Category Archives: Windows 7

EMC AppSync for VNX / Microsoft Environments

We had a great time launching EMC AppSync in Las Vegas a few weeks back!

Some of the highlights were an on stage demo, an appearance on Chad’s World Live, 4 breakout sessions, and so much more. We got interviewed by industry analysts and taught our TCs what AppSync was all about.

We also launched a new ECN (EMC Community Network) space where I’ll be spending a lot of time in the future. The product becomes officially available later this year and now we’re handling all of the customer requests to join our beta program and learn more about the product.

If you want to find out more about the launch and if you want to ask a question – go ahead and ask one over here!

FREE VNXe Simulator, Now Available!

Our new VNXe “demo simulator” lets you interact with it – like it’s a VNXe real system.

  • First step is to download the product (it runs on Windows).    >> Download link
  • Then it opens an executable file like below which you will need to install.
  • The download itself is about 150 MB
  • It has been downloaded well over 50,000 times so you can ensure there’s no viruses or spyware anything crazy like that.

vnxe-demo-download

If you are looking for the download to start right now, you can click this link

Making a Game out of Microsoft Office

Every now and then you come upon something that is just impressive.

Usually, these days it comes from companies like Google or Apple – and sometimes it comes from EMC – and sometimes it comes from Microsoft.

I subscribe to Microsoft’s Research Blog and in their stream of content and news, I noticed something really cool – the ability to learn the new Office 2010 in a game-like fashion with scoring and points and achievement goals.

The idea is to complete routine (and some advanced) office tasks using the new Ribbon interface at the top of the Office menu. Insert and style this picture.  Make this part of a picture transparent.  Change the layout of this.  In the process I learned a bunch of things about Excel, Word, and PowerPoint that I am already using again and I didn’t have to spend all day at a class (and no you don’t have to share your score with your Facebook friends and start the next Mafia Wars, Farmville, Fish Pond game hate fest).

We all need training on stuff, even if seems to be second nature like Word, Excel, PowerPoint (provided you use these tools with some regularity).   And if more companies can make learning their software fun, and somewhat achievement oriented, then their software also gets stickier.

Once a product is sticky, it makes it harder for them to switch.

And when people don’t want to switch, you continue selling the worlds most successful office productivity suite.

You need Vista or Windows 7 and Office 2007 or Microsoft Office 2010 Beta and then you are good to grab Microsoft’s Ribbon Hero software (technically an Office Add-in).

The big question is this: Can you beat 246 in Word??

Windows 7 God Mode in 47 Seconds

You will find lots of coverage in other places on what it does. But when I put this special folder on my laptop and played around with it, I figured it would give me an excuse to make my personal record for longest graphic ever.

Here’s a graphic with all the menu options that the God Mode folder provides

Print it out and put it on your fridge!

Here’s a quick (47 seconds long) screencast of how to setup Windows 7 “God Mode” which is really just a special folder with a lot of shortcuts to common tasks

W2K8 R2 Hyper-V Live Migration with Exchange 2010, SQL 2008 R2, SCVMM, and EMC CLARiiON NQM

Longest title ever?  Thankfully I abbreviated SCVMM down from System Center Virtual Machine Manager.  Anyway…

Microsoft has announced their launch dates for Windows 7, Windows 2008 R2, and Exchange 2010.

EMC will be there to support them in many cities including Baltimore, NYC, Irvine, Raleigh, St Louis (to name a few).

I was asked to see if we could put together a quick demo showcasing some of the cool stuff we could do, and we hooked it up FAST.

My colleague Ryan Kucera and I worked together to put a quick little proof of concept together showing a combination of dynamic storage and server load balancing. In little over a week (just before his next proof of concept build-out), we were able to crank out a demo that  showcases:

  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager R2 (beta)
  • Hyper-V R2 Live Migration (not released yet)
  • Exchange 2010 (not released yet)
  • SQL 2008 R2 (not released yet)
  • CLARiiON Virtual Provisioning (creation of thin LUNs)
  • Storage IOPS thresholds (Navsphere Quality of Service Manager aka NQM)

The setup of the demo was this:

You’re setting up your virtual servers on Hyper-V servers and you’re moving stuff around pretty quickly…  You place two busy VM’s on the same host.  Performance is bad. You need to move the VM’s without downtime – we use Windows 2008 R2 Live Migration to show this.  Then you notice because we are using CLARiiON Virtual Provisioning and Thin LUNs for simplified management, we have multiple heavily utilized LUNs for different VM’s that are competing with each other on the same set of disks.  No problem. NQM gives you the ability to be able to place a threshold on LUN’s (like 500 IOPS max for SQL 2008 R2 in the video) and let others (like a standalone Exchange 2010 VM in the video) have more IOPS to service more requests.

Too many people don’t know most EMC storage devices can do this (in both physical and virtual environments).

But now you do.

(looking for higher resolution on the video – click here)

Windows 7 Release Dates Set

Microsoft has confirmed the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) (aka general availability) date for Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 as October 22, 2009.  RTM/GA code will be delivered to partners and TechNet/MSDN subscribers at the end of July.

According to an informal survey on ZDNet, this could mean the beginning of a delay period for many new PC purchasers.

Here’s a snippet and poll results from the ZDNet article:

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“Now, this presents anyone thinking about buying a new PC with a dilemma. Do they buy a PC now and skip 7 until they buy another? Buy a PC now and upgrade it when 7 is released? Wait until the tech guarantee is on offer, buy a PC with Vista on it and upgrade when the OEM delivers the upgrade? Or do they just wait for a PC with 7 pre-loaded on it? What would you do?”

  • Wait until you can pick up a PC with 7 pre-loaded (54%)
  • Wait until the tech guarantee is on offer, upgrade when 7 is available (27%)
  • Buy the PC now with Vista on it, upgrade to 7 when it’s available (5%)

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It’s apparent from this data that, in general, people don’t like upgrades (54%) compared to those that are comfortable doing the upgrade (32%) so they may delay their purchases until the PC’s pre-loaded with the fresh OS is available (October).

Could this mean trouble for Microsoft?

Probably not.  First of all, not many people who go to buy a laptop online or at the local tech superstore are going to be aware of these dates (unlike us early information seekers).  Also Microsoft is obviously a large company with a large array of revenue streams, so that a slight downward turn in Vista revenues might only be a short blip on the radar.

I am guessing Windows 7 is going to be a huge hit, with the overwhelming majority of users who’ve tried the OS providing very positive reviews.  Unlike Vista, it’s small and fast enough to be loaded onto netbooks.  Early tablet users (shout out to Ryan!) are enjoying the enhanced multitouch capabilities.  Native VHD and boot from VHD support will be huge, once people understand it. Built-in Wireless anywhere will allow you to have mobile-phone like access to the web from anywhere.  And Wordpad.  Wordpad looks nicer. 🙂

How to Build an Efficient Application Infrastructure through Virtualization

I couldn’t figure out how to embed this into my blog, but this is a great, short video which shows how EMC is working with Microsoft to virtualize applications like Exchange, SQL, and SharePoint.  It’s only ten minutes long and showcases one of EMC’s great technologists, Brian Martin, as he speaks with Microsoft’s Jim Schwartz.