Tag Archives: Microsoft

Azure SQL PaaS version confusion

So, it seems that simply obtaining the version information for your SQL PaaS database server isn’t as straightforward as it seems, the official advice from Microsoft is that:

Azure SQL Database is always running on the latest stable version of SQL Server Database Engine and patched OS with 99.99% availability

{from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/sql-database/sql-database-paas-index)

I was checking this yesterday (4th November 2019) and seeing as MS Ignite has just kicked off in Florida and that SQL Server 2019 is not yet generally available (announcement expected at Ignite) I was assuming that our SQL PaaS database servers would be running SQL Server 2017 patched to CU 17.

Off I go to SQL Management studio to verify, I connect to one of my SQL PaaS DB servers and I run:


The server happily responds with:

Microsoft SQL Azure (RTM) – 12.0.2000.8
Oct 12 2019 22:46:48
Copyright (C) 2019 Microsoft Corporation

Version 12.0.2000.8??? What on earth, that’s referring to SQL Server 2014 which was end of support literally a month or so ago.

Some quick research and it seems that the version reported using the @@version command isn’t correct. Next command to try:


Server response:


Well that’s not right. Let’s try something else:


Server response:


Ahhhh that’s more like it, but what does version 15 correspond to? Well it seems it’s SQL Server 2019 – eh? How can that be if it’s not GA yet?

Well, it seems your SQL PaaS really is running on the latest, greatest release of SQL Server. Using the helpful info provided at https://sqlserverbuilds.blogspot.com/ it seems the .1900 refers to a very recent version of SQL Server 2019 which is probably an October 12th release as per the date given by @@version.

TLDR: Your SQL Server PaaS in Azure IS running the latest version of SQL, in fact currently one that isn’t available publicly. Wicked!

Will Microsoft get it right with Windows 10?

Quick Background

You might be surprised to hear there are a fair number of people out there who were/are very happy with Windows 8. You will be even more surprised to know that some of them are not using a touchscreen or tablet interface, yes indeed they are happy with just the good old keyboard and mouse.

However the majority were not. I believe it was a bit of arrogance from Microsoft in making large assumptions about what people wanted in Windows 8. Maybe they should have learned from the Vista failure, perhaps they did as that was a different problem related to speed (or lack of) and reliability and driver issues.

There is no denying that Windows 8 is fast and relatively stable but the biggest mistake was assuming user would have a touch biased interface available across all systems – particularly among Desktop PCs and non-touchscreen Laptops. As an IT professional when I first came across Window 8 I had it setup in virtual environment to ‘test drive’ it, that initial test drive put me off Windows 8 almost permanently. The frustration at the wholesale changes and inability to intuitively do what I needed was enough for me to tell all and sundry to avoid Windows 8. The culture shock with the UI was that significant.

Microsoft OS 1 Year sales figures
Microsoft OS 1 Year sales figures

It was inevitable however that newer PCs would eventually drop support for Windows 7 drivers, becoming Windows 8.0 only and then 8.1. Once they did so it forced the OS upon people as opposed to being a consumer choice. I suspect Linux, Apple and Google (ChromeOS) reaped some of that frustration.

So what now for Windows 10 and what advice to those thinking of buying a new Windows device, should they wait for Windows 10 General Release?

I have been using Windows 10 Technical Preview for a few months now and I have to say I love it. It is a natural progression from Windows 7, with the speed and – as development continues hopefully – the reliability of Windows 8. There are plenty of changes but it really does feel like a true successor to Windows 7 rather than 8 or 8.1.

Now the interesting part, when will Windows 10 be ready and available? There are no firm dates as it’s too early but end of 2015 or early 2016 is probably a good guess. Sales of PCs have been relatively flat in recent years and a release of a desirable new OS from Microsoft can often provide a boost to PC manufacturers such as Dell, HP or Acer. There is rumour that licenses may actually be free for specific versions of Windows 10, however I doubt very much if Microsoft will try to levy a subscription charge instead. That would be a fatal mistake for consumers.

What about Business and Enterprise users?

The good news rumour of free licenses for Windows 10 will not apply to business users at all. In fact the cost to business may be the winning formula for Microsoft in terms of its share price and profit forecast!

The bad news however is your business applications. Most large companies I know and have worked within are either already using or migrating to Windows 7. Huge efforts have been made to rewrite & redeploy these important applications to work with Windows 7. Sadly Microsoft will probably only support applications written for or that work on Windows 8.1.

The move to Windows 10 is inevitable, so I strongly urge you to dig out the ‘Windows 8.1 Upgrade Assistant’ and run it in your environment today. That will go some way in telling you if your Windows 7 apps will work with 10. Starting early means less headache later. Good Luck.


Sales of the Windows Operating System and its close cousin the Office Suite continue to be a huge revenue stream for Microsoft with little sign of it shifting significantly over the next 3-5 years. Often the lock-in is due to corporate IT strategy based around a Windows client and the Office suite, which extends to influence users to seek the same familiarity on their personal devices.

It is still hard for me to use an on-screen keyboard as well as I can the traditional mechanical clunk, click. I’m getting there and Google Apps are immense in providing ease of use via multiple devices. I suspect the traditional PC will still be around as the workhorse for corporate and fixed domestic use, however mobile tablet and cellular devices will allow easier and more expansive capability and multi-device working. Enabling that seamlessly and securely is the key, so Windows 10 with OneDrive is a move in the right direction as is Office 365.

Windows 10 will complement those products and enhance mobility, it will be the true client Cloud OS just as Server 2012 R2 is touted as the server Cloud OS! People will take to it, corporate decision makers may decide to try flavour of the month but most will stick to tried, tested and invested. I expect Windows 10 to be as successful as Windows 7.


Since I drafted this blog post Microsoft have basically said anyone with Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 will get a free upgrade option to Windows 10 in the first year. Talk about kick-starting early adoption, a great move in my opinion – might stop me waiting for the first major service pack before upgrading to a newer OS. But hey habits are hard to break!

Free MS Books for Kindle or Kindle App

Whether you have a Kindle, or a smartphone/tablet with the Kindle App installed you can download the following Microsoft related technical books for free. Right now from Amazon. They are:

Introducing Windows 8.1 for IT Professionals – Ed Bott DOWNLOAD

Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2 – Mitch Tulloch DOWNLOAD

Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 – Mitch Tulloch, Symon Perriman, Microsoft System Center Team DOWNLOAD

Office 365: Migrating and Managing Your Business in the Cloud – Matt Katzer, Don Crawford DOWNLOAD

Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals – Mitch Tulloch DOWNLOAD

Microsoft System Center Troubleshooting Configuration Manager  – Rushi Faldu, Manoj Pal, Andre Monica, Kaushal Pandey, Mitch Tulloch DOWNLOAD

Microsoft System Center Building a Virtualized Network Solution – Nigel Cain, Alvin Morales, Michel Luescher, Damian Flynn DOWNLOAD

Microsoft System Center Integrated Cloud Platform (Introducing) – David Ziembicki, Mitch Tulloch DOWNLOAD

Remmeber, you DO NOT need a Kindle to access these books. Use the App. Enjoy!

Windows 10 and the moving goalposts (or Start Menu)

Microsoft have decided to create a new Operating System designed for users! Yup, plain old folk like you and me. Now that is cause for celeberation. Windows 8 was a panic, a device centric response to the rise of touch tablets & smartphones from rival Operating System companies (i.e. OS X and Android). All hail Windows 10, designed for YOU. All hail Microsoft. All hail the Empor….ahem!

If you want to mess with the TP version, then do know that I easily installed it under vSphere 5, I simply set it as a new version 8.0 virtual machine and chose ‘Windows Server 2012 x64’ as the Operating System. It installed without any problems whatsoever. Others have had success with VMware Workstation.

Start Menu is back. All hail Mr Menu. We missed him. He’s back…or She’s back. Whatever, he’s gender neutral(!). Here he/she is in all his/her glory.

Return of the Start Menu
Return of the Start Menu

Oh and during the final steps of the installation phase it asks you to define a few options before ‘getting your PC ready’ and at one point in that long winded process this cryptic message comes up:

Taking care of WHAT exactly?

I did notice something though. When you click Start > All Apps the list presented is suspiciously similar to the menu list on a Nokia Lumia (and presumably other) Windows based phones. Will new Windows phones come with a start menu too? We can only hope(!)

It comes with Skype installed, and you need a ‘Microsoft’ account for it to define the first User with. Much like Android phones require you to have/setup a Gmail account. You get presented with a tile that is your ‘mail’ – in my case it had about 3 zillion unread e-mails!

Full windows deep dive tech analysis to follow. How different is it to previous Windows? Is the Hosts file still there in etc? Does Mr Paperclip make a glorious return (can only wish)? How does it translate between devices? What’s this OneDrive sync and how do I switch it off? Does this new version take care of your *ahem* problems (seems to claim to!). Coming soon…for now revel in the glory:

full windows 10 TP desktop
full windows 10 TP desktop

Exam 70-659 Microsoft Server Virtualization

I took and passed this exam today, not as straightforward as I thought it would be.

I pretty much used ‘Mastering Microsoft Virtualization’ by Tim Cerling at al, and a VMWare Workstation based lab to do the hands-on. Pretty solid book and I now have an extremely good understanding of the underlying Hyper-V architecture, especially CSV.

It has actually made me look forward to Hyper-V v3.0 to be released with Server 8/2012 later this year 🙂

Anyway back to the exam, aside from the usual multiple choice there were a number of other formats. The one that was new to me was a bunch of questions where you were presented with the same (or very similar) long list of possible answers ranging from A – M, except the answers were re-arranged & some questions had a few less possible answers to choose from. There were about 6 of these questions and they all came one after the other.

There was also the ‘pick the click’ right answer when presented with a graphic to select from. Also another format where you had to pick say 3 correct blocks of answers out of 5/6 and then you HAD to arrange them in the correct sequence order. I found these questions consumed a lot of my time, subtle difference between similar answers had me scratching my head at times!

Lots of questions on RDS, about 10. A couple of questions involved DPM 2010 (don’t worry, nothing deep) and a bunch of questions around using/understanding SCVMM 2008R2. Know the difference between 2008 and 2008R2 failover clusters (i.e. no CSV/Live Migration on 2008). Make sure you have some hands on with SCVMM, know your P2V best practice, and understand disks as related to hyper-v.

Right. So next move is to obtain the full MCSE:Cloud,

which means one more exam, 70-246 – Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012:

Exam 70-246 Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012The other pre-reqs for MCSE:Cloud are Exam 70-247 (which until December 2013 you have the option of completing 70-659 instead). and having an MCSA in Server 2008 (I already have the MCITP Enterprise Admin!).

All good stuff, i’ll be sitting 70-246 in July and will report back then as this is a totally new exam to be released in June and there is not much material available to study.