Friday, November 5, 2010

Prelude to TechEd EMEA 2010: Experts Live


I had a very good and interesting day yesterday. I attended Experts Live in the Netherlands. A one day event, all about System Center. Even though it was ‘just’ one day, it was crammed with many good sessions, six of them, including the Keynote.

This posting is a recap of that exciting day.

First was the Keynote, given by Maarten Goet, a SCOM MVP for some years now.

He talked about the Cloud, Opalis, SCOM, SCSM, SCVMM and put it all together under the label Dynamic IT. He also demonstrated many new technologies like Windows Azure and even demonstrated the Azure Management Pack for SCOM!

A great keynote it was and set the standards real high. Also my expectations and fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed at all. No way!

Session I: Deployment Deep Dive:
Second in line was Kenneth van Surksum. Another MVP! On Setup & Deployment.

He didn’t go easy on himself since he had chosen a topic (server and workstation deployment) which consists out of many components and available software solutions. And he addressed all of them. He started with the ‘basic’ tools (WAIK) and ended with SCCM in conjunction with MDT. For me, being a ‘SCOM’ man it was a session which was sometimes hard to follow – because of the all available components and solutions – but very interesting none the less.

At the end of this session I realized that for workstation and server deployment many good answers are viable and that every solution has its own advantages and challenges.

Session II: Service Manager and Configuration Manager integration
Now it was time for Jannes Alink to start the third session. And yes, he is also MVP. On SCCM that is. He talked about how to integrate SCCM with SCSM. This way people can access the Self Service Portal of SCSM and request software installations. With the integration of SCCM and SCSM this becomes a partially automated process which speeds the delivery of software.

Also a good demonstration was given which explained a lot. This session was also good and spot on.

Time for a break. Wow! Not only the mind was taken care of (with all the good sessions) but also the lunch was great! Soup, salads, bread, cheese and some real dutch specialties like ‘kroketten’ were to be consumed. Nice!

And after lunch Experts Live stepped up the pace and two highly respected product managers, Travis Wright and Wally Mead joined the event!

Session III: Extending SC Service Manager
Travis Wright
presented this session. It was all about how to extend SCSM in order to reflect the organizations state and requirements. Impressive it is since the Console is totally extensible. The Ford-T days are gone!

Since Travis is the Senior Program Manager for SCSM he really knows his stuff inside and out. So the demonstration was quickly paced and posed some challenges to keep up with. But I succeeded and learned a lot from it. Since SCOM and SCSM share many common things it felt very familiar.

Session IV: Overview SCCM vNext
Now Wally Mead entered the stage and demonstrated SCCM vNext based on Beta 1. Impressive it is since the Console is really totally different compared to the one we currently use. Also the way SCCM vNext is targeted is a revolutionary change. In SCCM vNext it is all about the user.

Suppose you have end user John. John works on PC1 which is ‘his’. He requires Office 2010. So on his pc it is installed. He moves over to pc 2. PC 2 is owned by Christine and she doesn’t need Office 2010. So on this PC John gets Office 2010 offered as a virtual application. Now John starts to work on a kiosk pc. This pc does not allow the installation of any software but lacks Office 2010. Now John gets a RDP session (or Citrix for instance) which offers him Office 2010. A day later John can only use his mobile phone. Now he gets Office 2010 offered as a phone app!

The way Wally presents is really great. He does not only know SCCM but he IS SCCM. So the demonstrations were fast, snappy and also fun. Very good session it was.

Session V: SCCM Application Management
Also presented by Wally Mead. In this session Wally Mead explained the new approach of application distribution in SCCM vNext, also known as Application Management. First he explained it and then he demonstrated it. Again, he knows his stuff and has a lot of humor. So the audience did not only learn a lot but also had some good fun as well!

I am going to attend Tech-Ed Berlin next week. And I have attended events like these before. And great they are. And this day at Experts Live gave me the feeling, excitement like Tech-Ed all over:

  • The sessions were very interesting;
  • The knowledge of the speakers on the topics is impressive;
  • The presence of Travis Wright and Wally Mead was awesome;
  • Met many good and knowledgeable people.

So the whole day felt like a prelude to Tech-Ed 2010! Very nice!

There was one exception though which was really different compared to Tech-Ed:
The coffee was really GREAT since the organization of Experts Live had arranged a real espresso bar! AWESOME!!!

Deep respect for the organization and the speakers. A really good event well worth the time spent. Next time I will certainly attend!

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