The weekend just passed, Jan 30/31 2009, I organized an event we refer to as Continued Education, for members of the Exchange Masters Community. I just wanted to post a few details to give anyone wondering what else joining this community means, over and above getting the training and a certification...

The event was focused on Exchange 14 and was both a sneak preview and chance to talk to some of the Product Group PM's who are actually responsible for the features delivered in the product.

The event was open to all members of our community, meaning Microsoft and non-Microsoft folks, was free to attend (everyone covers their own expenses). We also had some seats for internal Microsoft IT folks, who always have an interesting perspective on things, given how far and wide they deploy beta versions of Exchange prior to RTM.

We started on Friday morning with an intro from Mike Swafford, Director of Development in the PG, followed by an Architecture session, delivered by Jefrey Kay, a Senior Architect from the team. After some wrestling with labs (labs are always a challenge aren't they?) we covered performance and scale from Erin Bookey and Jeff Mealiffe, the PM's who own Loadgen and all the scalabilty guidelines we put out there, migration and transition deliverered by David Espinoza (runs the TAP program for Exchange) and Steve Sweetman (all round clever fellow (and Master/MCA) with years of expereince in the field), and then had David Claux and Rob McCann, two PM's from the Front end team to talk about the changes in CAS.

Friday night we all went go-karting - and my arms are still aching. What a wimp I know.....

We started bright (well, kind of) and early at 8am on Saturday with Todd Luttinen, Principal PM from the transport team, then another PM named Ed Banti covered compliance, before we headed into storage, HA and site resilience with three of the best known names in Exchange - Matt Gossage, Scott Schnoll and Greg Thiel. We finished around 6pm. A long day, but a brilliant day. Having access to the PM's that own these pieces is something you can't put a price on, and for them to give up their time, even some of their weekend time, to come present, take questions and discuss their product is fabulous. And they are all superstars.

Overall satisfaction score was 4.85 out of 5. Now that is what I call putting up some big numbers....

So I want to just thank all those who presented, those who attended, and say to those of you that missed out... next time, it could be you.

Greg