Typically, this time of the year Microsoft would organize its TechDays: a multi-day technical conference with tracks for both IT Pro’s and developers. This year, however, there’s no TechDays. This leaves a gap in the Belgian “conference market”. To my knowledge, TechDays was attended by several hundred if not thousand attendees every year. Speakers from all over the place would come over and present on the latest and the greatest of Microsoft. But in general there would be a lot of local speakers involved too.
Recently the developers community announced their “Tech-o-rama” conference which would both serve as a replacement for the Community Days and somewhat fill the gap for TechDays. This is exactly what the IT PRO Community had in mind when launching the ITPROceed initiative.
ITPROCeed is a community-driven one-day conference, to be held in Antwerp on June 12th. Although not officially organized by Microsoft, the conference has certainly the potential to reach a wide audience as TechDays did. Here’s why:
As mentioned earlier, there won’t be (many) other opportunities to learn from the experts first hand in Belgium, this year. As such, it seems like the perfect opportunity to catch up: for free.
The conference itself is divided into 4 tracks: SQL, System Center, Azure and Office Servers & Services. More than enough to create a balanced schedule with, don’t you think? It’s not only a good way to learn about new technology and features, it’s also great to interact with all of the experts who will be present that day.
The speaker-lineup is phenomenal, in my opinion. A lot of Belgian MVPs will speaking at this event and many of them have spoken at various international conferences before. To give you just a few of these names: Mike Resseler, Alexandre Verkinderen, Johan Delimon, Dieter Vanhoye, Thomas Vochten, Ruben Nauwelaers, Pieter Vanhove, Nico Sienaert, Tim De Keukelaere, Donald Hessing and many, many more. Every single one of them are experts in their field.
So, if you haven’t subscribed yet, I strongly suggest you do so soon. It doesn’t happen every day that you get the ability to witness all this for free (in case you didn’t get it the first time). I for one, know what I will be doing that day…! http://www.itproceed.be/
As things wind down after a week full of excitement and – yes, in some cases – emotion, MEC 2014 is coming to an end. Lots of attendees have already left Austin and those who stayed behind are sharing a few last drinks before making their way back home as well. As good as MEC 2012 in Orlando was, MEC 2014 was E-P-I-C. Although some might state that the conference had missed its start – despite the great Dell Venue Pro 8 tablet giveaway – you cannot ignore the success of the rest of the week.
With over 100 unique sessions, MEC was packed with tons and tons of quality information. To see that amount of content being delivered by the industry’s top speakers is truly an unique experience. After all, at how many conferences is the PM or lead developer presenting the content on a specific topic? Also, Microsoft did a fairly good job of keeping a balance between the different types of sessions by having a mix of Microsoft-employees presenting sessions that reflected their view on things (“How things should work / How it’s designed to be”) and MVPs and Masters presenting a more practical approach (“How it really works”).
I also like the format of the “unplugged” sessions where you could interact with members of the Product Team to discuss a variety of topics. I believe that these sessions are not only very interesting (tons of great information), but they are also an excellent way for Microsoft to connect with the audience and receive immediate feedback on what is going out “out there”. For example, I’m sure that the need for some better guidance or maybe a GUI for Managed Availability is a message that was well conveyed and that Microsoft should use this feedback to maybe prioritize some of the efforts going into development. Whether that will happen, only time will tell..
This edition wasn’t only a success because of the content, but also because of the interactions. It was good to see some old friends and make many new ones. To me, conferences like this aren’t only about learning but also about connecting with other people and networking. There were tons of great talks – some of which have given me food for thought and blog posts.
Although none of them might seem earth-shattering, MEC had a few announcements and key messages; some of which I’m very happy to see:
Multi-Factor Authentication and SSO are coming to Outlook before the end of the year. On-premises deployments can expect support for it next calendar year.
Exchange Sizing Guidance has been updated to reflect some of the new features in Exchange 2013 SP1:
The recommended page file size is now 32778 MB if your Exchange server has more than 32GB of memory. It should still be a fixed size and not managed by the OS.
CAS CPU requirements have increased with 50% to accommodate for MAPI/HTTP. It’s still lower than Exchange 2010
If you didn’t know it before, you will now: NFS is not supported for hosting Exchange data.
The recommended Exchange deployment uses 4 database copies, 3 regular 1 lagged. FSW preferably in a 3rd datacenter.
Increased emphasis on using a lagged copy.
OWA app for Android is coming
OWA in Office 365 will get a few new features including Clutter, People-view and Groups. No word if and when this will be made available for on-premises customers.
By now, it’s clear that Microsoft’s development cycle is based on a cloud-first model which – depending on what your take on things is – makes a lot of sense. This topic was also discussed during the Live recording of The UC Architects, I recommend you have a listen at it (as soon as it’s available) to hear how The UC Architects, Microsoft and the audience feels about this. Great stuff!
It’s also interesting to see some trends developing/happening. “Enterprise Social” is probably one of the biggest trends at the moment. With Office Graph being recently announced, I am curious to see how Exchange will evolve to embrace the so-called “Social Enterprise”. Features like Clutter, People View and Groups are already good examples of this.
Of course, MEC wasn’t all about work. There’s also time for fun. Lots of it. The format of the attendee party was a little atypical for a conference. Usually all attendees gather at a fairly large location. This time, however, the crowd was shattered across several bars in Rainey Street which Microsoft had rented off. Although I was a little skeptical at first, it rather worked really well and had tons of fun.
Then there was the UC Architects party which ENow graciously offered to host for us. The Speakeasy rooftop was really amazing and the turnout even more so. The party was a real success and I’m pretty confident there will be more in the future!
I’m sure that in the course of the next few weeks, more information will become available through the various blogs and websites as MVPs, Masters and other enthusiasts have digested the vast amount of information distributed at MEC.
I look forward to returning home, get some rest and start over again!
Au revoir, Microsoft Exchange Conference. I hope to see you soon!
Earlier this week we had the pleasure to welcome you for our in-person event “Load Balancing and Reverse Proxying for Exchange 2013 and Lync 2013” at Microsoft Belgium. Despite the fact that some people cancelled at the very last minute, the turnout was really great!
Both session from Johan Delimon and myself could count on a lot of questions from you guys, which kept things interactive at all times. Thank you for that!
For those who couldn’t attend, below some picture to help you muse about what you’ve been missing out on:
As promised, we’ve also made the slides available for download here. (Note: you will be redirected to the Pro-Exchange website!)
As always, these livemeetings are free to attend. However, if you can’t make it, they will also be made available afterwards.
If you’re looking for an interesting in-person event, Microsoft is organizing TechDays 2013 in Antwerp again between March 5th – 7th. The TechDays are traditionally a great place to find lots of great content and subject matter experts for a relatively interesting price. For me, it’s always been a not-to-miss opportunity to catch up with the latest and the greatest in Microsoft’s technology.
To register, click the banner on the homepage. But don’t wait too long…There’s a huge discount when you register before December 31st!
This year, with the release of all the “Wave 15” products, there will be lots of interesting session on Exchange and Unified Communication. On the first “pre-conference” day, Scott Schnoll will be doing some deep-dive session on Exchange 2013 and I will be closing of that first day with a session about building a hybrid configuration with Exchange Server 2013.
A while back I talked about some of my upcoming speaking engagements. One of them was the MCT Summit in Poland. Although it has been “confirmed” for a while, I’ve never taken the opportunity to share it with you…Until now
Alongside fellow MCT and friend of mine, Peter De Tender I will be doing a duo-session on Microsoft cloud technologies. Peter is a member of the Microsoft Learning MCT Advisory Council and also very active in the community. He is very knowledgeable and I consider it an honor to share the stage with him!
If you’re interested in attending the summit, there are still tickets available! Prices aren’t that high and it seems a very good opportunity to meet some interesting people/MCT’s from all over Europe.