Friday, October 29th, 2010
Here’s a gathering of SBS MVPs from around the world, for training by the SBS CSS team in Dallas. We’ve got representation here from the USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Netherlands and of course Australia. These chances for us to get together and receive training like this are rare and so very worthwhile. Personally it’s given me an opportunity to learn not only from Microsoft, but my peers based on their experiences in many different environments. I should say too that this is not some all expenses paid junket. No – we all paid our own way to get here – which for me was over $4500 in airfares alone.
Thank you Microsoft – we appreciate the effort you put into this. They’ve provided training by the most qualified people in the globe and that has to be a very high value.
Friday, October 29th, 2010
Today I’m in Las Colinas, TX working with the SBS PSS team. One of the traditions that we have as SBS MVPs is that Susan Bradley loves to get us grown men and women in matching T-shirts… yes it’s a little freaky, but we let her have her way to keep her happy We do it too because it allows us to have a dig at the SBS team in different ways.
This year I asked my daughter (Alicia) to do a design for us and basically told her that the theme was “growing and developing”. The SBS Family has been growing and changing now since 1997 when SBS 4.0 was a released. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been involved with it for that long
She came up with the design below which shows the growth and development of SBS over the years from a baby product in SBS 4.0 through to Cloud based Aurora and more mature SBS7 products.
In my daughters words…
I was asked to re-design the logo for the SBS family. I was given the original logo and from here I came up with the concept of the growth of humans and the development of technology. I incorporated the growth process of humans, as well as the development from sketch, to outline, black and white, simple colour, full colour and shading. I decided to do this as technology is an ongoing growing and developing process.
Yes – I’m pretty proud of my daughter and yes she is available for hire for graphical design work – contact me here if you are interested. She has other examples of her art and photo manipulation on her site – http://little-miss-artist.com but below you can see some of the cool photo work she’s done…
Source Picture (stock photo she got from a library)
End result – she called this Siren Caller
Saturday, October 23rd, 2010
7:30am is a really early start to a conference.. and that’s how SMBNation started this year. This years event promises to be another fantastic show from Harry and crew. Already yesterday we had the ThirdTier Brain Explosion pre day event which was a blast to be presenting at. Today i will be presenting at the Kerio session where I will talk about some cautions to think about with respect to cloud computing.
If you are at the event make sure to come and say hello.
Monday, October 18th, 2010
The release of the Tega v2 having occurred just last week, has meant that a couple of the accessory items are not quite ready… One of those was the leather cases that I wanted to protect my Tega v2 from the bumps n bruises that would occur having it with me 24 x7. So today a trip to Frys was in order. For those that don’t know, Frys is a major retailer here in the USA of all things geek… Imagine if you will (for the aussies) a Bunnings Hardware House that was just full of geek stuff… yeah – now you’re starting to get the idea!
So off we went to Frys to find a case. It also gave me the first real chance to compare the iPad with the Tega v2. Below you can see a photo of me with both devices in front of the iPad stand. We didn’t want to attract too much attention from the Fry’s staff so we only hung around long enough to take the photo before moving on to other places in the store. While we were there though we had half a dozen people asking about “What is that device…” When I told them it was a Windows version of the iPad they were all over us wanting more… Hugo – if I had cards, I would have given them out This to me confirms though that people really do want a Windows based iPad device.
Oh – and the case I picked up was a Belkin case designed for 10” netbooks. Fits my Tega v2 like a glove. Maybe Hugo can do a deal with Belkin to get some printed with Tega v2 on the outside.. hehehe
This blog post is written on my Tega v2 with nothing more than my fingers (look ma… no keyboard)
Updated 19/10/2010 – The case was a Belkin Netbook Portfolio – 2410YW is the model number I think.
Saturday, October 16th, 2010
I’ve now had my Tega v2 for 24 hours. 12 of those hours were spent in a plane flying to the USA. This blog post is being typed using it at 39,000 feet according to the planes systems. Overall I am impressed with how it performs and how Windows 7 works well with the touch screen. The biggest challenge I am having now is getting used to typing without tactile feedback. Will post more soon.
Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
Last night at the SMB IT Professionals meeting in Sydney, Michael Leworthy presented on the next generations of SBS 7 and ABA Aurora. Michael highlighted about how Microsoft are making things simpler for us with the new version of SBS by not having both Standard and Premium versions of each product. Instead, Microsoft will release an SBS Premium Add-on pack that can be added on to either SBS 7 OR SBS Aurora. This add-on pack will include Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard and SQL Server 2008 R2 for Small Business. Positioning wise, this will be priced around the point of you getting a “free” copy of Windows Server 2008 R2 for the price. You’ll need to purchase SQL CALs for however many users you have that require SQL Server acces which is pretty much the norm.
I like this idea – I think it’s a good compromise as to how our customers tend to grow over time, they’d start with the standard edition of the products and then later as they upgrade their line of business applications. Well done Microsoft. Now we wait to see the pricing
Michael also suggested that we keep an eye out for later this year for more information as to release dates, pricing and product availability.
Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
Many of my readers will know that I am very wary of just following everyone else into the cloud. I’ve spoken a few times now both in public presentations and on this blog about how the cloud is something to be cautiously evaluated and considered before jumping into it. Here then is an upside that I’ve personally experienced with the cloud.
This website SBSfaq.com is hosted on a virtualised server with a cloud vendor – VMVault. I decided to go this path after looking carefully at the options as I needed to downscale my costs for hosting. I previously had a 1/2 rack of space in a datacentre in Sydney which was costing me over $1000 per month. I had a number of servers in that rack that I used for various functions and one of them hosted SBSfaq.com and other related websites. Around 12 months ago I decided that I needed to change things. I decided that I could bring most of the gear back in house for my testing and demos, and have a single server “out there in the cloud” to host my websites. I talked to members of the SMB IT Professionals group in Sydney and they recommended VMVault
I checked out their infrastructure and found they had clustered VMWare based systems with multiple SANs etc. Good enough for me. I figured I’d setup a virtualised Windows 2008 R2 server and then take backups back down to home. Also good enough for me. What I didn’t know at the time though was that they do a daily backup of my server to the SAN (that I can access) and a quarterly DR on MY VIRTUALISED Server as part of the service they offer. Each quarter they perform the DR test and then send me the following email.
We are pleased to advise that we have performed the quarterly Disaster Recovery test of your server, SFQ-VM01, and this has restored successfully to an alternate VMware host, on an alternate SAN LUN. We have been able to successfully boot the server in an isolated environment, and the server has correctly shown the Windows CTRL-ALT-DEL login screen.
As we do not have access inside your VM, we are unable to confirm the validity of data with the VM, so if you would like access to this recovered server to verify the integrity of data inside the recovered VM please let us know within 48 hours. Otherwise we will assume that you are happy with the test that we have performed for this quarter.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call me.
Senior Systems Consultant
BInf Tech (Data Comms/S’ware Eng), VCP, CCNA, MCP, DCNE, AACS
VMvault – Secure Hosted Virtualisation
p: 1300 513 262
How cool is that? I don’t have to worry so much about DR now and I can focus on producing great content for the website.
Hang on though… what happens if VMVault disappears, goes bankrupt or suffers a major outage that their own DR plan does not cater for?
Easy… I’ve got my own backups happening. I’ve got ShadowProtect installed on my virtual server and it images to their SAN right now. Shortly I’ll have it commence offsite replication back to my home office where I can then virtual boot it if I need to to do any testing or DR work that is independent of VMVault.
VMVault costs me around $300/month for my virtualised server – a fraction of the cost of what I had before and I really have zero maintenance of the server infrastructure. I’m loving it and I’m really happy with my decision to have my servers with Radek and the team at VMVault.
Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
Ok – so the iPad parody attracted a few comments… so I figure it’s time to balance it up with a parody about Microsoft, so here’s one I think it pretty cool. Would love to have seen the original though.
Monday, October 11th, 2010
I love technology and I’m a geek and proud of it
I’ve got a client that has had a server running on Hyper-V in Sydney and we needed to move it to Brisbane with minimal downtime. Normally I would simply shutdown the virtual machine and copy the VHD over to the new server, but with a 10MB/s WAN connection from Sydney to Brisbane this was going to take days. I solved the problem using StorageCraft ShadowProtect and at the same time proved to the client just how valuable ShadowProtect is in a disaster recovery scenario. Here’s what I did in brief.
How cool is that!!!
This was all done using nothing more than the core ShadowProtect product. Had I wanted to automate things, I could have used Image Manager Enterprise license which includes automated Head Start Restore and Replication. We’ll probably do this for the client as part of their larger DR plan to minimise downtime
Monday, October 11th, 2010
Here in Australia, we’ve been familiar with the troubles that Virgin Airlines has had over the last few weeks with it’s outsourced IT Infrastructure. They’ve had literally DAYS of problems with flights having to be cancelled, customer services issues, you name it. All of this has caused a major loss of face and public support for Virgin. The finger is being squarely pointed at the outsourced IT company that was hosting and supporting their systems. News today is that Virgin are seeking $20,000,000 in damages for this major blunder
Ok – so with a move to people doing more in the cloud, and with some companies looking to be cloud providers as well, the question must come… How would YOUR company survive if it was the hosting provider or outsourced IT department in this scenario? I’m not just talking about how would you go making an insurance claim ok – I’m talking about the entire loss of face that your IT reseller business would have over this. How would you handle the loss of customer faith in your abilities to do the job? How would you rebuild relationships with the customer after they’ve taken you to the cleaners? Are you even aware of the potential for this to happen to YOUR CUSTOMERS? Sadly – I’d say that most SMB IT Resellers are not adequately covered for things like this. I’d say that not only would they likely be out of business, that their ability to support the customers that were not affected would be compromised as well.
Think carefully about the services you provide. This issue that Virgin have suffered is a chance for you to review not only your insurance policies, but also your systems, and practices to ensure that you do not have these issues yourselves.