Looking Ahead at Microsoft in 2012


I recently returned from a two week trip across Europe where I attended Microsoft's Enterprise Partner Summit (EPS) as well as met with various people from EMC and Microsoft including the Microsoft Technology Centers in Paris & Thames Valley and the Microsoft Cloud and Interoperability Center in Brussels. One thing that was consistent throughout this roadtrip is that Microsoft is excited about 2012 including the upcoming release of SQL Server 2012 and a little later in the year their release of System Center 2012 and then Windows 8 which will include Hyper 3.0.

Just SQL Server and System Center would make for a big year, add in Windows 8 and all of the enhancements to Hyper-V including advanced scalability, performance and virtual networking and it has the makings of a HUGE year for Microsoft.

At EPS, the message was clear. Microsoft is positioning themselves to be the premier cloud provider both in the private cloud and public cloud. A significant advantage for Microsoft is a common set of technologies that will connect the private and public cloud including Windows, Hyper-V, Active Directory and common development tools so end users can easily transition between a private cloud to a public cloud and back on premise again without a major forklift or "rip & replace" migration process. System Center 2012 will be a key piece of this technology bridge as well as introduce new features such as App Controller which will provide application monitoring across clouds.

Another focus point of EPS was the Consumerization of IT and the explosion of devices that users access on a daily basis. More and more users are bringing personal devices such as phones, tablets and iPads into work and expecting to use them in the office place while also accessing business files, emails and programs on personal devices when not in the office. Managing all of these devices, providing access to business information through all of these devices all while ensuring security has become a major challenge for many IT organizations! Again, this is an area that System Center 2012 will address.

So what were some key takeaways from all of this? While Hyper-V has continued to gain market share in the US, it is even more popular in areas throughout EMEA. For Microsoft, they will improve on the features and scalability of Hyper-V when Windows 8 is released but their real focus is on improving management through System Center 2012. System Center 2012 is looking like the real deal. Not only will it help manage private and public cloud environments while continuing to provide application and system management for physical datacenters but it will also extend out to additional handheld devices such as phones (not just Windows) and tablets including iPads.

It may be a little early to be thinking about 2012 but it's hard not to get excited if you're Microsoft!


Prevent “Enterprise Data Loss” – With RSA Data Loss Prevention Suite

by Sam Marraccini (@EMCMSFT)

Like most IT professionals, when I think RSA and Security I immediately think about the SecurID token. I have personally been carrying one for nearly 15 years. It’s my ticket into our secure private network, and the extent of my RSA experience. To follow-up on your questions about the EMC Microsoft relationship I recently made a trip to Bedford, MA. Needless to say, there is much more to the story than SecureID Tokens.

For the 12th edition of Inside That Partnership I spent some time with Ash Devata at the RSA Headquarters. Ash is s Sr Manager for the RSA Data Loss Prevention Suite, a key integration point with Microsoft applications and infrastructure.

You can watch the interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woj9h7dyYcU and remember, to get all the latest Inside the Partnership videos subscribe to the YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/sammarraccini

You can send questions to me directly at Sam.Marraccini@emc.com feedback and show ideas are always welcome.

EMC Cloud Meets Microsoft Big Data at SQL PASS Summit

Next week is the start of SQL PASS Summit, the annual SQL Server and Business Intelligence conference. What's unique about SQL PASS Summit compared to many conferences is that it is put on by the SQL Server community (PASS or the Professional Association of SQL Server) opposed to a vendor. PASS holds several events throughout the year called SQLSaturday which are held in different cities across the year and then their annual conference in Seattle.

This will certainly be a big year for SQL PASS with the upcoming release of SQL Server Denali (29 sessions throughout the week). In addition there are 6 specific tracks this year including Application and Database Development, Enterprise Database Administration and Deployment, BI Platform Architecture, Development and Administration, BI Information Delivery, Professional Development and SQL Azure.

EMC will be a Gold sponsor at SQL PASS Summit yet again this year with a focus on Big Data Solutions. Matter of fact, EMC compliments many of the SQL PASS tracks by highlighting solutions in simplified management of SQL Server, simple and affordable infrastructure and data management for SQL Server OLTP and BI, deliver timely insight and collaboration from SQL Server data and manage structured and unstructured data growth.

EMC will also be highlighting the EMC Data Warehouse Fast Track configuration recently designed, tested and validated by Cisco, EMC and Microsoft. Microsoft Fast Track Data Warehouse for SQL Server R2 uses reference configurations optimized for data warehousing. By using reference architecture solutions, customers can easily purchase and build a similar model with expected results. In EMC and Cisco's Fast Track Data Warehouse 3.0 configuration, an EMC VNX5300 Storage array along with Cisco UCS C-Series rack mount servers were used to showcase mid-size to large scale data warehouse environments. The document contains the specific detailed hardware used for the configuration as well as detailed information such as disk layout, RAID groups and other storage specific information.

Come by the EMC booth (#201) if you'll be at SQL PASS to pick up a free t-shirt and meet the EMC experts. Some of the information and demonstrations we will be showcasing includes:

  • Leveraging Data for Business Insight and Advanced Analytics
    • Highlighted by EMC Consulting for Business Intelligence for Infrastructure and services for upgrading and virtualizing SQL Server application and databases.
  • Delivering Dynamic, Efficient, Scalable Infrastructure for Virtualized SQL Server Environments
    • Highlighting EMC Unified Storage VNX, VMAX, EMC Storage Integrator (ES), FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering) and FAST VP
  • Ensuring Data Protection for Virtualized SQL Server Environments
    • Highlighting EMC Replication including Replication Manager, RecoverPoint, Avamar, Networker and DataDomain
  • Ensuring High Availability for Virtualized SQL Server
    • Highlighting EMC integration with Microsoft virtualization technologies.

See you there!

EMC PowerPath vs MPIO – Take the High Road

Guest post by Mark Prahl

If you live in New England like I do, you have experienced some of the wettest weather on record in recent times. And, if you live in an old town like I do dating back to before the American Revolution, you know that some of those old paved paths can get flooded and become impassible when the rain comes.
Flooded road at Blackwater NWR

Photo by Leon Reed

Well, if you’re using one of those data path solutions native to an operating system or hypervisor you can expect some limitations to the paths at your disposal. Most use a basic method like round robin which distributes I/O among all available data paths in sequence because it considers all paths to be equal.

Now, just imagine your data paths are roads and you’re in the northeast like I am. What do you do when a road is underwater? Keep traveling over the same road because that’s all you can do. I think not.  You might eventually get to your destination if you’re lucky, but you’re just as likely to arrive late or not at all.

Well, the same goes for multipathing software.

Want to deliver a clear way for your customers?  Want to ensure the best performance?   Take the high road and get EMC PowerPath Multipathing. Right out of the box, PowerPath will automatically select the right optimized data path algorithm for your data center environment.

The Enterprise Strategy Group recently compared PowerPath Multipathing with Windows native MPIO and showed the performance advantages of PowerPath in Windows environments.  Results ranged from about 20% to over 200% better performance with PowerPath depending on the application.

But don’t take my word for it. Read the report yourself!

Mark Prahl is a high-tech business and marketing professional who has been running businesses and talking or writing about products and gadgets for business or personal consumption for some time. Currently, he is a member of the infrastructure management group at EMC crafting his own corner of the world to share thoughts about infrastructure management software and more. When not defining or promoting technology products, Mark can be found playing guitar around the greater Boston area with whomever may invite him up on stage.