Microsoft Masterminds Episode 10: Alexander Jushin, MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Remote Desktop Services & inventor of E2EVC/PubForum

Welcome to the new episode of tech talks with outstanding Microsoft community members from all over the world. Most interviews are with Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs), and if you are not familiar with that program yet, I recommend you reading my recent introductory interview. Because next E2EVC in Copenhagen is near, want to publish my interview with Alexander Jushin at E2EVC in Hamburg last year, inventor of the E2EVC. We talked about the event and his focus as MVP. Enjoy reading!

This post has no relation to my job or my employer. Everything I post is my personal opinion and I write complete independent.

Flo: Alex, could you introduce yourself, the event and your company?

Alexander Jushin: Hello, I am Alex Jushin and I am the person behind the E2EVC or PubForum. We have been doing that for 10 years so far.  I myself, I’m Microsoft MVP and CTP (Citrix Technology Professional).  I am also trainer for both of the companies. The purpose of creating the E2EVC was initially to have a networking platform, we have two events in a year and every time we’ve got about 120 people from all of Europe.

Flo:  How do you get these great guest speakers like Aidan Finn or Didier van Hoye, Hans Vredevoort, Carsten Rachfahl or in the new MVP, Thomas Maurer.

Alexander Jushin:  Well, it wasn’t difficult to get them because they also believe in the power of the networking within the community.  When I asked them to come, they were very happy to do that and even more so to present very interesting content which is Windows 2012.  They all are MVPs and they know that their involvement in the community plays a big role for everyone involved in Microsoft technoolgies.

Flo: Let us take a look at your role as MVP. What’s your focus area?

Alexander Jushin: My focus area is Remote Desktop Services, previously it was Terminal Services and I am MVP since 2006.  So I was MVP in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.

Flo: What are the major changes from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2012 in this area?

Alexander Jushin:  There is a great change in those two technologies; Windows Server 2012 brings much more improvements in terms of speed for Remote Desktop Services, the manageability gets much better.  We have also much bigger focus on the VDI, and there are a lot of improvements in Hyper-V.

The management of the users became better; the protocol now works also in a UDP, which gives it a great performance for multimedia content like Flash and other content-intensive multimedia resources.

Flo: So let us take a look on cloud computing. What are your thoughts on solutions provided by vendors such as Dell Wyse

Alexander Jushin: Itis indeed a great way to get your corporation into cloud. You can store your virtual computers that you use basically anywhere. And you can access them from the thin clients, and a good example would be a Wyse client. Those clients deliver great performance over their WAN links and they also deliver great configuration options.  So yes, the remote desk access became so good at this stage that you pretty much can access your infrastructure at the great speeds through the LAN and through the wide area networks as well.

Flo: Do you see any challenges coming up in this field for hardware vendors?

Alexander Jushin: I do indeed see a great challenge for the companies producing the hardware. Thankfully, I have Dell hardware myself for one of the servers and the performance very good and BIOS is already supporting Windows 2012. I have no issues whatsoever, and I also see, in a couple of presentations on the Dell hardware, from my perspective, it works quite well and it’s absolutely ready for the Windows Server 2012.

What challenges I see … there must be great support for the drivers because especially in the server area, it is very important that the drivers are compatible with the operating systems. So I see that Dell, amongst other hardware producers, have their supports for the Server 2012 already in place.

As far as I know, there are some great models coming out in the Dell stack of Windows Server hardware, which will support the 2012, with improved scalability and such.  I think it’s a great challenge for everyone involved, and I believe that what it brings with it is better consolidation of the services, better performance for the VDI, and better performance for all the server functions altogether, so.

Flo: Onelast question.  hen and where will be the next E2EVC/PubForum?

Alexander Jushin: The next one will be on the May 31, 2013 in Copenhagen. It will be called E2EVC X Copenhagen. The X means that we are 10 years old, and we hope that at some stage we’ll be 20 years old as well.  So thanks to our great sponsors and their attendees, we look forward to see you all at the event.

Flo: Thank you very much, Alex.

Alexander Jushin:  Thank you very much.


Microsoft Masterminds Episode 9: Thomas Maurer, MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Virtual Machine from Switzerland 2nd Interview

Welcome to the new episode of tech talks with outstanding Microsoft community members from all over the world. Most interviews are with Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs), and if you are not familiar with that program yet, I recommend you reading my recent introductory interview. In this episode I talk again to Thomas Maurer, a Switzerland based MVP, Virtual Machine. In our first interview he mentioned “dynamic automated data centers”. During this interview we will go a bit deeper in this topic. Enjoy reading!

This post has no relation to my job or my employer. Everything I post is my personal opinion and I write complete independent.

Flo: Hello Thomas, thank you for taking time. In our first interview you mentioned that not many companies use a “dynamic automated data center”.

Thomas: Well let’s say there are a lot of companies with a huge potential in datacenter automation.

Flo: In your opinion, what is the reason why they don’t use those infrastructures?

Thomas: One of the main reasons could be that a lot of companies are not aware of solutions like System Center and if they are they do not really have the time and the knowledge to build a dynamic datacenter or private cloud by themselves. That’s where we as consultants can step in and help customers to build their own private cloud or connect there on-premise datacenter to a public cloud like Windows Azure.

Flo: What are the biggest obstacles?

Thomas: Well if a company tries to build their own private cloud there are a lot of obstacles. For example one of the problems is the lack of knowledge about products. But maybe the biggest is the lack of knowledge how you design a solution like this. There are so many things to think of beyond the products it self like security and basic Active Director role concepts. You don’t get the most benefits by just implementing the products, you have to think how they work together and how you can get the most out of it.

Flo: When and why should a small and medium enterprise migrate to public cloud offers or build their own private cloud?

Thomas: I think the many reasons for most enterprises to build a private cloud and maybe extend it to the public cloud is to stay flexible. If the business has any needs IT has to deliver as fast as possible and in the most cases customers with private clouds can deliver requested solutions very quickly.

Flo: In this migration process, what differences do you see between real life and best practice?

Thomas: A lot of people do still not understand the concepts of dynamic datacenters and cloud solutions, and with this it’s hard to migrate from a legacy datacenter to a dynamic datacenter. So companies should train their employees so they understand how things should work in the future. There are a lot of examples for this, for example when you deploy new Virtual Machines you will not really care about IP addresses because there are technologies like System Center Virtual Machine Manager IP Pools, DNS and IPAM, but a lot of customers (IT Staff) still think about it that way, and it’s hard to change their minds.

Flo: Let us talk a bit about System Center 2012. SP1 is out and many people are testing or migrating to SP1. I know you are still working with Virtual Machine Manager SP1. Could you share some best practices with us?

Thomas: Well if you are going to work with Virtual Machine Manager make sure you understand the new network features which are built in. The new concept of the logical switch and port profiles will make your life much easier.

Flo: Do you have any migration guides to share?

Thomas: Well there are some really good guides on TechNet and I will write some post about the new networking features in SCVMM.

Flo: Did you find any bug or things that not working with System Center 2012? If yes, please give us a short overview.

Thomas: Well there are some small bugs I already reported on connect but most of them you will only hit if you are working really deep with the product and some of them are already fixed in Update Rollup 1 for SP1.


Flo: Thank you for the interview Thomas. I can’t wait to talk to you again.

Thomas: Your welcome Flo.

Twitter: @ThomasMaurer


Microsoft Masterminds Episode 8: Aidan Finn, MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Virtual Machine from Ireland

Welcome to the new episode of tech talks with outstanding Microsoft community members from all over the world. Most interviews are with Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs), and if you are not familiar with that program yet, I recommend you reading my recent introductory interview. In this episode I talk to Aidan Finn, a Ireland based MVP, Virtual Machine. I interviewed him during E2EVC in Hamburg and we were talking about his the books he wrote together with other MVPs, Hyper-V improvements and opportunities for Hardware Vendors. Enjoy reading!

This post has no relation to my job or my employer. Everything I post is my personal opinion and I write complete independent.

Editorial processing done by Rafael Knuth


Me left and Aidan right

Me left and Aidan right


Flo: Aidan, can you please introduce yourself and your company?

Aidan: I am an MVP in Virtual Machine; I am an author in my free time and a blogger about Hyper-V and System Center in Windows. I work for a company called Microwarehouse which is a Microsoft value added distributor and actually a seller of open licensing to Dell in Ireland.  My job is Technical Sales Lead; I also help promote Windows Server and Hyper-V System Center.

Flo:  You wrote together with Hans Vredevoort, Patrick Lownds and Damian Flynn an impressive book “Microsoft Cloud Computing” … tell us about that publication, please.

Aidan: It’s a deep technical book on using System Center Virtual Machine Manager to deploy and build and manage a private cloud, so you are building the fabrics of the private cloud compute cluster with storage and networking. I have to give the credit to Damian, Patrick and Hans, as they did most of the work in the book, to be honest I did a few of the fluff chapters of the cloud stuff at the start.

But like I said, it’s a deep technical book and if someone wants to learn how to use System Center 2012 Virutal Machine Manager to deploy and manage Hyper-V or to build bigger fabrics in the cloud and a compute cluster in a cloud … this book is a good starting point.

Flo: Do you plan further books in the nearest future?

Aidan: We are currently writing a book together with Patrick Lownds, Damian Flynn and Michel Luescher from Microsoft, titled “Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Installation and Configuration Guide” and it’s a deep, deep dive into current Hyper-V, and we expect the book to be out in February or March 2013.

It’s targeted both at people who are new to Hyper-V as well as to experienced users. I am writing half of the book and … when you look at Hyper-V … there is so much in it. Chapters that we expected to have 30 to 40 pages are turning out to be 80 pages long. In our book there will be a lot of step by step, how things work under the covers, we will tackle real world scenarios and … there will be a lot of PowerShell because Hyper-V has support for PowerShell.

Flo: I already had the chance to interview Jeff Wouters who has a very strong reputation as a PowerShell expert within the Microsoft community.

Aidan: Jeff has actually helped me with some problems I have been encountering, because I just started to learn PowerShell in March 2012. Only very few people know PowerShell … Jeff is definitely one of them.  Jeff will be getting credit in the book for the help he has given us.

Flo:  I know it’s not your focus area but let’s switch to System Center. How will System Center 2012 SP1 support the Windows Server 2012 release? Did you test drive some features? Can you share some first hands on experience?

Aidan: I didn’t have too much hands on, because I have been spending so much time working on Hyper-V … there is so much to it … it’s such a huge release.

But if you want to manage a number of Hyper-V hosts, the best way to do it will be using System Center 2012 with Service Pack 1.

Service Pack 1 is required to manage the 2012 release. If you want to use System Center you will need to wait for Service Pack 1 to support Windows Server 2012. Where you are really going to see the massive feature improvement or even new feature is in the cloud scenario. System Center Virtual Machine Manager is really required to light up those features like network virtualization, private VLANs

Although these can be managed using PowerShell … if you get Microsoft to talk quietly and honestly will say: “Yeah, you can do it using PowerShell … but you really don’t want to.  You will want System Center to manage these features because it is the cloud management and deployment solution for Microsoft’s technology.”

Flo:  Let us go back to Hyper-V. Do you miss any feature at the moment or features that should be improved? Also … what’s your view on VMware in that context?

Aidan: VMware … wow … I suppose history is a great teacher, and we all know what happened to Netscape and Novell. You don’t want to get into a knife fight with Microsoft in the datacenter because  it’s their territory. They are going to defend it, and Hyper-V has always been considered the underachiever or the underdog in the past. However, those tables have turned now. If you look coldly at the facts we can see that Hyper-V does more than ESXi. System Center does more and cost less than these vCloud packages that VMware sells. Microsoft at this point is the leading product, and I can’t see VMware really retaining the leadership in the market for very long. We already know in some European markets that Microsoft has actually started to outsell VMware. We saw that from Microsoft Turkey. The tables have definitely turned and we should see over the next year or two headlines about Fortune 1000 companies who VMware claims to have 100 % penetration of … we will start to see stories of these companies starting to migrate to Hyper-V. I don’t think we expect any big bang switch overs in those environments, because they are too big. But we will see gradual switch over, because people will look at the bottom line and say: “Listen, Hyper-V is free, System Center less expensive than the VMware package and … well Microsoft is now doing more. They understand what business wants from IT because … it’s all about the service and not about the servers.”

Flo: You mentioned servers … what do you think what role hardware vendors will play in the future? What challenges and opportunities do you see for these companies?

Aidan: Dell have actually done a great job with their current line of service, I have to say that. Their support for things like 10 GB networking, SR-IOV cross, almost the entire line of servers is fantastic, and the scalability you can achieve with 10 core processors or larger than that in just a 2U server with over  1 TB of RAM … it’s amazing.

Opportunities? I would love to see Dell do two things. Dell obviously sells networking infrastructure components for the datacenter. I would love to see them come along with a solution to extend their network footprint into the Hyper-V extensible switch and come up with an extension similar to those some other companies have done. There is an opportunity for Dell to expand their presence in the computer room and help Dell customers have a single point of administration for the network – both physical and virtual.

But the other thing I really, really hope Dell do, is come up with a Cluster in a Box solution that is good not just for the enterprise which is where most of the OEMs are focused,  but also for the SME. Where I come from Ireland, Dell has a very large market penetration in the SME. They have a lot of partners working with Dell and selling Dell hardware. These companies would love to sell a Cluster in a Box solution … as SAN alternatives. Small and medium business can’t afford SAN. But also as a Hyper-V Cluster in a Box … in a single 2 or 3U chassis … you have an entire Hyper-V cluster at a fraction of the cost of a traditional cluster. Small and medium customers have been putting in no cluster host, that’s what they can afford. This would be a great opportunity for Dell. If they do it quickly, they would be first to market. I would really hope that they do that.

Flo: Thank you very much for the interview, Aidan.

Aidan: You’re welcome, Flo.


Microsoft Masterminds Episode 7: Didier van Hoye, MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Virtual Machine from Belgium

Welcome to the new episode of tech talks with outstanding Microsoft community members from all over the world. Most interviews are with Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs), and if you are not familiar with that program yet, I recommend you reading my recent introductory interview. In this episode I talk with Didier van Hoye, a Belgium based MVP, Virtual Machine. I interviewed him during E2EVC in Hamburg and we were talking about his self designed disk2disk backup solution and how he see hardware vendors as a long time customer. Enjoy reading!

This post has no relation to my job or my employer. Everything I post is my personal opinion and I write complete independent. 

Editorial processing done by Rafael Knuth


Readable Interview:

Flo: Didier can you please introduce yourself and your company to the community?

Didier: Thank you Florian, well my name is Didier Van Hoye and I am working for Agiv which is the Flemish government agency that provides geographical information services to both private and public sector. I am quite active in the Belgium Microsoft Community and that’s mainly due to my job, because that’s the technology I work with.

Flo: As an MVP what’s your professional focus area?

Didier: My MVP expertise might give that away, I am on Virtual Machine which actually means Hyper-V. So my focus at work is mostly on storage, networking, virtualization and anything that runs on top of that. We own actually the entire technology stack which makes it very easy and very fast for us to provide services to our business.

Flo: You recently built an awesome disk-to-disk backup solution. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Didier: Sure, the reason why we build it is that we have large amount of data to backup, and we need a backup solution that’s detached from our SAN environment because we build for failure, and we assume that we might run into an issue with our SAN, so if the backups are soley based and dependent upon the SAN we have a problem. Issues we ran into were that we needed a tremendous amount of capacity and also lot of throughput to maintain our backup window. While we were looking at the market, we found that most appliances that were being offered were too expensive, and that was mainly due to licensing issues. So we decided to see if we could build something that would provide us with the necessary capacity, the necessary performance and save us some money … and actually we achieved that using PowerVault disk bays to build a disk-to-disk based backup solution.

Flo: How easy is it to scale up this solution? You have 1.1 Petabyte at the moment, is that correct?

Didier: That’s source data with redundancy of data and protection. It’s replicated … so it’s not all unique data. But the storage capacity is that big, that’s correct. So we needed at least 300TB of backup capacity. But we can scale out easily by adding nodes.

Flo: Do you just need to plug in more nodes?

Didier: Basically now we have two backup media servers attached to the PowerVault storage, and if we need more bandwidth, if we need to do more terabytes per hour, we can add more nodes each with its own storage. In that way we can scale it out. The two nodes that we are running right now are at full capacity, so we can’t scale them up. But even if you scale up with a third node, and you only use half of its disk capacity from the start you could  scale that node up later before you need to scale out to a fourth node. So it is pretty much “unlimited”. You can scale out to the numver of nodes you need. The only thing that you need to take care of is what kind of backup software you are using and how is their licensing model. For us it works just fine.

Flo: Are you running into any issues with your backup solution?

Didier: CommVault is a very good backup solution but it does have some drawbacks. One of the drawbacks is licensing and the cost of it. Let’s face it, we are all asked to do more with less and sometimes that’s an issue. Another issue with CommVault … it’s a very large product, its rather complex and in our opinion and experience it’s a bit too much consultancy driven. I think they would do themselves and customers a favor if they would be more open and if they had better guidance about their product, the usage in different scenarios … that sort of stuff. We cannot complain about the performance and the capabilities of the product, the issues I mentioned here are the most important ones to us.

Flo: How do you see Dell’s role in the IT industry change in the future? What are in your opinion the key opportunities as well as the challenges for us?

Didier: Well, there are a couple of things that are very good about Dell, and one of them is the company’s responsiveness and logistic capabilities. Dell is very easy to work with. As a customer I prefer to go to a shop where I am treated as a valued customer, where people help me to get the stuff that I need, and I walk out satisfied. Also, the price is very competitive … I can’t complain. The hardware is good, the pricing is good and the service is good.

I think that Dell has to take those strong points and leverage them for the future over the next five years or so. We see a tremendous push to have a more capable software. If you look at what has happened to Exchange for high availability, the entire application and shared nothing high availability and recovery model. If you see the same parts with SQL server 2012 for data base of availability groups. If you look at what’s in Hyper-V with Windows Server 2012 and the inbox replication. If you look beyond the hypervisor to the operating system … what you can do with storage spaces, what they are trying to do with SMB 3.0 as a file share for storage … for virtualization … for SQL servers. These are all attempts to create highly performance storage on commodity hardware with inbox. Those not will replace all the storage solutions from hardware vendors we have today. They are however a new player in the market and … it’s not just about making things as cheap as possible, it’s also about creating new possibilities because some things you want to do,  you can’t do because they are economically unfeasible, their costs are prohibitive. But those new capabilities in Windows might might open up new possibilities in the market. People might start building solutions that previously they couldn’t because they were never able to afford to do so. It could even drive new business models, and what I expect from Dell is to take these opportunities and start putting offerings in place for customers to leverage storage spaces, to leverage SMB 3.0, to build Cluster in a Box building units that you can use … preconfigured for people who don’t want to build them themselves.

I have noticed a lot of hardware vendors that are not always up to speed about what’s possible now. This might be due to fear because they think: “This is going to eat our profit margin!” … which I disagree with. I think if you take the new possibilities and offer solutions you will not lose those customers. Otherwise somebody else would start offering them.

My personal advice to any Hardware Vendor is: Get into the game! Start offering solutions, and give your customers more opportunities based on new Microsoft products. … and you will keep your customers. They will be more diversified but you might open up new markets that you might otherwise lose. So don’t be afraid of the change. Embrace it and … leverage it.

Flo: One last question Didier. Can you explain what Cluster in a Box is?

Didier: To explain Cluster in a Box you need to know Windows Server 2012 clustering and possibly SMB 3.0. Let’s say it’s a couple of servers that are attached to shared storage. What that is depends on the vendor … but most probably it will be shared SAS as it make the most sense here and works well with storage spaces. It also has the networking in there, so basically you have all the material in a unit to build a cluster. That cluster will be used as a building block. If your company is smaller and you are satisfied with one Cluster in a Box … that’s your entire cluster environment. If you’re bigger you could start combining them, and then you get into technologies like SMB 3.0, RDMA (Remote direct memory access) being leveraged for cluster shared volumes; the sort of technology which customers can’t look into due to lack of time.

But it’s a form factor … that’s the way you have to think of it. It’s a form factor you can use to scale out but also you can use it to build a solution for a single small environment, which is a nice idea because it reduces a lot of complexity. Customers can order it, deploy it in their datacenter, use a small configuration wizard … and you’re up and running. You don’t have to deal with buying the storage yourself, configuring it, installing the services … everything is done for you in that box. As you can buy it as a form factor, as a building block you’re not limited or stuck. You can grow with those building blocks, so you have modularity in the datacenter on a lot of levels … in storage, in the clustering, in the network. Otherwise to get anything like this you have to go to that shipping container form factor. Let’s face it … for most of us its way too large.

Flo: Thank you very much for the interview.

Didier: Thank you, Flo!

Contaktinformation Didier van Hoye:

Didier’s Blog:

LinkedIn Profil:

Microsoft Masterminds Episode 6: Marcelo Sinic, MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Windows IT Pro Expert from Brasil

Welcome to the new episode of tech talks with outstanding Microsoft community members from all over the world. Most interviews are with Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs), and if you are not familiar with that program yet, I recommend you reading my recent introductory interview. In this episode I talk with Marcelo Sinic, a Brasil based MVP, Windows IT Pro Expert. Enjoy reading!

Editorial processing done by Rafael Knuth

Readable Interview:

Flo: Marcelo could you introduce yourself to the community?

Marcelo: My name is Marcelo Sincic, I work with TI since 1988. My first job was Clipper and DBase II programmer. I never worked with other area or other speciality.

Flo: What is your focus area as MVP and how did you get started?

Marcelo: My MVP is Windows IT Pro Expert and I started in this important professional program in 2010 and now is my third year.

Flo: You are part of the Dell Infrastructure Consulting service. Please tell us about us your daily work.

Marcelo: I am responsible to indicate and implement solutions for large and public clients in Brazil. In my team, I work as principal consultant in Microsoft technologies, focusing on virtualization, cloud and System Center suite. I contact clients before sales soes in order to determine solution and implement a solution after purchase.

Flo: In the past you handled very special and challenging projects. What was your most challenging one and why?

Marcelo: In 2011 I participated in project for virtualization in a large enterprise in Brazil with a global presence and 62 localizations. Their activity is mineral extraction and locations are far away from major cities. This project is a challenge because the size of a project and distance for implementations. But the project was completed sucessfully.

Flo: You are also implementing Microsoft System Center Products at customer sites. In your opinion, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the new System Center 2012 bundle?

Marcelo: The old System Center versions are great products, but not integrated with others. Now, System Center 2012 Suite is integrated by use of Service Manager (SCSM) and Orchestrator. With two products I do SCCM talk with SCOM, VMM and others. For example, I create a Runbook in Orchestrator to set maintenance mode of Virtual Machine in SCOM, open incident in SCSM, stop machine in VMM, install updates from SCCM, start machine in VMM, set normal state in SCOM and close incident in SCSM. This Runbook is created with visual interface, permit use OS variables and integrate with SCSM to receive data for activities. This is a great and easy construction example.

Flo: Do you have a favorite System Center Product e.g. Orchestrator or Operations Manager?

Marcelo: Yes, my favorite is a Orchestrator, which is a new product in suite. But I like Configuration Manager, Operation Manager and Virtual Machine Manager as well.

Flo: Can you explain us why?

Marcelo: Orchestrator transforms individual System Center products into real integrated suite. Configuration Manager, Operation Manager and Virtual Machine Manager is essential to administer enviroments.

Flo: What is your favorite feature in this product?

Marcelo: Orchestrator Integration Packs is simple to implement with advanced functions. Runbook Designer is great tool for design a runbooks, with simple visual and easy construction.

Flo: How will SP1 for System Center 2012 affect your daily work?

Marcelo: I expect SP1 to delivery System Center 2012 in Windows 2012 operating system and SQL Server 2012. In addition, support of VMM agents for Windows 2012 is essential too.

Contact information:

Twitter: @marcelosincic