Best of Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) UK 2013

Today we are at Microsoft’s Cardinal Place offices in London Victoria for ‘Best of MMS’ – a regular fixture in The Full Circle calendar for a rapid-fire immersion in the latest Microsoft System Center technologies.  It’s also a great opportunity to catch-up with key System Center partners, the leader in this space being our good friends at Inframon.


‘Best of MMS’ is a one-day synopsis of the week long main event held in Las Vegas in April – see for the official MSFT site inc. videos, keynotes, etc…

This year’s event is just 1-day at 1-venue (last year was 3), however last year was product launch cycle with the 2012 wave whereas this year is mid-release improvements.

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Best of Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) UK 2012 – Launching System Center 2012

Microsoft Cardinal Place, Victoria, London


On May 17th we attended one of our regular annual fixtures ‘Best of MMS’ which is a one-day (at 3 UK venues) synopsis of the week long main event held in Las Vegas in the spring – see for the official MSFT site inc. videos keynotes, etc…

Microsoft described the event with:
“We have a very exciting wave of new product launches and announcements for the Microsoft Private Cloud in 2012 – starting with the release of System Center 2012, which allows you to manage your virtual, physical, and cloud environments from a single console, using common and consistent management experiences that provide full control across your existing datacentre investments.

We have also introduced a new edition line-up and simplified licensing for System Center 2012 to address both your server and client management needs – including Virtual Machine Manager, Operations Manager, Configuration Manager, Data Protection Manager, Service Manager, Orchestrator, Endpoint Protection, and App Controller.

Best of Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) UK 2012– This 1-day event will provide you with the best possible opportunity to learn about what’s new in System Center 2012 and our next step forward in the Microsoft Private Cloud vision, strategy and roadmap – with deep dive sessions on infrastructure management, service delivery & automation, application management, desktop & device management – whichis an opportunity you won’t want to miss!”

In addition there were 12 exhibiting and sponsoring partners – 1E, Avnet, Bytes, Computer 2000, EACS, HP, Risual, Silversands, Trinity, Ultima, Veeam, and of course our good friends at Inframon – Gordon McKenna, Sean Roberts, and Clive Donaghue.

The agenda for the day and our notes on the sessions are below:

09.30-10.00 Microsoft’s Private Cloud: Built For The Future, Ready Now
Mike Schutz, General Manager for Windows Server & Management


Opened with a flashy marketing video describing some of the new features of Microsoft’s private & public cloud management solutions

– Product Marketing 
– Trends – Cloud computing, Continuous Services and Connected Devices
– Cloud Definition (yet more)
– Pooled Resources, Self Service, Elastic, Usage Based
– Cloud Drivers
– Agility, Economics, Innovation
– Microsoft Hybrid Cloud – stitched together with common technologies
– Identity, Virtualisation, Management, Development
– Private Cloud Focus
– All about the App, Cross-Platform from the metal up, Foundation for the future, Cloud on Your Terms
– TAP video interview with the business that were involved

10.00-10.30 What’s New in System Center 2012
Matt McSpirit, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Server & Cloud Platform Team

We’ve known Matt since his early days at Microsoft when Microsoft virtualisation meant Virtual Server 2005 and later worked with him on the Windows Server 2008 R2 EAP with Hyper-V v2 (more on EAP’s and The Full Circle’s involvement in the development of Hyper-V 2008 R2 at
Matt has deep technical knowledge combined with skill as a presenter, and thorough understanding of what the business needs means his sessions are always worth a watch – today was no exception.

System Center 2012 brings a host of new and improved features over previous releases and really does span the management gap between Private and Public Cloud Infrastructures with Heterogeneous support to integrate a wide range of technologies into a coherent private cloud.

System Center 2012 comprises:

– App Controller
– Operations Manager
– Orchestrator
– Service Manager
– Virtual Machine Manager
– Data Protection Manager
– Endpoint Protection
– Configuration Manage

Areas of improvement cover:

– Process automation
– Self-service infrastructure
– Deep application monitoring and problem diagnosis
– Standardized provisioning of application service
– Simplified management of applications
– Application self-service  across clouds
– Flexible delegation with control
– Physical, virtual, and cloud management

more at


10.30-11.00 BREAK

11.00-12.00 Infrastructure & Fabric Management
Julius Davies, DataCenter Technology Specialist

Another no-nonsense, articulate, and technically deep presenter able to take a topic offline well into level-400 and beyond which is no surprise considering Julius has been working on Windows since when IBM & Microsoft were still working on the likes of OS/2 😉


Data Centre and Private Cloud

Self service > fills in a form > reaches into backend infrastructure and provisions service >

13.00-14.00 Service Delivery & Automation

Microsoft System Center 2012 Service Manager, coupled with the rest of the System Center suite, delivers industry best practice capabilities for managing your data center and adhering to Industry Best Practices. This session presented how the System Center suite supports industry frameworks like ITIL and MOF with the features introduced in the 2012 release.

14.00-15.00 Application Management

sorry we ducked out on Service Manager, there were offline conversations to be had on partnering opportunities with HP & Microsoft on getting Hyper-V to 50% of the market by 2014..

15.30-16.30 Desktop & Device Management

End users are bringing consumer devices into the organisation – iPhones, iPads, Tablets and Smartphone’s are now part of the corporate environment. All of this is adding pressure for client administrators to deal with this influx of diverse devices.
Microsoft Client management technologies such as the new version of Intune in beta wave, along with their partners’ (that’ll be us then – see, can help IT enable consumerisation.

Great demo showing a simple app deployment across iOS (iPad & iPhone), Android, and of course, Windows Phone.

Intune at

Intune Beta (April 2012 pre-release) Sign Up Now

16.30-17.00 NETWORKING & CLOSE

A bunch of the ‘usual suspects’ headed to Brown’s across the road – last time we were out with some of this lot it got quite early.. this time Reuben showed his determination on day-2 of a 9-day detox and left after two sparkling waters – fitter for next time!

Later heard that it was unfortunately dampened by some tea-leaf nicking Stuart’s bag with virtually his whole work life in it – sorry to hear it Stuart and hope you’ve now recovered from the obvious pain – thoughts with you.

War On Cost II, The Churchill War Rooms, London

Today I’m in London for what I expect will be one of the most valuable events of my calendar – Inframon’s now annual War On Cost event, this year held at The Cabinet War Rooms in London’s Westminster.

Inframon, headed by Gordon McKenna and Sean Roberts are old friends of ‘The Circle’ since we attended their System Center Train the Trainer workshop in November 2008.  Since then we’ve kept in touch at various events & launches, and when they are hosting they always deliver a cracking event.

Indeed, a fair summary as I wrote to some colleagues only a few weeks ago..

Coming up on the 5th November is Inframon’s War on Cost which is basically a 1-day systems management focussed preview of TechEd Europe which starts the following week in Berlin.
A whole bunch of senior Redmond folk come over the week before TechEd to present at this event, hit the town for a few beers (limited for me am afraid this year), stay the weekend in London before going on to Berlin for yet more & possibly better beer!
So, click on to register – I’ll absolutely guarantee you, if you have an interest/responsibility in managing a Microsoft estate then you will get a load of value from this event.

The official agenda is below, and if I made notes I’ve added them in-line with the agenda:

Event Schedule

Inframon, the UK’s leading specialist in the Microsoft System Center suite present "War On Cost 2010", a very exclusive event which will be taking place in the Cabinet War Rooms in the heart of London, an historic underground complex that housed a British government command centre throughout the Second World War.

The aim of this event is to give you valuable information on how you can help your organisation drive down the cost of managing your Windows and Non-Windows based infrastructure using the Microsoft System Center Suite of products.

Featuring two dynamic tracks aimed at both Business and Technical decision makers, to give you the knowledge you need to make a difference in your organisation.


09:00 – 09:30 INFRAMON KEYNOTE

Introductory keynote from Gordon McKenna, CEO at Inframon setting the scene for our theme "The War on Cost"

Unfortunately I missed the start of Gordon’s keynote as I was unable to enter the Cabinet War Rooms due to an ‘entry lockdown’ whilst waiting for the PM to arrive and enter the building… okay I was slightly late in the first place… but no, not a Churchill impersonator, but Mr David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister!
‘Dave’ as he’s known to his mates was at the war rooms for an interview with ITV – maybe related to the recent UK Government spending cuts and the UK’s War on Cost…? 😉


David Cameron speaking about The War On Cost..?

I eventually got in the building to then wander around the maze that was the cabinet war rooms and haunt of another famous conservative PM.. a certain Sir Winston Churchill!  to eventually find the Inframon team, Gordon, Sean and the guys in a War on Cost bunker that looked like it certainly did cost!  great venue!

Gordon McKenna was this BIG!!!

Partners (allies) in the battle of the war on cost…
ComTrade – MPs for Citrix & Seibel
Silect Software – MP Studio, CP Studio, ConfigWise
Flexera – Win7 migration application challenges (packaging & sequencing)
Savision – Live Maps & Vital Signs for System Center (extends SCOM with mapping and real-time performance dashboards)
BridgeWays – helps you convert from VMware… Also free Hyper-V MP @….
Odyssey Software –

prize draw for an Windows Phone 7 device, the HTC HD 7 – went to European Market Oct 21st, won’t be in the US till Nov 8th!  and they are as rare as rocking horse sh1t in the UK with one distributor saying to me on Friday 5th Oct “Unfortunately we are not likely to be able to supply the HD7 as all three of the new HTC devices are going to be network exclusives.”


Join us in the main auditorium for a first keynote from Microsoft’s Senior Director of System Center Product Marketing, Ryan O’Hara who will be giving us an insight on how Microsoft’s Datacenter and Cloud strategy can help you in the battle your organisation faces around reducing the cost of managing your IT infrastructure whilst trying to increase efficiency. Learn also how System Center can be a key business enabler in both on-premise and off-premise scenarios.


Ryan O’Hara & Justin Buffington (AKA The Professor)

Google, Salesforce, Amazon – don’t provide services that can run in your Data Center / stand up within your service offering

Ryan reckons that MS is the only single vendor that provided the widest reach of cloud based services to provide ‘IT as a service’

Self Service Portal for VMM – version being shown today along with VMM vNext. Capability for business process owners (application owners) to request and provision new data center services through a web portal.

VMM 2012 CTP demo
Moving from a server centric model to a service model – detaching the application from the O/S.

Create Cloud Wizard! 😉 what’s your job? I’m a cloud creator!

Demo of service maps – Opalis 6.3 available at the end of the month to all data Center management suite registered customers… & partners?

Acquisition of AVIcode allows 360 degree monitoring in delivering IT as a service. Black box & White box monitoring… Wazzthat then?

OpsMgr watcher nodes running outside your environment

SCOM2012 / OM10 – now with dashboards and can manage network infrastructure (at last! :-))


With end users increasingly mobile, consumerization impacting IT,  and security and compliance needs converging on the business you are likely considering options for desktop virtualization, endpoint protection, cloud management and application delivery. IT has an opportunity to simplify their investments, tools and processes in order to be ever more responsive to the changing face of their customer.  In this session, we’ll focus on effective solutions that will help you in the War on Cost – we’ll do this and take a forward look at upcoming System Center and Forefront technologies


Join Sean Roberts and Simon Skinner of Inframon for a walk through Microsoft’s new private cloud story. Learn how to build your own, internal private cloud solution with Microsoft Hyper-V, System Center Virtual Machine Manager and the new Self Service Portal 3.0. See how you can drive more efficient use of your IT infrstructure using batch processing and chargeback reporting putting you back in control of your costs.

Sean Roberts & Simon Skinner …how many MVP’s needed to… don’t ask! Winking smile


This session will cover updates to Operation Manager 2007 since the release of R2, including the latest new features included in R2 CU3. We will also go over the next major release of Operations Manager including the vision and product demonstrations. This will be a demo packed session with plenty of time to interact and ask questions

  • OpsMgr R2 Sizing Helper
  • OpsMgr R2 Core MP updates
  • Service Level Dashboard 2.0
  • Cumulative Updates 3 (CU3) for OpsMgr 2007 R2
  • OpsMgr Sizing
    OpsMgr sizing helper to address the unknown around sizing – ‘ask 5 MS engineers an OpsMgr sizing question and you’ll likely get 5 different answers…’

    target environments:

  • Small to Medium deployment – 250-1000 computers
  • Large deployment – 1000-10000 computers
  • Use in conjunction with the OpsMgr design guide, an introduction is at

    OpsMgr R2 Core MP updates


    Cumulative Updates 3 (CU3) for OpsMgr 2007 R2

    Get it from the download Center at

    The KB article describing the fixes, changes, and instructions is at

    The high-level fixes are:

  • Feature Addition: Azure Application Monitoring
  • Feature Addition: Parameter Extraction in Web Application Synthetic Transactions
  • Multi-selection in the alert view is not maintained during a view refresh
  • Upgrading MPs that include new properties may not recreate views correctly
  • The Operations Manager Console stops working when a high number of instances of State Views / Alert Views are left open for extended durations
  • The Operations Manager Console stops working when creating an override on the cluster resource group monitor
  • When using a remote console the notification wizards does not work in certain situations
  • The SDK Services stops working due to an unhandled exception, and the operations console becomes unresponsive
  • The SDK service may stop working due to an arithmetic overflow error in very rare circumstances
  • The notification scheduler does not compensate correctly for different time zones
  • Alerts using the “Specific Time Period” criteria are not included during automatic alert view refresh
  • Generic performance reports consume a large amount of temporary database space and can fail for Windows Server 2003 Computer Groups
  • SCOM 2007 SP1 Reports do not run after a shared Data Warehouse is upgraded to SCOM 2007 R2
  • Monitoringhost.exe does not work reliably on Windows 2003 SP2 X64 Domain Controllers
  • The total transaction response performance counter in URL monitoring is not accurate
  • MPs with empty knowledge elements cannot be imported in Operations Manager 2007 R2
  • Language packs authored for a previous version of an MP cannot be imported once an updated MP is released
  • Language Pack import fails if the MP contains strings which are not contained in the English Management Pack
  • When Agentless Exception Monitoring (AEM) is set up to use SharePoint, reports from Watson are blocked
  • Some ACS reports do not work as expected with Windows Server 2008
  • ACS forwarders with 15 character names in workgroups are unable to communicate with the ACS collector
  • CU4 should be out at the end of Jan’11 – plan is to have quarterly updates

    There is a great post at which covers in-depth on CU3 and its deployment – essential reading!

    OpsMgr v.Next 2012, Daniel Savage, Senior PM Operations Manager

    Support for network device monitoring

    Support for Java EE (J2E) Web Service Monitoring – server level, not currently site/app level

    Release roadmap – Public Beta in Q2 CY11, RC Q3 CY11, RTM Q4 CY11



    In this session we will demonstrate how to dramatically reduce the cost and complexity of managing deployments of Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7, Windows CE, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad, Android and Symbian devices through comprehensive, centralized management of these devices utilizing Odyssey Software’s AthenaTM device management extensions for System Center Configuration Manager 2007.


    Learn how you can extend your Operations Manager 2007 platform beyond the Windows stack with Bridgewys cross-platform extensions and connectors, allowing you to manage platforms such as VMWare and Oracle from the same familiar console as the rest of your devices allowing you to consolidate your management tools, driving down your infrastructure costs,

    12:50 – 13:50 LUNCH

    Join us for lunch in our partner pavillion, where you can network with other delegates and meet our ISV partners and speakers


    The next generation of the world’s leading systems management technology is now in Beta!  As we enter a new era of work styles, with people working in new ways from new locations on new devices, the System Center flagship product is evolving.  In this session we present a demo rich technical highlight of the next release of ConfigMgr.  We will focus on our continued vision of User Centric client management, highlight new improvements to core capability, infrastructure simplification and more. 



    Breakout two, takes us on a journey into the world of IT service management with one of the newest members of the System Center family, Service Manager. Learn how you can pull together your IT resources with industry standard best practices, bringing disciplines like incident and problem and change and release management to your organisation allowing you to drive more efficient working processes across your organisation.


    This session will focus on leveraging Data Protection Manager’s protection and recovery capabilities in large datacenters.  We will look at how Data Protection Manager protects and recovers critical application workloads such as SQL, Exchange and SharePoint – as well as virtual machines within Hyper-V.  The session is full of demonstrations, including the new self-service restore capability for database administrators.  We will also look at combining on-premise and off-premise protection using both Data Protection Manager’s built-in replication mechanisms as well as cloud-based Data Protection Manager-partner repositories.

    One stat to take away… up to 60% of corporate data does not reside in the datacenter… Yikes!!!

    therefore backing up the client machines, with policies to not backup the junk, movies, music, etc.


    In one of the final sessions of the day we bring you the one solution that will probably give you the biggest set of tools in fighting the War on Cost. Microsoft’s newest addition to the System Center suite is Opalis, a robust and multi functional IT orchestration toolkit that can help drive incredible efficiencies in your organisation by automating many of your time consuming, day to day IT processes. This is not a session to be missed.

    16:10 – 16:30 CLOSING KEYNOTE

    Proceedings end with a closing keynote from Inframon CEO Gordon McKenna.

    16:30 – 17:00 TOUR OF VENUE

    Finally you are invited to take a tour of this very historic venue.

    Training – Microsoft SMSE Train the Trainer Bootcamp

    Today and the following two days I’m training again! (a recent raft of great MS partner subsidized training, that in the absence of any current major projects, are just too good to pass by – next week Hyper-V deep dive ;-)).

    This time I’m with another close TFC associate, Tony Askew. Tony is a Windows Infrastructure Architect I’ve known for getting on 13yrs since working together on a large document management project when he was working with Lewisham Council and me with EDS.

    Anyway, the training!

    it’s all about IO… (
    Tony looking bemused and confused (before the course, of course! ;-)patrick from HP with his mate, Guinness











    Data Center Management Solutions
    Config Management – SCCM providing automated provisioning (OSD) and updating (patching) of both physical and virtual environments
    End-to-End Monitoring – SCOM Enabling of service level monitoring, not just ‘server level’ monitoring, and service levels against those too!
    Server Compliance – SCOM and ACS providing centralised security auditing with controls and reporting
    Data Protection and Recovery – DPM providing Business Continuity through Virtualization Management, Backup and Recovery of Physical and Virtual resources, Disaster Recovery including SRT

    Systems Management Suite Enterprise (SCOM 2007 EE, SCCM 2007, SCDPM 2007 EE, SCVMM 2008) – all for about $1400 – bargain!
    – Provides the rights to manage an unlimited (okay 192) number of VM’s
    – would be $753+$750+$753+$1512 ($3768) for the suite if purchased seperately
    – additionally this is only 20-30% of any of the comparative Enterprise Management suites from the likes of CA, BMC, etc.

    “If you’re going to manage the enterprise you have to support cross-platform”

    System Center Service Manager – beta available now on Connect (

    SCOM 2007
    End-to-End Service Monitoring – proactive management of IT services
    Best of Breed for Windows – the product teams are behind the management packs, TechNet knowledge built in, expertise for over 50 Microsoft applications, servers, and clients
    Increased Efficiency and Control – reduce the complexity of managing the IT environment

    Tip – Install Management Packs individually, starting with the OS, monitor the alerts, address the configuration issues using overrides where necessary, then add higher level packs, again leave the environment to accumulate good sample data before revisiting and correcting further configuration issues or tuning out as appropriate.

    Management Packs – (vanity link! ;-), or direct to

    Tip – with any new deployment create an ‘Active Alerts Closed’ view to capture alerts that have changed state and would not be captured in the Active Alerts view (with specifc resolution state = closed)

    Tip – best OpsMgr (SCOM) blog on the net…

    DPM 2007
    Reporting – rocks! 🙂
    Express Full Backups – effecient over the wire backup as just backing up the changes once a full replica has been created

    DPM Planning and Deployment Guide –
    DPM Health Model (alert list, etc.) –

    Tip – Add a SCOM Management Pack for DPM, but also add the hardware/platform vendor MP in additon to the OS MP as this will report on lower level errors for completeness
    Tip – add the DPM Capaicity Planner tool
    Tip – using System Recovery Tool to restore to non-similar hardware, the how to move a Windows installation to different hardware KB may come in handy…;EN-US;Q249694

    VMM 2008 – A centralized, heterogeneous management solution for the virtual datacenter
    Unified Management – cross platform virtualization management for VS, Hyper-V, and VMware VI3
    Integrated Conversion Tools – P2V, V2V,
    Unlimited Virtualization with Data Center – just license the procs, unlimitedVM’s, 1/3rd cost of VMware

    Tip – MS Hyper-V disks; for performance use in order of preference pass-through, then fixed, then differencing (will end up the same size anyway), dynamically expanding (huge overhead, 3 writes per write, only for use in test/dev, training, etc.)

    Happy with this training course?

    Overall Satisfaction
    having attended scores of professional IT training since 1991, this course stands out amongst the best I’ve attended, the quality of the content & materials, the actual products themselves, but above all the outstanding quality of the instructors – hats off to Gordon & Justin from Inframon