Day 1 at TechReady was great. There were several keynotes in the morning ending with one by Steve Ballmer who always revs up the audience. As for technical content, that started in earnest in the afternoon sessions. I attended sessions on RMS, ADFS, and a great session on Longhorn.
For those of you who have not looked at ADFS yet, I highly recommend checking out the whitepapers and training available on the web. This technology provides many options for federating identity between business partners. While I can't disclose specifics, there is a real push to extend the abilities of ADFS and have other products such as RMS and Sharepoint leverage it even more than they currently do. This is an area of significant investment. Also, for the skeptics out there, the current version of ADFS can interoperate with several of our competitors products so you don't need to have AD on both ends.
Next, I attended a whirlwind session on Longhorn features. This was a heck of a session. Many of the features have been discussed publicly but this is the first time I saw a bunch of them in action. Server Core, the stripped down version of Longhorn that fits into a couple hundred meg with no GUI is a big deal. Substantially reduced attack surface. My guess is that Server Core will be very high performance for the dedicated roles it serves like AD, DNS, etc. Roles are a theme that you will continue to hear a lot about. In an effort to reduce complexity and increase consistency, detailed server roles and management are a big part of longhorn. The roles tie together configuration, management tasks, security, events, etc. Big changes to terminal server will make it much more usable, particularly from outside the firewall. There are a large amount of other changes as well such as network stack improvements, IPSec improvements, a great server management console.
All in all it was a great day, looking forward to Day 2!
TechReady is an internal conference for Microsoft employees that packs a huge amount of presentations, training, labs, and a few parties into a single week. It's similar to TechEd except that it focuses primarily on future products instead of what is currently shipping. As such, on the infrastructure side this one is focused on Longhorn, Office 2007, Exchange 2007, etc. I'll be attending as many sessions as I can on AD and all the 2007 servers. Check back this week as I'll try to get a post or two in each day with any info I'm able to publish
I came out to Seattle early, arriving yesterday so that I could attend a full day of training on Rights Management Service (RMS) which is a server and client technology available today for Windows Server 2003 and Office which allows you to protect email and office documents with both encryption and restrictions on the actions you can perform on the protected content. Some of the most powerful examples are:
There are many other possibilities with this technology. The key differentiator from traditional security mechanisms such as access control lists is that in the case of RMS, the security restrictions are part of the document or message itself and thus effective even if the document has propagated outside the organization.
Efforts are currently under way to extend this technology to better support extranet and federation scenarios. I'll be attending several sessions this week on RMS.
Reviews of the most recent Vista interim build 5472 have been pretty positive. Computerworld has a good review here. I'm downloading it now as I write this post. I've been running a post-Beta2 internal build. These more recent builds are much more stable and performance is good enough for daily use. I've been using Vista and Office 2007 full time for the last 2 months. Despite being beta and the associated issues, I would not want to go back to XP/2003.
Over on his blog Mark Russinovich has a post about yesterday's news that Microsoft is acquiring WinInternals. Very exciting news, Bob Muglia called Mark one of the top 5-10 people in the world when it comes to deep Windows architecture. That's really something for someone who doesn't (yet!) work for Microsoft. The internal reaction here was best summed up by a post on one of our DLs: "Can I have Mark on my team?"
Microsoft is announcing a strategic alliance with Nortel today in the Unified Communications space. This area is evolving almost as rapidly as virtualization. Exchange 2007 and Office Communication Server 2007 are really going to surprise people. With the growing partner ecosystem such as this alliance, we're on the verge of some big shifts in messaging, collaboration, and voice/video.
Q & A
Webcast (12pm EDT)