Best of MMS 2013 – SCUG Belgium

Earlier this month I attended MMS2013 in Las Vegas. Today the Belgian System Center Community let’s us know about a live event “Best of MMS” they organize in order to share in-depth System center knowledge/presentations along with their impressions.

No one les than Wally Mead, the Senior Program Manager for System Center Configuration Manager who’s perhaps better know as The Godfather of Configuration Manger, will be joining the event. Wally is presenting twice along side the Belgian SCUG members, many of which belong to Microsoft Extended Experts Team (MEET) and/or are MVPs in Enterprise Client Management, Cloud & Datacenter & Virtual machine.

Grab a seat for "Best of MMS 2013” right here on Eventbrite


You can find the (non final) agenda on the SCUGBE web site As you can see I have an early morning session at 09.15  – 10.15 on “Availability Strategies for a Resilient Private Cloud”. This provides the foundation for a high to continuous available private cloud my fellow speakers will be presenting on.

There will be opportunities to network, talk shop, learn and last but not least to win a TechEd Europe 2013 ticket in a lottery!

MMS2013: SD-B303 How to Build Your Strategy For a Private Cloud

Eduardo Kassner delivered a great session. You can look at it here when it becomes available. Give it 24 hours after real time delivery.

What’s more, he was deadly honest about the realities in the field. Only 2% of customers are effectively using a private cloud … He also offered some very simple tool for getting started with projects to get things done and deliver results. All you need is a Hotmail account and an internet connection to use the tool. It produces reports and MS Project files for the needed projects, Visio diagrams etc. The Optimization Assessment Tool generates reports that can serve as the baseline for planning an effective roadmap and as an incentive for optimizing your IT infrastructure. The detailed Roadmap plan will be generated as part of the Discovery tools.

Now we can be skeptical and realistic that this tool is not perfect. But that same reality is that I have seen a lot less results from expensive consulting and “non committed” attempts at doing something with cloud. The two Dilbert cartoons below demonstrate this very adequately while at times being a bit to close to reality for comfort.

January 07, 2011

November 18, 2009

The Microsoft Management Summit 2013

MMS 2013 is in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Time flies fast and it’s time to look ahead to 2013. My continuing investment in myself is part of that.  Despite a lot of rumors about big changes to MMS (its future, location, timing etc.) things will go forward as they’ve been in the past years. That includes the location. As you probably already heard it’s back in Las Vegas, state of Nevada, USA. So after the, for many people, somewhat disconcerting announcement at MMS 2012 indicating the above mentioned changes, MMS 2013 will once again be held in Las Vegas again. As before it will be focused on the entire System Center Suite. That was confirmed by a mail form the MSS conference team recently and a TechNet blog post


Recently is was announced that the MMS 2013 content survey is now open. So they’re planning for the Microsoft Management Summit 2013 content and they’d like to hear from us. Why? Well, the better they align the content of the conference to our needs, the better it will be as an experience. This means our return on investment will be bigger which is always a good thing. So if you’re going or thinking of going this is the place, MMS 2013 Content Survey, to voice your opinions on what it should look like content wise. You have two more weeks to fill it out and than it’s scheduled to close down.

Why Attend?

It’s great to have an event focused on managing, deploying and protecting the infrastructure we’ve spent so much time, effort and money building. This conference is dedicated to exactly that. Smaller in scale but very focused. All together in the same hotel/conference center for 5 long days living in System Center and nothing else. As the world’s top operators in this space are there, the networking opportunities are also excellent. I can still remember the amount of talking and discussing I did with my colleagues in 2012, that was stimulating.

It’s also the place to provide feedback to Microsoft about System Center. Things you like, don’t like, things that are missing etc. I most certainly have some feedback for them.

Will I attend?

I’ll most certainly try to attend, that’s for sure. So it’s time to fill out the request form and start cutting through the red tape. Let’s hope the economy doesn’t tank completely and that we can go. The chips might be down right now but let’s not cost cut ourselves out of skills, education, opportunities and a future. Remember, keep moving forward and don’t quit yet, you can always give up later Winking smile.

Attending the Dell Tech Summit EMEA

As you read this I’m preparing to get on my way to the DELL Tech Summit in Lisbon, Portugal for a few days. I’ll be discussing the needs we have from them as customers (and their competition actually for that matter) when it comes to hardware in the Microsoft landscape in the era of Windows Server 2012.


I’m very happy and eager to tell them what, in my humble opinion, they are doing wrong and what they are doing right and even what they are not doing at all Smile  I believe in giving feedback and interaction with vendors. Not that I have any illusion of self importance as to the impact of my voice on the grand scheme of things but if I don’t speak up nothing changes either. As Intel and Microsoft are there as well,  this makes for a good selection of the partners involved. So here I go:

  1. More information on storage features, specifications and roadmaps
  2. Faster information on storage features, specifications and roadmaps
    • Some of these are in regards to Windows Server 2012 & System Center 2012 (Storage Pools & Spaces, SMI-S, ODX, UNMAP, RDMA/SMB3.0 …) and some are more generic like easier & better SAN/Cluster failovers capabilities, ease of use, number of SCSI 3 persistent reservations, etc.
  3. How to address the IOPS lag in the technology evolution. Their views versus my ideas on how to tackle them until we get better solutions.
  4. Plans, if any, for Cluster In a Box (CiB) building blocks for Windows Server 2012 Private Cloud solutions.
  5. When does convergence make sense and when not cost/benefit wise (and at what level). I’d like a bit more insight into what DELLs vision is and how they’ll execute that. What will new storage options mean to that converged network, i.e. SMB 3.0, Multichannel & RDMA capable NICs. Now convergence always seems tied to one tech/protocol (VOIP in the past, FCoE at the moment) and it shouldn’t, plenty of other needs for loads of bandwidth (Live migration, Storage Live Migration, Shared Nothing Live Migration, CSV redirected mode, …).

Now while it’s important to listen to you customers, this is not easy if you want to do it right, far from it. For one we’re all over the place as a group. This is always the case unless you cater to a specialized niche market. But DELL serves both consumers and enterprises form 1 person shops to fortune 500 companies in all fields of human endeavor. That makes for nice cocktail of views and opinions I suspect.

Even more importantly than listening is processing what you hear from your customers. Do you ignore, react, or take it away as more or less valuable information. Information on which to act or not, to use in decision making, and perhaps even in executing those decisions. And let’s face it without execution decisions are pretty academic exercises. In the end management is in control and for all the feedback, advise, research that gathered and done, they are at the steering wheel and they are responsible for the results.

One thing that I do know from my fellow MVPs and the community is that for the past 12 months any vendor who would address those questions with a good plan and communications would be a top favorite while selecting hardware at many customers for a lot of projects.