Thursday 26 April 2012

System Center 2012 Update Rollup 1 - SCVMM & App Controller

Sneaking in quietly under the radar is the first update for the just released System Center 2012.

N.B. Don't be alarmed that there are updates available already for a product that has only been released, the development cycle and the aligning of the different System Center components mean that Virtual Machine Manager was slightly ahead in development which means they've been able to focus on updates and service packs already (a CTP Preview of SP1 is already available, see the bottom of this post)

This update focuses purely on Virtual Machine Manager, both server side and console as well as App Controller.

The knowledge base for Update Rollup 1 can be found here:

The downloads can be found on Microsoft Update or manually here:

Virtual Machine Manager Server Update (KB2663959)
Virtual Machine Manager Console Update (KB2663960)
Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal Update (KB2663961)
App Controller Update (KB2677596)

In total we're looking at about 16 issues that have been fixed in this rollup.

It's also worth noting that after performing the server side update, the VMM agents on your hosts will also require updating.

To update the VMM agent on the managed computers, follow these steps:
  1. Open the VMM Console.
  2. Click Fabric, and then select Servers.
  3. Under Managed Computers, select the servers, and then click Update Agent

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Windows Server 2012 - Quick Change Overview List

There is a wealth of information coming out at the moment regarding Windows Server 2012 and rather than doing an indepth post of all the changes, I thought I'd just call out some of the most interesting changes and new features that have caught my attention.
I've also linked some useful sites that contain some more indepth discussions.

General Windows Changes

Infrastructure Changes

Hyper-V Changes

Hyper-V Scalability Changes
  • 160 Logical Processors per Host
  • 2Tb RAM per Host
  • 32 vCPUs per VM
  • 512Gb per VM
  • 16Tb VHDx
  • 63 Nodes per Cluster
  • 4,000 VMs per Cluster

Hyper-V 3.0 versus vSphere 5
While comparing an unreleased product to a released product isn't exactly fair, I thought I'd include it for completeness sake.  Also it's the most common question that customers ask me.
This article has a fairly clear comparison table:

Information Links - Massive resource for Hyper-V - Another huge Hyper-V resource

MMS 2012 - Wrap up

Well I'm back from this years Microsoft Management Summit and just about recovered.

I thought I'd write a quick post to cover some of the useful information that I've seen filtering through since MMS 2012 and also to post some useful links that I didn't get chance to while balancing my tablet on my knee during sessions.

Johan Arwidmark has released a brilliant "Hydration Kit" to help deploy a complete ConfigMgr 2012 infrastructure, fully automated, for a lab/test environment.

The sessions from MMS 2012 can be watched on-demand from the site.  The individual slide decks are also available from here.

If you don't want to trawl through so many sessions grabbing the slide decks, you can download the entire stack from the myITforum site.

Similarly, with the video sessions, you can find a nifty little PowerShell script here on the scomfaq site that will allow you to download all the sessions for offline viewing, or supply your own text list of session ID's if you don't want them all.  Just be careful, there's around 26Gb of videos available to download!

Various System Center solution accelerators, add-ins and resource tools have been released:
Service Manager 2012 Exchange Connector 3.0
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012
Security Compliance Manager 2.5
Many other Addons that I previously listed

Keynote Day 1 saw the "official" announcement that System Center 2012 was RTM and GA (General Availability) which was no huge surprise (For those customers that took my bet that April 17th was the release date I'll collect my winnings later!)
Another non-surprise was the announcement that Windows Server "8" was officially renamed to Windows Server 2012 (shortly followed with the Windows client team announcing that Windows "8" will be officially called Windows 8).

Keynote Day 2 was more client focused, but the main announcement was that Intune will be receiving a big feature update in the next release with the ability to manage iOS and Android devices, not just through Exchange ActiveSync policies, but by being able to allow applications to be installed from a centrally controllable "approved" list.  Details are still sketchy and the demo showed a web page being used on iOS, but fingers crossed this will change to being an app.

Microsoft's Eric Main posted more information on the changes. Here's an excerpt with some additional details:
"The next release of Windows Intune will integrate with Windows Server Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange Server, allowing IT to manage the many devices brought into the workplace, even if they’re not owned by the organization. IT will also be able to use Windows Intune to set security policies for mobile devices and enforce password protection, encryption and even kick off a remote wipe if a device is compromised. Windows Intune’s mobile device management will support any device with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync capabilities, including Windows Phone, iOS and Android."

I took both the new Private Cloud exams while I was out there;
70-246 - Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud
70-247 - Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud

For those of you thinking about taking these exams and don't work daily with ALL of the System Center 2012 products, I'd recommend you look at attending the classroom based courses:

Learning Plans and Classroom Training
10750AB: Beta: Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 (5 Days)
10751A: Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 (5 Days)

Unfortunately I have to wait until June time to find out my results, fingers crossed that I passed!

Much to the disappointment of my wife who was hoping to come to Las Vegas with me next year and a colleague who also had his sights set on Vegas, the announcement was made that MMS 2013 will be held in New Orleans in June next year.  Rumours are already circulating that this may well mean a combining of both MMS & TechEd since MMS is usually held in April/May and TechEd in May/June time.  Since both events usually have the same set of Microsoft staff attending a fair portion of the sessions it would certainly make sense.

Finally, while I did the usual sweep of the vendor stalls looking for swag, I personally thought it was rather light on goodies.  I did however find swag gold from BDNA.  For those people that don't know me, I tend to drink a lot of Relentless, so being a geek these were the highlight of the swag gathering!

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Visio Management Pack Designer for Operations Manager

I'm just sat in a session at MMS 2012 where they're presenting about the new Management Pack designer for Operations Manager (2007 & 2012).

While it's not a complete replacement for the authoring console\Visual Studio\XML editing what it is is a major benefit for those new to or need quick development of management packs without major in-depth knowledge but can create a pack that is fully best practices based and in a very visual way through dragging and dropping.

More information can be found here:

MMS 2012 Keynote 2

Rather than multiple posts I'll keep updating this one, so keep refreshing for more detail.

Day Two Keynote - A World of Connected Devices

Microsoft are again very focused in the whole consumerisation of it and being able to use personal devices.

Configuration Manager and Intune were just mentioned, long with a slight hint at the two products working more closely together.

ConfigMgr will somehow be able to publish apps to the Apple and Android Windows  app stores and direct to devices.
Intune can be used to deploy apps to IOS and Android both app store links and side loading.
Intune can be used used to manage non domain devices, but authenticate them against Active Directory.
This is great for deploying corporate apps to personal devices.

Metro self service centre for ConfigMgr will be coming with the release of Windows 8
Also has service manager integration and device management features (remote wipe lost devices) similar to and windows phone 7

Future vision is that ConfigMgr and Intune will, if not fully merge, work a lot more seamlessly.

UE-V that i've blogged about before is mentioned again and rightly so as it's potentially a killer addition to MDOP.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

MMS 2012 Keynote 1 - Summary

Well, I'm not quite sure what to say really.

While the keynote was well presented, it didn't contain any extra special announcements or new news above what was already known really.

Biggest announcements were that System Centre 2012 is now Generally Available (GA) but that was to be expected with the RTM releases last week.

It was also announced that Windows Server 8 is now officially Windows Server 2012, but again no real surprise knowing how much Microsoft don't like using the number 13 in product names/versions.

Hopefully the keynote tomorrow might throw us some more new news.

The keynote is available here now for on demand viewing.

MMS 2012 Keynote 1 - Part 1

Only announcement so far, Windows Server "8" is now officially Windows Server 2012 and will be available later this year (around October time is my guess)

We already know that SP1 for System Center is underway and is likely to be released at the same time as Windows Server 2012 to provide support for it.

MMS 2012 Keynote 1

Well, it's keynote time here at MMS 2012 and I'll do my best to chronicle it and highlight some of the important information that gets announced.

I'll post as it progresses so forgive me if some of the posts seem a bit disjointed but I'll tidy them up later with a summary post.

Let the show begin!!

Wednesday 4 April 2012

MDOP just got even more attractive

Microsoft today announced that along with the next major update to App-V taking it to version 5.0 they would also be adding a new solution to the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack (MDOP) called UE-V.

From the brief blurb from Microsoft that talks about allowing user and application settings to follow the user across multiple devices, it sounds similar to other user setting/state virtualisation products such as those from AppSense, ResSoftware and Citrix etc.

Microsoft have called it User Experience Virtualisation (UE-V) and from the brief video on the Windows Team Blog, it looks like it can synchronise application level setting changes, without the need for logging on and off, fixing the biggest problem of last write wins and roaming profiles.

UE-V also looks to have settings roll back capability for individual applications, meaning if the user messes up an app by fiddling, the service desk can quickly revert it without affecting the whole system, along with other apps by using something like system restore which would.

A more in-depth explanation of UE-V can be found here on the SpringBoard blog.

I must admit, this is looking like a really compelling reason to have MDOP, finally making it something more than App-V with a couple of possibly interesting extras.

This will be going straight into the testlab when I get back from MMS 2012 and I'll make sure to do a full blog post on the installation and usage since this ties in so nicely with the mantra of ensuring a seamless end user experience that I promote to customers when I talk to them.

Oh, Microsoft have also announced that they will be dropping AIS from the MDOP package due to (rather unsurprisingly) low demand and customers preferring enhanced in house services (ConfigMgr, SNOW License ManagerFrontRange Discovery etc).

UE-V Beta Download

App-V 5.0 Beta Download

Service Manager 2012 Authoring Tool - Stuck on Prerequisite Check

Since the RTM version of the Authoring Tool became available the other day I thought I'd upgrade my laptop and finish off the new version of my Asset Management MP.

I started the install as usual and then hit the prerequisite screen with a nice big red cross.

No problem I thought, it's just missing VS Shell so I clicked the link to run the install.
However, it then clicked that I shouldn't need to install that as I've had the 2010 Authoring Console on here before and that had the same requirements.  Never mind, the install was already complete before I could think twice.

However, clicking "Check prerequisites again" did nothing.
OK... Try closing and restarting.  Still nothing.
Ermm.. How about a reboot?  Nope, zip.

Now normally I would go through and systematically uninstall Visual Studio Shell 2008 and related items to try and create a nice clean state and try again, however when I saw what was lurking on my system I decided I might need another approach.

Picking up on an answer Anders Asp gave on this forum thread I thought I'd give it a try.

Locate the Authoring_PrerequisiteInputFile.xml in the Setup\en folder (or substitute the language) in the folder where you extracted the Authoring Tool setup files.

Open the file in notepad or XML editor and find the section starting with <Check Order = "03"> and delete that line and everything down to and including the next </Check>

Do not delete the </Prerequisites> line.

Save the changes and then run the installer again.  This time when it performs the prerequisites check it should only check for memory and CPU speed.

This let me skip the check that wasn't working for some reason and install the Authoring Tool, which so far opens fine and appears to be functioning ok too.

As always, use this with your own judgement, I dare say it's not a Microsoft supported method and if possible, try uninstalling VS related components and reboot/reinstall them first.

Also, just as a side note, since I always like to automate as much as possible and for packaging/deployment via Configuration Manager I used the following command line once I had verified the install would work to install the Authoring Tool silently.

Setup.exe /install /CustomerExperienceImprovementProgram:Yes /EnableErrorReporting:Yes /silent /AcceptEula /RegisteredOwner:Steve Beaumont /RegisteredOrganization:Trustmarque

No progress bars can be seen, but task manager does show it's running.

And that leaves me with one new shiny 2012 Authoring Tool to play with...

Tuesday 3 April 2012

System Center 2012 RTM available to download

Thanks to Aidan Finn posting about this, otherwise I would have missed it for a day or two, but the RTM downloads for System Center 2012 have popped up on the MVLS site.

Apparently the downloads are also on the TechNet and MSDN sites as well now.

Microsoft still haven't officially announced it's release, but it's always nice to get a head start ;)

Just a little over 12Gb of new toys to download!!

Trickle of releases - System Center 2012 Downloads

With the release of System Center 2012 marching ever closer, a trickle of releases are starting to sneak out of the gate from Microsoft in preperation.

Over the last couple of days the following Solution Accelerators, Management Packs, Integration Packs and Add-ons have appeared:

Solution Accelerators
Management Packs
Integration Packs
Technical Documentation

Community Technical Preview (Think Early Beta) of SP1 for System Center 2012

If you notice on some of these links, things like the Service Manager authoring tool are now named RTM, roll on the release of everything!

I'm not going to write a raft of explantion text for each one, either the name is fairly self explanatory, or click the link and read the description there.