Category: Software

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SurfaceBook

10 reasons why the Surface Book is great for IT Pros

As I mentioned in my little Surface Book review a couple of days ago, I really like the Microsoft Surface Book and it is my daily driver since November 2015. The Surface Book has a lot of reasons why it is a great device, but I want to highlight  some reasons why it is not only a great device for artists, but also for the IT professionals.

The performance is incredible

SurfaceBook

As many of you know I am using my Surface Book for a lot of demos and also testing a lot of stuff. I run Hyper-V on my Windows 10 machine and it is extremely fast. Virtual Machines boot up in just a couple of seconds and if you for example run the new Nano Server in a Virtual Machine, the installation of a new Nano Server Virtual Machine is done in under 3 seconds. If you want to run more Virtual Machines on your device, make sure you get the 16GB RAM model. Not only do you get plenty of power with the Intel Core i5 or Core i7 chip, the NVMe SSD disk is blazing fast and can be up to 1TB.

The touchscreen with the pen support is great

Surface Pro and Surface Book

If you have a touch screen machine you just get used to use your fingers while browsing or writing stuff down in OneNote. The pen is just perfect for taking notes or doing presentations or workshops with customers. Since I got my first Surface device, I never really used a whiteboard or something like that. I just used OneNote and a projector to draw and after the meeting I could easily sent the drawings to all the attendees.

Tablet Mode can be handy

Surface Book Tablet Mode

I wouldn’t consider myself as a huge tablet user, but there are several scenarios where you will love the possibility to convert your Surface Pro or Surface Book into a tablet. For my job I travel a lot and I realized, I used the tablet mode a lot while for example being in a plan or train, to just read some stuff or watch movies. This is also really handy if you sit at home in front of the TV or if you are in a hotel room and just wanted to watch some Netflix, before you go to sleep. But there are two other very useful scenarios for me. The first one is while I am doing presentations for customer I use the Surface Pen a lot, but instead of sitting in front of my Surface Book, I can take the keyboard of and walk around while doing the presentation and draw on my Surface. The second one is when I am in a meeting and I want to take handwritten notes, the tablet mode is perfect, I can just use it as a piece of paper, which makes it much more attractive to write on and also I am not hiding behind a computer screen. By the way, the tablet or screen it self is extremely light so even holding it with one hand is great.

Enterprise Security and Windows Hello

Surface Book Windows Hello

Well if you are working and traveling a lot, security is a very important part. Protecting your data using the Surface Book is very easy, since it comes with a TPM 2.0 chip you can encrypt your SSD and all the data stored on. The other thing I really like is the camera supporting face detection using Windows Hello. First I thought this feature is just a nice toy, but hey, I really got used to it, I just open my Surface Book and I get logged in without typing the password.

Battery Life is awesome

When did you get a thing and light device and you didn’t had to worry about battery life for a whole day? With the Surface Pro 3 I was very close to it, but the Surface Book finally gets me trough a whole day without the need to recharge. I get around 8-12 hours of battery life depending on the workload I am running. In the morning I can leave without a power supply and can work the whole day.

The Screen

Surface Book

This is another great feature of the Surface Book, the screen is sharp and the colors are amazing, but this is not the only reason I love the Surface Book screen. The Surface Book comes with a 13.5” PixelSense display with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a resolution of 3000 x 2000 (267 PPI). This gives you enough space on the screen to get some work done, without making the device to big. Especially the 3:2 aspect ratio is one thing I really like, especially while writing and reading.

Connectivity and accessories

Microsoft also adds a lot of great accessories to the Surface product line. The Surface Book comes with 2 USB 3.0 ports, a full-sized SD card slot, a headset jack, a Mini DisplayPort and a Surface Connect port, which allows you to connect the power supply or the Surface Docking station. It also used the latest Wifi and Bluetooth connections to connect wirelessly to networks or devices. The Surface Book comes also with great cameras, stereo microphones and speakers which make the device great for video or voice conference calls. But also the small things you will start to like, for example the additional USB port in the power supply, which allows you to charge other devices like your smartphone or your Microsoft Band, without having to carry another charger.

The Docking Station makes it a great workstation

Surface Book Home Office

If I am at home or in our company office I can connect the Surface Book to the Surface Docking Station, which turns it into a full workstation. At home I use 2 Dell 27” screens using the 2 Mini DisplayPort adapters on the Surface Docking station. I also like the additional USB 3.0 ports you get with the docking station.

Perfect device to travel

Surface Book Travel

The Surface Book and also the Surface Pro are in my opinion some of the best options if you travel a lot. First the devices are light and have a small footprint, so carrying them is easy. But they still have a lot of performance to run some heavy workloads where ever you are, and with the battery life you get, even long flights or long work days are not a problem at all. But what really makes it great, you just need one device, you don’t have to carry a notebook and a tablet to have all the options, you can simply unplug the keyboard and you can go from laptop mode to tablet mode. With Windows 10 owning a 2in1 or 3in1 devices makes even much more fun.

Deliver great presentation using the Wireless Display Adapter

Surface Book Presentation

As I mentioned before, I use the Surface Book for a lot of presentations and workshops. With the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter you can even do this wirelessly, which makes especially workshops more interactive and fun.



Cisco Champion 2016

Cisco Champion 2016

Just had a look at my inbox and found out that I received the Cisco Champion Award for 2016, which is my third Cisco Champion Award in a row, after 2014 and 2015. I feel highly honored to get this award and looking proud into the future. 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.

Hi Thomas Maurer

 

Because of your impactful and valuable contributions to the IT community, you have been chosen out of hundreds of nominees to be part of the 2016 Cisco Champion program. Congratulations!

 

Cisco Champions are a group of highly influential IT technical experts who enjoy sharing their knowledge, expertise, and thoughts across the social web and with Cisco. The Cisco Champion program encompasses a diverse set of areas such as Data Center, Internet of Things, Enterprise Networks, Collaboration, and Security. Cisco Champions are located all over the world.

 



PowerShell PackageManagement Add PackageSource

How to install SysInternals using PowerShell Package Management

I already made a post in April 2014 where Microsoft announced the first preview of the Windows Management Framework 5.0. At this time the Windows Management Framework V5 Preview came with a module called OneGet, which allowed you to install and manage packages. In the latest versions the name from OneGet changed to PackageManagement. With Windows 10 you can now make use of this module. This helps you to install software and features really easy. This can also be used to install Sysinternals using PowerShell.

The Sysinternals web site was created in 1996 by Mark Russinovich to host his advanced system utilities and technical information. Whether you’re an IT Pro or a developer, you’ll find the utilities to help you manage, troubleshoot and diagnose your Windows systems and applications.

Packagemanagement PowerShell Commands

By default you get the PowerShell Gallery as source for Packages, first thing you can do is add the chocolatey Repository to your Package Sources:

After you have added Chocolatey you can search for the Packages you want to use. In my case I want to install SysInternals using the following command:

After you found your Package you can also install this Package using the following command:

PowerShell PackageManagement Add PackageSource

After Package Manager is finished downloading and unpacking the zip file you can find it here:

SysInternals

So if you like Sysinternals and PowerShell as much as I do, this is the way to go and helps you to get started very quickly.



Microsoft KiPi

Microsoft Learning: Know it. Prove it. Challenge for Hybrid Cloud

Some weeks ago I passed Microsoft Exam 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions which means I am now Microsoft Certified on Microsoft Azure technology. Microsoft has just lunched a new certification challenge called Know it. Prove it. which leverages free resources at the Microsoft Virtual Academy and take  Microsoft exams afterwards.

A few things about the challenge:

  • There are 8 different learning tracks, ranging from Cloud Development over Web Development to Hybrid Cloud or Office 365.
  • Each track consists of a learning module which is accessible from anywhere so learners can watch video tutorials and do assessments whenever is easy!
  • During KiPi, learners can track their progress, earn badges and points, compete against other challenges, and share experiences with others who are participating.
  • Although the challenge officially kicked off on February 1st, it’s not too late to get started.
  • The “Know It” portion of the challenge runs all of February and the “Prove It” part (i.e. get certified) will start March 1st and end on March 31st

For all Virtualization and Cloud Architects and Engineers this makes really sense to prepare what is coming next for Microsoft Cloud or Windows Server as well as System Center and Hyper-V. So checkout the the Know it. Prove it. challenge on the Microsoft Virtual Academy.

 




Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0

Microsoft releases Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0

Microsoft today released the next version of the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC). (MVMC) is a Microsoft-supported, stand-alone solution for the IT pros or solution provider who wants to convert virtual machines and disks from VMware hosts to Hyper-V hosts and Microsoft Azure.

In MVMC 3.0 Microsoft adds the ability to convert a physical computer running Windows Server 2008 or above server operating systems or Windows Vista or above client operating systems to a Virtual Machine. This feature was highly claimed by the community, since the P2V (Physical to Virtual) Migration feature was removed in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2.

MVMC can be deployed with minimal dependencies. Because MVMC provides native support for Windows PowerShell, it enables scripting and integration with data center automation workflows such as those authored and run within Microsoft System Center Orchestrator 2012 R2 or Service Management Automation. It can also be invoked through the Windows PowerShell command-line interface. The solution is simple to download, install, and use. In addition to the Windows PowerShell capability, MVMC provides a wizard-driven GUI to facilitate virtual machine conversion.

This tool can not only help you to migrate from VMware or physical computers to Hyper-V, it also allows you to directly upload the Virtual Machine to Microsoft Azure.

MVMC3 migrate to Hyper-V or Azure

You can get the new version of the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0 in the Microsoft Download Center.



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.