Archive for May, 2008

Ubuntu 8.04 on a SBS2008 Network

Don’t you just love it when things just work together, well I do! I recently wrote about using Ubuntu 8.04 and saw a great post by Girish entitled Ubuntu 8.04 on SBS 2003 network, so I thought I’d try this with SBS 2008 and it works! I previously couldn’t browse the domain using smb4k using Konqueror which uses Samba.

Girish used the likewise-open package and uses the the command line apt-get install but I used the Synaptic Package Manager from System -> Administration and then click on search and type "likewise" and install the likewise-open and likewise-open-gui packages. Once installed under System -> Administration select likewise. When joining the domain use the domainname.local format as domainname by itself didn’t work.

Modify the startup scripts as outlined by Girish and reboot. When logging  in use a domain login in the format domainname\username.

You can map your network shares using Nautilus by going to Places -> Network and on the File Browser select File -> Connect to Server and change Service Type to Windows share and complete the following info




User Name

Domain Name

You’ll be asked for a password which is the username’s domain password. When selecting the new Share icon you might be asked to authenticate again and make sure it has the right domain name and select remember password. You can  then browse through your Shares, open files, etc. One issue I found when trying to open Office files is that 2.4 asks for authentication again but defaults to "WORKGROUP" and I don’t know how to change that. To workaround this you can copy the file locally to work on it and copy back.

I’d never heard of Likewise but this is a great find by Girish! Now just need Evolution to work with Exchange Server 2007 and we’re rocking and rolling!

SBSC PALs Meeting at Microsoft UK

Both Gareth Brown and I were at TVP today to meet with Tanya Shirlow, Group Partner Engagement Manager. We had lunch with David Overton (always good to see him), Emma Richardson and Sarah Guy. We chewed the fat on all things Small Business and SBSC. We then later met with Robert Epstein, head of Small Business Sales & Marketing and had a good brainstorming session around Small Business Marketing. Gareth and I talked quite a bit about raising the bar for SBSC and Microsoft working with its most proactive Partners. It was good to see recognition of this that not all SBSC Partners are created equal. I made the point that the best SBSC Partners are indeed the very best. There was a good recognition of AMITPRO as one of the best Groups and Nicola Young talked about Accredit IT (which some of the guys have signed up to) and the Business Link initiative with Microsoft Partners in the West Midlands.

The good news is that there is a new team in place with Small Business being separated out from Medium Business. There’s recognition that Microsoft needs to work more through the SBSC Groups and work more closely with those Partners who regularly turn out to such gatherings. I think there is a willingness to try new things and I’m keen that Microsoft and SBSC Partners don’t just end up talking amongst ourselves all the time but let’s go out and engage with potential customers.

It was a good open and honest discussion.

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Microsoft India

This isn’t going to be easy and I know Vlad is going to say he told me so. I’m not a person to duck issues and I’m no Ostrich to stick my head in the sand. There’s been discussion on Mini Microsoft on Microsoft India which started from a remark on another thread and whilst some is borne out of straight intolerance and prejudice, taken as a whole it can’t be easily dismissed. You can read the post yourself and make up your own mind.

My thoughts are that any organisation needs leadership and needs to get the best people it can and develop them. There is no compromise in this and no shortcuts to this process. You have to instil the culture of people taking the initiative and driving things forward. There is nothing inherent in the Indian culture that means they can’t do it, it’s just that there’s a lot of them! As with any large group, the probability of getting someone less able is higher. I’ve just been through a recruitment process to get a new developer for our team in India and we found a good person. I’ve led software teams in the UK and to be honest it is no different, within the team there’s always a range of capabilities. Some people I’ve worked with have talked the talk but couldn’t walk the walk, so just because your vocal and outwardly confident doesn’t mean you can deliver.

Why should this matter to me? There are a couple of reasons which are, as a business we’re (as in Ardent ISys) trying to engage with Microsoft India and Suresh Ramani ( the Indian SBSC PAL) is trying to build a Community in India and engage with Microsoft India on the IT Pro side.

Let’s hope things can improve if the Mini Microsoft post is to be believed. I also know that peel back any thin veneer of any organisation and you’ll find something yucky and I won’t mention Enron – oh sorry did it!!

… let the beatings by Vlad begin :-)

Trumping Karl Palachuk

It’s not everyday I can call Karl and raise him on the resource side, so here goes from one of the German SBSC PALs and SBS MVP, Oliver Sommer – CHECK OUT NO. 6 !!!


Setup of a community site about the new “Essential Business Server” including a blog:


Recorded a a Windows Homeserver Partner Webcast on how to use WHS in a SBS / AD Domain environment:


promoted SBS and EBS and SBSC on our new car:


…that got recognized all over the world: (April Magazine Page 22)


Issued a community challenge last weekend to stresstest a hyper-v virtualized EBS installation which is running in our datacenter by giving away free testuser accounts to everyone and admin accounts partners who are interested in testing EBS and i.e. do not have a  proper environment (public IP, trusted certificate, proper bandwith, serverresources for those three servers) on their own.

I setup a virtualized EBS on for this and have limited accounts left till reaching 300…(about 270 right now J)

Also see here on this:

Why get Excited about SBS 2008 RC0?

Someone on one the mailing groups was asking why everyone was getting so excited about SBS 2008 RC0, when it wasn’t close to being a shippable product and even given it’s release he wouldn’t go and install it straight away at a customers. Now, knowing the person who made the comment, I know he’s a thoughtful person and made a valid point.

So, here are my reasons but everyone should make their own choices about how they spend their time and what value it will bring them.

There have been a number of committed people on the private beta providing feedback and testing features etc for the product team to make it the best possible product that it can be. Although, I was on the private beta I have to say my input has been minimal and I really appreciate the time and effort some of peers go to in aiding the beta process. This process is not finished, things could still change and feedback is still required, bugs to be found and submitted. This is one of the key aims of the Public Preview to get it into the hands of people who will be using the technology day in and day out. Don’t necessarily assume the Product Team know it all, they are indeed clever people but I’m sure want to the make final release as solid as it can be.

Whilst this is an RC0 release many of the components are released products such as Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, WSS 3.0 and SQL Server 2008, so it gives you great way to learn about released products as well which you could sell to your customers now!

Partners will need to plan their future deployment strategies. If you were deploying ISA with the Premium Ed then what will replace it, will it be an appliance or ISA running on a second box. The dual NIC support is gone, so your network layout will change. Forefront and Live OneCare is now being included, are you going to switch to that or is your current AV vendor going to produce something to support SBS 2008.

Are you going to try out the migration tools in SBS 2008 to move customers over from SBS 2003 or maybe just give it a go on a customer site when you need to do it. Is the new backup tool going to give you all you need? Will you be able to do the remote monitoring in the same way you’ve lovingly crafted for your business? Are those commonly used LOB apps going to actually run on SBS 2008?

So, as you can see there is a lot to think about, plan for, test and discuss. I certainly need time to understand things, maybe everyone else is just cleverer than me?

Obviously, Microsoft will be doing the usual Sell, Sell, Sell on day one to hit their targets but at the end of the day we do what is best for our customers. We know how the uptake will be driven, by EOL hardware and new installations and I don’t expect that to change.

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SBS 2008 RC0 Installation Walkthrough

Don Murphy has a good walkthrough for SBS 2008 installation, worth checking out.

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SBS 2008 RC0 Now Available for Download

The details are on The Official SBS Blog so now you can start downloading. It is around the 10 GB mark and consists of 4 ISOs for SBS 2008 RC0 DVD1,2,3 and SQL 2008. You can download from here.

You need a 64 bit machine and recommended to have 4 GB RAM (although people have run it with less). I’m running mine on a Dell Dimension C521 which is just a desktop but quiet and small, costing a few hundred pounds with an AMD64 processor and 4 GB RAM. Also, people have been virtualising it using either VMWare or Server 2008 using Hyper-V without too many issues.

I think once you’ve gotten over the fact that it is a single NIC and no ISA, that there is a lot of value in it. You’re getting Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 and SQL Server 2008 Standard Ed as the core components for Premium. So, whereas people used to sell Premium because of ISA, it’ll now be a case of selling it for SQL Server 2008 and the 2nd Server license for LOB applications.

It really does take SBS to another level and the SBS Team have again done a great job integrating all these components into a coherent, powerful and usable solution but see for yourself.

The next AMITPRO Meeting on Tue 10th June will be focused entirely on SBS 2008 with Emma Cockburn and Sonal Gathani of Microsoft coming along but we’ll also look at SBS 2008 in a little bit more technical detail.

… what I forgot to mention is that you’ll have to start getting your head around Forefront, at least for the Public Preview, as it will come as part of the installation. I’ve found the default settings to be very aggressive on the filtering and sender id side, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We’ll have to see what the AV vendors come out with to support SBS 2008?

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Google App Engine Opened to All

Google has opened its App Engine to everyone which allows developers to build applications on the same infrastructure as it uses for its applications. The service is free for up to 500MB of storage and 5 million page views per month after which you’ll have to start paying. You’ll also have to write your applications in Python as well but if you’re a developer of any worth you should be able to adapt to any programming language. Things just got a whole lot more interesting and it seems Google is saying to the likes of Microsoft, “bring it on”! Choice is good and healthy for customers and in truth for the competing companies as well but I’m sure they wouldn’t admit that!

Here are some articles from O’Reillynet to get you started on Cloud Development

Getting Started with the Google App Engine

Creating Applications with Amazon EC2 and S3

I’m off to install Python on Ubuntu!!!


Thanks to Scott Hanselman on Twitter for highlighting Tweetwheel which is built on Google’s App Engine. It gives an interesting view of your Twitter Friends and how they link together.

Here is my Tweetwheel

A Microsoft Datacentre Not Coming to a Location Near You

I saw Steve Clayton’s post about the new Datacentres Microsoft is building for this brave new world of online services. The Dublin one providing services to EMEA will be available sometime next year whilst in the meantime, we as Partners, are being told to get on board/change our business models. Great, I’m ready to do it. Let’s get on and provide services to customers for hosted Sharepoint. But wait, I have to wait possibly 12 months to offer anything via Microsoft? So, what’s the Partner model or is the reality that there isn’t any and what we’re really into is compete against your Partners. No early access programme for us, nothing for us at all but the usual Marketing blurb! Sorry, but I’m not prepared to wait that long. To Microsoft, why not build your services secretly and deny all Press reports that you’re actually doing that and come out with a fully provisioned service or at least to get Partners worlwide on the Early Access Programmes.

It’s waiting for Godot time again!

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