MMS 2013 Day 1 Roundup

The first full day of MMS kicked off with Brad Anderson’s keynote in Mandalay Bay Events Center, a 12,000 seat arena used for concerts, sporting events, and other festivities. To get the crowd warmed up, Microsoft’s Joey Snow was up on stage DJing, definitely a huge improvement over the kind of canned music I remember from conferences I’ve been to. I find it amusing when I read some of the comments as people remark on the fact that Microsoft has a DJ opening, and they don’t realize who it is onstage. Technology Evangelist and a DJ, what a combo.

As it turned out, Joey was onstage a bit longer than he had expected since the keynote started about 40 minutes late. Brad acknowledged the delay and revealed that the reason was a loss of Internet service in the building. Since all the demos were live and online, having no Internet wasn’t an attractive option. I had switched over to my hotspot for access since the wireless wasn’t working, but I assumed it was because so many of us at the keynote were all trying to access it. They managed to get things going using their mobile phones and tethering, but they did get service restored so the keynote went on.

The keynote was titled “Cloud Optimize Your Business” and you can watch it over at Channel 9. The first half focused on the datacenter and the second half on consumerization of IT. The datacenter section really is hammering home the value of having Microsoft running massive online services like, Office 365, Bing, Azure, etc., and taking what they learn in that area and feeding that back into the products we’re using in our datacenters.  A great example of a virtuous cycle in progress. Brad highlighted several customers such as and others who have moved from “those other guys” to Hyper-V. I’ll give you one guess who “the other guys” are. They also used videos and demos to show how you can extend your datacenter into Azure and use tools like Orchestrator to automate and integrate the two. A video showed how Domino’s manages 150,000 VMs around the country with two people. One of the two people is here at MMS, so I guess they’re managing it with one guy this week.

The star of the second half of the keynote was Windows Intune. You can definitely hear the drumbeat for Intune, and the integration with Config Manager is probably going to lead to more and more functionality moving into the cloud. I haven’t started using Intune yet, but we have enough Windows RT and other devices that we’d like to manage, so it won’t be too much longer before I start poking around.

Lifehacker has a good write-up on the keynote that you may want to check out.

I attended three sessions after the keynote. My thoughts on each:

EXM02 Microsoft Certification and You, Enrique Lima

I’m trying to get back on track for certification, and this was a good session to help reorient yourself. Enrique covered the changes to Microsoft certifications and the exams, basically putting the process into perspective. Nothing earth-shattering here but it made for a good starting point.

DC-B302 Demonstrations of Assessment and Deployment Kit Tools, Michael Niehaus

This session was exactly what the title said, demos. Michael mentioned in a tweet later that it was 18 demos in 90 minutes. I lost track. The presentation was great (as always), and there was a lot of great technical content, but the majority of the demos are on tools that I will probably directly use. Most of the tools are called by MDT or Config Manager, so knowing how to use them individually on the command line was of limited value. Probably would have been better to try another session.

Session available on Channel 9

DC-B309 Choosing the Right OS Deployment Tool, Johan Arwidmark & Mikael Nystrom

Listening to Johan and Mikael is half the fun of their session. They also started with a slick video to intro themselves, setting the bar for all the other presenters.  The session focused on choosing the right tool to deploy your client operating systems. they covered installs using an Unattended.xml, MDT, and Config Manager. They described the kind of install where you sit at a machine with a DVD as a “Jurassic Park” install. The choice really comes down to whether you use MDT, Config Manager, or the integration of the two. There’s no need to roll your own anymore. I’m still on MDT 2010 and Config Manager 2007, and getting both upgraded to 2012 is high on my list when I get back home.

Session available on Channel 9

By this time, my head was pounding, probably because I wasn’t drinking enough water coupled with not enough sleep and the grind of a conference. I toughed it out, watched the running of the bulls as the Expo opened as people rushed to get their myITForum party passes, and made my way into the Expo. I never eat much at the opening receptions since the food is usually hit or miss and it is difficult to grab swag and talk to vendors whole balancing a plate and a glass. See my LadeSwag post for the rundown of what I picked up from the vendors on day one.

I called it quits after a couple hours, made my way back to my hotel, and popped some Aleve to soothe the pounding in my head. That helped quite a bit, but I knew some real food was the real solution. Bryan Wilson and I met up at Rí Rá for… you guessed it.. fish and chips! I rarely repeat meals when I travel but the fish and chips at Rí Rá is amazingly good. Definitely the best I’ve ever had, no exaggeration. it isn’t cheap, but you get a massive hunk of fish, perfectly fried. Yum. Brent Tuggle stopped by for a drink as we devoured our fish, and all in all, it made for a great way to end first day of MMS.

Take a look at my MMS 2013 photo album on SkyDrive if you’re interested.

Bring on day two!