1E is proud to interview Microsoft MVP, Eric Berg. Please see his answers to some questions and get an insight into Eric’s expertise in the Cloud and Datacenter Management.
Question (Q): Is SCCM getting enough love from MS?
Eric Berg (EB): These days it is difficult to answer this question. I really like the effort taken into SCCM to bring new features more frequently. The ability to test new releases in advance is also a great step. So I think SCCM is getting much love from MS. At the same time, Microsoft is pushing Intune to an even better platform and is increasing the features of Intune. Sometimes I am not sure where more love and effort is spent at MS.
Q: As MS soars into the cloud, is it leaving some customers behind?
EB: The cloud is the next step. It is a logical decision and everybody will use specific parts of the cloud. But at the same time, we have to keep in mind that many customers are not in a front row when we talk about implementing new technologies. There are still customers struggling with Windows XP and Server 2003. So, they are far away from cloud and innovation. But it is not leaving them behind…it is more a kind of pushing them to the right direction.
Q: How’s Cloud v. Datacenter shaping up?
EB: For me, as a Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP, there is no Cloud vs. Datacenter. In the end, there will be hybrid solutions. We will have solutions still running on-prem, there are solutions newly built in the cloud and there are solutions in between. One of the most discussed topics is pricing or cost. But we should think about more than this. For example, flexibility and changes in accessibility are sometimes more important than pricing.
Q: What’s been the impact of David das Neves’ Automating Windows as a Service?
EB: I know David for some time now and I really appreciate his knowledge and effort to advise customers. He has done some great articles about PowerShell Security and also the WaaS article is good work. For sure companies are struggling to adopt the new Servicing Models and yes there are issues using servicing plans. But they key point of David’s article is that you have to change your thinking and processes. We have to move from a traditional management and patching process to a more agile way. We have done this in programming in the past and it improved results and speed of innovation. I was confused about the critics to this article…while some of them are valuable feedback and real-life thoughts some are still stuck in the past. If I do not want to adopt a new model I should not change to Windows 10…there is still some time for Windows 7.
Q: What did you make of his manifesto?
EB: I have talked to him about this and we discussed the idea behind it and the real-life implementation. Like he states in his article, it is an advice to use Servicing Rings but customers are not using it. But there are some customers starting to try new ways. Two years ago nobody thought about having a Client OS managed as a Mobile Device with Intune and not joined it to a local Domain. But now there are companies thinking about this or implementing this already. And I think it’s the same with WaaS…it is a new idea…we have to change something….so it will take some time…but we are able to handle it. At the same time, we are discussing all the WaaS stuff Microsoft is improving its services and servicing approach…so let’s have look for the future.
Q: Has this been the year where the OS became a primary security issue?
EB: I don’t think that this year is a starting point for security issues. There had been issues all the years already. But I think Security is more in focus in general know. New threads, new solutions, and extensions to cloud make Admins and CISOs more sensitive for Security concerns. The main issue with OS security is, that many customers still are stuck at old Versions or run new versions with old settings. For example, nobody thought about disabling SMBv1 in his environment until the WannaCry attack started. A real reason to keep this feature alive never existed.
Q: What’s the best thing about being an MVP?
EB: To be an MVP is a great thing. You are recognized by Microsoft and the Community and it is like a “big thank you” from them. Best thing is that you join a group of Experts who help each other and exchange thoughts, opinions, and problems. Also, the contact to Microsoft product groups is a benefit and enables you to bring your thoughts into the products. It is great to see your feedback come true.
Q: What’s your biggest piece of advice for getting there?
EB: You should not focus on receiving the Award. If you do a great job in the community it will be recognized automatically and the Award will flow. When I started my blog and started answering questions in TechNet Forums I didn’t even know about the MVP program. But in my day to day business I recognized that I searched for things I don’t know. Then there was a time I thought about, what happens if nobody writes down his knowledge, experiences, and solutions. So, I started to write down what I have experienced in my day to day work. After some months someone from Japan wrote me, that he found a solution in my blog for a problem he couldn’t solve for two years. It felt great! So, my motto: “The community lives from the community and only those who join in keep her alive!”
Q: What 3 things do you do every day?
EB: To choose only three things is hard because there are so many things to be done every day. First, I spend some time with my kids. Also when I am on business travel, there must be some time to talk or write to them. Second, I check my social media profiles. There are always interesting things to discover, questions to answer, and plans to make. Third, I am working after hours…when everybody goes to bed, my working time begins. I am working best after 10 pm and so I often do my emails, blog-posts, and other stuff in night hours.
Q: What tech gadget can you not live without?
EB: I used to say my Microsoft Band 2… but that time is over after my last support case ended up in receiving a refund instead of a new Band. So actually, the tech gadget is my iPhone because it is my day to day mobile work base.
Q: What is your advice to young people entering the tech industry?
EB: “Never give up and stay tuned!” The times are changing fast and it is never too late to dig into a new topic. New products are raising up and so there is always a chance to be one of the first in a specific product. So everybody is able to become an Expert. Today it is no longer special to have years of experience…it is more important to stay up to date with new technology and trend. But never forget to learn the basics…if you don’t know about IP, Networking and Security…all your knowledge is worth nothing!