John and I had a rare day out the office together yesterday to go up to Microsoft HQ in Reading.

Some years ago John purchased the SBS Migration toolkit from Jeff Middleton and that has helped us any number of times when completing swing migrations. Typically this has been moving clients from Small Business Server 2003 to SBS 2008 or 2011. The published Microsoft method for completing a migration is plain dangerous where in contrast Jeffs careful methodology is both more logical and more or less risk free.

I knew that Jeff organised conferences in New Orleans every couple of years but so far I haven’t been able to justify the trip out there. However when I got the email to say that were organising a world tour with Jeff and a number of other speakers I knew that was a must-attend event.

Yesterday didn’t disappoint. The (long) day started off with an opening address from David Overton. If you have been around the SBS scene for a few years you will probalby remember that David headed up the UK Microsoft small business team. He was (and still is) one of the best things to come out of Microsoft and is always entertaining, informative and tells it like it is. Yesterday he gave us a good overview on Windows Intune and made it clear that this should be on every Consultants list of products to sell.

The day went on with presentations on business analysis for SME consultants, a long sessions on Windows Muti-Point server, an overview of the HP Proliant microservers and ML110  and then in the afternoon sessions on all the various Microsoft SBS products.

We finished off with Jeff giving an excellent talk on his migration toolkits and a general overview of his world view of the Cloud, SBS and where consultants like us should be heading.

John and I have come back far better informed about a number of products we had previously not paid much attention to. We can now examine our existing client base and see where some of this new thinking can fit.

Also I came back feeling completely vindicated in our decision to fully embrace cloud technologies. Internally we are now migrated to Office 365 and Trend Micro Safe Sync; we have no servers left in-house at all. Once I find a way to run Sage in the cloud with decent performance we will be fully decentralised. So far the only internal service left is a single NAS device used to spool images from the IP CCTV system. If we have good enough internet here even that could be sent directly to storage in the cloud but so far that is some way off.

Many thanks to Jeff and everyone at Microsoft, and the Thames Valley SBS group for organising an excellent day.




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