Day 1 of Microsoft TechEd in Houston, TX: Monday was my first full day attending TechEd. [UPDATE: I’ve since posted Day 2, Day 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 general 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.
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 @NTTXSelect. The topic was Service Provider Datacenter Architecture session #dcim #b211 in 352D.[ recording available @Ch9 ]
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 ]