BPuhl’s Blog

A little bit of everything without actually being much of anything

Things that keep me up at night

Posted by BPuhl on December 13, 2007

Our Premiere Field Engineering team in the UK put on a customer event and I had the opportunity to go over and speak one day with a group of about 25 customers about Windows Server 2008 Active Directory.  Not uncommon in this format, I was asked the “What keeps you up at night?” question.  Thinking about it a little bit, I realized that there weren’t all that many things that were really bothering me about Windows Server 2008 (either a very good sign, or a very bad one).

Not specific to Server 2008, here are the way that I usually classify things that are going to keep me up at night:

  • Custom Tools - Ugh…it seems like every time we get something new, exciting, or innovative – it will take us 80% of the way to what we need and then we have to come up with some stupid custom code that costs $3 million, takes 6 months to build, and can never be reused for anything else.  Even worse, is when customers ask us “How does MS IT do that…” and we have to reply with “custom tool”. 
  • Operational Complexity - There are a lot of tools, features, etc… that seem great, but are darn near impossible to manage (huh…you’ve heard that one before too huh?)  We seem to run into this a lot, and in the most extreme cases results in a custom tool (see above).  But operational complexity causes errors, and for an infrastructure team, usually means wide scale outages.  Let’s try to avoid those, shall we?
  • The next version – You would think that with everything going on, we wouldn’t always seem to be waiting on “the next version” of the software to get what we need.  But we’re customers, and time neither stops nor accelerates for anyone.

So ok, then what is keeping me up at night?  With Server 2008, there are a couple of things:

1)  How are we going to manage the PRP for RODC’s at scale?  There’s another post coming about this one

2)  What’s the final deal with backups, and when are we going to seriously get cycles to do the BC/DR work that we need – and what is that going to look like?.  After all, we’ve got a pretty decent DR plan for 2003 already, so we’re not starting from scratch…but our largest domain is in  Server 2008 domain mode now.

There are a lot of other features that I could talk about.  But seriously, as cool as Admin Role Seperation, snapshot viewer, and Fine Grained Password Policy are (just to name a few), it’s not like these are changes to the way we do things today.  On the other hand, RODC’s are an important part of our server landscape, and backups…well…yup.

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