August 2008 - Posts

Best Practices SharePoint Conference

The Best Practices SharePoint Conference in Washington, DC is scheduled for September 15-17.
 
Well, first the bad news. It is offically SOLD OUT.
 
The good new?  It is officially SOLD OUT.
Posted by cluster

Virtualization and Exchange Server 2007 Support

For serveral years, we have had heard in the industry how great virtualization is and how it can save us a fortune in reduced data center foot prints and make our companies more efficient as well as more effective when it comes to moving new products into production and consolidation of servers.
 
The big issue/concern has been whether we can get support from Microsoft for products that we are running in a virtualized environment. Who wants to invest in virtualization if it means that we won't get the high levels of support that we need for our business critical applications?
 
I remember hearing that when Hyper-V was released that we would be seeing a whole new perspective from Microsoft when it comes to virtualization. One rumor that I heard was that the Hyper-V guys were pushing all of the other product groups to approve and support the use of their products running in Hyper-V instances. It may not be true, but it makes a great deal of sense to me. We can clearly see from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/897615/en-us that Microsoft's stance is changing over time as this KB is now (as of 8/19/2008) at version 4.1. It is nice to see changes are taking place all the time.
 
Well, yesterday, Microsoft released a statement regarding virtualization, http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2008/08/19/449621.aspx. The key to this statement is that the product is Exchange Server 2007, which is a huge one when it comes to critical applications. Another key is that they mention Hyper-V and OTHER Hypervisors that have been approved under their new Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP), http://www.windowsservercatalog.com/svvp. Think of it as an HCL for virtualization products. :)
 
I expect to hear more announcements in the future.
Personally, I am not a huge fan of virtualizing Exchange or SQL as they are so resource intensive in so many organizations. I can, though, see it in smaller organizations or for smaller implementations of many products where it doesn't make sense to waste money on server hardware that is not being well utilized. Overall, though, I love virtualization.
Posted by cluster

Buy.com and Extremely Poor Customer Service

I have been buying products from the Internet for several years now. I seldom do any of my major shopping in stores anymore.
 
The other day, buy.com advertised a laptop that looked like something that I could use and the price was right. So, I placed an order. It never arrived. I placed it again, and received an email saying that I need to provide more information.
 
They asked that I go to http://www.buy.com/ccalt.htm and fax them the form all filled out so they could ship my laptop. Look at it when you get a chance. They want me to copy my Driver's License AND my credit card. Yeah, right. Maybe I should just give them everything on me so they can easily steal my identity. OK, not buy.com, but anyone that works there could access that info.
 
I have sent several emails to their customer support and they all reply with the same response which is, "No, we won't tell you what is wrong with your online purchase and no, we won't help you unless you fill out our form and fax it to us."
 
I have a better idea. I won't buy from them, and I will gripe loud and long to everyone that I know.
 
I still can't believe that I could not get a voice number from their customer service web site and that I received such stupid requests.
 
BTW, does anyone in this country still own a fax machine?
Update: I finally got a phone number from one of the reps. Of course, everyone followed the company line, so it did me no good. Next step - I write the corporate office and file a complaint with the BBB. I doubt either will do any good, but they really need to change their policy or they will lose more customers.
Posted by cluster

Certifications - They Really Are Not as Scary as Thought

Harold Wong recently posted about his recent certification experiences. It is an excellent example of what I have been saying for years: Certification is not all that and a bag of chips.

Microsoft certification is focused on proving minimal skills required to perform a job/task. Minimal skills are possessed by most of the administrators in the world that have been working with the product for a significant amount of time. If you know your stuff, passing an exam should be easy.

So, what does certification prove? Again, see above, nothing but minimal skills.

What does a High School diploma prove? Minimal skills.

What does a College Degree prove? Minimal skills.

None of them prove that you are an expert in anything. They just prove that you have worked hard and have a certain minimal skill set. They each show that you know how to learn new things, that you know how to gather information, that you know how to read and write and apply your knowledge to certain situations. Each of them are great ways for a human resources representative to help identify candidates. Just as a degree or a diploma are not tickets to a job, neither is certification. A good employer will always interview the candidate to get direct proof of skills.

Think about it. If you were a HR representative and you had a stack of applications, and some of them were certified and some were not, which ones would you interview first?

So, why go through the certifcation process? See the above. It is the same reason that people graduate High School and College.

 

 

Posted by cluster