The World’s Fastest Small Business Server

One sunny day while mowing the yard with the old John Deere I thought, “How cool would it be if I could mount a Small Business Server on this lawn tractor?"

The answer (as you already know) is “not very cool”. Nobody wants to see a lawn mower running Exchange and SharePoint.

Obviously, I need to drink more fluids when mowing the yard in the hot sun, but that’s neither here nor there. The proverbial wheels were turning, and I started brainstorming for something much faster and infinitely cooler than a green and yellow tractor…

Matthew SnoddyEnter Matthew SnoddyMicrosoft Small Business Specialist, Texas LLC formation consultant and owner of Network Therapists in Lexington, Kentucky.

a.k.a. “The Stig” (nobody knows for sure)

Not only is Matthew a fantastic network engineer and wheelman, he’s got some beautiful muscle cars,
like this supercharged 2008 SRT8 Dodge Challenger:

Matthew Snoddy–2008 SRT8 Dodge Challenger on the dyno

 
A Challenger is much cooler than a John Deere, but it gets even better!

Recently, Matthew expanded his stable with the addition of a rare (one of only 20 ever made) 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR convertible. A street-legal race car.

Matthew Snoddy's 2010 Dodge Viper SRT-10 ACR convertible

(More pics of Matthew Snoddy’s Viper ACR here)

VIPER SRT10 ACR SPECS – BONE STOCK

  • 8.4-liter aluminum V10 engine
  • 600 horsepower
  • 560 lb. ft. of torque
  • 0-60 in 3.4 seconds
  • Top speed 184 MPH (202 MPH w/o the rear wing, but you’ll die)

If you’re a gearhead, you know all about the ACR. Matthew’s red ACR is a convertible model of the car that broke the Nürburgring track record.

Video of the Viper ACR record-breaking run (7:22) at Nürburgring

 
This video of a white hardtop ACR on the twisting Virginia City Hill Climb
(Nevada State Route 341) is pretty terrifying.

Car and Driver–Video of Virginia City Hill Climb in a Viper ACR

 
Suffice it to say, the word ‘awesome’ does not even begin to describe this car.

So one night Matthew and I discussed the viability of mounting a Microsoft Windows Small Business Server in the Viper, and “Project Daffy” was born.

“Why a goofy name like Project Daffy” you say? Check out what happens when you invert the Viper ACR logo:

Normal Dodge Viper ACR logo Turn the Viper ACR logo upside down and it becomes Daffy Duck

Can you see Daffy Duck on the right? Thought so. Winking smile

We took some measurements of the ACR and (shocker) it’s not really designed to hold a standard server like an HP ProLiant ML370 G6, or even a smaller one like the HP ML110 or ML150.

Trunk of the Viper ACR - empty

The trunk is so small, there’s not even a spare tire – just an air pump (left).

Greg Starks - SMB Solutions Program Manager, Hewlett-Packard.Enter Greg Starks – SMB Solutions Program Manager at Hewlett-Packard. Greg has been with HP and Compaq for over 20 years, has presented at over 10 SMB Nation events, and he really knows his stuff.

a.k.a. “Mr. Awesome” (of that we *are* sure)

We needed something that had enough horsepower to run a server OS, but not so big that it wouldn’t fit in the Viper. With limited space, heat and power requirements, it was a tall order. Greg hooked up Project Daffy with the brand new HP ProLiant MicroServer and got it to us in time to make it to the racetrack!

HP ProLiant MicroServer

HP MICROSERVER SPECS:

  • AMD Athlon II NEO N36L processor 1.3 GHz
  • Supports up to 8 GB PC3 DDR3 RAM
  • Embedded NC107i PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Server Adapter
  • OCZ Vertex 2 200GB solid state SATA II drive*
  • Cold boot to SBS 2011 login – 2 minutes 45 seconds
  • Shut down – 14 seconds
  • Operating System – Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard

*We took out the stock 160 GB LFF SATA drive and used the SSD instead to mitigate vibration from the car. (The SSD isn’t a factory option.)

View inside the HP ProLiant MicroServer with the USB drive plugged in for OS loadThe HP MicroServer is physically small enough (10.5" x 8.3" x 10.2") to fit perfectly in the Viper trunk with room to spare. The MicroServer doesn’t come with a DVD drive, so we took an ISO of SBS 2011 Standard Edition and made a bootable flash drive and installed SBS 2011 that way – no problem.

After the OS installation, we did some testing with the UPS to estimate battery life (about 55 minutes). SBS 2011 runs on that SSD like a scalded dog!

The next step was powering it and mounting it in the car.

ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT:

Due to the irregular shape of the Viper trunk, we used a spare piece of cardboard as a template to map out the shape, and then transferred that outline onto a plank of 3/4” plywood (“The Surfboard”). After some lengthy trial and error moving things around, appropriate measurements were laid out to make sure that there was sufficient room for the equipment, padding, cabling, and tie-down equipment.

HEADING TO THE TRACK:

It’s a pretty long drive from Louisville out to the Mt. Park Dragway in Clay City, Kentucky (about 120 miles). When we got there it was so cold out that the grass in the shadows was still frosted even though the sun had been up for a few hours. Sadly, that morning one of Matthew’s friends lost control of his Corvette on the track and put it into the wall! Fortunately he’s OK, but the same can’t be said for the Vette. Even with safety equipment, racing is still a dangerous occupation.

Mounting the server and network equipment in the Viper trunk went surprisingly smooth. All of the planning and measuring paid off and it fit like a glove. We powered up the server and the router and ran some connectivity tests while Matthew drove around the track. As long as we kept the Yagi antenna (attached to the netbook in our makeshift pits) pointed at the Viper, we never lost a single ping. That’s pretty impressive considering that the antenna was INSIDE the trunk. The car body is fiberglass (except for the carbon fiber rear spoiler) so there was nothing externally on which to stick the antenna.

Side note: One of the coolest parts of the whole project was seeing the looks when people walked around to the back of the car to see what was in the trunk.

The phrase of the day was, “You put a *server* in a Viper!?”

Everybody thought it was cool! So did we. My face hurts from grinning.

Using the netbook back at the pits, we logged into the HP MicroServer via RDP and ran System Information for Windows (SIW) to keep an eye on the internal temperature of the CPU and SSD drive with the trunk closed. Since it was such cool day, all the temps stayed nice and chilly in the server. In fact, the only moving parts in the entire trunk were one cooling fan in the server and another one in the UPS. The rig doesn’t build up much heat anyway.

By design, the Viper ACR doesn’t have electronic traction control. On a cold day with cold tires, the lack of traction control meant that Matthew couldn’t safely punch the pedal to the floor without risking having the Viper suffer the same fate as the Vette. We know what the car can do in warmer weather, so there’s no doubt that that we truly have The World’s Fastest Small Business Server on our hands.

PICTURES OF THE COMPLETED PROJECT:

Viper SRT10 ACR - Showing off the V10 engine Viper SRT10 ACR - The blue tape keeps the burning hot rubber from sticking
A view of the Viper SRT10 ACR 8.4 liter 10-cylinder engine.
 
The blue tape keeps hot tire rubber from sticking to the paint.
 
SBS 2011 - Left Rear The World's Fastest Small Business Server
Left – HP ProLiant MicroServer
Right – APC Smart-UPS
 
Behold! The World’s Fastest
Small Business Server.
 
Closeup of The World's Fastest Small Business Server What happens when you burn too much rubber
Close-up – You can see Buffalo wireless B/G/N router in the front and the “Surfboard” underneath. The APC and all other equipment is mounted rock solid and can’t move even 1/4”.
 
This is what happens when you burn too much rubber – they have to literally scrape it off the track! I think they’ve been saving this for a while at the track, but I’m not sure how long.
 

If you’ve got questions about the project, please feel free to post them in the comments below.

PICTURES – You can see the rest of the pictures on Flickr (test fit before tie-down and different views of the car, etc.)

VIDEO – Matt Hester (IT Pro Evangelist for Microsoft) shot some video of Project Daffy today, so you may see it on his blog soon. If he does, we’ll link to it here.

THANKS – Super-special thanks go to Matthew Snoddy (Network Therapists) and Greg Starks (Hewlett-Packard) for making this dream a reality. Props to Andrew McIntosh too for the UPS, and to Lauren for assistance in the pits.
You guys absolutely rock!!

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Download – Free Windows Phone 7 eBook

imageTitle: Programming Windows Phone 7
Authors: Charles Petzold
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Date Published: © 2010 Microsoft Corporation
ISBN:  978-0-7356-43352
Pages: 1013
File size: PDF 38.6 MB
Price: FREE
Download URL: Click here for PDF

Description:
This book assumes that you know the basic principles of .NET programming and that you have a familiarity with the C# programming language. If not, you might benefit from reading the free online book .NET Book Zera: What the C or C++ Programmer Needs to Know About C# and the .NET Framework.

This is divided into three parts:

  • Basic Concepts of Windows Phone 7 Programming
  • Silverlight
  • XNA

More Info: Microsoft Press Blog

Source: Erig Ligman via Twitter

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Amazon Kindle 2 – From an SBS Geek Perspective

The actual bookshelf in my office I have a lot of reading to do and I need to plow through an average of 40-80 pages from books on a daily basis. (That excludes 180-220 emails per day, blogs and websites). I don’t know if that number is high or low by your standards, but I find that each year the amount of reading I need to do always goes up.

Now, even though I’m a geek, I don’t want to be a nerd. And carrying a fake book around is getting pretty deep into nerd territory. But i figure that with features like playing MP3s and cellular wireless, that swings me back over to the geek camp. So, after an inordinate amount of online research, I purchased a Kindle 2 from Amazon.com. I picked the Kindle 2 model over the Kindle DX for several reasons.

My considerations for which Kindle to purchase:

Note: My winner for each category is shown in the far right column, and the spec I like best is highlighted in under each Kindle. Keep in mind that this is based on my research, not official Amazon specs / info.

Also: You can click on any picture for a larger view.

SPECS

  Kindle 2
Kindle 2 
Kindle DX
Kindle DX 
Winner
Weight 10.2 oz. 18.9 oz. K2 – 46% lighter
Overall size 8” x 5.3” 10.4” x 7.2” K2 – 25% smaller
Screen size 6” 9.7” DX – 2.5 x bigger
Resolution 800×600 @167ppi 1200×824 @150 ppi N/A
Max # books 1,500 3,500 DX – 2,000 more
Storage 2 GB, 1.4 usable 4 GB, 3.3 usable DX – 1.9 GB more
Battery life Up to 1 week Up to 1 week N/A
Free Wireless Yes Yes N/A
Free Case No No N/A
Price $259 US $489 US DX – 47% cheaper

 

GOOD – The DX has 2x the screen & 2x the storage.

BAD – The DX has nearly 2x the weight and 2x the cost.

WINNER – At half the price and half the weight, I opted to buy the Kindle 2.

OK, so all that looks good on paper, but what about the real test? How does this really look and feel? Let’s look at some key categories.

SIZE
As I mentioned in a previous post, I hate hauling around bulky or unnecessary items. When it comes to packing your toolkit or travel bag, size matters. Here is the K2 next to some everyday items for perspective: 4GB Zune, dollar bill, K2 & Matt’s new book. (The Kindle 2 is shown in the optional case)

The Kindle 2 size compared to everyday objects

The K2 is definitely smaller than a standard geek book, not as wide as a dollar bill, slightly thicker than a Zune, & a lot thinner than my Palm Treo Pro phone (not shown).

READABILITY
In spite of the resolution and poor focus of my camera phone, you have to see the screen to believe it.

Good screen resolution indoors

When I unboxed the Kindle 2, I thought there was a sticker on it, but that was the actual screen.

Physical size compared a CD

Other than the background having a gray tinge to it (rather than a true white) it looks like a real printed page. For me the gray was a bit distracting at first, but I’m already used to it. The picture above is showing my website, not an eBook. The camera phone doesn’t do the Kindle justice. This is a VERY impressive screen.

GLARE
Though contrary to popular belief, geeks do go outside in the sun for things other than driving to a customer site to fix a computer. Here is the Kindle 2 outside at noon with the sun behind me as I took the picture.

Outdoor reading looks great

That’s full daylight, no clouds, with the sun shining right on it.

If you try to use the Kindle as a mirror, it is possible to get a flare on the screen, but I really had to aim just right to get this much glare.

Intentional glare from the sun

Just a slight shift and the sun spot was gone. Readability outside is as-good, if not better than indoors.

WEB BROWSING
The Kindle is designed to access the web, not to surf it. The screen shots above show that you can indeed surf the web though and read blogs and such. Just don’t expect a desktop PC web experience.

READING PDF DOCUMENTS
One of the killer features for me (and pretty much the primary reason I bought the Kindle) was the native ability for the Kindle 2 to read PDF documents. You just plug in your USB / charging cable and the Kindle shows up in Windows Explorer like a USB drive.

Drag-and-drop files onto the Kindle 2

Drag-and-drop, you’re done. I have gobs of Microsoft Press books that include a CD in the back with a PDF version of the book. You can just plug in the Kindle, insert the CD, and drag and drop the PDF into the Kindle.

GOOD – All the PDF documents I tested rendered accurately on the Kindle.

BAD – Many PDFs are smaller on the 6” screen than they would be in real life, making them harder to read. And the cool font size changing feature doesn’t work on PDFs as far as I can tell.

MORE GOOD – Even though the text is smaller, I was able to search PDFs, bookmark them, and the Kindle remembered which page I left off reading.

MORE BAD – I couldn’t add notes or highlights to a PDF like I could with a ‘real’ kindle book.

Small fonts aside on PDFs, this feature still rocks.

FILE CONVERSION
The drag and drop on the Kindle 2 means I didn’t even have to email the document to Amazon for conversion like the Kindle 1. I did send a PDF to “name”@free.kindle.com (the way to convert files to the Kindle AZW format without the $0.15/MB wireless fee), but that has a file limit of 5 MB.

For a test I took the 1.92 MB “Windows Server 2008 Technical Overview.pdf” file and sent it to Amazon for conversion. It came back to me in under 2 minutes as an AZW file that only weighed 5.4 KB. I pulled the AZW file into the Kindle 2 and it was just my sig line from the e-mail. A few seconds later another email came in from Amazon with an attached PDF but now it was called “Windows_Server_2008_Technical_Overview.pdf” and was the exact same size as the original. It still doesn’t change font sizes in the Kindle, but it works the same as before the ‘conversion’. I suspect I’ll be spending a lot of time learning the ins and outs of file conversion because I’d like to be able to shrink and grow the text if possible on a PDF.

OPTIONS
The only option I recommend (other than a warranty if you’re the fumblefingers type) is the Amazon Kindle Black Leather Cover.

Optional leather cover

At $39.99 US, it’s not cheap by any stretch, but then again it’s not cheaply made either. It fits like a glove, and it still gives you access to the important bits for charging and such. I wonder how long the elastic band / strap will last. Still, I think that the leather cover is a must-have.

VERDICT
So far I’m a very happy camper. This is the best (and most fun) technical purchase I’ve made since I got my Acer Aspire One netbook. The Kindle 2 can do text-to-speech and there’s supposed to be experimental support for MP3s, but I don’t care about that. This is a great device as-is.

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Download – Windows Mobile 6.5 Emulator

Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional Emulator Want to get your hands on Windows Mobile 6.5? Wait no longer!

Title: Windows Mobile 6.5 Developer Tool Kit
Version: 6.5
Date Published: 06/03/2009
Download size:
– WM6.5 Professional (USA) 225.0 MB
– WM6.5 Standard (USA) 71.4 MB
File type: MSI
System Requirements: XPSP3, Vista, Server 2003 SP2 
Download URL: Click here

Description:

The Windows Mobile 6.5 Developer Tool Kit adds documentation, sample code, gesture APIs, header and library files, emulator images and tools to Visual Studio that let you build applications for Windows Mobile 6.5.

Even if you’re not a WM developer, if you support Windows Mobile devices, you should download these emulator images.

Emulator Images Included:

  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional Square Emulator
  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional QVGA Emulator
  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional WQVGA Emulator
  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional VGA Emulator
  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional WVGA Emulator
  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Standard Square Emulator
  • Windows Mobile 6.5 Standard QVGA Emulator

Hint: You don’t need Visual Studio to use these emulator images. But if you want to these emulators to be able to communicate across the network and access the web, you’ll probably want to download and install Virtual PC 2007 (30.4 MB) if you haven’t done so already. The reason being; We just need the virtual network adapter, which is installed automatically when you install VPC 2007 – after that, we don’t need VPC 2007 anymore for the WM6.5 emulators.

Configuring the Windows Mobile 6.5 emulator to connect to the Internet

Once you’ve gotten the emulators downloaded and installed, here’s how you connect one to the network:

  1. Make sure Virtual PC 2007 is already installed (see box above).
  2. Open the emulator from the Windows Start Menu.
    Start Menu location of WM6.5 emulators
    The emulator should show a splash screen…
    WM 6.5 - Splash screen
    …and then drop you into the WM6.5 operating system.
  3. In the emulator choose File / Configure
    WM 6.5 - Configuration
  4. On the Network tab, check the Enable NE2000 PCMCIA network adapter to bind to, choose your network card, and click OK.
    WM 6.5 - Choosing a network card
  5. In the emulator, click on Start, then click on Settings
    WM6.5 - Start / Settings
  6. Click on Connections
    WM6.5 - Connections
  7. Click on Connections again
    WM6.5 - Connections again
  8. Click on the Advanced tab at the bottom, and choose Select Networks
    WM6.5 - Advanced / Select Networks
  9. Set both selections to My Work Network, and click OK twice.
    WM6.5 - My Work Network for both
  10. Once you’re back at the Today screen, click Start and then click Internet Explorer
    WM6.5 - Start / Internet Explorer
  11. On the Internet Explorer Mobile page, try searching on something to test your internet connectivity.
    WM6.5 - Search Page
  12. If you’ve done everything properly (including installing Virtual PC 2007 in the box above) you should be connected to the Internet.
    WM6.5 - Search Results 
  13. When you’re done using the emulator, you can choose File / Save State and Exit and the next time you launch the emulator (Step 2 above), you’ll pick up right back where you left off – already connected to the Internet.
    WM 6.5 - Saving State
    If you get prompted to enable the network card the next time you launch the emulator, just choose Yes.
    WM6.5 - Enable network card

Props: Thanks Chris Rue’s blog for the heads-up on the WM6.5 download.

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Free Windows Mobile Training

We’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating as the topic came up in one of the mailing lists today.  I wanted to pass along the info in case you haven’t come across it before:

www.windowsmobiletraining.com

image

If you sell Windows Mobile devices to your clients, this site is fantastic! This is, hands-down, my favorite Microsoft site.

HFB said it best:

“No doubt, the most useful (and usable) site Microsoft has ever put together.

I use it every day.”

-Chris Rue [SBS-MVP]

Sign up today and check it out.  They even reward you for taking the training. What more could you ask for?

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Windows Mobile 6.1 Announced

Windows Mobile 6.1 Today Microsoft announced the release of Windows Mobile 6.1 – coming soon to a mobile operator and device near you. Engadget’s got the scoop on it with some screen shots.

The cool news (in my opinion) is in regards to the web browser:

“The new version of Internet Explorer Mobile adds the ability to easily view full-screen Web pages and multimedia on the Web with a smartphone. By taking advantage of Internet Explorer 6 technologies and supporting established and upcoming industry standards such as H.264, Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight, the updated Internet Explorer Mobile gives people a rich mobile Internet experience. The update will be available to mobile phone partners in the third quarter of 2008, with the first Windows Mobile phones using the new version expected to be available by the end of 2008.”

Here’s the poop from the Microsoft Press Release on those ops and devices:

Mobile operators:

  • Alltel Wireless: HTC PPC6800, HTC Touch
  • AT&T: Samsung BlackJack II, MOTO Q 9h global, Pantech duo, AT&T Tilt by HTC
  • Sprint: A new Palm Treo and updates for the Mogul by HTC, Touch by HTC, MOTO Q 9c, Samsung ACE
  • T-Mobile International: T-Mobile MDA Ameo 16 GB, T-Mobile MDA compact IV

Device-makers:

  • ASUS: New phones including the P320, ZX1, P560, M536 and updates for the P527, P750, M930
  • HTC: A new Touch Dual for the U.S. and updates for the AT&T Tilt, Touch by HTC, Mogul by HTC from Sprint, TyTN II
  • i-mate: 8502, 9502, 8150, 6150
  • Intermec: CN3
  • Motorola: MOTO Q 9c, MOTO Q 9h global, MC70, MC9000
  • Pantech: Pantech duo
  • Samsung: BlackJack II
  • Toshiba: Portégé G810,Portégé G910

No details showing up on the Windows Mobile page yet, but check back:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/default.mspx

Also, congrats today on the SBS-MVPs who got the April 1 re-up for 2008, including mobility guru Chris Rue!

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Free Microsoft SB Summit 2008 Next Week

If you’re involved in small business, you need to attend the
Third Annual Microsoft Small Business Summit, March 24 – 27, 2008. 

Microsoft Small Business SummitThis FREE online event provides hours
of valuable small business programming each day. You’ll get tips, advice, and secrets from experts, all designed to make the hats you wear each day fit more comfortably.

This 4-day event is broken into themes for each day (details and speaker list below). I attended the first two small business summits, and they had top notch speakers like Guy Kawasaki, and the content was fantastic.  This year looks to be a great event as well, and I HIGHLY recommend you attend.
You won’t be sorry (unless you miss it!) 🙂

Registration is free: https://www.sbsummit.com
REGISTER TODAY!

And you can watch it LIVE on NoGeekLeftBehind:
http://www.nogeekleftbehind.com/sbsummit.htm

Watch

  • Day 1 – Monday March 24 – Sales & Marketing (12 – 4PM)*
  • Day 2 – Tuesday March 25 – Productivity, Mobility & Security (12 – 4PM)*
  • Day 3 – Wednesday March 26 – Financial Management (12 – 4PM)*
  • Day 4 – Thursday March 27 – Startup Day (12 – 4PM)*

    *All times Eastern Daylight Time

Presentation schedule: https://www.sbsummit.com/program-guide.aspx?day=1

BEST PRACTICE – be sure to catch the presentations from the following
SBS Group Leaders:

Kevin Royalty [SBS-MVP] as he presents
Run Your Business From Anywhere
Tuesday March 25, 2008 from 2PM – 3PM Eastern

And Scott Cayouette as he presents
Top Security Tips
Tuesday March 25, 2008 from 3PM – 4PM Eastern

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Whitepaper – Deploying WM6 on SBS 2003

Windows Mobile 6 Whitepaper Title: Deploying Windows Mobile 6 with Windows Small Business Server 2003
File Name: SBS-WM6_122107.doc
Version: 3.0
Date Published: January 2008
Language: English
Download Size: 1.8 MB
Pages:  49
Download URL: Click here

Description:
Do you want to add Windows Mobile devices to your network? Is your network based either on the Windows Small Business Server 2003 (Windows SBS) server software with Service Pack 1 (SP1) or on Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2? If so, you can use the step-by-step instructions in this document to deploy devices that are powered by the Windows Mobile 6 software on a Windows SBS network.

Contents

  • Step 1: Install ActiveSync 4.5 or WMDC 6.1
  • Step 2: Enable Mobile Services for Users
  • Step 3: Configure the Firewall and Web Services
  • Step 4: Install a Certificate
  • Step 5: Configure Windows Small Business Server
  • Step 6: Configure Device Synchronization
  • Step 7: Test the Deployment

Source: Sean Daniel’s blog

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