Tag: Hardware

Microsoft Surface Pro

My new Surface Pro

As some of you already have seen on Twitter, last week during the Microsoft MVP Global Summit I got my Microsoft Surface Pro from the Microsoft Store in Bellevue WA. First I have to say the shopping experience in a Microsoft is just great, very nice people and cool products you can try like the Xbox Kinect and all kind of PCs. Believe it or not it’s just much more fun than a Apple Store where you can stare at the same 12 products for hours ;).

Microsoft Store

I don’t want to do a full review because there are already so many out there. But I would love to share some impressions and thoughts.

  • Hardware quality – The build quality of the hardware is just amazing. As the Surface RT the Surface Pro is just high quality hardware.
  • 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.
  • Digital Ink – The Surface Pro comes with a digitizer pen which is perfect to take notes with OneNote.
  • Performance – The Surface Pro is equipped with a Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM which brings really good performance.
  • 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.
  • Battery life – Same as the size the it’s not like a normal tablet. I got in my tests 4-5 hours of battery life.

For me the Surface Pro is a amazing device which brings a totally new experience. For me the Surface Pro is not really a tablet and it is not really an ultrabook it’s something different. This is not a device for everyone but for me it could be the perfect device. The Surface is build with amazing hardware, has a perfect multi touch screen, it is fast and has a great keyboard. Size and weight is for me not a problem because it is more a notebook replacement than a tablet and the Surface Pro is still smaller than a notebook. The battery life is not really a problem for me, in this case I prefer performance over battery life. Sure it would be great to have more battery life but most of my notebooks didn’t really get more than 6 hours and for a normal work day I need 8-10 hours and so I need a power adapter any way.

So basically I will test the Surface Pro as my notebook replacement for the next few weeks.

Steve Ballmer: And One More Thing (Perceptive Pixel, WPC 2012)

Microsoft not only announced the release date of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 at WPC 2012 they had also an “one more thing”. Steve Ballmer announces the acquisition of Perceptive Pixel at WPC 2012 as Jefferson Han takes the stage. If someone has so money left, he could by me one of these for Christmas. ;-)

Microsoft Surface – Shut up and take my money!

Microsoft Surface

Sorry but this is awesome. Microsoft just announced an own tablet called the Microsoft Surface. They released two version, one with Windows 8 RT and one with Windows 8 Pro.


Advances in Industrial Design

Conceived, designed and engineered entirely by Microsoft employees, and building on the company’s 30-year history manufacturing hardware, Surface represents a unique vision for the seamless expression of entertainment and creativity. Extensive investment in industrial design and real user experience includes the following highlights:

  • Software takes center stage: Surface sports a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio – the industry standard for HD.  It has edges angled at 22 degrees, a natural position for the PC at rest or in active use, letting the hardware fade into the background and the software stand out.
  • VaporMg:  The casing of Surface is created using a unique approach called VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag), a combination of material selection and process to mold metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch.  Starting with magnesium, parts can be molded as thin as .65 mm, thinner than the typical credit card, to create a product that is thin, light and rigid/strong.
  • Integrated Kickstand:  The unique VaporMg approach also enables a built-in kickstand that lets you transition Surface from active use to passive consumption – watching a movie or even using the HD front- or rear-facing video cameras.  The kickstand is there when needed, and disappears when not in use, with no extra weight or thickness.
  • Touch Cover: The 3 mm Touch Cover represents a step forward in human-computer interface. Using a unique pressure-sensitive technology, Touch Cover senses keystrokes as gestures, enabling you to touch type significantly faster than with an on-screen keyboard. It will be available in a selection of vibrant colors. Touch Cover clicks into Surface via a built-in magnetic connector, forming a natural spine like you find on a book, and works as a protective cover.  You can also click in a 5 mm-thin Type Cover that adds moving keys for a more traditional typing feel.

Surface for Windows RT

  • OS: Windows RT
  • Light(1): 676 g
  • Thin(2): 9.3 mm
  • Clear: 10.6” ClearType HD Display
  • Energized: 31.5 W-h
  • Connected: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • Productive: Office ‘15’ Apps, Touch Cover (full multitouch keyboard and touchpad), Type Cover
  • Practical: VaporMg Case & Stand
  • Configurable: 32 GB, 64 GB

Surface for Windows 8 Pro

  • OS: Windows 8 Pro
  • Light(1): 903 g
  • Thin(2): 13.5 mm
  • Clear: 10.6” ClearType Full HD Display
  • Energized: 42 W-h
  • Connected: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • Productive: Touch Cover (full multitouch keyboard and touchpad), Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block
  • Practical: VaporMg Case & Stand
  • Configurable: 64 GB, 128 GB

In my opinion this is the first tablet done right. It’s a mix between tablet and notebook. You don’t have to compromise by choosing one or the other.

Check out more about the Microsoft Surface on surface.com.

Microsoft Surface


Cisco UCS C200 M2 – Microsoft Hyper-V

Cisco UCS C200 M2 Hardware

For my Lab I could buy some Cisco UCS C200 M2 rack servers. Of course I am running Hyper-V on my lab servers to get the most out of it, and I am very happy with the performance of the Cisco UCS standalone servers.

C200 BIOS Settings


But still I did some changes in the BIOS settings to get some more performance.

Processor Configuration:

  • Intel Turbo Boost Technology: enabled
  • Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology: enabled
  • Intel Hyper-Threading Technology: enabled
  • Number of Enabled Cores: All
  • Execute Disable: Enabled
  • Intel Virtualization Technology: enabled
  • Intel VT for Directed IO: enabled
  • Intel VT-d Interrupt Remapping: enabled
  • Intel VT-D Coherency Support: enabled
  • Intel VT-d Address Translation Services: enabled
  • Intel VT-d PassThrough DMA: enabled
  • Direct Cache Access: enabled
  • Processor C3 Report: disabled
  • Processor C6 Report: disabled
  • CPU Performance: High Throughput
  • Hardware Prefetcher: enabled

Memory Configuration:

  • NUMA Optimized: enabled

ThinkPad X1 and Windows 8

ThinkPad X1 Windows 8

In the last days I got my new machine for work, a Lenovo ThinkPad X1. As usual I always want to work with the latest and greates technology, that’s why I have chosen to set up the ThinkPad X1 with Windows 8.

ThinkPad X1 Windows 8

Even in Developer Preview state Windows 8 runs very stable and brings a lot of cool new features which I can use for my daily work. I love the new PowerShell versions and Internet Explorer 10. But the best and the biggest feature for me, is the integration of Hyper-V 3 in Windows 8. So I don’t have to use VMware Workstation or VirtualBox to run virtual machines on my notebook for testing or presentations. I also can simply use the VHD (or VHDX) format to play with virtual machines or even boot them via boot from VHD.

ThinkPad X1 Windows 8

The downside of the Windows 8 Developer Preview is missing .NET framework 3.5, but I think the Windows 8 beta, which should be released by the end of February, should fix this.

ThinkPad X1 Windows 8

Maybe some people have realized that I am a big fan of business style notebooks. And what would be better business design than the ThinkPad series. Lenovo tried to combine good old ThinkPad values with new design features, and in my opinion succeeded. I really like the ThinkPad design in this very slim chassis. It looks elegant and business “high-class”.

The build quality of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is like you would expect it from a ThinkPad. It feels great and very robust. Keith Combs describes it in his review “The ThinkPad X1 is build like a tank.  It’s probably the most solid notebook I’ve ever had in my hands.” and I have to agree with him.

ThinkPad X1 Windows 8

More information on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 here.


Lenovo ThinkPad T430u

Lenovo ThinkPad T430u

In the last days Lenovo showed pictures of the Lenovo ThinkPad T430u for the first time. The ThinkPad T430u is a 14-inch ultrabook which will be release in 2012. There is not a lot of information about the specs of the T430u but it will use one of the new Intel Ive Bridge CPUs and should also be available with Nvidia discrete graphics options.

This could be a very interessting notebook option for business users. My hope for the T430u is that it will bring a great high-resolution display option. But we will see it later this year or maybe at CES 2012.

More Information about the T430u on theverge.com.

Cisco UCS C200 M2 – Hardware

Cisco UCS C200 M2 Hardware

Today my two new virtualization nodes from Cisco arrived. For my Microsoft Hyper-V lab I needed two new nodes and I got a really good offering for two Cisco UCS C200 M2 High-Density Rack-Mount Servers.

The whole Cisco server series is optimized for virtualization and offers very cool features like a buildiin Cisco Integrated Management Controller (without extra charge) and Ciscos Extended Memory Technology which allows to use up to 192GB RAM.

Technical Specs

The Cisco UCS C200 M2 server is a high-density, 2-socket, 1 rack unit (RU) rack-mount server built for production-level network infrastructure, web services, and mainstream data center, branch, and remote-office applications.

  • Up to two Intel Xeon 5500 or 5600 Series multicore processors
  • Up to 192GB of industry-standard double data rate (DDR3) main memory
  • Up to eight 2.5-inch or four 3.5-inch internal SAS or SATA disk drives; up to 8 terabytes (TB) total
  • Built-in RAID 0 and 1 support for up to four or eight SATA drives; RAID 0 and 1 support for up to four or eight SAS or SATA drives with optional mezzanine card; and RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 support for four SAS or SATA drives and RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50 and 60 support for eight SAS or SATA drives with optional LSI MegaRAID card
  • Two half length Gen 2 PCIe slots-one full height x16 and one low profile x8 PCI Express-two integrated Gb Ethernet ports, and one 10/100 Mbps Ethernet management port for accessing the controller
  • Front- and back-panel interface with video, two USB, and serial port connections

More Information on Cisco.com


The Hardware makes a really good first impression.

One of my next posts will be about the CIMC (Cisco Integrated Management Controller) which I really started to like.

New Toys: Microsoft Zune HD and Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

Sometimes you just need some new toys to play with. I ordered two new toys. A Microsoft Zune HD with a Docking station which I will use in my living room as “media station” and in my car. The wireless sync is perfect for that, so I can park in front of my flat to sync my Zune.

The second one is the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse. I needed a good mouse for my notebook. Even the Track pad of my HP Elitebook is really great, if you need to work a little more I enjoy using a mouse. First the Arc Touch Mouse is really cool and does not waste a lot of space in my bag.

How Microsoft Hyper-V and the Cisco UCS changed our lives

Cisco UCS Hardware

At the end of last year we had our Cisco UCS ordered and in your datacenter. In January we started the testing and made the Clusters ready for the production environment. In February we started the migration of our existing environment, mostly P2V and also some V2V migrations.

Here some interessting facts about our Cisco UCS and Hyper-V project.

  • We use 12 Cisco UCS Blades this is like 10 HE of rackspace
  • We migrated 45 Windows Servers and 47 Unix Servers in just one week
  • We replace 2 racks of server with a half rack of two Cisco UCS Bladecenters
  • We think we can replace 2-3 racks more with our two Bladecenters.
  • At the end of this year we think we could replace 4-5 racks with 1/2 rack
  • We still have a lot of physical and virtual server which will be needed to be migrated to the Bladecenter.
  • We will get even more out of our Blade Servers by activting Hyper-V Dynamic Memory as a new feature of Hyper-V R2 ServicePack 1

This migration had a lot of positive influence on other things in the datacenter.

Datacenter Power

  • we need now 4% less energie overall
  • we need now 6% less cooling overall
  • we need less space (1 and 1/2 racks at the moment)
  • now our system administrator travel 50% less to the datacenter, because of hardware defects or other administrative tasks.
  • We can deploy new servers in minutes instead of hours

I think all of this numbers (except the time we need to deploy new servers )will increase after the next migrations.

Now I started to write a series of blog posts about installing Microsoft Hyper-V R2 on the Cisco UCS system:

Microsoft Hyper-V and the Cisco UCS Bladecenter are a powerful team. The UCS Virtual Hardware takes alot of complexety from the hypervisor in your case Hyper-V. You don’t need NIC teaming and stuff like that. Thats is making it very easy to deploy Hyper-V Clusters. And with the Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager you can save a lot of time in managing your clusters, hosts, virtual machine and also in P2V and V2V migrations. Since Microsoft SCVMM supports Windows Powershell you can also do a lot of scripting automation. And with the release of the new Version of SCVMM (System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012) this will even get better for deploying new virtual machines, services and even public and private clouds.

Hyper-V R2 SP1

We started with Microsoft Hyper-V R2 Servers before the release of Service Pack 1. We think we can even get a lot more out of your systems with the new Dynamic Memory feature for Hyper-V which comes in Service Pack 1.

At the end we think choosing the Cisco UCS, Microsoft Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager for our datacenter was the best choice we have made, in terms of costs and technology.

New Dell Latitude E-Serie – Here we go

Dell Latitude E6520 Laptop

Here we go. Now the new Dell Latitude E-Series is now in the Dell Online Store. I think the new Latitude E-Series are one of the best deals you can get at the moment. And I really like the option for the 15.6in UltraSharp FHD(1920×1080) Wide View Anti-Glare LED-backlit display.