Microsoft finally released an video ad which shows why the Surface is such a great device. Surface Imagine shows you a device that can finally do it all. It has the power of a laptop with the portability of a tablet. It has a USB port and a click-in keyboard and the power to run Office.
Some days ago System Center Universe DACH/Europe was announced and finally we got more information on the event it self.
Finally the event will be a two day event on September 16th/17th 2013 in Bern Switzerland. There will be sessions in 4 parallel tracks, 2 Keynotes (day 1 and day 2) and approx. 36 Breakout sessions with a lot of System Center and Windows Server specialist, Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft employees as speakers.
Markus Erlacher (CH) General Manager itnetx and former Microsoft Senior Technical Solution Professional http://www.itnetx.ch/ @markuserlacher
Mike Resseler (BE) Microsoft MVP [System Center Cloud & Datacenter Management] http://scug.be/mike/ @mikeresseler
Travis Wright (USA) Principal Program Manager for Windows Server & System Center Microsoft Corp / @radtravis
Pete Zerger (USA) Microsoft MVP [System Center Cloud & Datacenter Management] @pzerger
Philipp Witschi (CH) Virtualization and Fabric Management Subject Matter Expert http://www.itnetx.ch/ @philippwitschi
Carsten Rachfahl (D) Microsoft MVP [VIrtual Machine] http://www.hyper-v-server.de/ @hypervserver
Andreas Baumgarten (D) Microsoft MVP [System Center Cloud & Datacenter Management] http://startblog.hud.de/ @abaumgarten
Mike Epprecht (CH) Technical Evangelist DPE Microsoft Switzerland @fastflame
Stefan Koell (A) Microsoft MVP [System Center Cloud & Datacenter Management] http://code4ward.net/ @stefankoell
Markus Klein (D) Microsoft MVP [System Center Cloud & Datacenter Management] http://www.ms-privatecloud.info/ @markusklein01
Michel Lüscher (CH) Senior Consultant - MCS Switzerland
Thomas Roettinger (D) Program Manager Server and Cloud Division Microsoft Germany @troettinger
If you need more information about System Center Universe Europe check out the System Center Universe website and checkout the blog post from Stefan Roth: System Center Universe DACH/Europe (SCU DACH) – FAQ
Together with Symantec, Mahmoud Magdy (Microsoft MVP for Exchange Server) and Mikko Nykyri (VMware vExpert) we produced a whitepaper called “Virtual Machine Backup and Recovery: Five Critical Decisions”. This whitepaper covers an overview about virtualization and the challenges which come with the new workloads in terms of backup and recovery.
Because of the outstanding economy, flexibility, and service levels it offers, virtualization is transforming data centers at breakneck speed: by 2016, an estimated 80 percent of the world’s x86 servers will be virtual machines (VMs).1 But the speed of this transformation, along with the high resource utilization, ease of cloning, moving workloads, and other ways virtualization works its magic, raise challenges for “traditional” IT services and the teams that deliver them. Nowhere is the complexity that virtualization creates for traditional IT services more apparent than in backup and recovery, which participants in a recent Symantec survey ranked among their least-successful IT initiatives. This paper addresses five critical decisions organizations must make when building a backup and recovery plan to:
- Maintain protection, visibility, and control of applications and data.
- Maximize utilization of established infrastructure, processes, staff, and budget.
- Use virtualization to improve backup and recovery processes.
- Create an efficient, scalable, future-prepared backup and recovery environment.
Each issue is presented first in general terms that apply across IT environments, and then add comments for specific platforms, applications, or industries based on our individual experience as VMware® vExperts and Microsoft® MVPs.
You can download the whitepaper here: Symantec Virtual Machine Backup and Recovery: Five Critical Decisions
Make also sure you checkout the Google Hangout event on Fri, May 10, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM.
Join a panel of virtualization experts including Microsoft MVPs Mahmoud Magdy & Thomas Mauer and VMware vExpert Mikko Nykyri as they discuss the white paper they co-authored and offer their thoughts on the most important things to consider for a virtualized server environment.
Some days ago Microsoft announced the availability of System Center 2012 SP1 – Update Rollup 2, which included fixes for the whole System Center suite expect Virtual Machine Manager. Yesterday Carmen Summers wrote in her blog post that System Center 2012 SP1 Update Rollup 2 for Virtual Machine Manager is now available as well.
Virtual Machine Manager Server (KB2826405) and Administration Console (KB2826392)
The SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 operating system is missing from the Linux OS list.
A virtual machine cannot start after migration from Windows 7 to Windows 8 when the DiscardSavedState method is used.
A connection to the VMware virtual machine remote console session cannot be established.
Externally published VMNDs are filtered incorrectly.
When you remove a virtual switch extension property or edit a virtual switch extension manager connection string, a user-interface generated script also removes the HostGroups that are associated with VSEM.
UPPSet is not set on a physical network adapter when you add the network adapter to a team and when the network adapter is the first in the list of network adapters.
The default gateway is missing on a host virtual network adapter after you add a second physical network adapter to the logical switch.
Static IP pool that has the first address in a subnet fails for external network type.
VMM crashes during host refresher when VMM is unable to create a CimSession with the remote host.
Standard (legacy) virtual switch creation on Windows 8 hosts with management virtual network adapter does not preserve the IP properties of the physical network adapter.
The administration user interface crashes with a NullReferenceException error when you click Remediate on a host instead of a virtual network adapter.
The Virtual Machine Manager user interface displays a network adapter in a “Not Connected” state.
The Virtual Machine Manager stops responding with high CPU usage for five to ten minutes when you configure a VMND that has 2,000 network segments.
The host virtual network adapter property for a management adapter does not show port classification.
Live Migration fails at 26 percent when the network adapter is attached to an
isolated virtual machine network.
The Virtual Machine Manager Service crashes when a virtual machine that does not have a port profile is migrated to a cluster by using a logical switch that has a default port profile set.
Running Dynamic Optimizer on a cluster with incompatible host CPUs causes a Virtual Machine Manager Service crash.
The Host refresher crashes for any host that has the RemoteFX role enabled.
The minimum memory for dynamic memory greater than 32GB is a security risk.
The status of the network adapter is displayed as Not Connected in Virtual Machine Manager.
Thanks to Michel Luescher (Consultant Microsoft Switzerland) for the info.
At the Microsoft MVP Summit back in February I had the chance to get a brand new Microsoft Surface Pro, after I already used a Surface RT which a had since November 2012. I already wrote a very small review a few days after I got it in the Microsoft Store in Bellevue WA and used it during the MVP Summit.
Since I am back from Redmond I am using my Surface Pro for work when I am on the road, at customers, working at the office, at university, at hotels or at home when I am working in the living room. Basically the Surface is my daily companion. At home and for long flights I still use the Surface RT because it’s lighter, has better battery life and it because of it size and weight it feels more like a tablet.
And here are my impressions after I used it now for two months.
Hardware quality – The build quality of the hardware is just amazing. As the Surface RT the Surface Pro is just high quality hardware. Even after 2 months this piece of hardware still looks great and elegant. There is nothing broken or anything else which I am unhappy about. I really like to work with great devices that’s was one of the reasons I used Apple products some years ago and I still think Microsoft is maybe the only one who can keep up with the quality of Apple hardware, because most of the other OEM’s do not get it right.
Amazing display – The screen of the Surface Pro is great with a good contrast and great colors like the Surface RT but with a Full HD resolution. I am really happy with the Full HD resolution, especially when I am working with System Center products or I am taking notes with OneNote.
I am using my Lenovo ThinkPad X1 for lab installations and testing, and the screen is terrible if you compare it to the Surface Screen. The only problem I had with the Surface Pro is that it’s hard to sit in front of a 10.6” screen for like 8-10 hours. At the office I don’t have this problem because I can use a external monitor and most of the customers I work for are doing the same, so this isn’t a big issue.
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. 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.
Performance – The Surface Pro is equipped with a Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM which brings really good performance. Well I cannot really talk about performance because normally you only talk about performance when you don’t have enough, but I never had any performance issues with the Surface Pro and I even think the performance is better than the notebooks I used before.
Features – Well many people already know about features like the kickstand or the Touch and the Typecover, which is by the way pretty good to write on and I am used to use a ThinkPad which has an amazing keyboard. Another cool and useful feature is the build in USB charging port in the power adapter, which lets you charge another phone even if the Surface USB port is already used by another device.
Size and weight – The Surface Pro is not much thicker and heavier than the Surface RT but if you compare them site by site it’s a big difference. Even my Lenovo ThinkPad X1 was a very light and small business ultrabook, the Surface Pro feels a lot lighter and needs a lot less space and is much easier to carry it around.
Battery life – Same as the size the battery life is not like it would be on a normal tablet. I got in my tests 4-5 hours of battery life, when I am working 100% on my Surface Pro. During time at university I get around 6 hours which is enough for one day. During long flights it does not really make sense to use the Surface Pro because the only thing I need there is Office 2013, to work on presentations and documents, a video player to watch movies and of course a lot of battery life to do all this things. The Surface RT is much more suitable for this scenario.
Accessories – If you want to replace your notebook with the Surface Pro you may need three things, except the Type- or Touchcover. First you need a adapter for VGA or HDMI output so you can connect a projector or external monitor. The Surface Pro has a Mini-DisplayPort output and offers two adapters, one for HDMI and one for VGA, but you can also use adapters from other vendors.
The second thing you need is a USB to Ethernet adapter, because most of the enterprise customers do not offer Wifi access to their network and business users basically need a Ethernet port. The downside of using such a adapter is that you loose the only USB port and this can be a problem if you want to use a USB drive or a external disk at the same time. Microsoft offers also a USB to Ethernet adapter but like for the display adapter you can also use other adapters.
The last thing you need is a mouse, even you have a touchscreen and a trackpad, there are a lot of thing which are much more efficient with a mouse. I use the Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse Surface Edition which is small and perfect if you travel.
Software – Windows 8 is the perfect mix from desktop and tablet OS. For a lot of people the mix of two different UIs is something bad, for me its just the best solution because the OS offers me the best from both worlds. I am also a huge fan of the Microsoft Account integration which syncs settings from all your devices.
SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro make my life a lot easier, I don’t really have to copy files between different devices because they are available everywhere and get synced automatically. And Office 2013 or Office 365 Home Premium integrated perfectly in this scenarios and you get 20GB of extra SkyDrive storage.
The Xbox integration with the Xbox Smart Glass technology is just perfect, if you are sharing media in the living room or watch movies or listen to music it’s the a great Xbox companion.
Conclusion – Well after two months I don’t carry my notebook anymore, the Surface Pro totally replaced it not only because it is much smaller and lighter, not it only because of the additional features I get with the Surface, for example the Touchscreen, the tablet form factor and the digitizer pen.
My wish list for the next Pro version would be:
- Make it thinner and lighter like the Surface RT would be great
- Longer battery life - I know it’s hard to get performance and battery life at the same time, but 8-10 hours of battery life would be just awesome.
- Different sizes - This is maybe not just about the Pro version, but maybe for the whole Surface series. A smaller Surface around 7” would be great for doing some small tasks. The other thing I thought about would be a 11” or 12” Surface which would be even better, if you use it as a notebook replacement.
- USB ports - A second USB port or a passive USB hub, which would not need extra power but fix my problems.
- More cool accessories – In todays tablet world it’s hard to be different. One thing is the OS and the other one are the accessories. Microsoft did a great thing with the kickstand and the Touchcover but I pretty sure that there is more in the Microsoft labs.
- Availability – Well make them available outside of the US
What would you be on your wish list?
Microsoft announced yester day that they will expand the Surface Pro and Surface RT availability. Surface Pro will launch before the end of May in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Surface Pro will launch in Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, and Thailand before the end of June. Surface Pro is currently available in the U.S., Canada, and China. Thanks to Bjorn for the link.
Today Microsoft announced the General Availability of the Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service offering. This includes the new Virtual Machine and Virtual Network capabilities. This release is now live in production, backed by an enterprise SLA, supported by Microsoft Support, and is ready to use for production apps.
Today’s IaaS release also includes new enhancements:
- VM Image Templates (including SQL Server, BizTalk Server, and SharePoint images)
- VM Sizes (including Larger Memory Machines)
- VM Prices (reduced prices 21%-33% for IaaS and PaaS VMs)
Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service allows you to create Virtual Machine and Virtual Networks hosted by the Microsoft Windows Azure Cloud. I already created a blog post how you can create new Virtual Machines in Windows Azure and how you can connect System Center App Controller to manage your Private Cloud as well as your Public Cloud hosted in Windows Azure.
New Windows Azure Virtual Machine Compute Pricing
Below are the new hourly on-demand rates for Windows Azure Virtual Machines:
|Size Name||# of CPU Cores||Memory||Windows VM Pricing||Linux VM Pricing|
|ExtraSmall||Shared||768 MB||$0.02 per hour||$0.02 per hour|
|Small||1||1.75 GB||$0.09 per hour||$0.06 per hour|
|Medium||2||3.5 GB||$0.18 per hour||$0.12 per hour|
|Large||4||7 GB||$0.36 per hour||$0.24 per hour|
|ExtraLarge||8||14 GB||$0.72 per hour||$0.48 per hour|
|A6||4||28 GB||$1.02 per hour||$0.82 per hour|
|A7||8||56 GB||$2.04 per hour||$1.64 per hour|
Note that the above prices are for hourly on-demand usage (meaning there is no commitment to use them for more than an hour and you pay only for what you consume). Complete pricing details for Windows Azure Virtual Machines can be found here.
Commitment Pricing Discounts
You can also optionally take advantage of our 6 Month and 12 Month commitment plans to obtain significant discounts on the standard pay as you go rates. With a commitment plan you commit to spend a certain amount of money each month and in return we give you a discount on any Windows Azure resource you use that money on (and the more money you commit to use the bigger the discount we give).
I already did a post how you can add drivers to you Windows 7 image with command line tools like dism and imagex. With Windows 8 you cannot use the command line tool imagex anymore but you have a new Windows PowerShell module for dism which allows you basically the same with. In this tutorial I will add drivers to a Windows 8 ISO image.
First I created three new folders:
- Drivers – which includes all the extracted drivers for Windows 8
- ISO – This includes the extracted Windows 8 ISO image
- Mount – This is a empty folder which will be used to mount the WIM files
First we have to check in which Windows edition we want to add drivers. We can do this by using the Get-WindowsImage cmdlet:
Get-WindowsImage -ImagePath .\ISO\sources\install.wim
This will show you all the Images which are included in this WIM file.
After we have seen the Index numbers we can now mount the Windows Image our Mount folder. In my example I use Image Index 3 which is the Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Core Edition. If you use Windows 8 you see other editions.
Mount-WindowsImage -Path .\Mount -ImagePath .\ISO\sources\install.wim -Index 3
After the image is mounted we can now add the drivers from the Drivers folder.
Add-WindowsDriver -Path .\Mount -Driver .\Drivers -Recurse
When all drivers are added to the Image you can dismount the image and save it.
Dismount-WindowsImage -Path .\Mount -Save
We have now added the drivers to the Install image, you should also added the drivers to your boot image. To do this just do the same steps to the .\ISO\sources\boot.wim.
After that you can create a ISO file
oscdimg -n -m -bc:\temp\ISO\boot\etfsboot.com C:\temp\ISO C:\temp\mynew.iso