Sunday, February 27, 2011

Interruptions Cost You Money

My friend Barbara Dove gave me some great stats at a recent MSPU Bootcamp in Irvine. In case you're not familiar with Dove Helpdesk, you should be. Check it out at http://dovehelpdesk.com/. Great outsourcing stuff from very sharp woman.

Anyway, we were on a panel and Barbara mentioned some information about the effect of interruptions on profitability. So I bugged her until she sent me the info. Now I have to go read a bunch more on this. In the meantime, here are some juicy nuggets to consider:

First, people actually research Interruptions. This is a favorite topic of mine, but I was not familiar with this research.

Second, Research shows that errors are four times greater when a person is interrupted.

This is huge. Errors cost money. Period. Four times as many errors costs . . ..

Third, when it comes to technical matters, it takes an average of 15 minutes to resume work after interruption.

This is HUGE. One of my biggest mantras over the last several years has been Do Not Be Interrupt-Driven. It's in my powerpoints, my books, and in my businesses. My brother Manuel and I are vicious about setting the rules of communication and operation so that we are not constantly letting other people decide how and when we will respond to requests.

Fourth, All of this is controllable. You just need to set some policies and enforce them. Turn off those stupid Outlook popups - 90% of the time it's unimportant. Turn off the ringer on your phone. Permanently. Have a policy that you cannot be interrupted at work unless some specific criteria are met - like a green flag on your desk.

All too often we assume that we have to live in a world filled with interruptions. But unless you work in a hospital emergency room, interruptions really aren't necessary.

Make more money today. Take control of your own business.

- - - - -

Citations:

* “High Cost of Interruption”, Jonathan B. Spira, KM World Magazine, Sept 1, 2005.
“Beyond the Time Cost of Interruptions on Primary Task Performance: Understanding Errors”, Ratwani and Tafton, Cognitive Science Archive Proceedings, 2007, p. 1842.

* “The cost of email interruptions”, Brad Meador, March 11, 2008 blog http://blog.clearcontext.com/2008/03/research-the-co.html.

* “The cost of Everyday Interruptions”, George Ambler, The Practice of Leadership, Feb 6, 2008.

:-)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Get An AMAZING Deal on Robin Robins' Technology Marketing Bootcamp

Join me in Nashville
March 23-26

I have a new web site up called SMB Tickets - at SMBTickets.com.

In addition to Robin Robins, I am making deals with several other events to bring you discounted tickets.

I have acquired a limited number tickets to Robin Robins' Fantastic Marketing Bootcamp. And I am able to offer these tickets at a spectacular price of only $599 each. I believe these are about twice that price on Robin's site.

For information on Robin's Bootcamp, go to www.SMBTickets.com.

NOTE: You cannot get this price anywhere else, even from Robin's site. Only from SMB Books / SMB Tickets.

- - - -

SMB Nation's MVP Nation - "Early bird pricing" still available - but only from www.SMBTickets.com.

SMB Nation's Spring Conference in Toronto - Early Bird pricing available from www.SMBTickets.com.

. . . And that also means you can get even BIGGER discounts if you buy tickets to more than one event because I can do something these folks can't do separately: I can sell a "bundle" of two totally unrelated events so you can save even more.


Bonus: Free copy of Stephanie Chandler's Conference Catcher to get the most out of your event. (See the Conference Catcher info page.)

- - - - -

SMB Nation's MVP Nation 2011
March 3-4, Seattle, WA

Only $299 from SMB Books
More Info at SMB Nation


Buy now for $299

Combine with Robin Robins' Bootcamp for only $699 !!!
Get Both Now!
SMB Tickets

- - - - -

SMB Nation's Spring Conference 2011
June 10-11, Toronto, ONT

Only $299 from SMB Books
More Info at SMB Nation


Buy now for $299

Combine with Robin Robins' Bootcamp for only $699 !!!
Get Both Now!
SMB Tickets

:-)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Your Business Personality, Products, and Profits

They say you calcify when you get older. But I find that I'm becoming more flexible on certain things.

As odd as it sounds, I'm becoming flexible on Quality. Okay, not really quality itself. But the role quality plays in my business and the people I consult with.

My business has been less profitable at times because I insist on top quality. Top quality service costs more. Top quality products cost more. Top quality processes and procedures cost more.

. . . And I honestly believe that ALL of these cost less in the long run.

The day you spend $500 more for a server it costs more. Two years later when a hard drive does not fail, it costs less.

I have a bias for products that cost money versus products that are free. I want someone to call in the middle of the night when there's a problem. I want technology that just absolutely works all the time and I don't have to spend my time fixing it.

Over the last 18 months I have come to the stark realization that many consultants simply don't believe me when I tell them that our clients' servers don't break. We have almost no after-hours policy because we never have to go out in the middle of the night. Because stuff just works.

We sell brand name, business-class servers that are designed to last 3-4 years. We don't push them to 5-6 years. We maintain them.


But Things Are Changing
(Warning: religious war ahead. Note that I am studiously avoiding brand names here in order to focus on the bigger point.)

The other day I had lunch with friend and we were talking about cars. He was pushing me to buy an American made car. I have only owned Hondas and Toyotas (and old fun Volkswagens) for more than 20 years. But I rent a lot of cars when I travel. So I see what new American cars are like.

Then I made the statement that got us arguing about computers.

"I want a car that just works every day with no unscheduled maintenance. I want a warranty I don't use because nothing breaks. It's like computers. People who buy second-rate computers have no idea how good technology can be. They are happy to build in service calls and hardware fixes into their daily routines. They use their warranties all the time.

They don't know that a computer can work perfectly for 3-4 years with no unscheduled maintenance."

He came back with a very un-expected argument: I would love to sell the brand you sell, but I find that company very difficult to deal with.
- They are hard to engage in the first place
- Pre-Sales support is slow and difficult
- They ship fast, but only for preconfigured machines
- With my provider, I get a quote within an hour and they stick to it
- I don't care that it takes two weeks to get a new machine
- Your brand is higher quality but not worth the hassle

I could argue with him, but what would I say? My brand works for me. I do get good pre-sales support.

Or, more accurately, I get pre-sales support that makes me happy and fits my personality. I get quotes verified accurate within eight business hours. So that means the next day in some cases. But I'm okay with that.

For me, the long-term satisfaction of zero unscheduled maintenance is primary.

For him, the ease of configuration, quoting, and sales are primary.

We didn't discuss it, but I bet he knows his sales rep's name and always uses the same one. My guess is that their sales relationship is important to my friend. My Rep changes on a regular basis and I use two different suppliers so I always have two sources to call on. That sales relationship has very little value to me.

Our (Your) Clients are the Same Way

Some clients want absolute quality and are willing to pay for it. They have a sense that it's cheaper in the long run.

Other clients are willing to put up with lower quality for a variety of reasons. There is a chance that *their* server won't ever need support.

They might absolutely believe that computer are just a pain in the ass and that it doesn't get better.

Many people will trade a guaranteed savings today for a possible problem down the road.

My friend was making a decision that has impacts for his company and his clients. It was not based on some absolute sense of quality (my hot button), but on an overall relationship around that product, including sales and pre-sales support.

Isn't it interesting. Companies have personalities. Your company, my company, the manufacturers and distributors we deal with. And the clients we serve. Some personalities work well together, some do not.

Is you overall mix of products, quality, and service one that you built intentionally, or did it evolve by itself over time?

:-)



Now Available:
Introduction to Zero Downtime Migrations
Seminar on MP3 Download

Monday, February 14, 2011

Additional Intel Hybrid Cloud Roadshows

The Intel Hybrid Cloud Roadshows have been going very well. We had about 200 people in Charlotte last month!

I personally took some time off to focus on helping Microsoft with some SBS 2011 Essentials installations. More news on that when I can.

But now we're continuing the roadshow with some special stops in the San Fran Bay Area, Cincinnati, OH, Atlanta, GA, and the LA/Pasadena, CA area.

More information, videos, etc. is available at http://www.smallbizthoughts.com/events/hybridcloud.html


Here are the additional Roadshow stops we have planned to date:

Bay Area, CA
Saturday, February 26th
10AM-3:00PM

Register Free

Comcast's Menlo Park Offices
1205 Chrysler Drive
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Join local I.T. Pro user group BASBITS to learn first-hand about the Intel Hybrid Cloud. We'll demo live from a box onsite.

Note: This event will combine the Intel Hybrid Cloud Roadshow with additional information I've prepared on Cloud Services and migrating to the Cloud. This will be a great show!

- - - - -

Cincinnati, OH
Wednesday, March 2nd
7PM-9PM

Register Free

Cincinnati State Technical & Community College
Evendale Campus
10100 Reading Road
Cincinnati, OH 45241-3110

Join local I.T. Pro user groups from Cincinnati (CiNPA) and Dayton to learn first-hand about the Intel Hybrid Cloud. We'll demo live from a box onsite.

- - - - -

Atlanta, GA
Thursday, March 3rd
6PM-8:30PM

Register Free

Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta North / Alpharetta
4025 Windward Plaza Drive
Alpharetta, GA 30005

Join local I.T. Pro user groups from Atlanta to learn first-hand about the Intel Hybrid Cloud. We'll demo live from a box onsite.

- - - - -

Pasadena, CA
Wednesday, March 8th
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Register Free

Beckham Grill
77 West Walnut Street
Pasadena, CA 91103

Join local I.T. user group SMB Technology Network from the Los Angeles / Pasadena area to learn first-hand about the Intel Hybrid Cloud. We'll demo live from a box onsite.

- - - - -

At EACH EVENT we will be raffling off an Intel Hybrid Cloud Server and five copies of the Network Migration Workbook by Karl W. Palachuk and Manuel Palachuk.

FREE - But you need to register

I hope to see you soon!

:-)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Do Competencies Make Sense for Small Biz Consultants?

One of the key components of the Microsoft Partner Network is the "Competency." A competency is a product-centered designation that a partner is competent to deliver certain types of solutions.

At the entry level of the MS Partner Network is "Network" classification. That means you have not achieved any competencies. In the previous incarnation of the Partner Program, these were the "Registered" partners. At this level you can buy an Action Pack and get some server and desktop licenses for internal use.

The next level is the "Silver" partner, followed by the "Gold" partner. Silver and Gold partners have achieved competencies by meeting specific requirements. These requirement include the familiar Microsoft product exams, client references, and sometimes development of hardware, software, or services that are consistent with Microsoft standards.

The Microsoft Small Business Specialist designation is not a competency, although it requires exams and other hurdles.

In all there are currently 28 different competencies. They fall into five categories (These are my categories, not Microsoft's. Obviously, there is some overlap between some of these designations.):

1. Infrastructure, Server, Desktop Competencies
- Desktop competency
- Server Platform competency
- Systems Management competency
- Volume Licensing competency

2. Cloud/Hosting/Virtualization-Centric Competencies
- Hosting competency
- Virtualization competency

3. Programming/Development-Centric Competencies
- Application Integration competency
- Application Lifecycle Management competency
- Business Intelligence competency
- Content Management competency
- Data Platform competency
- Digital Marketing competency
- Midmarket Solution Provider competency
- Mobility competency
- Portals and Collaboration competency
- Search competency
- Software Development competency
- Web Development competency

4. Business/MS Dynamics Competencies
- Customer Relationship Management competency
- Enterprise Resource Planning competency
- Identity and Security competency
- Project and Portfolio Management competency
- Software Asset Management competency

5. Misc. Other Competencies
(Not applicable to most SMB Consultants)
- Distributor
- Independent Software Vendor (ISV) competency
- Learning competency
- OEM Hardware competency
- Unified Communications competency

See https://partner.microsoft.com/global/program/competencies.

I have listed these categories from what I consider the most relevant to SMB consultants to those least relevant to SMB consultants. So you can see that "Infrastructure, Server, Desktop Competencies" category includes the products you have traditionally supported in the SMB space.

The next category is Hosting and Virtualization. Obviously, that's the direction Microsoft is going.

The third category is basically Programming and Development. As a rule, programming houses don't do a lot of technical support, and most SMB's who focus on servers and workstations don't do much programming.

The fourth category is centered on the Dynamics family of products. Normally, Dynamics partners just focus on that. And the fifth category includes hardware manufacturers, software companies, product distributor, etc. Again, not central to what most SMBs are doing.

Do You Need a Competency?

Many - MANY - SMB Consultants have never bothered with competencies. A large number of us are Small Business Specialists with Action Pack subscriptions. With an investment of $300, Action Pack subscribers receive an amazing amount of software (see https://partner.microsoft.com/40112699).

Assuming you have 1-10 desktop users in your company, focus on the SMB market, and have the Small Business Specialist designation, do you need a competency? What does it get you?

Well, The truth is that you probably would not find much value in the MS Silver or Gold competency levels. The Silver program costs $1850 and the Gold program is a couple thousand dollars more than that. Since you get all the software you need, there are only a few goodies you won't get at the Network Level:

- Presales support

- 5-pack of Support incidents

- The very deep catalog of software in MSDN

In the very small space, presales support is not very difficult. What do you sell? Server, Desktop, and Office are most of it. Add the occasional Exchange or SQL license and you're done. In ten years as a Certified Partner we have never used Microsoft's Presales support. We get support from Ingram and Synnex.

Most people at the small end of the market only call Microsoft for Server-Down incidents, which still remain available to you. So it is unlikely you'll need to drop $500 for a support call.

The software remains the only other major benefit. And really, the MSDN premium catalog is nice to have! But realistically, you have what you need.

It seems that Microsoft has done a nice job of "Right-Sizing" the benefits and programs for SMB Consultants. As we move to the cloud and sell fewer servers, it will be interesting to see what else is added to the Network Partner program over the next few years. But for now, we are pleased to say that Microsoft provides an excellent collection of resources for their partners.

-- karlp


----------

Here is a list of the competencies from above with their relevant products. I compiled this, but other than the bold category titles, all of this information is drawn from the Microsoft Partner Site.

1. Infrastructure, Server, Desktop Competencies

Desktop competency
- Desktop Optimization Pack
- System Center Configuration Manager
- Windows Desktop

Server Platform competency
- Windows Server
- Windows HPC Server

Systems Management competency
- System Center Configuration Manager
- System Center Data Protection Manager
- System Center Operations Manager
- System Center Virtual Machine Manager

Volume Licensing competency
- Microsoft Volume Licensing Solutions to Small and Medium Organizations
- Microsoft Volume Licensing Solutions to Large Organizations

----------
2. Cloud/Hosting/Virtualization-Centric Competencies

Hosting competency
- Data Protection Manager
- Exchange Server
- Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server
- Lync Server
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0
- Office SharePoint Server, Application Development
- SharePoint Server
- SQL Server
- System Center, Data Center
- System Center Service Manager
- System Center Virtualization Manager
- Windows Server 2008
- Windows Server 2008 Hosting
- Windows Server Virtualization

Virtualization competency
- Desktop Optimization Pack
- System Center Configuration Manager
- System Center Virtual Machine Manager
- Windows Server / Desktop Virtualization
- Windows Server Virtualization

----------
3. Programming/Development-Centric Competencies

Application Integration competency
- Biz Talk Server
- SQL
- .Net

Application Lifecycle Management competency
- Visual Studio

Business Intelligence competency
- SharePoint
- SQL
- Virtual Earth Application Development
- Visio Application Development

Content Management competency
- SharePoint

Data Platform competency
- SQL

Digital Marketing competency
- FAST Enterprise Search Platform Development
- SharePoint

Midmarket Solution Provider competency
- .NET Framework 4
- Exchange Server
- SharePoint - Forefront Client and Server
- SQL Server 2008
- Windows Server 2008
- Windows Server Virtualization, Configuring

Mobility competency
- Silverlight
- SharePoint
- Windows Mobile
- Exchange Server

Portals and Collaboration competency
- SharePoint

Search competency
- SharePoint
- FAST Enterprise Search Platform Development

Software Development competency
- .NET Framework
- SharePoint
- Visual Studio

Web Development competency
- .NET Framework 4.0, Web Applications Development
- SharePoint

----------
4. Business/MS Dynamics Competencies

Customer Relationship Management competency
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Enterprise Resource Planning competency
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM
- Microsoft Dynamics C5
- Microsoft Dynamics GP
- Microsoft Dynamics NAV
- Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management
- Microsoft Dynamics SL
- SQL

Identity and Security competency
- Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server
- Microsoft Forefront
- Windows Server 2008

Project and Portfolio Management competency
- Microsoft Project Server

Software Asset Management competency
- Software Asset Management (SAM)

----------
5. Misc. Other Competencies
(Not applicable to most SMB Consultants)

Distributor
- Distributor

Independent Software Vendor (ISV) competency
- Software program development consistent with Microsoft products

Learning competency
- Delivering Microsoft Training

OEM Hardware competency
- Hardware development consistent with Microsoft products
- Deployment Toolkit
- Windows Desktop
- Windows Embedded Standard
- Windows Server

Unified Communications competency
- Exchange Server
- Lync Server
- Office Communications Server
- Product development consistent with Microsoft products

----------

:-)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Service/Feature Packs Released for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7

Woo Hoo. This morning Michael Kleef, Senior Technical Product Manager with the Windows Server and Cloud division announced the RTM (release to manufacturing)of Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1) AND Windows 7 SP1.
See http://blogs.technet.com/b/windowsserver/archive/2011/02/09/windows-server-2008-r2-and-windows-7-sp1-releases-to-manufacturing-today.aspx.

Says Kleef:

"Two new features in Windows Server SP1, Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX, enable sophisticated desktop virtualization capabilities. These features build on the comprehensive virtualization functionality already included in the Windows Server operating system."

And, of course, service packs roll up all the little patches that have been accumulating for the last year. In addition to being generally good, SP's reduce installation time on new machines and increase security out of the box.

Next week (February 16) both will be available to current customers of the Windows Volume Licensing program, as well as subscribers to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and TechNet. On February 22, both will be available to all customers through Windows Update.

One of Microsoft's annoying habits used to be releasing new features with Service Packs. That went away. Well now it's back!

It's great to have new features, but it decreases my faith that the Service Pack is going to be stable because a service pack should be a stable collection of patches, not a way to deliver new features. You never really know that a new feature is stable until it's been deployed on millions of production machines. Grrr.

Two new features in Windows Server SP1 are Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX, both of which enable sophisticated desktop virtualization capabilities. See http://blogs.technet.com/b/virtualization/archive/2011/02/09/windows-7-and-windows-server-2008-r2-sp1-add-new-virtualization-innovations.aspx.

Anyway . . .

I'm happy to have the Service Packs. I'll just be deploying very carefully since they are also Feature Packs.

:-)




Want to figure out how to make money with Cloud Computing?

Join the Cloud Services Roundtable today and listen a great series of podcasts!

http://www.cloudservicesroundtable.com/

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Software is a Legacy Term

What will you be selling in a few years? It won't be software.

Software won't exist. At least not like today.

We hired a new tech recently and he asked where we keep CDs and DVDs of Microsoft software. Mike and I looked at each other puzzled. "We keep them at Microsoft.com." Why should I be in the business of downloading and storing images of software that is easily available anytime AND changes constantly?

As a Certified Partner (or whatever we're called this week), I have access to MSDN and every Microsoft product back to DOS 6.2. We have a 20 Mb connection at work. I have 70 Mb consistently at home. We have unlimited bandwidth on our servers in the colo. So we can download whatever we need anytime.

. . . But disappearing software is more than that.

Do you buy products online? I do. Adobe Photoshop. UltraEdit. QuickBooks. Anti-Virus. Spam filtering. CRM services. DNSStuff. Exchange Experts. Webcasting tools. Podcasting tools. Voice recording tools.

Wait. Some of that's software and some is services . . . today. Soon it will all be services.

Let's assume that Microsoft keeps heading in the direction we're going. Services. SaaS will soon be Service as a Service.

Remember the old saw "No one wants a half inch drill bit." You want a half inch hole, so you buy the tool that gets the job done. Well, no one wants to own Microsoft Office. They want a tool that allows them to create, edit, and share documents in a universally recognized format. That used to be Microsoft Office.

Now it's MS Office, WordPerfect, Open Office, and Google Apps. The tool is irrlevant.

No one wants to buy SQL. They want an extremely powerful and flexible database programming platform that just works. Microsoft SQL is one option. MySQL is another.

Let me be the first to put it in these terms:

Microsoft is getting out of the Software business.

If you're not selling Exchange mailboxes as a service, you soon will be.
If you're not selling hosted storage as a service, you soon will be.
If you're not selling hosted backup as a service, you soon will be.
If you're not selling SQL Servers as a service, you soon will be.
If you're not selling CRM as a service, you soon will be.
If you're not selling SharePoint as a service, you soon will be.

If you're not selling EVERYTHING as a service, you soon will be.

Once Microsoft releases Exchange and SQL as simply "on demand" services, it will be a matter of time before they stop selling installable software. Why would you install software when you can just turn on an instance and use it?

(Think about this: When was the last time you bought a new answering machine? I bought my last one six years ago just to create an outgoing message system on a phone number I could use in advertising. I gave it to GoodWill a year later. Now I use voicemail, Skype services, and all kinds of cool things . . . which I buy as services.)

And what's driven by SQL? Uh . . . Everything! CRM, Dynamics, SharePoint, custom applications, the Cloud Services Roundtable member datase . . . everything.

Don't be afraid of this change. Dentists and lawyers will still need people to advise them on what to do, how to use their resources, effectively, and set up all this cool stuff. But it means you need to really focus on being an advisor and not just a technician. See the previous blog post and the Cloud Services Roundtable post it refers to.

Technicians are available everywhere for cheap.

Advisors will always be in demand.

In fact, as this economy takes off, new businesses will be springing up. And they won't want to own legacy solutions . . . like hardware and software.

It's all about the services.

Be a Cloud Services Professional or a Cloud Services Aggregator. Be IN the business that is going to connect your clients to their technical needs. Be in the cloud services business!




Hosting is Not Cloud Computing

Too many people casually say that cloud computing is just hosting. Not true. Not close to true.

Think about this:

- If I create a virtual machine, whether locally or in a hosted environment, I have to maintain that machine.

- If I create a computing "instance" and run software on it, I don't have to maintain anything.

Hosting and VMs are great in their place. But they are just moving from the physical world to a virtual world. Someone still has to monitor the server, patch the server, update the server, virus-scan the server, defrag the virtual hard drives, etc.

Hosted machines and virtual machines don't know that they're not real computers. So they need maintentance.

Cloud computing takes advantage of computing power without regard for the machines underneath. Someone, somewhere has to make it work. But it's not you, the person paying the bill.

The future of so-called software is that applications will simply exist in cloud-based, inifinitely redundant computing space.


:-)

Are Technical Consultants A Dying Breed?

There are some macro-level changes in our market as we emerge from the recession. Cloud computing is changing the world faster than many people believe.

I normally don't cross-promote my blogs, but I wrote an article over on the Cloud Services Roundtable blog you might find interesting.

Summary: Your job is going to disappear if you don't change what you do and how you do it.

The Bottom Line: There isn't enough room in the small and medium tech support market to support all the technicians who exist today. Many have already disappeared. Many, many more of them will disappear in the months to come.

"The Computer Company" that doesn't sell services will simply cease to exist.

:-)




Now Shipping:
The Network Migration Workbook:
Zero Downtime Migration Strategies for Microsoft Networks

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Intel Hybrid Cloud Roadshow - 4 More Stops!

Upcoming Stops on the Intel Hybrid Cloud Roadshow

- San Francisco, CA (Feb.26)
- Cincinnati, OH (March 2nd)
- Atlanta, GA (March 3rd)
- Pasadena/Los Angeles, CA (March 8th)

Sponsored by Intel.

The Big Give-Away: a SERVER!

Intel has agreed to raffle off a Lenovo Server with Intel's Hybrid Cloud installed at each of these cities!
Must be present to win.

Someone will win a new server in each city! So sign up now at http://www.smallbizthoughts.com.

Other prizes include:
- Five copies of The Network Migration Workbook

Here are the details for the cities we have totally nailed down so far:

San Francisco / Bay Area,CA
February 26, Saturday
10 AM - 3 PM

Comcast's Menlo Park Offices
1205 Chrysler Drive
Menlo Park, CA

Register Free for the Bay Area Event!

NOTE: The Bay Area stop will include the Intel Hybrid Cloud Roadshow AND Karl's "SBS to the Cloud" training. This is a great combo show. Sign up now!

- - -
Cincinnati,OH
March 2, Wednesday night
7 PM - 9 PM

Cincinnati State Technical & Community College
10100 Reading Road
Cincinnati,OH

Register Free for the Cincinnati Event!

- - -

Atlanta, GA
March 3, Thursday night
6 PM - 8:30 PM

Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta North / Alpharetta
4025 Windward Plaza Drive
Alpharetta, GA 30005

Register Free for the Atlanta Event!

- - -
Pasadena, CA
March 8, Tuesday night
6 PM - 8:30 PM

Location To Be Announced

Register Free for the Pasadena Event!

- - -

Want more information and Links? Check out the Intel Hybrid Cloud Roadshow page at http://www.smallbizthoughts.com/events/hybridcloud.html
:-)

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Bunches of SBS 2011 Resources

Wow!

A great big Thank You goes to my friend Eric Ligman for compiling a massive collection of SBS 2011 links. See http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mssmallbiz/archive/2011/02/04/sbs-2011-tools-information-training-resources-and-more-for-you.aspx

If you are not following Eric, you absolutely should. First, there's the Partner Community Blog (link above). Then you should follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Here are the links Eric posted on his blog yesterday. These should keep you busy for the weekend:
It's amazing that SBS 2011 has only been out a month and there are so many great resources. Already we need a place to aggregate this information.

Tyler in Niagara also listed a bunch of resources at http://community.spiceworks.com/profile/show/TylerInNiagara.

Are you ready to dive into 2011?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Want to Test Drive Aurora / SBS Essentials Setup Procedures?

I have put together a draft procedure for setting up SBS Essentials Server (The server formerly known as Aurora). I have also written a procedure for connecting local machines to the SBS Essentials Server network.

These documents are currently 3 pages each, not counting a page full of space to write notes and additional procedures.

If you are in the Aurora TAP or Beta program, you are currently installing this product, and you would like to test-drive my procedures, please ping me.

You will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement and agree to not distribute these forms outside your own company.

The first 20 people to request these forms will be contacted. To sign up, email karlp@greatlittlebook.com with the subject line Gimme Those Forms!

Note:
These procedures make reference to other documents in our process that you may not possess. The other documents include Machine Spec Sheet, DHCP configuration documentation,  etc. If you have The Network Documentation Workbook and the Network Migration Workbook, then you will have these forms. Otherwise, they're not too difficult to figure out and are not required to have success with the Aurora-specific installation.


Thanks.

:-)

Suggestions and Requests

Every once in awhile, I get emails requesting a comment on something, or advice on products, etc.

As a rule, I like to post the answers somewhere publicly rather than just respond to an email. But I get busy. So sometimes there is a backlog of emails and posts that need attention.

Will you please make this a little easier for me?

We've set up a mailbox just for requests and suggestions. You won't get a response back at that email, but we'll put your request on the pile of things that need attention. And it will help clear up my personal mailbox.

Send whatever you'd like a little attention on to ideas@greatlittlebook.com. We will work to get your ideas out there and get your questions answered.

I know this box will fill with press releases and spam, so we'll have someone separate the crap from the good stuff. It is NOT my intention to fill this blog with re-postings of other peoples stuff. There are plenty of those.

So please send ideas and questions to ideas@greatlittlebook.com. If you have announcements, we'll probably shuffle those over to the weekly SMB Email. But send those too.

Thank you.

As always, we look forward to serving the community.

:-)