13 Jun.

My TechEd North American experiences so far…

The first three days have been great so far, here’s a quick summary…

Day 0 – Pre Con Session – Configuration Manager 2012

This full day event was something that I attended for a couple of reasons, one of them to see what I could pick up that could be applied to to ever evolving world of Windows Intune, and also to help get me up to speed for a current project. I can report success on both fronts, I walked away very happy with the day, despite being jetlagged and in a zombie like state towards the end.

Day 1

Up until know I wasn’t paying a huge amount of attention to what was happening with Windows Server 2012, so the opening keynote absolutely blew me away. The combination of Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012 and the new Windows Azure Virtual Machine offerings caught me by surprise with their capabilities and integration. I’ve already got a few ideas floating in my head for things I can do here, and you’ll no doubt read about them over the coming months.

Other sessions attended during the day drilled down further on the Azure VM capabilities and more Hyper-V 2012 deep dive sessions. I also spent some time catching up with a few members of the Windows Intune team to chat about what’s new, and about Windows Intune June 2012 release going live. Over the course of the last few days though I’ve been accumulating a few more questions and scenarios to run by them, wish me luck in getting straight answers.

Day 2

The opening keynote on Windows 8 really lacked the spark that Monday’s keynote had. This wasn’t the fault of Windows 8, but the demonstrations didn’t really show me too much that I hadn’t seen or heard of before, and after all of the Build content I had consumed I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. The Windows To Go demo got interest, and I hoped that the follow up session would include a giveaways of Windows To Go on a USB3 Flash Drive like at Build, but alas I had to settle for some good content instead. I wonder if Windows To Go is a supported platform for Windows Intune? Considering that it’s based on Windows 8 Enterprise, I am leaning towards it being supported, it seems like a match made in heaven to me.

There was an Intune session I attended which really didn’t hit the mark for me, I didn’t feel the content accurately matched the session description, and I would have preferred it to have been delivered by the product team members who were in attendance. I was hoping for some additional tips and tricks rather than an entry level run through of the product capablities, which I am already somewhat familiar with.

If you had of told me prior to TechEd that I would have voluntarily attended a session on SMB 3.0, I would have laughed, but after the Hyper-V deep dive sessions I realised I needed to get to this session. I also had a chat to some of the storage team in the Expo area, and the main thing that hit me was just how great the advances are. Anyone looking to build Hyper-V cluster environments in the coming months really has to consider whether they want to build on Windows Server 2008 R2, or bet the farm on Windows Server 2012. I’m caught in this dilemna, as one project I’m involved with at the moment is turning into a 4 node Hyper-V cluster with failover iSCSI storage on the backend, but SMB 3.0 makes this all so much easier. I think a rapid migration to Windows Server 2012 may be part of the equation, maybe I need to approach Microsoft and convince them this would be a great case study. Lucky I know who to harass on this one.

The other session that I attended covered deploying Windows 8 on MDT 2012. It was good to hear that Update 1 should be in beta some time next month, and will enable some more advanced Windows 8 deployment scenarios, including App side loading. ARM/WOA support is absent, but apparently that’s due to the extremely limited access to WOA devices for those outside of the selected few. I’m still waiting to be convinced of WOA’s role, especially when the price point rumours have it higher than what many may expect.

What’s next?

There are still several more Windows Intune sessions running including an Enterprise focused one tomorrow I am looking forward to, as well as asking more questions of the Intune and storage teams. Hyper-V will also get more session attention, there are still a few gaps I’m looking to fill.

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