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SCU Europe Thomas Maurer

System Center Universe Europe 2015 – Recap

I finally recovered from the conference and found some time to write about System Center Universe Europe 2015. I live 20 minutes from the city center it was easy for me to get there. I already enjoyed some evenings before the event with some of the speakers and attendees in Basel. It is always a great chance to talk to other experts and share some experience with people you only met online or just see 2-4 times a year at conferences.

On Monday the SCU Europe 2015 finally kicked off and we had 3 days fully packed with System Center, Windows Server, Azure, OMS and other sessions, industry experts from around the world, networking and other parties. Three to five days which need a lot of your time and energy but which are totally worth it.

On Monday, I had the chance to be part of session hosted by Savision – Are ITIL and System Center BFFs? by Jonas Lenntun, Kevin Greene, Kristian Nese, Robert Hedblom and Thomas Maurer. The session moderated by Jonas Lenntun was a lot of fun, had some great discussions and interaction with the audience about ITIL and especially ITIL in the Cloud first world.

Tuesday morning started early with Kristian Nese and me talking about Windows Azure Pack and Cloud OS deployments in the early morning discussion about Windows Azure Pack.

SCU Europe 2015 Azure Pack

After the early morning discussion Kristian and me switched to our next session about Nano Server – the next generation Cloud Server in your datacenter.

Later in the afternoon I had the chance to talk with Carsten Rachfahl about What’s new in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V.

After we enjoyed the attendees networking party on Tuesday evening, Michel Lüscher and myself started the day with our session about Microsoft Azure Site Recovery.

SCU Europe 2015 Azure Site Recovery

The session recordings not just for my sessions but also for all the sessions at System Center Universe Europe 2015 will be available in the next weeks. As soon as they are available I will post them on my blog, so make sure you subscribe.

SCU Europe 2015 Party

Other highlights were the official Speaker and Sponsor party on Monday, the closing note, where Marcel Zehner and Andre Pflaum presented how to automate and Manage your Tesla using PowerShell, System Center and OMS, and the closing party on Wednesday. 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 2016 which will take place in Berlin next year.

Pictures by Michael Seirer Photography

 

SCU 2015 Pizza

Fun Fact: I also started a second career as a pizza delivery boy



Veeam FastSCP for Microsoft Azure

Veeam FastSCP for Microsoft Azure

Veeam does some great products for your virtualization and datacenter environment such as their Veeam Backup & Replication suite, Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE and Management Packs for System Center Operations Manager. Now a couple of weeks ago Veeam released a cool free tool call Veeam FastSCP fro Microsoft Azure. With Veeam FastSCP (Secure Copy Protocol) for Microsoft Azure, IT Pros and Azure Developers can simply and reliably copy local files to Azure VMs, and copy files in Azure VMs to on-premises.

Veeam FastSCP for Microsoft Azure Diagram

The utility makes your life way easier when dealing with Virtual Machines running on Microsoft Azure IaaS.

  • Secure file copy with no independent encryption or VPN needed
  • Manual file copy to/from Azure VMs without the need to keep the UI open until the file copy completes
  • Automatic scheduling of file copy jobs for nightly or weekly copies to/from Azure VMs
  • A wizard-driven UI to copy files in just a few clicks – with no scripting needed

If you want to download it, check out the Veeam Website.

To set it up the tool connects to the PowerShell endpoint for your IaaS VM. Just add the Virtual Machine and you are ready to go! With that you can do some great things, like simply copy a file to an Azure IaaS VM or even doing scheduled backups of files from inside Azure VMs like Didier Van Hoye did.

 

 



SCU Savision Flyer

Are ITIL and System Center BFFs? – System Center Universe Europe

A couple of weeks ago I could finally announce the sessions about Hyper-V, Nano Server and Azure Site Recovery Manager I will present at System Center Universe Europe in Basel, together with some great speakers like Michel Lüscher (Microsoft), Carsten Rachfahl (Microsoft MVP) and Kristian Nese (Microsoft MVP). I am proud to announce that I will be part of another session hosted by Savision and Jonas Lenntun, CEO and Solution Architect at Approved Consulting. Together with other great minds, Kristian Nese, Kevin Greene, Robert Hedblom, I will answer the question “Savision: Are ITIL and System Center BFFs?”.

In the modern world where organizations are facing new challenges to be more competitive, they are looking for better ways to improve the quality and efficiency of their IT Service delivery using the ITIL framework. Gain valuable insights and best practices on how you can adopt the ITIL framework to Microsoft System Center and OMS from real world experiences together with Savision, Jonas Lenntun, CEO and Solution Architect at Approved Consulting, and Microsoft MVPs: Robert Hedblom, Kristian Nese, Kevin Greene and Thomas Maurer.

Book the session now into your session planer, and if you are not already registered for System Center Universe Europe in Basel, go for it!



System Center Logo

Summary: Update Rollup 7 for System Center 2012 R2 and Azure Pack now available

Last week Microsoft released Update Rollup 7 (UR7) for System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Azure Pack. And as always, Update Rollup 7 does not only include a bunch of fixes, it also includes some new features. This time especially Windows Azure Pack and System Center Virtual Machine Manager got some nice updates. Components that are fixed and updated in this update rollup

  • Data Protection Manager (3065246)
    • Support for Windows 10 Client operating system
    • Ability to use an alternative DPM server to recover from Azure Backup Vault
    • Improvements for backup on Hyper-V Replica VMs
    • Other improvements and fixes…
  • Orchestrator & SMA (3069115)
    • Orchestrator: some small fixes
    • SMA
      • SMA runbook execution fails if a PowerShell execution policy is set to Unrestricted through a Group Policy Object.
      • Fixed an error when you try to save or import a runbook in SMA
  • Operations Manager (will be released later)
    • The rollup is delayed by few weeks, as engineering team is working on recently reported issues.
  • Service Manager (3063263)
  • Service Provider Foundation (3069355)
    • This update includes general API changes to improve product quality.
  • Virtual Machine Manager (3066340)
    • Support for Windows 10 Client Operating System
    • Support for new Linux Operating Systems (Debian 8)
    • Support for VMWare vCenter 5.5 management scenarios (more infos VMWare vCenter 5.5 management scenarios)
    • Support for Multiple External IP Addresses per Virtual Network
    • Option to Reassociate Orphaned virtual machines to their Service or VM role
    • Support for VMM DHCP Extension PXE/TFP Forwarding
    • Some scale improvements if you have more than 50 Hyper-V Hosts
    • Some Hyper-V Network Virtualization (HNV) fixes and improvements
    • Other fixes…
  • Windows Azure Pack (3069121)
    • Tenants cannot delete the checkpoints of their virtual machines
    • Support for VM names of up to 15 characters
    • Displaying VHD items during virtual machine creation when there are no hardware profiles in the plan
    • Incompatible VHDs are offered to the tenant when attaching a VHD to a virtual machine
    • Support for tenant plan viewing and self-subscription permission based on security groups
    • Support for Shielded Virtual Machine Management when it’s run on Windows Server 2016 Preview
    • Virtual Machine performance data displayed in the tenant portal
    • Other fixes and improvements…
  • Windows Azure Pack Web Sites (3069358)
    • Adds support for IPv6 to IP SSL functionality
    • Changes Web Deploy publishing from publish.domain.com to site.scm.domain.com.
    • Other fixes and improvements…

One of the new features I want to highlight is the possibility to add multiple public (external) IP addresses to  Virtual Network (Using Hyper-V Network Virtualization HVN). This means a tenant can assign multiple public IP addresses on his NAT gateway and do port forwarding, for example if he runs multiple webservers in that VM Network. This is a feature a lot of customers especially service provider have missed for a long time.

Another improvement we can see is the support for the next release of Windows Server and also support for Windows 10.

 



Surface 3 Starbucks

My Microsoft Surface 3 Review

A couple of weeks ago I got myself a Microsoft Surface 3 as a secondary device to my Surface Pro 3. While I am totally happy with my Surface Pro 3 as my daily driver on the road, in the office or at home, I wanted a secondary device for home tablet use and to showcase some new Windows 10 scenarios with Azure Active Directory and Office 365 integration. I got some tweets from some user who wanted to know my feedback on the device and so here is a small review:

Technical Specifications

Surface 3 Specs

  • Size 10.52″ x 7.36″ x 0.34″ (267mm x 187mm x 8.7mm)
  • Weight 1.37 lbs (622g)
  • Display 10.8” ClearType Full HD Plus Display Resolution: 1920 x 1280 Aspect ratio: 3:2 10 point multi-touch
  • Surface Pen support
  • Battery Life: Up to 10 hours of video playback
  • RAM/Storage 2GB RAM with 64GB storage & 4GB RAM with 128GB storage
  • Processor Quad Core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor (2MB Cache, 1.6GHz with Intel Burst technology up to 2.4GHz)
  • Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Full-size USB 3.0
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • microSD card reader
  • Micro USB charging port
  • Headset jack
  • Cover port
  • Software Windows 8.1
  • 1-year of Office 365 Personal with OneDrive cloud storage
  • 3.5 megapixel front-facing camera
  • 8.0 megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus
  • Microphone
  • Stereo speakers with Dolby® audio
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Proximity sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Magnetometer

I got the smallest version with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

Design and Durability

Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3

Microsoft did it again, if you expect any sacrifices on design, quality and durability you are wrong. The Surface 3 comes, like the Surface Pro 3 with great design and great built quality. The Surface 3 comes with a 10 inch screen, the Surface Pro 3 comes with a 12 inch screen, but both have a 3:2 aspect ratio which I really like for getting stuff done. With that you can also use it in portrait mode without any problems.

The difference between the Surface 3 and the Surface Pro 3 is the size and performance. With that, the Surface 3 is designed to be used as a tablet. And you can feel that, the size and especially the weight is made for tablet usage. The Surface 3 is just 200 grams lighter than the Surface Pro 3 which is just enough to hold the tablet in one or to hands for awhile without getting tired arms. This is also handy if you are doing some writing using the Surface Pen.

Again, everything seems to be at the right place and all buttons and the whole chassis is feeling very “high-class”.

Display and Audio

If you think you get any sacrifices on display quality or audio, you are wrong again. The Surface 3 comes with a stunning display, very bright and good color quality, in some scenario, the display even feels brighter than the Surface Pro 3. Now the biggest surprise of the device was the audio quality, this is maybe the best audio quality I every had from a tablet. If you have used other tablets including the iPad or Surface 2, you know that audio quality wasn’t bad, but it was far from being good. The Surface 3 has changed this, of course it is still not somethings music enthusiast will really use, but if you want to watch House of Cards on Netflix the speakers are loud and clear.

The other big pictures here is the Surface Pen support. As the Surface Pro 3, the Surface 3 does support the Surface Pen, not like the Surface 2. This is great to take notes using OneNote and use it as a notebook, especially if you wake up in the middle of the night and have a great idea you can use the Surface Pen and the OneNote button to quickly open an new OneNote page.

Ports and Internals

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. 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 2. The Surface 3 does also have a new power port in form of a micro USB port, instead of the magnetic power port of the Surface 2 or Surface Pro 3. This is great so you can use every charger, even the one from your phone. But to be honest you don’t really want to do this, because the charging speed using a phone charger is very slow. And on the other hand you lose the magnetic adapter safety feature.

Heat and Fan Noise

The Surface 3 comes equipped with Quad Core Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor and I had never had any issues with heat or fan noise. To be honest, I am not even sure the Surface 3 has a fan. But on the other side, the workloads you are running on the Surface 3 are not even close as powerful as the applications you run on the Surface Pro 3.

Type Cover

Surface 3 Type Cover

The Surface 3 also comes with an own Type Cover in the right size. Microsoft also improved the Type Cover from the Type Cover 3 which you got with the Surface Pro 3, even you can not really see it directly. Especially the keys feel much better, which make it a perfect typing machine. I am sure with the next release of the Surface Pro comes out, the improvements in the Type Cover for the Surface 3 will be included in that as well.

Battery life and Performance

Surface 3 IE

I think this is the most important part for most of the people reading this review. First, the performance of the Surface 3 is a lot better than the performance of the Surface 2 and the same goes for battery life. But for the same the Surface Pro 3 performance is much better compare to the Surface 3. But this was clear right? The Surface 3 is designed as a tablet with light usage for office apps and some other apps as well, and the Surface 3 handles that just fine. The Surface Pro 3 is design as a powerful notebook replacement which is a total different story, so if you are looking on a powerful machine you should go with the Surface Pro 3, if you need something thin and light to use as a tablet and Office usage, you will definitely be happy with the Surface 3. As I mentioned I got the smallest version with only 2GB of RAM, and this is my real bottleneck if you are doing multitasking. So if you are expecting to do any real multitasking you should go for the 4GB version. The other performance bottleneck is the disk speed, this is a huge difference to the Surface Pro 3 as well, but to be honest for the things I use the Surface 3 for, I don’t really care.

Camera

Microsoft also upgraded the back-facing camera to a 8 megapixel camera which is even better than the Surface Pro 3. So you can do some simple but good shots with the tablet. But of course this never comes close to your Nokia Lumia.

Software and Accessories

Surface 3

Software is where everything comes together. Windows 8.1 works perfectly on the Surface 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 Skype for Business 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.

After the first 2 weeks I upgraded the Surface 3 to Windows 10, and I have to say the new tablet mode works perfectly, performance of the Surface 3 with Windows 10 is great.

Microsoft also offers a lot of different accessories like display or Ethernet adapters for the Surface Pro line and they will now also work with the Surface 3. You can use the same USB Ethernet Adapter or Mini Display Port adapter as for the Surface Pro 3. Microsoft also released a new docking station for the Surface 3, which helps you make the Surface 3 also a desktop replacement.

Conclusion

Well if you have to choose between the Surface 3 and the Surface Pro 3 you really have to consider what the devices are designed for. The Surface Pro 3 can be the tablet which is your powerful laptop and desktop replacement. The Surface 3 is more your lightweight tablet which also can be your laptop if you only need it of light Office usage. So if size and weight matter to you, and you don’t need great performance you should go for the Surface 3. But if you need any performance you may want to go with the Surface Pro 3, even the i3 version has much more power than the Surface 3. Another thing here is, if you want to go with the Surface 3, I really recommend you to spend that extra money and go with the 4GB model.



Powershell

Move multipe Hyper-V Virtual Machines with Live Storage Migration via Windows PowerShell

Well I was working in on a Private Cloud Deployment where we had some temporary storage for our Hyper-V Virtual Machines and after we got the right storage ready, which was btw a Windows Server Scale-Out File Server Cluster running with Storage Spaces and DataON JBOD chassis, we had to migrate the storage of all virtual machines running on our Hyper-V hosts. Since Windows Server 2012 offers Live Storage Migration which allows us to move the Virtual Machine to a different storage location without downtime we would use that. But if you have to move around 20 virtual machines you think twice if you want to move that via the Hyper-V Manager GUI or Windows PowerShell.

Here is a pretty simple PowerShell foreach loop which moves the storage of all virtual machines running on the Hyper-V host.



Windows 10 Task View

The best Windows 10 Features – Why you will love Windows 10

Since the first release of the Windows 10 Preview in the Insider program, I was using the Technical previews on my Surface Pro 3, and it is great how Microsoft is improving Windows 10 over the last several months based on research and feedback from the Windows Insider program.

In some days, at July 29, Microsoft will release Windows 10 to the public, and here are some reasons why you will love Windows 10:

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge Browser

With Windows 10 Microsoft released a new browser called Microsoft Edge (before Project Spartan) which is amazing fast and brings a lot of new features to the table such as Cortana Integration, Web notes which allow you basically draw your notes on websites and share them and Microsoft also promised to allow browser extensions. Secret: you can also switch from a Light Theme to a Dark Theme.

Task View & Virtual Desktop

Windows 10 Task View

Most of the IT Pros reading this blog already knew about Task view in previous version of Windows using WIN + TAB, but only a few other users did know about this features. Microsoft not only improved the Task view, Microsoft also promoted it much better  with an icon in the Taskbar.

In Windows 10 WIN + TAB does not only offer you Task View it also allows you to create and switch between Virtual Desktops. With Virtual Desktops you can now finally create multiple workspaces on your PC, which should bring you the productivity boost you need. Secret: You can switch between different Desktops using the Shortcut: CTRL + WIN + ARROW (LEFT and RIGHT).

Hyper-V

Hyper-V vNext Runtime Memory Resize

Microsoft build Hyper-V directly into the Windows Client since Windows 8. This is great if you want to run Virtual Machines on your Windows Client. Windows 10 Client Hyper-V brings you the great performance and features Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V will bring you. Of course some features are only available in the server build of Hyper-V, but you get some great features such as Enhanced Session mode to copy & past between your PC and your Virtual Machine. Secret: Windows 10 will allow you to run Hyper-V and use Connected Standby at the same time.

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