Build Windows: Windows Server 8

This is an IT pro session featuring Bill Laing (Corporate Vice President Server & Cloud Division) and Mike Neil (General Manager Windows Server) are the speakers.  This will be jam packed with demos.

“Windows Server 8 is cloud optimized for all business” – Bill Laing.  For single servers and large clusters.  The 4 themes of this server release:

  • beyond virtualisation
  • The power of many servers, the simplicity of one
  • Every app, any cloud
  • Modern work style enabled

Hyper-V headline features:

  • network virtualisation
  • Live storage migration
  • multi-tenancy
  • NIC teaming
  • 160 logical processors
  • 32 virtual processors
  • virtual fiber channel
  • Offloaded data transfer (between VMs on the same storage)
  • Hyper-V replicat
  • Cross-premise connectivity
  • IP address mobility
  • Cloud backup

Did they mention cloud yet?  I think not: apparently this release is cloud optimized.

A VM can have up to 32 vCPUs.  RAM can be up to 512 GB.  VHDX supports up to 16 TB of storage per vDisk.  Guest NUMA is where VMs are now NUMA aware … having 32 vCPUs makes this an issue.  A VM can optimize threads of execution VS memory allocation on the host.  A guest can now direct connect to a fibre channel SAN via a virtual fibre channel adapter/HBA – now the high end customers can do in-VM clustering just like iSCSI customers.  You can do MPIO with this as well, and it works with existing supported guest OSs.  No packet filtering is done in the guest.

Live Migration.  You can now do concurrent Live Migrations.  Your limit is the networking hardware.  You can LM a VM from one host to another with “no limits”.  In other words, a 1 Gbps connection with no clustering and no shared storage is enough for a VM live migration now.  You use the Move wizard, and can choose pieces of the VM or the full VM.  Live Storage Migration sits under the hood.  It is using snapshots similar to what was done with Quick Storage Migration in VMM 2008 R2. 

On to Hyper-V networking.  What was slowing down cloud adoption?  Customers want hybrid computing.  Customers also don’t like hosting enforced IP addressing.  The customer can migrate their VM to a hosting company, and keep their IP address.  A dull demo because it is so transparent.  This is IP Address Mobility.  The VM is exported.  Some PowerShell is involved in the hosting company.  Windows Server 8 Remote Access IPsec Secure Tunnel is used to create a secure tunnel from the client to the hosting company.  This extends the client cloud to create a hybrid cloud.  The moved VM keeps its original IP address and stays online.  Hosted customers can have common IP addresses.  Thanks to IP virtualisation, the VMs internal IP is abstracted.  The client assigned in-VM address is used for client site communications.  In the hosting infrastructure, the VM has a different IP address.

VLANs have been used by hosting companies for this in the past.  It was slow to deploy and complicates networking.  It also means that network cannot be changed – EVER … been there, bought the t-shirt. 

Cross-network VM live migration can be done thanks to IP virtualisation.  The VM can change it’s hosted IP address, but the in-VM address does not change.  Makes the hosting company more flexible, e.g. consolidate during quiet/maintenance periods, network upgrades, etc.  There is no service disruption, so the customer has no downtime, and the hosting company can move VMs via Live Migration as and when required.  This works just as well in the private cloud.  Private cloud = hosting company with internal customers.


  • Extensible virtual switch
  • Disaster recovery services with Hyper-V replicat to the cloud
  • Hybrid cloud with Hyper-V network virtualisation
  • Multi-tenant aware network gateway
  • Highly available storage appliances

And more:

  • SMB transparent failover
  • Automated cluster patching
  • Online file system repairs
  • Auto load balancing
  • Storage spaces
  • Thin provisioning
  • Data de-duplication
  • Multi-protocol support
  • 23000 PowerShell cmdlets
  • Remote server admin
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Multi-machine management

Server Manager is very different.  Very pretty compared to the old MMC style UI.  It has Metro Live Tiles that are alive.  Task/Actions pane is gone.  Selecting a server shows events, services, best practices analyser, performance alerts, etc.  You can select one, or event select a number of VMs at once.  A new grid control allows you to sort, filter, filter based on attribute, group, etc.  Makes cross-server troubleshooting much easier.  You can select a role, and you’ll see just the servers with that role.

Once again …”starting with Windows 8 the preferred install is Server Core”.  We’ll be the judge of that Winking smile  We ruled against MSFT on Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2 on that subject.  New add/remove roles wizard.  You can install a role to a live server or to a VHD!  This is offline installation of roles for pre-provisioning native VHD or VM VHD images.  You can even choose to export the settings to an XML file instead of deploying.  That allows you to run a PowerShell cmdlet to use the XML to install the role(s).  PowerShell now has workflows.  It converts a PSH function into a workflow that can work across multiple machines.  For example, deploy IIS (using install-windowsfeature & the XML file), deploy content, test content (invoke-webrequest), across many machines in parallel – big time saver instead of doing 1 machine at a time.  Great for big deployments, but I really see s/w testers really loving this.

Data Deduplication allows you to store huge amounts of data on a fraction of the disk space by only storing unique data.  We see a demo of terabytes of data on 4% of the traditionally required space.  This is single instance storage on steroids.  Only unique blocks are written by the looks of it. 

Native NIC teaming has come to Windows Server.  No more third party software required for this, increasing stability and security, while reducing support complexity.  In a  demo, we see a file share stored SQL VM with perfmon monitoring storage performance.  The host has 2 teamed NICs.  One is busy and one is idle.  The active NIC is disabled.  The idle NIC takes over automatically, as expected.  There is a tiny blip in storage performance … maybe 1-2 seconds.  The VM stays running with no interruption. 

Now we see a  high availability failover of a VM using a file share for the shared storage. 

On to applications:

  • Symmetry between clouds
  • Common management
  • Common developer tools
  • Distributed caching
  • Pub/Sub messaging
  • Multi-tenant app container
  • Multi-tenant web sites
  • Sandboxing and QoS
  • NUMA aware scaling for IIS
  • Open Source support
  • Support for HTML5

Note: I can’t wait to do a road show on this stuff back in Ireland. 

  • Greater density with IIS8
  • Scalable apps for public/private clouds
  • Extension of programming tools
  • Websocket extensions

Work style improvements:

  • Remote sessions, VDI or apps.
  • USB devices support
  • Simplified VDI management: badly needed
  • RemoteFX for WAN!
  • User VHDs
  • RDP 3D graphics and sound
  • Claims based file access
  • And more

Controlling access to data, discretionary access controls (DACLs) that we use up to now are difficult.  Dynamic Access Control allows you to specify AD attributes that dictate what objects can access a resource: e.g. AD object with “Accounts” in a department attribute gets access to the Accounts file share.  Done in Classification tab for the folder.  Who populates to attributes?  Doesn’t a user have a lot of control over their own object?  Good thing: it is very flexible compared to DACLs.

When a user is denied access to content, they can click on Request Access but to ask an admin for access.  No need for helpdesk contact. 

Automatic classification can search content of data to classify the data in case it is accidentally move to a wrong location.  It removes the human factor from content security.

Next up: RDP.  Metro UI with touch is possible with 10 touch points, rather than 30.  Lovely new web portal has the Metro UI appearance.  RemoteApp is still with us.  Favourite RDP sessions are visible in Remote Desktop.  Locally cached credentials are used for single sign-on.  3D graphics are possible: we see a 3D model being manipulated with touch.  We see a Surface fish pond app with audio via RDP and 10 touch points.  Seriously IMPRESSIVE!  You can switch between RDP sessions like IE10 tabs in Metro.  You can flip between them and local desktop using Back, and use live Side-by-Side to see both active at the same time. 

Build Windows 2011 Windows Server 8 Keynote

OK, yesterday was about aesthetics; today is meat and potatoes.  This is where we learn the back room stuff for Windows 8: the server.

Satya Nadella is the keynote speaker, president of Server and Tools (System Center, etc).  The subjects will be:

  • Windows Server 8
  • Azure
  • Visual Studio

Connected devices & continuous services describes the completion of yesterday’s subject.  PCs are consumers, servers/cloud are providers.  Design points:

  • elastic resources – cloud (public and/or private)
  • composable services – Cloud, e.g. VMM 2012 service templates
  • data as a namespace – to be honest, I guess it’s a SQL or BizTalk thing
  • identity & access – Forefront Identity Manager
  • continuous delivery – triage applications, e.g. OpsMgr 2012 Avicode

We are going to see a series of demos building of a Metro UI app, which then interacts with a cloud service running on Windows Server 8.

Jason Zander comes out to demo a Metro UI turn-based game that interacts via a cloud-based service.  I gotta say, the game looks pretty good for a demo.  Two competing users (one on phone and one on PC) are trying to shoot each other.  It was developed using VS 2010 with some new Azure SDK.  VS 11 is shown.  Looks the same to me, an IT pro Smile but apparently includes Azure SDK.  There is a pretty cool demo of a 3D model viewing/editing.  It’s the sort of thing you expect to see in a Pixar documentary, and we see how a 3D display of layered objects can be debugged from the pixel.

Satya comes back out.    The app platform (backend) is talked about now: .Net 4.5.  I won’t blog much of this dev stuff. 

Now we move onto Windows Server 8:

Application Platform

Symmetry between server and Azure.  IIS is more scalable and multi-tenant, with quality of service guarantees.  Virtualisation and cloud get a boost with a major revamp.  This is moving multi-tenant and cloud, with high availability and scalability getting a reboot.  Mission critical resource hungry services can be virtualised now.  Control by admins has been worked on.

Bryon Surace comes out:

  • Native NIC teaming
  • VHDX extends VHDs to beyond 2040 GB
  • Hyper-V Replica to provide asynchronous replication of running VMs in a consistent manner

New alternative called Storage Spaces in Windows to manage external storage.  There is a new & improved Server Manager (very Metro).  The demo shows a JBOD DASd to the server with 16 SSDs.  A LUN is shown, and a few SMB 2.2 file shares are on that LUN.

File shares have improved performance.  This enables VMs to run on file shares in a supported manner, unlike 2008/R2.  SMB 2.2 multi-channel and RDMA can team NICs for throughput and fault tolerance.    You can get huge network throughput doing this, with almost zero CPU utilisation.  RDMA uses little CPU and provides low latency. 

Hyper-V next.  Live Migration is supported between non-clustered hosts – it’s not HA; that still requires Failover Clustering.  We also get Live Storage Migration to move a VM’s files from one place (host, drive, share) to another. 

Data Platform

Here we go into Azure.  We’re in dev architecture space again.  Identity is the focus this time.  It’s an old subject, still without a complete global solution.  Odds are, if you’re a Windows 8 user, that ID will be Live ID.

There is a new Service Bus in September.  Storage geo-replication between data centres will be possible.  Bing data feeds will be available.

Hybrid Cloud

We get a demo on how to cloud enable your car using “Viper SmartStart” to do remote tracking and debugging of your car.  There is a smartphone app.  We see a live view of presenters daughter in Belleview WA, speeding (allegedly) and gas mileage all over the shop: sports driving maybe Smile  For the coolness factor, the owner of West Coast Customs (custom cars) comes out.  Microsoft are getting him to build an eCar with the latest in tech for the TV show.  They’re tweaking a 2012 Mustang with a 1967 body  Niiiiiiice.  It’ll be on Discovery USA in December.

Holy Crap!

Steve Ballmer surprises us by coming out.  “We have a long way to go still with Windows 8”.  This is good to hear. 500,000 downloads of it last night.  Ireland’s Silicon Republic is quoted.  Feedback in last 24 hours is overwhelmingly positive.  Microsoft’s aims with Windows 8:

  • New hardware form factors: tablet and slate PC
  • Cloud services: old news, but “we’re still early” in cloud services.  Still to evolve and be embraced.
  • New application scenarios
  • New developer opportunities

Windows centred focus on the business:

  • Windows 8 and Windows Live
  • Windows Server and Windows Azure
  • Windows Phone
  • Windows Reimagined

Steve seems delighted with the feedback, even on Server today.

Windows Phone:

  • 30,000 apps and 50,000 registered developers
  • 7.5 Mango just gone live with phones shopping with 500+ new features
  • New phones from variety of makers, including Nokia
  • My note: still a very minor player in units being sold.  I wonder if Mango + Windows 8 can change that?  It has potential.


“It will be Intel plus ARM” to clear up some misinformation.  One will be as important as the other. 

Note: I think Steve gets a pass for 2011 Winking smile

Windows, Windows Phone and XBox are the 3 device categories on platforms: Azure, Office, Bing and Dynamics (I guess there is pressure to sell Dynamics cos of this breakout/callout). 

Developer Opportunity:

  • 350+ million Windows devices this year.  Dwarves iPad and Apple.  What post-PC era?
  • 500 million installed Windows 7 PCs
  • 70%+ servers/Azure rising: I laugh at your fluffy penguin.
  • New commercial opportunities with Azure Marketplace and Windows Store
  • Choice with language, public/private/hybrid cloud: you choose the right one for you or your customer
  • Build apps for phone, cloud, Server: one experience from many devices.
  • Apps, content, servers, sites: choose your product
  • Sell to everyone from individual to the enterprise: cloud (Live to Azure) and apps for home or for LOB.


Some Quick Build Pre-Keynote 2 Reading

Expect a lot of virtualisation talk today.  And before you read anymore Build Day 2 stuff, please have a look at some responses in the Great Big Hyper-V Survey of 2011.  Just 3 questions for now to give you something to think about:

  • Question 7: What Sort Of Licensing Did You Get For Your Hyper-V Hosts?
  • Question 23: Do You Replicate Virtual Machines To A Disaster Recovery Site?
  • Question 78: Will the below currently announced Windows Server "8" features be of interest to your organisation?

If you’re a Microsoft virtualisation partner, my advice: get ready now.  You will be busy next year.

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Build Windows 2011: 8 Traits of Great Metrol Style Apps

Speaker: Jensen Harris

The Start Screen is very personalized. It is a huge opportunity for developers to create apps to fill that space. Windows Store is not available in the developer preview. The apps that will succeed and earn lots of money will be good Metro apps.


1) Metro Style Design

The Metro style app has “less chrome” than the traditional MMC style app. Think of the silhouette. Things should be spaced identically as you move between apps. There is a lot of emphasis here on UI design and aesthetics. I can’t say I’ve heard this from MSFT before, but I’m not a dev.

Get rid of the scroll stuff, etc, where you can. Example of exception: Photoshop requires it. It is a tool. Basically you make better use of the pixels so content can be better displayed or has more space.

Left and right edges are for system UI. Left edge is for “back”. Right edge is for “charms”.

The UI was designed based on the comfort of the reach of peoples hands (they got people with different sized hands to finger paint with their thumbs based on levels of comfort and then measured hands to scientifically design). That’s where the touch first concept comes in. This is why system UI features are on the sides. That’s why there is a split virtual keyboard (one of the options).

Needless lines are gone. Navigation bits are gone. Commands are moved to the App Bar. Anything like a charm moves to the Charms bar. All that remains is content, which is re-aligned to a grid, leading with a pleasant or descriptive image. Content leads the way.

2) Fast and Fluid

Touch is direct and feedback is visceral. App lag is not acceptable with this UI.

Interesting comment: we already use mouse for touch. We point, we hold and drag, etc. However, multi touch is actually a quicker. It offers more because we have two hands VS one mouse.

Touch commands need to be consistent, restricted in number, feature direct manipulation, be reversible, a limit the number of timed gestures (e.g. hold something for x seconds).

Semantic Zoom is used not just for zooming objects but also for navigation, e.g. zoom out the Start Screen and scroll a small distance, and select or zoom in again. Should be a feature of apps as well.

Don’t create a different UI for mouse/keyboard. Many of the lessons are transferable. And screens with touch will be the norm in a few years. Apps should be ready.

Snap and Scale Beautifully

Beware of different screen sizes for scaling. Really high DPI screens are on the way as the norm. Devs need to design for small screens, current large screens, and future high res/DPI screens (100%, 140%, and 180%).

Smallest res you need to support is 1024*768. Widescreen is 1366*768 and gives side by side. The app is required to have snap and portrait views. Snap is when the app is taking up just 1/3 or 1/4 of the screen. It’s a condensed view of the app in side-by-side.

They are the glue that bind apps together. Two apps that complete a contract can work together to complete a scenario. The contract shows up as a Charm. You should enable sharing from your app. Not every app should be a target – relevance. Social and collaboration apps are good targets. The search contract allows your app to be searched from the search UI. This allows content to be searched and filtered via its UI.

Note that apps like Photo will include content from many sources such as online or network/homegroup. I LIKE that. This is via a Picker Contract. Files stay in their source location, rather than locally cahced "turds" of files clinging on.

Icons are yesterdays non interesting and not alive ways of representing apps. Tiles are much more, alive and informing. They represent and should draw in the user. They should make the app interesting. Or like weather, they should tell you enough that you can avoid going in there needlessly. They are an extension of your app. You can publish results or features of apps as tiles on you Start Screen, e.g. weather for a city, a stock, a social network contact.

Windows is Alive With Activity
This is about bringing the activity of the net into Windows. It’s not a static screen full of icons. Live Tiles and notifcations is the concept. A tile is updating, refreshing, scrolling between recent events, etc. More alive tiles will be featured on the first page of the Start Screen. There are no folders like on IOS. Hides apps and hard to name. Instead we have groups. Groups don’t have to be named. Don’t use ads as the live content. Users will place those at the back.

Notifications allow an urgent message to popup. There isn’t a system tray. The notification appars in bottom right. Will disappear after a certain time. User can hide it. User can disable all notifications. Apps should be silent by default, and users can opt-in for notifications. Notifications are interruptions, so be polite.

Roam to the Cloud
When you leave an app, it should be the same when you come back to it. You should never have to replay a level of a game, even on a different device. When you change a setting, you shouldn’t have to change it again. Same experience across all of your devices. The cloud is what makes this possible: Live ID. Every app gets limited storage for settings and user data.

Embrace Metro Principles
– Price in craftsmentship

– Be fast and fluid

– Authentically digital

– Do more ith less

– Win as one

Build Windows 2011: Keynote

Live from Anaheim … it’s Build Windows!  Ok, not so live, but I reckon reading this might be easier than getting a migraine from reading a #bldwin feed on Tweetdeck.  There’s 14 minutes to go (as I write this introduction) and my laptop is having a seizure trying to keep up with the tweets.

Note: CNET posted some leaked photos/videos of a Samsung slate PC that we delegates are supposed to be getting.  Nice!  Won’t believe it until I see it.  It’s a £999 i5 with 128 GB SSD and 4 GB RAM.

The stage has two desks.  One is the typical facing the speaker desk for demos.  The other is facing the hall and features a series of PCs and “devices” that appear to be running Windows 8.

The pre-keynote video has started.  Lots of talk about the easy to use GUI, managing _apps_ (not applications), and integration of Windows Live with login – imagine Live as your domain!  New lingo: Start Screen is the first thing you see when you’ve logged in (Metro UI).  The video was a teaser .. the show “starts soon”.

Out comes Steven Sinofsky, the man in charge of Windows.  Today is the launch of a “new opportunity for developers” to make the most of PCs no matter what size or shape.

450,000,000 copies of “Windows 7” sold (SA included).  Consumer usage is greater than XP, as of today apparently.  542,000,000 signing into Windows Live.

Changing World of Computing

Very different since 1995, the last major overhaul of Windows.  Lots of new form factors.  Whoah,,,, Sinofsky just said “we call them Windows tablets”.  Slip?  They’ve always said Slate PCs.  Once you try touch, you want touch on all your devices.  Once you try touch on Windows 8, you’ll want it.  Now you want devices that you use while carrying, rather than carry to then use.  Developers want richer connectivity and sharing capabilities.  And services are intrinsic of all software.  Apps connect to some back end for some reason, either to consume or to share information/data.

Windows 8

Took Windows 7, and made it better.  Everything that runs on Windows 7 should run on Windows 8.  They have “re-imagined” Windows from the ground up, including ARM chipsets, tablets, and touch.

Note: power of this statement is that MSFT can support lots of varied hardware, allowing some very unique or niche business implementation.  Windows = flexibility.


  • Windows 8 experience – GUI
  • Metro style platform and tools – development
  • Hardware platform – devices and form factors
  • Cloud Services – Windows Live

Delivering Fundamental Performance Gains

Bloatware?  he holds up a 3 year old netbook with 1 GB RAM and atom CPU that was used in PDC 3 years ago.  It is running Windows 8.  He demos it now.  Task Manager from Windows 7 is shown.  Then Windows 8 is shown.  The new one is using the CPU less and only 281 MB RAM (versus 404 MB).  It is also using 3 less processes (32 down to 29).

Windows 8 Experience

Julie Larson-Green comes out.  We get a lock screen like on WP7.  That’s a good add; it shows some quick highlight info about your status.  We get a demo of a picture password – no keyboard, you touch key points of the screen.  The start screen is the heart of the GUI.  It is tile based like WP7.  You can slide left and right.  Each tile = an app.  Each tile displays current info from that app.  You can do the usual pinch to zoom in and out.

Meanwhile: “Starting at 8PM today, Seattle time, you can download all of the code that attendees at BUILD received. This includes 32 or 64 bit x86 builds, with or without development tools. The releases also include a suite of sample/SDK applications and the SDK (please note these are merely illustrations of potential apps, not apps that we intend to ship with Windows 8). The ISOs are linked to from You download with a Windows Live ID (which you might want to use to test out some of the new roaming features)”.

Ohh XBox Live appears to be built in, just like with Windows Phone 7.  We see a news app and how you can read using scroll.  Then we see video play and how to use touch and swipe to manage it.  This is the same paragliding video as in the online video from a few months ago.  Now we navigate through a few apps, and dock a running app using the side-by-side feature (requires high res screen not on many slate PCs at the moment).  This docking shows of Windows multitasking.

IE9 is metro based.  It has the touch interface, bringing it up with the competition.  There is no “window”.  Sinofsky cracks a “chrome free browsing experience” joke.  Delayed laugh as people get it.  Selecting text looks smoother than I’m used to on iPad.  You can pop out “charms” (new lingo) on the right to get your app to do other things, like interact with another app, e.g. select text and IM it to a friend.  Apparently the apps can use “contracts” to do this.

Spell checking has been added to all of Windows now, apparently.

Search is up next.  This is kind of like the iPad experience.  You can search the local device, or expand into Bing.  I guess that can be changed using a plugin to keep the DOJ and the EU happy.  We see how internet searches can be filtered, e.g. Tweets … might be something to do with a recent search contract between MSFT and Twitter. 

We see how pictures are presented.  Kind of like Media Center scrolling.  We can browse photos on the cloud too.  I wonder if Flickr will integrate?  It would be a good move.  And we just saw a tweet from Windows 8 with no apparent Twitter app. 

We see an unmarked ARM based tablet with the whole touch interface, and we can see that the changes that were made on the first demo PC are synced via the cloud (Live).

  • Fast and fluid: move quickly, touch/keyboard/mouse
  • Immersive and full screen.  It’s Windows with no windows.
  • Touch-first with full keyboard and mouse.  You choose the UI you want.
  • Web of apps working together
  • Experience for all PC devices and architectures: no compromises across new platforms: slate, PC, laptop, or tablet.

Building Apps for Windows 8

This is for the devs.  HTML, Javascript, C, C++, C#, and VB are the development languages.  I’ll leave it at that Smile  I’m taking a quick break from blogging while Visual Studio 11 is demonstrated.

Note: The press got a sneak peek of Windows 8 and some briefings over the previous weekend.

Nice demo of sharing a picture to a social website.  Again, it’s just by using a Charm.  The dev did this with 4 lines of code.

If you develop an app and want to sell it on Marketplace, you can give people an X day trial if you want.  Publishing an app is “like ordering pizza” online.  You can see the process and where your app is in it.

The marketplace is called Windows Store.  Designed to be simple.  There is a spotlight section to highlight new or noteworthy apps or themes (of apps).  Then you have app categories.  You can browse, search, filter (paid, free, etc), and sort.  Looks better than WP7 marketplace.  Looking at an app is like in iTunes: descriptions and screenshots.  The app is installed with a click.  Now we see Quicken, a traditional app, that is available on the Store.  You don’t have to rewrite apps for Metro to sell them on the Store.

They get across the “reuse your knowledge” message by showing a quick “port” of code to a Metro style Windows 8 app, and then get it running on Windows Phone 7.  Any HTML/Javascript/C#/XAML app will run on x86, x64, and ARM.

This could be a 400,000,000 market by the time Windows 8 launches.

Hardware Platform

Michael Anguilo

Battery life and fast boot are the big wants.  We have everything from slim ARM tablets to big powerful x64 workstations.  UEFI full boot is almost quicker than the fans in the PC or the monitor.  We see an in-market Windows 7 PC boot up Windows 8 in 8 seconds.  A UEFI machine checks the boot volume, and sees if there’s a root kit.  If there is, you are warned.  Defender gives built in anti-malware including antivirus. 

We now see some ARM hardware.  We can see a live power measurement of a “connected standby”.  It’s like it’s on but it’s not, saving power when not being used by the user.  Power on is like an iPad, and see the power jump up.  And you “power it off” the same way.  ARM Windows 8 looks just as fast to me.  We also see an Intel Atom tablet too.  Intel get some warm fuzzy love Smile  We are shown the new file file with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 to get a comparison.  Now we see a ninja with water cooling and 3 Nvidia GPUs, with some massive computing power in the terraflop range.  This PC is friggin huge.  Everything in Windows has h/w accelerated graphics now, taken from the concept of IE9. 

16*9 screen ration is the way to go for Windows 8, e.g. 1366*768 for side-by-side, with no compromises.  You can use less than this, but you lose functionality.

In a tablet we see accelerometer and gyro for all sorts of interaction, e.g. games.  The demo app uses 3 lines of code for this.  The near field sensor (NFD) uses an antenna to allow a tablet/PC to quickly interact with other devices or transfer data, e.g. a swipe card.  A lot of work done to improve the 3G wifi and hotspot wifi experience. 

The Intel Ultrabook can wake from sleep as quick as you can open the lid.  Core Intel processor and thin.  We see a Toshiba super light machine too, 2.5 lbs.  Toshiba had to put bumps in for RJ45 and VGA connectors because it is so slim.  A slate is opened, and we can see the battery is bigger than the computer by about 10%.

Samsung slate machine is shown.  We know about the CNET leak by now …. waiting … waiting … 5,000 of them were made to share with the delegates Smile

  • i5 CPU
  • 1366 *768 display
  • 4 GB DDR3
  • 64 GB SSD
  • Sensors,USB, micro SD, HDMI, Pen
  • Dock w/ USB, HDMI, Ethernet
  • 11.6” diagonal, 909 gram, 12.9mm thick

Images with the developer preview of Windows 8, tools, and recovery environment.  Can run dual monitor from the dock, which also charges.

Integrated support for a broad range of new mobile peripherals.

Professional Platform

Dual monitors, mouse, keyboard, etc.  Is Windows 8 still relevant?  Yes.  You can enter a PIN to log in.  On the lock screen, there is a subtle warning about when your machine will reboot to install updates.  We see the whole Metro UI via mouse.  A new Task Manager is shown by Sinofsky.  It looks like a SysInternals tool.  Much more information right up front.  Processes is finally the first tab.  The Windows Key allows you to snap between Explorer (old Windows UI) and the Start Screen.

You can refresh your PC to reset the OS.  The PC settings will be reset.  You apps and data are kept.  Nasty plugins and toolbars are bye-bye.  It’s like a factory reset that keeps your customisations.  You can prep your machine, and baseline it too.  That’s now a reset point.

Windows Assessment Console is like a more usable perform.  You can compare a machine from one baseline to current, or one machine to another. 

There is a Metro style Remote Desktop app.  The demo remotes into the Start Screen of another PC.  Touch is available over RDP.  Remote Charms are available, and you have a virtual keyboard too. 

Hyper-V on the client … requires a SLAT capable x64 processor.  Dynamic Memory is there.  We can mount an ISO or a VHD file in Explorer. 

Big applause for the addition of an “up” button in Windows Explorer to help us bypass the dreaded breadcrumb trail.  Your desktop background can span multiple monitors.  Needs some big megapixel pictures!!!  You can make apps in monitor 2 showing in the taskbar on monitor 2.  Quite clever.  New instances of an app appear in the same window as the current one.  The Start Screen appears on your main monitor.  Explorer appears on the other screen.  I must admit that this is peculiar looking.  You can just type CMD to search for CMD.EXE.  Already seeing my first desired change request on the right-click to elevate.  CTRL K to clone an IE10 tab, CTRO T to create a new tab.  You can go to the traditional desktop frame (window) in IE 10.

There are different styles of virtual keyboard for tablets, and there is an ink interface that knows the difference between a pen and your hand.  You can sync your PC settings using your Live ID.  This is a welcome feature of the OS.  An app can request to roam its settings.

Cloud Services

Chris Jones to talk about Windows Live for Windows 8.  They rewrote all of their apps for Windows 8 Metro UI.  All of your mail accounts can be visible in one place.  Metro style calendar looks really nice.  Might be the best I’ve seen yet.  Very clear.  Shared calendars appear here too.  It has a connected address book, like on Windows Phone 7.  LinkedIn, Facebook, home email, all contacts appearing in one place and merged.  Photos is a cloud powered app.  It appears to know about SkyDrive, Facebook, and Flickr because they were configured for Live, not just for Photo.  The nice Metro UI allows you to browser through all of them.  I like this (being an amateur photographer).  I wonder if/how they will merge this with Windows Home Server?  Wow, he traverses firewalls to browse photos on his work PC via the Live cloud.  No sign-ins in the demo.  The charms process makes it a snap to select and email photos.  Sinofsky pushes the idea of the devs leveraging SkyDrive storage.  SkyDrive browsing of remote files is handy.  Any Live ID connected device can be browsed.  Security officers: you can crap yourselves now Smile

A photo is taken on WP7.  It is connected to SkyDrive.  The photo is now (supposed to be) visible on a PC (demo Gods didn’t smile). 

The Live stuff isn’t being released yet.  Understandable; they’ll have to wait for Windows to reach a certain stage before they can code/test for it.

There are hundreds of other features we didn’t see today. 

Windows 8 Developer Preview –> Beta –> RC –> RTM –> GA.  More updates along the way.  Same path as Windows 7, which worked very well.  The project is “driven by quality, not a date”.  The developer preview will be updated as it goes along.  We get bug and security fixes, and MSFT gets to test their update mechanism. 

Developers: Windows 8 is not a secret now.  It is up to you to stay relevant with your customers.  Keynote over.

Now I want to know if I can get VLC and Kindle to work on Windows 8 for my plane ride home next weekend.  The challenge to Microsoft: keep my iPad powered down Smile

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Press Release by The Great Big Hyper-V Survey from #bldwin on Windows 8 Replica

The following press release has just been posted on The Great Big Hyper-V Survey site … oh yes, we now have a site Smile

Build Windows Conference, Anaheim, CA, 2011: Hours before the keynote to announce the features of Windows 8, The Great Big Hyper-V Survey of 2011 has released its findings. The results related to disaster recovery and business continuity were of great interest:

  • Over 73% of organizations do not replicate their virtualized IT and application infrastructure to a secondary site for disaster recovery.
  • Over 91% of respondents were already greatly interested in Hyper-V Replica.

The Great Big Hyper-V Survey was conducted by three Microsoft Valuable Professionals (MVPs), Aidan Finn (Virtual Machine) in Ireland, Hans Vredevoort (Failover Clustering) in The Netherlands, and Damian Flynn (Virtual Machine) also in Ireland. It asked a series of questions to determine how people deployed Microsoft’s enterprise virtualisation technology and IT/application management solutions.

“It is clear that many small to medium business acknowledge the need to protect their business against a disaster”, said Aidan Finn. “Disasters like those in New Orleans can damage a larger business, but they can destroy a smaller one. The issue has been the complexity and cost of implementing the technology for a business continuity solution. The demonstration of Windows 8’s Hyper-V Replica has generated a substantial amount of interest because it takes advantage of virtualization’s decoupling of the application from hardware, not to mention that it will be a built in feature of Windows Server at no extra cost”.

It is expected that more details of this solution will be announced this week at Microsoft’s Build Windows Conference in Anaheim (CA) and in the coming weeks and months.

The findings of the Great Big Hyper-V Survey can be found at

This press release can be downloaded from here, a report is available for download. You can also download the raw data.

Blogging For IT Pros Here at Build Windows #bldwin

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock over the past 2 years, Windows 8 is on the way.  There’s been no end of speculation as we get closer to the feature announcements and revelations at the Build Windows Conference in Anaheim (LA), USA, next week.  The hype has truly started, and the giddiness by geeks (like me) has been fuelled by the blog posts giving us little snippets of information.

Next week is when we Windows nerds go into overdrive.  Build Windows will be the venue when all sorts of Windows 8 information will be officially revealed to the public.  It’s primarily aimed at developers (replacing PDC) and hardware vendors, but it will also be the site of a bunch of reveals for us IT Pros.  The agenda is secret, and only a few of the speakers are publicly known.

I am lucky – I am going.  My job is to work with Irish Microsoft partners on System Center, Forefront, and virtualisation (Hyper-V).  And I am also involved in a lot of more general Windows work, e.g. working with partners selling Windows 7.  And the powers that be decided it would be good for business for me to go to Build.

There will be a lot of tweeting from people that are there, who are watching sessions online (keynotes streamed live, sessions online after 1 day), or who are re-tweeting.  I might do the occasional tweet but I figure the twitterverse will be flooded by #bldwin material, and it will be impossible to follow.  So my ambition is this: I am going to try blog as much as possible, posting session notes after each session.  That will mean I’ll have a (hopefully) easy to read and complete (as much as I can) set of notes.  I’ll be attending sessions that the IT Pro will be itnerested in – you won’t see much in the way of javascript from me 🙂 I know; some of you with blue badges are now worried.  Don’t be; I’ll be doing factual recording only.

You will be able to find all of my blog posts from Build here.

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