When I got home from work last night a nice surprise was waiting for me. I finally got my Microsoft Band. I already wrote a blog post about the Microsoft Band and the feature it offers. After the first 12 hours I already love it. It is great to have all the notifications directly on your wrist and don’t have to check your smartphone all the time. I am looking forward to test it a bit more, if you have any question feel free to comment on this post.
Last year it was the first time I was awareded by Cisco with the Cisco Champions Award for 2014. This morning I found some great news in my inbox again. I feel honored to be part of the Cisco Champions community again for 2015. Since I do a lot of Datacenter projects with Microsoft and Cisco technologies I can see that the new partnership between Cisco and Microsoft is really paying off and we can expect even better integration and services from both companies.
Congratulations: Welcome to the Cisco Champions Program 2015!
Because of your excellent contributions to the IT community, you have been chosen out of hundreds of applicants, to be a member of the Cisco Champions team in 2015. Congratulations!
Cisco Champions are seasoned IT technical experts and influencers who enjoy sharing their knowledge, expertise, and thoughts across the social web and with Cisco. The Cisco Champions program encompasses different areas of interest, such as Data Center, Internet of Things, Enterprise Networks, Collaboration and Security. Cisco Champions are located all over the world.
Nearly a year ago Microsoft released a Disaster Recovery solution called Hyper-V Recovery Manager. This was basically a hosted orchestration engine in Microsoft Azure which allowed you to orchestrate datacenter failovers using the in Hyper-V build in feature called Hyper-V Replica.
In 2014 Microsoft invested a lot of work and time to improve this service and in January 2014 HRM changed the name to Azure Site Recovery (ASR).
- In January 2014 Microsoft announced GA of the Azure Site Recovery service which allowed you to use it for DR Orchestration between on-premises Hyper-V sites using Hyper-V Replica
- In July 2014 Microsoft acquired a company called InMage and integrated DR Orchestration between on-premises VMware sites using the InMage solution.
- In October 2014 Microsoft announced the GA for Azure Site Recovery DR Orchestration between Hyper-V on-premises and Microsoft Azure.
At TechEd Europe, Microsoft announced some new stuff coming in the next couple of months.
- In November 2014 Microsoft will offer a public preview for Azure Site Recovery using SAN Replication. This allows you to use your existing SAN replication and orchestrate your DR with Microsoft Azure Site Recovery.
- In 2015 Microsoft will allow you to use Azure Site Recovery to replicate your VMware and physical servers to Microsoft Azure.
- With Update Rollup 4 for System Center 2012 R2 and Azure Pack, Microsoft integrated Azure Site Recovery as a plan or Add-on property for VM clouds. This allows service providers to offer Azure Site Recovery to customers as an option of a VM Cloud plan or Add-On.
This is just a quick overview about the possibilities you have with Azure Site Recovery. I will cover some advanced scenarios in with a series of blog posts in the next couple of weeks. Until then I would recommend you to watch the session with Michel Lüscher and me at System Center Universe Europe where we talked about the Azure Site Recovery solutions before the TechEd announcements.
Some weeks ago I was in the US for a couple of days, I took advantage of that and visited the Microsoft Store to get a Microsoft Band which was unfortunately out of stock. But I found another great gadget, which as far as I know is only available in the US and Canada, called the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. The Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter is basically a Miracast receiver, which you can use to project your Windows, Windows Phone or Android display wireless to another screen or projector.
The adapter has a HDMI port for the display signal and a USB port to power the adapter. You plug them in to your TV and after the adapter finished booting you can start connecting your Wireless Display. The Wireless Display Adapter does not only stream the video, it also allows you to stream audio.
This is perfect not only at home, but also during meetings or presentations. With the Windows Store App for the Wireless Display Adapter you can also configure some settings like name or security for the adapter.
Last Sunday I finally arrived back home in Switzerland after 3-4 weeks of traveling, presenting, working and enjoying in different cities. I had a great time, met a lot of great people, learned a lot of new stuff and had a lot of great opportunities to present. This is why I think I should write a little summary about the past weeks.
My first job in the journey was the VeeamON 2014 in Las Vegas. Veeam did a great job with their first Data Center Availability Conference where they had keynote speakers like Ratmir Timashev (CEO Veeam) and Alexis Ohanian (Co-founder of reddit) and over 50 breakout sessions. They also released a new backup product for physical endpoints during the event, which allows you to backup physical servers.
E2EVC Barcelona 2014
After a little break in my travel list I was the Experts to Experts Virtualization Conference in Barcelona. During this event I had a session where I talked about Disaster Recovery using Azure Site Recovery. The E2EVC is always a great event to learn about different virtualization solutions from different vendors such as Microsoft, VMware and Citrix.
TechEd Barcelona 2014
After the the E2E Virtualization Conference I did a quick visit at TechEd Europe where I met some of my friends from itnetx. And of course I also had some free time and visiting the city.
Microsoft MVP Summit Redmond
After a great time in Barcelona and a couple of days back home in Switzerland I was invited for the Microsoft MVP Summit on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond. Time to learn about new technologies and have some great discussions with the Microsoft Product Groups and other Microsoft MVPs. Seattle is always a great city to visit and I love to spend some extra days in Seattle even I didn’t get a Microsoft Band.
My last business stop was the Midwest Management Summit (MMS) in Minneapolis. During this event I had two sessions, one about Building a Datacenter Abstraction Layer with System Center Virtual Machine Manager and one about Disaster Recovery using Azure Site Recovery including the new solutions Microsoft showed at TechEd Europe.
My Last stop in the journey was New York where I spend some free days with some friends before I finally went back home to Switzerland.
Microsoft today announced a new product called Microsoft Band. The Microsoft Band focuses on health and fitness and comes with over 10 different sensors for health, sports and sleep tracking like built-in GPS and 24-hour heart rate monitoring to help you reach your fitness goals.
- 24-hour heart rate monitor: Gives you a better understanding of your calorie burn, sleep patterns, and peak and resting heart rate so you can perform at your best.
- Run: Whether you’re on the treadmill at the gym or outdoors in the rain or sun, you can view your run summary on your band with personalized metrics in the phone app including pace splits and heart rate.
- Steps: Set a goal and track your progress. Microsoft Band calculates the calories you’ve burned and the distance you’ve traveled each day.
- Built-in GPS: Measures the distance you’ve run and tracks your pace and route. Save your favorites to retrace your steps and challenge yourself later.
- Calorie tracking: Count the calories you burn each day. View daily or weekly stats, set goals, and receive a virtual “high-five” when you reach them.
- Sleep tracking: When activated, Microsoft Band tracks the length and quality of your sleep. Analyze the sleep charts in your app to gain insights about your slumber.
- Guided Workouts: Fun and challenging workouts from fitness partners like Gold’s Gym, Shape, and Men’s Fitness with exercise prompts on the band and much more in the app.
- Goal setting: Challenge yourself by setting daily step and calorie goals. Microsoft Band notifies you when you meet them so that you can stay motivated.
- UV monitor: Get a quick read of the UV Index while you’re out and about.
Cloud-based service Microsoft Health
Microsoft Health is a cloud-based service that helps you live healthier by providing actionable insights based on data gathered from the fitness devices and apps that you use every day. Activity-tracking devices like the new Microsoft Band, smart watches, and mobile phones plus services like RunKeeper or MyFitnessPal connect easily to Microsoft Health. Using this fitness data and our Intelligence Engine in the cloud, Microsoft Health provides valuable, personal insights so you can reach your fitness goals.
Be more productive
But the Microsoft Band is much more. It also offers a lot of features as a smartwatch or personal assistant. Which shows you the usual stuff like text messages, meetings, calls, Facebook and Twitter integration but if you are using a Windows Phone you also have Cortana (the personal assistant on Windows Phone) integrated. These features should not only help you trough your daily life, they also should make you more productive and help you to keep your phone in your pocket.
Some of the function Microsoft offers in terms of notifications and alerts.
- Text Messaging: Get your text messages right on your wrist.
- Calls: See incoming call and voicemail notifications on your band.
- Calendar: Microsoft Band stays in sync with the calendar on your phone, reminding you of important events throughout the day so you can be where you need to be.
- Email: Monitor and preview email activity right on your band, so you don’t have to pull out your phone in the middle of your lunch date.
- Smart notifications: Choose which alerts you get on your wrist. Change the notification settings on your phone and your Microsoft Band will match.
- Watch mode: Turn on “Watch Mode” to always display today’s time and date without pressing any buttons.
- Facebook & Facebook Messenger: Stay up to date on Facebook without having to check your phone. Get the latest posts, comments, photo notifications, and personal messages on your band.
- Twitter: Tweets, mentions, retweets, messages, new followers. Set your preferences on your phone and see it all on your wrist.
- Cortana: If you’re using Windows Phone 8.1, you can take notes and set reminders with your voice using Cortana personal assistant.
- Weather: Get real-time weather conditions and a 5-day forecast to plan your week.
- Finance: Create a watch list for select stocks in your Microsoft Health app. View the latest ticker activity right on your wrist.
- Starbucks: No need to reach for your wallet. Enjoy coffee on the go with your Starbucks card ready to scan at arm’s length.
- Timer & Stopwatch: Time your laps or your entire workout with the stopwatch. Set alarms to wake up silently or remind you to go for a run.
- Do-not-disturb mode: Tap the icon on your band to turn all notifications off.
- Personalization: With your choice of background designs and colors, let Microsoft Band reflect your personality.
- Display: The full color touch display is bright and easy to read, even in direct sunlight.
- Bluetooth 4.0: With Bluetooth 4.0, your data syncs to your phone in the background, so Microsoft Band is always up to date. You don’t have to log in to get the latest.
Works with the phone you own
The Microsoft Band not just works with Windows or Windows Phone devices, it can also be used on iOS or Android devices.
Microsoft says the battery life of the Microsoft Band will be up to 48h and is only available in the US for $199 (Microsoft Store). I am totally looking forward to replace my Nike Fuelband with this devices.
Microsoft today released Update Rollup 4 for System Center 2012 R2. Update Rollup 4 (UR4) fix some issues and new features in the System Center components as well as Windows Azure Pack.
Components that are fixed in this update rollup
- Data Protection Manager (KB3009516)
- Operations Manager (KB2992020)
- Service Manager (KB2989601)
- Service Provider Foundation (KB2992021)
- Service Reporting (KB2992025)
- Virtual Machine Manager (KB2992024)
- Windows Azure Pack (KB2992027)
- Windows Azure Pack Websites (KB2992029)
Especially Virtual Machines Manager includes a lot of fixes and DPM also brings beside fixes some interesting new features such as support for SQL Server 2014. In Azure Pack Microsoft added now the possibility to use Azure Site Recovery Manager into plans for DC Failovers via Hyper-V Replica.
My Name is Thomas Maurer. Microsoft MVP for Hyper-V. Work as a Cloud Architect for itnetx gmbh, a consulting and engineering company located in Bern/Switzerland. I am focused on Microsoft Technologies, especially Microsoft Cloud Solutions based Microsoft System Center, Microsoft Virtualization and Windows Azure.
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