Hi Friends,

I had the privilege of attending the SQL Server 2012 Bare Metal workshop at Redmond in last week of Jan 2012 hosted by Dandy Weyn from Microsoft.

The workshop was primarily designed for trainers and consultants who frequently deliver workshops around SQL Server technologies. One of the challenges trainers/consultants face is to set up complex Hyper-V environment to demo SQL Server HA or BI technologies, that too with frequently expiring images due to the usage of evaluation editions. That was one of the most important things I learnt there; to ‘quickly’ create as many VMs as you want by using Power Shell scripting; 100% automation.

We kicked off by creating the base virtual machine using PowerShell scripting. PowerShell scripts created & configured a VM with full installation of Windows Server 2008 R2. We intended to use this as a BASE VM followed by creating differential VMs. We also did an automated setup of Windows Core (this one was just for practice). We then injected another VHD into the base that had all the software, tools, Service Packs, patches, feature packs, SharePoint, Office, PowerPivot, etc needed to do the entire set of labs. This again was done using PowerShell scripting. Infact, Dandy had created a PowerShell script to download all the required software.

Next, was the fun part, with just some ps files, we spun off about 5 VMs in no time – all installing Windows Server, configuring FC feature, followed by SQL installation, network configuration, etc. And this was done so quickly – in no time the entire class was installing more than 300+ instances of SQL Server. This was followed by some manual configurations, etc that was a prerequisite to do the Denali labs.

Then we carried on with Denali labs which was a standard stuff. But more importantly, the entire set of labs did require some troubleshooting, etc, probably because of some errors/typos in the labs, etc, since the labs did not pass full edit at MS.

We had many MVPs and MCMs in the class including Brent Ozar, Allen White, Kalen Delaney, Bob, Denny Cherry, Jeremiah Peschka, Grant Fritchey, Kendra Little, Edwin Sarmiento, Ross Mistry, Ron Talmage, Robert Davis, Dean Vitner, Aaron Nelson, Allan Hirt, Karen Lopez, Pawel Potasinski, Jason Strate, Rob Farley, Mattias Lind, Lynn Langit, just to name of few. We had a few presentations from the product team during the week and MVPs/MCMs also presented a few stuff in their own area of expertise.

Overall it was a great experience – the class made it worth, even more. Kudos to Dandy, he put great effort and packaged the stuff very nicely. And yes, I did realize the power of PowerShell scripting :) – Just wanted to share this little bit with you all, some pics that I took :) – met many old friends and made many new friends :)


With Robert Davis


with Ben Miller


With Brent Ozar, Jeremiah Peschka & Kendra Little


Party after the workshop…


with Allen White


with Kalen