Friday, June 27, 2008

I was wrong – again

In a previous post I posed the possibility that there was missing step in the migration of Companyweb from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008. After repeating the process again it appears that it does work as laid out in the recommended migration process.

 

Interestingly, when I repeated the process using an untouched version of SBS 2003 Companyweb I actually received a timeout during the Application creation stage. After running the process again it worked as expect. Perhaps when I did my initial migration there was also some sort of timeout that I wasn’t aware of and the site creation failed to complete properly. Maybe, it had something to do with the fact that I used a demo SBS 2003 Companyweb I have. Maybe, there were some security issues I over looked on the SBS 2003 Companyweb that caused the failure of the site creation. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

 

Yes, maybe but looks like I stuffed up (again) and the recommended migration process works as expected. Now I just have to work out what I did wrong.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Proof that emails make you stupid

I came across the following article about the Myth of Multi-tasking in which it says:

 

“Workers distracted by e-mail and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers.”

 

So there you have it. Actually, I commend that you take the time (don’t multi-task) and read the complete article, which simply shows how humans can’t improve their productivity by multi-tasking. In fact they make it infinitely worse.

 

To me the rest of the world seems to be chanting “multi-task, multi-task” but the real heroes are those that step back and say “No, I need to concentrate on one thing at a time”. They may suffer ridicule but I bet they get more done than most people.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Most emails are a waste of time




Here’s an interesting article from the NYTimes about information overload. As you can see from the above graphic most information workers waste the greatest percentage of their day on interruptions from things that aren’t urgent. Don’t forget that it isn’t just the time to look at the irrelevant material, it is also the time taken to get back to what you are doing. (Also, interestingly they spend 15% of their day looking for stuff – I’ll talk about that in the future.)

Have you ever stopped to evaluate your own productivity in relation to things like emails and mobile phones? Are you actually “using” the technology or is “using” you?

Technology should be making your life EASIER not HARDER. If it isn’t then perhaps it’s time to take control back or perhaps just ignore it for a while?

Document library discovery

When you come to Sharepoint from a files and folders background you tend to simply replicate the same structure within Sharepoint document libraries. In many cases this is probably not your best option.

 

Case in point. My external Sharepoint site Supportweb has a Document Library called Documents. In here you’ll find all sorts of documents I’ve created and uploaded. Many are available for free but there is also a whole swag that are only available to subscribers. Initially, when I started uploading to the document library I created a whole lot of sub-folders and placed the relevant documents in these folders. For example, I had folders for Exchange, SBS and so on.

 

Now the problem was when I wanted to find a document that was about Exchange server on SBS. Was it in the Exchange Folder or the SBS folder? Also, people more versed in Sharepoint than me suggest that the best idea with document libraries is to dump everything into a single location (no sub-folders) and then use Sharepoint’s in built filtering capability to find what you are looking for.

 

Now this made a lot of sense to me so I was considering relocating all my documents from their sub-folders to the top level folder. This wasn’t going to be an easy task and may have involved re-assigning the rights to each document again. BUT I found a better way!

 

I simply created a new Sharepoint view called Complete that displayed all the files, even those from sub-folders in a single page! I then made that view the default view so it is what you see when you first enter the document library now. The original All documents view is still there (simply change the view name in the top right of the Documents library and change the view to All documents to see how it used to be).

 

How easy was that? Geeze, I love Sharepoint. No re-keying, moving files and so on. Simply create a new view of your data. I added an additional column to the entries so that the documents can easily be sorted by using Sharepoint (just click on the column heading to bring up the filtering options for that column). Even updating the records was a piece of cake. I simply changed the view to Datasheet view (like Excel) changed the records for that column and returned to the Standard view. Geeze, I love Sharepoint!

 

So image a Sharepoint document library like a phone book, full of data. If you create a view of this phone book (say just family and friends) everything except the records matching your criteria are not displayed. The records are still there in the phone book but you don’t need to see them. Now image you create another view for all your business contacts. You can easily swap between views to display exactly what you need without the need to see irrelevant data. Bottom line is that phone book data is always there. Whenever you update or change something, the record in the phone book also gets changed. One set of data but many ways to view the data. You can even have different views for different people, but the underlying data remains the same.

 

So if you are thinking about creating folders underneath a document library don’t bother, just dump all the data into the one location and use filtering to find what you want. If you already have a document library that is full of sub-folders, create a new that allows you to view all the files together without sub-folders. Again, same data, different view.

 

Geeze I love Sharepoint!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Companyweb to SBS 2008 Migration

For documentation of how to migrate Companyweb on SBS 2008 please see the following link.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc527602.aspx

This is constantly being updated from the documentation team so that should always be your first referral for information now and in the future.

Don't forget our Windows Sharepoint Operations Guide (http://wssops.saturnalliance.com.au) for information about installing, migrating and maintaining Sharepoint on SBS 2003.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I think there’s a step missing

I’ve been working through the suggested Microsoft Companyweb migration from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 and I think that a step has been overlooked.

 

In the document:

 

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc527482.aspx – Steps Performed on the Destination Server

 

towards the bottom there’s a section called “Create a new Windows SharePoint Services Web application named OldCompanyWeb”. At the bottom of this section it says:

 

15. The Operation in Progress page is displayed. This operation takes approximately 30 minutes. The new Windows SharePoint Services Web application is created, and the Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 CompanyWeb database is upgraded to Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.

16. The Application Created page is displayed. It notes that you need to reset IIS to finish creating the new Web site. You will do this in a later procedure. Close Central Administration for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.

 

clip_image002_2_vAJhAQ

 

Problem as I see is that you need to create a Site Collection by returning to the Application Management tab and selecting the option Create Site Collection (or click on the link in displayed in page above). If you don’t do this then companywebold is not created as a site and you’ll never see if you try and type into the browser.

 

All that I see is missing that you need to Create a Site collection, call it companywebold, select a Team site template and you’re done.

 

clip_image0029_K8Z0ww

 

However, the documentation goes into checking the Site Level Administrator (which won’t work unless you have created a top level site) and then does an iisreset and says:

 

You now have a working Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Web site that is named OldCompanyWeb and that contains the structure and documents of your old Windows SBS 2003 CompanyWeb Web site.

 

From what I see, that won’t be the case unless you insert the additional step to create a top-level site.

First SBS migration almost complete

I have been testing the SBS 2008 migration process but initially struck some issues during the process. After repeating the process and getting the same results my guess was that it was something to do with ISA 2004 on the source SBS 2003 since I was attempting to migrate SBS 2003 Premium. Don’t ask me why but I reckon that’s what it is.

 

To remove ISA 2004 out of the loop I decided to attempt the same migration but this time from SBS 2003 Standard. I’ve got to say that it has gone flawlessly.

 

image_2_qWIgrw

 

As you can see from the above screen shot I did have some warnings, but when I looked at these all they were was:

 

image_4_IPNFAw

 

because I was running this on an isolated network on under Hyper V it simply meant that SBS 2008 couldn’t get to the Internet to get some updates. Not a big issue.

 

As I said before, the whole process so far of attaching the new server to the domain is a snap since it picks up everything from the answer file you create prior to the migration. There is still a little more to do to complete the migration but I am extremely confident that too will be a snap.

 

I’m documenting Microsoft’s suggested method of companyweb migration after which I’ll also be developing what I reckon is a quick method.

 

Stay tunes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Video 47 posted

Here’s a video to show you how straight forward the installation of SBS 2008 RC0 is. After just a few click you should have a system up and running.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jy7wkmamMs

 

As usual, don’t forget all our other videos at http://www.youtube.com/saturnalliance.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What a pity

Here’s another great community based Sharepoint project but unfortunately it only runs on Microsoft Sharepoint Office Server (MOSS). Damm.

 

Podcasting kit for Sharepoint

 

That aside it is a great example I think of how using Sharepoint as a basis for you information storage is a good move. I expect in the future to see more and more releases like this that are built on the Sharepoint framework. Sharepoint is simply a tool. It allows the easy capture, sharing and location of disparate data. Best of all it is easily customized without the need to write one line of code, yet it can be extended to what you see above as well.

 

All in all a very flexible product.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New version of Live Writer

I use Live Writer, a free download from Microsoft, to create my blog posts and upload then to my blog. Live Writer works really well with Sharepoint but there have been a few issues, such as embedding YouTube videos. Microsoft have released an updated version of Live Writer, that is still in beta but is claimed to fix this and add a swag of new features.

 

Find all the information about the update and a link to download the software here. Here’s a summary of the fixes and improvements:

 

Video and Image Publishing Enhancements
  • - Upload videos to Soapbox
  • - Image cropping and tilting
  • - Additional border styles
  • - Support for LightBox and other image previewing effects (like Slimbox, Smoothbox, and others)
  • - Support for centering images
 
Editing Enhancements
  • - Auto Linking
  • - Smart quotes/typographic characters
  • - Word count
 
UI Improvements
  • - Revised main toolbar
  • - Tabs for view switching
  • - Improved category control with search/filtering

 

I have thus downloaded it and installed it over the top of the previous version and am now composing this first blog post with it. So if you are now reading this you know that I have been able to at least post updates to my blog with the new version. With that sorted I’ll try some other stuff shortly and let you know the improvements.

Live Mesh from Microsoft

One of the other things that I have been playing with of late has been Live Mesh from Microsoft. Basically, you install a client on your PC's and Mobile devices and then nominate which directories on these machines you want sync' d. This means that the information in these folders will be available on all machines. It also means that a copy of the folders is also kept on the Internet so you can access your data from machines that are not part of your Live Mesh.

 

At the moment Live Mesh is still in Tech Preview (which means you have to sign up for a beta) and you only get 5GB of online storage. Given that, from what I have seen so far it is a pretty good product. The installation is simple and nominating your Live Mesh folders is a snap. The Live Mesh client give you information about other machines in you Live Mesh and their status.

 

I find Live Mesh a handy little addition since I need to keep information in certain folders up to date on all my machines. This means I can work on documents in one location and know that if I move somewhere else I can continue to keep working on the same document. Another handy feature is that it provides an automatic backup of your documents. So if the hard disk on one of my machines fails I know my documents are located not only on other machines but also online. All I need to do to get access to them is logon via a web browser or install the Live Mesh client on a new machine and re-sync.

 

Personally, I see this sort of technology playing a bigger and bigger role. We are only now seeing the beginning of 'cloud computing' but mark my words this will be big. Most people really only want access to their 'stuff', they don't care where it is they only want to get to it. They also don't want to have to worry about backing it up and here's where stuff like Live Mesh starts to come into its own. I agree there are issues around privacy but I feel these will soon be overcome with the integration of seamless encryption that means everything in a Live Mesh is automatically encrypted to a level beyond that any government agency can break. At that stage business will start jumping on board but long before consumers are going to lead the way with these sort of products.

 

It is all about having access to your 'stuff' no matter where you are and for me so far Live Mesh is a winner.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Can you notice the difference?

For those of you who are long time readers of my blog (shame on you if you're not!), you'll know a while back I went through trials and tribulations virtualizing all my CIAOPS machines. Basically, this meant that I could now run the entire infrastructure on a single piece of hardware. I'll be the first to admit that it wasn't a perfect solution but it did save lots of space, kept the power bills down and made management much easier.

 

Then after recent escapades getting SBS 2008 working I was so impressed with Microsoft Hyper-V I thought that migrating my existing virtual machines to Hyper-V would give it a nice boost in performance and again allow me to reduce the total hardware I have to maintain.

 

The first step in the process I figured was simply to transfer the existing virtual PC's to the new hardware still running Microsoft Virtual PC. Even though the host operating system is Windows 2008 64 bit and "doesn't" support Microsoft Virtual PC it will run. So the idea was simply transfer the machines to new hardware as a starting point. I duly shut down the virtual PC's on the original hardware and committed all the changes to hard disk and then copied the images off onto the new hardware.

 

What I found on the new Windows 2008 64 bit host system with Microsoft Virtual PC was that the images did load but once there were two or more images operating they ran really slow. Ok, I thought, if I'm already this far down the track I'll go Hyper-V. Another great thing about Hyper-V is that they can use existing Microsoft Virtual PC hard disk images, will alleviates the need to re-create the machines from scratch. This is pretty impressive when you consider that the virtual machine images I was going to use had been originally created in a 32 bit application. It's a nice and easy way to go to 64 bit in my books.

 

I knew the major issue with Hyper-V was going to be the network cards since they would be different from those already installed under Virtual PC. Problem is you can't add the Hyper-V additions to better support the new environment until you remove the old Virtual PC additions. So I had to fire the machines back up in Virtual PC, remove the Virtual PC additions and then save the virtual PC image back to disk. Now, after restarting the virtual machines in Hyper-V I could install the Hyper-V additions (needs 2 reboots). After that the only thing I needed to do was re-activate the operating system. Migration complete - I love virtualization!

 

Now all the CIAOPS infrastructure (including this Sharepoint blog) is running on a single machine under Hyper-V. Combined with an improved broadband link I think the performance is markedly better. What do you think?

 

The great thing is that I can still use the host same machine for testing virtual SBS 2008 RC0 and at a later stage can do a migration from my existing SBS 2003 R2. I also like the way that Hyper-V allows you to take snapshot backups which is going to be a real bonus when it comes to putting on updates and testing. Rolling back to a previous snap shot is a sinch. I've still got plenty to learn about Hyper-V but if you haven't looked at it I recommend you as I think it is going to be pretty big.

 

Now, I'll admit that what I have in place probably could be improved even further but on a cost basis I am ecstatic with what I have been able to achieve and the additional flexibility it is going to provide. It also has been very beneficial to get exposure to Hyper-V which I am liking more and more every day. If Hyper-V keeps working this well I am very confident that we'll be using for most customers in the future, it just makes so much sense on so many levels.

 

Finally, one of the big benefits so far is also that the issues I was having with my Sharepoint blog server seem to have gone away. Maybe it's just like getting new hardware? All I know is that it runs a hell of lot faster now!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Here's a quick summary so far

If you want a quick summary of what I've found so far about Companyweb on SBS 2008 then download this PDF. I'll try and keep adding updates to it once I find out more.

 

Also don't forget another PDF document I did about installing SharePoint v3 on SBS 2003.

I think I know why

I have been pondering why Microsoft have a manual migration process for Companyweb from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008. My conclusion is that in SBS 2008 there are at least two special items - Fax Center and Archived E-Mails, that would be lost if you did a straight old to new migration. So, the safest option is simply migrate to a backup site (oldcomapnyweb) on SBS 2008 and let the user copy data from there.

 

That is all well and good but what I can't understand is why Microsoft simply doesn't save these "special locations" as templates and then have the user add them in manually later if required. I have been testing that exact concept and it seems to work pretty well so far.

 

From what I see it is going to be far easier to migrate Companyweb directly from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 and then add in the "special locations".

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

First looks at SharePoint on SBS 2008

So I have spent a little time fiddling with Sharepoint (a la Companyweb) on SBS 2008 and have the following observations:

 

1. During the default installation it appears that Sharepoint data and programs get installed onto the C: partition. This seems to be the case with all the applications. You need a minimum partition size of around 65GB to complete the install. You maybe able to change this if you use the answer file method of installation. If you have a lot of existing Comapnyweb data or plan to then it is probably a good idea to relocate the Sharepoint data before you get too much further along the implementation.

 

2. It appears Companyweb is installed using the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Embedded Edition. This means that there is no database size limit but it also means that the Sharepoint farm can't be expanded and the Embedded Edition of SQL can't be upgraded. It also means by default that the Sharepoint data is on the C: drive under the Windows directory.

 

3. The move Sharepoint data wizard works really well. Running this wizard will allow you to move your Sharepoint data to another drive on your system. When you do move the data it simply replicates the same directory structure on the new drive. By default this means you will end up with a Windows directory on the drive under which will be the Sharepoint data (maybe confusing later on?). Interestingly, the wizard is smart enough to actually move the current content database rather than just the file. In my case because I had done a migration to a new content database I was afraid that it wouldn't relocate it because it was a different name. But nope, it moved it. The wizards appears to move the data file, config file and search files by detaching the SQL databases, relocating them and reattaching. Pretty neat I'll admit.

 

4. The default Companyweb installation has an item 'Fax Center' clearly the intended destination for faxes. Under this it has a number of sub-folders for incoming, outgoing faxes etc. Since my Companyweb migration was going to cream this I saved it as a template and then added it back to Companyweb after the migration, with exactly the same name and the fax configuration wizard picked it up. So it appears that if you delete 'Fax Center' in Sharepoint you can recreate it provided you use the name 'Fax Center' and the Fax configuration wizard will pick it up as a destination to route faxes. I'd like to know a bit more about how this actually works and how I could direct faxes to different document libraries I admit.

 

5. I noticed that Companyweb has a item 'Archive emails'. I wonder what that is for? I wonder whether Exchange 2007 can archive old emails into this? That would be pretty cool if it could. Something worth further investigation when I get a chance. Anyone out there know?

 

6. Companyweb is obviously now 64 bit (since SBS 2008 is 64 bit) combined with the addition of more memory and better disk speeds the performance is much quicker than it was before. Admittedly, this was only a test machine but I get the impression that Companyweb will perform pretty well in new SBS 2008 installation. This will hopefully mean that more people will use it!

 

7. I am not sure whether Companyweb will forgo inbound emails because it is on the same box as an Exchange server. This was the case previously in SBS 2003 but maybe different in SBS 2008, I'll need to look into that. If you go for SBS 2008 Premium you can always install Sharepoint on the second server and configure inbound emails there I suppose. I have the feeling that Companyweb still won't support inbound emails but I can't say definitely until I do some more research.

 

8. The migration of Companyweb from SBS 2003 appears to migrate the data to a new site called Oldcompanyweb on the SBS 2008 server. As I have said previously, I haven't fully tested this but it is going to mean a bit of work for people who have invested a lot of information in the old Companyweb. Don't forget all those people who have implemented Sharepoint v3 on SBS 2003 as well, there doesn't appear to be anything in the migration notes about that. I think there are probably easier ways to migrate the old Companyweb data but I need to understand what Microsoft recommends before I make any assumptions. So another thing to the 'to do' list.

 

So there you have it. A few quick impressions of what I see of Companyweb on SBS 2008. There is still plenty of testing to do but from what I see so far I think Sharepoint v3 on SBS 2008 will work pretty well.

Monday, June 9, 2008

SBS 2008 Companyweb migration success

Here's good old http://companyweb on SBS 2003 running under Sharepoint v2

 

image_2

 

Now here's the same http://companyweb running on SBS 2008 after I had migrated all the content across:

 

image_4

 

There's no trick photography, sleigh of hand or digital retouching here I have successfully been able to migrate Sharepoint v2 data from SBS 2003 to Sharepoint v3 in SBS 2008.

 

Having been able to migrate successfully before from Sharepoint v2 to Sharepoint v3 I knew that it would be possible but wanted to make sure on SBS 2008. I will admit that there is trick or two unique to SBS 2008 I had to overcome before I could get it working but nothing major. Now that I know it can be done I will go back and work on improving the process further.

 

Subscribers to my Windows Sharepoint Operations Guide (WSSOPS) will soon be see a new chapter dedicated to the full migration process of companyweb on SBS 2003 to SBS 2008. If you aren't a subscriber then you are going to face some hurdles but nothing that isn't insurmountable given the information current out there on the Internet. I will save you a bit of time and say that you can't simply backup Sharepoint v2 and restore it to Sharepoint v3. The rest you'll just have to work out for yourself, sorry.

 

I need to have a closer look at migration options that Microsoft now has with SBS 2008 but I have a feeling that they don't have anything for Companyweb, which I think will concern quite a few people. I may be wrong but I'm sure there are plenty or people who will want to migrate SBS 2003 companyweb to SBS 2008 companyweb but maybe I'm wrong?

Microsoft do have a way to migrate Companyweb

So after studying what Microsoft has to offer about migrating Companyweb on SBS you'll find:

 

Steps performed on source server

Steps performed on destination server

 

Interesting, it seems that the Microsoft procedure actually creates a second Sharepoint v3 site on the new SBS 2008 server. Quoting from the final results of the document:

 

You now have a working Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Web site that is named OldCompanyWeb and that contains the structure and documents of your old Windows SBS 2003 CompanyWeb Web site. This is a good time to review the contents of your Windows SBS 2003 CompanyWeb Web site and to reorganize or archive items, if appropriate. You can open the new Windows SBS 2008 internal Web site and the Windows SBS 2003 OldCompanyWeb site side-by-side.

 

If you open document libraries and use the Explorer view, you can copy and paste documents and folders from one site to the other.

 

I must admit that if I had a really big Companyweb site I wouldn't want to be recreating it. It is fine to say "just copy the documents" but what about all the other information like lists, calendars, tasks and so on? I can see this being a pain even for a small site.

 

Now, I will admit I haven't verified that my method doesn't break anything and it may well do that (I think it may have issues with inbound faxes and maybe the database relocation wizard) but I will check those out as well as the suggest migration method from Microsoft.

 

On the other hand I can understand why Microsoft recommends doing it this way because who knows what customizations have been done to people's companyweb? Who knows if these will even migrate correctly? At least with a second Sharepoint v3 site if something "breaks" then you still have an original SBS2008 companyweb to fall back on.

 

So I can understand Microsoft's logic but if you have a big/complex SBS 2003 companyweb site and you want to take the Microsoft option then basically be prepared to recreate the site on SBS 2008 from what I see.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Video 46 posted

So after all the recent dramas of getting SBS 2008 working I decided to celebrate with a new You Tube video. This video is a first look at the new Small Business Server from Microsoft. I quickly run through what's the same, what's new and then examine the new SBS management console.

 

Hopefully over time I'll be posting more videos about SBS 2008 including all the good old things that I have covered in previous videos on SBS 2003 such as creating users and computers. You'll find the latest video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcTmEYfjZek

Don't forget all the other videos at http://www.youtube.com/saturnalliance.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The weather starting getting rough...

The tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew, virtual SBS would be lost.

 

So, continuing on with what appears to be my never ending quest to get a virtual SBS 2008 machine working I had finally gotten a 64 bit guest environment working via Windows Server 2008 64 bit and Hyper-V. Phew. During the last episode I had just started installing SBS 2008.

 

Everything was looking good until the installation tells me I don't have a network card. I check the Windows configuration manager and I do have a network card but the driver won't start. Now if I had read John's comment to my previous post I would have been aware that I needed to set up the virtual machine for SBS with a legacy network card. Unfortunately I didn't do that, I did however find a work around. I mounted the virtual machine additions CD image, updated all the other missing drivers from that CD image, deleted and re-installed the network card from device manager and got it working. I'll have to remember that legacy card option for the next virtual SBS 2008 server I run up. Thanks for the heads up John.

 

Finally after many trials and tribulations I have SBS 2008 standard installed. Here's a few initial observations:

 

1. During the installation there aren't a lot of options. Most of the configuration seems to come after you get SBS running. In that way you just have to let SBS 2008 install the default way. Now it is my understanding that you can provide an answer file to change these default options but it certainly seems "dumbed down".

 

2. The connect to the Internet wizard is much more router and DHCP aware which is a good thing. The connection to the Internet is now simply connecting to the Internet. Email and remote access is in a different wizard.

 

3. The layout of the SBS console if very different but so far I like it. It is well organized and pretty logical I think. It is going to remove a lot of confusion for "non-IT" types. It is also interesting that it is moving further and further away from the technical to simply point and click. Again, "dumbing down" in my books.

 

I still have a lot more to play with, especially when it comes to Sharepoint on SBS 2008 and I'll be posting my findings and thoughts in upcoming entries. Now that I have SBS 2008 running what can I do with it? I wonder .... <stay tuned>

Just sit right back...

and you'll hear a tale. A tale of a fateful trip. That started from this tropic port aboard this 64 bit ship.." as the classic TV theme goes. Well almost.

 

So to recap, I have been trying to install SBS 2008 into a virtual environment. Problem is because SBS 2008 is only 64 bit I need something that supports a 64 bit guest operating system. However, I firstly need to purchase hardware that supports 64 bit and then install a 64 bit host operating system.

 

Hardware purchase, tick.

64 bit host operating system, tick.

64 bit virtual environment software, tick.

 

My initial choice for 64 bit virtual environment was Microsoft Virtual PC 2007. Which I discovered doesn't support host 64 bit operating systems. Strike one. Next option VM Ware Server. I install the current version (1.06). Problem is it doesn't have signed drivers and Vista 64 bit wants signed drivers. Long story short the current version of VM Ware server doesn't run on Vista 64 bit. Strike two. So now I try VM Ware server 2.0 Beta 2. Program installs but I can't actually log onto the VM Server. What the ...? I google here, I google there, turns out you have to enable the administrator account, (disabled by default under Vista), assign it a password and use that to log in. Ok, ok so I'm in. Now I create a VM machine and boot it but I can't connect to the VM console. I get a message about being unable to connect because a secure connection can't be established. I google here, I google there, turns out this a problem on Vista 64 bit. Damm! I try IE and Firefox to connect still no good. I google here, I google there but finally decide it's a lost cause. Strike three.

 

Next option, Virtual box from Sun. Turns out that doesn't support guest 64 bit operating systems either. <insert you favourite expletive here>. I know I can make this work, I ain't beat yet.

 

Thinking, thinking....ok let's try Windows 2008 and Hyper V as the virtual environment. This means an installation of Windows 2008 server 64 bit to remove the base Vista 64 bit I started with on my hardware. Luckily, I created a small system partition and had my data on another partition so all I needed to do was reformat and reinstall on the small system partition while my data remained intact. Hey, I'm not just a pretty face you know! Now my 64 bit machine doesn't have a mouse, keyboard and monitor since I was using remote desktop. So I stretch my existing keyboard, mouse and monitor across, boot to the Windows 2008 Server 64 bit system DVD and install Windows Server 2008.

 

Ok, Windows Server 2008 is up, I enable remote desktop, remove the keyboard, mouse and monitor and access it remotely again. I add the role for Hyper V and reboot. Bugger, Hyper V console won't load. Next stop Microsoft Update. Patching, patching, patching .... reboot, still no joy. Bugger x 2. So I search Microsoft.com and find that there is an update (not a critical or recommended update mind you for Hyper V on 64 bit Windows 2008 which I install and finally the Hyper V console is working. Phew. I go in and create a new virtual machine and start it up but am greeted by an error saying that the machine can't start because Hyper V isn't running. What the ...?

 

So I'm googling and I'm googling and learn that you have to turn on the virtualization stuff in your PC's BIOS since it is disabled by default in most cases. So I move the keyboard, mouse and monitor BACK to the 64 bit machine, reboot go into the BIOS and enable the virtualization stuff. I reboot the machine, move the keyboard, mouse and monitor BACK AGAIN to my original desktop and connect remotely.

 

That's all for this entries exciting tale. Stay tuned to the next entry for ... Just kidding, I couldn't do that to anyone who has read this far. Bottom line is I now have it working and am in the process of installing a guest SBS 2008 system on a Hyper V virtual machine on a Windows 2008 64 bit host operating system. I'm sure this story is far from over so do stay tuned!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Not as easy as that

So, as John points out in a comment to my last post, I have discovered that Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 doesn't support guest 64 bit operating systems even if it is running on a 64 bit system. Bugger! Ok, so I've learnt something today.

 

It seems that Sun has something called Virtual Box which appears to support 64 bit guest operating systems and seems to be all the rage with the Linux crowd. I think perhaps I'll try VM Server which is also free and appears to be more supported at least in the Windows world.

 

So now I gotta get VM Server running on 64 bit Vista (which I must say runs really well so far) and then get SBS 2008 running on VM Server.

 

Hey, I've got plenty of time, I've only just completed the download of the second SBS 2008 ISO DVD. You do need something to do during these long downloads don't you? Maybe like get a life as my mother would say!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A brave new world

I now have a new machine onto which I will be launching into the 64 bit world. The first step is to install Windows Vista Business x64 as the base operating system. Why? You well ask. Well, the plan is to run multiple Virtual PC's and initially I think that I should start with the latest and greatest client operating system and see where that leads me. Now sure, I could have installed Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008 but I'm really interested to see whether Windows Vista 64 bit is any better than normal Vista or XP. Besides, in my experience the only way to learn is to try it yourself, although I know that I'm bound to waste a heap of time going through the process.

 

Hopefully I won't have too much trouble at least getting the base operating system running. After doing all the updates, the next step will be the installation of the 64 bit version of Microsoft Virtual PC 2007. Then I'll be interested to see whether any of my existing Virtual PC images work or whether I have to create "dedicated" 64 bit versions from scratch (a real pain if that is the case). Then I'll be installing SBS 2008 to give it a run through.

 

Hopefully along the way I'll be able to give you a run down of my experiences in the 64 bit world and whether it does in fact make things run "better". Time will tell.

 

Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye. Cheerio, here I go on my way....

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hey, what about SharePoint migration in SBS 2008?

There's a whole heap of information now coming out about SBS 2008 (since it has gone RC0). There is also information about migrating to SBS 2008 (see here). Now call me bias but what about Sharepoint migration?

 

SBS 2003 comes with Sharepoint v2 by default and I suspect that most customers using Sharepoint are using this version. Now you can also install Sharepoint V3 on a SBS 2003 server but when you migrate to SBS 2008 how is this data going to be migrated? A migration from an installation in Sharepoint v3 on SBS 2003 is going to be easier since SBS 2008 comes with Sharepoint V3 but what about from the good ol' Sharepoint V2? You can't simply back Sharepoint V2 data up and restore it to Sharepoint V3!

 

I don't think people have stopped to consider that Sharepoint migration from SBS 2003 may be a little more difficult that they think. If people are using Sharepoint V2 on SBS 2003 big time then they are going to want their data migrated, no question. Now, I'll admit I haven't run up SBS 2008 yet (soon, real soon) so I can't fully comment on how Sharepoint V3 works on SBS 2008 but I'll bet a few bucks that any migration from Sharepoint V2 hasn't been given a lot of thought.

 

Luckily I know somewhere that is already giving in depth consideration to the problem and will soon have something available to assist with Sharepoint migrations. Look up in the sky. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the Saturn Alliance Windows Sharepoint Operations Guide to the rescue:

 

http://wssops.saturnalliance.com.au

 

So stay tuned to this blog ladies and gentlemen for further updates on Sharepoint migration in SBS 2008.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

100,000 views and climbing

I am very proud to announce that my videos on YouTube have now surpassed a total of 100,000 views! Truly amazing I must say as I never thought they would even get past 10,000, but hey I'm happy to be wrong again.

 

I'm currently working on a new video that will hopefully go up over the weekend. I'm planning to do some SBS2008 videos but I need a 64 bit operating system somewhere so I can run SBS 2008. I'm just scouting for a suitable piece of hardware now that can be dedicated to this. So hopefully in the near future I can start uploading some videos of SBS2008 as well.

 

Until then I'd like to take this opportunity to thanks all those people who have viewed my online videos, provided feedback and subscribed. It is because of people like you that I've been able to achieve this level and I will do my best to keep them coming. Don't forget to contact me if you have any feedback or requests for content.

 

Next milestone = 1,000,000 views!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Turning the frown upside down

I'm a 'glass half empty' kinda guy. Well really I'm a 'who the hell made this glass twice as big as it needed to be' type of guy but for the purposes of this let's just stick to the half empty metaphor.

 

Now the other day I was really pissed orf about something (if you will excuse my French, but I was). Now the rational part of my brain was saying - 'Look this is a total waste of time, there ain't anything you can do about the situation so just forget it!'. However the emotional part of my brain was saying 'Yes I know this is a waste of time but I am still pissed orf and need to vent this'. A classic power struggle, which in most cases results in my rational mind simply stepping aside until the emotional part cries itself out feeling pissed orf.

 

For some reason my rational mind just could put up with the wasted energy on this occasion and decided to find a solution. What it came up with was pretty clever. Now we all know we have negative feelings that do no good but we are human beings and that is just the facts but imagine if you could redirect that negative energy into something positive? Let's say that the next time you get pissed orf instead of dwelling on the fact you redirect that energy into accomplishing  or thinking something positive.

 

I agree that it isn't going to work every time but I have been giving it a try of late and am impressed with the results. Firstly, redirection gets my mind away from the thing that is pissing me orf and secondly I feel much better actually accomplishing or thinking about something positive. Every time I feel my emotions about a situation rising up again I redirect that energy to something far more rewarding.

 

Don't get me wrong, you just can't flick a switch and redirect the emotion it takes a bit of practice and patience but I can see the benefits even after a short period of time. I know that I am not always going to succeed in my aim but I think it is good a solution to at least try. Firstly, my rational mind can take the negative energy and put it towards something more useful and my emotion mind can vent all that it wants since it is being used for good and not bad.

 

That's the theory anyway.

Book Review - Beginning Sharepoint 2007 Administration

 
Beginning SharePoint 2007 Administration: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 - Göran Husman
 

 
For anyone who is looking for information about administrating Sharepoint (both WSS and MOSS) then this book is a very worthwhile read. Unusually for most Sharepoint books it provides a very good balance between WSS and MOSS as well as covering an extremely wide variety of topics.
 
The book is easy to read and packed with plenty of examples and 'how-to's'. It would also provide a very good reference book that can sit on your shelf for later referral. It covers many topics in a depth that isn't found in many other books on Sharepoint but is really focused on the professional who's job it is to install, maintain and support Sharepoint installations.
If you are already working with Sharepoint or planning to then I would commend this book to you. It will get you up to speed very quickly on administrating Sharepoint 2007.
 
Rating - 8.5 / 10