management of these devices.  Their SMP was designed and built from the ground up for target MSPs and how we work: 

      *   Everything you can configure locally via the device can also be configured centrally from the SMP.  Additionally, with the SMP we can create groups with common configurations and apply those group settings to multiple devices very quickly and easily. 

      *   The SMP also streamlines setting up site-to-site VPNs between devices.  Simply build your VPN community in the SMP and pick the devices you want to belong to that community, then the SMP will generate the necessary configuration and push out to each of the devices.  This also allows you to have IPSec VPNs between devices that can only get dynamic public IPs.  When one device’s IP changes, it notifies the SMP which automatically updates the configuration on the other devices in the VPN community. 

      *   The SMP allows you to customize both administrative and customer-facing reports, so you can change the layout, the content, and even the look and feel to match your branding.  Customer-facing reports offer a lot of nice, colorful graphs which make sense to CXO level individuals at your clients. 

      *    The SMP is available either in a hosted solution, or in a purchase and run on your own server setup.

From a technical standpoint, there are pros and cons to both ISA and the CheckPoint (or other hardware firewalls).  There are a lot of things that ISA does better than many hardware devices – primarily web publishing, with its ability to inspect http traffic and route requests based on HTTP host headers, as well as providing egress filtering that integrates with Active Directory.  Where ISA falls short is when you have a service provider who needs to efficiently manage multiple installations at different customer sites with different needs.  Sure, I could probably build a repository of management scripts, and use Level Platforms’ Managed Workplace to push those scripts out to our managed client base, but why recreate the wheel – and run the risk of having to recreate those scripts as subsequent generations of ISA are released? 

Also, I will admit that I am beginning to question the feasibility of ISA on SBS.  I still don’t fully buy in to some people’s arguments that ISA on SBS is inherently insecure.  I’m beginning to question the feasibility of ISA on SBS not because of the security implications, but of the added complexity in setup and administration.  If you look at the SMB space and the SBS customer – their needs are changing.  Two years ago we could sell an SBS Premium to a customer who relied on Exchange and file shares.  In that scenario, adding ISA to the mix wasn’t that complicated or that big of a deal.  The customers we’re encountering today are looking for much more diverse and mature solutions.  Our typical SBS-based deployment is now a multiple-server environment.  SBSers are doing more with Exchange – particularly in terms of mobility, depending on SharepPoint for workflow management, version controls and increased collaboration, instead of simply document storage.  Our SBS clients are also much more likely to be running at least one Line-Of-Business app – in our experience most likely Dynamics GP and/or Dynamics CRM.

When you start putting all of this on to one box, change management becomes a bit of a challenge to say the least.  And even us long-time ISA fans have to admit that ISA is usually the first thing to come up when we start thinking about moving services off our SBS.  But investing in another box, plus another Windows Server license, plus ISA is often hard to swallow – especially when you look at it from a customer perspective and include services to install and configure that box.  From a business standpoint, when you compare that option to a solution like the CheckPoint that offers a significantly lower entry point, provides the MSP with a mechanism to recurring revenue, and provides a pre-build solution to efficiently manage a large number of devices from one central location, and it becomes a bit of a no-brainer.

Now the question is just how well this is going to work.  We’re now at 4 days since CheckPoint has replaced ISA in our office, and so far so good.  I’ll be sure to report back on my post-ISA experiences  smile_regular

I kan’t spel nymore

 Â» Text messaging and the death of the English language | Education IT | ZDNet.com:
http://education.zdnet.com/?p=1021


Ive kum 2 teh konkluzion that komputers r makin me spel badlee


Seriously, do you find that you are more and more reliant on Word’s spellchecker instead of remembering how to spell?  Get me on IM and you’ll see how badly I’m spelling these days (note to Microsoft, can I have a non-leet enabled spell checker for IM?)  As we use IM in business, you can see how badly grammar is when it’s ‘as is’ and ‘unfiltered’.  Even in  my blog posting, it’s pretty raw and needs work down here as I dump out my brain dumps and what not.


So…you seeing that you can’t spell like you used to anymore?


Or….. write cursive or print either for that matter?  My handwriting is getting worse all the time….


 

Resources for the SBS community

Looking for resources?


sbs2k-subscribe@yahoogroups.com – this is the tech listserve for the sbs community
mssmallbiz-subscribe@yahoogroups.com – this is the official Microsoft sponsored SBS yahoogroup and is the best place for licensing issues
smallbizit-subscribe@yahoogroups.com – want to start a practice, chat about succession planning, marketing or anything on the “business side” of business? 
smbmanagedservices-subscribe@yahoogroups.com – considering or doing managed services?  If considering, lurk, if doing, chat.
mscrm_smb-subscribe@yahoogroups.com – got a question about CRM in the SMB space?  That’s the group for you


Newsgroups for SBS:
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/community/newsgroups/dgbrowser/en-us/default.mspx?dg=microsoft.public.windows.server.sbs - main granddaddy of the SBS newsgroups.  Can be searched via google groups using advanced search of microsoft.public.windows.server.sbs as the group target.


I’m going to do more blogs in future posts but here’s a sample of some of the best:


Must have SBS blogs:
THE BLOG YOU MUST HAVE OR I WILL COME AND HUNT YOU DOWN IF YOU DON’T:
http://blogs.technet.com/sbs – if you have no other blog in your RSS reader/favorites, you MUST HAVE THAT ONE.
Second best SBS blog you must have or I will get Chico to chew on your legs –
http://sbs.seandaniel.com/
Eric Ligman’s Partner blog – http://blogs.msdn.com/mssmallbiz/
The TS2 gang have a blog portal – http://www.ts2seminars.com/content/blogs.aspx
Windows server community lead has a ton of SBS blogs linked on his blog – http://blogs.technet.com/kevin_beares/
Look for the blog of your local community lead – mine’s at http://norcalpcm.spaces.live.com/

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