Microsoft Developer & IT Pro Days in Gent, Belgium, day 2

Visiting this week the Microsoft Developer & IT Pro Days in Gent, Belgium, I caught another few presentations on new Microsoft products.

Search in SharePoint Server 2007 – Architecture, scalability and deployment.

I am not a great supporter of SharePoint, but it is a very strong product because of it’s tight integration with all things Microsoft.  That’s why I visited Kimmo Forss’s presentation on architecture, scalability and deployment of SharePoint Server 2007, and more specifically the Search function.

Microsoft made good progress with their search functions.  I still don’t like Live Search, because it does not work as good as Google, but on the desktop and own servers, they have done a great job.  I like the search function in Vista, and also on SharePoint Server 2007 it works swift and correct.

Kimmo went in deep detail on setting up server farms for big enterprisey environments, with all diffferent requirements and suggestions on hardware and software.  2007 gives you more flexibility in setting up different functions for different servers, but in enterprise environments, you’re in for a tough ride. 

High Availability in Exchange 2007

Jill Frank came back for an interesting presentation on the high availability options within Exchange 2007.  Most Exchange 2007 server roles can be load balanced by simple means: edge servers can be DNS round robined, other servers can be clustered.  The only difficult one is the mailbox storage, because you – as the word says – have to do with keeping storage availabe, op top of a service.

 To make Exchange 2007 mailboxes highly available both in terms of speed and in terms of failover safety, it features two options which work best in combination with each other: clustering and “local continuous replication”, which means the transaction logs are replicated over multiple locations on the same server on another data location.  Together, they become Cluster Continuous Replication, in which the transaction logs are replicated over both clusters, and no shared data point is needed in the cluster.  Exchange 2007 is cluster-aware on install, meaning that it integrates into a prepared cluster setup, as long as the cluster is pretty much empty: no Exchange 2003, no SQL Server, no other weird stuff.  Setup of a CCR is then very simple, as long as you build two identical machines, with identical installation points.

Optimizing Windows Vista & Office 2007 Deployments 

David De Backer gave a thorough presentation on different ways to deploy Vista on different environments, aided by the Business Desktop Deployment 2007.  BDD is a very easy one file download, which deploys a framework to deploy not only Vista, but even Windows XP from SP2 onto your environment.  In it, you can easily reach all tools and programs the framework incorporates, such as USMT or Application Compability Tool, which analyses applications and their compability with Windows Vista or XP and their respective user rights management settings.

Windows Vista reliability and management improvements

I didn’t plan on visiting Tony Krijnen’s presentation, since I have been working with Vista for 10 months now and know quite alot of ins and outs already, but I found Tony’s presentation very entertaining ánd informative.  Turns out I don’t know all about Vista!  Be sure to skim through his presentation, for it is much bigger than I can try to comment on. 

Bottom line of Tony’s presentation is that Vista incorporates a wide range of features that make it easier for end-users to understand problems and to troubleshoot and solve them.  No more are the days where an end-user is asked to check network connectivity with ipconfig and ping, or memory-hogging programs that slow down your system.  Also, do send all your error reports to Microsoft: they áre analyzed ánd used in creating hotfixes, patches, service packs and next versions. 

If you want to review the presentations of today, you can visit this link .

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