Last week I attended my first TechEd. I wasn’t there as an attendee though, as I had been invited by the Exchange Product Group to present my Black Belt Exchange & Office 365 PowerShell session, and asked to co-present a live version of Office Garage alongside Jeremy Chapman.
Being invited to speak at TechEd was a rare privilege – I’ve spoken at conferences before and of course at various user groups but I’ve always aspired to getting up on stage at TechEd and following in the footsteps of my Exchange heroes like Scott Schnoll (I blogged about his TechEd Europe sessions 4 years ago to the day).My fears were unfounded though – although TechEd is a large conference with a lot of the big-name speakers the attendees are a friendly bunch.
Much of my week was spent on the Exchange stand in the Office 365 area, standing like this pouncing on passing IT pros:
The Office 365 area was actualy quite large, with sections for Exchange, SharePoint, Working Together (Yammer? Groups? Public Folders? DGs?), OneDrive and even encompassed the Lync and Office Garage Live sections:
The biggest surprise was to hear from so many attendees that Exchange is still very important to them, and many are planning Exchange 2013 deployments right now. Anyone that claims Exchange is dead, or everyone is moving to the cloud is mistaken. That said, the distinction between Exchange On-Premises and Exchange Online is breaking down and many questions were from Office 365 customers either asking about migrations, or with unusual requirements for Exchange Online. Beside the stands we had a billboard-sized whiteboard where we could draw out problems and solutions. As you can imagine I spent a fair few hours drawing diagrams like this:
My real work began on the Thursday where I was the Office 365 PowerShell guy for the Office Garage Live version of these two episodes. Presenting Office Garage was a blast – I love the “Top Gear” style format – although we don’t emulate it on the UC Architects we share the same sort of spirit. Hopefully they’ll have me back again one day. I’m more than happy to try out a lap at the Top Gear track and see if I can do a lap faster than they can perform a Hybrid configuration.. Thanks to fellow MVP Jethro for sending the pic below:
My session on Friday was reasonably well attended, especially so given it was on at the same time as Mark Russinovich’s and Mark Minasi. The intention of my session was, in the space of 75 minutes, to help IT pros who know a little PowerShell quickly understand the basics and then show what can be done with relative ease once you know where you should apply Exchange or Office 365 related PowerShell. Yep, there’s still more to learn after becoming an Exchange PowerShell Black Belt but hopefully after my session attendees were ready to kick ass! Thanks to Puneet – who I’ve worked with in the past any enjoyed a few chats with during the week – for sending me the photo below:
As with all TechEd conferences the sessions are online forevermore, so if you didn’t make the session, want to download the slides, maybe fancy downloading the MP3 version as a Podcast for your commute then click on the slide below to head over to Channel 9 and enjoy…
If you want the scripts as seen in the demo and don’t fancy trying to type them in at home I do still have them – and have zipped them up and uploaded them. As always use at your own risk but please feel free to use and abuse:
Overall TechEd Europe once again demonstrates that the IT pro community in Europe is alive and kicking, and there is much value in a European conference. Hopefully Microsoft will bring a large conference (whatever it’s called) back next year. IT pros in Europe have been evolving ready for whatever challenge awaits next but will always need to deep-dive knowledge & networking that can only be gained from a conference setting like this..