Why Should You Go To Minasi Conference 2010?

Everyone knows that budgets are slashed and the opportunity to attend big and expensive conferences so you can stay up to date is probably gone.  Well there is a more economic way to stay up to date.

Mark Minasi (well known TechEd/WinConnections speaker, Windows IT Pro journalist, Mastering Windows Server 2008 R2 author) will once again be hosting a conference in his home town of Virginia Beach, VA, USA.  It’s a low cost, non-profit event that is aimed squarely at the IT Pro.  The registration cost is a measly $450 which is around €330.  It’s 3 days full of techie talk, including Windows Server/Desktop, virtualisation, SBS/EBS, Exchange, SharePoint, PowerShell, Active Directory, security/certificate services, SQL, and a whole lot of fun.

This is not WinConnections or TechEd.  It’s a whole lot smaller and all of the speakers are techies.  Because this event is smaller, everyone is approachable and they’ll try to answer any question.  Every session is very interactive, and most of the speakers can usually be found afterwards in the bar, at breakfast/lunch, or at the party.

It’s not only sessions or classes here.  Intercontinental friendships, both personal and professional, are formed here every year.  Delegates look forward to meeting up with friends again, and with figuring out problems with other delegates.  The opportunity to network is unmatched … everyone is made welcome, we pretty much all have breakfast and lunch together.  And whether you want to party or just hang out for a quiet evening, you’ll have some company.

The speakers include authors, journalists, consultants, administrators, MVP’s, and people respected on the Internet for the experience and willingness to help.  Something quite original was tried last year and it’s being repeated this year.  Mark likes to encourage people to develop their skills, be it technical or otherwise.  Many of the speakers at the conference really only started doing this stuff here.  Most people would run at the thought of speaking for 75 minutes.  So last year we tried running mini-sessions where attendees could talk for 15 minutes about stuff they had done that might be interesting, e.g. a first time delegate spoke about how to build a PC at home for running VMware ESXi.  It was a success and it’s being repeated this year.

We also push outside the usual topics to boost personal development.  A few years ago Mark did a session on how to do technical presentations.  It was a hit and provided great information, some of which I try to use.  This year Eric Rux (an editor with Windows IT Pro) is talking about how to get into writing.  With Mark Minasi, and a bunch of other writers (book and magazine) in the audience also taking part, there’ll be a lot of information. 

Previous attendees will know that each conference is pretty much formed the year before based on feedback.  It really is a conference that is “owned” by the delegates.  A perfect example is PKI/certificate services.  Last year it seemed to be mentioned in half of the sessions and most delegates had no knowledge or experience in dealing with this technology.  A Q&A session on content pretty much steered the speaker recruiting.  So this year we have Roger Grimes (MS security architect) in to talk about it.  Take a peek at the below schedule and you’ll see how much interaction there is: panel sessions, Q&A sessions, etc.  Check it out and see if you’ve got a time slot in May to attend.  Here’s the schedule for 2010:

Sunday – May 2nd 2010

  • Pre-Conference event with Todd Lammle
  • 08:30 – 12:30
  • 12:00 PM – Conference Registration Begins
  • 1 PM – Opening Session led by Mark Minasi
  • 2 PM – Session 1: Mark Minasi – 10 (or more) things that you don’t know about Windows Server 2008 R2
  • 3:15 – Break
  • 3:30 – Eric Rux – “So, you want to be a writer, eh?:  Tips, tricks and other thoughts on getting into the writing game – with open discussion with the other authors in the audience”
  • 4:00 – Mini Session – TBC
  • 4:30 – Break
  • 4:45 – Roger Grimes – Fighting off Malware, the latest attacks and ways to resist them!
  • 6:00 – Welcome Reception in the Hunt Room

Monday  – May 3rd 2010

  • 9:00 – Ultan Kinahan – Disaster Recovery With VMware SRM
  • 10:15 – Laura E. Hunter – Active Directory Federation Services
  • 11:30 – Break
  • 11:45 – Aidan Finn – Using Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2: How to manage Hyper-V
  • 1:00 – Lunch (Provided)
  • 1:45 – Claus Neilsen – Digging into PowerShell V2
  • 3:00 – Mark Minasi – The Active Directory recycle bin.
  • 4:15 – Break
  • 4:30 – Expert Panel:  Project Planning, Design and Documentation (Bring Your Own Questions)
  • 5:45 – Offsite Dinner Organized with Transportation

Tuesday – May 4th 2010

  • 9:00 – Eric Rux – Using Windows in your Home! –  “More fun with Windows Home Server: How to use this versatile product for small business and home entertainment”
  • 10:30  – Mini Session – TBC
  • 11:00 – Roger Grimes – Server 2008 PKI – Certificates are becoming increasing critical – learn how to use them!
  • 12:30 – Lunch (Provided)
  • 1:00 – Nathan Winters – Protection and Compliance with Exchange 2010
  • 2:15 – Break
  • 2:30 – Michael B. Smith – Part 1 – Migrating from 2003 AD and Exchange to 2010 Exchange and 2008 R2 AD – Hands on Demonstration
  • 3:45 – Break
  • 4:00 – Michael B. Smith – Part 2 – Migrating from 2003 AD and Exchange to 2010 Exchange and 2008 R2 AD – Hands on Demonstration
  • 5:30 – Dinner (on your own) at a local restaurant. Last chance to rub elbows.

Wednesday –  May 5th 2010

  • 9:00 – Stacy Hein – SQL Server troubleshooting
  • 10:15 – Short Session
  • 10:45 – Break
  • 11:00 – Joe McGlynn – A look at SBS and EBS – Doing IT right for the SME
  • 12:15 – Closing and Lunch
  • 1:30 – Unofficial Round Table

Exchange 2010 Support For Virtualisation

I hadn’t really read this one too much because I don’t deal with Exchange very often.  But it came up on the Minasi Forum over the last few days and Jetze Mellema (Exchange MVP) posted a link to the official support article.

Does Exchange 2010 support virtualisation?  Yes … barely.  There’s so many notes associated with the support statement from the Exchange teams that you really want to sit back and go Hmmm!

Obviously it supports Hyper-V and other hardware virtualisation solutions in the Windows Server Virtualization Validation Program.

Microsoft goes on to say:

  • The Unified Messaging server role is not supported in VM’s.
  • Virtual disks that dynamically expand aren’t supported by Exchange.
  • Virtual disks that use differencing or delta mechanisms (such as Hyper-V’s differencing VHDs or snapshots) aren’t supported.

Other notes from this site are:

  • You cannot run a DAG on a clustered host, e,g. a VMware cluster with VMotion or a Hyper-V cluster with Live/Quick Migration.
  • Snapshots of the VM are not supported.
  • The Exchange team supports no more than 2 virtual processors per logical processor on the host.  For example, you cannot have more than 16 virtual processors on a dual, quad core host (8 logical processors).  Normally, Hyper-V has a max of 8:1 ratio.
  • Like with SQL, snapshots are not supported.

Not that these restrictions don’t just apply to Hyper-V.  They apply to all virtualisation solutions.

The Exchange Server 2010 Setup On Hyper-V Fails With 2147504141 Error

Thanks to Dutch Exchange MVP, Jetze Mellema, for raising this one.  Jetze is doing a lot of Exchange 2010 work over in the Netherlands.  He tweeted today about something he’d seen.

When you try to set up Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 on a Hyper-V Virtual Machine, the setup process may fail. Additionally, you receive the following error message:

"An error occurred with error code ‘2147504141’ and message ‘The property cannot be found in the cache.’"

KB980050 discusses the solution:

To resolve this problem, disable time synchronization in the Hyper-V Manager console. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Hyper-V Manager console.
  2. Locate and Right-click the virtual machine on which you want to install Exchange Server 2010, and then click Settings.
  3. Click the Management section in the Settings tab, and then click Integration Services.
  4. Click to clear the Time synchronization check box, and then click OK.
  5. Install Exchange Server 2010 on the virtual machine.
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Microsoft Ireland Partner Community Expert Event

I’m attending this day long event and will try to blog as I go along.

Morning Introduction

Conor Whickam, Partner Manager at Microsoft Ireland, opens the day to introduce the agenda.  This is meant to be an interactive session.  I was a bold boy at one of these this time last year so I’m shutting up.  I can hear sighs of relief.

Paul Rellis

Paul Rellis, the GM of Microsoft Ireland takes over with a keynote.  The theme is Microsoft = Productivity.  I guess this is a Business Intelligence year.  He starts talking about a famous human cannon ball called Armando?  The ringmaster was asked why he wasn’t replaced after he died.  It’s because he could find a person of the right calibre.  *Boom Boom*  MS invests in their people and “in their partners”.  MS wants partners to invest in their own staff as MS develops their staff.

The message about Azure/BPOS comes out.  Your two options are to install on premise or to install on Azure.  It’s a partner event but the hosting partners have already been had their ankles slashed.  MS needs to rethink that message.  Plenty of hosters are already pushing Linux more than Windows.  MS jacks up SPLA licensing costs (going up this year, at the end of each annual contract) while competing with their partners with aggressive sales.  CentOS and LAMP will continue to dominate the online market.

State of the Irish Market

Richard Moore now takes over to talk about the state of the Irish Market.  The opportunities include upgrade projects and end of life projects.

On the PC side:

  • 2010 will continue to see a decline until the second half of the year.  The low will be at 2005 levels.
  • Retail is continuing to take market share, growing by 10%
  • Up to 10% of national PC sales will be through the National Educational PC deal
  • Netbooks have not been as successful as predicted.  That’s because notebooks and netbooks do not have a great price differential.  However Telco’s may offer them at discount prices in combination with mobile broadband contracts.


  • Sales down from 40,000 to 30,000
  • IDC predicts another decline in 2010.  This may level out in 2011.
  • A spike in sales (to Dell, not HP!) in 2009 was caused by the MS data centre.


  • 2009 saw a massive slowdown with 4% drop.
  • 2010 predicting a .7% increase.
  • 2011 expected to be around 3.4%

The overall levels are back to 2005 numbers.  2010 will see small decrease or a levelling out.

New opportunities

  • Exchange 2010, Office 2010, SharePoint 2010
  • Server: upgrades and low end (continuing to sell)
  • Cloud computing


  • Lots of old deployments still out there.  70% of E2003 or older.
  • E2010 “offers cost savings” and productivity improvements.
  • Easier to support and maintain.
  • Access anywhere is a mature solution.
  • €15m in upgrade business out there.

Office 2010:


Current installation figures are:

  • Office 2007 (and Office 2010 Beta/RC) is at 30.1% of the Irish market
  • Office 2003 at 29.4%
  • Office 2000 is at 12.0%
  • Office XP 23.3%
  • Office 2000: 12%
  • Office 95/97: 1.4%
  • Other MS Office 1.2%
  • Non-MS products: 1.6%

Office and SharePoint go hand in hand and drive each others sales.

Server opportunities:

  • Windows 2000 end of life on July 13th
  • Virtualisation with Hyper-V very attractive

Server 2008 R2 Foundation:

The Irish market is dominated by small companies.  Server 2008 R2 Foundation would appear to fit in.  However, I don’t know about the fit.  The Irish SME is very happy with SBS.  EBS has been a flop here.

We now get the pitch on Forefront and how it is a future investment for partners.  Again, the Irish SME is stuck in yellow-box land.

Windows 7 Plans: 41% will be running Windows 7 by end of 2011

Now we get the BPOS talk.  See my previous posts on the Patriot Act.  Many are using BPOS as a complimentary add-on to their onsite installation.  For example, some users will use online service, IM will be used, etc.

He reckons there is a niche market for SAM (software asset management).  This is related to auditing and licensing compliance.  You’ll be as popular as a taxation auditor with IT on the customer site but you might make some money.

Partner Sales + Strategy

Karl O’Leary (Partner Sales) and Colin Cassidy (Partner Strategy and Program) now take over.

Colin says that their forecasts are usually pretty accurate.  Again, I’m asking that MS Ireland takes over running the country.  Paul Rellis does more for Irish business than our glorious leader, Brian Cowen.  And anyone who can crunch numbers anyway accurately is better than the Department of Finance. 

Some boring stuff now.  Taking a breather.

MS focusing on virtualisation and Exchange this year when it comes to the partner campaigns:

When you talk about Exchange leads to a conversation about the desktop.  That’s Office 2010.  That leads to Windows 7 and IE8.  Exchange will run on Server 2008/2008 R2.  It might be virtualised and that leads to Hyper-V.  This all needs security: ForeFront.  ForeFront is developed hand-in-hand with Exchange.  Then System Center is used to manage everything.  Don’t stop there.  Push productivity: Then you have Unified Communications (OCS) and SharePoint.  When you do OCS/Exchange then you talk about mobility, e.g. Smart Phones running Windows Mobile.  BTW, there’s something happening with Ballmer next week. 

MS Ireland going after VMware compete business with everything they have.  There is a pincer movement including HP and Dell.  Partners can choose the Bush principle: “You’re either with us or against us”.

4,000 Exchange upgrades are out there in Ireland now.  176,000 XP installations with support ending.  14,583 Windows 2000 installations with support ending.  That’s business to be had.

Partners Presenting

Gerry Kerr from CDsoft, Hyper-V and UC are their things.  Scott from Nitech are an infrastructure/dev partner working in BI.  A dude, Frasier, from Ergo as well.  They are field engineers who also say they do BI.  Oh boy, flashbacks of an awful part of the TechEd 2010 keynote.  I’m watching the doors to see if people are leaving … oh there we go 🙂

Gerry says something that I’ve been saying for over a year.  Hyper-V wins against VMware when you sell System Center, not virtualisation.  It’s the manageability that wins.

Louise Connaughton, EMEA Partner Support Group

Some stuff about what services you get as a partner.  That led into a coffee break which was sorely needed.

The Office / SharePoint Launch Wave

The 3 pillars of the combined solution are:

  • Best user experience: desktop, VDI, terminal services, phone, etc.  Office will also be online.  You can “round trip” between online Office and on-site office with document fidelity.
  • IT Choice: on site or online
  • Business Platform: Office, SharePoint, Dynamics, SQL, partners like Siebel and SAP

MS claims the ribbon is responsible for users using 4 times more features in Office 2007 than they did in 2003.  The ribbon is fully deployed in Office 2010.

2010 Launch

  • Partner readiness day (sales and marketing)
  • Partner IT road show in Dublin, Belfast, Shannon and Cork – similar to the Windows 7/Server 2008 R2/Exchange 2010 launch tour
  • A v-Launch

2010 PR:

  • nWOW microsite release
  • eBook with production quality video

Patrick Herlihy Demo

Patrick is the Exchange/BI techie in MS Ireland partner sales.  He’s now doing a demo of XP/Office 2003 VS Windows 7/Office 2010.

Barry McMahon

Barry (a MS sales person – Application Platform Lead) now talks about SharePoint’s role in BI.  Excel is the most valuable client application – agreed. I worked in a company where over 50% of business data was in spreadsheets.

Three contexts of BI

  • Organisational BI: Built and maintained by IT, for use by the company
  • Team BI: Built by the team, for the team
  • Personal BI: Built by me, for use by me (Excel lives here)

Excel (PowerPivot) with SQL enables and empowers that last one.  It’s made easier by PowerPivot.  Now you have an application. (you can add something called a Slicer to allow data selectivity).  That application can be published to SharePoint.  Here’s where your MIS department will pull their hair out, worried about application/data accuracy.

Here’s the pitch for WPC10 July 11-15th in Washington DC.  MS wants your money.


They broke us up into 4 groups for lunch so 4 different MS teams could come in to do Q&A sessions.  The first one was funny; I was a bold boy last year and we joked about it a bit.  I skipped the last one; the speaker’s voice goes through me like a rusty blade.

The rest of the day is being broken into different tracks.  I was going to skip the virtualisation track – there’s nothing I can learn about the MS line.  However, they have Citrix in and I’d like to learn what they’re up to.  Spoke to some person during the week from Citrix.  She wanted to hear my opinion on their message.  It’s now my stock answer: “Too much marketing; just tell me what the damned thing does because neither your site nor your presentations do”.  So here I am sat waiting for the virtualisation session.

I will do those sessions as different posts.

Irish Windows 7 and W2008 R2 Community Launch Videos

Microsoft Ireland has posted the video of the Dublin community launch of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange 2010.  I was lucky enough to be a part of the presentations, talking about the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit for Windows 7, the Application Compatibility Toolkit and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010.  This was a demo intensive session and well worth checking out if you couldn’t make it on the day.  I’m in the “Windows 7 & Windows Server 2008 R2 Story Part I” video.