My TechDays 2013 Agenda Recommendations


As you all know by know the TechDays 2013  are approaching fast.  I have mentioned this before. There is still time to secure yourself a seat and attend this event. People for far and away are coming over for this so why not you?

You’ll gain insights into a lot of new technologies. You can decide to go deep or broad or any combination of these two options. The idea is that you can return to your desk and have a better understanding of Windows Server 2012, Hyper-V, Windows 8, System Center and what a private cloud can do for you and your business.

I know several speakers and they are aiming to offer you some practical knowledge so you can get a head start with these technologies. Understanding the concepts about and the principles behind sometimes abstract subjects is important. This is also true for a healthy mix of real life experiences, tips on how to get thing working and what to look out for. I hope the local community speakers can help you out there. But to do so you need to show up Smile. Sure you can watch on line sessions and download presentations. But consider being able to talk to the speakers and experts at the Microsoft boot, to have the opportunity to sit down for a talk about real live experiences and openly discuss your needs and concerns. No, it’s not free consultancy, it’s talking amongst peers who are often dealing with the same issues as you are which can help you decide what routes to explore further.

The complete agenda is available on line here.

Tuesday 5 March

Register for the track of your choice here. Hard choice between the security track and Exchange 2013 but I’m leaning towards the latter. Scott Schnoll & Michael Van Horenbeeck (Belgian MEET member and MVP for Exchange) are presenting.

Wednesday 6 March

08:45 – 10:15

This slot is easy, grab the keynote to set the tone for the TechDays.

IT Pro Keynote

10:45 – 12:00

Systems Center user and ready for Windows Server 2012? Attend  Vijay Tewari’s session.

What’s new System Center 2012 SP1, VMM

13:00 – 14:15 & 14:30 – 15:45

Easy choice. Windows 8 is not weird or hard to learn at all.For the small effort of educating yourself on this subject by attending these two sessions by a very knowledgeable MVP and great presenter Tom Decaluwé, you’re ahead of the pack, reaping the benefits while ignoring the drama.

Windows 8 Client Part 1 "The OS internals for IT-Pro’s"

Windows 8 Client Part 2 "The Application internals for IT-Pro’s"

16:15 – 17:30

I’m torn here. Chris Jackson is the guru on this subject and if you’re still running on XP and need to move to Windows 8 or even Windows 7 attend his session and learn how to thrive and not just survive such an project!
App Compat for Nerds

Hyper-V is very dear to me and it’s an interesting subject so if you are using or considering to use Hyper-V go listen to Bryon Surace and learn why dynamic memory is a lot more & better than over commitment!

Hyper-V Dynamic Memory in Depth

17:45 – 19:00

This is a Inovativ (Kenny Buntinx, Dieter Wijckmans, Kurt Van Hoecke) tidal wave of knowledge it seems with a twist of Mike Resseler (always a good thing)

What’s new and improved in Service Pack 1 for the System Center 2012 suite

19:00 – 21:00

Grab the people you think could help your with that question burning inside your head. Don’t be shy! Mingle amongst your peers and engage in some tech talks.

Ask the Experts and Networking

Thursday 7 March

09:00 – 10:15

Start of the day with a true scholar and gain knowledge & understanding on Active Directory in Windows Server 2012. If you were not awake yet, you will be 5 minutes into this session as John Craddock knows how to captivate an audience.

What’s new in Windows Server 2012 Active Directory?

10:45 – 12:00

If you’re going to deploy SCVMM 2012 SP1 you absolutely have to attend this session. Really, I mean it! Vijay Tewari presenting.

Network Management in System Center 2012 SP1 – VMM

13:00 – 14:15

You need it, you want it, you love it in Windows 2012. What? PowerShell of cause and Kurt Roggen will show you why.

The Power of PowerShell: Advanced

14:30 – 15:45

Some of the great additions to the capabilities of virtualization in Windows Server 2012 evolves around the support Active Directory. Better & saver than ever with a lot less fine print. Join Wim Henderyckx & Benjamin Logist.

Forbidden fruits of Active Directory – Cloning, snapshotting, virtualization

16:15 – 17:30

You’ll just have to understand that for practical reasons I have to kind of attend my own session. It’s the nature of presenting.

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Networking Evolved

Microsoft Management Summit 2013 Registration opens on December 3rd, 2012


Just as a heads up to all people planning to attend the Microsoft Management Summit 2013 (MMS 2013) this blog is to let you know that registrations open on December 3rd 2012.

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So, I’d keep an eye out for the MMS 2013 site and register as soon as you get the opportunity. This event has the tendency to sell out fast.

The Experts Conference – TEC 2011–After Action Report


I enjoyed my time at the TEC2011 conference. The networking with fellow IT Pros was excellent and the discussions were rich in content. It’s fun to see that a lot of people are already looking at Windows 8 server. In that respect the session by Hans Vredevoort “Hyper-V Storage Deep Dive” was a very good one, offering a look at things to come. Information is not yet flowing in on Windows 8, or at least not in the quantities we’d like. We all expect that situation to improve before the end of the year when we’ll (hopefully) find a first beta under the x-mas tree to play with during the holidays season Smile. Jaap Wesselius  was haunted by the demo gods. Well it was either the demo gods or all those “always on” IT Pros bringing the wireless down. But he recovered strong in his session  “Virtualizing Exchange 2010” that was actually called "Exchange on Hyper-V:do’s and don’ts". Not even the demo gods can keep Jaap down. We also enjoyed seeing Carsten Rachfahl in action in his session on “Hyper-V networking Best Practices” which he brought well and with a sense of humor on his new best practice since the evening before when a bunch of us where testing things out on Hyper-V clusters all over Europe Smile  Maarten Wijsman  (in Holland) & Rick Slagers  (on the scene at TEC2011) form Wortell.nl were both assisting in this endeavor.

I had a good time, met a lot of people from the community  like Joachim Nässlander (@Nasslander). The Belgian ProExchange community was well represented and Ilse Van Criekinge was there as well. I learned a lot and I’m happy to have attended.To conclude our conference on Wednesday Carsten Rachfahl (@hypervserver), Hans Vredevoort (@hvredevoort) and I did a video panel interview on Hyper-V Windows 8 Server and some 10Gbps cluster networking. He’ll put it on line on his web site http://www.hyper-v-server.de/videos/ so you can find there when it’s released. Jaap, Hans and I went to dinner and concluded the conference with a beer in the bar. It’s back home tomorrow and then to work.

Trip To London for BriForum


I’m on the Euro Star to London. Well we’re supposed to be heading there but we’re standing still in the middle of nowhere due to a train in front of us having some sort of (technical?) difficulties. The rails at this spot are not level so we’re hanging over a bit to the left. To make this little uncomfortable situation even a bit more uncomfortable I’m in a coach with a bunch of Dutch high school kids on a trip. Let’s just say that they are verbally strong and over active Smile

My side kick on this trip handed me an iPhone with Angry Birds so I can have a go at this blasting pigs to get some eggs back.

The Euro Star needs a haul over I think. The wagons are a bit worn out an are starting to show their age. As to the promise of fast travel … well at the moment I’m not very impressed with this high speed as we’re standing still … no we’re moving as I type this at cycling speed  … and now we’ve stopped again. Right …it’s like being on a local commuting train that stops in every village.

No need for the telco industry to worry about mobile internet business. Internet on trains doesn’t seem to be taken off.

So I’m at the hotel. 1,5 hours later than planned. I’m off the register and attend the welcome reception at BriForum next. Sunny day in London, that’s always nice.

The SP1 Béta Wave – E2K10 & W2K8R2


News from Tech Ed 2010 North America rolls in and we have the announcements of Windows 2008 R2 SP1 Béta for July 2010. Exchange 2010 SP1 Béta became available today! I’m grabbing it :-)

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the the final releases of the products be announced at Tech Ed 2010 EMEA. Now I also wouldn’t mind if they came sooner due to the new and improved feature set both service packs offer, but I’m not really counting on that.

Bob Muglia’s live streamed keynote @ Tech Ed 2010 North America is nearing it’s end by now and he’s pretty up beat about lots of subjects Visual Studio 2010, Azure, System Center, Cloud, Exchange, OCS 14, Windows Phone 7, SQL Server 2008 R2, Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, Bing Maps & SDK, Avatar as a cloud case study & collaboration with Microsoft etc.

Cloud is omnipresent but they talk about hybrid. Making sure Hybrid is cost effective is important to me. I don’t need more work and costs but less.

Why I Find Value In A Conference


For those of you who are attending a high quality conference I’m going to share some tips. It’s great to be able to attend a conference. Not because it’s in a great city and you’ll get to dine out at night, but because of the opportunities it provides us to learn and grow.

So what is the value of such a conference? Well, it is about the communication with peers and guru’s. The conversations you’ll have and the exchange of taught and ideas. The technical information you’ll gather, the products and techniques you’ll see. All of this will help you to direct and focus the way in which you approach your job, run your projects, plan and realize your visions and ideas. A conference, if done well, is nothing more or less than a technical education in the business of ICT and how to do things and make it work, results versus efforts wise. On top of that you get to interact and share ideas with your peers. You can’t ask for anything more.

Conferences cost a lot of money, time and energy. After all when you’re attending you have no income or the boss pays you while you’re not in the office creating value. On top of that you have to pay for the hotel, flight, daily expenses and the conference fee.  So why would we do this? There’s a global crisis, there’s a European crisis, there’s an XYZ crisis and there is economic doom and gloom all over the place. Not to mention all the results of that downturn … cutbacks, redundancy, foreclosures, failing businesses, unemployment, etc. The conference scene is not immune to a recession. Conferences are canceled, scaled down, attendance drops.  The competition from blogs, on line, free or subscription based content, pre views, beta’s, web casts, computer based training can be felt as well, as has been the case for many years. Conferences need to fight to maintain high standards of technical content for an ever more demanding and skilled public in a very rapidly changing world and IT scene. But still, a conference done right is an investment worth making. It is an investment in knowledge. In return we get all of the above mentioned in the previous paragraph and that is why I attend them. They make me a better “Technical Architect”. That is try I really put in the effort to get the funds, create the opportunity and reserve the time to go. The benefits of a conference, if done right, cannot be denied.

What is the right way?  Well first here’s the wrong way. Don’t go there or learn how to use delegates in .NET or to build a Linq to Wmi query. It’s not just an ordinary classroom. Do not go there to nag about some issues you had or have because you’re too lazy to do research and read help files, readme texts, TechNet or MSDN. Do not go to complain about how hard it is to find information and study.  Do not go because of the great location, you will see nothing of it :-) unless you use it as a vacation. Maybe some USA people deserve to do this but heck I’m from Europe and I get my fair share of holidays. Also, take any frustration, denial or ignorance about the lies of instant gratification and careers success you might have had when you bought product X and it didn’t just improve your live after clicking “Next” somewhere else. Results and successes come from an enduring effort, which is a fancy word for hard work. They are not a right, a perk or let alone guaranteed (yeah some vendors and people lied to you, get over it). If you cannot search study and learn on your own get out of ICT now. If you need support for every issue or new item and expect someone to be there to help every step of the way you’re in trouble. It takes time, dedication and a great deal of effort to become and stay proficient in IT. Even then you’ll know about failure, setbacks, troubles and mistakes. Life & work is not a commercial.

Go to a conference for the big picture, the architecture, the networking with peers, the possibilities and the dreams. Expand your knowledge and views on how to make the pieces work and interact. The focus of the conference is on tying it all together, learning new and better ways, discovering possibilities which all equals to yet more stuff to learn and more work to do. At the booths manned by industry experts or representatives do give feedback about the product and offer to send some more details about certain real problems you might have come across. But be nice and polite, don’t be a jerk. Would you feel compelled to help a jerk? Techies are people, really!

Don’t run to sessions like a mad man without a plan.  Know why you are there and how to get what you’re after. If this is your first conference, everything will be new and fabulous (I hope). You can’t attend enough sessions. You are torn between the choice of sessions and tracks. You’re full of new ideas immediately and overwhelmed with even more just after that. So for all you newbie’s, get your act together and prepare a bit or it will turn into chaos. Write down ideas, insights and possibilities to pursue. What about you conference veterans? Have you’ve been there, done that?  Have you have seen it all before? Not really, and we all know it.  It’s all about lifelong learning. Conferences are about being in a stimulating environment where you “marinate” in the professional IT community for a week. Learn from and with the people attending. Not only during sessions. Lunch with them, have a coffee with them. Immerse yourself in this explosion of IT and business. Think about the new stuff, use your imagination, and write down ideas. Cross check your plans. Calibrate you insights.

The role of the conference is get you thinking about stuff and gives you a chance to talk to each other about that stuff. Interact! It is the essence of a conference. Ask questions both in public and in private. Talk to attendees, to experts, to vendors. See what they are in to, need, tried, where they succeeded and failed. Find out what they have to offer. Talk shop, talk IT life, and make that connection with the others attending in whatever role. There is a wide world out there much bigger, larger and perhaps tougher than your own little world that is driven by results and built on efforts. Those folks have professional and business experience in all of the subjects being discussed. Pick their brains! Get some new insights and ideas. Yes I know some vendors act like 2nd hand car dealers and yes I’ve met people who don’t know their own products. But that doesn’t rule out the need for and benefits of communication and interaction, those where just the wrong people, just move along. Oh and don’t forget to get a bunch of extra business cards you got out of the drawer. Also keep in touch with people you meet. Send a follow up mail, a tweet, a blog mention. That’s how you expand your knowledge network. If you get to go to a conference, enjoy it and make sure you arrive early and leave late. There is no value in missing a part of the experience to save some time or some €/$ bills.

I don’t implement all the ideas I return home with from conferences. But I have them written down in mails, scraps of paper, txt files, One Note scribbles etc. I tend to pour them into a word document during and after the conference. Form that I distill my plans, my vision and my roadmap.  I will present those to management, colleagues, partners and customers and offer them solutions based on my perception of what business needs we can satisfy with technology. The stuff I’m working on now was born as ideas 12 to 18 months ago. Those ideas are tested and checked over time, they ripe and then they become plans. I find a conference a great place to do that.

Tech Ed 2010 Europe – Just registered


As a heads up people, I’m attending Tech Ed 2010 Europe from November 8th to November 12th in Berlin, Germany. Join me and thousands of hard core IT Professionals in learning, exchanging ideas, networking and preparing to design, plan and shape the future of ICT in the Microsoft space.

I’m looking forward to some 300/400 Level sessions on OCS14, System Center vNext, Exchange 2010 SP1, Windows 2008 R2 SP1, … etc. It’s always great an fun to meet up with old and new people from the IT community on line and off line. Engage in discussions with colleagues and Microsoft Employees, go out for dinner with fellow IT Pro’s & Devs.

Looking forward to it. Tech Ed is what you make of it. I might blog about that later. It takes some work & preparation to get the most out of it. Hope to see you there!

If you read my blog, follow me on twitter or know me and you’re going, sound of and we’ll arrange a meet & greet.