Monday, September 30, 2013

SCOM 2012 R2: Hello MMA (Microsoft Monitoring Agent), Goodbye SCOM Agent

Since SCOM 2007 came to be, SCOM used the SCOM agent in order to monitor Windows based servers. This approach remained the same up to SCOM 2012 SP1, even though the name of the related Windows service changed. None the less, the SCOM Agent remained the means for SCOM to monitor Windows based systems.

Of course, with every update the SCOM Agent got better and better. Creating a smaller footprint and becoming more intelligent as well. For me the SCOM Agent is a sophisticated piece of software.

Without a SCOM Management Group this SCOM Agent serves no purpose. This however has changed significantly with SCOM 2012 R2 which will be released on the same date as Windows Server 2012 R2, which is scheduled for the 18th of October.

For SCOM 2012 R2 the SCOM Agent is rebranded to MMA, which stands for Microsoft Monitoring Agent and is capable to operate STANDALONE!

When it operates stand alone it publishes the captured data as a Visual Studio IntelliTrace file which can be opened by Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate Release Candidate. So MMA can be downloaded as a separate tool and enabled with PowerShell.

In order to highlight all the differences the MMA has compared to the SCOM 2012 SP1 Agent (and previous versions for that matter), I have made this table. All items which are different for MMA are in red so with a single glance you can see a lot has changed:
(Click on the picture to enlarge).

For readers of this blog who want to get more information about MMA and it’s new functionalities here are some useful links:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

SCOM12 Application Advisor & Application Diagnostics Website Not Working

Update 09-25-2013
Even after this procedure the App Advisor Reports didn’t work as expected. Turned out that APM uses for its reports a dedicated Data Source. This Data Source refers to the old location of the Data Warehouse database, causing this error. However, Tao Yang has written an excellent posting about this issue and how to solve it. Thanks to
his posting I solved this issue within the matter of a few minutes.

Got this error in our test environment after a DB move of the SCOM 2012 databases: An error has occurred. The additional information can be found in the Windows Application Log:

I love errors like these since they contain worthwhile information. And indeed, the Application Log contained other good information.

Actually a lot of information but this piece stood out for me:

This worked before the move. But now all SCOM 2012 DBs are running on SQL Server 2012, hosted by the same SQL server, only a different SQL instance.

Time to take a look in IIS Manager at the Application Pools. And this told it all:

Looks like the new SQL instance doesn’t like this one bit.Time for some remediation.

I simply changed the Identity of both Application Pools used by Application Advisor and Application Diagnostics. Instead I used an AD account which has sufficient permissions on the new SQL Server instance and the SCOM 2012 DW DB.

  1. Right click on one of the Application Pools used by APM;
  2. Select the option Advanced Settings;
  3. Change the option Identity by clicking on the button with the three dots;
  4. Use this syntax:
  5. Enter the password and retype it > OK
  6. Repeat Steps 1 to 5 for the other APM Application Pool
  7. Double check the Application Pools. They should look like this now:
  8. Recycle both Application Pools OR run IISRESET from an elevated cmd-prompt (only use the latter option when you’re sure no other websites hosted by the same IIS box are in use at that moment Smile)

And now both APM websites are working again:


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Free ebook: Designing Orchestrator Runbooks

A new free ebook is available for download: Designing Orchestrator Runbooks.

The download links for the various formats (PDF, EPUB & MOBI) can be found here.

This book isn’t the complete story about Orchestrator nor on Runbooks. When you want to take a real DEEP dive, you should buy the book System Center 2012 Orchestrator Unleashed.

Finally! ‘System Center 2012 Orchestrator Unleashed’ Is Available!!!

It took some time but FINALLY the awesome book ALL about Orchestrator is available, System Center 2012 Orchestrator Unleashed.
larger cover

This book is written by people who’re totally in to SCORCH and (when you ask me) I suspect from having automated everything in their private life as well using SCORCH Smile.

People like Kerrie Meyler, Pete Zerger, Marcus Oh, Anders Bengtsson & Kurt van Hoecke don’t need any introduction at all. They eat, drink and breath System Center 2012!

You can buy this book from Amazon (paperback and Kindle) or from InfomIt. The latter has my personal preference since they offer the ebook (for the SAME price!) in all ebook formats for you: PDF, EPUB and MOBI.

For me this book is leading for ALL I want to know about SCORCH. Awesome!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Rumor Or Fact? The Demise Of MMS… :(

Got this one from the blog of a former colleague of mine, Henk Hoogendoorn. He runs a blog all about SCCM. As such he’s one the regular MMS visitors. He hasn’t skipped many MMS events.

He simply loves those events for many reasons. Of course, you learn a lot but one of the best things of events like MMS is NETWORKING. Meeting new people all with the same interest. Sharing knowledge, experience and tales from the trenches without all the marketing mumbo jumbo. Just the real stuff, uncut and raw.

This is for me the very same reason I LOVE MMS as well. And guess who I bumped into this year’s MMS? Exactly, Henk! We live in the same country but when I started at another company we didn’t see each other anymore. Not on purpose though. Yet at MMS in Vegas, 1000’s of miles away from our homes, we bumped into each other.

This illustrates for me the true power of MMS.

And now it seems MMS 2013 was the LAST one ever! So personally I REALLY hope this is just a rumor. 

Want to know more about it? Here are some sources of information about this topic:

  1. Henk’s posting about the possible demise of MMS;
  2. Looks like MMS 2014 is scheduled none the less;
  3. The Next Gen of MMS?;
  4. MMS 2014 Teaser.

As you can see, there isn’t anything solid yet. Nor about the official GO for MMS 2014 from Microsoft, nor a statement about discontinuing MMS.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Veeam Webinar: Take Control Of Your VMware Environment With Veeam MP v6 & System Center

Update – August 28th 2013:
Originally this webinar would be presented in Dutch. But we (Veeam and me) got so many requests whether this webinar could be given in English so a broader audience could be reached. We listened to you all and therefore we decided to present this webinar in English. Thank you all for your valuable feedback!

Veeam has scheduled an Expert Webinar on the 12th of September 2013 from 13:00 to 14:00 hours (UTC+1), all about getting the most out of your VMware environment and SCOM by using the Veeam MP.

This Expert Webinar will be aimed at the English speaking audience, so the title is: Take control of your VMware environment with Veeam MP v6 and System Center

It will be presented by Mike Resseler and myself. When you run VMware and SCOM AND want to get the best of both worlds, join this session!

You can register yourself here for this session.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fixing the SCOM 2012 SP1 UR#3 Web Console. Error: Debugging resource strings are unavailable.

This one is a bit strange. Before UR#3 for SCOM 2012 SP1 the Web Console worked just fine. I applied UR#3 for SCOM 2012 SP1 Web Console, ran through all the required procedures but the Web Console was broken.


The additional information for the error was a bit cryptic:

Please provide the following information to the support engineer if you have to contact Microsoft Help and Support :

System.ServiceModel.CommunicationException: [HttpWebRequest_WebException_RemoteServer]
Arguments: NotFound

Debugging resource strings are unavailable. Often the key and arguments provide sufficient information to diagnose the problem. See ---> System.Net.WebException: [HttpWebRequest_WebException_RemoteServer]
Arguments: NotFound
Debugging resource strings are unavailable. Often the key and arguments provide sufficient information to diagnose the problem. See ---> System.Net.WebException: [HttpWebRequest_WebException_RemoteServer]
Arguments: NotFound
Debugging resource strings are unavailable. Often the key and arguments provide sufficient information to diagnose the problem. See
   at System.Net.Browser.BrowserHttpWebRequest.InternalEndGetResponse(IAsyncResult asyncResult)
   at System.Net.Browser.BrowserHttpWebRequest.<>c__DisplayClassa.<EndGetResponse>b__9(Object sendState)
   at System.Net.Browser.AsyncHelper.<>c__DisplayClass4.<BeginOnUI>b__0(Object sendState)
   --- End of inner exception stack trace ---
   at System.Net.Browser.AsyncHelper.BeginOnUI(SendOrPostCallback beginMethod, Object state)
   at System.Net.Browser.BrowserHttpWebRequest.EndGetResponse(IAsyncResult asyncResult)
   at System.ServiceModel.Channels.HttpChannelFactory.HttpRequestChannel.HttpChannelAsyncRequest.CompleteGetResponse(IAsyncResult result)
   --- End of inner exception stack trace ---
   at System.ServiceModel.AsyncResult.End[TAsyncResult](IAsyncResult result)
   at System.ServiceModel.Channels.ServiceChannel.EndCall(String action, Object[] outs, IAsyncResult result)
   at System.ServiceModel.ClientBase`1.ChannelBase`1.EndInvoke(String methodName, Object[] args, IAsyncResult result)
   at Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Presentation.Security.ServiceProxies.LogonServiceClient.LogonServiceClientChannel.EndGetConfiguration(IAsyncResult result)
   at Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Presentation.Security.ServiceProxies.LogonServiceClient.Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Presentation.Security.ServiceProxies.ILogonService.EndGetConfiguration(IAsyncResult result)
   at Microsoft.EnterpriseManagement.Presentation.Security.ServiceProxies.LogonServiceClient.OnEndGetConfiguration(IAsyncResult result)
   at System.ServiceModel.ClientBase`1.OnAsyncCallCompleted(IAsyncResult result)

The cause still eludes me. Before UR#3 all was just fine and after it, the Web Console was broken. But I fixed it none the less.

An IISReset from an elevated prompt didn’t help, nor the stupid reboot. So it was time for another approach.

  1. Open an elevated cmd-prompt
  2. Go to the folder C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319 and execute these two commands:
  3. aspnet_regiis -i –enable
  4. aspnet_regiis -r

Afterwards the SCOM 2012 SP1 UR#3 Web Console works like a charm again:

New SQL MP ( & SQL Server 2012 Databases Summary Dashboard

With the release of the newest version of the SQL Server MP, version, a new dashboard is added as well, the SQL Server 2012 Databases Summary Dashboard.

This dashboard (or better predecessor) was already demonstrated at MMS 2013, back in April. So it has taken some time to arrive, but finally it’s here. And it was worth the long wait:

Even though my fellow MVP buddy Kevin Greene has already blogged about it, there are popping up quite a few questions. I’ll do my best to answer them.

  1. Does this dashboard show ALL my SQL databases?
    No it doesn’t. This dashboard (as the name implies) only works with SQL Server 2012 databases. The related guide also states the same message, see page 66, 4th row: ‘..Displays list of SQL Server 2012 databases and their state..’

  2. I have SQL Server 2012 databases and imported the MP. But the View is lacking.
    When updating the MP through the Console, only the updates for the SQL MPs already present will be shown. This new Dashboard requires additional MPs. Therefore it’s better to download the SQL MP from the download website of Microsoft directly, unpack these MSI and import the MPs.
    The two high lighted MPs enable the new View.

  3. Okay, I have the MPs in place. Where is the new Dashboard?
    The Dashboard can be found here: Monitoring > Microsoft SQL Server > Databases > SQLServer 2012 Databases Summary Dashboard. And yes, the name has a typo, the space between SQL and Server is missing…

  4. Message “No data” is shown. That’s all I get. Do I need to something else in order to get this Dashboard populated?
    As it turns out, this Dashboard requires some additional aggregation of data. Depending on your environment this can take a few hours up to a day. In my test environment it took about one to two hours before I got a populated dashboard.

    You can help the process by modifying the Dashboard. By default it shows data of the last two days. By modifying to show performance data of the last 8 hours, it might help you to get the Dashboard up and running. How? Simply click on the settings icon top right in the dashboard and modify the time range in the screen you get. Save the new settings and wait a while.

  5. The DB Alerts View shows ALL Alerts! What’s happening?
    As stated in the same MP Guide (please read it Smile) states on page 70 this issue and explains it: ‘…the dashboard displays all active alerts if nothing is selected. It’s a standard querying mechanism of the default Alerts widget. Resolution: Make sure that at least one DB suites the filtering options…’

  6. Performance data for some SQL 2012 databases is shown, but not for all databases. Why?
    The same document states on the same page as Item 5 the cause: the names for those databases has special symbols, like bracers. There is no workaround for it. It’s a know SCOM issue.
I do hope this Dashboard will become available for SQL Server 2008 databases as well. It makes SCOM a bit sexier Smile.

Cross Post: White paper - Hybrid Cloud with NVGRE (WSSC 2012 R2)

Two Cloud & Datacenter Management MVPs have written an excellent white paper all about a real world deployment of a fabric infrastructure that is supporting network virtualization with NVGRE for hybrid cloud computing.

Two other MVPs reviewed this white paper so it became even better.

This white paper is a MUST read for anyone involved with VMM, networks and cloud computing, whether private, public or mixed. It can be downloaded from here.

A big word of thanks to these MVPs:

  • Kristian Nese;
  • Flemming Riis;
  • Daniel Neumann;
  • Stanislav Zhelyazkov.

And of course these well know people from Microsoft who aided them in writing this awesome white paper:\

  • Travis Wright,;
  • Christian Booth;
  • Vijay Tewari;
  • Greg Cusanza.

This effort shows the strength of the combined forces of the community and Microsoft.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

TechNet: Still Retiring Without An Alternative Unless You’re MCT. IT Pros Are So 1980.

A few days ago I stumbled upon this posting of Rod Trent, all about the latest developments in the soap opera the retirement of TechNet is becoming.

And to my big surprise I got this message today on my personal page of TechNet:

What does it mean?
Yes, Microsoft has listened. But only some of the complaints are really heard and acted upon.

Basically, the retirement of TechNet isn’t recalled. Nor will there be an MSDN based alternative for a reasonable price. So the pain remains the same as before. Only now the bullet is fired 90 days later.

Unless you’re a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). Then there will be a TechNet replacement.

Microsoft versus IT pros?
As Rod Trent concludes in the same posting it’s pretty clear that Microsoft is moving away from the IT pros. As Microsoft sees it, IT is changing into cloud based services. So who needs IT pros anyway? Apparently not Microsoft.

The comments speak for them selves. Some of them I have highlighted here:

“…I will still support MS products but less and less am I a advocate for MS…”

“…more and more IT folks recently who are advocating less Microsoft products in their organizations in the coming years…”

“…If Microsoft persist with this course of action I will still support their products and do the bare minimum to keep myself certified in their technology. I will not advocate their technology as solutions as my first choice I will look to open source as a viable solution. ..”

“…But the more I see the things that have taken place in even just the last year... it scares me a bit. For me, there are NOT a lot of viable alternatives. I don't like being stuffed into a corner…”

“…As an MCT, I cannot really understand why we should have the benefit and others do not. I never have a training environment that goes past eval times, while most IT Pros do AND need it…”

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I Am Lost. Can Anyone Tell Me What Direction Microsoft Is Headed To?

For 15 years I work in IT now. And from day one I worked with Microsoft based technologies. Yes, made a few side steps as well like UNIX. But soon I discovered that I loved the Microsoft based technologies the most.

Why? One very important aspect was the availability of those technologies. With TechNet this software was distributed on CD-ROMs to the subscribers, enabling them to install the software on some spare boxes and to test, trial it and most importantly to LEARN and GROW.

Since I was totally new in the IT industry I had much to learn. Through TechNet Microsoft enabled many people like me to do so at a high pace. It also paved the way for my certifications: MCP, MCSE, MCSA, MCITP  and MCSE (again) to name a few.

Pizza anyone?
In those days the boot camps came to be. One could become a MCSE within days. So on Monday one entered the boot camp as a pizza delivery man (no disrespect here, just using an example here) and on Friday the same week one left the boot camp with the MCSE certification.

On one hand this was great for Microsoft. Since it created a huge pool of people being capable (at least on paper) to support their technologies. So when a company was about to buy software, they also had to look for people qualified to deliver support for it. And with the legions of people having a MCSE certification, this was no issue at all.

More is Less…
However, the downside of it all became clear as well. As it turned out, many of the new MCSE certified people couldn’t deliver. Simply because they lacked the basics one really requires in order to become a good systems engineer. One has to grow into that job and set of responsibilities. This isn’t covered in a week!

So soon the MCSE certification suffered real inflation. Many companies joked about it, like the MCSE certification was put in the boxes with cereals one ate for breakfast.

This issue lasted for a long time, even though Microsoft started to differentiate in the MCSE levels (SQL, Messaging and so on) and made the exams harder to pass.

Let’s go for the top!
So some years back Microsoft decided to differentiate between the masses and the really exceptionally good ones. New top-level certification programs were born: MCM (Microsoft Certified Master), MCA (Microsoft Certified Architect) and MCSM (Microsoft Certified Solutions Master)

These are the highest level of certification for Microsoft technologies once can get. But believe me when I am telling you that these top-level certification programs are really the heaviest one around.

To compare: MCSE training is for the masses, like a basic soldier training. However, MCM, MCA or MCSM is the Navy Seal training. Only a few highly experienced soldiers/marines get into training and a small percentage of them make it through the whole training program.

So for me people who’re certified MCM, MCA or MCSM are real IT hero’s. I know a few of them and I respect them highly for their knowledge, and profound experience.

Screen time
Some years back Microsoft had a monopoly. Per person there is a certain amount of ‘screen time’ to be spent. This screen time refers to the time one spends behind the computer screen. In the old days this meant desktop and/or laptop. The mobile phones back then were just phones and nothing more. So no screen time was spent there.

Since Microsoft ruled the desktop and laptop world, it also ruled the screen time. No matter at your job or at home, Bill Gates dream (a desktop in every house and on every desk) had become a fact. Linux played a minor role in it, even though Microsoft feared it for some time. But it never got a real foothold on the desktop/laptop.

Fancy a fruit anyone?
However, as time went by, developments stepped up the pace. And soon computers became even smaller enabling them to be combined with a mobile phone. Hence the smart phone was born. The first ones were expensive and had bad user interfaces. Because of this many people stuck to their desktops/laptops.

Microsoft tried to launch a new concept, the tablet but that didn’t land very well. So the tablet disappeared to the background.

In those days a small company was in trouble. Apple had some serious financial issues and Bill Gates stepped in. Apple ‘got’ 150 million dollars from Microsoft. Steve Jobs (needs no introduction) spent every single dollar very well of that sum of money.

iPod was soon born and after it a new smart phone was introduced, the iPhone. And this one took off! It introduced a whole new interface and usage of applications. it didn’t only steal the hearts and minds of the consumers but also the hearts and minds of the developers, building apps for the new platform, iOS. And because of the ever growing myriad of apps, the consumers loved the iPhone even more. And because of that, the developers built even more apps for it, some of them of a very high quality.

Seach engine goes mobile
Microsoft dismissed this. During an interview Steve Ballmer laughed at the iPhone.

However, Google noticed the sudden grow of demand for smart phones and wanted some piece of it as well. Not because they wanted to become a hardware reseller but saw the smart phone as a platform to sell more advertisements. In the past they had tried to enter that market but failed. Now they launched a new OS for the smart phones, titled Android.

With Samsung, HTC and other hardware vendors Android took off and grew rapidly.

However, Steve Jobs wasn’t done. While the iPhone was a huge success and gaining more traction every week, the iPad was launched. Basically an oversized iPhone without the phone functionality. And we all know what happened: a whole new market was born.

No more monopolies
And before Microsoft realized it, one of their nightmares had materialized: UNIX/Linux had taken away the screen time from the desktop/laptop thus eating away market share from Microsoft.

Guess what? Android and iOS are UNIX based. And many people use their smart phones and/or tablets for functionality they used their Windows based desktops/laptops for. So the screen time is now being divided between a whole range of devices many of which don’t run a Microsoft based OS.

This didn’t happen overnight. The signs were on the wall for some time but some people were sleeping. And not only at Microsoft. Nokia was caught in it as well. They had a monopoly as well in the mobile phone space. But the interfaces of their phones became outdated while the public demanded for better and faster interfaces. Nokia didn’t get on par with it so they were caught with their pants down as well. BlackBerry is even fighting for it’s own existence.

In the mobile space Microsoft tried to gain a foothold but failed. Windows Mobile was a terrible phone OS. Not for a full 100% on itself but also the hardware vendors who built the hardware for it. In order to make some money (the Windows Mobile licenses didn’t come cheap) they used cheaper hardware which resulted in poor performance of the phone.

Eco system & Catch 22
With the iPhone, iPad and Android based smart phones and later on tablets entering the households AND enterprises, a whole new eco system was born. A shift took place. The hardware itself was still important of course (performance, look & feel) but ever growing more important was the myriad of applications (apps) available for it.

The more apps with a good level of quality, the more the platform would be bought by the consumers. The more consumers bought it, the more developers would step in. And so on.

Finally Microsoft realized what was happening and tried to catch up. Windows Mobile was dumped and Windows Phone 7 was born. A whole new concept of the user interface for a smart phone was introduced. Where Android mimics iOS to a huge extend, Windows Phone 7 introduced a whole new style of using your smart phone.

So finally Microsoft got that one right. Also the vendors selling the phones themselves had to meet certain specifications. So the hardware layer was finally okay as well. Awesome! But the eco system turned out not to be so good. It was mostly empty so the Windows 7 Phone wasn’t tempting many consumers at all. Thus keeping the developers away as well. Resulting in disappointing sales.

The concrete life jacket
Windows 8 was introduced in order to get things right. A new form factor came to be, the Microsoft Surface. running Windows 8 RT or Windows 8 Pro. Also Windows Phone 8 was introduced, running on hardware made by Nokia.

The Surface tablets were sold for premium prices while the eco system was flawed. Yes, the numbers of apps in that Store grew by day. But quantity became leading instead of quality. And with the premium prices to be paid for the Surface consumers decided to go for iPad or Android based tablets. Simply because those app stores are filled to the brim. For sure some or even many of those apps aren’t really good, but since there are so many apps out there, many of those apps deliver what the consumers want. So the developers keep on building apps for iOs and Android.

So Microsoft failed on that account and had to write off almost one billion dollars for the Surface (RT) debacle. Windows 8 phone failed as well. Not on the same level but its eco system is still flawed thus hampering real foothold on the smart phone market.

On top of it all, Windows 8 ditched the Start Menu, making many people to stay away from Windows 8 all together, hampering the declining PC sales even more. So in that area Microsoft suffered as well. The life jacket which Windows 8 was meant to be became a burden to an already distressed situation.

Birds territory?
On top of it all, or even in conjunction with all previous mentioned developments, cloud computing came to be. Google and Amazon are cloud based companies where cloud computing is in their DNA. Without it, no Google nor Amazon.

Other companies however had to step in. Otherwise they would become irrelevant. Microsoft stepped in some years ago with a SaaS model, BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite), Exchange and SharePoint running online. This later became Office 365.

Besides that Microsoft started with IaaS and PaaS as well, which is now titled Windows Azure, offering VMs, SQL, Active Directory (to name a few) and way much more from the cloud.

Microsoft has stated that the cloud is the way to go and has thus decided that a reorganization is required in order to facilitate the Microsoft of tomorrow: instead of building and selling (boxed) software mainly targeted for on-premise utilization, Microsoft must become a services and devices company. Microsoft therefore launched it’s Cloud First strategy stating cloud comes first. Also resulting in much higher development cycles.

Some people say cloud is for the birds. Future will tell whether the cloud is really going to take off as many companies do think. Personally I see added value for the cloud but there are still some mighty important hurdles to be taken, like legal affairs and privacy. The PRISM debacle has made these issues even more prominent and require many political answers like new laws and so on.

We’re big and we don’t care
Even though I know for sure this isn’t Microsoft’s strategy nor approach of the market, it’s still the message they do get out lately. First the retirement of TechNet and now the retirement of the top-level certification programs MCA, MCM and MCSM. (Old colleague and good friend of mine Marcel van den Berg has written a very good posting about this topic. I fully agree with his conclusions.)

These retirements on itself are already bad news. On top of it all these decisions were badly timed and poorly communicated lacking true understanding of its impact. Also Microsoft turns a deaf ear to all the arguments NOT to retire both programs I mentioned earlier.

This creates an unwanted situation for Microsoft and the IT pro’s. Microsoft needs the heart and minds of the IT pro’s in order to gain a foothold in the mobile space. But with the latest actions, decisions and communications it looks like Microsoft is turning its back on the IT pro’s.

Microsoft out?
The IT pro’s (today still focused at Microsoft based technologies) require good access to the resources like software and certifications. But by leaving them outside in the cold these people are forced to move on. And now with other non-Microsoft platforms being a part of their everyday life  it’s makes it easier for them to embrace other non-Microsoft based technologies, whether these are on-premise or cloud based.

This movement happened before, when people were running UNIX and/or Novell based systems and switched en masse to Microsoft. This movement can happen again and this time away from Microsoft based technologies.  

Where we are today
I see a market which is divided. Not only in the technologies to be applied but also the way the IT services are being consumed. On a myriad of devices with different form factors.On itself a challenge to keep that on par with the requirements of the business involved.

Also the cloud adoption is at play here. Many companies are interested in the cloud and the possibilities it has to offer. A move to Office 365 or the competitor Google Docs isn’t too hard for the smaller companies dealing with none-sensitive information like law firms and governments for instance do.

But the move to IaaS/PaaS is way more difficult, resulting in a hybrid model at its best. Test- and development environments are great examples to be consumed from the cloud. But more business critical applications like databases with sensitive data aren’t pushed to the public cloud that easy.

A step in between is the private cloud which embraces the same technologies involved in the public cloud models. However in this kind of setup all the resources are consumed by one party only. But the costs of implementing and maintaining such an environment are many times too big for the smaller companies so for them it’s a no go area.

Before the adoption of the public cloud – whether it’s IaaS, Paas or SaaS – happens on a big scale and becomes common practice, some serious issues have to be addressed at far higher levels like legal and politics. PRISM has underlined this and requires some serious answers and actions. So for now and the first two years to come, many companies are forced to run their IT operations mostly on-premise, whether they want it or not.

Cloud cloud cloud. No more on-premise?
However, Microsoft has unfolded their Cloud First Strategy. What does that say to those companies running most of their IT operations on-premise for the first two years to come?

For CIOs of companies like that it’s a bad omen. Especially combined with the latest foul ups with the monthly patch cycle. In total six had to be recalled simply because they broke things. Seems like Microsoft is having issues with the stepped up development cycles.

Where do you want to go today?
But are there any real alternatives? In the short term, not really. In the long term, there will be when Microsoft really decides to go for the cloud and turn their back on their on-premise customers who aren’t cloud ready yet.

This will result in another uphill battle Microsoft will have to fight in order to win them back. As we see with the other uphill battles (tablets and mobile phones), they don’t bring the hoped for results.

Not because there is no space for Microsoft in those markets but mostly because of the poor execution of those battles. And  bad timing as well. Example? In the same month Microsoft reported a loss of nearly one billion dollars for the Surface, they brought out a video trying to bash the iPad

As an unwanted result, these battles bring out a whole other kind of message which sets the way Microsoft is looked upon and experienced by many people today, ranging from consumers up to CIOs: Microsoft is becoming irrelevant.

And that is really bad. Therefore I hope the change for a new CEO will revive Microsoft and put them back on the map. Not like the monopolist they once were (those days are really over) but at least to become a good player in the mobile and tablet space, and with a keen eye for their current on-premise customer base as well.

Oh, and while the new CEO is at it, please let him recall the retirements of the top level certification programs (MCM, MCA and MCSM) and introduce a REAL alternative for TechNet. This aids Microsoft more in gaining back the hearts and minds of the IT pro’s compared to leave them out in the cold.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Veeam Webinar: Take Control Of Your VMware Environment With Veeam MP v6 & System Center

Update – August 28th 2013:
Originally this webinar would be presented in Dutch. But we (Veeam and me) got so many requests whether this webinar could be given in English so a broader audience could be reached. We listened to you all and therefore we decided to present this webinar in English. Thank you all for your valuable feedback!

Veeam has scheduled an Expert Webinar on the 12th of September 2013 from 13:00 to 14:00 hours (UTC+1), all about getting the most out of your VMware environment and SCOM by using the Veeam MP.

This Expert Webinar will be aimed at the English speaking audience, so the title is: Take control of your VMware environment with Veeam MP v6 and System Center

It will be presented by Mike Resseler and myself. When you run VMware and SCOM AND want to get the best of both worlds, join this session!

You can register yourself here for this session.