Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
Dave Sobel from Evolve Technologies has been doing Virtualisation in the SMB space for some time. He s recently started a new Yahoogroup to focus on the unique questions and answers that might crop up.
You can join the group here
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
In the run up to the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans in two weeks, the EBS team are doing a push to see how far they can get with Social media and have a few things that they would like us all to do. Here s an extract from an email from Nick King from the WESS team.
Facebook recently announced a vanity url program, but in order to qualify as a page we need to have 100 fans. From today we need to get to 100 fans as quickly as possible. Our goal is to meet this requirement before WPC in two weeks. Here is where we need your help;
Can you please become a fan by going here http://www.facebook.com/pages/Windows-Essential-Business-Server/107556414738 so we can push towards the magic 100.
Secondly, we re soft launching our official EBS twitter feed today too http://twitter.com/windowsebs please begin following (those of you on twitter) as we ll be announcing different items here as we ramp over the next few days and begin driving other awareness at WPC.
Don t forget ours and your other great assets too;
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
FREE yeah thought that might get your attention. There s been a rumour going around that all attendees to TechEd 2009 in Australia would get a free HP NetBook well it s now in the news so it must be true right
Don t forget if you are a valid member of one of the SMB IT Professional / SBS groups in Australia and want to get a $500 discount to TechEd Australia email me and I ll pass your name on for a discount code. NOTE I WILL be checking to see if you are a member of a given group so no fast ones now!
Friday, June 12th, 2009
It s my belief that Customer Service is the ONE key thing that will help business survive in this current economic environment.
Anyway today I stayed home for the day. It took some arranging but I stayed home. I was waiting for two sales people to come from two different Solar Hot Water companies. We called Dux and Rheem to get them to send people out so we could check out the leading brands. Our aim was to make a decision over the weekend. Dux had one of their resellers make an appointment and they committed to be here between 10am and 2pm. Rheem on the other hand could not give a clear time that they would be here.
Around mid day neither one had called or been to the visit. I decided to be proactive and called both companies just to confirm that someone was indeed coming. I contacted the Dux reseller and introduced myself and immediately he said Oh Mr Small from (my home street address) I was just about to call you. He proceed to apologise and tell me that due to the cold snap that their team was stretched and that they would not be able to make it today. He enquired as to when it would be best for them to come again and offered tomorrow (Saturday) as the first available option. Great I accepted an appointment for Saturday morning and his apology.
I then called Rheem they confirmed that yes they would be there by the end of the day. Cool I thought and I went on with the work I was doing.
Later in the day at 4:30pm I got a call from Rheem that I missed as I was on the phone. Michael from Rheem left a message for me to call him back. I called back but he was busy and I spoke with one of his colleagues. I was then told that no they could not make it today and asked which day next week could they come out. I suggested Saturday to which they replied We don t work Saturdays.. . I expressed my extreme dissatisfaction that 4:30pm was not the time to call a customer to let them know that you would not be making it out there today. They offered no apology and failed to understand that basically they d put me out all day waiting for them. They further could not commit to a TIME next week so as to make up for the mess up today. Had I known at 12:00pm when I called them both that neither would be coming, I would have gone into the office and gotten some of my work done, but I could not.
So these are two examples of customer service in difficult situations one of them keen to help, the other clearly not. We ll likely proceed with the guys that come out tomorrow provided the price is reasonable simply because of the customer service they showed today. Rheem you lost a potential customer today and you don t seem to care.
So what is the takeaway from this? Our customers are the ones that pay our bills. Their satisfaction should be our prime concern because if they are happy then the price they pay will not be the thing at the front of their minds. They will be focused on the excellent customer service they get from you and THAT will be the thing they value more than anything else. It s certainly something that I ve believe for some time and it seems to work for us.
Monday, June 8th, 2009
This weekend I m doing another migration from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008. As part of that migration I ve done my normal backup procedure and THIS TIME it proved WHY it s so important. Microsoft recommend in their documentation that you do a full backup of the system this is very good advice, but advice that I suspect few people follow. A full system backup with NTBACKUP will include the system state that s the bit with all your AD info and so on in it.
During a migration, I typically connect my own USB drives to the clients server and then regardless of their current backup, I do my own backups. I do two things here firstly an image level backup using ShadowProtect (we have the IT edition ourselves) and then secondly I use NTBACKUP to do a SYSTEM STATE backup to a file on the USB drive just by itself. I do this a few times during the migration process as it gives me a few points of recovery.
1st time is when I connect my drive to the server and BEFORE I make ANY changes that way I can recover the system back to this point in time if needed.
2nd time is directly I ve checked for and resolve the typical AD issues that we come across from time to time.
3rd time is AFTER I ve done the SBS 2008 preparation stuff on the server this will do some Active Directory schema extensions and I want to be sure to capture those after they ve happened.
4th time is optional and dependant on how long it is between doing the 3rd backup and starting the SBS 2008 migration installation. If I start the migration directly after the 3rd system state backup then I don t do a 4th backup however if it s been a few days in between then I do the 4th backup as it will capture any user password changes etc that may have happened in those few days.
Ok so today it showed up just how this process works and it saved me from a lot of pain and frustration. Yesterday I installed SBS 2008 in migration mode and the install went through without any major issues. However during the Windows portion of the installation process I got this error message when I configured an 80GB partition on the first set of disks
Windows requires a valid system volume for installation to continue. There is enough space on disk 1 for a system volume to be created. Click ok to create this system volume and to continue installing windows, click cancel to return to the previous screen.
Ok I must admit to not reading it properly and clicked OK. At the end of the SBS 2008 migration, SBS was happily installed in the SBS 2003 domain and it was only when I went to review the disk management console to create additional partitions that I was shocked to see the screen below.
Can you see the D: drive it s actually the SYSTEM partition. What this means is that all the boot files that allow the system to boot up are on there NOT GOOD. Ok so I did some digging on the net to see what I could do and found quite a few good references to how to fix this using the BCDEDIT utility. I used BCDEDIT /ENUM ALL / V to list all options and then used some additional BCDEDIT commands to fix things. However nothing I could do would make the C: drive the SYSTEM partition. I even attempted to use ShadowProtect to resolve it all to no avail.
Clearly this is not something I could live with, so in the end I had to decide to back out of the upgrade. This is where the system state backups come in. I was able to take my SBS 2003 server, and restore the active directory without losing anything at all (except for the time it took for me to build the new SBS 2008 server, and mess around with it).
How do you do a system state restore? Easy if you know how.
Ok so that s the easy bit I m back to where I was before but why did I have the error message in the first place? After a bit of digging on the net, it looks like for some reason that my Windows thought that my first set of hard drives were not big enough for the system. therefore it decided to force me to put it onto the second set of drives. I did some testing with Window Server 2008 media (not the SBS once) and was able to reproduce the problem.
I solved the problem in the end by disconnecting the 2nd set of drives. Now when I boot up of the W2008 DVD, it will happily install to the 1st set of drives. Ok I m back where I started, a little wiser now
I ll give the migration another shot and post later how it goes.