Tag: Work

Surface Book

My Surface Book User Review

A couple of months ago I got a myself a Surface Book while I was in the US. You may know that I am a Surface user for a long time now. I started with the original Surface Pro, upgraded to the Surface Pro 2 and the Surface Pro 3, which was my main device for the last year. Microsoft announced the Surface Book together with the Surface Pro 4, the new Microsoft Band 2 and the Lumia 950 as well as the Lumia 950 XL.

The Surface Book is the first laptop Microsoft has ever created and Microsoft doesn’t call it the ultimate laptop for no reason. I have used the Surface Book now for the past months while I was traveling, giving presentations, working at customer sites or at home writing blog posts. With that I got a great impression of the Surface Book in the real world, not just reviewing it for a couplnowe of hours, as other tech sites do, this is more kind of a real user review.

Technical Specifications

Surface Book Box

  • Software: Windows 10 Pro
  • Exterior: Casing: Magnesium, Color: Silver, Physical buttons: Volume, Power
  • Dimensions: 12.30” x 9.14” x 0.51 – 0.90” (312.3mm x 232.1mm x 13.0 – 22.8mm)
  • Weight: Starting at 3.34 pounds (1,516 grams) including keyboard
  • Storage: Solid state drive (SSD) options: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB.
  • Display: Screen: 13.5” PixelSense™ display
  • Resolution: 3000 x 2000 (267 PPI)
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Touch: 10 point multi-touch
  • Battery life: Up to 12 hours of video playback4
  • Processor: 6th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 or i7
  • Graphics i5: Intel® HD graphics 520, i5/i7: NVIDIA GeForce GPU with 1GB GDDR5 memory
  • Security: TPM chip for enterprise security
  • Memory: 8GB or 16GB RAM
  • Wireless: 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking; IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible
  • Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology
  • Ports: Two full-size USB 3.0, Full-size SD™ card reader, SurfaceConnectTM, Headset jack, Mini DisplayPort
  • Cameras: Windows Hello face-authentication camera (front-facing), 5.0MP front-facing camera with 1080p HD video, 8.0MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p HD video
  • Audio: Stereo microphones, Stereo speakers with Dolby® audio
  • Sensors: Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer

I got the Intel Core i7 version with 8GB memory and 256GB of storage. To be honest, if I had the choice I would get the smallest Core i5 version with a dedicated graphics card or the Core i7 version with 16GB of memory.

Design and Durability

Surface Pro and Surface Book

As always Microsoft did build a great piece of hardware in terms of design and build quality. As the Surface Pro 3 and the whole Surface line the Surface Book is really high quality. I really like to work with it.

Display and Audio

Surface Book Traveling

What I really like about the Surface product line are the displays. First of all, the quality is pretty good, but what is even more important for me is the 3:2 ratio. With that you get a lot more space on the screen to get work done. This especially helps when you are doing some writing or get some mails done. The Surface Book comes with a 13.5 inch screen which is just a little bit bigger than the Surface Pro 4, and this is one if the main reasons I got myself the Surface Book instead of the Surface Pro. Especially on if you are on the road and the device is not docked, a bigger screen can make a huge difference.

Audio and especially the microphones work every well and have a very good quality if you are doing Skype or other conference calls.

Heat and Fan Noise

If you were owner of a Surface Pro 3 you might had some issues with fan noise and the Surface Pro 3 could get very hot. I am running the Intel Core i7 version of the Surface Book and I don’t have any issues in terms of heat of fan noise. The Surface Book runs very quiet and cool, I never really heard the fan, even when I run some heavy workloads like virtual machines.

Wireless and Networking

Surface Book Travel

Wireless and network connectivity are as usual pretty great, no issues here. If you want to use a wired connection you have to buy a USB to Ethernet adapter, since the Surface Book does not have a build in Ethernet port, but this isn’t a real problem.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The keyboard and the trackpad are amazing, I think this is the best keyboard and trackpad combination I have ever used. Typing feels really good even if you have to write lager documents or blog posts. Of course the keyboard has also backlight which makes it great if you have to write something in a dark hotel room.

Tablet Mode

Surface Book Tablet Mode

With the tablet mode you can easily detach the screen from the keyboard so you can use it as a very light tablet. The tablet is really light, even lighter than the Surface Pro and has up to 4 hours of battery life. As cool as the tablet mode for some people may is, I basically never use it. I use the pen and the touch screen a lot, but I never really detach the keyboard from it. This is kind of different than the Surface Pro, where I detached the Type Cover a lot and just place it somewhere using the kickstand, since the Surface Book does not have a kickstand you really have to hold it all the time, and I just don’t have a use case for this.

Battery life and Performance

Performance and battery life is where the Surface Book really starts to shine. Especially in terms of disk performance using an internal NVMe disk, the Surface Book is amazingly fast. I got the version with an Intel Core i7, 8GB of memory, 256GB of storage and a dedicated Nvidia graphics card. Next time I would choose the larger version with more memory and storage but at this time in November last year it was the only configuration which was available.

Battery life is also not an issue, I get around 8-12h of battery life when I am on the road. This is enough for a full day of work.

Software and Accessories

Surface Book Home Office Surface Dock

The Surface Book comes with Windows 10 Pro, and as I mentioned I really like Windows 10. I am running the latest Windows Insider builds and the work most of the time great. Performance is really good and one thing I always loved about the Surface was the Surface Pen. I am not an artist, but I use the pen a lot in workshops with customers, instead of using it a whiteboard or to take notes in OneNote.

At home I dock the Surface Book to the Surface Dock where I have two 27-inch screens, which makes it a fully functional desktop.

Conclusion

As you can see I am really happy with the device I am using for around 7 months. The only thing which makes me want a Surface Pro again is the size. The Surface Pro with the Type Cover is much more mobile, especially when you are traveling a lot by plane or train. Otherwise the Surface Book is the perfect device.



Install Azure PowerShell Az Module

How to Install the Azure PowerShell Module

This blogs post describes how you can install the Azure PowerShell module. Microsoft a couple of weeks ago released version one of their new Azure PowerShell module on .NET Core called the Az module. The Az module will replace the AzureRM module over time. however, the AzureRM module is still supported. The new Az module is a cross-platform module.

Well if you are working with Microsoft Azure you may need the PowerShell Modules for automation and some settings which are only available in PowerShell. With the latest releases you can install the Azure PowerShell Module using the package management in PowerShell, and install the Azure PowerShell module form the PowerShell Gallery.

Az module features

  • Az is a replacement for AzureRM and AzureRM.Netcore.
  • Runs on PowerShell 5.1 and PowerShell Core.
  • It is always up to date with the latest tooling for Azure services.
  • Az ships in Cloud Shell.
  • It shortens and normalizes cmdlet names. All cmdlets use “Az” as their noun prefix.
  • Az will simplify and normalize module names. Data plane and management plane cmdlets for each service will use the same Az module.
  • It ships with new cmdlets to enable script compatibility with AzureRM (Enable/Disable-AzureRmAlias).

Supported platforms

  • PowerShell 5.1 – Windows 7 or greater with .Net Framework 4.7.2 or greater installed
  • PowerShell Core 6.0 – Windows, Mac OS, Linux
  • PowerShell Core 6.1 – Windows, Mac OS, Linux

Install Azure PowerShell module

For me using the PowerShell Package Management and the PowerShell Gallery is may the easiest and fastest way to install it. In Windows 10 or a computer with the Windows Management Framework 5 installed, you can use the following PowerShell cmdlets to install it.

You should not install Az side-by-side with AzureRM. Remove all AzureRM modules before installing Az.

 
Install-Module Az

You can also update the AZ module using the following command:

 
Update-Module Az

And you can use the following command to login:

 
Connect-AzAccount

You can also see the Azure PowerShell Modules and versions using the PowerShell Package Management:

 
Find-Module -ListAvailable *Az*

AzureRM compatibility

If you would like to run scripts developed for AzureRM using Az, use the Enable/Disable-AzureRmAlias cmdlets to add or remove aliases from AzureRM cmdlets to Az cmdlets.

This can be enabled and disabled:

 
Enable-AzureRmAlias
 
Disable-AzureRMAlias

Run Azure PowerShell from Cloud Shell

You can also run the latest Azure PowerShell module version directly from Cloud Shell, with no need to install it.

This blog post was updated with the release 1.0.0 of the Azure Az module based on .NET Core. You can find more about the new Azure PowerShell module on the GitHub repo.

Also check out my blog post: Mastering Azure using Cloud Shell



Azure Automation PowerShell ISE Add-on

Azure Automation PowerShell ISE add-on

Microsofts Joe Levy (Program Manager, Azure Automation) just announced in the blog post a new PowerShell ISE add-on for Azure Automation: Announcing the Azure Automation PowerShell ISE add-on. The Azure Automation PowerShell ISE add-on helps you if you are writing PowerShell runbooks for Azure Automation:

In Azure Automation, runbook authoring is typically done in the Azure portal, using our browser-based experience. However, in experimenting with ways to improve our runbook authoring process, we developed a new, open-source tool for runbook authoring – the (take a deep breath) Azure Automation PowerShell ISE add-on!

This project has been in the works for a while and is already used by many of our customers. Now we think it’s finally ready for more exposure and usage. We built this experience because we observed two things:

Our customers heavily use the PowerShell ISE when writing PowerShell
They even use the PowerShell ISE when writing runbooks, copy/pasting back and forth with the portal or importing/exporting with the PowerShell cmdlets
So we thought, why not create an Azure Automation experience that builds on top of this powerful tool? If you’re interested in speeding up your runbook authoring process using tools you’re already familiar with, we hope you’ll give the Azure Automation PowerShell ISE add-on a try!

Installation is very easy, you can get the Azure Automation PowerShell ISE add-on from the PowerShell Gallery:

Install the PowerShell Add-on:

 
Install-Module AzureAutomationAuthoringToolkit -Scope CurrentUser

If you want the PowerShell ISE to always automatically load the add-on:

 
Install-AzureAutomationIseAddOn

If you just want to load the add-on if you need it run:

 
Import-Module AzureAutomationAuthoringToolkit

 

For more information check out Joe Levy blog post on the Azure blog: Announcing the Azure Automation PowerShell ISE add-on



itnetX logo

Microsoft Cloud Platform Partner of the Year, fifth time in a row!

Today at the Microsoft Connection Days in Switzerland, Microsoft announced the winners of the Swiss Microsoft Partner of the Year awards. itnetX the was finalist in the category Cloud Platform. Some hours ago I got the happy message that we won the Microsoft Partner of the Year – Cloud Platform award. This is great news and it is the fifth time in a row itnetX won the Microsoft Partner of the Year award.

  • Microsoft Partner of the Year 2011 – Datacenter (itnetX)
  • Microsoft Partner of the Year 2012 – Datacenter (itnetX)
  • Microsoft Partner of the Year 2013 – Datacenter (itnetX)
  • Microsoft Partner of the Year 2014 – Datacenter (Syliance IT Services, since merged with itnetX)
  • Microsoft Partner of the Year 2015 – Cloud Platform (itnetX)

The Swiss IT consulting and engineering company itnetX, is focused on Microsoft Cloud and Workplace solutions based on Microsoft System Center, Windows Server an Microsoft Azure. I am proud we could win this award for the fifth time, and to work with highly focused and qualified team, which maybe works at one of the best workplaces in Switzerland to deliver first-class Microsoft cloud solutions to our customers.



itnetX logo

itnetx gmbh and Syliance IT Services GmbH merge to the new Cloud powerhouse

Before more or less 3.5 years when I joined itnetx as a Cloud Architect in 2012, itnetx had around 6 employees and in the past years we grew and won the Microsoft Partner of the year award in the Datacenter category three times in a row. Both itnetx and Syliance IT Services were focused on delivering Microsoft Cloud, Datacenter and Workplace solutions. Today with the announcement of the merger between itnetx gmbh and Syliance IT Services to itnetX AG, I can finally say that combining the resources and bringing highly qualified people together, will be a huge benefit for both companies and our customers. In the past few weeks we were able to meet, talk and discuss several topics and I am really looking forward to work with the Syliance team.

Press release

Merger of itnetx gmbh and Syliance IT Services GmbH  BERN/ZÜRICH.

 

Two of the most important companies in the field of Microsoft Workplace, Cloud and Management Solutions, Syliance IT Services GmbH and itnetx gmbh, will merge as of 1st July 2015 to form the new company, itnetX AG.

A situation of market collaboration will prove to be fruitful: „This fusion makes sense and is important”, says Markus Erlacher, CEO of itnetx gmbh, „we will combine our energies, create synergy and send a clear signal of intent that we are committed to growth and business expansion”. The merger of the two companies will strengthen the market leadership and enable more customers more intensive treatment from the company offices in Bern and Glattbrugg, Zürich.

„The ability to offer integrated solutions and services in the rapidly-evolving IT markets is essential for our success”, says Dieter Gasser, CEO of Syliance IT Services GmbH. „With this merger we are consolidating and expanding our range of services; we can offer our customers proprietary software solutions and architecture and process consulting, in addition to systems integration and managed services”.

The newly-formed itnetX AG is aiming at changes in the IT market and the Microsoft Cloud First, Mobile First strategy lies at the heart of the business model. The new organization comprises 5 strategic business units: Modern Workplace Solutions, Management Solutions, Cloud and Datacenter Solutions, and Software Solutions, all of which are complemented by Managed Services.

With focus on Microsoft-based solutions, the future portfolio will include SaaS offerings and services such as Office 365, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Intune and System Center, Windows Client and Windows Server. The whole package is rounded off with a range of software products targeted at Private and Public Cloud environments. This allows itnetX AG to advise customers much more comprehensively and bring added value to their business.

The work of itnetX AG also includes a continued active participation in the community with various blogs, book publications, 5 highly qualified MVPs (Most Valuable Professional) and private events such as the annual System Center Universe Europe (www.systemcenteruniverse.eu).

More information available upon request via Email: [email protected] or visit www.itnetx.ch.

Markus Erlacher CEO itnetx gmbh, Dieter Gasser CEO Syliance IT Services GmbH

You can get more information on our website: www.itnetx.ch



COD Berlin 2014

My 2014

Another year ends and I am ready for a new one to start. Since Christmas time is not the busiest time of the year, I always find some time to review my year. I really had a great year and I had the change to meet, talk and work with some really great people from all over the world. I really tried to summarize this year in this blog post, but there is just not enough space to cover it all.

Locarno 2014

I am now currently working three years for itnetx and my job as a Cloud Architect and Consultant takes me still to the most beautiful places in Switzerland and Europe. Even after three years it is just great to work with such great and talented people and see how things are moving forward.

COD Berlin 2014

During the Microsoft Community Open Day 2014 I had the chance to meet a  lot of people from Microsoft Germany and other DACH MVPs as well.

Thailand 2014

In April I had the chance to visit my friend in Thailand. I really enjoyed Thailand, great food, nice weather and friendly people.

Cisco Champions

In May 2014 I was awarded by Cisco with the Cisco Champion 2014 award. This was a great honor and I really enjoyed the new connections I got inside Cisco.

Moving 2014

2014 was also the year to move to a new flat, well not as big as a step you might think, but still a lot of work.

itnetx Office Bern

Not only I moved in 2014, also itnetx moved to a new and bigger office in Bern. The new location is great with a great city and mountain view.

E2EVC Brussels 2014

At E2EVC 2014 in Brussels I had the chance to deliver some overview sessions about the Microsoft Cloud OS stack, including things like System Center, Software-Defined Storage and Networking, Azure Pack and of course Hyper-V, together with Michael Rüefli (Microsoft MVP)

InovatiX 2014 Amsterdam

Talking about itnetx, during the summer time, itnetx, inovativ Belgium and inovativ Netherlands met in Amsterdam to discuss some topics on the Microsoft Cloud OS and sharing some knowledge. This was great, since I had the chance to meet some of the best experts in Europe around that topic.

Food 2014

If you follow me on some social media sites like Twitter, you know that I love good food. Of course I had some pretty good food in 2014, so if you are interested not only in Cloud OS but also in great food, you just have another reason to follow me on Twitter.

World Cup 2014

2014 was also the year of the FIFA World Cup, unfortunately Switzerland lost against Argentina.

Amsterdam 2014

The Cloud OS Network (COSN) in which itnetx is a part of, brought me another trip to Amsterdam for a great training and meeting with Microsoft Hosting people and partners.

Surface Pro 3

2014 also brought me some great new gadgets like the Surface Pro 3 or the Nokia Lumia 930.

System Center Universe Europe 2014

September was the time of System Center Universe Europe 2014 in Basel close to my home town. I had the chance to deliver two sessions about the Cloud OS networking stack together with Walther Dey (Former Cisco) and Michel Lüscher (Microsoft). You can watch the session recordings on my blog or Microsoft’s Channel9.

Master of Advanced Studies in Business Engineering and Management

In the summer 2014 I also finished the last semester of my Master of Advanced Studies in Business Engineering and Management. Now I am currently working on my master thesis.

VeeamON 2014 Las Vegas

Another great event I have been invited to was VeeamON 2014 in Las Vegas. This was the first Veeam conference and in my opinion this was just great. Bringing a lot of experts from around the world on site and talking about different Datacenter availability solutions is just great.

E2EVC Bercelona 2014

At E2EVC Barcelona 2014 I had the chance to deliver another session about Disaster Recovery using Azure Site Recovery and Hyper-V Replica. After that I had some time to relay in Barcelona and meet some friends before TechEd Europe 2014.

Microsoft MVP 2014

In October I was again awarded with the Microsoft MVP Award for the third time in a row after 2012 and 2013, which is a great honor.

COSN 2014

Some of the work I really enjoyed in 2014, was the work with service providers and building solutions form them using the Cloud OS stack with Azure Pack. It is great to help customers to build new solutions and business and cloud offerings.

MVP Summit 2014

One of the highlights as always is the Microsoft MVP Summit in Redmond (Seattle). It really helps to meet other people working on the same topic and talking to the Microsoft Product Groups about the current release as well as on the on going development.

MMS 2014

The last conference I was speaking, was the MMS 2014 (Mindwest Management Summit) in the Mall of America in Minneapolis. I talked about Fabric Management with System Center Virtual Machine Manager and Disaster Recovery using Azure Site Recovery Manager.

New York 2014

My last stop in 2014 took me to New York where I met two of my friends and spend some days exploring the city.

Microsoft Band

And this is my last gadget I got in 2014, the Microsoft Band. I was really exited about this little device. Since I started to do some more sports and I still had this first generation Nike Fuel Band I was happy to get this alternative.

Veeam Webinar Hyper-V 2012 R2

Another great thing I could to in 2014 was working with my partners and sponsors in several different projects and webinars. I really have to thank all my partners here like Veeam, Savision, Altaro, 5Nine and StarWind Software.

Overall 2014 was a great year for me and I really have to thank so many people which are helping, motivate and inspiring me every day, my friends, family, colleagues, bosses, partners, customers, and my girlfriend. I also have to thank all the readers of my blog, my followers on twitter and other social media sites and all the people how makes the effort running a blog and investing so much time in it totally worth it.

I wish you all a happy new year and a great start in 2015.

Thomas



Cisco Champion 2015

Cisco Champion 2015

Last year it was the first time I was awareded by Cisco with the Cisco Champions Award for 2014. This morning I found some great news in my inbox again. I feel honored to be part of the Cisco Champions community again for 2015. 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.

Congratulations: Welcome to the Cisco Champions Program 2015!

Because of your excellent contributions to the IT community, you have been chosen out of hundreds of applicants, to be a member of the Cisco Champions team in 2015. Congratulations!

 

Cisco Champions are seasoned IT technical experts and influencers who enjoy sharing their knowledge, expertise, and thoughts across the social web and with Cisco. The Cisco Champions program encompasses different areas of interest, such as Data Center, Internet of Things, Enterprise Networks, Collaboration and Security. Cisco Champions are located all over the world.