Category Archives: 13463

MEC 2014 is Right Around the Corner! Are You Registered?




I’m very much looking forward to the Microsoft Exchange Conference March 31-April 2 in Austin, TX. I hope you can join me there!



I’ll be moderating three MEC Unplugged interactive sessions this year and will be on the experts panel for the Exchange Deployment session.









Session Date/Time Room Speakers
Experts Unplugged: Architecture – Client Access and Connectivity  Tuesday, April 1 9:00AM – 10:15AM MR 17b Greg Taylor, Jeff Guillet, Jeff Mealiffe, Ross Smith IV, Venkat Ayyadevara
Experts Unplugged: Architecture – Transport and Hygiene Tuesday, April 1 10:45AM – 12:00PM MR 17b Brian Reid, Jeff Guillet, Khushru Irani, Ross Smith IV, Scott Landry, Wendy Wilkes
Experts Unplugged: Architecture – Transport and Hygiene (repeat session) Wednesday, April 2 8:30AM – 9:45AM MR 13ab Brian Reid, Jeff Guillet, Khushru Irani, Ross Smith IV, Scott Landry, Wendy Wilkes
Wednesday, April 2 8:30AM – 9:45AM MR 17b Brian Day, Greg Taylor, Jeff Guillet, Jeff Mealiffe, Ross Smith IV, Scott Schnoll



Click the sessions above to add them to your MEC schedule. If you haven’t registered for MEC yet, it’s not too late.



There will be no paper copy of the schedule this year. The schedule will be available via an HTML5 app that should work on all platforms, but I suggest you print a copy of your schedule or add it to your calendar before you arrive. Technology sometimes has a nasty way of not working when you need it.



Here’s a breakdown of the current attendee profile, based on registered attendees so far.






With 87% of the attendees from the US, it looks like Europe would definitely be served well by having its own MEC. That would better align with the global deployment of Exchange Server. I’d say the chances of seeing MEC in Europe would be pretty slim, though.


Announcing the 7th Annual UC Roundtable at TechEd 2014, Houston!





I’m pleased to announce the 7th Annual UC Roundtable at Microsoft TechEd North America 2014 in Houston, TX!






The purpose of the UC Roundtable is to gather Exchange and Lync admins, MCMs, MVPs, Exchange product group members, architects, and experts for a free-flowing discussion about issues, questions, and experiences related to Exchange, Office 365, and Lync Server.  If you work with Exchange, Office 365, or Lync you need to be here!



The UC Roundtable will be held Wednesday, May 14, 2014 from 6:00-8:00PM CDT and will be within walking distance or a short cab ride from the TechEd hotels. A special thanks to my friends at F5 who will be hosting the event for the third year in a row!



Please RSVP to jeff@expta.com for event details and location. I will email you with the location details once they’re set.



Help spread the word and I hope you can join me!






Announcing the Sixth Annual UC Roundtable at TechEd 2013!




I’m pleased to announce the Sixth Annual UC Roundtable at Microsoft TechEd North America 2013 in New Orleans, LA!





The purpose of the UC Roundtable is to gather Exchange and Lync MCMs, MVPs, Exchange product group members, admins, architects, and experts for a free-flowing discussion about issues, questions, and experiences related to Exchange and Lync Server.  If you work with Exchange or Lync you need to be here!



This will be an after hours event within walking distance of the TechEd hotels.  Location details and dates are in the works.



Please RSVP to jeff@expta.com for event details and location.  Spread the word and I hope you can make it!








I’m a Five Time MVP Award Winner!




I’m pleased to say that Microsoft awarded me the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award for the fifth year in a row.



Dear Jeff Guillet,

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2013 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in Exchange Server technical communities during the past year.

The Microsoft MVP Award provides us the unique opportunity to celebrate and honor your significant contributions and say “Thank you for your technical leadership.”

Mike Hickman
Director
Community Engagement
Microsoft



I’m honored to be in league with other notable IT professionals.  I’m also proud of the fact that I’m one of the few Microsoft Certified Masters with MVP status in the world.



A large part of this award goes to all the readers of this blog, which celebrated its 2 millionth visitor last week.  Thank you!!



I feel GREAT!








New Microsoft Certifications Will Expire

In my earlier post today, I wrote that Microsoft’s certification program is being reinvented – Again.  One important fact was briefly mentioned in the video below, taken from the Microsoft News Center website: The new MCSE and MCSD certifications will expire.







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At 1:07 the video explains, “Those holding an Expert certification are required to recertify every 2-3 years.”  The Expert tier is the new MCSE and MCSD certification.  This is supposed to ensure that their skills are always up to date.



It’s unclear whether “out-dated” certifications will simply expire or whether they will completely drop off the transcript altogether.  I hope it’s the former.  In my career as a consultant, I work with many customers with systems that are not “current” and are out of extended support.  It’s important for these customers to know that I’m certified on their old (and new) platform when performing a migration.



I can also imagine hiring managers for companies with older platforms would be interested in hiring IT Pros with certifications on what they run, not just the latest and greatest.



What do you think?  Leave a comment below.


Microsoft Reinvents Certifications – Again

Everything old is new again.  Today Microsoft announced that it has reinvented its certification program to directly address technology’s evolution to the cloud.  According to their surveys, “Top of mind for companies today is making sure they have the right skills and people in place to help them fully realize the benefits the cloud has to offer.”



To that end, Microsoft is reinventing their certification programs to help hiring managers find people who have the skills they expect in their IT environments, now and in the future.  The revamped program is a completely new approach to ensure certified individuals have the skills required to oversee an organization’s journey to the cloud.  Everyone wants to go to the almighty cloud, right?  Microsoft is betting on it.








According to Microsoft News Center:

The new certification framework has been streamlined to three skill levels to make it easier to navigate:
  • The Associate Level comprises the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification, which provides a clear starting point for job seekers early in their technology career. Candidates must prove they have the required skills to hit the ground running. This level represents a foundation and is the prerequisite certification necessary to earn an MCSE.
  • The Expert Level comprises the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) or its developer equivalent, Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), and is Microsoft’s flagship certification for individuals who want to lead their organization’s transition to the cloud. These certifications recognize IT professionals and developers with broad and deep skill sets across Microsoft solutions.
  • The Master Level is the Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) certification that differentiates the select few from their peers and represents the highest bar of knowledge and skills validation.
Microsoft is calling MCSE its flagship credential because it is the level that most people will aspire to, says Don Field, senior director of product management for Microsoft. It validates an individual’s ability to design and build solutions that may integrate multiple technologies, versions and products. These are the new kinds of skills that are needed for the cloud.


Microsoft had to ditch the MCSE (Microsoft Certified System Engineer) certification in 2009, due to several countries and municipalities having a problem with the term “Engineer”.  In some locations “Engineer” has a very distinct meaning and is regulated by their governments.  The MCSE certification was replaced with the MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional) certification series and a plethora of very targeted certifications (MCTS).  


This added a ton of confusion, especially for those like me who invested for years in the MCSE certification.  Microsoft Learning went so far as to publish an article, “The MCSE is dead, its time to move on“.  Now that they’re bringing the MCSE back, I can imagine the new level of confusion this might bring, especially for all those hiring managers.  “Are you a new MCSE or an old MCSE?”

This will undoubtedly cause issues for those who are already on the MCITP track, which can be as many as 7 exams and take a long time to complete.  Microsoft hasn’t announced how that transition will happen, or how grandfathering might work.  There are other changes in the new certification tracks that I’m not at liberty to talk about.  Those details will be released by Micosoft later.

As an IT professional who made my career around Microsoft certifications, I have a vested interest in how this all works out.  I have been an MCSE since 1999 with Windows NT4 and followed every twist and turn that Microsoft Learning has thrown my way.  I upgraded all my MCSE and MCP certs to MCITP and MCTS over the years.  I became a Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) Exchange Server just last year.  Now I’m looking at re-branding myself all over.  Again.

What are your thoughts?  Stay tuned for more details…

Congratulations 2012 Microsoft MVP!




I am pleased to say that Microsoft has re-awarded me Microsoft MVP status again for 2012!  This is my fourth consecutive MVP award, this year for Microsoft Exchange.  I’m very proud of this award, as it is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others.


Fifth Annual UC Roundtable at TechEd 2012 in Orlando





I’m pleased to announce the Fifth Annual UC Roundtable at Microsoft TechEd North America 2012 in Orlando, FL!





The purpose of the UC Roundtable is to gather Exchange and Lync MCMs, MVPs, product group members, admins, architects, and experts for a free-flowing discussion about issues, questions, and experiences related to Exchange and Lync Server.  If you work with Exchange or Lync you need to be here!



This will be an after hours event near the Orange County Conference Center.  Location details and dates are in the works.  And for those of you who attended the Fourth Annual UC Roundtable, I promise it won’t be here:)



Please RSVP to jeff@expta.com for event details and location.  I hope you can make it!





MVP Global Summit 2012 and MEC is Back!






I returned from last week’s MVP Global Summit 2012 and had a blast.  Microsoft really knows how to treat its MVPs, and had a lot of content lined up for us – unfortunately, none it can be shared with you due to NDA constraints.  :(



I can say that the Exchange team has been quite busy and was happy to share lots of new information with us.  I was pleased to attend breakout sessions with fellow MVPs and even a couple of fellow MCMs.  Tony Redmond, Paul Robichaux, Pat Richard, Jason Sherry, Mike Pfieffer and about 30 other MVPs were in attendance.  I’m happy to say that we all provided useful(?) feedback to the Exchange Team, who was also in attendance.










We also learned about a great surprise – MEC is Back!  Today we’re able to let everyone know.  The Microsoft Exchange Conference had its beginnings in the late 1990’s and ended in 2002.  It was THE Exchange conference and has deep roots in the community.   Michael Atalla, Director of Exchange Product Management, posted about the return of MEC over on the Exchange Team Blog.  Tony Redmond also wrote about missing MEC last year.  You can read his article on his blog, Thoughtsofanidlemind.



Be sure to visit MECisBack to register for more information!



Oh, and the coordinates on the MECisBack website?  They point to here.


Who are the Exchange MVPs and MCMs?

Legendary Exchange guru Tony Redmond wrote an article on Windows IT Pro magazine about Exchange MVPs.  You can read his article here.



Tony is also an active Exchange MVP and has been for many years.  He discusses the number of MVPs (Exchange and others), demographics, and what it takes to be an MVP.  It’s an interesting read.  I knew that the number of Exchange MVPs was shrinking (used to be around 300 at it’s peak I’ve been told), but didn’t know it’s down to 106.



If you’re interested in seeing who my fellow Exchange MCMs are, visit the Meet the Microsoft Certified Masters and Microsoft Certified Architects site.