Posts Tagged ‘Technet Brief’

SP1, x64, DSI, VS Team System, ADFS, Istanbul – All at the Spring MSDN Technet brief in Rotterdam

Thursday, March 31st, 2005

Today I was at the spring MSDN Technet brief in Rotterdam, a free event that you can attend, where Microsoft and partners get you up to speed on the goings on, and where you can follow some interesting sessions and labs.

The Keynote, given my MS’ Tony Krijnen (exellent speaker) of course focused on the bran-spanking-new SP1 release for Windows Server 2003, which was last night released as RTM, aswell as going into some depth on the x64 versions of MS products that are also RTM as of today.

No mention though of the new Exchange 2006, even though that news has seen hitting the MS news crowd today also.

Followed 2 sessions on security, one was on security policies, which was terribly presented, and was nothing new for me. The other was very interesting; all on hardening and securing Exchange 2003, which I still have way too little experience with. Level 300 material does it for me! 😉

Also attended an in-depth session on Service Pack 1, with special focuse of course on the new Security Configuration Wizzard. I couln’t help but wonder weather there is now a rather large overlap in the way one can role-out security settings, and the tools one can use for it: Group Policies and the various interfaces we use to administer them, Security Templates used locally, again with associated consoles, now the SCW. I mean.. all great stuff, but i feel MS might be getting a little bit away from itself here with all these different aspects of doing basicly the same thing!


Also demo’d briefly today was Visual Studio’s new DSI (Dynamic Systems Initiative) interface, by which I actually mean the Visual Studio 2005 Team System To show it off they did a little play-act between the “sysadmin” and the “developer” , where the developer could inport a “model” of the sysadmins network, and test application design and deployment against it. This was definatly a tool that got me looking, and I would make good use of it if the oppertunity presented itself. However.. I have very rarely been directly involved with developers, because of the services-based orientation of my job.

Now it was interesting to see this particular angle of DSI, as I was more aware of it as a drive towards more interoperability and procedural administration (think MOF), amungs other things. That there is also this development integration aspect was not something I was aware of, so back to the technet site for me! (or perhaps the MSDN site? 😉

Speaking of DSI and the server products that are associated with it, I picked up the SMS2003 Administrator Companion, at 40 euros. Still my intention of getting into that.


Also demonstrated was the Office Communicator 2005 (Istanbul), the client portion of Live Communication Server 2005. I was impressed by the deeper integration it appears to offer.. also it looks dead cool with its steely gray standard skin 😉 Tried in vain to find a picture to post here, must be NDA or something 🙁

We also got a little sneak preview of Windows Server 2003 “R2” in action.. we where briefly shown the Active Directory Federation Services tool, where you can couple AD to another Identity system. Learn more about ADFS here and here . (for lack of a better resource currently). After hearing all those cool talks on Federated Identity on IT Conversations, this was pretty cool to see. Also, being the silly and backward Dutch IT crowd, I am sure this is the first time many of them even heard the word ‘federation’ ..or “Identity” for that matter 😉

MSDN Technet brief in The Hague

Tuesday, October 5th, 2004

Today I attended the fall MSDN/Technet brief in the Hague, Netherlands, which is a free event. It was, therefore, nice to see Steve Balmer make an appearance. The theme was ‘Security eXPeriance’ and the sessions centred around ISA 2004 and MOM 2005 mostly.

I attended the hands-on lab for ISA and was quite impressed, even given my limited experience with ISA 2000. I like the fact that MS is now basicly moving towards a single interface that is a lot more intuitive than MMC.. everything now looks like Outlook 2003 😉
Took the lab manual with me, I am sure I can get my hands on the virtual lab to continue playing.

(ISA Server 2004 interface example)

I also attended a very interesting session that basicly squared off firewalling on a Linux platform, agains ISA Server 2004.
Now I know jack about Linux and the software you can get for it, but it was much as I suspected. Now I dont know specificly what firewall tool the Linux guy was using, he was using a web-based admin tool for everything on that machine, including the firewall bit, but even though it was point and click, it was considderably more work to configure anything, as even the most simplest rule had to be built from the ground up.

Now this is probably not a fair test, as I can easily imagine somewhere out there making rule-scripts available for whatever Linux firewall app. But apart from all that, you simply cant get around the interface ease and richness of ISA as a firewall product. Linux requires you to download (and compile) every element of functionality you need seperatly. And when it comes to interface, the only only thing that can compare.. and thus can directly compete.. is checkpoint, and even then ISA just looks plain better, but that should not be a point to take into considderation.

(Checkpoint Smartcentre interface example)

I can predict exactly what the average manager must think, and you should know I considder the average manager rather shallow; “Hey.. that ISA costs no trouble at all to administer.. I’ll just hire an junior admin, with no infrastructure experiance or knowledge at all, for that, and get rid of the Linux specialist who costs 4 times more per hour!”

The most important reminder I got out of the session, is that nothing beats in-depth knowledge of what you are doing. To use Linux effectively, you really need to understand what you are doing. With the average Microsoft product, this is often not the case.

This leeds to masses of lazy administrators. the ones I have often refered to in my previous posts. So I can tell you right now, if something broke down with the infrastructure, then I would far rather have a Linux sysadmin working on the problem, that your average Windows sysadmin, as with the Linux sysadmin, I can probably assume that he has more in-depth knowledge, simply because Linux requires that to get anything done.

As for Windows.. you have masses and masses of admins that know just enough to keep everything working, but not enough to effectivly troubleshoot issues, or help build better solututions to suite business needs. Who cares that you have a really easy to use firewall tool, if the firewall admin cant troubleshoot a routing issue effectively!