Grand Rapids, MI Q/A TechNet Event: Transforming IT from Virtualization to the Cloud (3-15-2011)

Thank you to everyone who ventured out to Grand Valley State last Tuesday!  Thank you for making the drive more importantly thank you for all of the questions you asked during the event!  I have put together the Q/A from the session.  If you have any additional questions please comment and I look forward to seeing you again next time I am in town!  Thanks to my teammate Kevin Remde for doing a majority of leg work on these as I travelling around Michigan.  Thanks Kevin!

I also wanted to share with you another place to get your Azure questions answered:  Windows Azure Office Hours.  There are a lot of people that are interested in the cloud, but they don't know how to get started. Maybe they just have a lot of questions before they decide to get going. This is what we are here for. During office hours we will have the door wide open. Come on in, toss out your questions, and we'll help you anyway we can. The office will be staffed with cloud computing experts from Microsoft, and some of our leading partners. No agenda, just show up and pitch us your questions. No Registration. No emails. No commitments. Just show up.  Go here to learn about the hours:

Windows Azure Office Hours

Q:  Is there a SCVMM lite?
Not really however there is System Center Essentials 2010 which has some virtualization management features that come from it. It also includes other IT systems management products specifically designed for midsized businesses.

Q:  Can you use Microsoft® Hyper-V™ Server 2008 R2 with SCVMM?
Yes. It’s seen as just another virtualization host.

Q: Where is the future of bandwidth going with the hosting providers?
This is the debate of the day, all we can sort of predict is that is will be faster, and more reliable, how the different providers bill is TBD.

Q: With Office 365 can you use your own domain name?
Yes take a look here for more information:  Manage domains and domain properties

Q: What if I am a current BPOS customer?
There is a great website to help you out located here: Office 365 transition center 

Q: Is there pricing for Office 365?
This was a question I did not do my homework on, and yes there is pricing, see below:

Q: How does Lync interact with PSTN outbound and switches, what standards does lync support?
Currently my understanding is that Lync is not yet a phone switch replacement.  It is for messaging, audio, video for within your own org, or with federated relationships to other orgs.  It doesn’t yet tie to your local phone switch, nor does it (yet) connect to any phone companies. 

Q: How does legal discovery work for Office 365?
From the Office 365 Blog Office 365 for enterprises: Part 5 - IT Control and Efficiency:

“In terms of managing the technology itself, Office 365 provides a simplified, streamlined, Web-based management tool. You retain control over user management and service configuration so you can tailor services to the way your company does business. You can even automate management tasks and reporting using Remote PowerShell. Finally, role-based access control enables you to delegate specific capabilities to specialist users, for example, enabling a compliance officer to perform multi-mailbox search so IT staff doesn't have to.”

Q: What are the encryption standards for Office 365?
In a general sense they’re no different than Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and Office 2010 Pro Plus.  Additionally, Office 365 applications are accessed through 128-bit SSL/TSL encryption .

Q: Do the VM's you load into Azure have to be Windows?
Yes, specifically Windows Server 2008 R2, with some additional configuration prior to loading it.

From Windows Azure Compute:

“A Virtual Machine (VM) role runs an image (a VHD) of a Windows Server 2008 R2 virtual machine. This VHD is created using an on-premises Windows Server machine, then uploaded to Windows Azure. Customers can configure and maintain the OS and use Windows Services, scheduled tasks etc. in the VM role. Once it’s stored in the cloud, the VHD can be loaded on demand into a VM role and executed. The VHD can be used as the base image for all instances of a VM Role. Learn more about the Windows Azure VM Role”

Q: Is there a Hyper-V (SSP) appliance?
No.  There are hardware solutions from HP/Dell/Fujitsu etc, but not an appliance as such, and right now those devices are not available for the general public that I am aware of.

Q: Is there a feature comparison for SQL Azure vs. SQL Server 2008?
There are a few out there not sure how thorough they are but take a look here:

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