Windows Server 2012 Technical Launch (with Inframon & others…)


Today Ashley & I are in Hammersmith, West London for the Technical Launch of Windows Server 2012 which went General Availability on September 4th.

Windows Server 2012 (built from the Cloud up) is arguably the most exciting Windows Server release yet and it’s no surprise the event is packed, indeed standing room only!


As usual for our posts, we’ll list the official agenda and then use it to structure our comment later, the agenda for the day was listed as:

Agenda: Windows Server 2012- Microsoft Launch Event

09.00   Welcome & Registration

10.00   Keynote & Kickoff

11.00   Beyond Virtualization

12.00   Lunch

13.15   Power of Many Servers Simplicity of One

14.15   Any App Any Cloud

15.15   Break

15.45   Anywhere Working

16.45   Closing Drinks & Networking


Delivered by Microsoft global executives in partnership with Microsoft Most Valued Professionals (MVPs), Partners and the Windows Server User Group, at this event you’ll get:

Technical sessions on Windows Server 2012

Opportunities to ask Microsoft your questions

Networking with Microsoft, Partners and MVPs

Information on resources to get certified


Windows Server 2012 Key Facts

Windows Server powers many of the worlds’ largest datacenters, enables small businesses around the world, and delivers value to organizations of all sizes in between. Building on this legacy, Windows Server 2012 delivers hundreds of new features and enhancements spanning virtualization, networking, storage, user experience, cloud computing, automation, and more.
Windows Server 2012 will help you transform your IT operations to reduce costs and deliver a whole new level of business value. This is quite possibly the most significant release of Windows Server ever.
Windows Server 2012 brings Microsoft’s experience from building and operating public clouds to deliver a highly dynamic, available, and cost-effective server platform for private and service provider clouds, offering a multi-tenant aware cloud infrastructure that helps organisations connect more securely across premises and allows IT to respond to business needs faster and more efficiently.
Windows Server 2012, together with System Center 2012, presents many opportunities that will enable you to solve fundamental business and IT challenges.

“Nothing from Microsoft, and I mean literally nothing has ever been this ambitious”, proclaims ZDNet.
“Takes your breath away” says Computerworld.


Our notes and observations on the day

Keynote Kickoff

Morris Martin

Morris opened the event, and set the scene of change with a story of how just 30 years ago he did a paper round which paid for his Oric Atmos memory upgrades… to just 8K!
Today, Virtual Machine memory support in Server 2012 is a whopping 1TB!!
(he’s obviously a little older than me.. as a boy I had use of a Sinclair ZX81 (1K), however my own first computer was a 1st generation Spectrum and that shipped with double Morris’s upgrade, a huge 16K!


Torri Widsteen
Marketing, Windows Server

Been in Windows Server for 7 years and 13 at Microsoft so has seen a lot of change, but this is a really big year for Microsoft with major releases in SQL Server 2012, Visual Studio, Windows Server, and Windows 8 coming up in October, plus continual improvements to Azure

BYOD – she brought 3 devices over on the plane, and of course IT do not expect security compromised with her desire and ability to use whatever device is to hand – corporate IT supplied or not.

Bing running on WS2012 since pre-launch serving 5.5B queries a month

Market is excited about this release, events have been standing room only, 1m website hits in a week and great critical reviews

Early Adopters – Paul Smith (no surprise there – what RDP have they not been involved in!?!? ;-), Intel, Newham Council.  Supporting partners include Inframon, Intercept IT, OCSL, Trinity IT (but lets not mention the competition too much!)

Jeff Woolsey (@WSV_GUY) – Principal Program Manager, Windows Server

the numbers are bigger than ever before, and bigger pissing than VMware, even the latest announcements at VMworld

TechNet has been running on Hyper-V since the beta of WS2008

“If you want to use the other guys you’ll have to buy Enterprise Super Special Plus Edition” Winking smile

What is off bounds to virtualisation with Server 2012? Virtualise EVERYTHING!

Game changing technology – network virtualisation (true!)

VLAN sprawl, abused since 1995 – customers with 100’s or even 1000’s of VLANs (we helped audit a large UK based utility company with nearly a hundred and recommended they reduce!)

Cluster Aware Updates – up to 64 nodes & 8,000 VMs in a cluster can cause a patching headache – now automated (schedule or on demand)

Immersive Data Experience from e.g. Excel to SQL to Hadoop

Dynamic Access Control for information protection – link to auditing

Improvements to VDI – pooled vs personalised VDI (throw away and start clean vs. keep personal settings)

RemoteFX big improvements in WAN optimisation & touch

Demo using a Windows 8 tablet – allegedly his, however the logged in user was Ben Smith.  Got a laugh out of the audience mentioning its capabilities inc. support for Flash.. clearly using a mouse for the demo though

Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) – SAN compatibility to offload file/storage operations to the SAN.  Hyper-V supports and will improve operations such as live migrations, etc.

Dynamic Memory – Live changes!

QoS support in Hyper-V to allow resource management

SMB 3.0 improvements to File Services – 16Gbits/s (4x DVD’s per second!), block level storage for SQL, Exchange, etc. Storage Virtualisation to allow flexible change

Network Virtualisation – allows portability of VM’s across IP networks without downtime

Live server & Azure demo and it worked!

Back to Torri – MS Sales event in Redmond with 15,000 sellers – gave Server Tools demo the highest rating (a first, is usually X-Box and the sexier stuff.. slates, etc.)

Commitment to the market


Beyond Virtualization

Andrew Fryer & Aidan (MVP in Virtual Machine)

Business drivers for going Cloud – save money (licenses, time & effort, availability, scalability, performance)
Business concerns for going Cloud – security in multi-tenant, both from each other and the hoster from the clients
Ubuntu comes with ICS built in to kernel, rumour has it Red Hat coming too.. (Ashley confirm, we have contacts.. Smile)

Seriously Scary Scale-out stats – applies to all versions inc. free Hyper-V Server (slide needed – ask Sarah)

Live migration now prioritises idle memory pages, leaving the active pages to the end, reducing the number of iterations needed and improving the performance of Live Migrations

HA File Stores

Live Migration demo using a file share – worked

Hyper-V Replica – didn’t work, but Andrew asked to take it on faith it works… (we know it does as we saw it at the UK IT Camp event just a couple of weeks ago)

VHDX scales to 64TB (that’s 32x more than anyone else), 4K sector aligned and aware of native 4KB disks – can reduce write latency by a whole disk revolution!

Extending the Hyper-V Extensible Switch – can pretend to be a vendors switch – fully extensible, supports firewall capability, port mirroring, etc.


Improvements to networking such as DHCP, Router Guard, Bandwidth management, NIC Teaming, port mirroring, etc.


Power of Many Servers Simplicity of One

Simon May & Thomas (MVP in PowerShell?.. ) – Server Management, PowerShell, Storage

PowerShell v3

can be compiled

can be scripted across reboots, e.g. installing forced restart features or roles

“Pervasive scalable scripting”

over 2,600 new cmdlets covering several Windows features previously none-scriptable such as DHCP, DNS, etc.

Support for Script-Sharing & snippets – commonly reusable code snippets

Intellisense – never forget a parameter again!

Storage improvements – Storage Pools, SMB v3, running application servers on file shares e.g. SQL


Any (Every), App Any Cloud

Steve Plank – “Planky” & Damian Flynn (MVP, System Center) – Public & Private Cloud Computing

How do I embrace the Cloud, both Public & Private

Repeatable Cloud Computing – ability to upload configuration files to define the environment

Scalable and Elastic
Scalability & Performance – NUMA aware, Application initialisation,
Increased isolation & Security – IIS CPU Throttling,  FTP Logon Attempt restrictions, Dynamic IP Restriction
Simplified Management of Multiple Sites – Centralised SSL support (point your IIS servers at a file share and say get on with it!), Server Name indication, IIS Configuration Editor


Anywhere Working – Modern Workstyle, Enabled

Simon May & Andrew Fryer


Of course, swag is good and this event was no exception – bag, torch, pens, stickers and T-shirts – got a small and a double XL (great! – not! Winking smile)


Closing Drinks & Networking

…which leads nicely onto our good friends at Inframon who were sponsoring the event and who we also partner with for all things System Center


WordPress blog migrated from GoDaddy to Windows Azure

As our IT consulting business ( is a Microsoft partner, we believe it is important that we leverage as much Microsoft technology as possible (eat our own dog food!), and of course, that means Cloud
So, today we have moved our blog site (based on WordPress) over to the Windows Azure web hosting platform.


The process was simple enough with only one hick-up along the way. During the import of the xml file exported from the source there was a server side error importing to the new target – 502 – Web server received an invalid response while acting as  gateway or proxy server.


This was a bit of a pain since when I looked not all the posts or media had been imported. I had to go through and delete all the posts and empty them from the trash then reimport. Second time round, it when through fine.

Commissioning the same plugins on the new WordPress instance was simple enough and tweaking the settings only took a few minutes. It was a good opportunity to trawl through the options throughout WordPress to make sure the right once were set in the first place.

Summary of the process:

  • Commission the WordPress instance on Azure, needs to be a Shared instance, not a free one
  • Go to the new blog on the URL Azure creates for you and do the basic WordPress setup
  • Export the xml data from the old blog
  • Install and configure the plugins you’ll need on the new blog
  • Import the xml files and ensure you tick the box to import the images/media too
  • Create the CNAMES Azure needs for verification and public access

Something that I noted, non-Azure specific was that our export was 1.3mb with about 100 posts. The maximum file size for the importer is 2mb. The help info suggest increasing settings on the server, not sure you can do that on Azure..?

Lastly, the Jetpack site stats start from scratch again so you’ll have to accept that the historic info is gone – a shame as we had stats going back to Feb 2008!
(if anyone knows a way round this please share)

If you’d like a more detailed account of the process, let me know in the comments.

Microsoft Event–Harnessing the Power of Cloud Productivity

Join us at the ‘Harnessing the Power of Cloud Productivity Event’ featuring Kevin Turner Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer – due to unforeseen circumstances is no longer able to attend. John Jester, General Manager of UK Enterprise Business has now been added to the agenda.

Now more than ever, productivity is at the top of every business leader’s agenda, while proven security, reliability, usability and absolute control are essential.

Productivity comes from empowering your people. Giving everyone in your organisation the ability to work together in real time, and collaborate from anywhere on any device.

· Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides a familiar user experience with a reduced learning curve for greater overall employee productivity; driving connections across people, processes and ecosystems.

· Microsoft Office 365, the evolution of Microsoft Online Services, helps people connect in new ways – harnessing all the productivity benefits of Microsoft Office, together with the undisputed convenience of Cloud services.

At this event, we’ll share insights and demonstrate how Microsoft and the Cloud work together. You’ll discover how to get the scalability your organisation needs, while achieving measurable productivity through improved business gains and cost savings.


K2 – Dr Katy Ring,

Martini Solution – Anytime, Any place, Anywhere (Business viewpoint), IT professional view is somewhat different.. how to keep secure, deploy, manage, etc.

Four main ways to deploy..
Public – e.g. Salesforce, GoogleApps
Private –
Mixed model

a key is a common code-base across on-premise, private, and public.. something that is key to Microsoft’s strategy

Cloud & FUD

Fear about Security – is diminishing, only 42% believe it is a greater threat

Uncertainty about integration – although often easier & quicker than moving an on premise solution

Doubts about the business case – regulatory e.g. no PCI compliance therefore prohibits some industries, cost/benefit concerns

Key Message:
Cloud Computing is the IT industry’s best effort to provide the business solutions we need in the era of the Internet

Using Cloud Services to drive productivity

John Jester, General Manager – UK EPG, Microsoft (

Change of priorities:
2008 – More for Less
2009 – Cost Reduction
2010 – Cloud.. Opportunities provided through Cloud Computing
2011 – Add capabilities to the business, more business insights but lower cost & more effective

$9.5B in R&D, 75% on Cloud related activities, 30,000 engineers on Cloud Services
$2.3B invested in Cloud Infrastructure (geo-replicated customer data, public & private, 30,000 engineers, regional DCs in Americas, EMEA, and APAC)

Cloud = more speed, agility, productivity

SharePoint – fastest product to $1B sales

show of hands for who is virtualised in the data center – about 25%, but John saw 100%..
More new servers are virtualised than not, existing install base is c. 50/50 – virtualization has worked

Office 365 – was BPOS but now with Office, plus Exchange, SharePoint, Lync

Who is using – some very large enterprises inc. >300,000 employees

Security concerns from IL0->6 – “no one wants their data in the US”

What happens if you loose your network connection?  building more offline caching capabilities like Outlook

When will Office 365 be available?  “in the first half of the year” June! was the answer from the 365 team

Drive Business Success: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

Brad Wilson, General Manager – CRM, Microsoft

Microsoft claim the leader in CRM with 23,000 customers with 1,400,000 users in 80 countries with 40+ languages, and 1,200 software & services partners
100+ hosted services providers for specialized solutions and territories

Microsoft is the biggest user of Dynamics CRM with 40,000 users and 10,000 on CRM 2011

How much in the UK? Launch promotion of £22.75 per user./month for first 12 months if signed by June 30th.

Look and feel like Outlook – Office fluent, Contextual SharePoint

Lots of incentives to move from competing products such as Salesforce & Oracle

Windows Workflow Foundation 4.0 commonality between SharePoint & Dynamics CRM

Release cadence for CRM online is planned to be 6-9 months, in last 30 months has been 5 releases (in US market).

Cloud Productivity Brought to Life

Hayley Bass &

Demo of a CRM online customised property sales & management application interfaced with an Azure web portal to provide a feature rich public website and back-office system utilizing Lync and SharePoint.


Cloud Productivity in Action

Alex Montgomery, Solutions Consultant, Microsoft UK

speakers from 3 customers using CRM Online:


– Wise Group