Careers: Interviews
Charlie Russel, Top-ranking International Authority in Windows and Information Technologies, Widely Acknowledged Elite Networking Expert, Best-selling Author of more than 2 dozen books, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P., MVP, DF/NPA, CNP has an exclusive interview with Charlie Russel.

Charlie RusselCharlie Russel is a chemist by education, an electrician by trade, a UNIX sysadmin and Oracle DBA because he raised his hand when he should have known better, an IT Director and consultant by default, and a writer by choice. Charlie is the author of more than 2 dozen computer books on operating systems and enterprise environments, including "Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Administrator's Companion" (MS Press), "Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Administrator's Companion" (MS Press), "Windows Small Business Server 2008 Administrator's Companion" (MS Press), "Microsoft Windows XP Resource Kit, 3rd Edition" (MS Press), and "Oracle DBA Scripting Quick Reference" (Prentice-Hall PTR). He has also written numerous white papers and case studies on, most recently around Windows HPC Server, and was a regular columnist for the Windows ExpertZone.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

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The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:43: You are often acknowledged as the foremost authority in Windows operating systems and especially Windows Server 2008. Can you overview the Windows Server 2008 product suite?
"....The basic server comes in Web, Standard, Enterprise and Data Center Editions, 32-bit, 64-bit and Itanium. You've also got the Server Solutions: Small Business Server 2008 (which is an entirely new product, fully 64-bit), and a completely new server suite product which is the Essential Business Server 2008 (designed for small to mid-size businesses - 25 users to 250 to 300 users). It takes the best practices of Windows Server and Management and Security infrastructure and encapsulates them into a single product suite and makes it easier to deploy....Finally, there is the High Performance Computing (HPC) server (server suite designed around compute clusters)...."

:03:45: Charlie provides his top tips in each of the key technologies present in Server 2008: Active Directory, Branch and Global Office, Core Infrastructure, High Availability, High Performance, Identity and Access, Internet Information Services, Presentation Virtualization, Security and Policy Enforcement, Server Management, Virtualization with Hyper-V, Storage and Print Solutions, Web and Application Platform, and PowerShell.
"....There are some big changes in Server 2008 and people tend to focus on a couple of the big ones but every single area of server technology got better in 2008. It's a lot better in little and large ways...."

:19:00: What are your top tips for IT Pros who have to install Windows Server 2008?
"....Don't just do an upgrade, do a fresh install.....Don't be afraid to poke around....Start to think about how you can use the new features to solve problems that already exist on your network....The single biggest area where I think people should spend some time, if they want to show some instant visible benefits, is probably TS remote apps and the changes in terminal services...."

:21:33: What are your recommendations for managing Windows Server 2008?
"....There are two ways to go: the GUI and the command line (hasn't changed). There's an integrated new service manager that puts everything right in front of you in a single place....PowerShell gives you the ability to really have a management command line that you can use...."

:23:33: What are some little known gems about working with Windows Server 2008?
"....Server core - it's known but people aren't using it yet. It's really easy to set up a server core, configure it, get used to it and start to play with it. It gives you the ability to use this in combination with virtualization...."

:26:07: What are your recommendations and tips on PowerShell and what can you say about the new PowerShell?
"....PowerShell is both a command line shell (in the traditional sense) but also a language....It makes it possible to do things you couldn't easily do before without going into the GUI. It gives you an extremely powerful scripting language and it's also pretty easy to use....It's a lot more than an UNIX shell - it's a whole new language and an exciting one...."

:32:30: Can you tell us a little more about PowerShell V2?
"....Version 2 is a big change but in other ways it's very much the same....It adds native remoting built in, process control, and it adds a whole bunch of command lines and object properties, etc. It really matures what was there in Version 1....Version 2 is evolutionary (Version 1 was revolutionary)...."

:33:49: Can you spend time detailing the benefits of Windows Server 2008 R2?
"....It's not huge changes but there are some important ones there. One of the most visible is that TS remote apps, TS gateway and TS Web access become RD remote access, RD gateway, RD web access (Remote desktop) and that's an important change in how we are viewing it....Core now includes PowerShell....The whole presentation layer coming from Terminal Services (now called Remote Desktop services) gives us the ability to have Windows 7 look for remote applications...There's a new version of IIS.....PowerShell is now native and can't be uninstalled....Important changes in Hyper-V...."

:38:10: Charlie talks about some challenges and their solutions with Windows Server 2008 that he hears about in his work in blogs, forums and newsgroups.
"...The change to 64-bit Windows (which is encouraged by Windows Server 2008 and mandated by Windows Server 2008 R2 - you don't have a choice anymore), is really changing the way we look at things. The addition of native virtualization is a challenge for some people..."

:42:44: What do you consider to be the best resources for working with Windows Server 2008?
"....The single best resource to me is now and always will be the public newsgroups....64-bit newsgroup....small business server newsgroup.... virtual server newsgroup...."

:43:50: What about the future with Windows Operating Systems-what should IT Pros be preparing for?
"....Think about flexibility in how you do things...."

:49:31: What questions would you ask and what would be your answers if you were doing this interview?
"....What's the single biggest "wow" in Server 2008?....What's the biggest change in Server 2008?....What's the sleeper - the feature or product that folks aren't really picking up on yet?...."

:55:54: Where do you have the most fun?
"....I love my job and I love what I do....But being able to give back to the community where I live and to make life better for the people I live with is an important part of my life and it's fun...."


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