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From 2001 until 2006 I would regularly do presentations on OMG THERE’S FREE TRAINING OUT THERE WHY AREN’T YOU USING IT. Which even culminated in the release of a Technical Offerings training deck as noted in this blog post I published in 2006 (Yes, Seriously, in 2006) Well, guess what. A lot of that data is STILL highly relevant even today! So… Let’s get started! :)
Kicking off the realm of training videos I’d like to highlight our good friends at Microsoft with their release of the Microsoft Virtual Academy!
The MVA has a LOAD and I mean a serious LOAD of information, from Training Videos, Courses, Tutorials, Walkthroughs, even Tests and points and contests to increase not only the ‘fun factor’ but provide additional context in your education. For those of you VMwarriors out there who will discard this and say BLAH, SHOW ME THE VMware STUFF. I even did a little search for VMware in the “Quick Search” button and lo and behold lookie at the results!
So whether you are a rockstar, a seasoned professional or someone looking to get started and want to know where to get some good and valuable information without spending hours and $$$ in a classroom, this is definitely an excellent way to get started, so jump on in!
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE FROM MICROSOFT?!?!
I know some of you are fighting the constant battle of “Damnit, can I attend Microsoft TechEd or not…” And with TechEd 2013 going to be in New Orleans I cannot blame you in the LEAST! But for those of you who just truly cannot find the time, the ability and are able to get away… something you should know.
ALL MICROSOFT TECHED CONTENT IS AVAILABLE FREE WHETHER YOU ATTEND OR NOT.
Yea. Seriously. It is. It actually has been for like the last… Oh I don’t know… since 2004 I believe? And all of that past-content since they started posting and making it available online has been posted online. For some reason I’m only able to find the 2012 content and the 2011 Archive but who really needs access to material on product versions which may not even exist or are supported anymore, if you truly need that let me know and I’ll find the link!
A lot of you are familiar with TrainSignal and the loads of great content they create, produce and respectively sell out there (You can get access to their paid training video series and content on their website, Trainsignal.com) But when I reached out to their President asking, “Hey, you have any freeeeeee stuff!?!?!?” He pointed me over by here! So here is a whole bunch of videos freeeeeeeeeeeee of charge! And of course, don’t hesitate to check out the amazing content produced by the likes of Scott Lowe and David Davis and others!
Ya know… as an example here! :)
That should get you going on quite a load of stuff from Microsoft, to VMware, to Citrix and Cisco and beyond! But let’s drill down a bit into VMware now…
When it comes to VMware there are loads and loads (and loads) of information in the world, and often we never really know where to start… Well, here is a place to start and it’s home is in YouTube!
Yea, that’s lame right? I mean on YouTube there’s like a dozen channels?!?! Well, there are. Just go and use them. BAM, and BOOYAH.
VMworld Presentations are FREE TOO LIKE TECHED?!?!?
Well, no. Not exactly. Sorry! Although this last year VMUG Advantage did have a brief offer for free access to the VMworld content if you signed up for that… I’m unable to find any data on it at the moment, so that may have expired, but it’s still worth checking out!
SHOW ME THE LABS BABY!
You asked for Labs and here they are! More labs than you can shake a stick at!
Err, okay, maybe that was a little too literal! Let’s get on with our labs though!
FREE Hands On Labs from Microsoft!
The thing about Microsoft is… for 8+ years they’ve had FREE access to all of their products in a Try-Before-You-Buy model where you can DOWNLOAD any Product and play with it (okay, seriously that’s been around for going on 20 years) but they also instituted the Hands On Labs where the lab environments would BUILD themselves, provide you with a Lab guide to follow (or ignore) and learn and play with it that way. Not to mention all of the content they’d have in the Hands on Labs at TechEd would be POSTED and made available for you to go in and learn, explore and beyond!
This isn’t something new, it’s been around FOREVER, Here are links to where you can access it (as it’s actually available in several places).
Disclaimer: When I wanted to test something out, I’d spin up a lab which was designed to ‘best practice’ and go in and do whatever I wanted, I mean it was a lab environment available in minutes. Why not?
Interesting Fact, some of the types of labs and solutions available out there which you can play and learn from:
How to setup a product from scratch, like Sharepoint, Microsoft Exchange, SQL
How to MIGRATE a product from one version to another (like those products mentioned above and more)
How to Develop in a language like C#, Visual Studio, Azure, PowerShell and more
How to do other advanced types of things
Alllllllllllll the labs that were available at TechEd, so you know what that means… and if not, check it out!
You can find TechEd Labs in the Additional Content section here with this flask icon next to it!
Here at the MSEvents site there are a number of Virtual Labs on the “Virtual Labs” tab to choose and play from!
So if for a minute you thought this was going to be easy, or a single click site with all the answers. HAH.
FREE HANDS ON LABS FROM VMware?!??!
Well, not exactly.. I mean, sort of, kind of… but, well, let me explain. VMware recently announced “Project Nee” my dear friend Simon Seagrave talks about about it here at his blog. But ultimately, what Project Nee is intended to be is… VMware Hands On Labs publicly available online. However it is still in Beta at the moment. You can follow details of the VMware Hands On Labs by going here to the VMware Hands On Labs community!
Some additional places not even mentioned but you should check out, and all of the cited links for easy access and consumption:
So hopefully those of you out there who are looking to stay relevant, continue educating yourselves, maybe even heading down the certification track and whatnot will find this of benefit. I won’t lie to you, I’ve used these resources countless times over the years and I encourage others to. If you have any other sites to suggest, toss em into the comment section… This is an epic resources to reference from here until well.. until I write another one ;)
Hey everyone out there! I hope this finds you well and your holidays are off to a festive start. I find no better gift to you within the community than the motherlode and brainshare of information I’ve collected, assumed, and delivered throughout the years and even a rare ‘sighting’ of my own delivery of said material in case there is ever anything you’re wondering about the what, the where and so forth!
A little bit about this source material; The emphasis and focus on this is intended to be around virtualizing Exchange and SQL. And while some of you hardcore VMware zealots expect me to only discuss VMware it does take into heavy consideration and discuss the materials at hand on how to go about addressing this within the body of work that is Microsoft Hyper-V as well – So happy holidays to all virtualization! :)
To start I’d like to focus on my most recent delivery of this presentation material for our good friends at Windows IT Pro, Power IT Pro, and more specifically the instance of the discussion was with VM Tech Pro!
There by clicking on the handy dandy image, or even by this embedded link you will have access to the live presentation I delivered for the folks over by there and the some ~130 or so attendees who were on the line (submitting questions, so on and so forth). As most of you know this is something I’m particularly passionate about (Virtualization, Best Practices, Mission Critical Apps) all of that, and I do love to share my body of work to help make your day to day jobs even easier. I definitely encourage you to go through the link to check out the live version of events (slides can only tell so much of the story, and I share a lot of stories not reflected directly in the slides) but I also encourage you to check out the links below which will have the original source material and SPEAKER NOTES OMG THE SPEAKER NOTES! Those are filled with every ounce of material you need to help make your case and continue to make your case when it comes to virtualizing and driving your story home; it’s something you won’t regret having on hand. :)
I do encourage you to use this material to help make your case, if you’re going to publicly share the slides or use them in your own source (as many have done) I appreciate a reference or just letting me know (sometimes I update material and I’d hate for you not to have the latest material :))
Also anyone who wishes to contribute back into this living body of work, don’t hesitate to in the comments. We’re only as good as our information and any chance to improve that I’ll be sure to reference back to you as well! Thanks, and here is the rest of it! :)
You ever notice how some of your VMs lean a little to the left, or a little to the right? No, of course, you don’t, that’s absolutely ridiculous! :)
But seriously, the matter of VM Disk Alignment is a very serious one which should not be ignored! Up until this point the means of correcting it was driven around due diligence, and annoying steps to correct existing VMDK, VHD, etc file types. Well, through the power of UBERism, Nick Weaver rockstar has turned this problem on its side!
In his recent blog post: Straighten up with a new UBER tool : Presenting UBERAlign he outlines, details and takes you through *everything*, Okay seriously my first impression of this? I saw this originally mentioned in an internal email announcing it, and as I read the high-lights in the email I teared up a little bit (oddly, I’m doing it again!) Why? This is a seriously OMG moment for those of you who have suffered through this problem! If you don’t know if you suffer from VM Disk alignment? Then, chances are you do. It’s actually that simple ;) If you know you’ve taken very specific steps to correct alignment, then and only then can you almost ‘ignore’ this, but still I encourage you to check it out!
Some of the highlights and features I’d like to mention! (Stolen directly from Nicks Blog Post, so Nyah! ;))
Allows for fast alignment checking of virtual machines with detailed logging.
Can perform alignment to any offset you want. Even the crazy ones that you shouldn’t choose.
Works with both Windows 2000/XP/2003/2008 (NTFS) and Linux Distros (EXT2/EXT3/EXT4).
Is able to work on NTFS boot drives perfectly. It does this by rewriting NTFS Metadata (the right way).
Auto detects Windows 2008 and Windows 7 native installs (alignment not needed). Will not touch a System Reserved Partition (important for Windows 2008).
Preserves all Windows drive mapping (AFAIK only one to do so). This means no having to remap drive letters and complete support for non “C:\”system drives with some Windows builds (some Citrix stuff).
Doesn’t trash the NTFS and Boot mirrors like other tools.
Handles Primary and Extended partitions like it is no big deal on both Windows and Linux.
Has the ability to handle multiple disks for a VM.
Multiple disks + Multiple Partitions + Multiple types (primary, logical) + Multiple file systems (NTFS, EXT#) = no problem
Also allows for optional Space Reclamation on both NTFS and Ext! That’s right: you can choose to do space reclamation at the same time as an alignment or as a option to itself. This means you can retrieve space no longer used on Thin VM’s using UBERAlign.
AND OMG MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE!!!!! Yea seriously!
This is the kind of tool which dreams are made of. Yes, those kind of dreams which often cost a serious amount of money to solve for a problem too! WOWMG FREE?!?! Yea baby. If I’m mistaken there, let me know.. :)
I highly encourage you check out the original blog post Straighten up with a new UBER tool : Presenting UBERAlign so you can get ALL the details including the videos walking through the use of the tool! It’s pretty damn exciting, and quite a major epic scale accomplishment! From Nick’s videos alone you can make walk-through screenshot tutorials on how to do things too! I would, but seriously! Just check out the videos. If there is enough demand for it… I’ll do that, but hey, you’re lucky I’m writing a blog post in the first place! ;)
Today I was cleaning up my mailbox when I came across some BLASPHEMY about Exchange! Okay, not blasphemy per se, but I continually hear from folks who are being incorrectly told “Exchange cannot be virtualized”. I’m not exactly sure who started this ‘trend’ but that’s neither here nor there! So I did a little digging [and you know, digging for me tends to turn into a blog post ;)] And I came across not only some AMAZING Material! But I also want to make sure you’re following up on regularly posted updates from a Rockstar who’s clear focus is on Exchange!
These are two very SHORT and to the point, giving you the high-lights letting you know what is required to kick things off and something you can hand up to mgmt! So it’s great to not spend a lot of time trying to figure out what it’s saying!
One thing I’d like to bring particular attention on these papers is that these are not EMC Papers, but are in fact co-branded collaborations by Microsoft, EMC and others (the one below was Microsoft, Cisco and EMC, and some of the others involve Dell and Brocade) but either way, Microsoft was directly involved in their creation as opposed to ‘slap a tag on it’
STOP THE PRESS!(vicki vale!) – Check out this paper though! It is definitely longer! 84 pages! Filled with raw technical example, use cases, all that jazz! Great must read paper and not just words! Lots of pretty pictures! Yes it is Hyper-V but that cmon, this was co-branded Microsoft.. :) And note: Published October 2010! So Vicki Vale did get one thing right!
Okay fine! Here is another paper! This one is a little older but I know you wouldn’t let me get away without giving you some VMware love! So here is one, with less pretty pictures!
Alright, one more then! This one was from August – not a whitepaper only a basic Reference Architecture, but I found it to be pretty damn cool looking!
Okay, enough of these (albeit amazing papers!) With no further adieu I’d like to introduce you to Dustin Smith! I’d tell you all about him, but Brian interviewed him here so you can find out all about how he’s an MVP, MCM and so many other things!
So, Dustin has his own blog where he talks almost exclusively about Exchange (okay, I think it’s all about Exchange, but whatever! this is MY BLOG! ;))
Within EMC, our entire 40,000+ user infrastructure is virtualized on Exchange Server and the organization as a whole is moving towards virtualization of most all applications. Most all of the infrastructures we design and showcase within our Proven Solutions are geared toward virtualization, either with VMWare vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V. See my previous blog post on what we recently did with the Tested Exchange Solutions Program case with Cisco and Microsoft where we showcased 34,000 users on Microsoft Hyper-V with Cisco UCS blade servers and EMC Unified Storage.
What we are showcasing in this whitepaper is a result of our joint solution development with Microsoft and Cisco that was deployed and tested in Microsoft EEC labs in Redmond. In the whitepaper you will find the reference architecture for 32,400 users across a three site Exchange DAG scenario leveraging Microsoft Hyper-V, EMC NS480 Unified Storage, and Cisco UCS B-series blade servers along with analysis of testing results and key best practices on virtualizing Exchange Server 2010 on Hyper -V on EMC Unified storage and Cisco Unified Computing System.
I think overall, the backupless/Exchange Native Data Protection option certainly brings a new element to the Exchange 2010 architecture discussions and different options for providing recovery when bad things happen. VSS based options (hardware and software based) are still heavily used options to protect Exchange data that have been popular since the Exchange 2003 days and have increased with features and functionality into Exchange 2010.
So, there are some teasers there of just some of the content that Dustin is putting out (There is obviously more.. but I’ll let you do the reading up on it! It’s definitely worth reading! – How so though, I just discovered Dustin TODAY and I’m sharing him with you a few hours after that point, So, yea I consider that to be pretty compelling :))
I want to leave you with links to all of the resources I mentioned above, so you can forth to gain access to the WP’s I mentioned and others I didn’t include pictures for!
There are so many more than just these links alone – I actually was surprised on how much content there was at www.emc.com/exchange ! – So check it out, and as always let me know if I can help you in a particular way :)