Encouraging Diversity & Inclusion Through Microsoft’s MVP Program

Diversity and inclusion have never been more critical in all facets of culture. That includes IT, technology experts, and the technological infrastructures at large. Even the technology itself needs to take diversity and inclusion into consideration.

Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional program recognizes some of the greatest evangelists of their products and services, and helpers of the community of users at large. MVPs are proven experts in their fields. They go above and beyond in this capacity, with a  willingness and passion to help those seeking to better understand the technologies they’re using. And they’re advancing diversity and inclusion efforts for companies.

Microsoft also recognizes the critical importance of diversity and inclusion. They have it as their mission to use their influence on the world to encourage positive change in the workplace and in communities everywhere. They are leveraging their demonstrated history as innovators to look at diversity and inclusion in new ways, so that companies of the future always hold it as one of their key values and act on it too.

There is also a connection between the MVP program and Microsoft’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Here, we’ll be looking at exactly what the MVP program is, what it offers, and how it connects to diversity and inclusion initiatives at large.

How did the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional program get its start?

In 1993, developer Calvin Hsia created a list of the “Most Verbose People,” ranking the most active users in a CompuServe technology support forum. This list exists in fun to recognize the most active users. And Hsia didn’t necessarily expect anything to come of it.

But because at the time Microsoft offered a great deal of technical support to CompuServe, they took notice of Calvin’s List and those offering support of their own volition. Noting the difference these champions of technology were making for the community, they saw it as an opportunity to recognize and acknowledge their contributions in a more formal capacity.

We can guess with a fair bit of certainty that Microsoft also saw this as an opportunity to identify and leverage a talent pool, of which they weren’t previously aware.

Speculation aside, Calvin’s List identified the first ever 34 Most Valuable Professionals. The MVPs were invited to the first-ever Orlando TechEd conference. There, they could be recognized for their efforts in supporting Microsoft customers and promoting Microsoft products.

The initial list of 34 MVPs, including Hsia, got letters from Microsoft indicating their status as MVPs. This was the official beginning of the MVP awards program. Hsia would eventually join Microsoft and was also honored at the 20th Anniversary MVP Global Summit as a vital supporter of the program.

How many people are in the MVP program?

There are currently over 4,000 MVPs across 90 countries and regions – United States, Australia, Indonesia, Germany, Netherlands, India, Japan, Croatia, China, Sri Lanka, Sweden, and many, many others. This makes for a perfect environment for diversity and inclusion efforts, too.

Microsoft’s website is home to “Find an MVP” and “MPV Reconnect” portals, addressed later in this article.

What is a Microsoft MVP?

A Microsoft Most Valuable Professional refers to a technology expert who is passionate about what they do and freely shares their knowledge and expertise with the community, something they do in a “pro bono” or voluntary capacity.

MVPs are always “plugged in,” staying on top of new technologies and trends.They also have a deep understanding of Microsoft products and services. Most importantly, they are always willing to help others, a quality that can only stem from a passion for community.

One does not become an MVP, however, without demonstrating expertise in a variety of ways. MVPs must also demonstrate efforts in helping others through multiple channels (we’ll be covering what this might look like in a moment).

How to become a Microsoft MVP

The process to becoming a Microsoft MVP remains somewhat mercurial. Or, it may be better to say, it remains intentionally vague. Microsoft obviously applies their own criteria to identifying and finding potentials. However, visibility is obviously a big factor. So one must be able to create a public track record of productive technical support to others.

In Microsoft’s own words: “Be an expert, do lots of what you love, and let us know!”

More than anything, Microsoft is looking for people with a track record of engaging and supporting the community independently and voluntarily over the course of 12 months. This is difficult to accomplish without staying up to date with Microsoft products and continually educating yourself. So, if you’re looking to improve diversity and inclusion within your workplace, start with education.

There are a variety of activities to improve your chances of MVP recognition. For example:

  • Contributing to blogs, podcasts, and books
  • Helping users on forums and social media
  • Participating in user groups
  • Attending conferences and giving speeches
  • Building open-source software

Becoming an MVP, however, you will likely need to engage in a variety of activities. Focusing in one area often isn’t enough.

If you’re wondering where to put your energy and focus as a potential MVP, it would be good to know that Microsoft prioritizes the following award categories (this is where to put your focus):

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Windows development
  • M365 development
  • Developer technologies
  • Data platform
  • AI
  • Internet of Things
  • Cloud & datacenter management
  • Enterprise mobility
  • Windows & devices for IT
  • M365 apps & services
  • Business applications
  • Security
  • Mixed reality

However, there is a formal, defined process to getting on the map. To become an MVP, one must also receive a nomination referral by a Microsoft Full Time Employee (FTE) or Microsoft MVP. Having the right connections does make a difference.

How does The MVP program benefit IT Professionals?

People love recognition for their efforts. Of that there is little doubt!

Recognition as a Microsoft MVP can have a dramatic impact on one’s career. For example, employer, potential employer, and peer perceptions and reputations matter. But there’s so much more to it than perceptions alone. Being recognized as a cut above is just the tip of the iceberg.

IT professionals also benefit from:

  • Early access to Microsoft products.
  • Access to product teams.
  • Access to the Global MVP Summit.
  • Relationship with local Microsoft teams.
  • An executive recognition letter.
  • Visual Studio technical subscription.
  • An Office 365 subscription.

And these benefits continue to see improvements and augmentations by Microsoft, as they continue to look to the future of the MVP program.

And while these may be some of the “direct” benefits of becoming an MVP, MVPs enjoy a variety of other intangible and leveraged benefits we’ll be looking at momentarily. These include diversity and inclusion initiative advantages.

Find an MVP

Microsoft’s website features a Find an MVP portal where you can see:

  • The MVP’s picture
  • The MVP’s name
  • Their award category
  • Their country or region

If you know who you’re looking for, you can filter by keyword, award category, and country or region. You can also sort the entire list by award category, last name, first name, and country or region.

Additionally, you can learn more about each individual by clicking on their names. The amount of information on each MVP varies. But here are some of the tidbits you can expect to find on the Microsoft website:

  • Name
  • Country or region
  • Job title
  • Award category
  • The first year they achieved MVP
  • Number of MVP awards
  • Language(s) they speak
  • Certifications they’ve earned
  • Social media links
  • Biography
  • A timeline of recent activities

Anyone looking to reach out to a specific MVP for comment can learn something about them first by perusing this portal.

This portal also has a positive impact on the career of the MVPs as it gives them more visibility overall.

MVP Reconnect

There is a place for former MVPs as well. And it’s called the MVP Reconnect program. As with the Find An MVP function we just explored, you can search a database of more than 3,600 former MVPs who remain part of the greater MVP community using the MVP Reconnect portal.

What does it look like to be a Microsoft MVP?

Becoming an MVP takes commitment and hard work. But achieving this status opens the doors to valuable experiences, lucrative opportunities, support and collaboration, and a great deal more.

These are some of the ways MVPs benefit from the program and what their experiences are like:

  • MVPs are often the latest to hear about new developments in Microsoft. They also get to offer input and feedback on existing or new products. And if they have a stable of their own clients who are using Microsoft products, MVPs can offer timely, valuable, and specific guidance to them.
  • Some MVPs enjoy networking, sharing ideas, and collaborating with other MVPs. This should not come as a surprise, since MVPs have the answers to just about any question one might have about Microsoft products.
  • Being an MVP opens the door to new opportunities. The MVP program has a strong reputation. And anyone associated with it experiences a boost in their careers. Opportunities that may not have otherwise been available to them become available.
  • MVPs get to be on the cutting edge. The public isn’t privy to the latest developments at Microsoft, especially those not publicly announced. This gives MVPs the opportunity to build their awareness around new product features and incorporate them into their workflow.
  • Relocation matters. Some MVPs seek to establish themselves in new regions or communities. And with assistance from the MVP community, are able to find new jobs, homes, and more.
  • Getting answers quickly. In the MVP program, you have unprecedented access to like minded professionals with a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge in their respective fields. MVPs get access to other MVPs, who can offer guidance.
  • Access to a larger community. Besides the current roster of MVPs, Microsoft also has the MVP Reconnect program, which gives way to the greater MVP community, consisting of over 3,600 members.

Wasn’t The MVP program canceled?

Microsoft ostensibly canceled the MVP program on October 22, 1999. There are speculations and different reasons circulating, too. At the time, AOL newsgroup leaders sued AOL because they felt they should have been paid for their work. And the cancellation of the MVP program may have been Microsoft’s response to this backlash for independent, unpaid help.

But it seems people felt differently about the MVP program, as there was an outpouring of support for it. Many emails were even sent directly to Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. And the program was reinstated only three days later.

Having made the decision to keep the awards program, Microsoft then worked out the finer details and logistics of the program. This increased levels of success in the ensuing years.

Microsoft periodically evaluates the MVP program and considers what it might have in store for the future. Most new developments, however, center on additional benefits for MVPs.

How can MVPs support diversity and inclusion?

There are both obvious and less obvious ways MVPs can support (or are already supporting) diversity and inclusion.

Consider this broad overview of the many ways MVPs can (or already do) promote diversity and inclusion.

The MVP program already represents a very diverse group of people from across the globe

IT talent exists everywhere. Whether it’s Japan or Argentina, there are highly-skilled individuals within their roles. They enjoy their work and are passionate about helping the users who are in need of assistance.

While it may be too “obvious” a thing to say, the MVP program already represents diversity and inclusion in many ways. Whether male, female, young, old, or otherwise, there are established experts representing every possible demographic and ethnicity imaginable.

Promoting the MVP program promotes diversity and inclusion of its own accord, and it can have a very positive impact on companies everywhere, who will need to hold diversity and inclusion as a key tenant of their operations moving forward.

MVPs can use their status as influencers to share about diversity and inclusion

MVPs don’t simply enjoy recognition from Microsoft. They earn recognition within the communities they support. As they answer questions and solve problems for others, their faces earn additional respect. They experience increased recognition and appreciated for their efforts. Additionally, their participation in a community elevates them to influencer status.

Their influence represents an opportunity to create conversations around diversity and inclusion and broach the subject in a considerate, congruent, and tactful way. They can share meaningfully about their own experiences. And they share what diversity and inclusion means to them and why they value it.

MVPs have a built in platform already. They’ve been serving the community and have gained the favor of others by being of service to them. This gives them the platform they need to speak to matters of greater importance.

MVPs make Microsoft products more accessible to anyone

MVPs may be influential in their own right. This platform isn’t to be abused or disrespected. Instead, it should be a primary tool in affecting people positively in a variety of ways.

One of the very practical ways an MVP can promote diversity and inclusion is by doing what they already do best – helping a variety of people in different regions, even underrepresented people, better understand and utilize Microsoft products.

People can connect through technology. Technology is also empowering. People who may not have found a way to bring their projects to fruition may discover new approaches through technology. People who may not know what their passion is can find a new passion in software. And people who may have found it hard to find a job in the past may be able to find new work by becoming IT professionals themselves.

MVPs can empower a variety of people through their ongoing, tireless support work.

MVPs can share relevant issues with their communities

Whether it’s blog subscribers, a social media following, a forum or message board, email list, some combination thereof, or otherwise, MVPs are already in the know with their various communities. They’ve demonstrated their passion for their work and their willingness to add value to others.

Again, being mindful of when and where to share is critical to one’s success, but as relevant issues arise, MVPs can share these with their communities and open them to discussion. Usually, it’s about promoting more conversations. And by staying current with the issues, MVPs can bring a lot of value to the conversations as they unfold.

MVPs Encouraged to participate in community initiatives & speak at events

To become an MVP, an IT professional must support the community at large. These opportunities only grow as they are awarded and recognized for their efforts, and MVPs are often invited to speak at events too.

Every community initiative and speaking engagement represents an opportunity for an MVP to share on topics of value and interest. It would be unwise for an MVP to shoehorn a message about diversity and inclusion into a speech where it doesn’t belong, but in environments where it’s appropriate, it would be a good opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion.

Sometimes, the events themselves are held to promote diversity and inclusion, in which case the angle is baked into the initiative.

MVPs can contribute their expertise to creating & developing products that can be used by anyone

MVPs have access to development teams and first looks at products. They’re also the first to learn about new changes and features. Additionally, they’re afforded the opportunity to give their input and feedback on Microsoft products.

MVPs can leverage this knowledge in helping Microsoft develop products that are inclusive to all. MVPs can offer input on issues development teams may not be present to, and help them course correct so that their products and services aren’t exclusive or offensive to specific people.

Conclusion About MVP and Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

The Microsoft MVP program represents a significant opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion through multiple channels. The program itself is made up of a variety of people from across different regions, different ethnicities, at different ages and different genders too.

Beyond that, though, MVPs have access to Microsoft, its teams, and its projects to an extent no one else has (save for Microsoft employees). This means they can help steer the direction of projects and ensure everyone is included.

Thanks to their deep working knowledge of Microsoft products and services, MVPs can also impart their knowledge to underrepresented minorities and empower them with new skills, opportunities, careers, and more.

MVPs can also speak directly to their own following and communities, touching on relevant, current subjects as appropriate.

Finally, MVPs also take part in community initiatives and are invited to speak at various events. Some of these events represent good opportunities for them to speak out about relevant issues, especially if they have specific experiences to relay. It has never been more critical for companies to evaluate how people can connect through technology, and how this can encourage inclusion and diversity more broadly.

Philips Hue Bridge POE

IOT, Smart Home, Intelligent home; Meaning a lot of connected devices (and power adapters & cables!)
I have been using the Philips Hue system from the very beginning, recently upgraded to the Philips Hue Bridge 2.1 Square-shape bridge (supports Apple HomeKit)

After my last upgrade to the home infrastructure. with the new and improved UniFi Switch PRO 24 PoE I wanted to get the most out of the switch with POE (Power-Over-Ethernet)

I would have loved to see the Philips Hue Bridge with build-in POE, but unfortunately that was not the case of the 2.1 release. Luckily with a bit of creativeness this can be achieved with the correct equipment and cables.

The bridge comes with a regular DC barrel plug adapter

Parts list for the items you will need:

Barrel adapter to USB – NOTE: The V2 bridge barrel is 5.5 x 2.5 mm
Direct link: 5.5 x 2.5 mm DC USB
Moreover, if you buy a barrel adapter to USB, you will be able to use any POE adapter.
Ubiquiti Instant 802.3AF to USB adaptor requires not configuration plug and play!

NOTE: 2 Networking cables will be needed with this solution, 1 for POE, and 1 for the actual device connection.
Additionally, if you do not want to use 2 ports, go for a POE splitter with barrel adapters (802.3af POE splitter with 5 volts DC)

Amazon.com: 802.3af PoE Splitter with 5 Volts DC Plug | PLUSPOE Power Over  Ethernet for 5v Devices Like Foscam, Amcrest, Dropcam and More, 3.5x1.35mm DC  Barrel: Kindle Store

The wall mounts used printed on the Ender-5 Pro
– Philips Hue wall mount: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2458638
– Ubiquiti Instant wall mount: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4497478

Cleaning up shortcuts

So the issue at hand;
I was replacing a Office application on Windows systems, where i noticed that shortcuts created by the users, was not upgraded/removed when the new office version was installed.

The issue seems to be related to users creating custom shortcuts, directly to exe files.
I some cases the shortcut name was clear, but in other cases the users had chosen something they found fit.

The following PowerShell script was created to remove shortcuts (lnk files) based on the executable. This means you can specific the exe or use a wildcard if there is multiple executable files releated to an application.

$ShortcutLocations = Get-ChildItem -Recurse (“C:\Users”,”C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu”) -Include *.lnk -Force -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

# This script searches for all *.lnk files to "C:\Program files (x86)\App\My Application.exe" or "C:\Program Files\App\My Application.exe"
# It searches in C:\users\* profiles paths, including Users Desktops, %AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch and in ProgramData...StartMenu
# The name of the link file can have many different names, therefore we must find each shortcut based on path to target exectuable and not on lnk name.
# Then the lnk file must be deleted.
# The script should be run with admin rights, otherwise shortcuts will only be deleted for the user running the script.

### Specify shortcut's target executable here.
$AppExecutable = "C:\Program files*\Microsoft Office\Office15\*.exe"
# * Due to mask it contains "Program files" and "Program files (x86)" paths both.

### Paths to browse and search for shortcuts.
$ShortcutLocations = Get-ChildItem -Recurse ("C:\Users","C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu") -Include *.lnk -Force -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
# * -Recurse = Includes all subdirectories.

### Get properties for shortcuts in the locations

Function Get-ShortcutsProperties {
$Shell = New-Object -ComObject WScript.Shell 
Foreach ($Shortcut in $ShortcutLocations)
$Properties = @{
ShortcutName = $Shortcut.Name;
ShortcutFullName = $Shortcut.FullName;
ShortcutLocation = $shortcut.DirectoryName
ShortcutTarget = $Shell.CreateShortcut($Shortcut).targetpath
New-Object PSObject -Property $Properties
[Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal]::ReleaseComObject($Shell) | Out-Null

$ShortcutsList = Get-ShortcutsProperties

### Compare shortcut's target path with $AppExecutable and delete it in case of corresponding one
Foreach ($item in $ShortcutsList) {

if ($item.ShortcutTarget -like $AppExecutable) {

Remove-Item -Path $item.ShortcutFullName -Force -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
######## End of the script

Download the PowersShell Script here: [download id=”877″]

Smart Card device integration into Windows 10

All the joys of Windows 10….. now on 1709

Last week after upgrading Windows 10, I came a cross this nice new integration for Smart Cards. (tokens)








Windows 10 new has support for eTokens (SafeNet Tokens)
I was very pleased with this update, it will save me yet another application to install.
I’ve been using the SafeNet Application from Gemalto and it has served me well for several years. So time for a changes, the integrated Smart Card application in Windows 10 works perfect for me.

I am using the following it with:

and my tokens? I ALWAYS use digicert for codesigning certificates:)

ps. A new version of Access Director Enterprise is on its way, signed and released to web.

Stay tuned!

Setting up the lab environment – DNS resolution puzzle

I would prefer to have access from my local vlan and wireless vlan to the servers.
But didn’t want to all dns traffic into the VM’s (and depend on a testing environment)

Basically I want host resolution, and being able to utilizing the domain services in the testing environment, without interruption of my other services.

This is the solution in went for was using Conditional Forwarders

First the Hyper-V host:

I Installed the DNS Server role within Windows Server 2016.
Setup forwarders to google dns:








After that i will add the Conditional Forwards for my testing domain
I  in my previous post I created 2 Domain controllers, both hosting DNS.








I will then add my Hyper-V hosts IP to the DNS server of my router/dhcp on the needed vlans.
When clients send requests for the testing domain, they will get forwarded to the Hyper-V guests (DCs) and all other requests will go to the Google DNS (, – more info: Getting started with Google Public DNS

I did want a backup as well, so I installed Synology DNS on my Synology DS1511+
Synology DNS supports forwarding zones, with up to 2 forwarders per zone.
That’s perfect for my setup, added the 2 Hyper-V guest DC’s.
The Synology DNS would of course also need Resolution services enabled, so we can forward requests to the Google DNS (,





Then I will go ahead an update the DNS servers handed out by my DHCP on my normal client network and wireless clients.
This configuration offers failover/backup, because both the Hyper-V hosts and the Synology will be able to handle DNS requests and forwarding.

Where is my cloud key?

During vlan configuration for my new lab (see previous post Home Data Center)
I had to change some vlans, for some reason my  Hybrid Cloud Device Management controller got “lost in translation”

The setup:
1 x Mikrotik CCR1036-12G-4S-EM
1 x UniFi switch 16 150w
1 x UniFI Cloud Key

It all starts with the adoption of devices onto the cloud key – no problems there.
But when your Cloud Key is lost in a vlan with no connectivity or access to other devices, then its back to basics.

My problem was that I deleted the valid networks/vlans added on ports – BIG mistake!
So nothing really works and you can’t change anything, but tuning a bit on the vlans on the router seemed to open up a bit.

I was able to SSH into the switch (It’s running BusyBox)




From there we can SSH to localhost on port 2222
Click anykey to get the Warning!: The changes may break controller settings and only be effective until reboot.

It will not give a response and will be awaiting a key stroke before your ready to go

Keep in mind all configurations will be lost, once connected back and provisioned by the cloud key.

To enter user privilege mode type: Enable
To enter Global Config mode type: Configure

And now we can configure the entire switch (also without the controller and more advanced settings.

In this case,
Selecting an interface (port 2): interface 0/2
adding a vlan to the interface (port 2): interface vlan participation include 22
and your lost Cloud Key should now be back on the correct vlan.
If you just need to bring back to management network on the switch, you can use: network mgmt_vlan 1
Note: 1 being the vlan you want to participate in.

If you need multiple vlan on 1 port – maybe with a UniFi AP AC Pro, you will see that the AP doesn’t have a configuration for management vlan, so we need to configure the native LAN for the device. It only requires 3 steps, it can be a bit confusing configuring and adding a bit more complexity.

– Defined Netowrk/VLANs in Controller Settings
– Manage or Create Network Profiles for the switch in the Switch Configuration
– Assign Networks/VLANS or Profiles to the Port(s)

There is a nice explanation here: A-non-expert-Guide-to-VLAN-and-Trunks-in-Unifi-Switches

Setting up the lab environment – Deduplication

The next step for the lab or so-called home data center: Installing and Configuring Deduplication

I was going to use a USB stick for the Windows Server 2016 OS.
The main reason for this: DEDUPLICATION.

I did start out with a USB stick, but due to performance issues this was changed – read the follow-up post (https://blog.thomasmarcussen.com/follow-up-on-the-home-datacenter-hardware/)

The reason for having the OS on a separate volume: Deduplication is not supported on system or boot volumes. Read more about Deduplication here: About Data Deduplication

Let’s get started

Installing and Configuring Deduplication

  1. Open an elevated PowerShell prompt
  2. Execute: Import-Module ServerManager
  3. Execute: Add-WindowsFeature -Name FS-Data-Deduplication
  4. Execute: Import-Module Deduplication

Installing Deduplication

Now we installed data Deduplication and it’s ready for configuration.

My Raid 0 volume is D:
The volume will primarily hold Virtual Machines (Hyper-V)
I’m going to execute the following command: Enable-DedupVolume D: -UsageType HyperV

Enable Deduplication for volume

You can read more about the different usage types here: Understanding Data Deduplication

Some quick info for the usage type Hyper-V:

  • Background optimization
  • Default optimization policy:
    • Minimum file age = 3 days
    • Optimize in-use files = Yes
    • Optimize partial files = Yes
  • “Under-the-hood” tweaks for Hyper-V interop

You can start the optimization job and limited (if needed) the amount of consumed memory for the process: Start-DedupJob -Volume “D:” -Type Optimization -Memory 50




You can get the deduplication status with the command: Get-DedupStatus





The currently saved space on my volume is 46.17 GB
That is for a 2 ISO files and a reference machine for Windows Server 2016 and the reference disks copied to separate folder.

More usefull powershell cmdlets here: Deduplication Cmdlets in Windows PowerShell

I do love deduplication especially for virtual machines, hence most of the basic data is the same.
The disks are also rather expensive so getting the most out of them is preferred.


Follow up on the home datacenter hardware

It’s time for a small update – the previous post is available here: https://blog.thomasmarcussen.com/new-lab-home-datacenter/

The datacenter has been running for about a week now – quite good…. but…..

I’ve been using the Samsung USB as OS drive – Samsung USB 3.0 Flash Drive FIT 32GB
It does have fast read, and a not that slow write, according to Samsung: Up to 130 MB/s

The week passed with setting up and installing VMs – using the actual VMs etc.
But when installing Windows Updates on the Hyper-V host, installing Features/Roles or anykind of configuration, it seems to slow down to useless/freeze.

Running a full Windows Update took about 2 days to reach fully patched level.
During that time it was useless as in no respondig.

I ran a WinSat drive test on the Samsung USB Flash Drive:

Random 16.0 Read: 8.87 MB/s
Random 16.0 Write: 5.45 MB/S

Random reads and writes seems pretty low.

The sequential seems a bit better:

Sequential 64.0 Read: 76.89 MB/s
Sequential 64.0 Write: 86.95 MB/s

The Commands used with winsat:
Winsat disk -drive C: -ran -write (Random 16.0 Write)
Winsat disk -drive C: -ran -read (Random 16.0 Read)
Winsat disk -drive C: -seq -write (Sequential 64.0 Read)
Winsat disk -drive C: -seq -read (Sequential 64.0 Write)

So I decided to replace to Samsung USB 3.0 Flash Drive FIT as a OS Drive.

The new hardware choosen ended up being:

1 x StarTech.com USB 3.0 to M.2 SATA External SSD Enclosure with UASP
1 x Samsung 850 EVO M.2 2280 SSD – 250GB

SM2NGFFMBU33 - StarTech.com USB 3.0 to M.2 SATA External SSD Enclosure with UASPMZ-N5E250BW - Samsung 850 EVO M.2 2280 SSD - 250GB
NOTE: the StarTech.com enclosure does not support NVMe, so did choose a m.2 SSD.

I know that StarTech also have USB 3.1, but i really do want to keep the USB 3.1 port free for an additional RAID enclosure when/if needed. Properly a StarTech enscloure but not sure yet.. (USB 3.1 (10Gbps) External Enclosure for Dual 2.5″ SATA Drives) still looking for a nice USB 3.1 enclosure that supports m.2 NVMe…

Samsung states the specs for the new disk as:

  • Up to 500MB/s Sequential Write
  • Up to 540/s Sequential Read

The actual performance test on the Samsung 850 EVO M.2 2280 SSD:

Random 16.0 Read: 276.51 MB/s
Random 16.0 Write: 271.37 MB/S

Sequential 64.0 Read: 388.85 MB/s
Sequential 64.0 Write: 383.71 MB/s

So in any case it’s quite a performance boost for the OS disk.


The new LAB and home datacenter

Finally i managed to setup the new lab and home-datacenter.

Due to several home limitations (cost of power, space and noise)

The decision was clear:

1 x Intel NUC Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK

2 x G.Skill Ripjaws4 SO DDR4-2133 DC – 16GB

1 x USB 3.0 to Dual Port Gigabit Ethernet Adapter NIC w/ USB Port

2 x Samsung NVMe SSD 960 EVO 1 TB

1 x Samsung USB 3.0 Flash Drive FIT 32GB

The NUC can run RAID 0 and 1 on the internal NVMe drives, i’m going for RAID 0 (Stripe)
This is where it gets a bit interesting.. Mostly i’m going to run VM’s within Hyper-V.
Hyper-V and deduplication that is… of course.

I needed to move the OS to another disk, for maximum storage.
Keep in mind, deduplication will not run on OS/System disk.

This is where the USB Flash Drives comes in handy, Windows Server 2016 can run directly on that, leaving me with 2 full NVMe drives in RAID 0 and deduplication – YAY!

that’s the hardware part 🙂




The follow up post is here: https://blog.thomasmarcussen.com/follow-up-on-the-home-datacenter-hardware/