Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hope all is well

Hey everyone,

I am back in Silicon Valley working for a former employer. I had a great time working with talented people in Redmond and meeting so many entrepreneurial IT professionals from around the world. While I would have preferred setting up Windows EBS at home, I elected for Windows SBS with Windows Home Server. One of these days I will launch my web site, so stand by.

Cheers,

Chris Grillone

Friday, July 10, 2009

Farewell. Back to Silicon Valley

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported while at Microsoft, both internally and externally, especially customers and partners, and not mention the thousands of readers of this blog.  I have met so many great people in my role at Microsoft.  My decision to leave such a talented group of people was not easy, but I have accepted a product manager position with greater responsibility in Silicon Valley.

While I can be reached through this blog or another blog I will launch soon, please keep in touch with me on Facebook or LinkedIn <http://www.linkedin.com/in/grillone>.

Nick King is a great advocate for customers, partners and subs.  I am glad he is assuming my role to continue the market adoption of EBS.

-Chris Grillone

Microsoft IT Health Scanner Released!

Microsoft Essential Business Server team is excited to announce the release of Microsoft IT Environment Health Scanner, the new diagnostic tool designed for administrators of small or medium-sized networks who want to assess the overall health of their network infrastructure. When run from a computer with the proper network access, the tool takes a few minutes to scan your IT environment, perform more than 100 separate checks, and collect and analyze information about the following:
- Configuration of sites and subnets in Active Directory
- Replication of Active Directory, the file system, and SYSVOL shared folders
- Name resolution by the Domain Name System (DNS)
- Configuration of the network adapters of all domain controllers, DNS servers, and e-mail servers running Microsoft Exchange Server
- Health of the domain controllers
- Configuration of the Network Time Protocol (NTP) for all domain controllers

This tool is based on the well-known EBS Preparation Wizard, which the EBS team has originally built for customers who were deploying Essential Business Server 2008 (see more on Preparation Wizard here). Very soon, however, the team noticed that Preparation Wizard was widely used, not just by customers who were deploying EBS, but anyone with Active Directory in their network who wanted to verify the health of their environment. That should have come as no surprise – after all, Preparation Wizard ran over 100 different checks which were based on most common issues resolved by Microsoft Customer Support Services over the past 10 years!

Building on the success of the Preparation Wizard, the team is now introducing the Microsoft IT Environment Health Scanner. Just like its predecessor, Microsoft IT Environment Health Scanner scans your network, identifies various networking and provides links to knowledge based articles that explain how to correct these issues. The one main difference is that the new tool is completely EBS-agnostic. That is, if in order to run Preparation Wizard, the administrator had to answer several questions specific to EBS deployment. Microsoft IT Environment Health Scanner, on the other hand, requires no prior EBS knowledge to run. And of course, this new tool is completely free!

Go give it a try!
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=155170

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Back from leave of absence and vacation

I am back from a leave of absence and vacation. My apologies for bein off the grid. I will have more news later this week. Partners, I know we are looking forward to seeing you at the Worldwide Partner Conference.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Virtual Convergence is LIVE (with EBS sessions)

image

New in 2009, Virtual Convergence is your online resource for all post-conference materials – and helps us deliver post-conference videos and information to you faster than ever before. Keynote presentations, general sessions and concurrent sessions are all available for viewing online in Windows Media video (WMV) format, so that you can revisit sessions you attended or view them for the first time. In addition, in case you missed any of the sponsors or exhibitors at Convergence Expo, all of their contact information and downloadable information is available within Virtual Convergence.

To begin your online experience:

  1. Click here. The initial screen loading of Virtual Convergence may take a few minutes to complete.
  2. To enter Virtual Convergence, choose the “Enter” button. This unsecured area provides access to keynotes, general sessions and the virtual Expo experience.
  3. To view all concurrent session Windows Media files, select the “Convergence 2009 Attendees” button in the lower left hand corner of the screen. You will be prompted to login to this secured area; please use your Convergence 2009 registration credentials. (If you’ve forgotten your credentials, go here and use the Forgot Username or Password links. Your credentials will be sent to the email address provided in your registration.
  4. Use that same button in the lower left hand corner of the screen to navigate between the secured and unsecure areas of Virtual Convergence.

You’ll have access to Virtual Convergence for one year. Be sure to maximize the value of attending by leveraging all the content and contacts available to you as a Convergence attendee.

Now that Convergence 2009 is Over – What Are Your Next Steps?

We want to once again thank you for attending Convergence 2009 and hope you enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about your Microsoft Dynamics solution. Throughout the thousands of networking opportunities at Convergence, surely there were hundreds of conversations taking place about new opportunities – new modules, new technology, new services, new editions. Convergence provided you the perfect opportunity to investigate everything in person.

We wanted to remind you that time is running out for the two great offers that are in place exclusively for Convergence 2009 attendees:

The Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Attendee Sales Offer expires May 21, 2009 - Receive up to 20% off. This offer is open to all Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics AX attendees, and provides a 20% discount off the purchase of additional users, additional modules or granules, transitions to new product editions or Licensing Models or upgrades to higher service plans.

Don’t delay in taking advantage of this offer now – contact your Microsoft Dynamics partner or visit http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/convergence/neworleans09/about_salesoffer.aspx for more details.

The Convergence Attendee Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Sales Offer expires May 1, 2009 – Receive up to 75% off

Microsoft Dynamics prospects and customers who attended Convergence 2009 are eligible to receive up to 20 users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online for 6 months at $9.99/user/month.

SIGN UP NOW: http://offers.crmchoice.com/convergence09
For more information regarding Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, visit http://crm.dynamics.com/ or call 1-877-CRM-CHOICE.

Note: donotreply@eventpoint.com is an unmonitored alias. EventPoint, Inc. is the official Convergence CommNet vendor.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Free IT Network Health tool

Preparation Wizard is great free tool that was developed by Microsoft Essential Business Server team (http://www.microsoft.com/ebs/en/us/overview.aspx ) that scans your network,  identifies various networking problems (DNS, AD replication, AD configuration, configuration of network adapters, etc.) and provides links to knowledge based articles that explain how to correct these issues. 
The tool is not just for customers with Essential Business Server or those who are planning to deploy this solution in their environments. Preparation Wizard is for anyone with Active Directory in their network who would like to verify the health of their environment. The tool runs over 100 different checks which are based on most common issues resolved by Microsoft Customer Support Services over the past 10 years!
The tool is specifically designed for mid-sized networks (25-300 PCs). Preparation Wizard does not change any settings in your network, so it is safe to run at any time.  Unlike many other known tools which simply dump large amounts of networking data collected from a single source (such as event logs, for instance), Preparation Wizard is able to gather data from many different areas( Active Directory, DNS, SYSVOL, event logs, etc.), cross reference that data, and make conclusions about the overall health of the network.
Go get it – it’s FREE!
http://www.microsoft.com/ebs/en/us/preparation.aspx

Monday, April 20, 2009

Microsoft discloses ambitious security strategy

Combo of identity, data/access protection at heart of Microsoft plan

By John Fontana , Network World , 04/16/2009

"Microsoft Thursday began detailing a security strategy that will see it combine its identity management efforts with its Forefront security products built for clients, servers and the network edge.

The company plans to integrate its security and identity products under the Forefront brand, offer software-as-a-service versions and present it all as a layered defense of access and control for its corporate infrastructure software..."

Read more here at image

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

OS X less secure than Windows? Hmmm.

I am not posting this because I see Mac as a major competitor for Windows EBS, but I am tired of Mac fanatic friends that blindly believe that Macs are designed to be more secure than Windows.  I thought this was an interesting article from the New York Times.

image

April 10, 2009, 5:13 pm

Mac Security Part II: It’s a Numbers Game

By Riva Richmond

Macs were more secure than Windows machines, but the tables have turned. Macs are safer than PCs because they aren’t targeted as much, but the latest versions of OS X are “inherently less secure than the latest versions of Windows,” says Rich Mogull, the Mac security expert who provided tips this week.

Read the entire article here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Free E-Learning available for EBS

Free E-Learning course published here on April 7th, 2009.  This module is only 1-hour.  There are a several demos, including the Preparation Wizard.

image

Introduction

This one-hour clinic introduces the features of Windows EBS 2008. It also describes the installation and configuration of Windows EBS 2008.  
This clinic covers the following topics.

  • Introduction to Windows EBS 2008
  • Features of Windows EBS 2008
  • Deploying Windows EBS 2008
IT professionals taking this clinic should have at least one year of experience deploying and managing a network that has:
  • Up to 300 users
  • Internet connectivity
  • Remote users or user groups
  • Messaging (Internet and Microsoft Exchange)
  • Antispam and antivirus protection (Microsoft Forefront)
Technical consultants taking this clinic should be familiar with Windows SBS 2003 Standard and Premium editions or the following.
  • Exchange Server 2003 or later
  • SQL Server 2000 or later
  • Windows Server 2003 or later, including Active Directory, DNS, and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
  • Windows SharePoint Services 2.0

Objectives

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the purpose and key benefits of Windows EBS 2008.
  • Identify the features provided by Windows EBS 2008.
  • Explain how to deploy Windows EBS 2008.

Check out the course here: https://www.microsoftelearning.com/eLearning/courseDetail.aspx?courseId=115794&offerPriceId=246843&tab=details.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Entry-Level Server Platform

Windows Server 2008 Foundation

Microsoft expanded its Windows Server family with Windows Server 2008 Foundation, designed and priced for small businesses with 15 or fewer employees. To see if Windows Server 2008 Foundation makes sense for your organization, check out the Compare Features, the Compare Server Roles, and the Differentiated Features charts.
Speaking of Windows Server, April is Windows Server 2008 month for TechNet Magazine’s daily tips. Here are some of the Windows Server tips you’ll find:

Commands and Tools for Managing Windows Server 2008 Server Core

Quickly Filter Event Logs in Windows Server 2008

Create System Startup / Shutdown and User Logon / Logoff Scripts

For tips on other products, including Windows Vista and Windows 7, check out the TechNet Magazine Tips library.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dynamics CRM Add-in for EBS

Akvelon CRM Add-in for Microsoft Essential Business Server (EBS)

Akvelon CRM Add-in for Microsoft Essential Business Server (EBS) provides a single place to manage Microsoft Dynamics CRM servers in your Enterprise.

The Add-in is tightly integrated into the Microsoft EBS user interface. With this Add-in administrators can save time by performing all Dynamics CRM management activities using the familiar EBS management console user interface.

Akvelon CRM Add-in for EBS console allows to:

  • Manage multiple CRM servers.
  • Manage CRM organizations and business units.
  • Manage teams, users, edit user information.

Evaluate free trial here.

Announced and demo'd at Convergence 2009.  Join the EBS Facebook Group.

Monday, April 6, 2009

How to Invest in the IT Infrastructure You Have While Preparing for Tomorrow

Microsoft to kick off Webcast Series April 14th

On April 14, at 9 a.m. PST , Microsoft will kick-off a webcast series on 'How to Invest in the IT Infrastructure You Have While Preparing for Tomorrow.’ Part 1 is titled "One Server Does Not Fit All.”  This webcast will discuss the top ways to save on IT while still advancing the business forward and offer advice on how to pick the best server that will scale to your business.

Please note that there will be time set aside to get your questions answered by the participants.  To register, please visit: http://www2.eventsvc.com/academylive/register/8bb6d67f-9f0e-4ecb-a26e-b7d781f3652d

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Protect your computer from Conficker Worm

Does this first article sounds too familiar?

How Much Is Conficker Really Impacting Enterprises?By Brian Prince
2009-03-27
Given that Microsoft issued a patch for the flaw targeted by the Conficker worm and the use of strong passwords can prevent much of the spread, it seems odd that enterprises would be hurt by the worm. But sometimes enterprise security isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Looking for a more proactive way to prevent threats to your business operations?  Read this post.

Conficker Worm: Not Finished Yet

Ian Paul

Apr 2, 2009 7:55 am

April 1 has come and gone, and the Internet has not disintegrated and no major cyber-attacks were reported. But Conficker still remains a threat. Now don't panic, this doesn't mean cyber-Armageddon could strike at any minute, it just means you need to make sure your computer is fully updated if it isn't already. Feel better? Good, then let's take a look at what's going on.

Conficker Worm: Help Protect Windows from Conficker

Published: February 6, 2009 | Updated: March 27, 2009

This page is designed to provide IT Pro customers the information they need to help protect their systems from the Conficker Worm, or to recover systems that have been infected.

New Entry-Level Server Platform Gives Small Businesses Access to Big-Business Solutions

Microsoft introduces Windows Server 2008 Foundation, a foundation for business growth and the community.

REDMOND, Wash. — April 1, 2009 — Microsoft Corp. has expanded its industry-leading Windows Server family of operating systems with the addition of Windows Server 2008 Foundation. Built for small businesses with 15 or fewer users, Windows Server 2008 Foundation puts the reliability, security and manageability of the Windows Server platform within the reach of all businesses at an affordable price. Windows Server 2008 Foundation is initially available in 40 countries and will provide small business customers with the ability to run business applications and databases, host Web sites, and provide basic server functionality such as file and print sharing and remote access.  Read more from Microsoft here.

PC World:

Microsoft Introduces Windows Server OS for Small Businesses

Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service

"Windows Server 2008 Foundation initially will be available in 40 countries once its OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners release servers for the new OS, since it will be sold exclusively through them. Hewlett-Packard, Dell and IBM should have those servers out sometime in the second half of this year, according to Microsoft."

Information Week:

Microsoft Offers Server For Tiny Businesses

Windows Server 2008 Foundation, aimed at organizations with 15 or fewer computer users, will be sold through computer manufacturers.

By J. Nicholas Hoover
InformationWeek
April 1, 2009 09:00 AM

"According to IDC, the market for this type of server is significant -- only 30% of the tens of millions of small businesses that could use a server actually have one. "There's a value prop for this type of system," IDC research VP Al Gillen said in an interview."

ZDNet Asia

Microsoft adds Windows version for cheap servers

By Ina Fried, CNET News.com
Thursday, April 02, 2009 10:36 AM

"The new Windows version is Microsoft's answer to the server equivalent of netbooks, ultra-low cost servers aimed at the smallest of businesses. The product will only be sold preinstalled on new machines."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

MSRT Released on 13JAN09 Addressing Conficker and Banload

Conficker Infection Diagram

Back on Oct. 23, 2008, Microsoft released a critical security update for Windows: MS08-067. Isolated attacks existed at the time of the bulletin release and in our blog we strongly recommended installing the security update as quickly as possible. Later, a few trojans that exploit this vulnerability were found and a month from the release of the bulletin we blogged again, this time about the first worm which exploited that vulnerability: Win32/Conficker (here and then here).

Read more at the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, Threat Research & Response Blog.

Protecting against Conficker Worm with Windows Essential Business Server

Despite the $250k bounty to catch the Conficker Worm (virus) authors and the guidance from Microsoft to "patch and clean, patch and clean" to to disinfect and protect computers infected by the Conficker Worm, aka Downadup, how confident are you that your company has updated all patches for Windows-based computers?  The Conficker worm is a computer worm that can infect your computer and spread itself to other computers across a network automatically, without human interaction.

Windows Essential Business Server (enterprise-class infrastructure solution for 300 or fewer PCs) helps a company update servers and computers with System Center Essential (SCE)EBS includes wizards to help make SCE simpler, providing you the full version of SCE but also helping you with the most common tasks in SCE.  SCE's top ten benefits may be found here, and include "Simplify your patch management". 

File:Conficker.svg

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) recommends that Windows Operating Systems users apply Microsoft security patch MS08-067 (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulletin/MS08-067.mspx) as quickly as possible to help protect themselves from the worm.  SCE provides a central distribution of updates and software.

Windows EBS also includes Threat Management Gateway (aka ISA).  Threat Management Gateway provides web anti-virus and anti-malware features

  1. Clean files that are found to be infected
  2. Block files with low and medium severity threats
  3. Block suspicious files
  4. Block files that are found to be corrupted
  5. Block files that cannot be scanned
  6. Block all encrypted files
  7. Block files if the scanning time exceeds the user-defined maximum scanning time
  8. Block files whose size exceeds the user-defined maximum file size in megabytes
  9. Block archives whose unpacked content size exceeds the user-defined maximum unpacked content size in megabytes
  10. Block archives whose archive depth level exceeds the user-defined maximum level
  11. Flexibility to exclude sites from inspection based on IP addresses, domain name sets, URL sets
  12. Content trickling:  malware inspection may cause some delay in the delivery of content from the server to the client.  TMG MBE trickles portions of the content as files are inspected to improve the user experience during malware inspection.  TMG MBE can send progress notifications for specified types of files to reassure the user during this delay.
  13. User friendly progress notifications informing the user that the requested content is being inspected.

Read the MVP blog about TMG: Forefront Threat Management Gateway Beta 2 - Dieters Forefront Blog.

Windows EBS also includes Forefront Security for Exchange Server (FSE).  Forefront Security for Exchange Server includes industry-leading anti-virus engines from global security firms such as Kaspersky Labs, CA and Sophos. Businesses can run up to five scan engines at once, and in different combinations across the server system. This provides rapid response to new threats regardless of where the threat originates. Forefront Security for Exchange Server automatically downloads the latest signatures and selects the optimal combination of engines to use, ensuring a high level of protection, and reducing the window of exposure to any given threat. Diversity of anti-virus engines across messaging servers and client devices protects against a single point of failure in the IT environment.   FSE protection features include:

  1. Multiple anti-virus engines for advanced protection
  2. Premium spam protection
  3. Fail-safe protection
  4. Layered protection
  5. Protection against new and hidden threats
  6. Multi-vendor response to new threats

FSE team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/forefront/default.aspx.

From DHS's CERT advisory for Conficker:

Symantec:
http://www.symantec.com/business/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2009-011316-0247-99

Microsoft:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/962007
http://www.microsoft.com/protect/computer/viruses/worms/conficker.mspx

Home users may also call Microsoft PC Safety hotline at 1-866-PCSAFETY, for assistance.

McAfee:
http://www.mcafee.com/us/threat_center/default.asp

US-CERT encourages users to prevent a Conficker/Downadup infection by ensuring all systems have the MS08-067 patch, disabling AutoRun functionality (see http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/techalerts/TA09-020A.html), and maintaining up-to-date anti-virus software.

In addition, US-CERT recommends that computer users and administrators implement the following preparedness measures to protect themselves against this vulnerability, and also from future vulnerabilities:

  • Keep up-to-date on security patches and fixes for your operating system. The easiest way to do this is to set your system to receive automatic updates, which will ensure you automatically receive security updates issued by Microsoft. If your system does not allow automatic updates, we recommend that you manually install the Microsoft security patch today through Microsoft Update at http://update.microsoft.com/microsoftupdate
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and keep them up-to-date
  • Enable a firewall which will help block attacks before they can get into your computer

To access the alerts for this vulnerability and for additional information on cyber security tips and practices, please visit www.us-cert.gov.

Other blog posts about Conficker

DHS: DHS Releases Conficker/Downadup Computer Worm Detection Tool - Department of Homeland Security News

Conficker War Room! Your Front Row Seat For Cyber Armageddon ... - Wired: Threat Level

Taming Conficker, The Easy Way : DoxPara Research - DoxPara Research

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Squeezing IT Dollars Without Squashing Service

Do more with what you have: Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft, talks about smart ways businesses of all sizes can control IT costs in tough economic times.

REDMOND, Wash. — March 30, 2009 — The global business downturn has left many IT decision-makers scrambling to figure out how they can reduce or restrain spending without sacrificing quality of service or falling behind competitors. For most, that means squeezing more value out of their existing IT resources, and limiting new IT purchases to technology that will pay for itself in lower operating costs or increased strategic capabilities.

That’s why Microsoft Corp.’s Server and Tools Business sees its primary mission today as delivering innovative solutions that will help its customers thrive in the new economy. To that end, the company continues to invest in new and enhanced server operating systems, virtualization technologies, security solutions and cloud computing.

Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft.

Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft.

“Rather than decreasing their IT spend in challenging times, some companies are choosing to recalibrate their budgets and invest in technical solutions that deliver savings over the long run,” says Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft. “For example, many of our customers that have virtualized their datacenters are already seeing significant savings resulting from server consolidation, faster resource deployment and IT process automation.”

The virtues of virtualization

Other companies are upgrading to Microsoft’s latest server operating system with enhanced management tools, migrating specific workloads to cloud-based services and adopting systems management best practices as part of a long-term cost-savings strategy, according to Muglia.

With a price that’s about two-thirds less than the leading competitive solution, Microsoft’s virtualization platform proves to be more cost-effective than other options. In addition, Microsoft’s management toolset spans the physical and the virtual worlds, which simplifies the job of maintaining a typically heterogeneous datacenter.

The Slough Borough Council, the governing authority for the Borough of Slough in southeastern England, took advantage of the savings potential of the Microsoft virtualization platform when the borough needed to expand its municipal services but faced datacenter space and power constraints. Converting physical servers to virtual machines solved both the space and power problems, but it also generated significant financial rewards as well. “We’ve achieved hardware savings of $148,000 (U.S.), and we expect to reduce server deployment costs by $23,700 (U.S.) annually, based on rolling out 20 servers a year,” says Chris Wintermute, technical infrastructure manager for Slough Borough Council.

Virtualizing a datacenter also lays the foundation for service-based IT. Since virtualization enables workloads to move between on-site datacenter software and the cloud, IT managers don’t have to choose between running applications in the cloud or on-site; it can be a combination of both. “For example, a business might move an application that’s well-suited for the cloud, such as e-mail, from their datacenter to a hosted cloud service, but they may keep more sensitive applications, such as their payroll system, on-premises,” says Muglia.

Invest Today for Returns Tomorrow

When selecting server software and upgrades, Muglia recommends that IT professionals maintain a long-term view. “The important question isn’t how much you pay for a platform upfront, but what a system will cost your organization year after year, and if the company providing the platform will be there for you in the long run.”

Microsoft infrastructure products generally provide excellent return on investment (ROI). For example, when researchers at consulting agency Capgemini looked at companies and institutions in the financial services, education, retail and high-technology industries that had begun using Windows Server 2008, they found that IT costs were reduced by an average of $124,000 per year. These cost reductions resulted from a wide range of areas, including the recovery of five IT staff hours per server and a 91 percent reduction in downtime. A white paper detailing usage scenarios and providing more data on the impact of deploying Windows Server 2008 is available here.

All in the Family

Microsoft’s server family includes comprehensive, cost-effective solutions for businesses of various sizes, all the way from a small family bagel shop to a university research lab that has to crunch terabytes of data.

Several enhancements to the IT infrastructure family are due out within the next two years, including these:

Windows Server 2008 R2, which will offer new virtualization tools, Web resources and management enhancements that will give customers greater control, increased efficiency and the ability to react to front-line business needs faster than ever before.

Microsoft Forefront, code-named “Stirling,” an integrated security system that makes it easier to manage security capabilities across an enterprise’s IT infrastructure, and will help reduce administrative and support costs.

•Identity Lifecycle Manager “2,” an identity management product that will ease the burden on IT departments and help desks and extend identity-management capabilities to end users.

Visual Studio 2010 and the Microsoft .NET Framework 4, which will make it easier for developers and development teams to build, test and deploy applications.

•Enhanced versions of SQL Server targeted at business intelligence and high-end data warehousing.

Optimizing the Datacenter

Microsoft recently released the results of a two-year study of the impact that datacenter best practices could have on IT operations costs. The study shows that businesses also can realize immediate savings just by operating their existing datacenters more efficiently. As part of the study, the company commissioned a survey of CIOs and IT managers at 162 organizations regarding six typical server infrastructure workloads: collaboration, data management, identity and access, e-mail, connectivity, and print server management.

The survey found 31 systems-management best practices — such as automated backup, hierarchical storage management and server clustering — that can result in significant savings and improved service levels for businesses of all sizes. For example, organizations that adopted certain practices in the areas of e-mail and collaboration management reported IT costs of at least $10,000 per server per year less than those that did not.

The study also found that many of the most beneficial practices, such as software imaging or cloning, automated restore, and automated deployment processes, are rarely performed today.

“We’ve found dozens of cost-saving best practices that can be put in place at little or no cost with existing IT assets. Yet, surprisingly, many companies are overlooking these opportunities,” says Muglia.

The findings are available in a white paper called “Server Infrastructure Optimization: Best Practices to Reduce IT Operational Costs,” which is available for free download at http://SpotlightOnCost.com.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Layoffs at Microsoft, Google and IBM

Layoffs at Google, Microsoft, IBM and other companies, including midsize businesses are very unfortunate, more bluntly, really suck for the employees, former employees and company.  Laid-off workers have my sympathy.

imageRemaining employees are fortunate to keep their jobs.  There have been many stories on NPR and other news outlets about how employees need to maintain or increase productivity with a smaller work force.  While EBS is not designed to help at company the size of Google or IBM, EBS can help midsize companies, up to 300 PCs or users, significantly decrease costs and increase productivity, especially remote productivity. 

image EBS help more efficiently purchase and manage software licenses and lower total cost of ownership of your IT infrastructure, both hardware and software.  EBS helped many of our customers consolidate their servers by more than 50% and free up their IT professionals to concentrate on other activities, such as line of business application or possibly their other duty as a financial analyst.

imageEBS's Remote Web Workplace can help increase the productivity of your road warriors to your employees who need to securely access their email, files and applications from home.

Read the EBS Case Studies for evidence.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Microsoft Study Shows SMBs Using Technology to Cut Costs, Grow Business

“Microsoft SMB Insight Report” forecasts that a majority of small and midsize businesses will maintain or increase IT spending in 2009.
 
Microsoft Resources:

2009 “Microsoft SMB Insight Report” (.doc)

Microsoft in Small Business Web site

REDMOND, Wash. — March 25, 2009 — Microsoft Corp. today released a study of the business challenges and technology priorities that small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are facing in the year ahead. The first “Microsoft SMB Insight Report,” which will be published annually, identified virtualization, IT consolidation, business intelligence, software as a service and support of remote workers as the top technology investment priorities for SMBs in 2009.

Based on a five-country survey of more than 600 Microsoft Small Business Specialists, Microsoft found that the major concerns driving SMB technology investments are declining revenue, competition from larger businesses and general economic difficulties. In response, many SMBs are focusing on IT investments that directly benefit their bottom line — either by reducing operating costs, improving employee productivity, or acquiring and retaining customers.

According to Access Markets International (AMI)-Partners Inc., SMBs account for 90 percent of the world’s workforce and more than half of its gross domestic product. Current market conditions are challenging SMBs’ ability to help revitalize the economy, but the “Microsoft SMB Insight Report” forecasts that 55 percent of small and midsize businesses will maintain or increase IT spending year over year through carefully placed investments.

“Small and midsize businesses play a critical role in the world’s economy and are often the first to emerge from periods of economic uncertainty because of their passion, resiliency and innovation,” said Eduardo Rosini, corporate vice president for the Worldwide Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners group at Microsoft. “The ‘Microsoft SMB Insight Report’ identifies areas where technology can play a role in shaping how soon and how aggressively the small and midsize business community reclaims financial stability.”

Investing Wisely in IT

Because SMBs typically lack the resources or technical expertise necessary to evaluate and implement advanced technology solutions, they rely predominantly on the assistance of local technology resources such as Microsoft Small Business Specialists. This community of independent technology experts takes the time to understand the needs of SMB owners and can help identify and implement an IT solution that has the maximum impact on business.

The “Microsoft SMB Insight Report” reflects the insight of Small Business Specialists from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Brazil. The following are some of Microsoft’s key findings on the technologies most likely to drive growth and profitability for SMBs in 2009:

•Fifty percent of the surveyed Small Business Specialists identified virtualization or IT consolidation through a small or midsize server as the technology most likely to reduce operating costs.

•The Small Business Specialists expect a 20 percentage point increase this year in the number of SMBs that use software as a service.

•More than 50 percent of the Small Business Specialists considered customer relationship management (CRM), virtualization or IT consolidation through a small or midsize server as the best investment for maximizing business growth in a down economy.

•Nearly 40 percent expect an increased interest in business intelligence and identified it as a critical tool for helping improve a customer’s experience and increase loyalty.

•More than half of the surveyed Small Business Specialists anticipate an increase in the number of SMB remote workers, and nearly 60 percent expect that the shift to more remote workers also will lead to bigger roles and more responsibilities for those individuals working remotely.

“Historically, we have seen that SMBs have responded to economic contractions by intensifying their use of IT, both to cut costs and to defend and enhance their customer relationships,” said Steve Reynolds, managing director for AMI-Partners. “If SMBs respond to the current crisis as they have in the past, we can expect that a sizable number of smaller businesses will invest in IT now to lower operating costs, boost employee productivity and increase connectedness to customers so as to reap the benefits in the years ahead.”

A complete version of the 2009 “Microsoft SMB Insight Report” is available at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/smb/docs/Microsoft2009SMBInsightsReport.doc

About Microsoft in Small Business

Microsoft offers a broad range of business solutions to help small and midsize businesses (SMBs) maximize productivity and expand business capabilities. Microsoft’s partner program includes more than 640,000 local technology experts, including nearly 20,000 Small Business Specialists. Microsoft also provides a variety of financing, flexible licensing programs and other resources to help SMBs grow their businesses and respond to changes in the market.

More information on Microsoft Small Business Specialists and other SMB resources is available at the Microsoft Small Business Center at http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness.

Virtual Machines for Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (internal use only)

From the WSSG lab:

"We have been busy creating a set of virtual machines for Windows Essential Business Server 2008 for use by the field and other interested internal folks.  These VMs are available today along with a comprehensive setup document that you can use to have EBS up and running in a fraction of the time a full install would take.  I would like to highly encourage your feedback on the use and setup of this environment, we have worked hard to make this as valuable a tool as possible and want to make sure we have met that goal."

Visit the Internal EBS Product Management blog for a link to the internal Windows SharePoint site for the VMs.

100 environmental checks. Free, no strings, no changes to your network.

As IT infrastructure becomes more complex, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) can increase:

–Existing environment has different versions of various technologies,
time consuming to manage

–Achieving interoperability between new IT components with best practices requires integration and time

–Upgrade costs increase due to the requirements of new IT components and their licensesimageThe Preparation Wizard is a free tool that runs about 100 environmental checks, not changing your network, and provides data and documentation links to address the issues found. We recommend running this tool in your environment to address issues and implement best practices even if you decide not to install Windows EBS.

Read more and download for free.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

APAC SMBs to increase IT spend in 2009

By Vivian Yeo, ZDNet Asia
Thursday, January 29, 2009 01:48 PM

"Despite challenging economic times, IT and telecom (IT&T) expenditure by small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in the Asia-Pacific region will reach US$153 billion in 2009, according to a new report."

Read the rest of this brief article here on ZDNet Asia.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Calculate a Customer's Big Easy partner subsidy offer (US and Canada only): Up to $1055 in the U.S.

This is a great deal for customers and partners, don't miss out on getting more for your money.

Microsoft is offering the Big Easy 3.0 in the United States until June 26, 2009 and the Big Easy 2.0 in Canada until March 31, 2009, a Partner Subsidy when you purchase EBS under Open Value licensing.  Since I am not a lawyer and this is just my blog, please see the terms & conditions here for the US and here for Canada.

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Using the the Big Easy Calculator on the U.S.'s Estimate Your Subsidy, I calculated a $755 Partner Subsidy for EBS alone and $1055 Partner Subsidy for EBS with another product group.

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Partner Subsidy Funds Utilization (U.S.)

The partner subsidy funds received as part of this promotion may be used used with any Registered, Certified or Gold Certified Partner active in the Microsoft Partner Program who is selected by the Qualified Organization ("Selected Partner") for implementation of the Qualified Organization’s Microsoft solution including software, hardware and services.

Partners can be selected at http://pinpoint.microsoft.com

Partner Subsidy Dollars Utilization (Canada)

Partner subsidy dollars received as part of this promotion must be used to pay for purchases of services or products from a partner who is a member of the Microsoft Partner Program and who is selected by the Qualified Organization ("Selected Partner"). Partners can be selected at: http://www.microsoftincentives.ca/BigEasy

There are a bunch of additional incentives listed here.

While I was just in New Orleans about a week ago, it is not this Big Easy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Line of Business Application Customers are demanding EBS

We are hearing about midsize customers, 300 or fewer PCs OR users, approaching their partners and wanting to install EBS before upgrading their line of business application, e.g. Microsoft Dynamics.

imageMidsize customers with line of business applications are likely to have a disparate network infrastructure.  They may have legacy operating systems ready to retire and extra servers ready for consolidation.  The initial installation or upgrade of a line of business application is a great opportunity for Windows Essential Business Server (EBS) 2008 to consolidate disparate infrastructure, implement hundreds of pages of best practices, increase productivity of both the IT professional and end users (yes, end users), lower costs, and install a reliable, predictable platform for the LOB.

imageWho doesn't want to increase productivity with their current head count and resources?  When business is booming, cost cutting is not always the top priority, but EBS helps lower total cost of ownership while increasing productivity, and hence a competitive edge.

image How does EBS help customers?  There is a bunch of customer evidence here.  EBS helps the IT professional not fight as many fires and proactively manage their infrastructure and better support the end-users.  End-users can become more productive not only with a reliable network infrastructure, decreasing downtime, but also becoming a better mobile enabled workforce with Exchange 2007 and Remote Web Workplace.

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Find out more about the products integrated into EBS here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

100 network health checks for free, no strings attached

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You can download this tool for free here without any obligation to purchase Windows EBS.  This tool does not change your network, only helping to identify  network problems and opportunities to implement better practices.  Links to relevant, yes relevant, KB articles are provided for the errors identified.

IT Pros, this is a simple way to possibly improve your network.

Partners, this is a great tool to evaluate your current and potential customers' networks.

Customers and partners at Convergence 2009 couldn't wait to run this on their won networks.

Why provide this as a free tool?  This tool showcases some of the fundamental best practices included in Windows EBS.

Read more and download here.

Localized Microsoft SharePoint and SQL Server Add-ins for Windows Essential Business Server 2008 Packages Released!

On March 13th, 2009, we uploaded the localized RTM version of Extensibility Add-ins for Microsoft SharePoint and SQL Server to download center for international EBS customers.

These localized packages will help our international customers get better user experiences and enjoy the values of both add-ins in their mother tongue languages. These came out with lots of cross functionality team efforts from Windows Internationalization team, Development team, Test team, UA team, UX team, Build team, Release team, SharePoint team, SQL Server Management Pack team and PM team.

Thank you very much and Congratulations on all the hard work from everyone involved in these projects.

Public download link for SharePoint Add-in: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=34FD138A-F3E9-4EA0-AE60-DAD4B8DAB7EC&displaylang=en

Public download link for SQL Server Add-in: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=2f7bf5a4-ef2a-4acc-9238-77530da8dc3b&displaylang=en

You can select your preferred localized version here:

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sun and IBM in merger talks, takover

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Wow!  If Sun and IBM merge, there would be only one major competitor to them in the Unix server market, HP. Sun + IBM = 62% Unix server market and 45% overall server market.  IBM takeover Sun, hmm, can they merge cultures?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/19/technology/companies/19sun.html?_r=1&hp

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

First EBS Canadian Case Study - Toronto Grace Health Centre

This EBS case study, in conjunction with the recent EBS and Which Server to Choose article in the Midmarket Momentum Magazine, are meant to be sales resources to show our customers & partners a real-life Canadian example of the “before and after picture” of EBS.

Quotes from the case study:

The centre has since reduced help desk calls by 23 per cent, maintenance time by 30 per cent, and is now more focused on strategic initiatives.

“One of the biggest improvements is the overall insight we have into the system. Essential Business Server provides us with an up-do-date status of the entire network, which gives me the advance knowledge I need to determine what has to be done and how long it will take to fix,” says Tong

With it, organizations like TGHC can use the Microsoft® Hyper-V™ technology in Windows Server 2008… “Virtualization enables organizations to consolidate the workloads of multiple servers onto a smaller number of fully utilized servers, which can reduce hardware, energy, and management costs – a true benefit for organizations like TGHC that face tight budgets,” says LoPatriello.

This case study addresses these benefits: Cost Savings, Centralized Management, Secure Data, Remote Access, and Innovative Platform.

Toronto Grace Health Centre (TGHC) is a 119-bed facility operated by The Salvation Army and located in the downtown core. Over the course of its 150-year history, it has served as a rescue home and maternity facility. Today, TGHC specializes in patients with chronic diseases who require complex continuing care or long-term rehabilitation.

Read the article.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Still at Convergnce in New Orleans

My schedule is flexible on Thursday and Friday
morning at Convergence in New Orleans. Please let me know if you'd like to me to discuss the product or positioning the product. I will start posting again regularly next week, so feel free to let me know if there are topics you want me to blog about. I have a bunch myself, but I want to meet your nedds and interes

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ask us questions face-to-face

I apologize for not recently posting.  I am out of office (OOF), not laid off.   I am taking this opportunity to promote Windows EBS at Convergence next week in new Orleans.  Do you have questions about EBS?  Do you you want to understand how EBS can help you increase productivity while decreasing costs?  Do you want to ask a customer, the head manger for development, or me questions?  Come to our sessions.

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EBS has four sessions at Convergence 2009 in New Orleans during the second week of March:

ST07 - Lower TCO and Increase Productivity with Windows Essential Business Server 2008 and Microsoft Dynamics AX

Learn how Windows EBS 2008 helps midsize businesses lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and increase productivity of both end-users and IT Professionals.  Measured results from current customers will be featured.  Greater reduction of TCO and increase in productivity with the Microsoft Dynamics Administration Console Add-in for Windows Essential Business Server will also be discuss along with a roadmap of additional Microsoft Add-ins for Windows EBS 2008.  Hear from a current EBS 2008 and Microsoft Dynamics AX customer and see a live demo of Remote Web Workplace, the EBS unified Administration Console and the Microsoft Dynamics Add-in.  

Chris Grillone, me; John Elmer, Rodgers & Hammerstein 
3/10/2009 3:30PM-4:30PM Rm. 276

ST09 - Technologies to Drive Costs Out of Midsize Environments

In this session we'll be looking at what EBS can do to drive costs out of midsize environments. We'll show how with EBS and its component products we can automate many of the costly operational tasks that consume much of the time for midsize business. Workplace, the EBS unified Administration Console and the Microsoft Dynamics Add-in.  

Chris Grillone, me; Eric Watson, Group Product Manager (from dev); John Elmer, Rodgers & Hammerstein  
3/11/2009 2:30PM-3:30PM Rm. 276

ST08 - Lower TCO & Increase Productivity with Windows Essential Business Server 2008 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Learn how Windows EBS 2008 helps midsize businesses lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and increase productivity of both end-users and IT Professionals.  Measured results from current customers will be featured.  Greater reduction of TCO and increase in productivity with the Microsoft Dynamics Administration Console Add-in for Windows Essential Business Server will also be discuss along with a roadmap of additional Microsoft Add-ins for Windows EBS 2008.  See a live demo of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Add-in.

Chris Grillone; Sergei Dreizin (CRM Add-in Program Manager)
3/11/2009 9:00AM-10:00AM Rm. 276

IDST02 - Features and Technologies in Windows Essential Business Server (EBS) 2008

Interactive discussion with product manger and product group manager.  Ask questions, no presentation.

Chris Grillone; Eric Watson
3/10/2009 5:00PM-6:00PM Rm. 350

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Microsoft Business and Technology Assessment Toolkit

Microsoft Partner, the Microsoft Business and Technology Assessment Toolkit includes EBS 2008. 

The latest version of the toolkit offers a range of new features:

  • New assessments to evaluate your customers’ server, mobile, desktop, and Exchange needs and to help you identify solutions based on Windows Small Business Server 2008, Windows Essential Business Server 2008, Windows Mobile 6, the 2007 Microsoft Office system, Windows Vista, and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 technologies.

  • A product-driven, customizable question bank that enables you to better tailor assessments to your customers’ specific needs, based on your product and solution expertise.

  • A Windows-based platform that’s compatible with Microsoft Windows Vista, the 2007 Microsoft Office system, and 64-bit processors.

  • New decision tree functionality to better guide a customer in choosing which solution—Windows Small Business Server 2008, Windows Essential Business Server 2008, or stand-alone Windows Server.

  • New report generation for partners to customize and give to their partners.

Have you found this toolkit to be useful in the past?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Windows EBS at Convergence US

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EBS has four sessions at Convergence 2009 in New Orleans during the second week of March:

ST07 - Lower TCO and Increase Productivity with Windows Essential Business Server 2008 and Microsoft Dynamics AX

Learn how Windows EBS 2008 helps midsize businesses lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and increase productivity of both end-users and IT Professionals.  Measured results from current customers will be featured.  Greater reduction of TCO and increase in productivity with the Microsoft Dynamics Administration Console Add-in for Windows Essential Business Server will also be discuss along with a roadmap of additional Microsoft Add-ins for Windows EBS 2008.  Hear from a current EBS 2008 and Microsoft Dynamics AX customer and see a live demo of Remote Web Workplace, the EBS unified Administration Console and the Microsoft Dynamics Add-in.  

Chris Grillone, me; John Elmer, Rodgers & Hammerstein 
3/10/2009 3:30PM-4:30PM Rm. 276

ST09 - Technologies to Drive Costs Out of Midsize Environments

In this session we'll be looking at what EBS can do to drive costs out of midsize environments. We'll show how with EBS and its component products we can automate many of the costly operational tasks that consume much of the time for midsize business. Workplace, the EBS unified Administration Console and the Microsoft Dynamics Add-in.  

Chris Grillone, me; Eric Watson, Group Product Manager (from dev); John Elmer, Rodgers & Hammerstein  
3/11/2009 2:30PM-3:30PM Rm. 276

ST08 - Lower TCO & Increase Productivity with Windows Essential Business Server 2008 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Learn how Windows EBS 2008 helps midsize businesses lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and increase productivity of both end-users and IT Professionals.  Measured results from current customers will be featured.  Greater reduction of TCO and increase in productivity with the Microsoft Dynamics Administration Console Add-in for Windows Essential Business Server will also be discuss along with a roadmap of additional Microsoft Add-ins for Windows EBS 2008.  See a live demo of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Add-in.

Chris Grillone; Sergei Dreizin (CRM Add-in Program Manager)
3/11/2009 9:00AM-10:00AM Rm. 276

IDST02 - Features and Technologies in Windows Essential Business Server (EBS) 2008

Interactive discussion with product manger and product group manager.  Ask questions, no presentation.

Chris Grillone; Eric Watson
3/10/2009 5:00PM-6:00PM Rm. 350

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Financing Promo from Microsoft

Last re-port for this out of office period.

Are you also feeling the squeeze of the credit crunch?  Are you looking to finance EBS, hardware, partner services and other Microsoft software, e.g. Dynamics CRM? 

CURRENCY.JPG

Microsoft is offering a SmartPay promotion.  This promo provides no payments for the first 6 months of the term of the loan.  Please read all the details and legal stuff here.

Microsoft Finance and this promotion are valid in:

  • North America: US, Canada
  • EMEA: UK, Germany, Spain, Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland and Netherlands
  • APAC: Korea, Australia, and New Zealand
  • LATAM: Brazil

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Re-posting higher viewed posts

While I am out of the office for the rest of the week, I am going to re-post a couple of blogs I noticed received high interest.

Green IT & Lower Total Cost of Ownership

IBM's latest commercial on Green IT hits the mark on addressing both environmental and total cost of ownership.  Whether you are concerned about the environment and energy dependence, lowering maintenance, repair & operations (MRO) costs, or all of the above, you want Green IT.   Don't be fooled by Greenwashing though.

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BusinessWeek discusses Green IT in this article.  eWeek.com discusses 5 Steps to Green IT for infrastructure, including power consumption.

EBS 2008 helps you consolidate servers.  Less servers, less energy to power the servers and cool your server room.  EBS 2008 is not just hype on consolidation and Green IT.

“We were consuming about 12,000 to 14,000 BTUs [basic transmission unit] per hour in our data center, and we’ve reduced that to about 7,000 BTUs per hour by reducing our physical server count from 16 to 7. We’ve cut our power consumption in half.”

Tim Dreyling, Information Systems Manager, WASSER Studios

Read more about Five Ways to Reduce Data Center Server Power Consumption and how to make an impact, calculate your carbon footprint.

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You need to start somewhere.  EBS 2008 helps lower TCO throughout the product lifecycle.

While I can one conventional car from 1999, I drive a Prius and motorcycle.  Unfortunately, the Prius doesn't have a lower TCO, but my past and present motorcycles have significantly lower TCO.  I could be greener, but it's a start. 

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The value of EBS in today's economy

From the New York Times: Australia announced a $26.5B stimulus package and lowered its benchmark cash arate by a full percentage point to a record low of 3.25 percent.  Japan's central banked announced yesterday a plan to buy up to one trillion yen ($11.1B) of shares that Japanese banks hold in other corporations. 

Microsoft lay-offs no longer rumors, Microsoft announced planned lay-offs over the next 18 month of 5,000 employees which does not include contractors, 1500 laid-off less than two weeks ago.

My point here is that we are all feeling the effects of the economy, from governments to multi-national corporations to midsize businesses to individuals like you and me.  We are trying to save more while spending less as discussed in this NY Times article.  I hear about midsize business concerns and opportunities in today's economy from my parents who own and manage a midsize business, PaperSource Hawaii

Whether seizing opportunities in today's economy or hunkering down and just trying to survive, money is tight, and many midsize businesses are looking for ways to cut costs and increase productivity, sometime with less workers.  EBS helps midsize business with BOTH, not just one, but EBS requires a slightly higher initial server infrastructure investment than typical incremental maintenance.  We have customer evidence of overall cost reduction typically within the first year of deploying EBS, not just breaking even on your investment but creating additional savings.  Of course, you need to evaluate if our customers and evidence fits your specific situation, but our case studies and testimonials show significant savings.   Our evidence also supports measurable increased productivity of both end-users and IT Professionals.

Post a comment, whether is be a question or skepticism.  The comments are not moderated on my blog, and I only delete spam.

HP + EBS video

EBS on HP blade servers. HP is doubling down on EBS.

Find out more: www.hp.com/go/winessentialfamily

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Green IT and Green Computing

 

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What is driving Green IT or Green Computing?  Probably cost reduction (lower TCO) through virtualization and consolidation, resulting in Green IT.  There were several articles published a year ago as Green IT starting gaining more attention.  Here are a few:

Green IT- Corporate Strategies from www.businessweek.com

5 Steps to Green IT from www.eweek.com

Top green-IT users and vendors from www.computerworld.com

Whether your company has a Green initiative or sees Green Computing as a positive bi-product of cost reduction effort, especially with server consolidation and virtuallization.  Windows EBS helps companies lower total cost of ownership and increase productivity, which may  companies believe are crucial for surviving or even thriving in today's economic conditions.

The three primary benefits of Green Computing or Green IT, regardless of company size or location are: lowering total cost of ownership, reducing energy consumption, maximizing resource efficiency.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

EBS Partner Training and Resources

Localized Partner Training on EBS should be available in early March in French, Germany, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Brazilian Portuguese.

Partner Tools and Training for Windows EBS can be found on the MSPP.  Resources support:

  1. Migration from SBS to EBS
  2. Windows EBS Jumpstart Online Kit
  3. Market Ready Customer Campaigns
  4. Additional Information and Resources:

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Identify issues with your current network environment

Whether or not you try or buy EBS, you can download and use the Windows Essential Business Server Planning & Preparation to identify issues in your current network environment.  The Preparation Wizard scans your network environment and identifies issues that you need to correct to be able to deploy Windows EBS. The tool runs about 100 environment checks and provides data and documentation (KBRs) links to address the issues found.  The Planning Wizard collects information about the network settings that you will need to install Windows EBS

You will get a feel for the best practices used to develop EBS and its infrastructure optimization.  It's free and does not require you to download EBS.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

EBS virtualized on one Sun server

Sun is delivering EBS virtualized onto one sever. This speaks to the solution, HW cost savings, energy savings (green IT) and their Try and Buy promotion where you get up to a 40% discount.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Guest bloggers

I am inviting a few current customers to blog about their experience with Windows EBS.  Please remember that comments to blogs are not moderated, so please fee free to ask them questions.  Ask about cost benefits and how EBS lowered their infrastructure TCO and increased productivity.  EBS enabled some customers to take 100% of their employees to Windows Mobile like Collegiate Housing in this post.  Others have realized significantly lower TCO.  While there are 12 EBS case studies posted here that support increased end-user and IT staff productivity, ask actual IT Professionals and Business Decision Makers who have switched to EBS.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sun Microsystems providing service and support for EBS on one physical server

Sun Microsystems is marketing Windows EBS Standard as virtualized on one physical server.  Sun Microsystems has published a Sun for Windows EBS Solution Brief and Microsoft Windows EBS on Sun Microsystems x64 Systems Hardware Requirements.

From Sun's Place for Small and Medium Businesses site:

 
Our Solution: EBS on Sun

Instead of the three servers required by other platforms, Sun enables you to manage your entire Windows environment with one affordable, virtualized, and massively scalable system.

  • Sun Fire X4150 or X4250 servers: Featuring Intel Xeon dual- or quad-core processors, our servers provide exceptional performance in a compact, energy-efficient package.
  • J4200 storage arrays: Each array supports up to 16 fast SAS or high-capacity SATA or high-capacity SATA disk drives and a built-in capacity of more than 2 TB.
  • Supported configuration: Microsoft, a Sun technology partner, has validated our integrated software, hardware, and storage solution for EBS on Sun.

Key Benefits

Lower your total cost of ownership with Sun's cost-efficient, compact and eco-friendly EBS solution.
Why strain your IT budget when one powerful Sun server can do the work of three? With EBS on Sun, you could:

  • Save 84% in energy costs over three years.
  • Realize overall savings of 10% per year.
  • Reduce the footprint of your EBS solution in the data center by 50%.

Meet the surging demands of your business and employees.
Our solution scales easily as your business grows, enabling you to:

  • Manage a Windows environment with up to 300 concurrent users.
  • Add more storage quickly with Sun Storage arrays that reduce storage costs to about $1 per gigabyte.
  • Run EBS with just one virtualized Sun server instead of the three physical servers required by other platforms.

Increase your IT professionals' efficiency and productivity—and their peace of mind.
EBS on Sun dramatically reduces IT complexity by combining management, messaging, and security software in one integrated solution. Sun's reference configurations and Microsoft's best practices for small and mid-sized businesses make EBS simple for IT specialists to deploy and maintain.


Service and Support

Get the assistance you need when you need it: Sun's award-winning service and support helps keep your systems running.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

EBS is gaining market traction

I am seeing EBS gaining traction in the market.  I expected sales to pick-up in January and February, following the holiday season and at the beginning of many fiscal years.  Whether credit is opening up in some markets or customers are leveraging SmartPay promotion from Microsoft or other credit offered by Microsoft Finance for software, hardware and services, I am optimistic that the first full week in January is an indicator for the next few months.  The market is confirming the value of EBS, where increased productivity and lower TCO are essential especially in today's global economy.    Here is an article from CIO Insight on IT Productivity.  Is this book worth the read?

Where is EBS on the technology adoption life cycle (TALC)? EBS is currently establishing the beach head and preparing for the tornado effect.  Where do you want to be on the EBS TALC?

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Monday, January 12, 2009

EBS Myths

This quick, impromptu, 5-minutes video informally discusses a few myths of Windows Essential Business Server (EBS). Please let me know topics you may be interested in and who you want me to interview in the future.

First thing Monday morning without coffee, ugh.