The Microsoft MVP summit was held last week (3rd – 7th November) in Redmond, where I had the good fortune to spend the week with members of various Microsoft product teams that are responsible for what we commonly know as Active Directory.  I can genuinely say that in technology terms I have not been this interested in the future of Windows since I did my first Windows Server 2000 course (MOC 1561) back  in 1999.

The MVP Summit content is mostly under NDA and I have always respected the NDA and with this in mind all I will say is that over the next few months I will be reading and learning as much as I can on the following areas of Microsoft technology.

Azure Active Directory

Azure Active Directory Sync Services

Azure Rights Management

Windows 10

I would also recommend that you start to start to think about the concept of Active Directory being an identity provider and that in the future it will all be about managing identities and not solely about managing the technologies that deliver them.

Food for thought, think about what type of identities your business will support, business only or perhaps personal too? What is an identity? What is a personal identity? Who owns the identity?  (I will follow up on this concept with another post).

Microsoft has made available for download a Lync training package. The training package contains all of the available training and user education resources for Lync.

The download includes a Lync Training Plans workbook which helps to target the most applicable training for the end user



Planning Workbook – Focus is on the Information worker



How does eliminating the costs of 3rd party solutions sound?

Join experts Tony Redmond and Paul Robichaux at this 3-day Essentials workshop and take a practical approach to mastering Exchange 2010 – one that is immediately useful, easy to learn, and enables smooth and graceful deployments of Exchange.

This event is worth your time and budget:

  • You’ll learn the key "gotchas" and hurdles that others have faced so that you don’t have to!
  • You’ll leave knowing how to plan and execute your Exchange migration.
  • You’ll spend time with and learn from the most popular and experienced Exchange instructors, Tony Redmond and Paul Robichaux.
  • You’ll acquire skills that will reduce, or even eliminate, the costs associated with purchasing 3rd party solutions.
  • You’ll walk away with 500 GB external hard drive with an electronic toolkit full of labs and examples covered in class so your expertise will continue to grow after you leave.
  • You’ll be part of a small class, allowing for one-on-one interaction and feedback from the instructors.

Early bird registration now ends 7th May! Register now and save £250! (Contact me for the additional Windows Server User Group Discount Code).

About Tony and Paul:

Tony Redmond is a contributing editor for Windows IT Pro, Microsoft MVP, and the author of ten books on Exchange including Microsoft Exchange 2010 Inside Out (Microsoft Press). Tony has been writing about electronic mail since 1992 and is one of world’s foremost commentators on and influencers of Microsoft collaboration technology, chiefly focusing on Microsoft Exchange Server.

Paul Robichaux has been a senior contributing editor at Windows IT Pro for over 10 years. A Microsoft Exchange MVP and MCSE, Paul specializes in helping people understand how to get the most from Exchange.

Note: There is nothing in this for me, just passing on the information.  Also for all you Active Directory buffs out there, Brian Desmond will also be in attendance.

Microsoft for a sometime now have been publishing via the Microsoft Downloads website documents called either: TLG:xyz or Test Lab Guide:xyz.  These guides are intended to deliver a set of documents that enable an IT Pro to experience the functionality of a Microsoft technology or product in a standardised test lab environment. All Test Lab Guides utilise a base configuration that mimics the Internet and an intranet; they are reusable and extensible and help to build out a test lab with multi-product solutions.   But above all this they are intended to help in making complex technologies easier to learn.

The guides available so far include:

Base Configuration

This is the Base Configuration test lab used as the foundation for other Microsoft Test Lab Guides (TLGs).

Fabrikam Base Configuration

Step by step instructions on how to create the Fabrikam Forest Base Configuration

Forefront Identity Manager 2010

Create a test lab with Forefront Identity Manager 2010.

Active Directory Domain Controller with Windows Firewall

Deploy Windows Firewall with Advanced Security to Protect Network Communication to a Domain Controller

Exchange Server 2010 with Service Pack 1

Create a test lab to demonstrate basic e-mail functionality with Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1.

SQL Server 2008 with Service Pack 2

Create a test lab with SQL Server 2008 with Service Pack 2.

Demonstrate IPv6

Create a test lab to demonstrate IPv6 connectivity with a simulated multi-subnet intranet and IPv4 Internet.

Demonstrate DirectAccess

Create a test lab to demonstrate DirectAccess with a simulated Internet, intranet, and home network.

Demonstrate DirectAccess with Network Access Protection (NAP)

Create a Test Lab to demonstrate how UAG DirectAccess and NAP work together

Demonstrate Forefront UAG 2010 SP1 RC DirectAccess

Test Lab Guide that provides step by step instructions on how to test UAG 2010 SP1 RC DirectAccess in a Test Lab.

Demonstrate Forefront UAG DirectAccess

Create a test lab that enables you to test Forefront UAG DirectAccess features and capabilities

Demonstrate Forefront UAG SP1 RC DirectAccess Connectivity Assistant (DCA)

Step by step instructions on how to create a Test Lab to demonstrate the UAG DirectAccess Connectivity Assistant (DCA)

Demonstrate Forefront UAG 2010 SP1 RC DirectAccess Force Tunneling

Test Lab Guide with step by step instructions on how to configure UAG SP1 RC DirectAccess Client Force Tunneling

Demonstrate Forefront UAG DirectAccess Remote Management

Create a Test Lab that demonstrates how to remotely manage DirectAccess clients

Troubleshooting Forefront UAG DirectAccess

Create a Test Lab that allows you to learn about UAG DirectAccess troubleshooting tools and techniques

Further Insight is available from the Test Lab Guide Blog.

Are you looking to plan, pilot or deploy Windows and Office?

The Microsoft Springboard team from Redmond will be in the UK en route to TechEd Europe (Berlin) on Monday 1st November, they will be delivering a five hour workshop on:

Office 2010 IT investments.

Key deployment strategies for Windows 7 and the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack.

Opportunities for training and certification in these key products.

Why Windows 7 has received rave reviews from IT organisations and is setting records as the fastest selling operating system in history.

Tools, tips and tricks you need now to jumpstart the successful deployment and management of your Windows desktop environment today.

If you are interested in attending, then register today for the workshop and the opportunity to come and network with members of the US based Windows and Office Product Teams, as well as local Microsoft Technology Evangelists.

I feel like I am flying under the radar at the moment and as a result I am finding very little time to post anything; this is due to numerous factors, including a new project transitioning Microsoft Official Curriculum from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2008 R2 and my consulting business being very busy advising on Windows Server 2008 R2 upgrades and migrations for numerous companies. I am not complaining though and I thrive on being busy and technically challenged.

Back in April as part of the UK TechDays week, I arranged an evening session with Dan Pearson of David Solomon Expert Seminars on Windows Crash Dump Analysis and Windows Performance Troubleshooting and Analysis, everyone who attended thought it was an excellent session and very worthwhile.

Dan is back in London this October to teach the full 5 day course on Windows Operating System Internals, I am thinking of attending and if you have some spare training budget, I would recommend this course without hesitation.

Course Insight.

This class, aimed at both developers and IT Professionals, describes the internals of the Windows operating system kernel (both 32-bit and 64-bit and updated for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2) and related core components and mechanisms such as memory management, thread scheduling, interrupt processing, time accounting, security, and crash dump analysis. It shows you how to dig into the system with advanced troubleshooting tools, such as the Kernel Debugger and key tools from Sysinternals such as Process Explorer and Process Monitor.

If you’re an IT professionals deploying and supporting Windows servers and workstations, this class will help you help you troubleshoot difficult problems as well as understand the true meaning behind key system performance counters. Developers benefit by being able to understand the platform more deeply, which enables understanding performance trade-offs as well as being able to debug system level issues more effectively.

Full Details can be found here