Become an Early Expert in Virtualization

In an increasingly multi-hypervisor world, more and more IT organizations are using Microsoft Hyper-V and Microsoft Azure to achieve superior performance and workload flexibility at the best possible price. With nearly two-thirds of businesses on more than one virtualization platform, adding Microsoft virtualization and cloud skills to your technical repertoire can improve your career options and prepare you to face new IT demands.

Join Early Experts! We'll help you get certified!

What is Early Experts?

Microsoft Early Experts is a free, online study group for virtualization professionals who want to extend their Microsoft Hyper-V, System Center and Microsoft Azure knowledge with official Microsoft certifications. We’ve organized our high-impact learning resources into online Knowledge Quests that include concise videos, prescriptive study materials and hands-on practice with real products. Complete the weekly quests at your own pace and enjoy the flexibility to stop and review certain topics when you need more time.

Rewards and Prizes (U.S. Only)

Complete the online Quests and receive a completion badge suitable for printing or sharing online to showcase your new skills with Microsoft virtualization! In addition, IT Pros located in the U.S. are eligible to win one of several cool prizes during monthly prize drawings in April, May and June 2014. **

Rewards, Prizes and Certification: Join Early Experts today!

If you’re located outside of the U.S., you’re certainly still welcome to join us and take advantage of the Early Experts study materials to help you prepare for certification.

The clock is ticking … Join us today!

Early Experts study groups are forming now for existing VMware / Virtualization professionals targeting the following Microsoft certification:

Join Us: Become our next Early Expert!

**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open only to IT Professionals who are legal residents of the 50 U.S. states or D.C., 18+. Sweepstakes ends on June 30, 2014. See Official Rules.

IT Camp Question: Can I run VMM even though I’m not in control of the entire domain?

This question was asked recently at an IT Camp on Virtualization. The attendee was responsible for the server and infrastructure of an OU, not the entire domain.  He wanted to know if he could still take advantage of Virtual Machine Manager for just the servers in that one OU.

Short Answer: Yes!

Long Answer:
Its true that VMM requires access to Active Directory for authentication and some other features, but you can run multiple instances of VMM in one domain.

A couple key points:

  • Any one host (and it’s virtual machines)can only be managed by a single instance of VMM.
  • VMM would not recognize an OU as boundary of any kind – any host could be added if the appropriate credentials were presented.
  • Each instance of VMM would have it’s own database. If reporting across multiple VMM instances becomes a requirement, it’s possible to connect each VMM instance to a single OpsMgr instance and do the monitoring and reporting from there.

So there you have it. Even if you don’t have your thumb on the pulse of your ENTIRE organization, you can still use VMM for the part you reign.

From my Friends over at Microsoft Virtual Academy

9/23/2014 Update – This event is available on demand, when you need it.  If you are just starting to take a closer look at Windows Server and Hyper-V, this is a great way to get a jumpstart.


Free Online Event: Virtualizing Your Data Center with Hyper-V and System Center
Free online event with live Q&A:
Wednesday, February 19thfrom 9am – 5pm PST
If you’re new to virtualization, or if you have some experience and want to see the latest R2 features of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V or Virtual Machine Manager, join us for a day of free online training with live Q&A to get all your questions answered. Learn how to build your infrastructure from the ground up on the Microsoft stack, using System Center to provide powerful management capabilities. Microsoft virtualization experts Symon Perriman and Matt McSpirit (who are also VMware Certified Professionals) demonstrate how you can help your business consolidate workloads and improve server utilization, while reducing costs. Learn the differences between the platforms, and explore how System Center can be used to manage a multi-hypervisor environment, looking at VMware vSphere 5.5 management, monitoring, automation, and migration. Even if you cannot attend the live event, register today anyway and you will get an email once we release the videos for on-demand replay! 
Topics include:
  • Introduction to Microsoft Virtualization
  • Host Configuration
  • Virtual Machine Clustering and Resiliency
  • Virtual Machine Configuration
  • Virtual Machine Mobility
  • Virtual Machine Replication and Protection
  • Network Virtualization
  • Virtual Machine and Service Templates
  • Private Clouds and User Roles
  • System Center 2012 R2 Data Center
  • Virtualization with the Hybrid Cloud
  • VMware Management, Integration, and Migration

 Register here: 
Also check out the www.MicrosoftVirtualAcademy.comfor other free training and live events.

Wanna Build Your Own Virtualization Lab? Don’t Miss THIS…

I just kicked off the first of several Northern California IT Camps yesterday and the registration for my next three events are packed full.  I wish is wasn’t so I could invite you to attend.

Most people have enjoyed the hands on labs but often want more time to “kick the tires” or want to share the experience with colleagues back in the office.  We can’t really extend the access to the system since it’s gets recycled each event, but my friend and IT Pro Evangelist colleague, Kevin Remde, has taken the time to break down exactly how you can build a lab yourself, on ONE BOX.  (That box does need to have at least 16GB of RAM and at least 200GB of free disk space.)

Then you can take your lab manual from class and run through it again, or test out whatever you need to test that fits your organization.  Kevin has everything you need except the setup to do patching from WSUS. Say hello to my own next side project, because doing this looks like fun!

If you did happen to join me yesterday and want access to slides and other resources from the day, please visit my resources page in the navigation on the right.

Also, if you want to learn more about Hyper-V, check out this introductory JumpStart from Microsoft Virtual Academy.

West Coast Virtualization Camps Come to a Close

Yesterday, I finished my last presentation of the Microsoft Virtualization Camp for 2013 in Los Angeles. Special thanks to Jessica DeVita, an LA local and Microsoft MVP who spent the day helping out as a lab proctor.  The day wouldn’t have be as smooth without her!

Here is a recap of some of the links and resources I’ve mentioned during my presentations:

  • The VMware vs. Microsoft Blog Series – the entire series covers many of the differences between the products and goes deeper on some features than we were able to cover at the one day event.  Of particular interest is the “Shopping for Private Clouds” post.
  • The Comparison Whitepaper – A pretty comprehensive feature comparison, good place to start your research.
  • Microsoft Virtual Academy – there are at least 4 new sessions specifically around System Center.
  • Build It Yourself – If you want to do a similar setup of the HOL environment at your desk or in you lab you can download Hyper-V Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 or the full version of Windows Server 2012 R2 using the links in the right side navigation bar. —>>  For tips on getting started, visit this post. (The contest is over, but the instructions can still get you started!)
  • If you want some additional instructions for building labs in-house, please visit Tommy Patterson’s Blog, where he provides lots of step-by-step guides. Tommy is one of my IT Pro Evangelist colleagues on the East Coast.

If you missed the opportunity to attend one of these camps in your area or you think someone else from your company might benefit from some of the content, please check out the Virtualization Camp Online being held next Wednesday, December 11th.

Fellow Evangelists Matt Hester and Tommy Patterson will be presenting and while you won’t be able to be “hands on” yourself, Matt and Tommy will doing some of the demos.  Keith Mayer, Yung Chou and I will be manning the chat room, so feel free to say hello!

For future virtualization related events coming in 2014, be sure to visit TechNet Events.

Sold Out! Microsoft Virtualization Camps (So Get it Online!)

If you’ve had the chance to attend one of the Virtualization IT Camps I presented in Silicon Valley, San Diego or San Francisco, I hope it was a day well spent.  If you are scheduled to attend the event in Los Angeles on December 5th, I’m looking forward to a packed house, as registration is full and has been closed.

Now, if you are bummed to be missing the event, don’t despair – On December 11th, Matt Hester and Tommy Patterson will be doing an ONLINE version of the event from 9am to 12pm.  They will be covering the same content and showing demos of the hands-on components.

Yeah, I know, it’s not quite the same as in person, but the condensed format will be awesome for those of you who might not be able to commit to a whole day event!

Go to to register!

Help Shape the Future Microsoft Virtualization, Cloud, and Datacenter Management Products

Got some great ideas about what Microsoft should do with virtualization, the cloud and the datacenter?  Do you actively virtualize systems or want to get more in-depth with the future of virtualization?

Microsoft Windows Server and Systems Center Customer Research team is looking for ITPros to participate on an IT Pro panel.

As a member of the panel, you will have the opportunity to provide vision and feedback to the Cloud and Data Center Management Product team through surveys, focus groups, usability sessions, early design concept reviews, and customer interviews.

The research team is looking for very specific expertise profiles. Use of Microsoft products IS NOT required. To help identify if you qualify, start by completing a short survey.

Please note, this is only for customers located in the US but there is work toward extending to an international audience soon. Once again, you do not have to use Microsoft products to participate.
Interested? Want to learn more? Click to access the survey.