EMS PoC: Create a trial Enterprise Mobility Suite subscription

Last year I have performed 6 Enterprise Mobility Suite Proof-of-Concepts, for enterprise customers in Romania. For each customer I have delivered presentations and also provided step-by-step documentation on how to configure the functionality of the solution in a lab environment.

Implementing a Proof-Of-Concept allows a company to evaluate the functionality and decide the implementation, based on hands-on experience with the solution.

I have decided to make the documentation available, as volunteer contribution to the community. In my presentation at IT Camp 2016, I will describe the process for delivering an Enterprise Mobility Suite Proof-of-Concept.

I will also publish the updated documentation, with new screenshots and changed steps. Feel free to use it to implement your own Enterprise Mobility Suite Proof-of-Concept.

In this first post I am including a document on How to create a trial Enterprise Mobility Suite subscription. This includes configuration steps:

  • To Sign-Up for an Enterprise Mobility Suite trial subscription
  • To access the Microsoft Intune portals
  • To manage Azure Active Directory in the Microsoft Azure portal
  • To enable Azure Rights Management Services


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Session at ITCamp 2016

I was invited again to speak at ITCamp 2016!

This is the 6th edition of the conference and I have attended all editions so far, starting from 2011. I have seen this community conference growing from a small event with 200 attendees and three tracks, to a big event with more than 500 attendees, 4 tracks and 40 sessions last year.

This year the organizers have set even greater targets. They have managed to put on the agenda a great round of speakers. Well known names that attended the previous editions, and also new names for this event, but with a great speaking experience.

I am happy to be part of this event and trying to support it logistically, with session recordings. Please see a history of this event on the conference website.

I will have a session on How to deliver an Enterprise Mobility Suite Proof-Of-Concept

Day 2, May 27, 2016
16.30 – 17.30

Attend this session to find out how you can try the functionality of Enterprise Mobility Suite by delivering a Proof-Of-Concept and test the following functionality: creating subscriptions for Office 365, Microsoft Intune and Azure RMS, device enrollment, configuring device settings using policies, configuring VPN profiles, Wi-Fi profiles and E-mail profiles. We will also discuss how to configure integration with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager using the Intune connector.
The Proof-Of-Concept will allow you to evaluate the functionality and decide the implementation. You will receive step by step documentation for the configuration.

If you are attending the conference, see you next week!

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Keukenhof Tulips

This year I had the chance to visit the Keukenhof park in Netherlands. The tulips grown there are exceptional. Please see some pictures below:

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Security Theater at Brussels Airport

In a previous post, I called the “security” measures enforced at Brussels Airport stupid. In this post I am trying to explain why I consider them as such.

First a definition from Wikipedia: “Airport security refers to the techniques and methods used in protecting passengers, staff and aircraft which use the airports from accidental/malicious harm, crime and other threats”. Notice that passengers are listed first.

Next a short description of security zones in an airport. The basic idea is to allow only legitimate passengers to enter the boarding area, and also to prevent them to bring dangerous materials.

As a passenger, when you arrive to the airport, you are still unknown. You have to check-in (which is basically identifying yourself) and pass trough security checks to reach the boarding area.

The boarding area is secure, only legitimate travelers should reach it. The public areas are by default insecure, anyone can be present here, including potential attackers.

As a passenger, to be secure you have to move as quickly as possible from the public areas to the secure boarding areas. An efficient security system should allow for rapid identification and verification of valid travelers, and rejection of everyone else. When you arrive at the airport, you don’t want to spend too much time in the public insecure areas.

What they did at Brussels Airport is the following: They added two extra identification and baggage scanning layers before check-in. This does not add any security for the passengers for the following reasons:

  • The people standing in the queue are still unknown (not identified).
  • Their baggage is only scanned at the end.  
  • Passengers are forced to spend 1-2 extra hours in the public insecure area.

In my personal opinion, this cannot be called “security”. It is just a security theater.

Another definition from Wikipedia: “Security theater is the practice of investing in countermeasures intended to provide the feeling of improved security while doing little or nothing to actually achieve it.”

The queues in the parking lot are the ideal target for potential terrorists. If you are planning to travel from Brussels, I strongly suggest you avoid those queues, and choose a different airport.

Disclaimer: I am not an airport security expert, but I have good knowledge of physical security. I also have common sense.

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Stupidity at Brussels Airport

Because I cannot call this security…

I had a flight yesterday from Brussels Airport. I arrived 2h 30 min before the flight. There was a long queue extended in the parking with people waiting to pass the “security” check. I stayed 2 hours in the queue and when I finally got to check-in it was too late, check-in was closed.

I stayed for a while to contemplate the chaos: people running, someone panicked in the queue and was given first aid by other passengers. There was no way out, I had to make my way through the queue back to the parking. The queue was now even longer, running twice through the parking area.

This are useless measures, the people sitting in the queue are the perfect target for Belgian terrorists (yes, those attackers were Belgians, don’t start me on this).

And then this idea strikes me: they are not protecting the people, they are protecting the airport building. They failed to understand the first rule of security: The safety of the people always comes first.

That’s stupidity not security!

Later update: The departures hall was partially re-opened on May 1st, but the “security” checks and the queues are still standing strong.

According to the airport president, the measures are imposed by police syndicates. It is bad when syndicates are deciding on security measures.

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Azure training in Ljubljana

Last week I have delivered a training session in Ljubljana, Slovenia, about Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions (70-534). The Microsoft Slovenia subsidiary was looking for a trainer, and I offered to deliver it free of charge, as volunteer work in the MVP Program, provided that they will only pay for the hotel.

I got the deal, and I spent three great days on Mar 22-24, 2016 in Ljubljana, delivering the course. This was a new training, created by Opsgility, the content was available only a few weeks before the training. The agenda included:

  • Introduction to Azure
  • Azure Virtual Machines
  • Hybrid Identity
  • Virtual Machine Storage
  • Core Networking
  • Implementing Hybrid Networking
  • Managing VMs with Azure Resources Manager
  • Storage, Backup and DR
  • Introduction to Azure PaaS

The course also included great hands-on labs and four architecture case studies. The course is very rich in content, it has a total of 574 presentation slides.

We had 20 attendees from Microsoft Partners, who appreciated the course.

I am highly recommending this course to anyone interested in a deep dive in Azure infrastructure. Since the course is heavy on content, I would recommend allocating at least 4 days for it (it was initially designed as a 5-day course).

Please see below some pictures from the training. The only drawback was that the screen obstructed the great view from the training room windows. But we enjoyed that during the breaks.

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Impressions from Microsoft Technology Center – Part 2

After installing the infrastructure, I was asked to provide technical support during the performance testing period. So I headed again to Microsoft Technology Center, this time together with a great team of consultants from Codit, the developers of the application: Toon Vanhoutte, Sam Neirinck and Jonathan Maes with the remote support of the colleagues via Skype, including Wim Vlayen from the test team who was executing the tests remotely, and changed his profile picture to a black cat, for luck. We had also received great help and recommendations from Basile Joly, a consultant at Microsoft Technology Center. I was assisting with the configuration changes and collecting the performance counter logs.

The tests were successful and we obtained the performance targets with half of the initially estimated resources.

For me this was a great experience, and I am very thankful for having this opportunity.

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Impressions from Microsoft Technology Center – Part 1

I have recently had the great opportunity to participate to the performance testing of an application at the Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) in Paris.

First I was sent on a mission to install and configure the infrastructure required for the application. I have spent a full week at MTC, and with great help from the technical consultants at Microsoft Technology Center, I have installed a SQL Server failover cluster with 2 nodes and 4 SQL instances, 6 BizTalk virtual machines configured in NLB, MSDTC and BizTalk Single Sign-On (SSO) in cluster.

The environment at MTC is great. Their datacenter is like Alladin’s cave. They have all sorts of servers, storage and devices. For this project we used Dell servers and Compellent storage, to name just a couple. They are also exhibiting a lot of cool devices, and they were offering daily tours to scholars and students. In short, it is a great environment and a great experience to work there.

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Microsoft MVP Award 2016

I am very happy! I have received the MVP Award for Enterprise Mobility. Microsoft has consolidated the MVP award categories. Enterprise Mobility includes:

  • System Center Configuration Manager & Microsoft Intune
  • Identity and Access (Azure Active Directory)
  • Information Protection (Azure RMS)
  • Remote Desktop Services / Azure RemoteApp

That means a broader set of products and services to cover. Looking forward to raise to the challenge!

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Happy New Year 2016!

I wish you to be healthy and happy and have a great 2016!
La Mulţi Ani!
Happy New Year!
Een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!
Bonne année!
Ein gutes neues Jahr!
Boldog Új Évet!
Gott nytt år!

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