ac_75I write this while sitting in an Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Winnipeg waiting for my flight to Calgary for Prairie IT & DevCon West (March 13-16, 2012 at the Telus Convention Center).  I had actually planned to write this later tonight but because the we had to wait for our pilots on my connecting flight from Toronto to arrive, I have a comfortable hour-long delay in the brand new terminal at Winnipeg International Airport to put some thoughts down and share them with you.

I always use flights to cities where I attend events and deliver key presentations as both an opportunity to relax as well as a time to think through some things that are on the go.  Recently, I’ve been thinking about the amount of very positive feedback we have received about the IT Virtualization Boot Camps we have run in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa & Montreal.  My thoughts center around how to we take these to the next level and incorporate more System Center 2012 content into them and help take you hands-on through Microsoft’s Private Cloud offerings, but also help you to continue your learning online.  Here’s what I came up with so far.

In-Person Learning Opportunities

Ruth Morton and I are working on a number of things for May and June that include Private Cloud Boot Camps and System Center 2012, particularly System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012, System Center Operations Manager 2012, System Center Orchestrator 2012, as well as System Center Service Manager 2012.  Like the IT Virtualization Boot Camps going on right now, these will be organized through your local user group so let them know you are interested or send me an email and I’ll pass on the message. 

Don’t forget that if you are in Alberta or Saskatchewan, we still have IT Virtualization Boot Camps under way.  You can still register for them in

We are also hosting an IT Camp Event in Calgary on March 14, which is a free-form event allowing you to set the agenda and let us know what you want to talk about and see.  I’m really excited about this one because I never know what to expect so I have to be ready for anything – even questions on Windows Server “8” BetaSign up and see the fun we have!

Online Learning Resources Are Always There!

While it is great to get out to an in-person event and interact with your peers and the presenters, the reality is that there are a finite number of seats available and, as you can see by the status of the events above, they can sell out.  Online learning is always there and something you can take advantage of when you want to.  I outlined some great online resources for Virtualization and Private Cloud in a blog post a while back, but it`s worth repeating some of them here (and 1 or 2 new ones):

  • TechDays Online - This is Microsoft Canada’s site for IT professionals and developers containing content from TechDays 2011 and TechDays 2010, as well as new episodes of TechDays TV to keep you informed about the latest technologies.  If you have not yet visited, go now.  Like all the resources below, it is absolutely free!
  • Microsoft Virtual Academy is a great place to learn all about our offerings as well as get points for completing courses, and also asses your knowledge through online assessments. Best of all, it is FREE and continues to offer new courses on a regular basis. It has many courses including those to help VMware professionals get a better handle on Microsoft Private Cloud technologies, as well as allowing those that have begun to work with Hyper-V and System Center to dive deeper and gain a better understanding of how to get even more out of their infrastructure.  There are even new courses on Windows Server “8” Beta to help you find out what will be coming down the pipe in the future.
  • Private Cloud Jump-Start Online Course provides two days of great content to take you from the basics of Private Cloud on your way to becoming an expert – and its FREE! The course is on April 3 & 4 and well worth taking part in!
  • The Springboard Series has great resources on deployment and getting your organization up to the current Windows release.  Don’t forget that Windows XP support ends on April 8, 2014 so getting to Windows 7 and Office 2010 now is the right approach.  Windows 8 Consumer Preview is out, and Springboard has some courses on Windows 8 to help you understand how it will integrate with your environment in the future but deploying Windows 7 and Office 2010 is the best way to get ready for Windows 8 when it becomes available.
  • TechNet Edge is a great resource for videos on topics of interest to IT Professionals.  If you have not yet visited, check it out.
  • As always, the main TechNet site remains a great place to find videos, articles as well as links to blogs and whitepapers on virtualization and Private Cloud. If you have not already done so, bookmark the TechNet page and visit often for the most recent technical resources to help you grow in your career.

Getting Closer to Calgary – My Flight’s About to Board!

Looks like my time in Winnipeg was well spent.  If you are currently using other online resources to keep updated on current technologies, comment on this post or send me an email using the link on the top left above.  Between the two, I prefer comments because they can be shared with all the other readers of this blog and we all learn together

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