Monday, October 3, 2016

Renewed as Microsoft MVP for 2016 during the great IT convergence

Just a few days after the announcement of the release of Windows 2016, best known as the 'cloud-ready OS', I am proud to say that I have been renewed as Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for Cloud and DataCenter Management.

So, what's happening here? The last time you contacted me I was a Powershell MVP and you wanted to get an advice on some kind of complicated PowerShell function to monitor your Hyper-V clusters or to measure the latency of your disk subsystem, and now?

Well, now, things have converged. For good.


Cloud and DataCenter Management is a new broad category for all the IT professionals that are making the effort of adopting the new technologies announced by Microsoft these times and that are willing to share a new way of being Windows admins in a Cloud world.

In a few words, this means quitting your cocoon of left and right clicking and getting involved in open source projects like PowerShell for Linux or learning new stuff, like how to install and take advantage of the Docker Engine on your Windows Servers.

But let's go back a bit and have a look at the main game changers in the IT world in 2016.


As I said, on September 26, 2016, Microsoft anounced the general availability of Windows Server 2016. I have written a few articles on the different Technical Previews (there were 5 of them) that preceeded this server OS going GA, but let me remind you the major improvements that come with this version, which by the way you can download for evaluation, and which, unlike its predecessor, will be licensed by the number of CPU cores rather than number of CPU sockets - I started a long discussion on this on Reddit no more than a month ago.

Windows 2016 Server keeps doing his classical duty and can for sure run your traditional applications and host your datacenter infrastructure, but, hey, at the same time, it delivers a great amount of innovation to help companies transition their workloads to a new Cloud model. A model based on agility and cost-efficiency (read Powershell, DSC and Chef, among others), 'devopsability' and efficiency (read Powershell, Containers and Docker) and security (read Shielded VMs and Host Guardian Service, aka HSG).

That is the first game changer. But there are more and their cross-OS nature is such that you shouldn't underestimate them.


I am thinking for instance of the Docker engine. Docker is an open-source project to easily create lightweight, self-sufficient, portable containers from any application. I remember reading somewhere on the Internet this definition of Docker which I find particularly imaginative:

"It's kind of like a tv dinner. Comes in a box, and has every thing you need to have a meal right there in the box. When you're done, you toss it. Whether you microwave it, put it in the oven, or heat it over a fire, it'll taste the same whenever, wherever.
Docker tries to make applications like TV Dinners. VMs are kind of like it, but not quite the same. VMs typically include an entire operating system, but a Docker ecosystem has a central engine that can run multiple Docker containers. It cuts out the bloat of multiple operating systems, and simply packages the runtime elements the program needs."

The very first version of Docker was released in 2013, and was just for Linux, at a time when Linux was still a bad word for Windows admins. Then Docker transformed itself. Remember when I spoke of convergence? A big project started and the time passed and the Docker Engine has become available natively on Windows, so that DevOps people can begin the same transformation (which is called Dockerization) for their Windows-based apps and move them from on-premises to the Azure Cloud.

Technically that was a tough task, since it asked for the implementation of a single set of tools, APIs and image formats for managing both Linux and Windows apps, without loosing realiability.

Yes, reliability. This is the keyword to build upon before anything is adopted in the IT industry.

Even do for now there isn't huge amounts of evidence of Windows Containers in production yet as far as I can see, this is changing as well, and once Dockerized apps will prove as stable as VMs, their spread will be fast.

So, if you are in the mood for Docker, hesitate no more and:

Invoke-WebRequest "" -OutFile "$env:TEMP\" -UseBasicParsing

Expand-Archive -Path "$env:TEMP\" -DestinationPath $env:ProgramFiles

[Environment]::SetEnvironmentVariable("Path", $env:Path + ";C:\Program Files\Docker", [EnvironmentVariableTarget]::Machine)

dockerd --register-service

Start-Service Docker


There is another big game changer announced this summer by, trumpet blasts, Jeffrey Snover himself. It's PowerShell for Linux.

I admit that Microsoft was a bit commercial on this, since they are trying to expand their business and keep the steady pace of Amazon AWS in their Seattlish war (both firms have their headquarters in Seattle, had you thought of that?). And to do so they needed to better support Linux. So Azure can be seen as of one of the key drivers for Microsoft’s increasing support (or love, as they call it today) for Linux.

PowerShell has nothing more to prove today. Version 5 is stable. VMWare has adopted it for their PowerCLI, which boasts more then 400 powerful cmdlets (you could ask to my friend Luc Dekens, who is both a vExpert and a MVP and who has a fierce knowledge of PowerCLI).

AWS itself has a very active PowerShell community, as explained by Snover. And Google has just started a PowerShell project, making this powerful language a de-facto standard of the IT industry.

The Snover's Monad Manifesto has gone full circle.

Certainly porting PowerShell to Linux (and to MacOS) was not an easy task, since it asked for a rewrite of the .NET platform.


Originally the .NET Framework was engineered around the assumption that it is always deployed like a single block depending on mscorlib and deployed on Microsoft Windows. But then Microsoft had to release a .NET compact framework for Windows Mobile, and then one for Windows Phone, and then one for the Windows Store. They were all indipendent and that caused a problem when Microsoft wanted to target all these platforms and include Linux and MacOS in the bunch.

The solution to this was the introduction of .NET Core, which can be used with a wide variety of 'devices', which is a open-source community-mantained project (check it on GitHub) and which runs on Windows Nano Server, Linux ad MacOS.

.NET Core has also the undeniable advantage of being modular, in the sense that instead of assemblies, developers deal with NuGet packages, and, unlike the old bulky .NET Framework, which is serviced using Windows Update, it relies on its package manager to receive updates.

This is way too cool. Thanks to .NET Core, in the near future we will even be able to use DSC to manage Mac servers. Convergence again, so get ready for it.


From a technical point of view, the last big game changer I want to mention are Containers. Windows Containers. And Hyper-V Containers. You'll hear more and more of them, so I better tell you the difference between them once and for all.

Windows containers interact with the kernel the same way that Docker containers do. This type of container has been available since Windows Server 2016 TP3.

Hyper-V containers, which appeared in TP4, have their own copy of the Windows kernel to interact with, isolating them from all the other containers that might be residing on the same host.

It's clear that Hyper-V containers provide a higher level of isolation and security and will therefore have a different use from the standard Windows Containers.

So what about my future now.

A lot of interesting community-oriented events are being set up, especially here in France, where I live for now.


My friends and fellow MVPs François-Xavier Cat and Fabien Dibot, with the help of some other very active members of the community (Stephane Van Gulick, Micky Balladelli, Emin Atac, just to mention a few), have started the French PowerShell User Group, which, today has 112 members actively chatting on the French channel of

The aim of this group is to share knowledge through free podcasts. The very first was the one on Data Syntax Analysis with PowerShell, by François-Xavier himself.

This will be followed by others on Powershell Classes, on PowerShell and Unity, and, in April 2017, by my PowerShell on Linux demo.

If you speak French and want to join us, this is the MeetUp link:

Then there is the Aos community which is actively organising meetings in France around everything SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer, Skype for Business, Cloud and Office 365 (

To finish with, on October 5th, in Paris, there will be Microsoft experiences’16, where you will be able to meet, trumpet blasts again, Scott Hanselman, principal program manager at Microsoft for ASP.NET/.NET, who will lead a session named 'Microsoft’s journey towards a cross-platform open-source .NET', where he will retrace 15 years of the .NET history from the very beginning in 2002 to the last open source platform which runs on Linux, MacOS and Windows.

Oh, I was about to forget, I will attend the MVP Summit in November, so, if you are an MVP and you want to get in touch with me during the event, feel free to drop me a line. For sure I will be seen very early in the morning going to run in Redmond to Billy's house or sipping a beer with my European and American friends in DownTown Seattle.



  1. Felicitations l'ami, bien mérité! On se voit en Novembre!

    1. Merci! Au plaisir de te revoir chez Microsoft! Et bravo encore pour cette initiative autour du FRPSUG !!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...