TechEd2011Bannera

I had the opportunity to attend Tech Ed 2011 in Atlanta, GA from May 16th through 19th.  I thought I would recap some of my experiences from the past week.  Tech Ed is one of the best opportunities for IT Pros to gather and get the latest and greatest information on a plethora of Microsoft technologies / products.  This includes Exchange Server, Lync Server, Windows Server, Windows 7, Windows Phone 7, System Center Products, PowerShell, Windows Azure, Office 365, Cloud (in general), Forefront Products, Group Policy and many more.  Not only did Microsoft folks speak, but a lot of MVPs and customers were on stage sharing their experiences and knowledge.

One of the first things that hits you in the face from beginning to end, is the massive push on Cloud.  Don’t get me wrong, I am very confident in our capabilities and offerings in the Public Cloud and Internal Cloud spaces.  I just would have preferred that we not go too far to one end of the spectrum (“overboard”).  I over heard a considerable amount of folks who voiced their annoyance at the massive cloud campaign.  I think most people got good at ignoring the cloud signage.

I took the opportunity to ask as many people as I could about their thoughts / opinions / feelings on “Cloud” and what it means to them.  Don’t worry, I am not going to post everything I heard.  Smile  Instead, I will recap some of the key themes that I heard.

  • Cloud is very confusing especially with Private and Public Clouds.  What exactly makes a Cloud a Cloud?
  • There is no such thing as a Private Cloud – a cloud can only be in the public, like Amazon or Azure.
  • Why would I want to go to the Cloud if that means my job goes away?
  • Microsoft needs to be more crisp with what a Cloud really means – private / public / whatever.
  • VMWare has a much better private cloud offering than Microsoft does.
  • We have been doing virtualization with VMWare for the last 10 years so we already have a Private Cloud.

I know there are many different opinions of what a Cloud really is – especially when we talk about a Private Cloud.  I find more people who are confused about this topic than those who truly grasp the concept of the Cloud. 

On Tuesday, we recorded 21 video interviews for Bytes by TechNet that will be released over the course of the next few months.  We were able to get some thoughts from Microsoft employees, customers, MVPs and other IT Professionals who work with our technologies day in and day out.  It was a total blast for me to participate in this and I am very much looking forward to seeing the videos come out.  As soon as they do, I will be linking to them from my blog as well.  Just to tease things up, some of the interviewees included Software Architect from Travelocity, Chief Architect at Kelley Blue Book, Scott Hanselman, Don Jones, Michael Nystrom and Wally Mead (plus many more).

On Wednesday and Thursday, I had a chance to attend sessions, work the booth in the Exhibit Hall and talk to lots of people.  I saw high traffic in the Hands On Labs area and many people took advantage of the testing facilities to work on their certifications.  Even though I saw confusion around Private Cloud, I noticed a lot of interest in the Private Cloud sessions.  A great example was the amount of questions during Peter Meister’s “Private Cloud Best Practices” session.  I also saw great interest in sessions that had to do with deployment of current technologies and how to best manage them.

Thursday night concluded with the attendee party at the World of Coca Cola and the Georgia Aquarium.  My favorite food was the flank steak with rice and the mozzarella balls with cherry tomatoes.  My team mates, Chris Henley and Matt Hester threw down a challenge on the little mini-golf course that was setup.  Unfortunately, I didn’t do too well and Chris Henley won the most holes.  Sad smile  

I am looking forward to getting home tomorrow and spending some time with my family.  Cheers and good night.

Harold Wong