Amsterdam 2014 - Proposal

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Desired State Configuration and Microsoft Windows


Historically, Windows has been difficult to automate and configure. The few tools that existed were weak and serious automation required manipulating a plethora of APIs. Over the last 6 years Microsoft has transformed the Windows platform with substantial investments in:

  * PowerShell
  * Standards-based management

These investments have dramatically improved the ability of admins (and developers) to automate enterprise and cloud datacenters. With the release of Windows Server 2012, nearly everything can be automated locally or remotely using PowerShell or standards-based management tools (even from Linux machines).

The needs of business-critical IT spawned the DevOps movement and the need for uniform automation, rapid provisioning and repeatable high-quality IT operations. This spawned a new generation of Desired State Configuration management tools. These tools have had limited success on Windows largely due to a mismatch of management abstractions (Linux is a document-oriented OS whereas Windows is an API-oriented OS).

In this talk I will present an overview of Windows management progress. I will discuss early failures in bringing Unix management tools to Windows – why they didn’t work and what we needed to do to make progress. I’ll discuss our standards based management efforts including OMI - our open source implementation of standards based management. I’ll spend the bulk of the talk describing how standards-based management and open protocols fit into the Desired State Configuration landscape. I’ll describe how we can bridge the gap to produce a world of universal automation that can (eventually) extend to all the components in the datacenter - raw hardware, storage, networking, OSes (Windows AND Linux), application frameworks, applications, etc.


Jeffrey Snover is a Distinguished Engineer and Lead Architect for the Windows Server & System Center Datacenter products, and is the inventor of Windows PowerShell, an object-based distributed automation engine, scripting language, and command line shell.

Responsible for setting the long term technical vision for these products and running the technology planning for the releases; ensuring the individual features combine to form a coherent customer solution that is robust, competitive and is in line with our long term architecture for industry wide initiatives particularly in areas of datacenter management.

A thirteen year veteran to the company with over 30 years of industry experience as the Divisional Architect for the Management and Services Division, providing technical direction across Microsoft’s management technologies and product solutions.

He was an architect in the office of the CTO at Tivoli and a development manager of NetView, and had also worked as a Consulting Engineer and development manager at DEC, where he led various network and systems management projects.

He has held 8 patents prior to joining Microsoft, and has registered 30 patents since. He is a frequent speaker at industry and research conferences on a variety of management and language topics.

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