MS Ireland SQL 2008 R2, Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 “Launch”

Today sees the the technical preview road show of Office 2010, Sharepoint 2010 and SQL 2008 R2 by Microsoft Ireland.  I’m attending the Dublin event and blogging the highlights.  You can still register for the Belfast, Cork and Galway events so make sure you attend if you can.  I’ll update this post as the afternoon moves along so come back later if you want to read more.

The event kicks off with Enda Flynn (Technical Audience Manager in the DPE team).  Enda tells us that the software will be available on volume licensing on May 12th and on the shelves in June.  The Office 2010 beta is stiff available and a Zune HD draw is running for people in Ireland.  Information about this is available when you download (check the site).

Office 2010

Patrick Herlihy is a partner technical specialist in MS Ireland focusing on the UC and BI stuff and will be up next.  The focus on his presentation is management, security and cost effectiveness.

Deployment Options

Lots of ways:

  • Install
  • Terminal services
  • App streaming
  • Web streaming

Server Integration:

Just a few examples:

  • Presence: Office Communication Server
  • Security: AD Rights Management Services
  • On premises hosting with SharePoint


This is now called SharePoint Workspace.  Very useful for sharing data with people outside of the office.  Has offline access.  I’ve used Groove once before on a collaboration project.  It’s a little different but it works well.

Services More Discoverable to End Users

  • End users can see services offered by IT through Office Backstage.
  • End users can also create their own applications in Excel and publish them to SharePoint.


There is online webcasting available.  Video is easier.


Lots of new stuff.  Mail tips, e.g. a warning if you try to send an email to all staff.  Conversation view is enabled by default.  Better integration with OCS.

Office Web Apps

You can use online versions of Office 2010.  You host this on premises with SharePoint.  It supports non-MS browsers.


Think of this as an expanded File menu that is better presented for end users.  Things are easier to find, whether it be the ability to save in another format or save to the SharePoint server – the latter was always an issue in the past.

SharePoint Workspace Offline

This will work with Office on Windows Mobile 6.5 or higher (or whatever it is called this week).  So now you can have docs on SharePoint, sync them to your laptop for home use, or even sync them to your phone for completely mobile use.  They’ll all sync with SharePoint.  The office, the firewall, and the organisation (forest membership) are no longer boundaries to secure data access.


The trend of attacks is that attacks is that they are increasingly attacking applications more than anything else.  The network and OS transport layers are at the bottom, i.e. least attacked.  Between them and applications are the core OS libraries.

Office 2010 has “increased security” – you’ll probably need to search to get the details.  All of this is manageable using GPO.  An example is Protected View.  Office 2010 can detect documents that are sourced from elsewhere and protect you from them.  You have to verify that the doc expected/OK before it has full functionality.

Document Inspector can be controlled using GPO.  It will run every time a doc is saved.

Accessibility Checker is exposed by Backstage.  This can run against documents (by policy) to ensure a document is accessible compliant.


Disk requirements go up by just 1.5GB from Office 2010.  All other requirements are the same.  There are native 32bit and 64bit versions.  Watch out for plugins on 64bit editions.  There is still a problem there.  32bit is still recommended.

It stats up very fast – event the old CTP does.

You can install using GPO startup scripts.  You cannot install using traditional MSI/transform via GPO like you could with XP/2003.  So it’s the same as with Office 2007.  Can install using ConfigMgr or App-V.  You will need App-V 4.6 (the latest version) if you want to do app virtualization for Office 2010.

As usual, there will be an extensive GPO management options.


Office now has the same licensing as Windows.  You use either a MAK or a KMS key.  *wait for you reaction here*

Deployment Planning

  • Use MAP v5.0 (still a beta on Connect) to assess readiness for Office 2010.
  • Office Environment Assessment Tool (OEAT) – checks 3rd party add-ins for compatibility.  It uses an online library to warn you.  It’s kind of a similar model as with ACT.
  • Office Compatibility Code Inspector (OCCI) – will inspect custom code that is written.
  • Office Migration Planning Manager – Identify macro issues, migrate office files to OpenXML


There is a pre-packaged “productivity hub” SharePoint site library with training content for end users. You can load it on SharePoint 2010 to teach users how to use SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010.

Office Ribbon Here is a new plug-in.  It’s a game of some sort to challenge and  teach users how to use the ribbon.  We have a few laughs here when Patrick shows us how little he uses MS Word for formatting :)  MS folks do live in Outlook after all.

SharePoint 2010

Aidan Nolan (they keep saying Aidan is up next and I keep double taking thinking WTF!!! I’m not presenting today!) from MS Ireland is up next.

Sales Pitch

  • Connect and empower people
  • Cut costs with a unified infrastructure
  • Rapidly respond to business needs

Gains for the IT Pros

IT productivity

  • Streamlined central admin
  • Management & health monitoring
  • PSH support

Scalable unified infrastructure:

  • Manage and control server resources – large list management
  • Improve data management and availability – high availability
  • Scalable services architecture

Flexible deployment:

  • Quick and simple installation and configuration – configuration wizards
  • Smooth and predictable upgrade – visual upgrade
  • Manage and control custom code – sandboxed solutions
  • Improved features – group policy block and AD marker

We now get a demo of functionality in SharePoint 2010.  Simple things like the ability to stretch an image, context sensitive ribbon, are big wins here, making it much more end user friendly.  The ribbon in SharePoint is just like an Office ribbon.  There is a theme gallery where you can easily update Office themes (templates).  Popups aren’t hidden away like previous versions of SharePoint.  The interface is much more responsive to mouse movement.  Fast Search brings back previews.  You can select the type of content you want to see, e.g. PowerPoint documents, people, etc.  There is a preview where the content can be browsed inline in the search results.  It also links to duplicate content.

Central administration is completely redesigned.  Health is front and centre.  You can see detected faults along with proposed resolution steps. 


  • 64 bit only – that’s the entire farm.  Dual CPU
  • 8GB minimum for a role
  • 80 GB disk minimum
  • SQL 2005 x64 SP 2 with CU 12, SP3 with CU 2
  • SQL 2008 x64 Std SP1 + KB970315
  • X64 W2008 SP2 Standard or W2008 R2 Std
  • There’s a crap load of s/w pre-requisites.  There is a pre-requisite tool to do all the detection work for you.  It will download and install all the bits required.  Nice time saver.


  • Prerequisites
  • Install the binaries
  • Configuration Wizard
  • Server Farm Configuration Wizard – a new tool to create new site collection and set up service accounts.


  • Silverlight 2
  • Level 1 browser like IE7.  Includes specified versions of Safari and FireFox.

Upgrade Path

  • In place upgrade: supposed to be next – next – next.  A restart of the process is possible.  All timeouts are removed – reported as a big problem before.  Sites are unavailable during upgrade and retain the URL after the upgrade.  Farm settings are inherited.  Customizations are retained.  Entire farm is offline for some time.
  • Database attach: Can attach content, SSP and Project.  Cannot attach Configuration or Search DB’s.  What you do is install an entirely new farm and attach to existing databases.  Can upgrade many content DB’s at once.  Can consolidate farms.  You lose settings and customizations from old farm(s).  It requires lots of engineering time and bandwidth.  You need direct access to the DB servers – problem in huge organizations where there are DBA teams/depts.
  • Hybrid: Do a bit of both in-place and attach.  Maintain settings and customizations.  Multiple content DB’s at once.  Requires time and direct access.

Gradual upgrade is not supported.  Note that you cannot upgrade from 32bit to 64bit.  That requires a migration.

Normally an upgrade retains the 2007 appearance.  You can do a visual appearance upgrade too.  It is a one way operation.

Introducing PowerPivot for Excel/SharePoint

By Bob Duffy MVP (SQL) and DB architect (not MS).  Bob is one of those guys with a big brain that makes you feel sick with jealousy.  Nice guy too.

The first bit is that you can bring in data into Excel 2010 from any source that you can get a data driver for.  It also can run MUCH more rows and data than previous versions.  The demo example has 1.4 million rows.  Data can be cleansed at the entry point into Excel.  Very useful because BI data can be a bit rough around the edges at times.  You can filter out unwanted fields too.  Bob runs through a demo and shows how flexible PowerPivot is for BI work with large volumes of data.  The demo is very, very cool.  Bob pulls in data from SQL, does graphing, slicing, selections and calculations (using macro) and then pulling in data from an RSS atom feed to join it.

You can save locally or save to SharePoint to share with others.  MIS will want to get involved here to assure that a BI application is valid.  And that’s possible thanks to the PowerPivot Gallery.  Admins can manage PP’s here.  And users can subscribe to them.

Bob went on to demonstrating the reporting capabilities of integrating with SQL 2008 R2.  He put together with (what seemed like) a few mouse clicks a map that subscribed to the PP data from the gallery.  It could even overlay a map from Bing.  Then he pulled data from an RSS atom feed from elsewhere and joined it to compare and contrast how one metric affected another.

EDC and Lanuages

The end of the day was with two guys from the EDC in Dublin.  One showed how you could integrate new languages into the Office hints.  The other showed a video of using SharePoint 2010 MUI’s.  An admin would install and enable a language.  Each user could then select the language of their choice in SharePoint.  That could be displayed on the fly in the interface, including the dialog boxes.

And that was the end of the session.  The evening was all aimed at developers so I skipped that.

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