Back from vacation now – sorry its been quiet here for a couple weeks. I actually split my time between relatives visiting in town and helping out the SMS Product group by manning the SMS booth at TechEd last week (oh yeah and a 1 night trip to Vegas). What an interesting experience at TechEd! My name tag actually listed that I worked for Microsoft along with having to wear one of the traditional geeky blue shirts so everyone thought I worked for Microsoft 🙂 Its really interesting seeing how fast people do a flip-flop when talking to you and they find out you aren’t a Microsoft employee – for whatever reason its like you get more credibility because they don’t think you are another member of the Borg. I also had people coming up to me left and right just to vent about a failed SMS 2.0 implementation or go on about some struggles they were having with their SMS2K3 deployment. Many complaints were just about political issues within their organizations and not technical at all. I think it just says that people like to talk to others about their problems and get things off their chests. What I got a kick out of the most were people that came up to me saying “you’re probably just a salesperson that doesn’t know a deep technical answer to my question, but let me ask it anyway” and then I’d actually give them a deep technical answer back and watch their eyes glaze over. It was a lot of fun though hearing some real-life issues that people had and working to give them ideas for resolution. The face-to-face stuff like that is a lot of fun because you get past the awkwardness that sometimes happens in email or public forums.
Overall I’d have to say that SMS2K3 has a really good name right now – much better than 2.0 ever did. I even had one guy give me a success story about his 20K client infrastructure upgrade from 2.0 to 2K3 in one weekend without any issue. A lot of organizations are also making the move from a competing management product such as Tivoli, Altiris, etc. Even more interesting was hearing that some people were rolling out SMS2K3 just for the servers they manage and letting the desktop team use another product for workstations. Now that’s a change in mentality!
MOM was generating an insane amount of buzz at TechEd as well. There were times when 10-20 people were waiting in line at the product booth to get a question answered from the MOM team (actually questions and interest in the product, not just to get Zoo tickets). This is another example of how seriously Management technologies are being taken today in companies of all sizes. Administrators seem to be realizing how these products tie into the general direction of IT today: Lifecycle Management, Security and Patch Management, etc. So what does this mean? A lot if you have expertise in the area. I foresee a big need for knowledgeable professionals in the field of Management going forward. Not only will you see a need to debunk a lot of bad information that will be out there by overnight experts but more theory, process, and techniques will need to be developed in order to adapt to all those companies out there that will be embracing SMS, MOM, and the like going forward. For me its looking like an exciting time going forward.
Fasten your seatbelts folks – hopefully the ride isn’t too bumpy!