DPM 2007 Launch – Day 0

Pop Quiz – what could make a 9.5 hour flight from Dallas to Paris feel longer?

Answer – A 3-hour delay before take-off, sitting in the aircraft.  Yes, as an omen of all the good things that will come this week, we pulled away from the gate, tried to rev the engines and came back to the terminal. Three hours, a new radio and some repairs to the inflight power system, and we were off. Of course, that meant missing my connection in Paris and eventually getting to Barcelona 17 hours after beginning my trip.


Today is about staging demo’s of DPM – yes, I am using VPC’s everywhere, but it still takes time. And considering all of this work on the Sabbath – not sure if my set-ups will be blessed as error free or punished with extra Murphy’s Law.

Here is what you see in a Microsoft keynote Here is what I see in a Microsoft keynote
keynote_front keynote_back
4500 seats, a very cool backdrop and a VP with his demo-minions. A half-dozen product managers, 15-20 laptops and workstations, with multiple VPC’s each, and a really nasty cabling setup into one KVM.  
FYI – the laptop in the very front is mine, with this blog post.

What makes a DPM demo complicated? 

It takes 2 physical and 8 virtual servers to fully appreciate the uber-coolness of DPM 2007:

Host 1 – Windows Server 2003 sp2 with Virtual Server 2005 R2 sp1 – not in a domain (3Ghz / 2 GB RAM / fast disk)

  • Domain Controller for Contoso
  • the DPM 2007 server – with disk-based protection and a synthetic tape drive
  • Windows 2003 or Windows 2008 File Server
  • SQL Server 2005 sp2

Host 2 – Windows Server 2003 sp2 with Virtual Server 2005 R2 sp1 – in the Contoso domain (same specs)

  • SQL Server 2008 (CTP-4 July)
  • Exchange 2007
  • SharePoint 2007
  • Linux app server

The first host cannot be in the domain because the DC isn’t running yet (it will run on this host).  The second host has to be in the domain, so that we can show DPM 2007 protecting a Virtual Server with a non-Windows guest like Linux.  Unfortunately, you can’t run Virtual Server 2005 inside a virtual machine, so you can’t carry it in a VPC.  It always has to be set up new with the host each time you set up a show.

Oh, and one more thing – for executive keynotes, we duplicate everything.


One of my old managers once said “You should have a standard demo that is always ready.  If your demo is all VPC’s – it’s easy.  You can just load them up and boot.” 

This is a manager who had never done live demo before.  For the record, I packed up my most current VPC’s (that have been giving me flawless demo’s for several weeks) to a harddrive and a spare, and left for the airport.

Even with a good amount of preparation and working VPC’s, I have had a few challenges —

  1. The day before a major conference – everything is hectic beyond nuts.  So, while the event tech’s are really, really good at what they do.  Getting in the queue to have your particular PC’s imaged and delivered to your area will take longer than you think, regardless of how you pre-plan and schedule.  And until that happens, you have nothing but a hard drive to stare at.
  2. The show hardware had a few issues with timezones.  As a tidbit, if you are running VM Additions prior to 813, the VPC’s can have unusual time problems.  Some will pick up the local time directly from the host’s adjusted time, and then adjust for the guest time zone.  Others will pick up the UMT time directly from the host and adjust correctly.  And others will in fact pick up the host’s time-zone adjusted time, think its UMT, and then adjust internally.  The punch-line – cannot authenticate to the domain controller.  Solution – explicitly set all of the time zones to the same, and then force time sync with the DC.
  3. When setting up a Virtual Server host server for the demo – you don’t really want a machine named “keynotedemo004”.  So, you need to rename the machine (e.g. MSVS251) and reboot, join the Contoso demo domain and reboot, install IIS and Virtual Server.  And then, you can copy the VHD’s and start the environment.
  4. About 30 minutes before the keynote demo dryrun, my Host-2 (with the big workloads) started being really unresponsive.  I didn’t do too much troubleshooting for fear of not being ready for the dryrun.  After the dryrun and rebooting, the host PC has a bad harddrive – so I get to re-host the VPC/s again.  Obviously, this is a rare occurrence, but it is yet another reason to come in well ahead of schedule to adjust.


Final score for Day-0:

  • Woke up at 7:00  —  Onsite by 8:30AM until 10PM – in bed by 11:30
  • DPM demo’s for both keynotes and classroom are spinning (3 out of 4 ain’t bad)
  • The booth hardware wasn’t ready yet – will do tomorrow morning.
  • Wake-up scheduled for 5:30, to be onsite by 7AM.

Leave a Reply