“Introducing Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator for Windows Server 2008, Hyper-V and Virtual Server 2005 R2“ by Baldwin Ng, senior product manager for the Microsoft Solution Accelerators Core Engineering team, and Jay Sauls, senior product manager.Baldwin started explaining what Solution accelerator are. Basically they are just tools designed to help you implement a certain technology, product line or feature into your business. It accelerates the adoption. Hence the name Solution Accelerator. The SAs usually include automation tools and technical guidance. Also most of them don’t just work for one specific product but take a multi-product approach. Baldwin and Jay talked about Microsoft Assessment and Planning (or MAP) for Windows Server 2008, Hyper-V and Virtual Server 2005 R2. What it comes down to: It’s a toolkit to see whether your servers/computers are capable of running Windows Server 2008 and how you can design your virtualized datacenter. It includes certain tools which can guide you through the necessary steps of assessing your current situation and design the new. So it comprises of three key functions: Inventory, Analysis, Reporting.One of the first steps, and a challenge to most deployments, is inventory. For a successful implementation of say Hyper-V, you first need to know what you have in your environment. The MAPSA uses WMI-based collection tool to gather information on your current setup. In the demo they showed how this would work. You have several different ways to scan:Active Directory: Scan using your AD information/database. This is a common one.Windows Networking Protocols: Scan using the known Windows protocol. This could be tricky as firewalls may interfere with this.Import computers names from file: Just have all the computer names you want to scan in a flat text file. One name per line.Scan IP range: Scan using a certain networking range.Manually enter computer names and credentials. Not recommended for multiple computers.After choosing the proper scanning method, you can set it to collect performance information. This will track computer performance over time. You have a couple of options here to customize your assessment.After collecting the information and analyzing your setup, it will report back the information to you. Most (if not all) reports are generated in Excel format. The main advantage of this is of course that Excel has very powerful data processing power. You can ofcourse sort and filter the data and make pivottables and such. Also graphs are supported.There will also be a tool which allows you to design your virtual machine host. If you specify your server’s CPU, hard drive setup and amount of memory, it can then calculate how much of your machines can be hosted on this platform. Very cool.MAP is available from Microsoft.com: www.microsoft.com/map. Expect more information on this topic very soon! I had the chance to meet up and talk with Baldwin Ng later on. It was nice to speak with you Baldwin and hope to talk with you more often.