Microsoft IT Environment Health Scanner

Credit to John McCabe for finding this useful looking tool. 

“The Microsoft IT Environment Health Scanner is a diagnostic tool that is designed for administrators of small or medium-sized networks (recommended up to 20 servers and up to 500 client computers) who want to assess the overall health of their network infrastructure. The tool identifies common problems that can prevent your network environment from functioning properly as well as problems that can interfere with infrastructure upgrades, deployments, and migration.
When run from a computer with the proper network access, the tool takes a few minutes to scan your IT environment, perform more than 100 separate checks, and collect and analyze information about the following:

  • Configuration of sites and subnets in Active Directory
  • Replication of Active Directory, the file system, and SYSVOL shared folders
  • Name resolution by the Domain Name System (DNS)
  • Configuration of the network adapters of all domain controllers, DNS servers, and e-mail servers running Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Health of the domain controllers
  • Configuration of the Network Time Protocol (NTP) for all domain controllers

If a problem is found, the tool describes the problem, indicates the severity, and links you to guidance at the Microsoft Web site (such as a Knowledge Base article) to help you resolve the problem. You can save or print a report for later review. The tool does not change anything on your computer or your network”.

Best Practices for Virtualising Exchange Server 2010 with W2008 R2 Hyper-V

I’ve talked about, presented about, and written about this topic quite a bit.  There’s already a TechNet article on the topic, but Microsoft has also issued a document called Best Practices for Virtualizing Exchange Server 2010 with Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper V.

“The purpose of this paper is to provide guidance and best practices for deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 in a virtualized environment with Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper V technology. This paper has been carefully composed to be relevant to organizations of any size”.

YES! Exchange 2010 SP1 DAG Supported on Highly Available Virtualisation

As of today:

“Combining Exchange 2010 high availability solutions (database availability groups (DAGs)) with hypervisor-based clustering, high availability, or migration solutions that will move or automatically failover mailbox servers that are members of a DAG between clustered root servers, is now supported”.

In other words, The Exchange team heard us, and they’ve added support to install DAG members (on Exchange 2010 SP1) on a highly available virtualisation cluster.  That will simplify many virtualised Exchange installations.


“The Unified Messaging server role is supported in a virtualized environment”.

Windows User Group Ireland, September 10th 2010

The Windows User Group is back with a day-long event featuring updates on the latest in Microsoft IT infrastructure. Join us on Friday, September 10th in the Microsoft Auditorium in Leopardstown to hear expert speakers talking about Windows Server, virtualization, Exchange, unified messaging, and System Center for the small/medium enterprise. This day will give you valuable information that will educate you on what benefits new technologies from Microsoft will bring to your business.

The agenda is










Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2: Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX

Aidan Finn (MVP), System Dynamics






Service Pack 1 for Exchange 2010

Nathan Winters (MVP), Grey Convergence






Communications Server 14

John McCabe (MVP), CDSoft Limited






System Center Essentials 2010: Enterprise Management for the SME Customer

Wilbour Craddock, Microsoft

You can register and attend the event for free.

Date: Friday, September 10th, 2010

Location: EPDC-2, South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18

Registration: 08:45 to 09:15 with a strict start time of 09:15

The detailed agenda and speakers’ bios are as follows:

Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2: Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX (90 Minutes – 09:15 until 10:45)

Speaker: Aidan Finn (MVP: Virtual Machine), Infrastructure Team Lead with System Dynamics

Webcast: LiveMeeting

Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is around the corner. It introduces some new features that will be of huge interest to anyone that is interested in Hyper-V or Remote Desktop Services (including Citrix software). Memory is often the main constraint in virtual machine to host density. Dynamic IT provides a new mechanism for configuring virtual machines with a variable amount of memory. Aidan will discuss what over commitment is and how it is bad. He’ll then introduces you to the mechanics behind Dynamic Memory and show it in action. Aidan will also introduce you to RemoteFX. This is a new solution to provide high quality graphics, such as 1080p video, to Remote Desktop clients. This will be used in Remote Desktop Services and compatible Citrix solutions.

About Aidan Finn:

Aidan is the Infrastructure Team Lead with System Dynamics, a consulting services company located in Dublin that provides IT infrastructure and business intelligence expertise. He has been working in IT since 1996 and has specialised in working with Microsoft infrastructure solutions including Server, desktop, System Center and virtualisation. Aidan is an MCSE and a Microsoft Valuable Professional with an expertise in virtualization. Aidan co-wrote Mastering Windows Server 2008 R2 (Sybex), is the lead author of Mastering Hyper-V Deployment (Sybex), and is contributing to Mastering Windows 7 Deployment (Sybex). You can find his blog at

Service Pack 1 for Exchange 2010 (90 Minutes – 11:00 until 12:30)

Speaker: Nathan Winters (MVP: Exchange), Unified Communications Lead with Grey Convergence

Webcast: LiveMeeting

Exchange 2010 SP1 was announced at TechEd US 2010 and contains some exciting enhancements to Exchange 2010. This session will first set the context for these new features and then walk you through what is now possible:

· Reminder of the Exchange 2010 core tenets

· An update on where Microsoft is with Exchange Online

· Introduction to the Feature Enhancements of Exchange 2010 SP1 such as:

· The New Exchange Control Panel Management UI

· Improved High Availability and Disaster Recovery functionality

· Improved Outlook Web App UI and Performance

· Better Mobile Device Experience

· New Information Protection and Control

Ø Personal Archive Enhancements

Ø Retention Policy Management Enhancements

Ø Multi-Mailbox Search Enhancements

· Demo

· Questions & Answers

About Nathan Winters:

Nathan Winters is the unified communications lead at Grey Convergence, a specialist Microsoft partner for unified communications and collaboration. Nathan has been working in IT for eight years and specializes in unified communications with a focus on Microsoft Exchange and Office Communications Server. Nathan has consulted at numerous Fortune 100 companies across a variety of vertical markets.

In 2006, Nathan founded the Microsoft Messaging and Mobility User Group UK, which holds regular meetings in the UK to discuss topics related to Exchange. In 2007, Nathan was named an MVP (Exchange Server) for his work with MMMUG and his regular contributions to the Mark Minasi Forum, and he has received the same honour each year since.

Nathan’s articles have been published on leading websites and magazines, including Windows IT Pro Magazine,,, Microsoft (TechNet Industry Insiders), and the MMMUG website.

You can contact Nathan at or through his blog at

Communications Server 14 (90 Minutes – 13:15 until 14:45)

Speaker: John McCabe (MVP: Unified Communications), Technical Consultant with CDSoft

Webcast: LiveMeeting

Communications Server 2010 (Wave 14) is Microsoft’s Next Generation Unified Communications Platform. It brings many new features including a completely new UI. John will bring you through the main features and some of the new supported scenarios available in this platform and discuss how you can even use it now to replace your PBX! This really will be a serious contender for businesses of all sizes.

About John McCabe:

John currently works as a Technical Consultant for CDSoft Limited providing solutions to the Irish Market Place across multiple industries. John has over 12 years in the IT Industry ranging different disciplines from security, networks and of course Microsoft Infrastructure. John has attained MCITP/MCTS/MCP in various tracks as well as a multiple other professional certifications. John was awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in October 2009 for extensive community work and promoting the Microsoft Product Group.

System Center Essentials 2010: Enterprise Management for the SME Customer (90 Minutes – 15:00 until 16:30)

Speaker: Wilbour Craddock, Partner Technical Specialist, Microsoft

Webcast: LiveMeeting

The aim of this session is to provide a technical overview of the key capabilities of SCE 2010, and how it provides an integrated management solution for SMB customers, from hardware right through to the virtual OS’s running on Hyper-V and applications/services in these VM’s. Attendees will gain valuable information around differentiating SCE with the other System Center technologies, which form part of the Server Management Suites, from both a technical, and pricing perspective. We’ll also cover DPM 2010; part of the new SCE Plus SKU, and how it provides a centralized, powerful SMB-friendly application protection and DR solution, protecting both virtualized servers, application workloads, and desktop data.

To help attendees understand the solutions better, we’ll be constructing a customer scenario to provide a complete solution that can be adapted for specific customer and partner engagements. This solution will include both licensing, and pricing information, to give a better idea of the overall solution cost, and ROI. We’ll focus on delivering a demo of this scenario, concentrating particularly on the virtualization management, PRO functionality, hardware integration, and overall management of the environment.

About Wilbour Craddock:

Wilbour is a former Windows Server MVP and Canadian User Group lead now working for Microsoft Ireland in the Partner Team and frequent speaker on the TechNet Ireland tours. Wilbour’s background is not that dissimilar from most IT Professionals, having started on a help desk and progressed through system administration to leadership roles in government organizations serving as a solutions architect overseeing development and deployment teams and helping set long-term IT strategies. He blogs with the TechNet Ireland team on the IEITPro blog.

On-Demand Hyper-V VM Design Webcasts

Do you want to know what the best practices for deploying Exchange, SharePoint and SQL are on Hyper-V (or any virtualization platform)?  Well here you go:

There should be enough in there to keep you hiding from the boss for half a day.