I know it’s been a while. I am really hating starting my posts with an apology because I’ve been absent, yet again. Since I have been working for Microsoft (via an agency, I have to put that in there for legal reasons) I have been busy. I’m not complaining but it’s been super busy and my “free” time is limited. Every time I learn something new or give a presentation I think “that should be a blog post and I’ll do it tonight” then 10 pm rolls around and I’m in bed fighting to stay awake. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m really going to try to spend more time here. I love this space and the community around it.
Ok..so one of the reasons I have been so busy at the office, is I’m working on a 8 part web series. I’m so excited about this project. We are taking all the cool parts of Windows Server 2012 R2 and condensing them into 30 minute slices. Short, sweet and too the point. Get it…”slices” and “point”, playing off of Samurai. There is a similar series for the US Partners and if you are interested in it here is the link. Personally I find webcasts a little boring, so I have created this to be fun, quick and educational. The session will start with, hold on to your hats, a small PowerPoint deck. Five – ten slides at most! We’ll do a quick intro, discuss the basic concepts and roll right into a demo then finish up with current offerings. Here’s the entire series agenda:
Feel free and join us for your slice of Server 2012 R2 and become the master of your 2012 R2 domain. For more details and registration follow this link.
If you can’t make the live webcasts we will be making them available on demand.
I finally did it, I made the switch to Windows Phone. I love my S3 but I knew i had to make the switch, I was always hiding my Google phone at the office. It’s the Nokia 920 and my first impression was it’s heavy and solid! So far so good! A few things bother me, but I expected those hiccups. As I use it over the next week or so i will notate what I like. Already I’m loving the integration with my work email, calendar and Lync!
I’ll keep you posted.
I know it’s been a few weeks – okay, maybe six – since my last post. Things at work have been really busy, I came down with that awful bug that was going around, and there were some changes in my personal life. Now that things have settled down and I’m in a new routine, I will be able to get back to posting IT for SMBs. Sorry for the delay.
One of the awesome projects I am working on at Microsoft is a webinar on Server 2012 R2 that is scheduled for next Tuesday, Feb. 24. I’ll be talking about the need to move from Server 2003, and how to do it. Yes, it’s coming to an end and we need to start planning for it. And if you are on SBS 2003, what are the options you have to move to Server 2012 R2? (Trust me there are some great solutions for the SMB.) We will also talk about CALs and why you need one for every user or device in your office. We will also chat about ROK, the re-seller option kit; it’s a great option for SMBs.
Why not grab a coffee and join us for the hour? Plus there will be giveaways! No, it’s not an Xbox One, but that would be awesome. To register follow this link https://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032577602&Culture=en-CA&community=0
SBS quietly left us on December 31st 2013. We will remember SBS as a hard-working, dedicated piece of technology in the small business environment.
As a Microsoft partner, I LOVED SBS. As with most partners, initially I wasn’t thrilled with losing SBS, but after working with the options offered with Windows Server 2012 R2, I have come to appreciate the opportunities that arose when the SBS “windows” closed.
As a recap, SBS provided Exchange for email, and SharePoint for document management. Typically everything was installed on one server. Now with Server 2012, Exchange and SharePoint are not included. Microsoft has provided other alternatives to the software, such as Office 365, Exchange On-Premise, or hosted Exchange.
All three are great solutions and it’s just a matter of finding the right solution for your small business or your small business client. Let’s look at each option here.
1. Office 365 – If you read my blog you know I am a big fan of Office 365. For a small business who is already using some type of hosted email, moving to Office 365 is a no-brainer. They get awesome email, plus Lync and SharePoint for a similar cost to what they are already paying. Essentials can be configured to connect to Office 365, and you can easily add both local and Office 365 email accounts, via a single pane of glass. To see how easy it is to connect the two services see article:
2. Exchange On-Premise – Some companies will insist on continuing to host email internally, and for these clients we can easily add an Exchange Server to the infrasture. Essentials will easily tie into this server and you will be able to manage both servers and accounts from a single pane of glass. I will do a post on how to connect these two options in the future. Personally, I’m not an Exchange expert and it would be a good experience for me to play with the new version of Exchange.
3. Hosted Exchange – If your client does not want to use Office 365, or manage an On-Premise Exchange server, a hosted Exchange service is also supported.
There is no stopping the steady progression to the cloud, and for the small business, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials can provide all the big business tools at an affordable cost. While SBS focused on keeping everything on-site, Essentials seamlessly allows the small business to take advantage of cloud technologies; if an On-Premise Exchange server is required, we can easily manage this server just as easily.
As we start the New Year, let’s make a resolution to embrace Server Essentials and not grieve SBS. SBS would have wanted us to move on and continue to serve our small business clients with the best of the technologies.
I feel I owe you, dear reader, an explanation for my absence lately. 2013 was a big year….with so many ups and downs it was hard to know if I was coming or going. 2013 was the year of change. The rollercoaster ride started in the Spring, for every professional up, and there were lots, there was also a private low. And as the ups got bigger, such as joining the Microsoft team, the lows got lower. I could’ve let the lows drag me down, but instead I took every high and rode it higher, and in doing so I discovered a strength in myself that I forgot I had.
Here are some of my professional accomplishments of 2013:
- Nominated and awarded the BizTech 50 Must-Read IT Blogs of 2013 professionally
- Joined Microsoft via an agency (I have to put that in there) and absolutely loving my position. Stay tuned for all the awesome stuff that is coming your way.
- Nominated for an MVP award
- Guest blog post on CanIT Pro blog had an awesome reach
- My blog view soared like never before
- Made and rediscovered some great new friends
And for every one of these highlights, there was a personal low that followed. As the year closed, so did the ups and downs of the rollercoaster ride.
2014 started on a major high, I was awarded the Microsoft Valuable Professional award, but as has become the pattern, this has to be followed by a low, and there is one more low to come. By the end of January, I expect the rollercoaster ride to level itself out a bit more.
2014 is going to be a great year, it’s going to be my year…and if you have stayed with me so far, thank you, and I looked forward to having you join me on as I soar to new heights.
Several months ago I had a client who wanted to move to Office 365 and asked if we could sync SharePoint Online with their on-premise Windows Server 2012 Essentials server. Unfortunately we were unable to do so, then. This has changed in Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, and I will also assume when using the Essentials Role on Standard and Datacenter editions. (I’ll do a post on the this great option for business with less than a 100 seats in the near future).
One question you may have is why would I want to have my files in two different locations? You may wish to have certain files on SharePoint and easily accessible by others from anywhere and you may want to keep your private files private, securely on the server in your office, such is the company financials. In the past we had to keep the files in two spots and manage each repository separately, now we can keep the files in one location and “sync” the files from the server to SharePoint or from SharePoint to the server. And the best part, it’s really easy to setup. In a previous post I step you through how to “connect” Office 365 with your Essentials server. The procedure is basically the same. Here’s the quick overview for R2:
Select Services from the Dashboard, then click on the Integrate with Office 365 link to the right.
Follow the prompts and your done. For more information on how to “connect” the two services see article.
That’s it! How easy was that???
When you reopen the Dashboard you will have a new Office 365 tab, which connects your server to your Office 365 subscription.
The rest is pretty straight forward. In the Storage section of the Dashboard, you will have a tab for SharePoint Libraries.
So at this point we think, great I can just dump files into either the SharePoint OnLine repository or the local folder and poof…they will be synced. This would be awesome but in reality, we still have one more step. Microsoft has released the SkyDrive Pro (download here) which allows us to sync folders on our server with folders on SharePoint Online. I installed the application on my server.
All you need to do now is setup the folders to be synced. To do this, right click on the SkyDrive Pro icon in the taskbar and select, sync a new library. Then add the appropriate path.
Personally, I prefer to set this up from within Office 365. I select the library I would like to sync with the server then click the Sync button at the top. This method automatically creates the matching folders on the server for you.
As you can see my files on the server match the files on Office 365.
I’m so happy to see this feature has been added to the overall offering. I had several requests for this type of functionality with several of my Office 365 and Server Essentials clients.
The only downfall is this is a manual processes. Meaning you have to push the sync when you need it. I wonder if a schedule could be setup using Powershell commands.
Think back, way back, to high school. For me, it was all about big hair, parachute pants, and blue mascara. Now that you’re sitting there feeling the teenage angst and acne, think back to when you had partner or group projects. You had to figure out who’s house you were going to and how you were going to get there. Just getting the group together to work on the project was a project in itself. Well that is quickly changing.
As some of you know, I have a daughter in Grade 9. She’s been on computers since she was in diapers. or her, the computer is just a tool. We’ve been lucky in elementary school that her teachers have always encouraged the use of computers (not so much for my son who’s still in elementary school). I have been pleasantly surprised on how much she has been able to do online in high school. She accesses her textbooks online, submits her papers, and even music compositions, via the school private cloud. Her teachers upload her marks to a secure website which the parents have access to. But last was the first time I had noticed her collaborating on a paper online. Yes, she chats with her classmates and they have emailed papers back and forth, but tonight I noticed she was editing a document real time using the school board’s Google Drive cloud. Her classmate was on the phone and they were discussing the changes and editing on the fly together, and they could see each others edits. For my daughter this not new, she is my editor (you read her work whenever you read one of my blog posts), and we co-edit pieces all the time, but this was the first time I had seen her do it with a classmate. She and my son are usually way ahead of their peers when it comes to technology, and they are usually helping their classmates, and sometimes teachers, with technology in the classroom.
The one thing that puzzles me about last week was why on earth were they using the phone? Talk about old-fashioned.