The information in this weblog is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. This weblog does not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my employer. It is solely my opinion. Inappropriate comments will be deleted at the authors discretion.
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 ;)
Are you a member of the Tech Community in Chicago? Are you a long time CWUG’er or even a first timer? Then come on down to the CWUG Event being held this month (and to kick off 2013) here at the Hamburger University in Oak Brook! For those of you who have never been to Hamburger University it’s a pretty cool place, I’ve presented and attended a number of events there in the past. Definitely map how to get there because I find it is more accessible off of 31st than it is off of say.. 22nd/Butterfield! This is going to be some awesome good times and it really falls on you the community to help make this a great event – so let’s start off 2013 strong and come on down! See you there!
We will have updates on Windows Intune, Windows 8 hardware (including demo equipment), The New Office and have a Windows 8 technical book giveaway for every attendee!
The Chicago Windows User Group (CWUG), founded in May 2003 and now over 2,400 members strong, aims to help everyone draw the fullest benefit from computers using Windows and software that runs on the Windows operating system. Meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of the month and alternate between the suburbs (Jan, Mar, May, etc.) at either the Microsoft Store in Oak Brook, IL (or the Microsoft office in Downers Grove) and Chicago (Feb, Apr, Jun, etc.) at the Microsoft office in the Aon Center.
I’m sure some of you have heard this term before “Eating your own dog food” it’s even referenced in this Wikipedia entry, but I think it’s high time someone appropriately draws the distinction of the DIFFERENCE of eating your own dog food and drinking your own champagne, terms often used interchangeably. Little shared fact. They are ABSOLUTELY NOT THE SAME DAMN THING. Yes I am extremely passionate about this, because it’s misused.
Eating your own dog food
This term has actually seen some of the most widely adopted usage within Microsoft as a corporation, in fact they had a whole section of the business solely for the DogFood servers. But what does this mean exactly? Contrary to popular belief, Dogfooding is not “running on your own products”. It actually consists of taking the Alphas, the Betas, what eventually will become the products that your CUSTOMERS will eventually consume, and getting a large user-base onto these applications in a Production capacity. Imagine the difference it makes when you have hundreds of thousands of users running on an internal beta of an application. When things break, well, they get FIXED and FOUND faster. Not only that, but it forces you to write better code, be a better developer, do better QA. Why? Because when things break, it breaks HARD CORE for EVERYBODY. So what came out of these interests was not only better written, QA’d and run applications, but also harder and more rigorous testing from your own experiences. Sure you start off small with a pilot group, but then you continue to expand and extend that out to an even larger base. At the end of the day and a product cycle you have your business running in production on what started in Alpha and grew to release; long before you introduce your first beta customer. THAT is eating your own dog food.
Drinking your own champagne
Now there are these “cute” folks out there who are all “We drink our own Champagne” because they don’t like the message, the vision associated with dogfooding or dog food in general (Perhaps they hate Dogs, and likely hate cats? Who knows) But here is the thing about Champagne and drinking your own champagne. The production process to go about creating dog food takes approximately 5 minutes. Sure it can take more or less than that, but you can produce consumable, or horrible dog food almost instantly. Champagne on the other hand involves Harvesting, Pressing, Fermenting, Blending, Fermenting AGAIN, Lees Aging, Riddling, Disgorgement, Dosage, and Re-corking.
While this is not to be a fully in depth technical advisory on the process of actually MAKING champagne the interesting point of the metaphor is, the Aging process alone requires a MINIMUM of 15 months, not to mention all of the other efforts associated with things. So when you consider what it takes to drink your own champagne you’re looking at a minimum investment all-in of ~5 years minimum. I’ll tell you, if I had a solution, a technology, a product, and by the time I got around to actually consuming it, it was 5 years in the making; Yea. That is not a differentiator.
Oh but wait, your trite marketing or wacky sales guy is saying “No! Drinking your own champagne means we run our own products” Uh, I better damn well HOPE you have faith in your own BAKED and READY products you’re trying to SELL or POSITION to me, that you fricking run it internally. So no, I give you no grace period, I give you no safety net. Those who drink their own champagne better damn WELL run their own products, and that does not infer they are betas or early release or anything; because it’s eating your own dog food which really shows me you’re committed to your product.
Mixing Champagne with your Dog Food
So when you go out there on the road to message and position your latest and great product, or to talk about futures. I encourage you to understand your metaphors, your analogies and take heart that I expect you to drink your own Champagne and take great pride when you choose to eat your own dog food. Just because you eat your own dog food, does not mean it is GOOD, but at least it shows me you’re committed to the success of my business and yours.
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 :)