Random Thoughts from TechEd NA 2012

I attended TechEd NA this year, making this the seventh year in a row I attended.  This year, I was a paid attendee, rather than working the Hands-On Lab area, which meant I was able to interact with more booths and see more sessions than usual.  My various unstructured thoughts follow in the hope you will find them useful.

  • Products Featured.  This show was all about two things:
    • 2012 releases – Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012, Visual Studio 2012, and SQL Server 2012
    • “The Cloud” – Office 365, cloud-based management including Windows Intune, and Windows Azure including the new Virtual Machine offerings.  In fact, the custom hotel room keys this year put The Cloud very clearly front and center:
    • Not really talked about much:
      • Windows Phone (although there was a large show floor presence, there was no track and only a few sessions; expect a lot more next year when Windows Phone 8 is released)
      • Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2 (some sessions but not a big push)
      • SharePoint 2010/Exchange 2010/Lync 2010 (sessions but not a big push; expect more next year for the new releases)
      • Office 2010 (again expect more next year when Office 2012 is the hot product)
  • Specific session notes for the ones I attended in person… because a lot of what falls under my “official” subject area was not new material for me (when you work for Bennett Adelson you’re required to be ahead of the curve in your area!) I went a bit out of scope for some of the sessions…
    • AAP313 | Scrum Under a Waterfall (Benjamin Day) – A good discussion of how to do agile (or should I say “Agile” – big “A” – since it was Scrum-focused) in an environment where old school waterfall planning is required.
    • AAP401 | Real World Developer Testing with Visual Studio 2012 (David Starr, Peter Provost) – Ultimately I had mixed feelings about this session. I was not convinced the idea of “submit your problems and we’ll solve them” really worked as only a few problems were gotten to, and my real-world question of “how do you expect developers who can’t afford Visual Studio Ultimate to do these things” wasn’t answered. Yes, it was snarky, but it is a real-life problem faced by many. Further, a lot of time was spent on “that’s the wrong way” coding.
    • DEV370 | Nokia with Windows Phone: Learning How to Tile (David Middleton, David Mason, Kalle Lehtinen) – Ultimately very disappointing as the practical content was virtually zero in my opinion. If this was “DEV170” that would have been okay…
    • VIR317 | Lessons from the Field: 22 VDI and RDS Mistakes You’ll Want to Avoid (Greg Shields) – A good, honest session about real-life implementation of VDI and RDS on Windows Server 2008 R2 and how changes/improvements in Windows Server 2012 help.  Highly recommended if you’re looking at these technologies or have already implemented them.
    • WCL290 | Microsoft Application Virtualization 5.0: Introduction (Andy Cerat, Matthijs Gates) – A very nice intro to App-V 5.0 (part of the upcoming MDOP release) showing some of the great changes and improvements. No more Q: drive? Apps can work with each other (think: Visio available from Word)? Updated, cleaner UI? Check, check, and check!
    • WSV325 | DNSSEC Deployment with Windows Server 2012 (Rob Kuehfus) – Presented by a member of the Wireless Networking and Services team and the owner of the DNS Server offering in Windows Server 2012, this is a nice overview of how DNSSEC works in general and how to use it in Windows Server 2012 (hint: it’s very easy), including practical guidance on the steps to implement in order. Highly recommended if secure DNS is important to you or if you work in an environment where it is mandatory (e. g. US Federal Government).
    • WSV331 | What’s New with Internet Information Services (IIS) 8: Open Web Platform for Cloud (Won Yoo) – A solid presentation on new expansion and control capabilities in IIS 8 including mention of features that have been or will be back-ported to IIS 7.5. Nice demos. Some amazing performance improvements demonstrated – for one case, the first GET on IIS 7.5 with SSL demo took 10.9 seconds and over 500 MB of RAM, while the same page first GET on IIS 8 with the new central file-based certificate store capability took 0.14 seconds (under 1/6 of a second is not a typo) with 44 KB of RAM (again KB not MB is not a typo) – and that was with with 20x as many instances of the site running under IIS 8!
    • WSV332 | What’s New with Internet Information Services (IIS) 8: Performance, Scalability, and Security (Robert McMurray) – A nice companion to the previous session.  Includes discussion of new dynamic security features in the web and FTP (yes, FTP!) service. Also discusses changes in warm-up functionality that can make it possible to show users a “I’m warming up, be with you soon” message while waiting for the ASP.NET hamsters to spin up.
  • Product/Exhibitor Booths – note that the “Attendee” badge gets you treated “seriously” – many exhibitors and Microsoft staff ignore a “Staff” badge holder or are even borderline hostile even at silly things like book signings (I won’t name names but I will say that it takes zero day-s for this to happen) so it’s nice to be treated appropriately for once… 
    • I visited the Windows Phone area to find out what was up with the Windows Phone Summit in San Francisco this week. They all made it sound like a press-only event, despite earlier talk of a two day developer event. The whole thing felt like a bit of a CF to be honest. At least the announcements – which world + dog expect to be all around Windows Phone 8 – will be streamed.
    • I visited the Office 365 area to discuss an issue a customer was having with their proof of concept where Lync Online refused to federate with anyone, even after everything was clearly configured right. It turned out to be some kind of Microsoft-side provisioning screw-up, although the Office 365 booth was not helpful figuring that out.
    • I visited the Windows 8 “Access Everywhere” booth to ask, essentially, “WTF is with Consumer Preview being Professional instead of Enterprise? You know we don’t get DirectAccess with that, right?” The answer was essentially:
      • “yes, we know it sucks, everyone is yelling at us [field people]”
      • “we hope to have some kind of resolution soon, maybe even in the next week, or at least an official acknowledgement that there will be no resolution”
      • “no one seems to know why that was the decision made by the client team”
      • “only TAP people have Enterprise right now.”
        So a major ball drop there.
    • I visited the System Center Enterprise Protection booth to ask, “why does SCEP turn off Security Center on Windows 8 every time the machine boots?” The answer was essentially “it won’t install on Windows 8 prior to CTP2 [note: that is wrong… speaking from office experience here], so do CTP2 and see what happens.” because going from CTP2 to the final Beta or RTM is painful we’re just leaving SCEP off Windows 8 machines right now and using the built-in Windows Defender instead, which gets us the same protection but loses us the management/reporting functionality.
  • Certification!  There were multiple free exams this year – specifically two Private Cloud exams and three beta exams (Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, and Developing with HTML5/CSS3).
    • The Private Cloud exams (70-246 and 70-247) felt tough but fair to me. That said, there were MANY 70-246 failures… so be warned. You really need to have worked with System Center 2012 as a suite and know how the pieces work together and individually to pass these!
    • The Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 exam had a nice mix of old and new. You will need to have worked with the product at least a bit, or have been exposed to it a lot without touching it, to have any chance of this one.
    • The Configuring Windows 8 exam also had a nice mix of old and new, and just like the server exam, you will need to have worked with the product at least a bit, or have been exposed to it a lot without touching it, to have any chance of this one.
    • The Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3 exam had almost nothing Microsoft-specific on it, and did an okay job of covering the field, although I was surprised on some of what I was NOT tested on (although it’s a beta and I’m sure has a large pool so others may be different!). Of course I can’t tell you more details – test NDA and all 🙂

I am sure I am leaving many things out, but I think this is a reasonably-complete high-level brain dump. Please feel free to comment with thoughts or questions!

— Michael C. Bazarewsky
Principal Consultant, Windows Server and Security

System Center Roadshow – May 2012

Consumerization of IT and how it affects User Centric Management.

This May, Bennett Adelson went out on a multi city roadshow across the Microsoft Heartland District (of which we are the 2011 Partner of the Year) speaking about how the trends in consumerization forces the need for IT to shift from managing assets (hardware and software) to managing users and empowering them to make decisions. This shift is from asset-centric management to user-centric management (UCM).

Jason Condo opened the roadshow with a presentation on IT trends with some eye-opening results from recent surveys conducted by industry leaders. This showed how the trending of user savvy in devices, technology and solutions is inevitable and will only grow in the years to come. Using the User Experience Equation, he showed the five areas that IT always must think about when managing assets, users, or data.

Keith Mayer, IT Evangelist from Microsoft, spoke on the benefits of the whole System Center 2012 suite of products and how they can be leveraged to provide UCM and manage the whole enterprise.

David Norling-Christensen provided the  first technical session demonstrating how the new application model in System Center Configuration Manager 2012 aids in driving the move towards UCM. Using the application model, the IT Administrator can make different installation types of a software available for the user and allow specific attributes of the users’ experience to dictate how the software is installed or used. He also demonstrated the new self-service model that empowers the user to get what they want or need while freeing up administrators to provide services instead of installing software.

Jason  provided the second technical session around Microsoft’s Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) implementation and how it can be leveraged for UCM. By leveraging VDI as a tool, IT can empower the user while freeing themselves of trying to manage unmanaged devices. Using System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012, Jason showed how it can be leveraged to manage VDI implementations and how it can also manage and organizations hypervisors throughout the enterprise, whether they are VMware, Xen, or Hyper-V.

Lastly, David wrapped up our discussion on UCM by showing the previous technologies in action with MDOP’s User Environment Virtualization (UE-V) that allows users’ personalized application settings to be saved and migrated from machine to machine as they need it. David presented on how this works and how to implement it. He then demonstrated it leveraging the System Center Configuration Manager 2012 applications used in his first session along with Personal and Pooled virtual machines from Jason’s session. This was an excellent demo showing a seamless user experience across physical workstations, virtual machines and even Remote Desktop Services (RDS, formerly Terminal Services).

This was a great roadshow and the System Center team is looking forward to the next ones. Please find the PowerPoint decks used in the roadshow available for download from this post.

System Center Roadshow, May 2012 – Introduction – Keith Mayer, Microsoft

System Center Roadshow, May 2012 – 1 – Consumerization of IT and UCM – Jason Condo, BA

System Center Roadshow, May 2012 – 2 – ConfigMgr 2012 UCM – David Norling-Christensen, BA

System Center Roadshow, May 2012 – 3 – VDI and UCM – Jason Condo, BA

System Center Roadshow, May 2012 – 4 – UE-V UCM – David Norling-Christensen, BA

Windows 8 Road Show slides

I would like to thank all those who attended the Bennett Adelson Windows 8 Preview Roadshow.  In all, we had almost 100 attendees, many good conversations and received  a lot of great feedback.  We enjoyed putting on the event and hope that you will join us for the upcoming System Center 2012 Roadshow……..Details to be released soon!

We have attached the presentations in PDF format and hope that you all walked away having learned something and are considering the business value of implementing Windows 8.

Thanks Again,

Jarrod Roark | Bennett Adelson | Columbus
Director – Advanced Infrastructure

Winner of Microsoft 2011-2012 Partner of the Year, Heartland District

0 – Windows 8 Keynote

1 – Windows 8 Tools and Storage

2 – Windows 8 Hyper-V Deeper Dive

3 – Windows 8 Backup and Recovery Strategies for Hyper V

4 – Windows 8 Contact Us

Windows 8 Road Show!


Windows 8 Server Road Show

Do Way More with Way Less (Money, Effort & Time)

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You’re hearing about Windows 8 Server, but why should you care?
IT continues to feel budget pressure as businesses try to increase efficiency and resource utilization. In today’s Technology Roadmap, you saw some of how current technology can help with that goal. But what about tomorrow? Bennett Adelson and our partner Veeam can help. Come see us present new and important features in Windows 8 Server including demos on the Consumer Preview release. Let us show you how this new server release will help you do way more with way less!


Technical Decision Makers
Team Leads
Server Administrators

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(location/date are registration links)

Cleveland (April 2nd)

6050 Oak Tree Blvd, Lower Level
Independence Ohio, 44131

Columbus (April 3)

8800 Lyra Dr. Suite 400

Columbus Ohio, 42340

Detroit (April 4)

1000 Town Center, Suite 1930

Southfield Michigan, 48075

Cincinnati (April 6)

4605 Duke Dr. Suite 800

Mason Ohio, 45040


Keynote: “Do Way More with Way Less (Money, Effort, and Time)”

Breakout 1: Windows Server  8 Overview

Improvements to the Shell, GUI, and Tools

Server Manager

Improvements to Storage

Files System
Storage Spaces
Data De-duplication
Windows Storage API
Offloaded Data Transfer

Breakout 2: Hyper-V Deeper Dive

Management Improvements

PowerShell support
Resource Metering and Chargeback
Hyper-V Replication

Scalability and Reliability Improvements

SMB 2.2 for VM hosting
Concurrent Live Migration
SMB Live Migration
Live Storage Migration
Shared-Nothing Live Migration
Virtual Fibre Channel
Network Virtualization

Breakout 3: Veeam – Top Hyper-V Data Protection Challenges Dissolved


Windows Intune Webcast

How Windows Intune Benefits Any Size Company

Presented By: David Norling-Christensen – Bennett Adelson

Thursday February 23rd 2012 @ 1:00pm

Windows Intune is Microsoft’s Cloud based solution to PC management and security.  Come find out what Windows Intune really is and how it can help companies of all sizes.  The session will explore Windows Intune along with the daily challenges the product solves and those challenges that must be overcome to utilize Windows Intune.

Register here to receive the webcast information: http://www.bennettadelson.com/EventDetails.aspx?ID=75020cd6-114c-e111-aef3-1cc1def177b7

System Center User Group – Feb 8, 2012

Deploying Windows 7 with ConfigMgr 2012 RC1

Presented by Jason Condo – Bennett Adelson

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 at 5:45pm

Using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 RC1, we will demonstrate the hybrid deployment method for deploying Windows 7 SP1. We will demonstrate how to create an automated build process for a base image and then how to deploy that image to different business users, customizing it for the target user.  Configuration Manager 2012 takes a User-Centric approach to system management and this presentation will show how to leverage that for Windows 7 deployment.

Refreshments and pizza will be provided.

                        Register Here