Monday, 10 December 2007

Technet Roadshow

I got the opportunity to take a look at some of the new Windows 2008 Server technologies as the Technet Roadshow hit Newcastle on Tuesday (4th December) and I have to say I was quite impressed. While most of the changes weren't exactly heart stoppers they were quite nice little features and looked quite well thought out.

The Afternoon session of the Roadshow presented by Microsoft "Evangelists" Steve Lamb and James O'neil centered around backups and remote desktop. As you may expect from a couple of seasoned veterans of this kind of presentation, they kept it quite light and entertaining, with a few digs at certain security failing coming from the North East in recent months. Refreshing though it wasn't quite the 'medicine wagon' sales pitch i had expected, at least a couple of times they drew attention to things that didn't work with the new software, and they were very keen to say that the new terminal services was not a replacement for Citrix which they repeatedly maintained added value.

Probably the most interesting thinking discussed was that VPN's weren't all that secure. Having just passed my comptia security plus exam that statement came as a bit of a surprise. But they did have a point in that it is very hard to control access to specific protocols and services or to monitor usage, once you've allow users access to the vpn. Apparently much of this is addressed within the new 6 terminal services. The other area of Terminal Services that was very impressive was deployment of Terminal Services Applications. The ability to create Application Farms, so that you could simply switch were an application was being delivered from to allow you to take down a server for maintenance was very good.

With regard to Backup there was some interesting information on the difference between Xp and Vista back up products and the idea of Byte level Back ups was also very interesting, as only the bytes that had changed in say an SQL database between the last back up the current one and the back up was made first to disk and then later from disk to tape the down time to the Applications and services is minimal.

One last thought, as microsoft evangelists these 2 guys have some of the biggest brains on the planet, but they were completely unable to start a new section of their presentation without using the word "so".