Thursday, June 3, 2010

Recap TechNet DeepDive

On the 1st of June Microsoft and some Partners organized the first TechNet DeepDive in the Netherlands. I was there as well, doing MVP ATE (Ask The Experts) together with other MVPs. This posting is a recap about that day.

Breakfast Q&A/Meeting
For starters I had the honor to join a breakfast meeting with John Craddock. It was more like a Q&A session with good food and hot coffee. Interesting it was since John is really into many topics and knows how to get the message across. Topics like authentication over many different separate forests (Active Directory Federation Services), the Cloud, Virtualization, the early days of Active Directory were discussed.

What made it really worth while was the way John extended everything to daily and practical usage where also the future was accounted for. For instance, how will authentication being taken care off in the future with many services, like the ones offered by the banks, going totally online. How to deal with authentication and how to secure identities? Of course, not all the answers were given but the most critical issues were high lighted.

Keynote: All about the Cloud but with both feet on the ground…
After this John gave his Keynote to the whole audience attending TechNet DeepDive. Which was good as well since he spoke about the Cloud but did it in a non-commercial manner. Told about the possibilities, the potential pitfalls  and how to reckon with those. Many times I have heard/seen/joined sessions or Keynotes about the same topic. But this one was really good because it was based on today's reality and near future possibilities.

Also the English humor was good:

This is a Cloud we can do without….

So with some humor – without going off-topic – and some good facts John gave a very good Keynote.

Time for a Break
After the Keynote there was a break. On the Partner Plaza people could meet, talk to Microsoft and it’s Partners. Also MVP ATE was present there. I met MVPs on the topics Clustering, AD and Forefront. I met many new people. Good it was.

In Total
there were 2 tracks: Management & Security. There were three slots with two sessions per slot. Every slot covered the Management and Security Tracks.

I visited the session about Opalis (duh!) which was really good. Kaj Wierda demonstrated Opalis in such a manner that it went all the way through an IT organization. It touched every aspect of it. It was nice to see how Opalis does not only act as a the ‘glue’ here but also simplifies IT management to a huge extend. Of course, one has to reckon with the organizational structure but it is really of great value. And Kaj knows his stuff and way around in Opalis. Impressive it was.

The second session I visited was all about SCCCM and the new features available in R3. Jannes Alink presented this session. Normally someone else should have done this session but he couldn’t. So Jannes stepped in and did his magic. As a SCOM expert I do not know much about SCCM so this session was a good heads-up for me. The demonstration where a XP workstation was upgraded to W7 – with maintaining the users files – was spot on. Also the way SCCM R3 is capable of deploying virtual applications is awesome. I have worked with SCCM long ago but I must say SCCM has covered many miles with R3. Funny to see how the new W7 workstation ran a virtualized Office 95 application!

Phew. Hadn’t seen that screen for a while!

From the beginning to the end the session was spot on.

And last but not least, I joined a session about Service Manager. The way it connects to SCCM and SCOM is really neat. Still much has to be added to SCSM but the roadmap is impressive since 2011 will be the year for SCSM vNext. So Microsoft goes for gold. The Self Service Portal adds many new features. in conjunction with Opalis, SCCM, SCOM and SCVMM (to name a few) there is a huge power available to do things in a new kind of way where software deployments are automated and people do not have to wait for weeks for an application in order to do their job. All the while all is put into the CMDB so nothing goes into the ‘black hole’ and everything is being accounted for. It has the potential of a killer app.

In between the sessions there was also the lunch, during which another ATE, run by some Microsoft Partners, was given. Many experts were available in order to answer all kind of questions. Also the MVP ATE was available for all kind of questions.

All good things come to an end – Who is the HERO?
TechNet DeepDive came to an end. John gave his second Keynote during that day, all about the question  ‘Who is the HERO?’, It turned out to be a presentation about all kind of issues where John and his team had gone to the rescue. All about disasters which took place at IT shops. It was good for a few laughs but sometimes painful as well since many bad situations were caused by processes which weren’t taken care of properly. And sometimes certain things hit home since they were all to familiar…

Overall Impression
A good day it was. The sessions I attended were good, especially the sessions about Opalis and SCCM. What I did miss however were people ASKING questions during the Q&A times. I mean, I will not pretend to know it all about SCOM. But when I do not know it, I know who does. So you get an answer, ALWAYS. I heard the same from the other MVPs.

So when you are attending such an event, do not be afraid to ask any question. Dumb questions do NOT exist. Or perhaps there is a dumb question: the question which is NOT being asked. So step up, learn and ask. And teach as well.

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