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The FE Blog
News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team
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November, 2010

  • FE blog

    Network Management Webinars for education - coming up this month


    We've had about 300 attendees so far for the first three webinars for educational network and IT managers, and we've got five more coming up on System Center for network management. Here's the next ones in the System Center series of webinars:

    System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2

    System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) lets you see how your IT system is running, from your servers right down to individual desktop computers enabling Operations and IT Management teams to identify, and resolve issues affecting the health of distributed IT services – before they become problems. SCOM can monitor both your Microsoft on non-Microsoft environments and therefore provide a unified solution across the entire campus.

    Microsoft partner Inframon will be presenting this session and will be available to answer any of your questions.

    Tuesday November 16th 10:30-11:30
    or Thursday November 18th 10:30-11:30

    System Center Service Manager 2010

    System Center Service Manager is a Service Desk solution providing incident and problem resolution, change control, and asset lifecycle management. By unifying knowledge across the System Center suite, Service Manager helps you adapt to your eve changing network requirements while reducing cost and helping you fix problems quickly.

    This session, presented by our partner Silversands, will provide a good overview of the key functionality of the product – and give you chance to get your questions answered.

    Tuesday November 23rd 10:30-11:30
    or Thursday November 25th 10:30-11:30

    Windows InTune

    This webinar will give you a glimpse of the future of cloud based PC management. Windows InTune is currently in beta, and provides a cloud-based system that includes PC management, malware protection, windows upgrades and remote control. This could potentially be a great solution if you are managing a number of organisations, or distributed IT systems (for example, managing multiple outreach centres which aren't part of your core network infrastructure)

    Tuesday November 30th 10:30-11:30
    or Thursday December 2nd 10:30-11:30

    Register for the series of webinars for education network managers

    You can register for the whole series, or individual live meetings here

    Learn MoreSign up here


    NB The System Center Configuration Manager 2007 session has been rescheduled - you can now register separately for the System Center Configuration Manager webcasts – 16th or 18th November between 2 and 3pm


    And there's a bonus for attending…
    Richard has also got his hands on a limited number of full DVD sets of the Microsoft Management Summit 2010, which include:
    • Keynotes
    • Breakout Tracks
    • Hands-on Lab manuals
    • Supporting Materials from Microsoft and Event Sponsors
    • Videos recorded during the even

    On each Live Meeting he'll be giving one set away to a random attendee - but you've got to be at the Live Meeting to get into the draw.

  • FE blog

    Saving money by saving power - how Microsoft IT rolled out desktop power management


    Last week I spoke to a group of schools about money saving strategies (based on this info), and I do plan to shortly record the whole presentation, so that I can share it. But when I got to the bit about making sure that you do something about desktop power savings, there were a few in the audience who were against the idea. Things like "Well, we tried it, and the head made us abandon it", and "I know it will save money, but the teachers found ways to get around it".

    But there's a four or five figure saving possible, every year - so perhaps I can share some advice as Four Steps to Save Your College £10,000:

    1. Go down to your local DIY shop and buy a power monitor plug. They cost a tenner, and they'll let you monitor all kinds of devices.
    2. Plug it into one of your classroom computers for a week, so that it can tell you how much it costs per week/day/hour.
    3. Walk around the college at twice a day and count the number of unused computers that are switched on.
    4. Work out what it's costing your college per year for unused computers left switched on
    5. Go and see the principal with your back-of-the-envelope stats

    Although there are lots of other case studies, you may be interested to read how we've rolled out power saving settings within Microsoft (and if you think your lecturers are hard to please with technology, imagine what it's like providing IT services for 100,000+ IT geeks).

    Our IT team at Microsoft have recently implemented a worldwide power management strategy across 165,000 desktop and laptop computers used within our business right around the world, to contribute to our goal of reducing our carbon emissions by 30% over five years.

    The benefits that they've calculated are:

    • 27% drop in power used by managed desktop computers
    • 12.33 kilowatt hours saving per desktop per month
    • £8 to £9 saving per desktop computer per year

    imageIn the case study, the framework of power settings are discussed, along with the practical implications and the lessons learnt. For example, the first method used was a simple policy setting on setting up a new user/computer, but they found that 80% of users simply permanently overrode the setting within 30 days. The second method was to have an extended 60-minute time-to-sleep setting, which would be refreshed regularly, so that even if the user changed it temporarily (eg to stay on for a presentation) it would reset again later.

    The team relied very heavily on System Center Configuration Manager, which meant that they could apply policies and measure the impact of them over time. The chart on Power Environmental Impact is one of the examples from the pilot. Having data displayed in this way allows you to demonstrate the savings impact to your senior management team, and calculate reduction in your carbon footprint or energy bills.
    In your college, you may not need to use System Center - you can make a start simply for free by changing some of the default power settings when you deploy new computers . But if you've got hundreds of computers, it might be worth starting to calculate just how much money you might save with a much more comprehensive power management strategy.

    Learn MoreRead the full Microsoft IT case study on power savings with Windows

  • FE blog

    Your complete guide to virtualisation


    Let me make it absolutely clear - I am not a virtualisation expert. But I have heard enough network managers in schools, colleges and universities talking about their virtualisation projects to know that it's very important to their ICT infrastructure - whether that's reducing cost, cutting carbon emissions, managing their workload, or improving their network reliability and service levels.

    But I've also talked with other IT managers who've convinced me that it's specialist knowledge that isn't widely shared. After all, if you're not quite sure what the difference is between server virtualisation and desktop virtualisation, or whether 'virtualisation' and 'moving to the cloud' are the same thing, then it can be awkward to ask. (A bit like when I sat in a meeting with a school, and was too embarrassed to ask what 'assessment for learning' meant. It helped later when I discovered that nobody in the meeting knew, but they all thought everybody else did.)

    imageThe answer is to find the perfect reference guide, written in plain English. And for virtualisation I have found it!

    It is absolutely massive - 450 pages. And it has only one subject - virtualisation, virtualisation, virtualisation. But the chapter titles tell you that it's just what you need:

    • Chapter 1 - Why Virtualisation?
    • Chapter 2 - Server Virtualisation
    • Chapter 3 - Local Desktop Virtualisation
    • Chapter 4 - Remote Desktop Virtualisation
    • Chapter 5 - Virtualisation Management
    • Chapter 6 - Cloud Computing

    And it's got a brilliant index too, so that next time somebody says "failover clustering", you can look it up slyly on your laptop, and join the conversation.

    So if you  want to learn more about the latest Microsoft virtualisation technologies, so that you can differentiate your Hyper-V from your Remote Desktop Services, then this is the job. And it also covers Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5, Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization, Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, and Microsoft’s private and public cloud computing platforms including Windows Azure. (No wonder it needs 450 pages.)

    And best of all, the PDF is free, so stick it on your desktop now:

    Learn More

    Download it free: Understanding Microsoft Virtualization Solutions: From the Desktop to the Datacenter, 2nd Edition

  • FE blog

    The Microsoft Further Education Briefing 2010 - Cost Saving with IT - 3rd December 2010



    We will be holding our annual Further Education Briefing on Friday 3rd December 2010 at the Microsoft Campus, in Reading. With the current squeeze on education budgets looking likely to last, there is a clear focus on the ways that the IT systems within Further Education can be used to reduce the cost of delivery for a college.

    And the pressure isn't just on budgets, it's also on your time. So we have ensured that the agenda for this year’s FE briefing covers a wider range of topics and focuses specifically on practical advice that you can use to reduce costs both within your IT budget, and beyond. We have a wider range of invited speakers, so that in addition to Microsoft speakers, you will also hear from other colleges and Microsoft partners to address the topics of cost saving, both within the IT budget, and also ways that IT can reduce college running costs.

    An opportunity to hear how other colleges are managing their IT budgets

    As well as getting the latest news on Microsoft’s strategy, there will be the opportunity to how other colleges are responding the economic pressures that all colleges are feeling.

    Amanda Bicknell, the Further Education Business Manager, will lead the day, introducing experts from Microsoft, and our partners, and bringing case studies from our customers.

    This event will be most useful to those involved in managing IT budgets within the Further Education sector, whether that is at a strategic planning level, or managing the provision of IT services to staff, students and the wider learning community.

    Cost Saving with IT - The Agenda

    The event starts at 9:30, and will finish at 3pm

    Time Description
    09:30 Introduction
    Amanda Bicknell, Microsoft
    Further Education Business Manager
    09:45 The Future of the Cloud
    Richard Green, Microsoft
    10:15 Customer case study

    Moodle & Live@edu integration
    Tim Bush, ULCC

    11:00 Break
    11:20 Reducing cost with desktop virtualisation
    Neil Sanderson, Quest Software UK

    The Microsoft IT Academy
    Greg Pearson, Microsoft




    The Hybrid Organisation
    Ray Fleming, Microsoft

    13:30 Reducing cost and increasing agility with Unified communications

    Cost saving with server virtualisation
    Adrian Ansell, Dimension Data

    14:20 Customer case study
    14:40 IT efficiency and college effectiveness
    15:00 Close


    Learn MoreFind out more, and sign up here

  • FE blog

    Webinar on Application Virtualisation - 9th November


    clip_image001[4]On Tuesday 9th November at 2pm, Remote IT Solutions, one of our education partners, are running a one hour webinar for education establishments on application virtualisation. Given the large numbers of applications that you're supporting, across a wide range of curriculum areas, then this is one route to get a more manageable network, and to remove dependencies between software versions.

    Two typical scenarios in education that it's really useful for are:

    • Getting the latest version of Windows out to your users, without being stopped by decades-old curriculum software that needs Windows 3.1
    • Using different versions of software for different users or uses. This is especially handy when you want to upgrade your Office suite, but your MIS team still demand Office 2003. Or you need the latest Office 2010 for some students, whist some courses need to finish off using Office 2003.

    In this Remote IT Solutions Live webinar, Dave Moore, Datacenter & Virtualization Technical Specialist will discuss and demonstrate how you can accelerate your application migration projects by automating application deployments with using Microsoft Application Virtualization.  The demonstrations will show you how to integrate Citrix VDI with Microsoft® App-V, delivering App-V virtualized applications to any user on any device anywhere. You can now extend the benefits of Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack to reach a broader set of devices including lightly managed and non-Windows devices across local or wide area networks. Learn how to create, configure, publish, and maintain virtual applications with Microsoft Application Virtualization.

    Dave's going to be doing live demonstrations, including:

    • Create a Virtual Application Using the App-V Sequencer
    • Launch a Virtual Application and Review Client Configuration
    • Publish a Virtual Application Using Full Infrastructure Mode
    • Update a Virtual Application Using App-V
    • Deprovision a Virtual Application
    • Run Microsoft Office 2010 in an App-V Virtualized Environment
    • Use App-V Metering to Manage Application Licenses
    • Use Dynamic Suiting to Create a Plug-in Dependency for Virtual Applications

    You will have the ability to ask questions and get answers throughout the webinar, and they've promised that it won't end until all your questions are answered!

    Learn MoreSign up here for the webinar (2-3pm on 9th November)

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