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System Center Universe Europe 2014

Videointerview with Thomas Maurer at the SCU Europe in Basel

Carsten Rachfahl (Microsoft MVP Hyper-V) did interview me at System Center Universe Europe 2014 in Basel. We talked a little about my sessions I did at SCU 2014 and my job at itnetx.



MMS Midwest Management Summit

Speaking at MMS

After System Center Universe Europe 2014 and E2EVC Brussels, I am proud to announce that I am also speaking at the new Midwest Management Summit (MMS). The Midwest Management Summit is a 3-day conference purposely capped to just 500 attendees so that nobody gets lost in the crowd. Speakers have time to meet and talk to you. No rushing people out of a session to get the next speaker going. Time to absorb what you see and talk it over with speakers and other attendees.

I will speak in two sessions:

Building a Datacenter Abstraction Layer with Virtual Machine Manager

The session delivers an overview about how you can build a Datacenter Abstraction Layer between your Fabric such as Storage, Network and Compute resources and your services. The session is focused on Fabric Management with System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager. Attendees will learn how to build an Datacenter Abstraction Layer between Fabric and Services with Virtual Machine Manager.

Disaster Recovery with Azure Site Recovery

The session shows you, how you can use Microsoft Disaster Recovery Technologies such as Hyper-V Replica, System Center Virtual Machine Manager and Azure Site Recovery to failover your Microsoft Cloud. It also shows the scenario how you can replicate virtual machines to Microsoft Azure. This includes knowledge about the different Disaster Recovery Solutions from Microsoft

The Midwest Management Summit will take place from November 10-12 in the Radisson Blu, Mall of America Minnesota, USA.

If you are interested to join the so called new MMS, checkout the  Midwest Management Summit website.

 

MMS

Join the Midwest Management Summit and learn everything about the Microsoft CloudOS, System Center, Hyper-V, Microsoft Intune and Microsoft Azure.



E2EVC Copenhagen

Speaking at E2EVC 2014 Barcelona

This year I was already speaking at the E2E Virtualization Conference in Brussels. Together with Michael Rüefli I was talking about the Microsoft CloudOS and how you can build a Cloud based on this technology such as Windows Server, Hyper-V, Storage Spaces and Windows Azure Pack.

From 24-26 October the E2EVC will take place in Barcelona, Spain. In one session I will speak about Disaster Recovery with Hyper-V Replica and Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Manager. I will show you how you can failover your Virtual environment from one datacenter to another or how you can failover your Virtual Machines to Microsoft Azure.

 



Windows 10 Product Familiy

Windows 10, Windows Server and System Center Technical Preview

Yesterday Microsoft announced the new name and some of the features of the next version of Windows, called Windows 10. Windows 10 will bring a lot of new features for enterprises and also consumers. It will make switching between touch and non-touch inputs a lot easier and will make you a lot more productive. Microsoft brings Windows to a whole range of devices and is talking about releasing one product family, one platform and one store for the next version of Windows. This doesn’t mean to have one single UI but you will find the same core everywhere.

Windows 10 will bring a lot of new features such as:

Windows 10 Virtual Desktops

  • Start menu: The familiar Start menu is back, but it brings with it a new customizable space for your favorite apps and Live Tiles.
  • Everything runs in a window: Apps from the Windows Store now open in the same format that desktop apps do and can be resized and moved around, and have title bars at the top allowing for maximize, minimize, and close with a click.
  • Snap enhancements: You can now have four apps snapped on the same screen with a new quadrant layout. Windows will also show other apps and programs running for additional snapping and even make smart suggestions on filling available screen space with other open apps.
  • New task view button: There’s a new task-view button on the taskbar for quick switching between open files and quick access to any desktops you create.
  • Multiple desktops: Create desktops for different purposes and projects and switch between these desktops easily and pick up where you left off on each desktop.
  • Find files faster: File Explorer now displays your recent files and frequently visited folders making for finding files you’ve worked on is easier.

Check out the Introducing Windows 10 – the best Windows yet

Today Microsoft is releasing the Windows 10 Technical Preview and also the Technical Preview for System Center and Windows Server.

Some of the cloud innovation features Microsoft will release with the Technical Preview of System Center and Windows Server::

  • Infrastructure upgrades: Rolling upgrades for Hyper-V clusters to the next version of Windows Server without downtime for your applications and workloads. This includes support for mixed versions as you transition your infrastructure.
  • Networking:  New components for our software-defined networking stack that enable greater flexibility and control, including a network controller role to manage virtual and physical networks.
  • Storage: New synchronous storage replication that enhances availability for key applications and workloads plus storage Quality of Service to deliver minimum and maximum IOPS in environments with workloads with diverse storage requirements.
  • Remote Desktop: Enhanced application compatibility with OpenGL and OpenCL support.
  • Identity and Access Management: New scenarios to reduce the risk profile of administrators with elevated rights, including time-based access with fine-grained privileges, and new application publishing capabilities.

You can download the latest version of the Windows 10 Technical Preview on the Windows Preview Site

And you can get the Technical Preview for System Center and Windows Server from MSDN or test it directly in Microsoft Azure.



System Center Universe Europe 2014

System Center Universe Europe 2014 – Recap

Finally I found some time to write a quick recap about the System Center Universe Europe 2014 conference in Basel. Since I live 20 minutes from the city center it was easy for me to get there. I already enjoyed some evenings with some of the speakers and attendees which arrived some days before the SCU conference in Basel. It is always a great chance to talk to other experts and share some experience.

On Wednesday the SCU Europe 2014 finally kicked off and we had 3 days fully packed with System Center and Microsoft CloudOS sessions, industry experts from around the world, networking and other parties. Three days which need a lot of your time and energy but which are totally worth it.

System Center Universe Europe 2014

I had the chance to deliver two sessions, the first session I was talking together with Walter Dey (Former Cisco Distinguished Engineer) about different Software-Defined Networking (SDN) solutions from Cisco, VMware and of course Microsoft. In the second session I was talking with Michel Lüscher (Microsoft COE Architect) about Disaster Recovery with Hyper-V Replica and Azure Site Recovery.

System Center Universe Europe 2014

The session recordings not just for my sessions but also for all the sessions at System Center Universe Europe 2014 will be available in the next weeks.

Other highlights were the official Speaker and Sponsor party on Wednesday, the networking party/event on Thursday and the closing party on Friday. The feedback I got so far is that this was an absolutely great event with awesome sessions, perfect organization and a lot of fun. I really can’t wait to be back next year for System Center Universe Europe 2015.



Surface Pro 3 with Type Cover

First Impressions of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Over a week ago I finally got my Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and I will try to cover my first impressions in this blog post. Two years ago I replaced my notebook with the Surface Pro and one year later I replaced the Surface Pro with the Surface Pro 2. I have used both devices as my primary work devices for work as a consultant, at university and at home. The Surface is the perfect work device since I travel a lot. With the Surface I replaced my notebook, my desktop and my tablet with one single device. I always had one complain about the Surface and this was the screen size. If you travel and you work 8-10 hours in front of a 10-inch screen, you start thinking about a bigger screen. Lucky with the Surface Pro 3 Microsoft changed that. Now the Surface Pro 3 got a 12-inch screen and they also changed the ratio from 16:9 to 3:2 which makes a huge difference in terms of space on the screen. I just love the new screen size, it is absolutely perfect and still not too large for traveling. But let me jump back to the review.

Technical Specifications

Surface Pro 3 Specifications

First of all I got the I7 version with 265GB of storage:

  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Size: 292.1mm x 201.4mm x 9.1mm
  • Weight: 800 grams
  • Screen: 12” ClearType Full HD Plus
  • Resolution: 2160 x 1440
  • Aspect Ratio: 3:2
  • Touch: Multi-touch
  • Battery Life: Up to 9 hours of web browsing
  • Storage and RAM: 64GB or 128GB storage with 4GB RAM and 256GB or 512GB storage with 8GB RAM
  • CPU: 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor family (i3, i5, i7)
  • TPM Chip for enterprise security
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11ac/802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth® 4.0 Low Energy technology
  • Full-size USB 3.0
  • microSD™ card reader
  • Headset jack
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • Cover port
  • 5.0 megapixel rear-facing camera
  • 5.0 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Stereo microphones
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby® sound
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Magnetometer
  • Surface Pen
  • 36W Power supply

Design and Durability

Surface Pro 3 with Pen

For me a great device includes three different things, design, features and a great eco system for applications and accessories. And this was one of the reason why I was a Apple user for a long time, because they offered great design, great hardware features and they had an ecosystem were software and hardware worked perfectly together.  Microsoft does not disappoint with the Surface line, the first and the second generation was already great and the third generation does not stop there. With the Surface Pro 3 Microsoft could finally make the device a lot thinner and than before. The device now has a larger 12-inch screen and a new 3:2 ratio instead of the 16:9 ratio before. This makes a huge difference if you hold the device in portrait mode to read something or browse the web and it also offers you a lot more space on the screen. Another change Microsoft did was to change the color from the dark VaporMg from the Surface Pro line to the silver color of the Surface 2. I am still not sure which color I like more, but both look great to me. After the size and the color the third big change is the new kickstand. The new kickstand does not only offer two position like the Surface Pro 2, you can now put the Surface in any position you want.

As always the build quality of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is just impressive. As a former Apple product user, I am really happy with quality, design and the durability of the Surface Pro 3. Microsoft sends a clear message here to his partners and competitors, about quality of tablets and notebooks. Everything seems to be at the right place and all buttons and the whole chassis is feeling very “high-class”. I really like the size and dimensions of the Surface Pro 3. The Surface Pro 3 is not only thinner as the Surface Pro 2, it is also lighter. The Surface Pro 3 is 9.1mm thin and 800g light, which makes it a lot more portable than most ultrabooks out there but of course heavier than most tablets.

Display and Audio

Surface Pro 3 with Type Cover

For a tablet the display is the key component, and Microsoft did a great job with the Surface Pro 3. I already liked the screen of the Surface Pro 2 but the new screen is just amazing. Not only do I like the new high resolution (2160 x 1440) and the aspect ratio of 3:2, I also love the colors. One of the most underestimated features of the Surface Pro line is the integrated digitizer pen, which allows you to use digital Ink.

The Surface Pro comes with a digitizer pen which is perfect to take notes with OneNote and other stuff. As I mentioned I am using the Surface Pro at work and at university. At university I am using the pen mostly to take notes and mark some important stuff in documents and PDF files. At work I am not only using it to take notes, it’s also great during workshops or presentation, where you quickly want to draw something instead of using a whiteboard or a flipchart. And for all iPad or Android users, this is not just a normal Pen which buses capacitive touch, which basically is just a simulated finger, this is a digitizer pen which only works with special displays and for example offers pressure sensitivity and automatically deactivates touch input during your writing so you can place your hand on the screen.

The new pen also adds an OneNote button. If you press the OneNote button once you will open up a new page in OneNote even if the Surface is locked. This feature really helps you if you have an idea you want to write down really quickly. If you press the OneNote button twice you will be able to quickly mark the spot on your screen and quickly take a screenshot and save it to OneNote. This feature is just one of the example where Microsoft brings together there products and services for a better customer experience.

Microsoft again improved the audio on the Surface Pro 3. And it is great if you want to watch a movie in the hotel room and it is pretty much better than on any other notebook or tablet I have used. But still if you are a music lover you better get some headphones or external speakers.

Ports and Internals

macbook-air-surfrace-pro-3

The Surface Pro 3 has full-size USB 3.0, microSDXC card slot, a Headset jack, a Mini DisplayPort and at the bottom a Cover port for the Type Cover 3. Of course also the older Covers work perfectly but they just don’t match in size. The position of the ports have changed a little bit from the Surface Pro 2. The great thing here is that Microsoft moved the Mini DisplayPort to the upper right side which allows you now to use that port even you have docked the Surface into your docking station. So you can easily use to 4K displays at the same time.

One the power adapter you get another USB port for charging other devices like your phone, so you can still use your USB 3.0 on the Surface for other things.

Heat and Fan Noise

The Surface Pro 3 comes equipped with a powerful 4th generation Intel i3, i5 or i7 processor. For myself I got the i7 version and if you run some heavy workloads the device gets a little hot. You can feel a little bit of temperature on the back site and you can some fan noise. In normal conditions the Surface stay cold and you can’t here anything from the fan. I think the heat and the fan noise are the result of the new and thinner design.

Wireless

The wireless performance on the Surface Pro 3 seems to be great with no issues or troubles at all. I really can’t wait to get one of the Miracast adapters to stream my display to a beamer or another display.

Type Cover 3

Surface Pro 3 with Type Cover

One of the great features of the Surface product line are the covers. With the Surface Pro 3 Microsoft also released the Type Cover 3 which is basically the successor of the Type Cover 2 and is even thinner. Microsoft are claiming there are a lot of optimizations in Type Cover 3 and the two you will really see are the size which matches the Surface Pro 3 now and the new trackpad. The new trackpad is key here, it is bigger and a lot better than the trackpad of the Type Cover 2. They changed it back to a hard plastic and made it clickable again, which just feels a lot better if you work with it but it does look better than the first version of the Type Cover. The new Type Cover 3 comes with backlit which makes it perfect if you are working low light conditions like the Type Cover 2. The backlighting is automatic and turns of if you are not using it. If your hover over the keyboard with your hand, the Type Cover will automatically turn on the light again.  They also added new color options two the lineup, the Type Cover 3 is available in purple, red, blue, cyan and black.

Again the Type Cover is on of the must have accessories if you want to use you Surface as a laptop replacement. It works pretty well with the build in kickstand.

Battery life and Performance

Surface Pro 3 Lumia 930

The first thing I realized when I did start the Surface Pro 3 was that this thing is a screamer. The performance seems to be amazing but since the Surface Pro 3 is using the same generation of Intel chips I don’t think there is a huge difference between CPU performance. I think the key difference could be that Microsoft is using faster SSD storage in the Surface Pro 3 than in the previous generations. Since performance never was an issue for me I still like the new performance boost. With the new core i7 version you should not only get more CPU power, you should also get some more graphics power.

Microsoft is claiming that you get up to 9 hours of battery life, which fore me is a little more than with the Surface Pro 2. In my first test I think I am pretty close to get this 9 hours. But what impresses me even more is the Connected Standby or InstandGo features which allows you to wake up the Surface Pro 3 within an second. In my first tests the I charged the Surface on Friday and worked during Friday, Saturday and Sunday around 7-8 hours and the battery life was okay until late Sunday evening. But to get exact numbers I still have to run some more tests and see how it behaves in day to day usage.

Camera

Finally Microsoft also upgraded the front-facing camera to a 5 megapixel camera like the Surface 2 already had, but the Surface Pro 2 didn’t get. For me this gets even more important if you do a lot of Conference Calls via Lync or Skype for example.

Software and Accessories

Surface Pro 3 Docking Station

Software is where everything comes together. Windows 8.1 works perfectly on the Surface Pro 3 and I really like the mix between touch and keyboard usage. I use it as a tablet with touch apps and can run a full desktop applications like Office to get real work done. I really love the combination of different Microsoft Services such as Skype or Lync for communication. But where the real power comes together is with OneDrive and OneNote. The new Surface Pen and OneNote are already a perfect combination. You can press the OneNote button on the Surface Pen and OneNote opens instantly and you can start taking notes, even if you are not logged. The notes from OneNote get sync via OneDrive on all your devices like your phone or desktop pc. Microsoft is not only bringing software services together, they are now also integrate hardware.

Microsoft also offers a lot of different accessories like display or Ethernet adapters which you just need to work efficiently. But they also offers some great accessories like the Type Cover 3 which allows you to use your Surface Pro 3 together with the built-in kickstand as notebook replacement or the Surface Pro Docking Station which allows you to dock your Surface if you are at the home or in the office and connect automatically to external displays, external hard drives, keyboards and other stuff. This two accessories complete the whole story of the Surface Pro 3.

Conclusion

Surface Pro 3 Docking Station

Now what can you expect from the Surface Pro 3? The Surface Pro 3 is a high class work machine which can transform to different devices such as a tablet or notebook and with the Surface Docking Station you can even replace your desktop. For me the Surface Pro 3 replaced three devices. It replaces my notebook which I need to get work done and I also use it as my tablet at home or when I watch movies on flights or in the hotel. At home I got the Surface Pro 3 docking station which allows me to use two external displays. Of course if you are looking for just a tablet or just something to replace your iPad, the Surface Pro 3 is probably not the right device for you. But if you like to replace your classic notebook and your tablet with one device, the Surface Pro 3 is just the best machine available right now.



System Center Universe Europe 2013

System Center Universe Europe – The Microsoft CloudOS Event you shouldn’t miss

In about 6 weeks System Center Universe 2014 opens it doors and if you want to learn and network about Microsoft CloudOS or Microsoft Datacenter solutions, you should definitely book this event.

System Center Universe Europe 2014

Register now for System Center Universe 2014 in Basel Switzerland. Date: September 17-19, 2014 Location: Basel-Switzerland Venue: Congress Center Basel Conference Language: English

SCU Europe 2014 is the successor of System Center Universe DACH 2013 in Bern, Switzerland. SCU DACH 2013 was a very successful community event, and got a lot of great feedback.

Never seen such a great event before. Thanks again for the great work and organization!

SCU DACH Is a potential succesor of MMS for people in Europe

Lineup was great.

Incredible high skilled speakers there. Loved it!Thanks to the organizators to bring up so many good speakers.Nice location, good beer and food and awesome people.

Absolut excellent! The entire team did a great job! Thank you for that.

Great job organizing this event. I would love to come back next year.

Extreme good organized, highly skilled speakers, very cool people and the content was amazing. Loved it and will be back next year for sure.

The Content

System Center Universe

This time System Center Universe Europe 2014 will be even bigger, with more speakers, more sessions and more experts. This time in for tracks there are around 60 breakout sessions around topics for the Microsoft Datacenter, Private Cloud, Public Cloud and Hybrid Cloud, focusing on technologies like:

  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • System Center 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Configurations Manager
  • Windows 8.1
  • BYOD
  • Software Defined Storage
  • Software Defined Networking
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Windows Intune
  • PowerShell
  • Windows Azure Pack
  • and a lot more…

For event attendees, only the best is good enough! SCU Europe will host the crème-de-la-crème of the Windows Server and System Center Community from all over the world, including a variety of Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) and Microsoft employees. Take the opportunity to learn from the best and most experienced experts and community leaders in the Microsoft System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management area. In addition to classic breakout sessions, attendees also have the opportunity to discuss specific topics with several experts in small groups. So make sure you bring your questions and problems with you to discuss them with the experts. A real added value!

More Value

SCU Experts

So you will have a lot of great content and real word examples in the breakout sessions. But this is not the only benefit. In this three days you will have a lot of opportunities to talk to experts and other attendees to share some real world experience.

As in SCU DACH 2013, SCU Europe 2014 will included lunch and some networking parties so there is enough time to share experiences and knowledge.

The Location

Messe Basel

The location is different this time. Last time SCU DACH 2013 was hosted in Bern Switzerland. This time, since the location had to grow, the event will be held in Congress Center in Basel Switzerland. Basel is a great city with a lot of things to see around the event it self. With it’s two train stations and it’s airport, Basel is a perfect location for an international conference like this. You can reach the event location from anywhere in about 15 minutes.

SCU Location Map Basel

Conclusion

Well if I would have the summarize all this, I would find the following reasons to go to the SCU Europe 2014:

  • A huge number of Microsoft Cloud and Datacenter Management Experts from all over the world.
  • Around 60 breakout sessions
  • Great networking opportunity, meet the who is who in the Microsoft Cloud and Datacenter Management stack.
  • 26 Microsoft MVPs
  • Speakers from Microsoft
  • Great organization
  • First Class catering
  • Perfect location
  • Networking Party
  • Perfect for a city trip in the heart of Europe
  • Cheap price CHF729 (599.88 Euro) for a three day pass including lunch and Networking party
  • exhibition & networking area with a lot of different vendors showing there products
  • Easy to reach (Airport, Train or Car)

So make sure you reserve the date and register for System Center Universe Europe 2014:

System Center Universe Europe 2014

Register now for System Center Universe 2014 in Basel Switzerland. Date: September 17-19, 2014 Location: Basel-Switzerland Venue: Congress Center Basel Conference Language: English