Category Archives: 13527

TEC 2010 – Day 3

Today is the last day of The Experts Conference 2010. It’s really been a great conference and everyone I’ve talked with agrees. The overall impression is that this is a very targeted and focused conference, drilling down on Exchange, Active Directory, and Sharepoint. Much like a condensed TechEd for these technologies.  I would say that the AD group was the largest, followed by Sharepoint and Exchange.  Still, being that this is only the second year that David Sengupta has formed the Exchange track, there were a lot of Exchange experts here and I expect that number to grow next year.

Attendees I spoke with mentioned that this conference allows a lot more interaction and face-time with the speakers and other legends in the industry. The general concensus is that this conference is perfect for those who are targeted to one of these three technologies. The pace is fast and the sessions are sufficiently deep – most are 300-400 level.

This morning started with a panel discussion “Ask the Experts”. Panelists included Konstantin Rykin, Ross Smith IV (who told us there is a Ross Smith V), and Michael B. Smith. The session was lead by Exchange MVP and Quest sponsor David Sangupta. This was an open forum session where attendees had the chance to ask any questions about Exchange or get clarification from something they learned earlier in the week. This was a very well attended session, despite the wild party hosted by Ensynch the night before.

Next up was an excellent deep dive session on Sire Resilience in Exchange Server 2010 by Scott Schnoll. Here, we learned about Exchange 2010 DAG fail over (or, more correctly, switch over) and the mechanics behind the administrative experience. Scott also explained proper DAG and file share witness architecture for successful swtich over and switch back. Finally, he covered changes in Exchange 2010 SP1 that will prevent split brain syndrome and the steps that are being taken to cause a successful fail over when a delayed read occurs on the disk subsystem.

Brett Shirley (Borg 1 of 7) did another deep dive for What’s New in ESE 2010. I’ve never heard so much technical content in a session outside Microsoft. Brett walked through the changes that were made to the Extensible Storage Engine for Exchange 2010 to improve reliability and performance. Granted, none of his sessions had any practical information we could use, but how often do you get to see Exchange source code and have it explained to you by Mr. Squeaky Lobster.

After lunch, I attended the last session of the conference, Experts Guide to Authentication, ACLs and Attributes by Exchange MVP Nic Blank. This session explained how Kerberos authentication works (and can get messed up) in Outlook, the value of proper SPN records in AD, and other troubleshooting examples.

I was very impressed with the depth and detail presented in The Experts Conference. If you can attend only one conference per year and your job function pertains to Exchange, Active Directory / Identity Management, or SharePoint, I strongly recommend this conference. The hotel venue was great, the staff was friendly and supportive, and the sessions were very focused.

TEC 2010 – Day 2

Let me start off by saying that last night’s attendee reception was pretty good.  Nice large space to mingle in, plenty of adult beverages and huge screen gaming (Wii and XBox) in each corner.  Which reminds me, if you ever find yourself in a firefight you do NOT want me to watch your back.

So, this morning started off with a session entitled, “NDA Required: Exchange Administration Experience.”  Sounded promising.  Maybe we’ll hear about some new administrative tools tools and features and find out what’s going on in Microsoft Skunkworks.  Not exactly.  After signing the required NDA to enter the conference room we found that the session was all about Microsoft asking for user experience in user provisioning.  All take and no give.  Most people I talked to were expecting a lot more from this session.

Things picked up from here, however, with a great session by Brett Shirley (Microsoft) on “Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) Database Corruption”.  Brett walked through the different types of database corruption (logical and physical).  He also explained some of the more arcane switches used in ESEUtil and how you can get into trouble using some of them.  He showed examples of real ESE application errors and what each one really means.  This was a really good session.

Next was a session entitled, “Exchange Server 2010 Design Validation” by J. Hasslauer.  This session covered all the tools you can use to validate your Exchange 2010 hardware and design.  Tools covered included IOMonitor, Exchange Load Generator 2010, and Microsoft Exchange Server Jetstress 2010.

One of the things I really like about conferences like this is meeting and talking with others.  We had lunch with Ilsa Van Crieknge (formerly read on, now with Microsoft), Michael B. Smith, and Brett Shirley.  It was great talking with these folks and seeing the interaction between them.

After lunch, I attended “What Really Happens During Critical AD Operations” by U. Simon-Weidner.  This session was a deep-dive into the internal operations that occur during an Active Directory schema update, domain update, and other AD operations.  There was a lot of technical detail in this session and it was very well attended.

Next was another session by Ross Smith IV (Microsoft) entitled, “Storage in Exchange Server 2010”.  Here, Ross covered the significant improvements included in Exchange 2010 and SP1 that enables organizations to use JBOD (just a bunch of disks) as an enterprise storage solution instead of expensive SAN storage.  In this storage model, each disk contains 1 database and its associated logs (no RAID).  I firmly believe that this is a game changer in Exchange storage design and should really be considered.  Of course, my SAN storage vendor friends vehemently disagree with me, but it makes a good lunch time topic.

Finally, the day ended with a Birds of a Feather session in one of the large ballrooms. Here, attendees got to talk with Exchange experts and ask specific questions they have.  Topics included migration, archiving, regulatory compliance, etc.  It was very interesting to hear the questions and pain points that other customers have and how they can deal with them.

Tomorrow is the last day of TEC 2010.

TEC 2010 Interviews

The Experts Conference 2010 is different from other conferences.  The speakers are available throughout the conference and with only ~500 attendees, you get a lot of opportunity to meet with them and get your questions answered.

Here are a couple of interviews with fellow TEC 2010 attendees.

Mark Morowczynski, an IT Administrator/Engineer for DePaul Unversity, describes what he likes about TEC 2010.

Matt Wade, consultant for EMC Consulting, explains why he likes TEC 2010.

TEC 2010 – Day 1

Well, day one of The Experts Conference is now over and I can say I’m pretty impressed.  The technical depth of the sessions is great and the sessions are just long enough to get through it all without making you anxious to move on.

My day started at 7:00am with a nice breakfast in the Platinum lobby.  Good food and fresh fruit, but nearly no place to sit or put your plate.  A few tables and chairs would be helpful.

My first session was presented by Konstantin Ryvkin.  It was a two hour deep dive into Exchange 2010 enterprise deployment and architecture at Microsoft and it was excellent.  Great way to start the conference.

Next up was an in depth look at Exchange 2010 Architecture with the legendary Ross Smith IV (Microsoft, aka Mr. Spreadsheet).  This session described the architecture, scalability and performance of each role.  This was a good session to use as a framework for all the other Exchange 2010 sessions.

After a very good lunch of salmon, pasta, salad and creme brule I was off to see Brett Shirley’s (Microsoft) presentation, “Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) ‘Database Cache'”.  It was more of a level 5,000 session that made my brain hurt.  To say this was a deep dive is an understatement.  While the content was interesting, I probably should have bailed and gone to the Exchnage 2010 Backup & Recovery session.

Next was the Migration from Exchange 2003/2007 to Exchange 2010 session by Andrew Ehrensing (Microsoft).  This was a really well done presentation with tips learned by MCS on large deployments.  Really good content and demos here.

My last session was High Availability in Exchange Server 2010, presented by Scott Schnoll (Microsoft).  Scott covered all the high availability features of Exchange 2010 mailbox servers and DAGs.  He also gave us a sneak peak at Exchange Server 2010 SP1, due for public beta at TechEd 2010.

Well, that’s it for now.  Gotta get ready for the Quest Reception Party in the Diamond Ballroom!

TEC 2010 Exchange Schedule Calendar

I’ll be flying to LA this afternoon for The Experts Conference 2010, a three day training and conference covering Microsoft Exchange, Identity Management and SharePoint.  I’ll be attending the Exchange track.

In preparation, I created an iCalendar file that includes all the Exchange sessions, breaks, and reception times.  You can download the calendar and import it into your calendaring program, such as Outlook.

Download the TEC 2010 Exchange Schedule Calendar here.

I hope to see you at TEC 2010!

I’m attending TEC 2010, are you?

This year I’m happy to attend The Experts Conference (TEC) 2010 April 25-28, 2010 in Los Angeles.

Although this is the ninth year TEC has been held, this will be my first time attending and I’m interested to see how it compares to other technical conferences, such as Microsoft TechEd and WinConnections

TEC is sponsored by Quest Software, and promises to be “the most advanced training on Directory and Indentity, Exchange, and Sharepoint technologies.”  Rather than mostly 200-300 level sessions, TEC concentrates on 300-400 level sessions with smaller groups.  The promise is that by covering a fewer number of technologies, the training can be much more intense and focused.

Fellow MVP for Exchange and Chief Architect – Strategy for Quest Software, David Sengupta, will lead the Exchange Training along with David Espinoza, Konstantin Ryvkin, Brett Shirley, Scott Schnoll, Ross Smith IV, and others.

My CCO colleague, Michael Noel, will be presenting for Sharepoint this year with Joel Oleson, Bill Baer and others.

The Identity and Directory training will be led by Directory Services MVP and founder of TEC, Gil Kirkpatrick.  Speakers and trainers include Guido Grillenmeier, Brian Puhl, Craig Martin, and others.

I’m really looking forward to some intense Exchange sessions and training, as well as getting to spend time again with the product teams.  I’ll be blogging my thoughts and experiences about The Experts Exchange conference, and I’ll try to get some “man on the street” interviews along the way.