#MSTechEd 2014 Day 4 – Swimming with the MS fishes #TheKrewe #MVPs #HyperV #Storage & more…

MSTechEd Day 4: Thursday – Final day

In the morning there were not many session that interested me. I did find a session on by  Ben Day @PluralSight instructor covering SCRUM, QA, UAT & Test/Dev Release practices as they relate to development tools. Remember now, I am not a developer, but I do sit next to one. Working at a startup, individual roles or titles are less relevant that is the actual fundamental key to shipping a product, Do The Work. For myself this means that in addition to customer and partner engagement, a large component of my energy goes into taking the feedback I capture and doing Product (Solution) Design. Our developers already practice test-based coding in which as a feature is designed, prototyped and integrated into the product, iterative testing is performed in parallel at each stage to ensure that there are no unintended interactions as various moving pieces are stitched together. Significant components of traditional QA might be ‘boring’ to some people but it is nonetheless critically important to delivering a reliable product that hits the mark on DWYSYWD. This is why as much as possible, the ‘boring’ stuff should be automated to focus on the ‘fun’ stuff. Functional and Exploratory testing can be more fun at least for me, I enjoy putting on my chaos monkey hat and swinging through the buttons and screens, clicking and poking my cursor where it should be and feeding bad parameters to commanlines who didn’t want to see me doing that. Overall I strive to make my contributions to the product release cycle align with the principles of Jez Humble’s book Continuous Delivery.

Back to the conference though…. The remainder of Thursday I decided to invest more time in the Hands On Labs.

Fail. – Step 1. NTP sync problem between the VMs & hosts involved in this lab environment. Essentially there are a minimum of two VMs and two or more physical hosts involved in the lab setup. These are broken down as follows: a Domain Controller VM and a SystemCenter Virtual Machine Manager VM, the physical servers running Hyper-V hosts (2 in the lab I did)  and then a File Server which could be a single server or multiple in a cluster.

 

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#MSTechEd 2014 Day 2 – Swimming with the MS fishes #TheKrewe #MVPs #HyperV #Storage & more…

Hopefully with these posts you gain some insight into what I saw as a first time attendee of Microsoft’s TechEd conference. I’m new to this community, so please steer me toward any additional resources, people or streams that I should plug into so I have the optimal conference experience at my next TechEd.

I covered my first day of TechEd in one post. As the pace of the event picked up, I realized I would have to summarize each of the following three days in a followup post to be edited later. That ended up being done on the plane home and it was a giant wall of words that I knew had to be broken up into chunks.. That’s what I have now had time to do. Here is my second day. [UPDATE: I’ve since posted Day 3, and Day 4.]

Before jumping into Tuesday, let’s finish up Monday night. I attended an appropriately Texan, cowboy themed event followed by dinner with a few people I know that work for a leading hyper-converged infrastructure solution that  like Proximal Data’s AutoCache now has a generally available product that supports the ‘big three’ virtualization platforms, Hyper-V, VMware and KVM. Despite arriving late to the restaurant, the manger and even one of the owners came over to our table to let us know we should feel welcome to stay as late as we liked. The meal was delicious and conversation was paired perfectly.

MSTechEd Day 2 – Tuesday:

On the second day of TechEd my focus was on storage, storage, and storage. I made it a priority to attend breakout sessions related to this and sought out community members and SMEs I had researched beforehand.

Being fairly new to the Microsoft approach to virtualization, I specifically focused on storage because, as has been the trend ever since virtualization became a ‘thing’, with storage there is always a ton to take into consideration when designing a solution that offers services that are scaleable and performant.

In Philip Moss’ session on Monday’s entitled Service Provider Datacenter Architecture  #DCIM-B211

In the morning I found my way to the solution expo, where I met Jose Barreto in the MS booth. Chatting with Jose I realized I had found my ‘spot’ at the show. The next few hours flew by with some great convos with Microsoft customers and partners that came to chat with Product Managers and MVPs including, Philip March, Aidin Finn among others.

In the afternoon, there were actually two session at the same time that I wanted to attend.

As it turned out, DCIMB335 Microsoft Storage in Production… FAILED! …Well, I mean the session was cancelled.Since I had been debating over which of two conflicting session to attend, I’m actually glad in a way that the decision was made for me.

The Dell Maximizing Storage Efficiency with Dell and Microsoft Storage Spaces  session #DCIM-397 was another great prezi, including a ton of live demonstrations driven by clear, well scripted demos that you could tell had been thought out and planned to make it easy to know what you should be looking at.  I’ve seen ( & admittedly, likely presented myself) some demos in which it’s not immediately clear where or what on the screen you should be paying attention to as the presenter… click, click, click, oops, well, ummm, mumbles…  over here and then over here and here and well back there… and the audience is left asking, where? huh? This was definitely high quality session. The two Dell presenters were solid in their knowledge and made a point to complement each other perfectly while answering questions and taking us through at a nice pace, not rushed but not kindergartner speed either. Following the prezi I chatted with both of the presenters about the various product offerings they have in the enterprise storage and virtualization space and how/where the JBOD enclosures, controllers and rack mount servers all fit into Dell’s “Fluid Storage Architecture”. It was a great conversation that we took back to their booth and continued there on the expo floor. Having been a customer of theirs I attended several Storage Forum events and so I got to say hello to many friends working the booth.

On Tuesday evening my company, Proximal Data sponsored drinks together with Veeam  at an Authors Meet & Greet for Petri IT Knowledgebase. This event was held at Andalucia a nearby Spanish Tapas bar and restaurant where in addition to great spirits and delicious food we had an excellent mix of attendees including IT Pro end-users, customers, along with several service providers who are involved in delivery and implementation of Microsoft-based cloud and virtualized solutions, many of whom are recognized as MVPs and also contribute to the community in other ways, including as authors for Petri. In attendance were — List names — Damian Phynn, Aidin Finn,,

Drinks, turned into dinner which turned into moving next door to House of Blues where I caught up with a number of friends and community members from the industry, many of whom have ‘moved around’ lately. It was great to catch up on who’s working where and what they’re up to. The music being performed by jam session volunteers was fun and plenty of drinks and light snacks made for a great close of what was another exhausting but invigorating day at TechEd.

End Day 2 #BackToTheHotel…

#MSTechEd – Day 1: Noo-V wading into Microsoft #HyperV #MCP land

Day  1 of Microsoft TechEd in Houston, TX:  Monday was my first full day attending TechEd. [UPDATE: I’ve since posted Day 2Day 3, and Day 4. ] I arrived Sunday night after celebrating Mother’s day at home with my family in San Diego. The day started early with check-in at the conference center hall which is connected to the hotel I’m staying in but spread across several stories. Trekking up and down the escalators we made our way to the checkin area. There were a lot of people lined up to get their conference kit. Surveying the lay of the land, it seemed to be more or less your ‘typical’ mix of tech conference attendees. A few suits, quite a few polo shirts, lots of tees and even some shorts, it’s Houston in May! On interesting thing that’s different from other conferences I’ve been at is, TechEd targets users across the spectrum, infrastructure, servers, storage, apps, mobile. So basically everything! After check-in I got something to eat and then headed to the keynote.

For the keynote I was fortunate enough to be seated right up front. There were so many people that not everyone could fit into the general session space, so many were viewing remotely from the overflow area onsite or even on their own device(s). The gkeynotescreeneneral session covered a wide swatch of material from the Microsoft product offering, including everything from mobile devices, productivity suite and collaboration tools through Azure cloud hosted DR. We did of course hear the obligatory buzzword bingo including smatterings of ‘cloud’ and even had our ‘cloud dream’ painted for us. There was a section about 3/4 of the way through the presentation that dove into BI (business intelligence) that seemed to drive a number of attendees to leave early. Although BI wasn’t exactly right up my ally, I didn’t find it to be so awful that it would drive me to leave. Maybe they were just tired of sitting or wanted to get a jump on the breakout session. In the keynote I didn’t see much of what I had hoped to hear about which is the underlying infrastructure that is driving this cloud dream, ie. System Center Virtual Machine Manager, Hyper-V etc. There is a lot of ground to cover though, so I understand you can’t pack it all in.

 

Immediately following the keynote I headed over to the Microsoft Certification Center onsite where the highlight for the day came. As part of my trip to Tech Ed I had planned on taking advantage of the discounted exams. Before coming I studied for and passed an MTA exam on server fundamentals. This built my confidence. I’ve had about 6 months of hands-on with Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager and I reviewed the MVA (Microsoft Virtual Academy) jump start video series for the 74-409, MCP Server Virtualization with HyperV & SCVMM exam. Even with this prep, leading up to the exam and even while I was taking it, I felt there were several areas that I could afford to strengthen. At the end of the exam I clicked Finish and held my breath. I scored an 812! Needless to say, I felt pretty good about this.

mvpme

The keynote over and my cert in the bag I rewarded myself with a quick sit down lunch and some good conversation. Then I pushed on to attend a few breakout session. Unfortunately my first choice of session was full by the time I made it to the room. Not to worry though, I’ll catch the recording. I staked out a spot at a power-up station picked up a few conversations, including running into fellow (former) San Diegan, Derek Seaman, now working for Nutanix in San Jose, CA. After a few more short chats and some snacking I made my way down to the Expo floor. I’ll admit I haven’t make the whole lap around the floor yet but I did spend a while speaking with a few of the MVPs and PMs at the main Microsoft booth(s).  My main topic of interest to explore is Storage as it relates to Hyper-V, so Storage Spaces, tiering, CSV Caching and the like. These discussions pointed me toward several spearkers’ sessions that are going on throughout the week. So I now have my agenda fairly well planned.

I am glad I made it to a really great session in the afternoon, by Philip Moss .  The topic was Service Provider Datacenter Architecture session   in 352D.[ recording available @Ch9

make money

I liked this slide from Philip’s session and the prezi that he gave because he honed right in on the point. Keeping it simple and delivering a solution. Philip dived headlong  including Storage Spaces tiering, SSD layer, CSV Cache,  writeback cache, heat. Storage Spaces: design considerations and all kinds of great insight on what matters to Service Providers: Making Money!

Tonight is a hall crawl followed by a number of vendor / org sponsored events. I’m going to finish making the lap around the show floor and then head off to eat and maybe hit a few of the evening events. If you’re here look me up on twitter: @kylemurley. Hopefully I’ll see you around.

 

[UPDATE: Posted about Days 2, 3, and 4 ]