TechEd 2011 Day 2

Day two started with a decision to be made. Hands On Labs (HOL’s) or a breakout session. Every TechEd I plan on working on multiple HOL’s, and every TechEd I’m lucky to do one or two. There never seems to be enough time to do everything you want to do. I decided to go to a session, WSV201 RemoteFX Hardware Selection and Deployment Considerations for VDI and Sessions. It turned out to be a poor choice.

I’m looking at replacing some or all of our computer lab with thin terminals connecting back to a Remote Desktop Services (RDS) host. Our users aren’t working with a lot of multimedia or 3D graphics, so RDS is a good fit. I’ve been holding off until RemoteFX was available, so this should have been a useful session. The first and last five minutes of the session was useful, the rest was a walk-through of a white paper that is coming out soon. I should have waited for it to be released and gone to a different session.

After the session, I made quick run to the book store only to find that they had already sold out of the 1080p Studio cam. I’m 0-2 for the day and we’ve hardly started. It has to get better here on out, right? Wrong. I made it to my next session, SIM341 First Look at DPM 2012, just it was starting. We’ve been using DPM 2010 for several months and have been really happy with it. I was looking forward to finding out more about 2012. The speaker was on his third or fourth slide when I get a page from work that said “The UPS is beeping.” That’s not the kind of message you want to see when you’re out of town.

A quick logon to the UPS revealed a bad power module which means no battery backup. Great… Spent the rest of the session setting up a service call with APC and praying to whatever IT gods there might be to keep supplying my computer room with clean, smooth, continuous power until the module is replaced. I also asked them to quote an additional power module.

Crisis averted (for now), it was off to kill some time in the HOL area, then lunch, then some more time on the Expo floor. Checked out the Verizon booth, but all they could do is point to pictures of the HTC Trophy and repeat the word “soon” over and over. Why show up at a Microsoft conference if you don’t have a Windows Phone to sell?

After all that, I finally get to go to a complete session, SIM 341 SCCM 2012 Deployment and Infrastructure Technical Overview. Like all Wally Mead sessions, it was full of great detail and was well-presented, but it really wasn’t that appropriate for my environment since we only have a single site. Just not having much luck picking sessions today.

Next stop is EXL319 Lync 2010 Setup, Deployment, Upgrade, a and Coexistence Scenarios. Finally a session with info I can actually use! Three things I heard that made me happy:

  • Virtualization support for all roles (requires 2008 R2 Hyper-V and you can’t use Live Migration)
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 supported
  • Little or no schema changes moving forward (we’ll see how well they keep to that promise)

The plan for the rest of the evening was going to be simple: dinner at Legal Sea Foods, the a quiet evening back at the hotel getting caught up on blogging and other things. Then I get a tweet from Jeff about a schedule change for the UC Roundtable that Jeff Guillet sent out. I quick check my email and see that the UC Roundtable is actually tonight and not Wednesday night. Uh oh, the plans they are a-changin’.

For the story of the UC Roundtable (that wasn’t), hop on over to Jeff’s blog, The EXPTA (blog), and read the story there, then come back for the rest. It is his story, so he should be the one to tell it.

OK, so you’re all caught up on the story. He mentioned they were filming the VH1 series Single Ladies while we were there, right? No, he didn’t. Well, they were. It really wasn’t that interesting other than the multitude of beautiful women in tight, short dresses. Guess you had to be there.

After the non-Roundtable, those of us who did not abandon Jeff, made our way down Peachtree in weather that felt more like Chicago than Atlanta, cold and windy. A quick stop to warm up at the Spiceworks party at Barley’s and then we were on the way to Geekfest at STATS. We were greeted at the door with wristbands and went inside, ate some real food (if you count wings and chips and cheese dip as real food… you do during TechEd if you want to eat), and closed out another day.