Conrad Agramont's WebLog

Moved to: http://agramont.net/
Conrad Leave's Planet and Goes Back to Microsoft

After two years of being the Senior Architect for Planet Technologies (formerly eQuest), I have accepted a position back with Microsoft.  My first day on the job is this Monday and I’m very excited to join as a “Partner Technology Specialist” in the “Small, Mid-Market, Solutions, & Partners” team for the Mid-Atlantic district (DC area)  (http://www.microsoftmaa.com/).  I’ll have a post in the upcoming weeks on the focus of my new job.

After focusing on the hosting space for the past eight years, I’m looking forward to working with partners to sell and deliver Microsoft based solutions to small and medium sized businesses.  Working in a more “traditional IT” environment will present a host of new challenges and scenarios for which I hope to provide some great impact.

Delivering the first version of MPS and working from the Microsoft partner side of delivery solutions based on MPS has been a great experience for me, but now it’s time for me to change focus a bit and branch my career out.  I hope to still offer some blog posts and forum posts related to Microsoft hosting solutions, MPS, and Community Server, so don’t think I’m just dropping and running.  But I do plan on providing more blog posts related to other Microsoft products focused on the Small and Mid-Market enterprise scenarios.  As a PTS, I’ll focus mainly on the Server product side, but you know me, I’m all over the place.
Anyhow, stay tuned to for much more blogging activity as a key part of my job is broad communication and helping Microsoft partners to be more nimble and self sustainable.

BTW, the guys at Planet really know there stuff about MPS and all Microsoft Hosting related scenarios, so I'd still recommend them for your HMC and WbH needs.

Posted: Nov 19 2006, 11:11 PM by Conrad | with 1 comment(s)
Filed under: ,
New IIS 7 article, "Provisioning IIS 7.0 for Secure Hosting "

There is a new web-whitepaper on how to provide a secure hosting envirionment using IIS 7.0, written by "Vikas Malhotra ".  There's some very interesting information there.  Especially the provisioning portion.  Now that I've vested so much time on providing a "better" .NET API for IIS 6.0 tasks (Provware: http://agramont.net/r.ashx?3), I'm wondering if I should just jump in on IIS 7 and provide some tools, web UI, and get a head start there or keep banging out stuff for IIS 6 (comments are very welcome).

Anyhow, here is a link to the article:  http://www.iis.net/1143/SinglePageArticle.ashx

 Overall the article is a nice initial overview, but there is still much work to be done on best practices.  With IIS 7, it's no longer just about ASP.NET.  What I mean by that is today with Windows Server 2000/2003, it's all about getting access to ASP.NET.  Now with IIS7, there is more of a platform for web developers to offer even cooler features that integrate with the web server itself.  So how does the hoster offer those "override" services to customer/developers?  What components shouldn't the hoster allow developers to remove, override, or utilize?  What performance issues will that have and will it crash other customers if there is an issue? 

In looking at some of the latest builds from IIS 7, there are some great answers there (I need time to formulate my responses to my own questions----I know, I suck), but these still need to be addressed.  Not only that, they'll need to be automated in a Web UI, Command Line, Web Service, or whatever mechanism an Admin or automation system needs to kick that off.

I hope to have some more IIS 7 content (including videos) coming soon (If MS lets me).

Posted: Aug 28 2006, 10:23 PM by Conrad | with no comments
Filed under: , ,
HMC and MPS Developer Bootcamps

For those of you looking to get a quick and deep introduction to the Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging & Collaboration 2.5 or get indepth training on developing against the Microsoft Provisioning System, you should checkout our latest courses and dates: http://www.go-planet.com/community/blogs/coolness/archive/2006/07/31/438.aspx

Last month we did the first MPS Developer Bootcamp out of our office in Germantown, MD and it was a lot of fun.  We used the new MPS SDK and broke out in teams to solve real world development scenarios (I hate courses that have you sit there and do labs all damn day).

Anyhow, be sure to check these out and register today.  To get a seat, please send an email to training@go-planet.com

Windows Based Hosting 4.0 Released (Components & Documentation)

As of tonight (yes I'm up late again), the documentation for WbH 4.0 and "for Apps" is now available.

The Components: Windows Based Hosting 4.0 Released (Part 1)
The Documentation: Windows Based Hosting 4.0 Released (Part 2)

Yes I'm pimping my site again, but I at least try to keep it up to date with various Microsoft Solution information and my side projects.

Planet Coolness Blog

As many of you know, I'm a Senior Architect for Planet Technologies.  We started a new blog called "Planet Coolness" in an effor to provide more frequent information to our customers, partners, and more about what we're working on, tools we've built, new Training Dates (HMC and MPS), and more.

Planet Coolness Blog: http://www.go-planet.com/community/blogs/coolness/

Posted: Aug 02 2006, 12:26 PM by Conrad | with no comments
Filed under:
Provware Framework…the first drop

Last night, I posted the first build of the Provware Framework on my site (http://agramont.net/files/14/default.aspx).  It’s been a project that I’ve been working for  the past month during my “free time”.

What’s the Provware Framework?
The Provware Framework is an API set built to make the interactions with IIS more intuitive and developer friendly.  For instance, the typical way that developers interact with IIS is via the DirectoryServices API of the .NET Framework.  This requires a fair amount of knowledge of how to program via ADSI and the IIS Metabase.  Since many people are just looking for a way to create sites, virtual directories, and application pools, this can be very difficult.  Thus the Provware Framework is born.

The Provware Framework provides a simple way to manage IIS components via .NET in a more “strongly typed” fashion.

Here are some links to some blog posts on the Provware Blog that should get you going:

Posted: Jul 31 2006, 09:25 PM by Conrad | with 1 comment(s)
Filed under: , ,
Moving to Agramont.net (Hosting, ASP.NET IIS, Hosted Exchange, Microsoft Provisioning System, and Community Server)

Now that I have my site working pretty well, I'm now going to do all of my blog posts over there (http://agramont.net/).  I tried the cross-posting thing using the built-in features of Community Server (CS2 with ASP.NET 2), but it felt weird having the same content on two sites.  From time to time, I'll post on this site a summary of the new content on my new site.

For now, I'm focusing the blog post on Hosting, ASP.NET, IIS, Hosted Exchange, Microsoft Provisioning System, and, Community Server..

New Blog URL: http://agramont.net/blogs/conrad/default.aspx

RSS Feed: http://agramont.net/blogs/conrad/rss.aspx

Summary of New Content:

Microsoft Provisioning System: The Engine (Part 1 of ?)

The Microsoft Provisioning System (MPS) includes the Microsoft Provisioning Framework (MPF) which is core “executor” for all provisioning request.  Now there is much documentation about MPS as part of the new SDK and solution documentation, but I thought I’d share some of my current thoughts around the engine itself.


Post has been moved to: http://agramont.net/blogs/conrad/archive/2006/06/16/MPFEnginePart1.aspx 

More Microsoft Sites (Part 2)

A few weeks ago, I talked about the trend from Microsoft to create distinct sites (e.g. URL’s) that are outside of the standard Microsoft.com brand.  Since then, I have found some more sites (not including the Event Websites).

To try and discover even more sites, I did a search using Google to find all sites with the typical Microsoft copyright ("2006 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved").

And finally, here are the more “standard” non Microsoft.com sites:

There may be more, but I think this is a pretty good list of all of the various MS sites that are hanging out on the net.  Perhaps the MS team can put an MS Web Directory to help showcase all of these various sites.  I’m wondering why they decided to move more content outside of their main content group and standard web properties (Microsoft.com).  Perhaps this makes the product groups (the typical owners of all these sites) more responsive as they own the delivery of the content.  I’m sure there will be an exec that will come around and bring everything back into one of the major the web properties (Technet, MSDN, MS.com).

What's also interesting is that the majority of these sites run Community Server or are "Hosted by Telligent".  Seems Telligent is doing a great job of staying close to the Microsoft product teams and delivering some cool sites!

Got anything else to share?

Crossposted from Conrad's Blog at http://agramont.net/blogs/conrad/default.aspx
Launched Agramont.net

Today is the first day that Agramont.net (http://agramont.net) is available on the Internet!  I've had the domain for quite some time, but never really had the time to get it together.  With thanks to the Community Server team (for their product), I now have the site up and running.

About the site:

  • ASP.NET 2.0
  • Community Server 2.0 for ASP.NET 2.0 (Express for now)
  • Used website template (only pieces) purchased on TemplateMonster.com
  • Ads are driven by Google Adsense
  • Added the site to Google Via Google Sitemaps
  • Traffic reporting is done via Google Analytics
  • Shared hosting site via ASPnix (IIS6/SQL Server 2005 64-bit)

I plan to produce a fair amount of content for this site, but mostly through my blog.  My blog is still currently posted on weblogs.asp.net, but I plan to use this site to most the majority of my blogs and do crossposting over to the weblogs.asp.net site.

From time to time, I write a bunch of protoype applications and tools and they just sit on my home development machine wasting away.  So I plan to share a bunch of that on this site.

I have a few ideas on some other websites, so this is just a start at running my own public websites and content.

With that said, I'm still working with Service Provider/Hosters customers around the globe while working for Planet Technologies (http://www.go-planet.com/).  With so much coming down the road from Microsoft (IIS 7, Exchange 12, Office Servers), I have a lot to learn and share with all of you.

More Posts Next page »