Update (11/15/08 1240PST): Fixed the URLs in the links to point to the actual decks. Sorry!
Time this year has flown! Hard to believe that I’ve just finished up my last conference for the year — Exchange Connections Fall at the fabulous Mandalay Bay resort and conference center in Las Vegas. This was my second trip to Vegas this year (the first was in May for the Exchange/DPM session at MMS), and I really prefer the city in November: far fewer people, much more pleasant temperatures.
I gave the following three sessions yesterday:
- (EXC16) The Collaboration Blender — This session is adapted from the Outlook and SharePoint: Playing Well Together article I wrote for Windows IT Pro magazine (subscription required). Exchange and SharePoint are both touted as collaboration solutions and have some overlapping functionality, so this session explores some of the overlaps and compares and contrasts what each is good for. (In other words, we spend a lot of time talking about Exchange public folders.) And where does Outlook fit into this mess? There’s even a handy summary table!
- (EXC17) Exchange Virtualization — As I confessed to my attendees, this session was a gamble that paid off. Back when I proposed the topic, there was no official statement of Microsoft support for Exchange virtualization (no, “Don’t!” doesn’t really count). I guessed that by the time November rolled around, Hyper-V would have finally shipped and they’d have shifted that stance — and I was right. Because I focus more on the Hyper-V side of things, I invited VMWare to send a representative to the session to present their take on the subject. The resulting session was very good, and I learned a bunch of things too.
- (EXC18) Exchange Protection using Data Protection Manager — Although a lot of the content here was the same material that I’ve already presented this year (what, 4-5 times now?), I did have to make some changes thanks to the brilliant curve ball that Jason Buffington and his crew in the DPM team threw me. You see, Connections now has all Microsoft speakers speak on one day (imaginatively named “Microsoft Day” for some reason), and that day was Tuesday. While Jason couldn’t be here, Karandeep Anand (who is the DPM bomb!) was — and I’ve been trading decks and VMs and material back and forth with Jason and Karandeep for over a year now. Rather than give a less brilliant copy of the session Karandeep had already done, I added in some new material focusing on the internals of the Exchange store and how that affects Exchange protection, removed the demo, and really attacked the topic from the Exchange side of things. I think it worked. Either that or it was people staying to get free copies of the DPM book that my publisher thoughtfully provided.
A lot of my fellow speakers dread speaking on the last day, but I’ve found that I’ve come to enjoy it. Sure, you have smaller attendance numbers — but the people who are there (especially if you get lucky enough to do the last session on the last day) are the people who really want to be there. I also encourage questions from the audience during the presentation, with the caveat that if they’re too detailed or going to be answered later I’ll defer them; I like the interactivity. I usually learn something from my attendees, which makes it a good time for everyone.
Back to the grind. I know I’ve been way too quiet on the blogfront lately, and I promise, I’ve got some fresh new content in the works. First, though, I have to catch up on the paying work. For some reason, my corporate overlords seem to expect me to do billable work too, not just speak and blog. Ah, well. At least I didn’t get RickRolled on my birthday!