Tuesday, October 26, 2010

SBS Diva talks about not being afraid of the cloud

Susan Bradley talks about how partners shouldn’t be afraid of the cloud, but yet embrace it. Video courtesy of VarVid.


Aaron Booker of Varvid had a nice sit-down with Susan Bradley, known as the SBS Diva, at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2010. Susan made a point to emphasize how important it is for VARs to upgrade their SBS Competency in order to stay attractive to customers and hopes that partners will not overreact to some of the comments on the cloud frenzy… Susan and Aaron talked about Aurora, SBS v7, and lots more.

For what it’s worth, Susan updates her blog from a laptop seemingly from the 1920s, an an extinct Cingular wireless card:


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Simplify your Client Story with Windows MultiPoint Server 2011!


Back in February of 2010, Microsoft launched a new product, called Windows MultiPoint Server 2010, which is designed primarily for the education market to help schools increase computing access to more students for a lower total cost. Today the public beta of 2011 is available for you to try.

As an IT Consultant, why should you care?

If you look at the solution, MultiPoint can actually reduce the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of clients in a small business.  Much of the hard work of running products like Windows Small Business Server Codename “Aurora” and Windows Small Business Server Codename “SBS7” is dealing with client computers, keeping them patched and secure.  Typically in a small business each employee might have one sometimes two computers to manage.  With the release of MultiPoint Server 2011, you can reduce the number of clients in your infrastructure that need maintaining, while keeping (or if you choose, increasing) the number of virtual workstations via terminal services.  Using Terminal Services in App Sharing mode, and normal clients takes some of the risk away, but you still have to worry about patching those “thin” clients.  With MultiPoint server, you simply just patch the server and you’re done.  Simply join it to your “Aurora” or “SBS7” domain, and let your users log in to the MultiPoint server.

So what’s new with Windows MultiPoint Server 2011? We’ve been listening to customer and partner feedback and here are some of the new things you’ll find:

  1. Desktop thumbnails that make it easier for teachers to orchestrate activities across the classroom, see what students are working on, and interact with student sessions.
  2. Support for connecting thin clients over the LAN. This allows for virtually unlimited distances between stations.
  3. The ability to string multiple MultiPoint Server “pods” and manage them from a unified MultiPoint Manager console. Great for labs and libraries where there are a large number of stations in a single place.
  4. Split screen capabilities at each user station. Turn one screen into two separate stations for a new way of collaborative learning between students.
  5. An ISV extensibility model based on a common SDK with the next versions of Windows Small Business Server and Windows Home Server, which enables ISVs such as learning and classroom management providers to integrate with MultiPoint Server.
  6. Support for domain join to integrate Windows MultiPoint Server with your existing Active Directory infrastructure.

If your organization is struggling with providing enough computers for your users, decreasing technology budgets, limited technical support and outdated hardware and software, I encourage you to check out Windows MultiPoint Server 2010 today and to take a look at the enhancements we are thinking about for through the now available Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 beta.

You can read the official public blog post here, on the SBS blog.  Or if you’d rather jump right in, try out the Beta!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Windows Server Codename Aurora–Demo

Yours truly , sitting in my office at Redmond, talk about the differences between “Aurora” and “SBS7” as well as provide a 5 minute demo of Aurora. We’ll be going more in depth at SMBNation, as we have a whole 90 minutes just for Aurora!

To comment on the TechNet Edge video, point your browser here.

You can download the Aurora Tech Preview here.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Customizing what is an e-mail alert on Aurora and Vail

[This post comes courtesy of Adrian Maziak, our System Health PM]

Windows Server “Aurora” is currently in Beta (You can download it from Connect, or read about the beta announcement). You’ve had it for a few months, and have probably run out of things to try on this beta. Well, I wanted to get you back involved with some customization goodies for the health and monitoring alerts that are built both into the Aurora and the Vail products that will carry into the final release.

In previous versions of Home Server, Monitoring could only be done without an add-in in the local console, or from the system tray icon on a local client. You needed something like @WHSTweet to get the alerts off the box (which by the way was a wicked application, I use it for my V1), or perhaps another add-in that I’m not aware of. Also, in previous versions of Small Business Server, there was an Exchange mail server locally to send the alert. But in Aurora there is no exchange server, that’s saved for SBS7.

With Aurora or Vail we provide the ability to insert a “SmartHost” email server that you can send mail through. This can be an email server that lives out on the Internet that you have access to, or the one at your ISP that you simply have access to simply by being part of their network.

Set up email notification for alerts

However, not all alerts will generate e-mail. The health team took a hard look at all the alerts and have made a call on which ones might be critical for the admin to know immediately, and which ones that can wait until the admin is on the network. But while we optimize this for certain scenarios, we may have missed yours. This is where customization comes in.

Each health alert is defined in a health definition file. These definition files are stored in C:\Program Files\Windows Server\Bin\FeatureDefinitions\Microsoft Base\definition.xml.config.

For example, if you were to scroll down in this file to the “AutoStartServicesVistaWin7Client” for the alert about auto started services on clients that aren’t running. This doesn’t alert by default via email, but if you wanted it to, you can add a line to the XML file <Escalate>true</Escalate>.

<HealthDefinitionConfiguration Name="AutoStartServicesVistaWin7Client">
<Argument Name="Description">don’t touch this stuff</Argument>

Likewise, if you are getting an alert via email that you really don’t care about, then simply open up the definition xml file and remove the <Escalate> line.

Important Tip: Make sure you back-up the definition.xml.config file before you change it. You never know when you’re going to need to revert back to the default version!

Some Known SmartHosts

SMTP Server SSL? Auth? Port Logon Information
smtp.live.com Yes Yes 587 Full LiveID username & Password
smtp.comcast.net Yes No 587 Must be in Comcast’s Network
smtp.gmail.com Yes Yes 587 Full GMail username & password
smtp.mail.yahoo.com No Yes 25 Email Name and password

*Subject to change without notice

SMTP Settings

Example using the Live Smart Host

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

I’m headed to SMB Nation, are you?

SMB Nation

So this year SMB Nation is in Las Vegas, NV, and I have the pleasure of flying down from my home office here in Victoria, BC to demo and show the Windows Server Codename “Aurora” product, and a co-worker of mine, Michael Leworthy will be doing the demo of Windows Server codename “SBS7”

Aurora will debut at 9:15am on Friday morning, grab a cup of coffee and head on over to my session where I will demo and present the Aurora product.  I’ll also be answering many of your questions about the Aurora product.  Later on the same day, at 3pm, Michael will be presenting the many features and answering your questions on SBS7.

Michael and I will also be passing through the Microsoft booth from time to time on both Friday and Saturday, so if you miss a session or have follow-up questions, you can find us there.

Hopefully I’ll see you at my Aurora session, if not at the booth.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Small Business Server 7–Interview with Björn Levidow

Björn Levidow, Group Program Manager for SBS, tells us about some of the new enhancements in the next version of Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008), currently called "SBS 7" for short. You can download the SBS 7 Preview by going to this Connect site.

Full video & comments on Technet Edge.