The Realm of the Verbal Processor

Jarvis's Ramblings

The “WHY” Series

One of my sessions at MMS this year was titled “The WHY of Configuration Manager”. It focused on why would you choose to do things a particular way in SCCM. There are many tasks that can be performed multiple ways in SCCM…and plenty of resources to tell you how to do those things. But there aren’t many resources to answer the question of “Why”. Why would I choose to do a task (or configure a setting…or design a hierarchy…etc) one way instead of another. The session took on several of these questions and attempted to answer the question of “Why?”.

With that in mind, my plan is to start a series of blog posts that I’m calling “The WHY Series”. The plan is to think through the options of a task/setting/design/etc and lay out the reasons why you might choose to implement things one way or another. At this point I don’t foresee a specific outline for the topics to be covered. I also don’t know that it will be solely limited to SCCM questions…although that is where many of the initial posts in the series will come from.

Also…I would love some feedback. Is this something you are interested in? If so…what topics would you like to see covered? Either leave a comment on this post, send me a message via my contact form, or ping me on Twitter.

Check back soon…I hope to have the first post up this week.

April 21, 2013 Posted by | ConfigMgr, ConfigMgr 2012, MMS | 1 Comment

Top 20 Sessions of MMS 2013

I knew that the Microsoft Management Summit was going to be very busy this year…especially after getting three breakout sessions and one “birds of a feather” session on my speaking schedule. (I’m still honored to be asked to speak at all…much less to speak multiple times.) I dramatically underestimated the level of exhaustion that would result from that schedule! I was very surprised to see the results of the session evals after the conference ended. My unspoken goal was to have a session ranked in the top ten for the event…I hadn’t even mentioned that goal to my wife. Even with that goal in mind I was still very surprised to see the eval results at the end…to have the highest rated session of the event! I’m still in shock…and very excited! One of my other sessions is also tied for 12th for the event!

I know all of the speakers would join me in thanking the attendees for taking the time to rate the sessions. We appreciate the feedback…and that data is part of what Microsoft uses to determine who is invited to speak again. Below are the top 20 sessions for the event based on the average of the “overall satisfaction” question. One other interesting note when you look at the top 20…how many times you see Johan listed. Six out of his seven sessions were in the top 20…including half of the top 10! Wow!

All of the sessions from MMS are available on Channel 9, and I’ve included direct links to the top 20 below.

Rank Code Title Primary Speaker
1 UD-B201 Hierarchy Simplification with Configuration Manager 2012 Jarvis Davis
2 DC-B316 Real World Windows 8 Deployment with MDT 2012 Update 1 Johan Arwidmark
3 DC-B303 Advanced Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 Update 1 Customizations Mikael Nystrom, Johan Arwidmark
4 DC-B306 Building the Perfect Windows 8 Image Johan Arwidmark, Mikael Nystrom
5 IM-B402 Debug Production Application Issues using System Center Operations Manager Mickey Gousset, Brian Randell
6 SD-B312 Configuring Service Manager for Performance and Scale Nathan Lasnoski
7 SD-B317 Best Practices For Runbook Authoring and Managing Orchestrator Anders Bengtsson, Pete Zerger
8 SD-B302 Automating System Center Deployment with the Powershell Deployment Toolkit Rob Willis
9 BOF02 Microsoft Desktop Deployment Toolkit Roundtable Johan Arwidmark, Mikael Nystrom
10 DC-B301 A Geek’s Guide to USMT 5.0 Johan Arwidmark
11 UD-B341 Complex Maintenance Using System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and Orchestrator: Patching a Cluster Neil Peterson
12 DC-B313 Maximizing Windows 8 Performance: Troubleshooting Tips Johan Arwidmark
13 UD-B327 The WHY of Configuration Manager: Methods of Deployment Jarvis Davis
14 SD-B318 Orchestrator Best Practices: Lessons Learned at Cargill Vaughn Nerdahl
15 UD-B408 Configuration Manager … Actually Jason Sandys, Kim Oppalfens
16 WS-B309 File Storage Strategies for Private Cloud Jose Barreto
17 MMS102 Open Sourced: myITforum Unplugged Rod Trent, Ron Crumbaker
18 SD-B307 Optimize Your Data Center with Datacenter Services from Microsoft Services Adam Fazio, David Ziembicki
19 WS-B335 Windows Server 2012: Private Cloud and Security Jeff Woolsey
20 DV-B306 Microsoft Application Virtualization 5.0: Migration and Coexistence George Matthews

April 18, 2013 Posted by | MMS | Leave a comment

MMS 2013 Bible Study Info

Thanks to everyone who emailed me that they are interested in our morning Bible study / devotional times at MMS again this year. Sorry that I responded to so few of you…really I don’t know that I responded to anyone…it’s been a very busy couple of months! Here are the final details for those who are interested.

We will meet from 7:15-7:45am Monday through Friday this week. Rod Trent was able to get us a room, and he posted details on the room location on his blog a while back. Follow that link to see where we are meeting.

Similar to the last few years, we aren’t doing a formal in depth Bible study this year. Consider it more of a devotional and prayer time to help us set the tone for the day. Looking forward to seeing those of you who have been a part of our group for a few years as well as the first timers. As always, this is by no means a closed group. Feel free to just show up.

See you in the morning bright and early. We will finish in plenty of time to hit the attendee breakfast before the keynote.

April 7, 2013 Posted by | Jesus, MMS | Leave a comment

A Third MMS Session!

I just found out this morning that I will be presenting a third session at MMS. This one is an updated version of the session I did last year. Bummer is that it is the last session of the event…so attendance will probably be low…and people will probably be half asleep from the exhausting week. Might need to see what I can do to wake them up! So…my three sessions for the week are:

The WHY of Configuration Manager: Methods of Deployment

There are plenty of resources to tell you HOW to perform various tasks with Configuration Manager. For that matter, there are multiple ways of doing many tasks. This session will use lessons learned from numerous Configuration Manager deployments to teach you WHY you would choose one method over another. This will be a broad, fast-paced session that digs into the questions you should ask to ensure you implement Configuration Manager the right way for your company.

Deploy All of System Center: Two Real World Examples (co-present with Phil Pritchett)

Ever wondered what impact deploying all of System Center could have on your business? Join us for a look at real world examples of two companies who did just that. We will look at the impact and value of implementing all of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1, Operations Manager, Service Manager and Orchestrator. We’ll discuss business needs, process management, standardization, pain points and the importance of deployment order.

Hierarchy Simplification with Configuration Manager 2012

The poster child for hierarchy simplification: 15000 systems, 70 locations, 23 Primary sites in Configuration Manager 2007…simplified down to a single primary in Configuration Manager 2012 while expanding ability to delegate management. This session include examples from new hierarchy design/simplification projects. Expect specific real world examples for how to keep your hierarchy as simple as possible.

February 28, 2013 Posted by | Microsoft, MMS | Leave a comment

6th Annual MMS Bible Study

Every year at MMS for the last five years a group of us have met each morning before breakfast for a short time of Bible discussion, prayer, etc. The last couple of years, Rod Trent has helped us get a meeting room at the event…am expecting he will be able to do so again this year. I will post more details about the location and specific times closer to the event. In the past we have met for about a half hour while allowing time to grab breakfast and get to the first meeting. Probably will end up being something like 7:15-7:45 or 7:30-8:00 Monday-Friday. Might need to adjust a bit this year since both of my speaking sessions are currently scheduled for 8:30am!

Look forward to seeing you there. If you are planning on coming, please leave a comment below or email me via my contact form.

February 14, 2013 Posted by | devotional, Jesus, MMS, Personal | 7 Comments

Speaking at MMS 2013

A little over a week ago I found out that I get to speak at MMS again this year…and this year I get to speak twice! My sessions will be:

The WHY of Configuration Manager

There are plenty of resources to tell you HOW to perform various tasks with Configuration Manager. For that matter, there are multiple ways of doing many tasks. This session will use lessons learned from numerous Configuration Manager deployments to teach you WHY you would choose one method over another. This will be a broad fast paced session that digs into the questions you should ask to ensure you implement Configuration Manager the right way for your company.

Microsoft System Center: I’m "All In" (Co-present with Phil Pritchett)

Ever wondered what impact deploying all of System Center could have on your business? Join us for a look at a real world example of a company who did just that. We will look at the impact of deploying SCCM, SCOM, SCSM, and Orchestrator all in one environment.

So, if you are going to be in Vegas for the Management Summit, come on by…would love to meet you out there!

February 14, 2013 Posted by | ConfigMgr, ConfigMgr 2012, MMS | 1 Comment

5th Annual MMS Bible Study

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since the inaugural MMS Bible Study. Every year at MMS for the last four years a group of us have met before breakfast each morning for a brief time of Bible study, prayer, discussion, etc. The first three years we met in someone’s room…most of the time in Rod Trent’s room. Last year Rod helped us actually get a meeting room at the event to meet in which worked out really well. Rod came through again this year!

I’m still nailing down what the time will look like this year (content that is), but we will be meeting Monday-Friday from 7:30am-8:00am in Marco Polo 707 at The Venetian. We will be wrapping up no later than 8:00 each day to allow time to grab breakfast and get to the first meeting.

Look forward to seeing you there. If you are planning on coming, please leave a comment below or email me via my contact form.

Here’s a pic of the fifteen of us that were there on Wednesday of MMS 2011.


February 29, 2012 Posted by | Jesus, MMS, MMS 2012, Personal | 9 Comments

Speaking at MMS 2012

I just got the alert that one of my session proposals for MMS 2012 was approved! My session will be titled “Case Study: Hierarchy Simplification With ConfigMgr 2012“.

Session Abstract:

One company, 15000 systems, 70 locations…and 23 Primary Sites in ConfigMgr 2007. This may be the poster child for hierarchy simplification with ConfigMgr 2012. Working with ConfigMgr 2012 RC1, we were able to plan the architecture redesign to simplify this down to a single primary site while expanding the ability to safely delegate management across multiple business units. This case study digs into the decision process that took place through the architecture and management redesign process.

I’m super excited! See you in Vegas!

January 18, 2012 Posted by | ConfigMgr 2012, MMS | 5 Comments

4th Annual MMS Bible Study

This is a message for anyone going to MMS 2011 in Las Vegas who would be interested in coming to a morning Bible study/prayer time. This will be the fourth year running that a group of us have met before breakfast on Tuesday through Friday mornings at the event. The group has varied from year to year based on who was able to come to MMS, but we’ve had a good turnout and some good connection time every year. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with some of the “regulars” as well as meeting some new folks.

This year I will be leading the study time again and will be taking us on a brief tour of the book of Romans. My current plan is for the first day to be a high level overview of the book and the other three days to specifically look at Romans 12. I’m early in the prep though, so that could change!

If you would like more info on the study, please email me to let me know. Same as every year, I won’t be posting location on the blog to protect the privacy of whoever is hosting the study…I will be emailing specific location information to those who email me.

Looking forward to seeing you there. Two weeks and counting!!!

March 6, 2011 Posted by | devotional, Jesus, MMS | 1 Comment

3rd Annual MMS Bible Study

This announcement is a bit late this year because I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to come to MMS. I got the clearance to go last week, so I’ll see you in Vegas!

For the third year running we will be having a morning Bible Study/Prayer time. Details are still being nailed down, but plan on meeting with a group of us to get the day started on the right note. This year I have asked a very good friend of mine (Tim Benjamin) to lead the sessions.

If you are interested in coming, please use my Contact Form to send me a note. I’ll email specific location and times to those who are interested (I won’t be posting the specific room number on my blog in order to protect the privacy of whoever is hosting it.)

March 28, 2010 Posted by | devotional, Jesus, MMS | 1 Comment

Rod Trent Interview – Part 2

Okay…it has been entirely too long since I’ve posted…over two months. Life has been a little crazy, but I finally cleaned up the rest of the Rod Trent interview to prepare it for posting. Hope you enjoy it. Also…I expect to post the next interview within another week or so…it is with Tim Mintner of the Microsoft Deployment product team!

August 16, 2009 Posted by | family, interviews, Jesus, kids, Microsoft, MMS, music | 2 Comments

Rod Trent Interview – Part 1

As I promised last week, here is the first of a two part interview with Rod Trent that took place the last night of MMS 2009. I hope to post part 2 sometime next week. Enjoy!


June 4, 2009 Posted by | ConfigMgr, family, interviews, kids, MMS | 3 Comments

More Interviews Coming Soon

I am currently in the shuttle headed to the airport after a long week at TechEd. Over the course of the week I was able to get a few more interviews done that I will be posting over the next month or so. I still have the Rod Trent interview from MMS queued up. Last night I got to spend some extended time with Tim Mintner and Michael Niehaus. As we were leaving the closing “party” last night, I got to sit down with Tim for an interview. This morning I was able to interview Mikael Nystrom and Johan Arwidmark before leaving the convention center. Stay tuned for some very entertaining interviews. In light of the amount of traffic the Sherry Kissinger post produced, there is obviously a lot of interest in the personal side of these technology people.

May 15, 2009 Posted by | MMS, TechEd | Leave a comment

ConfigMgr Child Labor Bloopers

By request of multiple people, here is the bloopers video from the ConfigMgr Child Labor video. Enjoy.

May 12, 2009 Posted by | comedy, kids, MMS, video | 2 Comments

Camtasia Studio

While preparing for MMS and TechEd, I needed to record the demo that I would use in my session. This was a requirement for TechEd, and I ended up using the recorded demo instead of doing a live demo…partially because it is very difficult to perform a live demo of Operating System Deployment in the 75 minute time frame of the sessions at MMS/TechEd. It also allows me to show the entire OS Build and Capture process (about a three and a half hour process in my virtual demo environment)…I am able to speed up the video of that process to show it all in about 3 minutes. Overall a much better process.

Knowing that I needed to be able to record my screen for the demo I knew that there were a few options. One is LiveMeeting and/or WebEx. I don’t have access to either one, so I looked elsewhere. I learned about Camtasia Studio by TechSmith. They offer a fully functional 30 day trial of the software. Using that I was able to not only capture the screen while the demo was running, but was able to speed up sections, slow down other sections to allow me time to talk to it, and splice together two portions of the demo (server side and client side) into one video to use during the demo. Very nice piece of software. I was also able to use it to produce the ConfigMgr Child Labor video. It allowed me to pull in my raw video segments, have a separate narration track, add in opening and closing title tracks, as well as add the video from MMS 2008 in as a Picture-in-Picture.

Overall I was VERY impressed with the software. However…it’s not cheap. With as often as I would use it, there was no way that I could justify the $299 price tag. If I did more demos…it would pay for itself quickly. For the once a year or so that I would use it…not so much.

Well…tonight at TechEd there was an opening night reception in the Expo hall. Lots of companies. As I was wandering around, I saw that TechSmith had a booth, so I walked over to see if they were going to have a drawing for a copy of Camtasia…which they are. As I was talking to the lady at the booth I was telling her about what I had done with the software and that I loved it but couldn’t justify the expense. Heck I’ve been telling a lot of people over the course of the last month about the software. She then proceeded to pull over another lady named Betsy whose title is “Chief Evangelist” for TechSmith. After telling her what I had done, she pulls out a business card to give to me. On the back of the card was a sticker with license keys for Camtasia Studio and Snagit. SWEET!!! My 30 day trial expired yesterday…I get to keep using it!

Thanks Betsy and thanks TechSmith!

May 12, 2009 Posted by | Misc, MMS, TechEd | 3 Comments

Rod Trent’s MMS v. TechEd Poll

Rod Trent put up a post this week about the possibility of MMS being merged into TechEd. In my opinion this would be disastrous. Merging what is hands down the best event Microsoft sponsors into an already too big and too broad event would simply destroy all that is good about MMS. As part of Rod’s post he includes a poll so that we can let our voices be heard about this possibility. Please, visit Rod’s post and continue on to the poll.

MMS: A Serious Poll with a Serious Outcome

May 7, 2009 Posted by | Microsoft, MMS | Leave a comment

Windows 7 – Problem Steps Recorder

Today I have been downloading and listening to various MMS sessions that I missed while at the event. Normally I have my schedule double booked (or even some time slots triple or quad booked). Combine that with the fatigue that sets in after the second day…there are a lot of really valuable sessions that I’m simply unable to make it to during the week.

One of the sessions I missed at MMS but listened to this morning was “SC15 – Windows Client: Roadmap and Introduction to Windows 7 for Enterprise Customers” by Jeremy Chapman. During his session he performed a demo of a Windows 7 feature called the “Problem Steps Recorder”. What this program allows you (or one of your users) to do is record what happened in the event of a “problem” on their system. You start the PSR, then recreate the problem that you were experiencing. It essentially takes screenshots as you are going through the process and spits out a zip file that has an MHTML file in it complete with screenshots and detailed steps of what the user was doing at each step along the way.

This will prove to be very useful. Back when I worked the help desk I can’t tell you the number of times (and honestly don’t want to remember the number of times) that I tried to get a user to accurately describe what they were doing when a problem came up. Sometimes it was a legit problem…sometimes it was a PEBKAC issue. This feature would have saved me huge amounts of time in figuring out what was actually happening.

The presenter mentioned that this app can be launched either manually by the user or…and I like this…you can build it into the application so that it launches automatically when the app fails and ask the user to recreate the problem.

May 7, 2009 Posted by | MMS, Windows 7 | Leave a comment

System Center Roadmap

Last week at MMS in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced the general timeline for next versions of products in the System Center suite. For those who were not able to come to MMS, here is the slide from the second keynote laying out that roadmap.image

May 7, 2009 Posted by | ConfigMgr, Microsoft, MMS | Leave a comment

ConfigMgr Front End HTA

During my session at MMS (and upcoming at TechEd) I used a Front End HTA and a back end VBS during my deployment demo. I mentioned that I would make them available for download (and have gotten multiple requests for this). Hope these help someone else out there!

Front End Script

Back End Script

May 5, 2009 Posted by | ConfigMgr, MMS, TechEd | 17 Comments

More Interviews Coming Soon

One of the aspects that I have seen in the Systems Management community is that it really is a close knit group that is spread all over the globe. I have also seen a bit of a hunger from people that I have interacted with to know what some of the “big names” are really like. The way I have been phrasing it lately is that people would love to get to know “the personal side behind the technology face.”

Last year when TechEd was in Orlando (and I was living in Orlando) I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with Wally Mead. At the end of that afternoon Wally allowed me to interview him…not a technology interview…we barely touched on anything related to ConfigMgr. I got lots of comments both on the blog and personally from people who enjoyed getting to know a bit more about Wally. My plan at the time was to do several more interviews, but for various reasons I haven’t been able to pull it off…until last week.

Last week at MMS I sat down and interviewed two ConfigMgr MVPs that I have gotten to know over the last few years. Soon I will be posting my interviews with Sherry Kissinger and Rod Trent. I have a bit of editing to do on the original audio…killing dead air between questions as well as extraneous noise that popped up at different times. I don’t know if I will be able to get it done before heading to TechEd, but I will be posting them soon…check back. I should be able to get the first one going in the next week or so…maybe the flight to LA for TechEd.

May 3, 2009 Posted by | MMS | Leave a comment

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