It has been an eventful week for me... First, I was nominated as one of the 20 local IT hero by Microsoft. So I was @ the launch event to be honored, and I receive a certificate of thanks, and a wonderfully designed personalised jacket, which I love so much! Thanks Yasmeen for designing that!
Next thing I know, I was asked by Microsoft if I'm ok to be interviewed by 93.8 Live! Nervous, of course, but I want to experience how it was like to be on radio... So this morning, I went to mediacorp to meet Stanley Leong, the host, together with two other Global IT Hero, Lup Yuen, who happens to be my colleague, and Pom. I was surprised that my Marketing Communication people are there as well, since the program is interviewing the IT Hero, not my company.
Anyway, I really have to thank Steven Leong for being such a good host in helping us IT guys chat naturally. Personally, I think there are so many others out there that deserves the honour, countless hours you guys have put in, and yet not appreciated by your company. Making you guys work till 3 am, and if you leave at 9pm, you are branded as not committed. To you guys, I salute you.
But there is one thing that really got me pissed off. After the interview, the marketing communication person tell me that next time, if there is such interviews, please let them know, and prepare a script of what I'm going to say for them to vet. There are things they don't agree! But come on! The interview is about IT heros in the industry! Not IT Heros in my company! What I have mentioned is a common problem in the industry! Sales people basically oversell! Delivery people, has to deliver! PERIOD! Now that I'm in the position to do damage control to not oversell when I'm designing the architecture and drawing the proposal, that makes my company credible right?
Anyway, the experience was really cool. There is a repeat tonight around 10:30pm... Will be listening in and see how I sound... :)
While there are two other products, like Visual Studio 2008 (which I should be more familiar, since I'm a Dev, but that's not the case, thanks to Windows Insider), and SQL 2008, I'm looking at Windows 2008 more than anything else, since I'm very interested in virtualisation.
I've started with using Virtualisation heavily when I was working with Commerce Online, of course doing SharePoint development. At that time, VMWare was king (and still is), while Microsoft just release Virtual PC 2004 (I think). The company was using VMWare more, hence I too was using VMWare to do development. At that time, it was VMWare 5.0. It does save me lots of time, when development turns sour, since SharePoint 2003 was very fragile (compared to SharePoint 2007), especially when you are doing hardcord customisation with CAML, Site Definitions etc. One wrong move, your entire server is down. Snapshots helped me a lot, but my one single complain was memory leak, which requires me to reboot the laptop after I stopped the virtual machine, as resources wasn't released.
When Virtual Server is out, I started to try it out. Compared to VMWare, there isn't much features. With one level of undo, you need to remember to commit changes at every milestone, or risk losing all your work when your virtual machine dies. Another thing I used was differentiating disk, which I built a base virtual machine with windows 2003, build another base with SQL and SharePoint differented from the Windows 2003 base, and have instances on top of the SharePoint base. However, perforamance sucks, and I quickly reverted to single disks, making copies instead of creating differentiating, effectively increase my storage requirements
Then I've decided to buy my own pc, since I'm facing hardware crunches already in this company, plus all the goodies I'm receiving as an MVP to play with cutting edge (or bleeding edge) technology. Even at financial crunch (wedding, house, renovations) I still decide to get a CPU with good L2 cache, and hardware virtualisation, anticipating for the arrival of Hyper-V, in slightly more than a year's time. At the mean time, my C2D 6600 cpu with 4 gb ram continued to run virtual server, meeting all my development needs, especially building testing environment for MOSS beta. But using virtual server did limits me, as I can only assign one cpu to a virtual machine, and no x64 support. This means that SharePoint x64, ad exchange 2007 is out of my reach.
Last year, Dennis graciously included me in his Windows Insider program, and I learn quite a lot of stuff about Windows 2008. Things that caught my interests is Terminal Services, and of course virtualisation. I immediately wiped out my machine and put Hyper-V up. Migrated all the virtual machines I have to Hyper-V, and something prompted me to increase my ram to 8GB. Before Hyper-V, cpu usage was high, above 50% with about 3 to 4 virtual machines running. With Hyper-V, and 4GB ram, my CPU usage overs at 10%. With 8GB, it hovers at 10% as I'm not running 1 AD, 1 CA, 2 MOSS, 1 Exchange (which eats up 2.5gb ram). I'm looking at my task manager, and per core, there are only 6 peaks most hitting only 50% - 75% in the graph at one time. The only crunch time is when my SharePoint is doing profile sync and indexing, which by that time, I suspect its IO that is the bottleneck. All my virtual machines are running off a single sata harddisk, so that's my next upgrade.
Moving on to my new role in CAO doesn't reduce the need for hardware. Without support from company to provide hardware for my playground, I found myself using my hardware more and more, intensifying my desire to get a second powerful machine for virtual host (hoping for fat bonus this year, or anyone willing to sponsor?... :p). And nope, lack of company support does not quench my thirst to learn more of the technology. Now with Exchange 2007, I was able to try out incoming email in detailed, which I would have otherwise missed. And as my boss wants to grow me further, with virtualisation I can play with other products in the Microsoft stack, and other portals outside Microsoft Platform...
I even excited my new colleague, Alvin Lau, in Hyper-V, and he is in the process of setting up his own environment, and we even have plans to set up adfs between our two home network, just to have an environment to test out extranet scenario when our solutioning job requires it.
So why am I writing about this, right before the launch? Two things that virtualisation brings to the table. I'm sure SME (licenses aside), will be trying to save on hardware, and faces the hardware crunch as I am constantly facing (I'm almost like sme, just that I don't make money out of my hardware investments). But I'm sure whatever application you want to run will not fully utilise your dedicated hardware. Virtualisation can help you squeeze more from your hardware... Of course MNCs will benefit as well, with snapshots and other stuff, but many says that Hyper-V is still behind VMWare, which I agree, but not too sure to what extend, since I'm actually not IT Pro, and I'm not very into the operational aspect of IT.
For developers out there, whose company is just giving you a 1gb or 2gb laptop for development, especially those in the end user environment. I don't know if you will agree with me, but I do envision SharePoint being part of the infrastructure one day. (It is already happening in a few engagements I'm involved). Rather than letting such medicore hardware slows you development time, and limits your ability to pick up new skillset, why not invest in one machine that allows you to do virtualisation, be it Hyper-V or VMWare, which you can dual boot for your gaming needs. Get your work done faster so you can return home earlier, and use that to pick up new skillset too!
I guess Microsoft still need to release an Express version of Hyper-V... :P (not suggesting there is one...)
Anyway, back to the launch. Computer Times actually asked me to pen some thoughts about Windows 2008, with regards to certain topics. Of course, I picked on Virtualisation. Lucky I was informed by friends that it came out in today's Computer Times... So I grabbed a copy to keep. Check that out if you want... :) See you tomorrow at the launch!
It have been some time since I've done this poll. There isn't a lot of responses, probably lack of interest in this area. I actually wanted to keep the code to myself, but I may just put it to codeplex, not sure yet. Anyway, this is what I did.
Basically, I've created a process of filing documents, and items into my personal KM. It is not a one email filing, but a series of emails that needs to be sent, if you do not have the template. That helps users not to remember the format of the email, and also prevent a chatty interface.
For a first time user, he / she will be sending a blank email to the document library / list, with the subject [Request]
After sending out the email, the user will get a reply from SharePoint, asking which content type he / she wants to file as.
As you can see, the list of content types configured for the document library / list are listed below the field. User just need to hit "Reply", and copy and paste the content type he is interested in filing against, and send it out.
SharePoint will then send a template email for end user to start the actual filing. This template can be kept for future filing, avoiding the first two steps.
The user just need to change the subject, as the system will use the subject as the title, attach the document, fill in the meta data below and send it out.
I still need to add support for multivalues, and user fields. Once that is done (with no timeline in sight), I'll consider publishing it in codeplex.
Comments are greatly welcomed.