The Imperfect Lab: Not So SharePointed

On my list of thing to try with the Imperfect Lab was deploying a SharePoint Farm from the new portal since there is this nifty wizard that just does all the work of building the servers for you.  Just a few clicks and boom, SharePoint!
But alas, it was not quite to be. While the portal does do what it claims, produces a test/dev scenario of SharePoint, it’s completely isolated.  And completely isolated isn’t exactly what I wanted. When you use the portal configuration “wizard” you are prompted for several bits of information that you can’t get around.
  1. You are prompted to give a domain name for a new FOREST domain.
  2. You must create a NEW virtual network.

Because I wanted to create a little Imperfect Lab “team site” and experiment a bit with SharePoint 2013, I wanted to use my existing domain and my existing network.  But that isn’t an option allowed via the portal “journey”, to get what I want, I’ll have to build it out the old-fashioned way, one server at a time.
Had I know this before I started this project, I might have considered creating the SharePoint farm first, then using that domain and network as the basis for the rest of my lab projects.  Oh well, that’s why we experiment in the first place right?  Live and learn. I guess I’ll swing back around to this SharePoint project a bit later.
Meanwhile, if a completely isolated SharePoint playground is something you need, by all means check out the new Azure portal and give it go.  And if you need more than what the test environment provides, you might find the complete Planning for SharePoint 2013 on Azure Infrastructure Services guide useful.

IT Pro Events This Week!

Pacific IT Professionals has a few upcoming single day events this week, one in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles.

On Tuesday, Sept 20th in Los Angeles – Ed Horley and Richard Hicks will be talking about IPv6 and DirectAccess in the Enterprise.  Find out more at

On Friday, Sept 23th in San Francisco – CA Callahan will be covering SharePoint Administration for the Unexpected Administrator.  You know who you are – you inherited a SharePoint installation or have been asked to get one running.  Once you’ve got it going, then what?  This one day event will give you a chance to pick the brain of a true SharePoint expert and author of several books on SharePoint WSS 3.0 and SharePoint Foundations.  For $99, you can’t afford to miss out on this “everything but the kitchen sink” session – bring a question, you’ll get the answer!  For more details and to register go to

SharePoint TechDay in San Francisco!

Have you found yourself in charge of a SharePoint installation you didn’t plan for? Have you installed SharePoint and are wondering “Now what?” If so, don’t miss the SharePoint Administration for the Unexpected Administrator – September 23rd from 10-5pm in San Francisco.
CA Callahan, the author of Mastering Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Mastering Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010, will be covering 6 hours worth of SharePoint tips, tricks and topics. Personally, I turn to her books whenever I have a question about something in SharePoint.
Registration is open now!

Interesting Vendors and Products from SPTechCon

Last week, I popped over to the SPTechCon Expo Hall to check out some of the SharePoint related products that are available.  I’m relatively new to SharePoint, so this seemed like a great opportunity learn more about other ways to take advantage of SharePoint.
There were a lot of vendors that concentrated on using SharePoint as a document management solution, but that’s not an area I’m seriously considering for our SharePoint installation.  Primarily, I was looking for management tools since maintaining SharePoint is one of many things I manage on a day-to-day basis, so making things simpler is always a plus.
Here are a few products I might be looking at more closely this year:
AvePoint DocAve for SharePoint – AvePoint has a suite of products that are geared toward administration, data protection, compliance and migration.  Tools that catch my eye are their Administrator, SharePoint Antivirus, Report Center, Backup and Restore, Auditor and Migrator.
Commvault’s Simpana 9 – An information management software that touts up to 50% reduction in storage costs, 90% reduction of redundant data and 50% faster backups.  It includes modules for e-discovery, deduplication, records management and data archiving.  Works with file servers, email, SharePoint and a host of other places you store data, regardless of if that is on physical or virtual devices. 
MetaVis Migrator for SharePoint – Support migration from SharePoint 2010, 2007 and 2003, Exchange public folders and other file systems into the other SharePoint installations using a Windows Explorer interface. 
Later this week I’ll be hitting the expo floor at RSA in search of products to secure email. 

New SharePoint 2010 Books to Consider

Do you have SharePoint 2011 on your project horizon?  If so, don’t forget to check out the following books when gathering your resources.
First, check out this recent post about a collaboration of knowledge from Microsoft MVPs on the MVP Award Blog – Over 20 SharePoint MVPs Contribute to SharePoint 2010 Book. You can find “Real World SharePoint 2010” at Amazon and other retailers.
If SharePoint Foundations is more your focus, look for CA Callahan’s upcoming book Mastering Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010” due out in mid-February. Callahan is also a Microsoft MVP and I’ve had the honor of getting a sneak peak at some of the content and am looking forward to adding this volume to my SharePoint references once it’s available.  Also,if you are looking for some of Callahan’s up to the moment tips and tricks, check out her blog.
(Curious about what makes a Microsoft MVP? Check out this post by Eric Ligman that sums up how to become, find or nominate an MVP.)

Upcoming Tech Events in 2011

Looking to fill your calendar with some free or low cost tech events in early 2011?  Consider some of these:
  • TechNet Events Presents: Virtualization 101 – Microsoft Evangelists will talk about the creation of the hypervisor and demonstrate usage scenaros ranging from the home user up to multinational corporations. Discussions will also include how virtualization has given rise to “the Cloud”.  The event is free and will be in San Francisco on 2/2/11, but check the list for dates in Los Angeles, Irvine, Denver, Portland and others locations on the west coast.
  • Data Connectors Tech-Security Conferences – Just like the one-day event I attended a few weeks ago, Data Connectors will be all over the west coast in early 2011.   In particular, find it in San Jose, CA on 2/10/11.
  • She’s Geeky unConference – For all those women who embrace their geekiness, save the date for “She’s Geeky Bay Area #4” running January 28-30th. 
  • Register by 1/21 and snag a free Expo Only pass to the SPTechCon (The SharePoint Technology Conference) in San Francisco February 7-9th.  The full event doesn’t fall into the “low cost” category, but if SharePoint is your thing, you might want consider more than just the expo.
  • RSA 2011 – Another one of my favorites, the “Expo Plus” pass at RSA gets you into the expo hall, the keynotes and one conference session of your choice. RSA will be at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, February 14-18th. 
Plan your time well and you won’t have to be in the office for much of the first quarter! 

Upcoming Tech Events

In case you are lacking in some tech related places to be, here are a few good options for the upcoming week.

November 2nd – You should vote, of course.  But when you are finished that, swing by the Pacific IT Professionals meeting in San Francisco.  There will be a presentation from NetApp on storage solutions, followed by two Microsoft specific topics –  BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) and MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack).  I’ll be doing the MDOP presentation, so if you aren’t sure what applications come inside that pack and what they do, this will be a great chance for you to get an overview.

November 3-4th – The gogoNet LIVE! IPv6 Conference in San Jose. I hear the pre-conference workshops are booked up, but it’s not to late to attend the 2 days of sessions on planning and transitioning to IPv6.  I’ll be helping out with some of the conference logistics on the 3rd and am hoping to slip into a few of the presentations as well.
Today and the next couple Thursdays – Callahan, a Microsoft MVP and book author on SharePoint, is offering up several free webinar presentations on SharePoint Foundation.  Today’s session is already started, but you might want to check out what she has to offer in the coming weeks. If I was migrating my current SharePoint WSS 3.0 installation to Foundations, I’d start my planning with anything Callahan has to offer.

Don’t miss these Upcoming Events

PacITPros will be having there monthly meeting on August 3rd.  PacITPros member Sam Bowne will be presenting a recap of items that came out at Defcon and Blackhat. Doug Spindler will be talking about security items related to the recent Microsoft Zero day exploits that have come out.  Don’t forget to RSVP!

Coming up in early November, there is the SharePoint Intelligence one-day conference in Santa Clara.  For $350, spend the day attending a variety of sessions and networking with others involved with SharePoint. I’m hoping I can score a little training budget from the office! If you are in Southern California, the event will be held in mid-September.

SharePoint and Document Management

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a free seminar that featured a document management solution that integrated with SharePoint. As a new SharePoint administrator for a company that already has a content management system in place, I was curious has to how they compared.

KnowledgeLake has several product components that can be used to capture, image and manage enterprise content from various sources. The seminar demonstrated several of the products running on top of SharePoint 2010.

  • Imaging – View, annotate and index images from a web browser using a SilverLight based document viewer; scan batches of documents; centralize the configuration of indexing, database validation and lookups; scan and index documents without ever leaving the SharePoint interface.
  • Capture – Scan documents in batches; use OCR technology to extract document meta-data; use “key from image” technology to easily apply document meta-data; save documents to SharePoint from anywhere you have a web (HTTP) connection.
  • Connect – enables users to save content on an ad-hoc basis – such as Office documents, PDF files and e-mail messages; provides integration to virtually any line of business application; monitors the files you retrieve from SharePoint and updates SharePoint as you save changes to your documents.
  • Workflow – attach a business process to documents in Microsoft SharePoint, including routing of documents for approval, reviews and/or the document’s lifecycle. Workflows can be user-initiated or automated based on the actions of the scanning and capture software.

Since we started looking at managing our documents electronically through our enterprise, I’ve been an advocate for using technology to help streamline processes, make important documents easier to find and better protect data that might not otherwise be recoverable in the event of a fire or flood.

While I won’t be looking to replace our current document management system, ImageRight, I was please to see that there are other products available that have a similar feature set, while taking advantage of a portal that a company might already be utilizing.

My TechEd Session Wish List

Had a great time at TechEd this year, do not get me wrong. But like all the other conferences of the past, there is often too much good stuff to get it all in.
This year, just about all the breakout sessions are available online. While some may think this reduces the value of actually attending the conference, I disagree. The more intimate sessions, like Birds-of-a-Feather and the “Interactive” style sessions were not recorded. So when I could, I attended those sessions over the traditional breakouts, chatted with Microsoft experts in the TLC areas, or spent time networking with others in the Expo and Community Lounge.
If I could have tailored TechEd to fit my schedule and I had more than 4 days, here are the sessions I would have attended. I did get to a few of them during the conference, they are marked with a (*). Since it will probably take me a while to view all the ones I missed, if you caught one of these and it’s especially good or bad, comment and let me know!
Management Track
MGT314* – Technical Introduction to Microsoft System Center Essentials 2010
Office & SharePoint
OSP314* – Microsoft Outlook and Exchange 2010: Better Together Overview
OSP208 – Microsoft Office 2010 for IT Professionals
OSP203 – (SharePoint) Designing Governance: How Information Management and Security Must Drive Your Design
Security, Identity & Access
SIA333 – Useful Hacker Techniques: Which Part of Hackers’ Knowledge Will Help You in Efficient IT Administration?
SIA230 – Why Security Fixes Won’t Fix Your Security
SIA306 – Night of the Living Directory: Understanding Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory Recycle Bin, Undeletion and Reanimation
Unified Communications
UNC303* – Upgrading from Microsoft Exchange Server 2003/2007 to Exchange Server 2010: Tips, Tricks and Lessons Learned
UNC307* – What’s New in Archiving, Retention, and Discovery in Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1
UNC201 – Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1: An Overview of What’s Coming
UNC306 – Going Big! Deploying Large Mailboxes with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 without Breaking the Bank
UNC203 – What’s New in OWA, Mobility, and Calendaring in Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1
UNC301 – Microsoft Exchange Server 2010: Sizing and Performance – Get It Right the First Time


VIR310 – Networking and Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V: Deployment Considerations
VIR403 – Virtualization FAQ, Tips and Tricks
VIR316 – Remote Desktop Session Host vs. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Smackdown
Windows Client
WCL304 – Best Practices Guide to Managing Applications
WCL205 – Windows 7 Deployment Tips from Early Adopters
Windows Server
WSV208* – Best Practices in Architecting and Implementing Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)
WSV333 – DNSSEC and Windows: Get Ready, ‘Cause Here It Comes!
WSV201 – 10 Hot Topics Every IT Admin Needs to Know about Windows Server 2008 R2
WSV303 – Death of a Network: Identify the Hidden Causes of Lousy Network Performance
WSV301 – Administrators’ Idol: Windows and Active Directory Best Practices
WSV307 – Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

Developer Tools, Languages & Frameworks DEV211 – Microsoft Professional, Master and Architect Level Certifications: Notes from Those Who Have Conquered and Lived to Tell the Tale