Quickly download the SBS 2011 training from Microsoft.

There are several short videos available from Microsoft that cover the new features in SBS2011, but unfortunately Microsoft decided to make you download each one individually. However if you right click and download this
List of SBS 2011 Training videos file, you can use wget to download all of the files in a batch file.
Assuming you have wget installed on your machine and it is in the path (if not then why not? It is incredibly useful for downloading files from a command line – Get it from Sourceforge’s wget page), just run with the following in a command prompt window.

for /F %i in (sbstraining.txt) do wget %i

You should end up with 38 files totalling 241MB.
Update: See comments for assistance in downloading a copy of wget without needing all the extra gnu stuff

Exchange2010 training from Microsoft

It’s a busy week at the office this week as I’m at a 3 day event on Exchange2010 training as part of Microsoft’s Ignite sessions. You do need to be a Microsoft Partner to register for the Exchange 2010 training (if there are any further events going on – I’m not sure) but if you are going to be using or supporting Exchange2010 then I highly recommend it. So far it seems to be very similar to the Exchange admin training courses you would normally attend, but at a fraction of the cost. It’s a level 300 course so pretty technical – by about 4pm on the first day my mind was starting to get a bit confused – there was a lot of theory today and you certainly need to have some familiarity with previous versions of exchange.

The neat thing was that we’ve just recently moved to Exchange2010 in-house, so I was able to check some of the features that I didn’t already know about on our live client (outlook or outlook web app) as we progressed through the training.

We’re using Windows2008 machines running Hyper-V with 8gb of memory which means some creative juggling of memory and sometimes the machines are slow, but it really is the only way to do the training. Some points we have 4 machines running – this would have been almost impossible before virtualization was around to reduce the hardware requirements for enterprise lab environments. This course is also the first one I’ve been to that has some users in the local office and some using gotomeeting to attend the training over the internet. So far I think the arrangement has worked well for the internet users although I feel sorry for the person in Washington who has to start work at 6am due to the time zones. I was surprised that they were not using LiveMeeting to host the training (as this is a Microsoft event) but apparently the screenupdates were not been fast enough for the remote users.

I’ll be posting a few links on my twitter account – helsbyhome, and my absoblogginlutely delicious account  as the course progresses. Mostly these are links for extra tools, utilities or downloads to assist in the management and implementation of Exchange2010.

Zero Downtime Migration seminar in Cincinnati tomorrow

I’m currently reading The Network Migration Workbook: Zero Downtime Migration Strategies for Windows Networks as can be seen on my Goodreads shelf. So far it’s been very useful and there have already been lots of tips that would save our company time (and therefore) money in doing migrations. Even if we didn’t go down this particular route for migrations, the tips applied would be very beneficial for other types of migrations, especially when it comes to planning and quoting for the migration itself. The only hard bit is to get the customer to agree to the restrictions in the plan – it is vital to quote for *only* the migration – everything else results in another helpdesk ticket, project or work order.

I’ve been reading the book for a couple of hours straight through – I’ve resisted the lure of jumping to the checklists – and still have some way to go, which is why I’ve not posted a review of the book yet – but so far I’m definitely recommending it – but note that some significant time needs to be invested for each person in the migration project from the sales person, to the project manager to the team lead down to the tech doing the work. In some companies this could be one person – in our company it’s probably three people.

Anyway, the point of this blog post was to mention that the author is going to be at An Introduction to Zero Downtime Migrations – and More in Cincinnati tomorrow (Saturday) for an all day training event which I am attending. It was worth the cheap admission to get an in person overview of the book and also some tips and previews of the other books he has written – I’m particularly intrigued by the Network Documentation book as this is something that is typically hard/time consuming to do yet so valuable when troubleshooting customer networks (and is NEVER provided by the client).  If you’re going to this training day, be sure to say Hi.

If you want to browse Karl’s store then you can click on my affiliate link or click through directly to the books from the links above (not affiliate linked). Currently the cheapest place to buy the book is either used from Amazon or new from the Good Little Books store. It did amuse me to see that someone has the Zero Downtime book listed for $1165 and a used version for $564 which is crazy when the book brand new is currently $250 (will be $300)

TechEd online training

There are some really good (technical) webcasts from TechEd Europe online and I’ve just watched The case of the Unexplained – a very interestng and useful presentation by Mark Russinovich of Microsoft/Sysinternals on analyzing dump files, processes and hanging systems. I’m sure this will come in very handy. One of the tips I learnt was that you can actually use process explorer as a taskmgr replacement by going to options/replace task manager (or restore if you want to put it back again)
A highly recommended presentation if you do any troubleshooting of user desktops (or servers). Note it is pretty long – 74 minutes, and as it is in silverlight I don’t think it’s possible to download for offline viewing and the navigation to skip to a certain part of the clip sucks big time. There is no slider so you have to click randomly in a grey bar (that obscures part of the screen) to guess where you will end up.

SBS2008 loadfest in Springfield 2008.

I’ve never been to Springfield (any of them) before and tomorrow is the SBS2008 loadfest in Springfield, Ohio where people bring their machines to load SBS2008 on them and find out ways to automate the installation and demos and discussions about the new features in SBS2008.  I’m really looking forward to this as it will be some great training and also a chance to network with some peers. I’m curious to see how it all works as SBS insists it is the only DHCP server on the network when the connect to internet wizard is run so I’m not sure how it will like all the SBS machines being plugged into the Lan.

I must admit I cheated/was too impatient/needed to test the installation of SBS2008 on my hardware so I kicked off an install before work this morning ,answered the remaining questions at lunch time today and now have an installation on the hardware. I wanted to make sure that the installation would work with my hardware and my disk layout. Now that I know it works I will either reinstall over the top tomorrow or install it into a virtual environment under hyper-v. The latter will enable me to snapshot the machine when playing with various what-if configurations.

This is all really good timing as yesterday I received my “fee” exam voucher from Microsoft for SBS2008 – there was a typo in the subject of the email that gave me the free voucher code for the exam.  The only downside is that this will have to wait until I’ve passed at least one of my Windows2008 exams.

I had the beta of 2008 on my home training machine but it ran really slow as it was a virtual machine and the server didn’t have enough memory. Yesterday I purchased 4GB of ram for $70 (plus tax) and added that to the pc. I had an added bonus in that 1gb of ram had to be removed to make way for the 2gb sticks so I put these two sticks into my normal home pc.

I’m not sure if there are still spaces available – the click to register page still seems to work.

MCSE upgrade time.

It’s been a while since I got my MCSE qualification and I’m now starting to use Windows 2008 and Exchange 2007 so it is time to update the certifications!  Microsoft has a useful page on the transition path from MCSE on Windows2003 to MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional) – looks like a lot more studying to do, although the first exam 70-649 gives me three new MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist )qualifications immediately which is nice. The good thing is that I have until the end of the year to pass with the second shot offer AND to fulfill my annual review goals.

The training book has been ordered from the library and the virtual server has been fired up, updated and my vpn configuration tested to allow remote access back home (I managed to break this when upgrading my dd-wrt router)

Exam insurance being offered again …. soon

Microsoft are going to do Exam insurance with a free re-take if you fail and a discount if you pass on the next one. Seeing as though I only need 2 more exams for my MCSA I’m wishing they would hurry up and release the details. I called them up this afternoon and apparently the details will be released at the end of the month which means I get some extra swotting time but also means I have a chance to forget everything I learnt recently by the time the exam comes around.

SBS training

Had a good days training at the Small Business Exam Cram today. Today was mainly focussed on the Sales & Marketing aspect of the system but we also went through the initial install and configuration of the server. Everyone had a laptop with SBS running in a virtual pc and it was soooooo slow. It was comforting to find that it was slow on these laptops though as I was wondering if I had something wrong on my install of sbs on my own laptop which was also incredibly slow (although once the system is up and running it’s not too bad).

During lunch, most of the attendees got out their work laptops and surfed to get email, messages from work, did some work or in some cases just watched the IT Crowd from Channel 4 which you can’t get in america now 🙁
Anyway – the funny thing was that the couple of guys behind me were complaining about how bad the network was after everyone had fired their laptops up – and blaming it on the bandwidth hogs of vpn, remote desktop and other such tools (that I was using). Mind you – you’d be crazy to not use vpn or rdp in a room of techies as there were quite a few copies of ethereal and network sniffers running. What I did find amazing was that the people using outlook2003 all complained that they weren’t able to contact their servers back at the office due to the bandwidth requirements, but I had the once in a lifetime opportunity of saying “If you were using Lotus Notes you wouldn’t have that problem” and actually meaning it. Normally I’m *blaming* Lotus Notes for causing me problems.

We were given homework to do tonight – to complete the Sales and Marketing assessment which was actually fairly easy – especially as you can keep retaking it (for free) until you achieve a passing score – it took me 2 attempts! The scary thing about this is that you are then halfway to becoming a Small Business Specialist, and so is the company that you work for. Some discussion this morning took place about Best Buy and the Geek Squad going for Small Business Training and how they were trying to get the Small Business Specialist certification – this was a worrying prospect for a lot of the consultants as they can’t compete on price (which a lot of small businesses will focus on) and they are nervous about the fact that it is unlikely that the Geek Squad are going to do a very good job. It was even more disconcerning when I pointed out that in theory the GeekSquad only needs *1 person* to get the qualification and then the whole company, countrywide, can claim Small Business Specialist accreditation. To me that is just wrong (although it was pointed out that it is more likely that each branch is going to go for accreditation individually) but it does make you think……..


Well not only did I pass the 70-272 test, I got 100% on it too 🙂 Apparently its the first time the receptionist has ever seen a 100% pass mark.
There were 9 questions that I had to double check my answers to but most of those answers I could make a reasonable guess as to what the Microsoft answer was (as some of the questions are so ambiguous) so I’m pretty chuffed. That now makes me an MCDST – watch this space for the logo to proudly appear on the website. Next stop is MCSA but that will have to wait until I have a job to pay the exam fees!