Welcome to the third episode of tech talks with outstanding Microsoft community members from all over the world. Most interviews will be with Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs), and if you are not familiar with that program yet, I recommend you reading my recent introductory interview. In this episode I talk with Carsten Rachfahl, a German based MVP and SMB expert. Enjoy reading!
This post has no relation to my job or my employer. Everything I post is my personal opinion and I write complete independent.
Editorial processing done by Rafael Knuth
Me (left) talking to Carsten Rachfahl (right) in Hamburg, Germany during the E2EVC Conference 2012
Flo: Carsten, it’s a pleasure to talk with you. Can you please introduce yourself?
Carsten: Of course, Flo. My name is Carsten Rahfahl, I am from Germany, my company is Rachfahl IT Solutions and we are in business since 1991. We are mainly doing business in small and medium business area, and I am honored to be Microsoft MVP for Virtual Machine now in second year.
Flo: You have a strong reputation as a trainer in the Microsoft tech community. Carsten, please tell us about your Hyper-V PowerCourse.
Carsten: I am a Microsoft Certified Trainer, and I noticed a lack of Hyper-V learning materials. So, together with a colleague of mine, we decided to create a five-day-course focusing on Hyper-V. We started our course last year … it was pretty successful and now we are updating this course to Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012 with all its new and good features. We are targeting this course at every IT pro who wants to start using or learn more about Hyper-V.
Flo: In what language do you provide these courses?
Carsten: My mother tongue is German, and I feel comfortable providing my courses in German. Besides that, my customers are mainly located in German speaking countries. So far, I do not have any specific plans for providing these courses in English, but that might be an interesting option for the future.
Flo: What are the greatest features in Windows Server 2012?
Carsten: I work primarily in the small and medium business area and because of that, my favorite feature is Hyper-V on SMB 3.0. You are not restricted any more to block storage, instead you can also use Windows 2012 File Server for your virtual machine storage. IT folks now do not need to learn a new technology like block storage any more. Block storage has its own interface, there are LUNs, volumes, aggregates presented to the host … it’s much easier with Microsoft SMB 3.0.
Microsoft has invested a lot in this area. For example, you have SMB Multichannel, and you can use more than one network card to communicate with the storage system out of the box, without any configuration. No teaming, no MPIO.
Another great solution for small and medium customers is Cluster in a Box. I would love to see Cluster in a Box from all Vendors. I like this solition and I hope they will have this offering in the future. There will be many small business customers who will want that, maybe even enterprise customers.
Flo: Let’s talk a bit more about block storage usage in the small and medium business segment (SMB). How might those offering you described before affect the hardware business?
Carsten: In my Windows Server 2008 course we were focusing a lot on doing storage right in a cluster … configuring MPIO, networking and such. Windows Server 2012 will make block storage a lot easier. But most importantly, SMB 3.0 will take away a lot of block storage opportunities from hardware vendors. Block storage is great. But in small and medium business it didn’t really take off. In those business segments IT guys don’t understand block storage, they are generalists who have to do everything from Exchange Servers, to ERP systems, the network … just everything. Block storage is another, complex area that requires a lot of time and energy to understand and to use it properly. With Windows Server 2012 storage system it’s possible to make storage highly available with a Scale-Out File Server.
The SMB IT guys know Windows Server very well, they are working with it every day … some of them for 10 years or more, and they are used to it. I am sure many, many people in the SMB market will do clustering and high availability on Windows Server 2012 … I believe it will take off.
Flo: Thank you very much for this interview.
Carsten: You’re welcome. Talk to you soon, Flo!
Cluster in a Box: