Takeaways from "The New Efficiency" Tech Series

Yesterday, I attended Microsoft’s “The New Efficiency” technical series, as part of the Windows 7/Server 2008 R2/Exchange 2010 product launch. I was a little disappointed at the turn out, since registration had been closed so early. I expected more people and generally “more” from Microsoft with all these new products coming out in just days. But I guess not every event can be hit out of the park.

That being said, there were several sponsor-led sessions that were interesting and then tracks for Windows 7, Server 2008 R2 and Exchange 2010. My original plan was to hit something from every track, but that proved difficult as the presenters from each track didn’t always keep to the scheduled break times. Thus I stuck with the server track, which was presented by Chris Henley.

Here are a few of the features that were touched on during the sessions:

  • The integrated Best Practice Analyzer covers more areas, such as Active Directory Domain Services and DNS. The BPA was mostly known for it’s use with Exchange, so it’s nice to see it expanded to other critical areas.
  • The Recycle Bin for AD. This feature makes it easier to restore deleted objects in Active Directory without having to resort to an authoritative restore, effectively extending your recoverablity of objects to nearly a year. While possible, its not recommended to reduce the lifetimes for deleted object and tombstone object below the 180 days each. Also, it’s important to note that the recycle bin feature is a schema change and it can’t be turned off once implemented. Finally, while item in the recycle bin can’t have their UPN used again until it moves out to a tombstoned object, but you can manually force items to be moved earlier.
  • In Server 2008 R2 there were changes in the core architecture which affected the networking stack to support IPv6 and IPv4 native to same Windows core protocols.
  • The Server Core installation option supports an additional role for WoW64 and IIS 7.5 also supports ASP on Server Core. Server Core has also gained a text menu environment called “S-config” to make it easier to configure basic server settings.
  • New features in Remote Desktop Services, such as virtual desktops via Hyper-V, improvements in RemoteApp, multimedia support and bi-directional audio.
  • DirectAccess as an alternative to VPNs for corporate network access. DirectAccess requires at least 4 servers and includes a setup wizard that details out how it all hooks together.
  • Improvements in Hyper-V, such as Live Migration and the ability to add some “hardware” (like Hard Drives)to virtual machines without powering them off. Don’t forget the Microsoft Assessment & Planning Toolkit, which can help minimize capital costs and reduce operating costs in your data center.

At the end of the day, the software giveaway was a copy of Windows 7 (32-bit) and the swag bag had the ever-popular XL t-shirt. Hidden among the product pamphlets in the bag was a cool gift from NetApp – a free copy of the book “Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V: Insider’s Guide to Microsoft’s Hypervisor”. Request your copy by November 20th. I’m sure the request will get you on a mailing list of some kind, but I’ll live with that for a free book.

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