Windows 8 will change the way you use a PC

For the past six months I have used a Samsung Series 7 slate with Windows 8 installed. I have to say, a Windows 8 slate like this Samsung or the Microsoft Surface will change how you use and relate to your PC. I will try in this article to share what I have experienced using this form factor actively in my daily life. Continue reading

Speaking at Atea Community this fall

Atea Community Norway is the premiere seminar that will visit 12 cities from Tromsø in the north to Kristiansand in the south. Here you can meet Atea employees, hear the biggest trends within IT and mingle with 49 of Atea’s biggest partners at their stands. This year I will speak about Lync 2013 in Hamar, Fredrikstad and Oslo together with Karin Løkke. In the other cities Joakim Erdal and Tom-Inge Larsen will do the Lync talks. I will also speak in Tromsø and Trondheim about Windows 8 and Office 2013. Atea has recorded teasers for a lot of the talks given and I was featured in two of them. See them below. I also recommend attending the talk about the future of telephony which is the third video. Hope to see you at Atea Community in a city near you! Continue reading

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications 2012

Is that time of the year again when Gartner releases their yearly analysis of the Unified Communications vendors and their offerings called Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications. The vendors evaluated must meet certain criteria which is a product portfolio that supports

  • voice and telephony
  • conferencing
  • messaging
  • presence and IM
  • support for different client platforms
  • support communications-enabled Applications

It is a tradition to comment on the Gartner UC MQ’s here at the msunified.net, and I have done so since 2009. See the previous articles here:

Awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP)


On April 1st last year I was awarded the Microsoft MVP Award for my contributions in the Lync community. The MVP Award is valid for 1 year, and is based on the contributions for the past year. On April 1st this year I was re-awarded for my 2nd year as an MVP:

Dear Ståle Hansen, Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2012 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in Lync technical communities during the past year.

I feel very honored to be part of this outstanding community and I want to mention the MVP Summit as a highlight of the experience. With all the cool things happening around Lync, Office and Windows 8 I look forward to contribute to the community the coming year as well.

Resources

About the MVP Award Program
Lync MVP Awardees
MVPs.org community site
Microsoft MVP FAQ

Featured on NextHop blog Series: Interview with a Lync Pro

I had the honour of being interviewed by Justin Morris who writes the blog series Interview with a Lync Pro hosted at the Lync NextHop blog. It is really cool be featured in such a way and recognized as a Lync Pro by the community together with the people I myself turn to for expert knowledge. Head over to NextHop to read the entire interview and also make sure to read the interview of the other Lync Pro’s as well: http://blogs.technet.com/b/nexthop/archive/2012/03/23/interview-with-a-lync-pro-st-229-le-hansen.aspx

NextHop is the Microsoft Lync Server team’s customer response channel—a new medium to rapidly make the information you need available to you, when you need it. NextHop provides pertinent, short-format, technical articles between major releases of the product and associated product documentation (technical library content, Resource Kit book, whitepapers, and tools).
NextHop highlights the knowledge of experts in the Lync Server community, bringing you information from internal and external experts, such as the Lync Server engineering team and our Most Valuable Professional (MVP) community. In addition to publishing great content by contributing authors, NextHop keeps a pulse on the community. The Lync Server Blog Roll and @DrRez Twitter feed highlight the activities of other sites and blogs focused on Communications Server. NextHop provides pointers to a wealth of information about Lync Server. Our plan is to support, encourage, and evangelize all the great content that is being written about Lync Server.

Slides and videos from my Lync sessions on NIC2012 are now available

This year Nordic Infrastructure Conference (NIC) arranged for the first time. I am really honored to be considered to speak at an international conference and together with so many great speakers that I look up to. Speakers like Brian Komar, Johan Arwidmark, Martin Lidholm, Olav Tvedt, Thomas Lee and many others attended and I enjoyed their sessions. See list of speakers here: http://www.nic2012.com/nic2012_agenda/speakers. My sessions where about Lync Server 2010 troubleshooting and integrations. I enjoyed speaking there even though my spoken english is not the best, I think I got the points accross :) View the videos from NIC: http://www.nic2012.com/nic2012_agenda Continue reading

Virtual Technical Solution Professional (V-TSP) at Microsoft Norway

In january 2012 I became a Virtual Technical Solution Professional (V-TSP) at Microsoft Norway. Virtual means that I am still employed by Atea but work closely with the local Microsoft team.

My role as a V-TSP is to provide technology overviews, proofs-of-concept, technical demonstrations, and technology assessments for Microsoft customers. The V-TSP program demands that the partner have the gold competency and that the provided resource is highly skilled and certified within the area of expertise.

I am really looking forward to work even more closely with Microsoft and make sure their customers implement Microsoft Lync and the Unfied Communications proftfolio to the fullest by combining the broad best-of-breed UC technologies from Atea together with Microsoft.

Here is some information I found regarding the V-TSP program

The Microsoft Virtual Technology Specialist Program (V-TSP) is a select group chosen from the elite in Microsoft’s partner community, whose focus is to augment Microsoft’s internal Technology Specialist team. Their primary role is to communicate the value of Microsoft Solutions to customers and to provide architectural guidance for Enterprise Integration solutions. The Microsoft V-TSP program was designed to create a deeper relationship with Microsoft Partners, the Product Teams at Microsoft Corporate, and Regional Microsoft Offices, in order to provide highly skilled solution specialists to Microsoft customers. It is designed to enable a high performance team of partner-based resources to deliver pre-sale activities and resources to empower customers and help them meet their solution and integration needs.

V-TSPs are chosen by Microsoft because of their superior architectural, development, consulting, and customer interfacing skills. Microsoft utilizes these type of individuals in partnership with the Microsoft regional Offices, in pre-sales efforts to secure Microsoft solution opportunities. This includes meeting with Microsoft customers, participating in customer visits with Microsoft representatives, as well as, participating in broad reach events like presenting training and seminars to Microsoft customers.

Microsoft V-TSPs have direct access to online resources and documentation and resources that are usually solely reserved for the Microsoft internal teams. They also have early access to extensive information about all new Microsoft product releases, which benefit Atea and Microsoft customers.

Want to work with Lync and Exchange and be a part of the best UC team in Norway?

Microsoft Lync and Microsoft Exchange consultants from Atea are in big demand these days and we need to add more skillful hands. In Norway Atea seeks consultants, architects and advisors that want to work with Lync and Exchange in the Oslo area, Drammen area and Bodø area

Why work with Lync and Exchange in Atea?

  • Atea strive to always deliver best practice deployments
  • There are about thirty active consultants with Lync and Exchange as their primary focus placed all over the country
  • Some of the consultants have worked with Microsoft UC as their primary focus since Live Communications Server 2005
  • We have an active internal community that share knowledge internally using SharePoint 2010 and strive to help each other as best we can
  • Atea encourage consultants to be active within the global Microsoft community through forums, blogging, presenting and user groups

Who should apply?

  • You want to deep dive and focus on becoming a valuable resource within Lync and Exchange
  • You are always looking for new challenges and want to work with a variety of deployments from simple to complex
  • You want to learn from some of the best Lync consultants in Norway
  • You aim for Certified Master within Lync or Exchange
  • You are familiar with PowerShell scripting

Where to apply?

Why is Atea the best UC team in Norway?

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications 2011

August 11 2011 Gartner released the yearly Magic Quadrant for 2011 for the Unified Communications Segment. Here is a short summary of the report

The trend within Unified Communications (UC)

  • The Enterprise UC market has matured significantly since the previous report
  • The vendors now have
    – Seamless interoperability within the suite
    – The administration is more centralized
    – The deployment is even more easy than before
  • Gartner recommends to mix vendors for best-of-breed functionality
  • Single vendor still achieves acceptable functionality

The Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications 2011

Analysis: What has happened since last year?
Compare with last years post: https://msunified.net/2010/08/09/gartner-magic-quadrant-for-unified-communications-2010/

  1. Microsoft is still in the lead having the vision and being able to execute on it
    • Releasing Lync has strengthened their telephony offering
    • Office 365 with Lync Online have given them an edge in the UCaaS segment
    • The Skype acquisition will improve the Lync family offering even more
  2. Cisco is closer than ever
    • Got a more integrated approach with their UC 8.x release
    • Successfully integrated Tandberg with existing telepresence solution
  3. Avaya has the same position as last year
    • Improved on existing functionality
    • Added the Flare gesture oriented user interface
  4. Alcatel-Lucent have jumped from challenger to the leader quadrant
    • Advanced their portfolio and have to prove that they can deliver
  5. Siemens Enterprise Communications has taken a minor step from visionary to a visionary leader
    • Advanced their portfolio and have to prove that they can deliver

My take on this

As a Microsoft Unified Communications Architect it is good to see that the vendor of my primary focus is the market leader. I agree that Lync was a big step regarding voice and that Lync Online will be a good extension of Lync on-premise. Working in Atea we focus on vendor interoperability. Having even more vendors in the leader quadrant makes it equally more difficult for our customers to find the best solution.

Gartner says:“Using multiple vendors to offer users best-of-breed functionality in all UC areas, will also allow migration of existing investments”

This statement is very true and will demand an even broader vendor focus from the partners implementing UC. I am happy that Atea have this broad scope of competency and can design and deploy best-of-breed functionality based on Microsoft, Cisco and Avaya combined with third-party solutions.

Here is what Gartner says about Microsoft

Lync 2010 offers a full suite of UC functionality. Although the real-time functions in Lync — including voice, telephony, video and related conferencing — are not as mature as other functions (such as IM/P and Web conferencing, email and UM), they have improved significantly over the previous version, which was known as Office Communications Server 2007 R2. Microsoft has developed a strong
set of technology and service partners that offer a growing ecosystem.

Microsoft offers a visionary approach for addressing enterprise communication and collaboration requirements. Enterprises looking into UC should consider the Microsoft solution and, at a minimum, understand the vision and how solutions of this type might change their business processes. Enterprises considering deploying Lync telephony and video should understand its limitations and infrastructure requirements.

Strengths
  • Microsoft has had an impressive and growing list of Lync and Exchange UM deployments, from small (fewer than 300) to midsize to very large (more than 10,000) enterprises, in both centralized and distributed configurations. Although a few of the deployments report that they have completely eliminated their PBXs, most current deployments use Lync for some employees, while other employees and functions remain on the PBX. Microsoft’s pending Skype acquisition offer, along with the Lync Online and the Office 365 cloud service offerings, suggest that Lync will mature as a comprehensive and hybrid UC product.
  • Companies report that, once deployed, Lync functions can be integrated into business processes and applications, providing new, different and effective ways to perform tasks. In some cases, these new functions are achieved by deploying Lync enhancements from a growing list of ecosystem partners.
  • Microsoft has better positioned Lync to compete in telephony markets by adding several partner telephone handsets, by bundling of basic Lync functions in the Core client access license (CAL) and by offering a specific Lync Voice CAL.
Cautions
  • Enterprise planners should understand that Lync’s telephony and video functionality is new and has seen fewer deployments than traditional PBX vendors. As a result, in many cases, a phased or trial deployment approach may be an effective way to ensure that the system and the underlying network provide the needed functionality, quality and performance.
  • Most enterprises that integrate Lync with existing PBXs have done so via direct SIP trunking. Gartner research indicates that there are few reports of successful deployments based on a tight client-side or server-side integration. The difficulty is likely to result from the newness of the solution and the competitiveness of the UC market.
  • Although the bundling associated with Lync 2010 is positive for addressing basic users, Microsoft needs to support more integrations with front-office capabilities, such as contact center and switchboard functionality, to develop this product as an overall replacement for legacy communications infrastructures.

Read the full report here: http://www.gartner.com/technology/streamReprints.do?id=1-1728DMD&ct=110823&st=sb
Also read a good review here: http://www.ucstrategies.com/Gartner_UC_Magic_Quadrant_2011.aspx
Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications: UC integration improves: http://searchunifiedcommunications.techtarget.com/news/2240074737/Magic-Quadrant-for-Unified-Communications-UC-integration-improves

Installing Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V as LAB and UC workstation

Last week I got a new laptop (workstation), it was quite an upgrade from my previous machine sporting

– 16 GB memory
– Intel i7 quadcore
– Builtin HD cam
– 120 GB SSD

Wanting to convert it to the a powerful tool for my UC labs and my UC workshop I thought maybe installing Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and use it as my desktop OS. After all Server 2008 R2 share the same basecode as Windows 7. This will enable me taking advantage of all the cool server roles that are available on this platform and at the same time not installing unnecessary features. My main motivation was getting some hands-on Hyper-V and using it as my virtualization platform. Figured that would make it simpler to take advantage of the Lync labs available by Microsoft and some of my own.

Wanting to check if at all feasible I asked an open question on Twitter:

  • StaleHansen: Is there any use of installing Server 2008 on my Laptop workstation? Thinking about utilizing Hyper-V for lab’s #Server2008 #HyperV #mvpbuzz
    • bartsurminski: You can configure server 2008 r2 to act as a fully configured workstation and use Hyper-V  http://t.co/1kPBAD5
    • tomarbuthnot: Server on laptop works fine. Just no hibernation with hyper-v. In the end VMware workstation wins for me
  • StaleHansen: Thanks for the tip, but do you have sleep? Use that a lot today.
    • tomarbuthnot: No sleep with hyper-v. All power stuff disabled. Also VMware wrkstn does all a/v sharing the hardware. Tried both, vmw For me
    • gusfraser: Tried both. Win7 for hibernation & either VMWare or VirtualBox work for me. 2008 tips here http://t.co/9TJ2kml

After this conversation I found out two things

  1. Twitter works!
  2. It is doable, but need to be aware of hibernation limitation when using Hyper-V

I decided I would try, and reinstall if it was a fail. I started searching around the web for how to go about this and found a lot of good resources in addition to the ones from Twitter.

Here is my install path for Installing Server 2008 R2 as my lab and UC workstation

Installing the Hyper-V role

I have run this configuration a couple of days now and are still enjoying it. Especially enjoy dynamic memory management and having Microsoft’s full hypervizor at my fingertips when working and doing lab’s

I am also looking into using PowerShell to start the Hyper-V service and control my VM’s. Found these resources to start me in the right direction