Goodbye Amsterdam – hello Chicago!

Once again, Tech*Ed Amsterdam rates up there as one of my favorite conference weeks… the fun city, the social events, and especially – the speakers and the staff – all come together to make the week not only informational but just an absolutely sleepless blast! Last year I wrote up an “event log” about hardware nightmares and knights in shining armor (the hardware tech Allan and the local Dell guy Daniele) but this year I can safely say that BOTH of my laptops worked well… OK, so this is a story in and of itself. I’ll put together a hardware tangent in another blog…

But back to TE – there is so much going on at this event that I know I won’t do it justice in terms of highlights… but there were some great technical sessions (I really didn’t get to as many as I would have liked) and some really fun sessions (Pat Helland‘s Bye, Bye Mr. CIO Guy and Clemens Vasters, Rafal Lukawiecki and Pat Helland as the Nerd, the Suit and the Fortune Teller, respectively). And the code highlights, demo scripts and full blown demo applications that result from this event (or that were discussed at this event) just give everyone an amazing amount of resources from which to learn (and leverage :). I’m looking forward to seeing more about Proseware (from Clemens Vasters’ session CTS308: Building Proseware, Inc. – A Non-Trivial Service-Oriented System, which was in the top 10 highest sessions… and deserved it for sure!) I’m really impressed with how much functionality is included – and the complexity of the design; this is not for the faint at heart. This one isn’t available yet (but hopefully it will be soon – and on msdn, once I know I’ll let you know but it was written for Microsoft as an application to demonstrate the power of SOA – Service Oriented Architecture). I guess the one take away that I have with SOA is the breakdown of complex monolithic applications into more compartmentalized, autonomous pieces allows better overall manageability and modularization by designing smaller components – i.e. services. Ok, so not entirely my area and I still have a long way to go but I definitely “get it.” Benjamin Mitchell did a nice write-up of this sesssion for those of you that want more depth – click here. Another session I enjoyed was Pat Helland’s ARC302 – Metropolis: Building Applications in a Service Oriented Architecture. I know he’s posted these (and a few other goodies) on you should really check them out. Don Box did a nice job giving a lot of insight in CTS200 Service-Orientation and the Windows/.NET Developer – unfortunately (and very sarcastically) he didn’t hear one of the questions from the audience (Clemens was sitting next to me and asked – is COM dead?). Finally, another great session by Steve Riley (and I finally got to see Steve speak!) was SEC285 – Defending Layer 8: How to Recognize and Combat Social Engineering. Steve’s a great presenter with great stories and really gets the point across… We have a lot to watch for in Layer 8 (referring to the 8th Layer of the OSI model – Humans!). Steve focuses on security, vulnerability and how hackers can learn the most about you, your network, your systems, etc. and gives some great insights in how to prevent these things. And I totally agree – I typically focus on system availability and the barriers related to it but we have the same problem – humans. People, process and architecture – and or designing a solution that doesn’t solve the right problem – are usually the biggest factors in availability – not the technology…  The most likely reason for downtime is often something caused by a human – accidental or otherwise – and we all face tremendous barriers in managing, maintaining and securing our systems to keep them available. Steve focuses on intentional hacking and malicious intent and I often focus on the “accidental data deletion” or improper resource access which lead to damaged data… Regardless, the human factor is our biggest risk. It’s amazing how much we all say some of the same things – with slightly different focuses – in terms of what impacts system availability (from both a performance and availability perspective)! Anyway, well done guys!! Really loved your sessions!!!!!

And – a few thank yous are certainly necessary as well! I CANNOT thank Heidi van de Zande, Sam Craig, Joanne Benny and Tim Sneath enough. I know there are so many other people that go into making Tech*Ed successful but these four are really at the helm of putting it all together. They truly make it seem easy. Once again it was tremendously organized and pulled off without any problems (at least not from my perspective and for that – I’m always in awe!). The only problem I really had was recovering from all of the great social events! This pic (RD Group Photo 8×6.jpg (242.63 KB)) is from the Friday night speaker party – in which quite a few RDs got up for a group shot. The RDs shown are: Goskin Bakir (crouching front), Thomas Lee (moving left), Christian Nagel (far left), Ingo Rammer (not a great shot – sorry Ingo), Juval Lowy (now moving right), me, Michele Leroux Bustamante, Christian Weyer, Benjamin Mitchell, Tomislav Bronzin and Clemens Vasters. Go here if you want to read more about the RD program!

So – thanks for a GREAT week. I’m in Chicago now…. lots of technical blogging to get done.

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