Hit Refresh – A Book By MS CEO Satya Nadella

I recently purchased the hard back copy of Hit Refresh, the new book by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. I got it at MS Ignite, and read it on the plane between Orlando and Seattle, and Seattle and San Francisco (a week later).

The book is much like an episode of the TV show, Arrow, blending today with flashbacks of Nadella’s past, using his life story to explain his outlook on managing Microsoft’s future. The book is split into two, first explaining how Nadella got the role and his mission to change the culture of Microsoft, and then the last few chapters explain what Nadella sees as the future.

Most of the first few chapters explain Nadella’s childhood and entry into IT. He wasn’t the classic nerd; he wanted to be a cricket player – that’s like wanting to be a baseball player in the USA, but maybe bigger considering how popular cricket is in a huge country such as India. His father gave him the present of a computer, and like many with an early home computer (ZX-81, I think), he started programming in BASIC, and learned the power of code. Nadella discusses his journey to America, and to Microsoft. Of huge importance, is his personal life and how it formed his outlook on life. Microsoft’s renewed (and genuine) focus on accessibility and community involvement can be better understood by understanding the man.

Nadella’s mission with Microsoft was to change the culture. If you knew Microsoft employees from 5 years ago, they weren’t a happy bunch. Enron’s stack ranking system was used to review staff – someone in the team must always get the “stinker” review – and why would anyone copy anything from Enron, seriously!?!?! The company appeared to have no mission, petty fiefdom squabbling killed innovation, and Microsoft became a place where innovation was unacceptable. Microsoft had plans to get into mobile very early on, but they were killed off. Sinofsky was … you know already! Microsoft was always late to every party, and had become reliant on Office software & Windows sales, both of which were at huge risk. He knew all this, he’d seen things he disagreed with (acquisition of Nokia), and wanted a root change within the corporation.

Phrases like “growth mindset”, “culture change” and “empathy” are throughout the book. Every decision must help the corporation grow – for example, acquiring Minecraft wasn’t an obvious case of growth, but it’s been a marketing coup and has Microsoft products/services in the hands of most under-10s out there. Closing Nokia killed a cancer that was eating Microsoft. And most of all, Nadella did start a culture change. I’ve been dealing with Redmond and engineering teams for 10 years now. In 2010-2012, Microsoft was a bit of a black hole. In 2014, Microsoft was very different; instead of telling us what to think, we were being asked for our thoughts and opinions. I can look at WS2016 and point out things that I and other Windows Server MVPs gave feedback on, including one that MS didn’t think was necessary at all, which became a key feature! I’m regularly in contact with Azure program managers who are hungry for feedback.

Today’s Microsoft takes smart chances with Surface, creates HoloLens, forms alliances with old rivals (Salesforce, RedHat, Apple, Amazon, and more) where there are mutual opportunities that benefit both sets of customers. Microsoft has bent over so far backwards to embrace opensource in Azure that they are probably the most open-friendly public cloud around.

It wasn’t easy for Nadella to accomplish this. He goes into a lot of detail about how this was done. Some of his approaches were rebuffed a bit at first, he broke some traditions, but these are things that needed to be broken.

In the final chapters, he talks about the future of Microsoft. He’s clear that Microsoft completely missed the boat when it came to mobile devices. Microsoft was too late to market and there wasn’t room for a 3rd platform. He’s quite clear about that in interviews – what can Microsoft do that will be different and attractive enough to bring a critical mass of customers to a new product? Simple being another OS doesn’t cut it, and several years of 3 generations of Windows Phone/Mobile proved that. What Microsoft does bring is genius, and the power of the cloud. Microsoft’s big push for the future is based on IoT, AI, and quantum computing. The three solutions are intertwined and there is an indirect consumer link – a customer’s freezer can malfunction, a bot can reach out, and that bot’s AI could be trained/enhanced by quantum computing.

This book isn’t going to change your life. There’s no life & death car chases. No one barely escapes being eaten by a black hole. But if you are interested in the world of Microsoft, this might be an interesting read to understand the new Microsoft. A lot of the text is very Nadella-keynote, being repetitive, dry, and conceptual. But you will come away understanding his thought process, realizing how well read and educated the man his, how he thinks deep about everything, and most of all, why empathy is so important to him.

Windows Server & System Center TP5 Downloads

Here are more download links for Technical Preview releases of Windows Server 2016 and System Center. Yesterday I posted the links for downloading WS2016, but more has been made available.

My friend, John McCabe (now a PFE at the MSFT office in San Francisco), wrote a free ebook for MS Press on Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview too.

Two New Hyper-V Books

I am not writing a WS2012 R2 Hyper-V book, but some of my Hyper-V MVP colleagues have been busy writing. I haven’t read these books, but the authors are more than qualified and greatly respected in the Hyper-V MVP community.

Hyper-V Security

By Eric Siron & Andy Syrewicze

Available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk


Keeping systems safe and secure is a new challenge for Hyper-V Administrators. As critical data and systems are transitioned from traditional hardware installations into hypervisor guests, it becomes essential to know how to defend your virtual operating systems from intruders and hackers.

Hyper-V Security is a rapid guide on how to defend your virtual environment from attack.

This book takes you step by step through your architecture, showing you practical security solutions to apply in every area. After the basics, you’ll learn methods to secure your hosts, delegate security through the web portal, and reduce malware threats.

Hyper-V Best Practices

By Benedict Berger

Available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk


Hyper-V Server and Windows Server 2012 R2 with Hyper-V provide best in class virtualization capabilities. Hyper-V is a Windows-based, very cost-effective virtualization solution with easy-to-use and well-known administrative consoles.

With an example-oriented approach, this book covers all the different guides and suggestions to configure Hyper-V and provides readers with real-world proven solutions. After applying the concepts shown in this book, your Hyper-V setup will run on a stable and validated platform.

The book begins with setting up single and multiple High Availability systems. It then takes you through all the typical infrastructure components such as storage and network, and its necessary processes such as backup and disaster recovery for optimal configuration. The book does not only show you what to do and how to plan the different scenarios, but it also provides in-depth configuration options. These scalable and automated configurations are then optimized via performance tuning and central management.

Two New Books By Hyper-V MVPs

Congratulations to my MVP colleagues, Alessandro Cardoso and Benedict Berger on the recent publication of their respective books.

System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager Cookbook, 2nd Edition

Alessandro wrote this second edition book to focus on SCVMM 2012 R2, available from Amazon:


  • Create, deploy, and manage datacenters and private and hybrid clouds with hybrid hypervisors using VMM 2012 R2
  • Integrate and manage fabric (compute, storages, gateways, and networking), services and resources, and deploy clusters from bare metal servers
  • Explore VMM 2012 R2 features such as Windows 2012 R2 and SQL 2012 support, converged networks, network virtualization, live migration, Linux VMs, and resource throttling and availability

What you will learn from this book

  • Plan and design a VMM architecture for real-world deployment
  • Configure network virtualization, gateway integration, storage integration, resource throttling, and availability options
  • Integrate SC Operations Manager (SCOM) with VMM to monitor your infrastructure
  • Integrate SC APP Controller (SCAC) with VMM to manage private and public clouds (Azure)
  • Deploy clusters with VMM Bare Metal
  • Create and deploy virtual machines from templates
  • Deploy a highly available VMM Management server
  • Manage Hyper-V, VMware, and Citrix from VMM
  • Upgrade from previous VMM versions

Hyper-V Best Practices


Benedict wrote this book, available from Amazon:

This is a step-by-step guide to implement best practice configurations from real-world scenarios, enhanced with practical examples, screenshots, and step-by-step explanations.This book is intended for those who already have some basic experience with Hyper-V and now want to gain additional capabilities and knowledge of Hyper-V.If you have used Hyper-V in a lab environment before and now want to close the knowledge gap to transfer your Hyper-V environment to production, this is the book for you!

Congratulations to both authors!

Before anyone asks – no, I am not planning an update to the WS2012 Hyper-V book. It’s too much work for too little return in too small a window (Windows Server vNext Preview will be announced in October, 12 months after the RTM of WS2012 R2).

Some Windows Server 2012 R2 & Exchange 2013 Reading For You

Some of my friends have been very busy lately.

Mastering Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 was recently released.  My photography buddy, former MVP, and Microsoft UK Exchange TSP, Nathan Winters had a hand in this book.


Available on:

If you want to learn about Windows Server 2012 R2 then Mastering Windows Server 2012 R2 is available on pre-order (print for now, Kindle will follow when it’s released).  I have a number of friends involved in this one: headliner Mark Minasi, Irish MVP Kevin Greene, and ex-MVP and Microsoft Ireland PFE John McCabe.


Available on:

And before you ask, I will not be writing a WS2012 R2 Hyper-V book.  It’s too much work and not enough reward for 9 month’s effort.  I think you’ll find lots of regular authors are dropping out of traditional tech print.  The WS2012 Hyper-V book covers most of what you need.

Book: Mastering Lync Server 2013

I didn’t realise it was out yet, but Mastering Microsoft Lync Server 2013 by Keith Hanna and Nathan Winters (a friend and Exchange/Lync expert) is out.

You can get this nearly 900 pages book at:

.. as well as all good book stores and a few rubbish ones too.

In fact, I got two copies of the book directly from Sybex today.  I hear that Nathan still hasn’t gotten his – poor timing with the house move, dude Smile with tongue out


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The TechEd North America 2013 Microsoft Private Cloud Book Challenge

I have two copies of Microsoft Private Cloud Computing to give away on the final day of TechEd North America.  The challenge is simple.  All you have to do is be one of the first two people to:

  1. Find me in the TechEd North America 2013 convention centre AND then
  2. Immediately shout out loud the following: “Hyper-V Rules!”

I mean shout.  Saying it, being shy, being just a little noisy … that’ll disqualify you.  You need to scream “Hyper-V Rules!”.

If you are one of the first two people to do that then you win yourself a copy of the book.  In return, I’ll ask you to post a review on your local Amazon site.

The competition ends at 17:00 on 6/6/2013.

Over 1 Year Since The Project Started

Well over a year ago discussions started with the publisher.  A lot of that was “will this version of Hyper-V actually sell?” which leads to “will there be enough demand for a book on this product?”.  6 months of writing by 4 authors and reviewing by another, plus countless hours of editing.  And after all that work, 600 pages just arrived.

You can get 600 pages of Windows Server 2012 knowledge to own from these outlets: Smile

Yes, I know there are some typos still there – please contact Wiley directly.

Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ.

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Installation And Configuration Guide Is Shipping In Europe

Good news; the paperback version of the new Hyper-V book is now shipping from Amazon in Europe.  Act fast though; The German store reports this morning that there are just 7 left in stock and the UK store has just 11. The book is also available in Kindle (contact Wiley about other e-versions) and was, of course, already available in the USA store.  I haven’t looked at other regions yet.

9781118486498 cover.indd