Tuesday, March 22, 2011

MMS 2011 Opening Keynote

The opening keynote was pretty cool and as was expected, focused on the cloud. More specifically, it focused on the way Microsoft defines the cloud as a computing model rather than a computing location, the consumerization of IT as a service, and how to empower IT (and consumers) to embrace the cloud model. The cloud is broken up into two parts, the service consumer (the old application owner) and the service provider (the old application administrator) - System Center 2012 will bring the following to the private cloud model;

For the service consumer: System Center code-name 'Concero' which is a service-focused self-service experience which the service consumer (that's a lot of use of the word service) can use to manage their services without needing to know anything about the underlying technology. All they know is, they have a service made up of a bunch of components (applications, databases, etc), and they require resources for it to function. 'Concero' will allow service consumers to request more cloud capacity when required, and understand how services are performing.

For the service provider: System Center VMM 2012 which will allow a cloud fabric to be assembled regardless of the underlying infrastructure (VMware, XenServer or Hyper-V). This is a key point, the focus is moving past virtualizing the datacenter; it's no longer about the virtual machine, and no longer does the virtualization technology have to be a factor, the point is there are resources available and they can be added to a single cloud fabric for consumption. On the cloud fabric, any number of private clouds can be built, each containing services made up components such as applications, databases, etc. 

To give you an idea, the following scenario was demonstrated during the keynote:
  • the service consumer notices performance for a specific cloud service is no longer acceptable, and requests more cloud capacity through 'Concero'.
  • the service provider does not have any capacity on the current fabric and needs to provision additional resources. He procures additional hardware resources and connects it to the network.
  • the service provider (using VMM 2012), remotely provisions the new hardware resources (by remotely interfacing with IPMI, SMASH, or DCMI which is supported by HP iLO) with the standardized Server OS image and adds the new capacity to the current fabric.
  • the service consumer assigns the additional capacity to the cloud service.
This is a great scenario, and is looking pretty slick due to the way Microsoft is tightly integrating the System Center products to make this easy, and possible. Nice one MS.

Some other product announcements were made;
  • Opalis will be renamed System Center Orchestrator 2012 (I always felt Opalis was out of place, so finally a proper place in the System Center suite of products)
  • Virtual Machine Manager 2012 went Beta today
  • System Center Advisor announced (previously code-name 'Atlanta') and will be part of System Center 2012 - this will allow a top-down view to services, focused on recommended configuration based on insight contributed by Microsoft. 90000 Microsoft employees will provide input to this 'advice' which will allow the tool to make recommendations to configuration. An example was given, showing how a hotfix would be relevant (recommended) for a SQL server which is part of a service known to have issues with a SQL server without that hotfix. This product will be available to all existing software assurance customers.
Three key takeaways from the keynote (click to enlarge):

Monday, March 21, 2011

Microsoft Management Summit 2011 - Las Vegas, Nevada

I was fortunate enough to get a seat at Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas this year, it's my first time so I'm planning on using this opportunity to attend some in depth technical sessions, and meet some of the industry experts so I can put faces to the names. There are a lot of breakout sessions and hands-on labs to choose from, most focused on management technologies/solutions (as the event name suggests) from Microsoft and a range of partners - there's also quite a focus on cloud computing this year.

I arrived late on Saturday night (LV time), and was quite tired after my trip via Amsterdam. I almost missed my connecting flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas as clearing customs took a while and overbooking is a huge problem in the US - I was lucky and got one of the last seats on the flight. The weather wasn't great yesterday, mostly overcast, windy and lots of rain during the night. It suited me fine though as I spent the day trying to adjust to the change in time from SA, at 1pm (bedtime back home) I got really tired all of a sudden...I think they call it 'jetlag'?... :P 
Arrived in Amsterdam on KLM
Left Amsterdam on Delta
Monday morning and the weather is looking much better - I say 'looking'...as it's 8'C outside.

Registration opened for MMS attendees at 7:30am, and things looked pretty well organized. The queue at the registration counter was manageable and it took less than a minute to register. The first breakout sessions for the day only start at 1:30pm, so I have some time to kill...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

LinkedIn Social Connector for Outlook 2010 x64

I've been wanting to use the LinkedIn Social Connector for Outlook 2010 for quite a while now, but a x64 version was never available. Googling has never returned much around the x64 version either, just some speculation and complaints about it taking so long to release.

Until I stumbled upon this: https://download.linkedin.com/desktop/osc/en/latest/bin/LinkedInOutlookConnector_x64.exe

Happy times.