Must Read – Microsoft Partner Program Changes

Oct 2013 Microsoft Partner Network Disclosure of upcoming program changesTitle: Microsoft Partner Network Disclosure of upcoming program changes
Publisher: Microsoft
Published: 10/15/2013
Pages: 53
PDF: OCT Disclosure Guide_October2013_Final.pdf
Size: 1.12 MB
Price: FREE
Download URL: Click here for download

Description:
Microsoft is retiring some exams from competency qualification, changing around the Microsoft Action Pack, adjusting fees for some partners (due to exchange rates) and some other things. Some of the changes are good, some are not.

Advice:

  1. Grab a cup of coffee, a pad of paper, and a pen
  2. Close your office door
  3. Turn off the ringer on your phone
  4. Spend 15-20 minutes NOW reading through this document and make a list of any necessary action items for you, your staff, and your customers
  5. Delegate any action items you can, and schedule your remaining action items accordingly
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SMBMVP Tour Comes to Louisville Thu Jan 19, 2012

The international SMB MVP Tour / Roadshow / Geekfest comes to Louisville, Kentucky next week. There’s even a video about it!

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

SMB MVP Tour stop in Louisville, KY on Thu Jan 19, 2012

Date: Thursday January 19, 2012, 12:30 PM – 4:30 PM Eastern
Free lunch is provided by Penn Station.

THERE ARE STILL SEATS AVAILABLE!

Louisville registration URL for this FREE event:
http://mvptour2011.sbsmigration.com/event_selector.php?event_id=205

The presenters for Louisville are:

  • Kevin Royalty [SBS-MVP]
  • Tim Barrett [SBS-MVP]

The Tour will also be in Ohio a few days earlier…

COLUMBUS, OHIO

SMB MVP Tour stop in Columbus, OH on Mon Jan 16, 2012

Date: Monday January 16, 2012, 9AM – 1PM Eastern

Columbus registration URL:
http://mvptour2011.sbsmigration.com/event_selector.php?event_id=208

See you there!

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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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So What DO You Blog About?

I ask myself that question a lot.

Using a tool from www.wordle.net here’s the answer to what I’ve been blogging about lately:

My latest blog topics 

Looks kind of like a brain, doesn’t it? And that list is pretty accurate, considering it’s only cataloging what you’re blogging about now. And lately we’ve been talking about the new Microsoft certifications.

And this is my Delicious feed – i.e. stuff I bookmark but don’t necessarily blog:

My Delicious bookmarks

So how does this stack up against other SBS / SMB space bloggers?

Wordle is a pretty interesting tool. I was a little surprised that the SBS content on my blog lately wasn’t higher. And for me that’s a bit of a wakeup call because I’ve been ‘talking’ (face-to-face and over the phone) about SBS a lot with co-workers, partners, customers, user group members. I just haven’t been blogging it. So that’s a good opportunity for me to refocus my writing a bit.

As for the other blog pictures listed; take the images with a grain of salt. This sampling isn’t meant to pigeon hole any blog or blogger into a certain category, or to attempt to define that person. It’s just a visual representation of a mathematical word count of the RSS feeds on their main page.  I also think that items being closer to the top of the page seem to rank higher. Run your blog (or your personal favorite) through Wordle – you might be surprised too. 🙂

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Webcast – Changes to the Microsoft Partner Program

Microsoft Small Business Specialist logoEvent Title: 5W/50 Series – New Generation Certifications: Program Overview & Certification Resources Available for the SBSC Community
Date: Monday April 20, 2009
Time: 12:00 PM Eastern (GMT –5)
Duration: 1 hour
Presenters: Deborah Vosler (Microsoft) & Mark Crall (Tech Care Team, Inc.)
Cost: Free
Registration: Click here (Microsoft Partners Only)

Description:
Learn why Microsoft developed the New Generation of Certification, as well as what certification exams and resources are currently available for Microsoft partners, including the SBSC community. Find out more about the value of certification, including how it can benefit your business.

(Personal Note: I’m interested to hear the fate of the 70-282 and the SBSC program.)

Source: Mark Crall’s blog

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Windows 7 vs Ice Storm

This picture was taken in front of my house the morning of 01/28/2009 Tonight the Kentucky Small Business Server User Group (KYSBSUG) is scheduled to have our 59th consecutive monthly meeting. The topic is “Windows 7 – First Look”. Unfortunately, we’re in the midst of an ice storm in Louisville, which makes driving (and even getting electricity) rather difficult. I checked in on Kevin Royalty up in Cincinnati and apparently they’ve got even worse conditions than we do (they’ve got 10” of snow and ice so far).

Here are some pictures of the conditions near my house in Louisville:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/timbarrett/sets/72157613043239653/

The show must go on though, if possible. And to be on the safe side, instead of risking life and limb on the icy roads tonight, we’re switching to a Microsoft Live Meeting format. Here’s the registration link:
http://www.clicktoattend.com/?id=135145

The Live Meeting seats are limited and will be made available on a first-come first-served basis. The actual Live Meeting URL will be emailed out to all registered attendees at 6:00 PM Eastern (GMT –5). If you don’t get an email at 6:00, we don’t have power. 🙂 We hope to see you there!

02/02/2009 UPDATE: You can now download a ZIP file with the entire Windows 7 presentation. Instructions:

  1. Simply right-click and save this file (40.5 MB) to your hard drive.
  2. Unzip the file.
  3. Double-click the ReplayMeeting.htm file to replay the meeting.
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SBS-MVP 2009

I got an email from Microsoft that I’ve just received the Small Business Server Most Valuable Professional [SBS-MVP] award for 2009. Yay! 🙂

Whoop, there it is!

Also re-awarded with the SBS-MVP this January are several others, including:

Congratulations folks!

Also, sadly Michael Jenkins is retiring from the MVP program, but he’ll still continue to be heavily involved and very active in the SBS/SMB community. Thanks for all of your hard work Michael.

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SBS 2008 Unleashed Book

SBS 2008 box shot standard edition Back in 2005 I was privileged to be one of the co-authors of “Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 Unleashed”. As I’m sure most authors can attest, working on a book is a very unique and eye-opening experience.  It takes a lot of time, work, testing, research and commitment to crank out a book, but in the end you have something tangible to show for all the effort. You make some great friends and learn something about yourself along the way too.

Then we skip forward several years and Eriq Neale invited me to be one the co-authors once again. This time the book was titled “Windows Small Business Server 2008 Unleashed.” I looked at the calendar and figured, “Wow, this is really awesome. We’ve got *tons* of time – the operating system isn’t even baked yet!” So I signed on. Interestingly, time moves quickly. Very, VERY quickly. And as SBS 2008 got closer to being finished and as work on the book continued, it seemed like every movie on TV was about an author with looming publishing deadlines or writer’s block like Duplex or Stranger Than Fiction. No pressure. 😉

At any rate, as the book project moved along, you could really see it transform slowly from an idea, into an outline, to a rough draft, through revisions, technical and grammatical editing, screen shots, page layouts, and eventually all the way into a finished book. And while you’re writing and doing testing and research, the software itself (code named “Cougar”) changes. It goes through various builds, into private and public betas, Release Candidates and eventually it becomes the final RTM code for SBS 2008. Believe me, it’s a pretty long trip!

So, the writing has been done for a while, and now comes the waiting part. The book is being printed and shipped, but I haven’t held a hard copy in my hands yet. And today it was cool to get an email from Amazon.com that really hit home:

Windows Small Business Server 2008 Unleashed

All of the sudden the book seems much more real. 🙂

Getting to this stage was a group effort, and I was just one person in a large team of folks that made this project happen. The whole team worked really hard through deadlines, daily responsibilities, lots of writing and zillions of emails.

The writers of this book include:

And here’s what’s in the book:

Table of Contents:

  1. Welcome to Small Business Server 2008
  2. Planning for the SBS 2008 Deployment
  3. Installing and Configuring SBS 2008
  4. DNS, DHCP, and Active Directory Integration
  5. Internet Information Services 7.0
  6. Remote Web Workplace and Other Remote Access Solutions
  7. SharePoint and Companyweb
  8. Exchange Management
  9. Exchange 2007 Client Connectivity
  10. Exchange Disaster Recovery
  11. Group Policy in SBS 2008
  12. User and Computer Management
  13. Macintosh Integration
  14. Additional Servers
  15. Managing Workstations Through Group Policy
  16. Monitoring and Reporting
  17. Managing Server and Workstation Security
  18. Backup and Disaster Recovery
  19. IPv6 Overview
  20. PowerShell
  21. Advanced Installation Options

Windows Small Business Server 2008 UnleashedI’m sure I speak for everyone on the writing, editing and publishing teams when I say that we’re really proud of this book! And I’d like to send a special “thank you” to Eriq Neale and Acquisitions Editor Loretta Yates for letting me be on the team again,
and for not killing me when they wanted to. 😉

We look forward to seeing the book hit the shelves and we’re certain that it will help people understand and support this amazing new operating system.

I hope you enjoy it!

Title: Windows Small Business Server 2008 Unleashed
Publisher: Sams Publishing; 1 edition (December 6, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0672329573
Paperback: 816 pages
Language: English
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Buy.com | InformIT / Sams

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