Are you ready to begin your Quest of the Cloudwalker?

Hark beleaguered IT Professionals! We know of the evils which plague you daily—mountains of help desk tickets, crashing computers, ridiculous requests from management, and far, far worse. But fear not, for we have felt your misery and despair, and created a fantastical world where you can use your hard-earned knowledge to crush demonic personifications of your IT woes.

So begin thy quest, choose from one of three heroic avatars, and arm yourself with up to four of the righteous weapons of IT. For each mystical weapon you arm yourself with, you’ll receive a code to enter in the game for a chance to win a fabled Xbox One.

Then carry onward into battle, where eight of your greatest foes await. There is Tickakomus, the God of forgotten passwords and missing power cords; Messglore, master of server closet chaos; and of course, the most feared monster of all, Chronos, Devourer of Time and Destroyer of Reality!

The task before you is mighty, but if you are true of heart and steeped in knowledge, your victory is assured. Become the savior all besieged IT Pros have been waiting for, in Quest of the Cloudwalker!

Watch the Build Conference Live Today!

//build is here!
As your technical evangelist, I wanted to invite you to watch the //build virtual event April 2nd–3rd.
This week, developers from around the world will gather for Microsoft’s annual //build conference
to talk about what’s next for Windows, Windows Server, Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio, and more.
While the physical event is sold out, we wanted to share with you how to get involved virtually! 

Join the virtual event.
On April 2nd–3rd, you can watch the //build keynotes and select sessions live online from the
comfort of your favorite chair. Keynotes will begin at 8:30 am (PST) and end at approximately
11:30 am (PST). You can download the Channel 9 Events App, to browse all content and create
your own schedule. 

Additionally, join the social chatter around news and announcements by following @BLDWIN
and checking out the official Microsoft blog

Missed the event? Watch on Channel 9.
If you missed the event, we will post every //build session for on-demand consumption on
Channel 9 within 24 hours. We’re looking forward to seeing what you //build next!

Direct feedback to Microsoft? Here’s your chance to influence future virtualization and cloud offerings!

Are you a Systems Administrator or Security Analyst?  Would you like to influence the future of products to manage and secure your virtualized infrastructure? Here is your opportunity to be heard by Microsoft Cloud and Data Center Management Research and Program Managers! They would like to talk to IT Pros that manage and secure your organizations virtualized and cloud environments.

If you are interested in talking further with Microsoft, please complete a short survey that will help us to determine how your job fits within the management and security of cloud and datacenter virtual computing.

The team is looking to run a series of interviews over the next few months. Join the discussion, we want to hear from you!

Click here to access the survey

Charlotte IT Pro Camp – Windows Azure – March 18th – Few Spots Still Available!

Registration is open for the Charlotte, NC - Windows Azure IT Pro Camp – March 18th:  Sign up here!

Build Hybrid Cloud Solutions with Windows Azure and System Center 2012 R2, you can have the best of both worlds! With Windows Azure and System Center 2012 R2, IT Pros can easily extend an on-premises network to embrace the power and scale of the cloud – securely and seamlessly.  These Hybrid Cloud scenarios present real solutions that you can implement today to solve pressing IT issues such as:

  • Managing more data without more hardware
  • Protecting Data with Off-site Backups
  • Business Continuance and Disaster Recovery
  • Cost-effective, on-demand access to Dev/Test Environments
  • Internet-scale Web Sites… And MORE!

Join us at this FREE full-day hands-on event to experience the power of Hybrid Cloud. Our field-experienced Technical Evangelists will guide you through the process of
jumpstarting your knowledge on Windows Azure Storage, Virtual Machines and Virtual Networking for key IT Pro scenarios.  Complete all of the hands-on labs and you’ll walk away with a fully functional Windows Server 2012 R2 or
Linux cloud-based test lab running Windows Azure!

Session Requirements

Be sure to bring a modern laptop that is capable of running the following prerequisites. For more detailed system specs, click on the city nearest you.

   Modern operating system, including Windows 7, Windows 8, Linux or Mac OS X

   Modern web browser supporting HTML5 and Javascript, including IE 9 or later, Chrome, Firefox and Safari

   A remote desktop (RDP) client – included with Windows platforms.  Mac and Linux RDP clients can be downloaded for free here.

All participants registering for the event should have an active Windows Azure subscription. If you have not already done so, sign up for a FREE trial of the Windows Azure platform and services, including access to Virtual Machines HERE.

Step-by-Step Lab Guide for Building a Windows Server 2012 R2 Remote Desktop Services Environment

Today’s blog post is a real treat.  Why? Because it is a complete series of posts written by Eddie Kwasnik, an outstanding virtualization consultant that I have met through the Atlanta pro camp series last year.  Eddie has a passion for VDI and Terminal Services, and has recently decided to start blogging to share his knowledge with others.  In this blog series he dives into Windows Server 2012 R2 Remote Desktop Services(formerly known as Terminal Services).  He guides us through building our own environment step-by-step.  So let’s jump in and get started! 

The first post in the series dives into the beginnings of building the RDS farm:  “In our deployment, we will be logged into a single server and through Server Manager we will deploy our new Remote Desktop farm. Each of the servers designated in the environment are virtual, domain joined and were created from a template with the latest Windows updates. No other special changes or configurations were done to any of the servers with the exception of Read more

Disaster Recovery Planning for IT Pros Series Day 4 – Replication – How Hyper-V Replica Can Save the Day

Any good disaster recovery project requires the replication of the most critical workloads to somewhere other than the primary site in which they would normally operate.  This can be done in several ways, whether the solution is delivered via storage, application, operating system or hypervisor replication, IT shops have been performing replication for many years.  Let’s talk through each style of replication and the challenges that go along with each: Read more

TechNet Radio: Delivering Results – How PoliticalTracker uses Windows Azure and More!

This was by far my most exciting TechNet Radio episode yet!  Join me in this exclusive interview with the CEO and COO from where we discuss all of the aspects concerning the new site design, how they are using the online solutions in Windows Azure, as well as Visual Studio Online.  We make our way into the development environment then to production with SQL Server 2012 Always On technology running in virtual machines in the cloud, Azure SQL Databases, Azure Web Services, and the tight integration required for the full Dev-Test-Prod life cycle.  We then dive into Office365, Skype, and more!

 To jump to certain parts of the video here is a full index:
  • [0:16] What is PoliticalTracker?
  • [6:18 DEMO:
  • [8:16] DEMO: Windows Azure Overview, Virtual Machines, Web Services, etc.
  • [12:16] Visual Studio Virtual Machines in Windows Azure  
  • [20:36] SQL Server Virtual Machines in Windows Azure
  • [21:47] Bizspark Program for Startups, Discounts and Free Azure Services In Use
  • [29:31] Why do some people fear Azure SQL Databases?
  • [30:47] Office 365 in the Workplace, SharePoint, Outlook, Wiki
  • [33:10] DEMO: Office365 in Action
  • [34:50] Skype, Developers Overseas, Collaboration
  • [36:47] What’s Coming Next for Political Tracker?

Also, if you missed yesterday’s digital short film then take a walk in the clouds with me here!

Virtualization Discussion with Microsoft Customer Research

Are you influential in the Virtualization space?  Do you want to become influential? Are you smart about virtualization, cloud, and/or systems management?  Do you work with any of these technologies? Here is your opportunity to be heard by Microsoft Research! Microsoft Windows Server and Systems Center Customer Research team would like to talk to IT Pros that manage virtualized and cloud environments.

If you are interested in talking further with Microsoft, please complete a short survey that will help us to determine how your job fits within the management of cloud and datacenter virtual computing.

Based on your survey response, we will determine if you meet the requirements to participate. Note that we are only accepting US participants at this time.

To access the survey click on the link below.

To access the survey