Book Campaign: The Complete Guide to PowerShell DSC

Jason Helmick and I have been prodded and poked for a while now about producing a “real” book on PowerShell’s Desired State Configuration. Thing is, books don’t always pay off the massive investment they take to produce. So we’re going to see if there’s actual demand for this thing – and if there is, we’ll write it. We’ve started an IndieGoGo campaign to raise the funds we’ll need, and it’ll be up to you to make it happen. You’ve got 60 days – that’s roughly until the start of January, 2016.

If we meet our campaign goal, we’ll begin writing when Windows Server 2016 (containing the “final” DSCv5 release) goes General Availability or Release to Manufacturing (GA/RTM). We expect a 3-6 month effort. We’ll touch on absolutely every aspect we can of DSC, including tons of tested code examples.

It’s important to note that this is not a project – this is me and Jason, personally

Help get us started today.

IT Ops News and Talk Show: October 2015

Hop on over to register for my October News & Talk show, and don’t forget to check out the recordings from September! It’s likely that future show recordings (they’ll all be recorded) will end up on the same YouTube channel, so consider bookmarking that. Or subscribing, even. Or whatever you kids do with YouTube these days.

We’re also working on getting an audio extract for you iPod commuters. Watch my Twitter feed for that info.

This month, we’ll focus on Containers as our technology topic, and I’ve got a great guest lined up to cut through some of the spin and talk about what’s real. I’ll also rant a bit about technology debt, what it means, how real it is or isn’t, and what you can watch for to stop it from happening. Or at least to refinance it. Plus, the usual quick news bits (and opinion), and some hot new Pluralsight courses you can check out.

Join for the live show and I’ll take selected questions from the audience!

My New “IT Ops News and Talk” Show @Pluralsight!

The Marketing folks at Pluralsight have kindly indulged my desire to be famous and popular occasionally go off on a rant, and have given me a new monthly one-hour webcast! You can sign up right now, and signing up once gets you into the whole series. It’s free.

Each month, I’ll hit some of the funner highlights in IT Ops news, run down a couple of notable new Pluralsight courses, and – most importantly – have one or two guests. We’ll chat about a specific topic (the September show will be the importance of security fundamentals, and the future of Exchange Server), and if you join us for the live event, we’ll take your questions. If you sign up and can’t make the live event, we’ll have a recording for you.

Oh, and after I finish chatting with my guests, I’ll try and have an informative and quip-filled rant for you.

The overall idea is to help you “keep up.” I know how tough it is to get your head off the grindstone for a minute and see what’s happening in the industry, and even tougher to figure out where you should be spending your extremely limited amount of time, so my real goal each month is to help with that. This isn’t going to be “news and analysis,” as I think there’s probably enough of that (you can let me know if I’m wrong), but more along the lines of, “here’s what’s new, and what you need to know about it, and where you should maybe spend a few hours researching when you get the time.” I’m going to try and gauge where the industry’s pointed over the medium-term, so you can get yourself situated appropriately.

These will happen at noon Pacific on the last Tuesday of each month. I hope you’ll join in, because taking your questions is what will make this the most fun!

CONGRATULATIONS @JSnover – A Well-Earned Honor

Microsoft’s Jeffrey Snover, well known as the inventor of Windows PowerShell, today announced his promotion to Technical Fellow. This is a rare distinction inside Microsoft, as the company usually has only a handful of Technical Fellows at any given time – around a dozen-ish, last time someone told me about the title. And it’s massively well deserved.

I told Jeffrey, and am repeating it here, that he’s probably done more to “move the needle” for Microsoft IT Operations than anyone else in the past decade. PowerShell has been more impactful and meaningful, both on our community and inside Microsoft, than any other tool or technology that I can think of – including stalwarts like Active Directory.

When Jeffrey authored “The Monad Manifesto,” he literally articulated a ten-year vision that he and the WMF team have seen through to completion and then some. That’s an exceedingly unusual accomplishment at Microsoft, where until recently “product vision” hardly ever outlasted a release cycle. Jeffrey – a mere Partner Program Manager when I first met him at the 2006 product launch in Barcelona in 2006 – championed a .NET-based shell at a time when many high profile .NET projects were failing inside Microsoft. He and the original PowerShell team succeeded, though – on mass scale.

Think about it: they created a shell that has become an integral part of nearly every Microsoft business product, including Azure. What other Microsoft technology has touched so many other products and lives? It’s made Windows in general a viable product from an enterprise manageability perspective, when Windows started out as the butt of manageability jokes. It’s a huge accomplishment that’s required perseverance, vision, and a lot of empathy for a variety of audiences.

Snover has also kept us on a firm path toward making Windows Server more cloud scalable. The inexorable march toward a GUI-less, headless server has been in large part under his direction, taking baby steps to help customers understand the need, the benefits, and the direction for getting there. This for me is literally as big a change as Windows itself, when Bill Gates was still very much at the company’s helm.

Jeffrey and the people he’s inspired are a major part of why I think Microsoft-centric IT has becoming exciting again. We’ve new tools, new technologies, new directions, and new priorities. For once, we’re right at the head of IT Operations progress, not trailing by a decade. We can hold our own against the big boys of business computing, and in a lot of areas we’re the ones showing them how to do it right.

So congratulations, Mr. Snover. I can’t wait to see where you take us next!

Dear @CenturyLink: Here’s How You’ve Screwed Me

Dear @CenturyLink…

Once upon a time (say, November 2014), I had great Internet from you. Not nearly as amazing as everyone else with fiber and cable, but pretty good. Well, OK, it was 8Mbps/1Mbps DSL… but I was happy enough. It got the job done.

In the past four months, however, you’ve taken it all away. Fully half my megabits, all my faith in you, and most of my happiness. And it’s mostly out of sheer incompetence. Super friendly incompetence, to be sure, but incompetence nonetheless.

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What are the hot IT certs these days, from your perspective?

Regardless of whether you think certifications are personally valuable, and ignoring what you think might be important to you or your current job, what do yo think are the current “trendy” IT certification titles? In other words, what do you see everyone else getting excited about?

And, following that – do you think the trend is worthwhile, or do you think there’s another direction people should be looking?

Drop a comment – let me know!

Did Microsoft Ship “Preview” Code in Windows 10?

With the recent release of Windows 10, and with the recent publication of a WMF5 roadmap, some sharp-eyed readers are asking some hard questions. If we’re getting a “supported production preview” of WMF5 in August 2015 – what exactly the heck is in Windows 10? Preview code?

In a word, yes. But that doesn’t mean what you think it does, and it’s certainly not the first time Microsoft has done this.

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