Checking In… Happy Tuesday!

Ah… Life.  How it gets in the way of things sometimes.  I’m looking forward to some slowing down of things as we get into June and July, which gives me some time to concentrate on finishing up with updating my MCSE.

Microsoft has been busy updating certifications in the last year, so now you’ll find options for the MTA (Technology Associate), MCSA (Solutions Associate) and the MCSE (Solutions Expert).  I’m working toward the Server Infrastructure MCSE, so I still have exams 70-413 and 70-414 to go.

For preparation, I’ve got a copy of the 70-413 Exam Ref book, but I also like to mix up my studying materials with content from MVA (Microsoft Virtual Academy) and TechNet documentation to fill in areas where I might need some extra clarification.  What’s nice about the Virtual Academy is that you can add the courses to your profile and then work through them at your own pace. Finally, I look for sessions from TechEd and other conferences that I’m might have attended that line up with test concepts.

If there is good in-person training in my area, I look for that as well. If you are in the SF area (or can get there easily, don’t miss out on the chance to attend TechDays, organized by PacITPros.  This low-cost, two day event has a line up of great speakers and there is sure to be a topic for everyone. Register at www.techdays.org.

Today, I reviewed the booklet of sessions from TechEd for Monday (baby steps!) and here is what is on my short list to watch this week (Warning: these might completely unrelated to my exam studying):

  1. Windows PowerShell Unplugged with Jeffery Snover (DCIM-B318)
  2. Microsoft Azure Storage (DCIM-B384)
  3. Hybrid Identity: Extending Active Directory to the Cloud (PCIT-B313)
Also, if you are looking to learn more about Windows 8.1 in the Enterprise, register for an upcoming MVA JumpStart in mid-June! The instructors are Tommy Patterson and Simon May, so it’s sure to be an enjoyable and educational few days.

Date: June 17, 18, & 19, 2014

Registration page: http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/liveevents/windows-8-1-update-for-enterprise-jump-start

Windows 8.1 Update for Enterprise Jump Start

Are you tackling BYOD? Windows 8.1 Update, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows Phone can help! Find out how in this demo-filled, three-day Jump Start course with live Q&A. Plus, get the latest from the TechEd and Build conferences, and prepare for MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure and MCSA: Windows 8.1 certifications.
Seasoned experts share real-world experience as they explore the new feature set in Windows 8.1 Update. Dive deep into key enterprise scenarios around System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and Windows Intune management and security, and explore virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), disk deduplication and tiering, and the Remote Desktop app.
Windows 8.1 Update can simplify the management of tomorrow’s IT environments, while tangibly improving today’s end-user experience. Sign up for this fast-paced Jump Start, and find out more.
Anyway, happy Tuesday folks!

TechDaysSF is June 5th and 6th

Did you miss TechEd? Do you regret it?
Then register now for TechDays-SF which will be happening June 5th and 6th in downtown San Francisco. PacITPros brings you a great list of presentations and speakers. This year the price has been lowered to $200, you really can’t beat that. Details on sessions at http://techdays.org and the schedule is up on Eventboard.
Some great topics being covered: PowerShell, Microsoft System Center, Hyper-V, Lync plus many more.
Presented by folks such as: Jason Helmick, Darren Mar-Elia, Symon Perriman, Aleksandar Nikolic, Steve Evans and many more.
Even I’ll be there!

Monday Tidbits!

Here are a few items to start off your week!

— 1 —
Investigating Cyber Threats? Want an easier way? Learn more and request your invitation to the upcoming private preview release of Microsoft System Center Advisor at: http://next.systemcenteradvisor.com

— 2 —
The IT Pro Evangelism team, Microsoft Learning (LEX) and the Microsoft Virtual Academy are pleased to announce the next free and public event DevOps for IT Pros Jump Start. This online event will run on Wednesday, May 7th  from 9:00 am – 2:00pm PT hosted by Microsoft technology experts David Tesar, and Morgan Webb.

— 3 —
Save the Date! Join Stephen Rose for a discussion that will cover past, present and what’s next for Microsoft technologies.

WINDOWS UNPLUGGED
AN EVENING WITH IT PROS

May 27, 2014 6:00pm-8:00pm 
The Box SF 
San Francisco, CA 
— 4 —

TECHDAYS-SF IS JUNE 5-6! Register now for TechDays-SF which will be happening June 5-6 (so no June user group meeting). We already have shaping up a great list of presentations and speakers. Register at http://techdays.org/2014/04/register-for-3nd-annual-techdays-it-professional-conference/ This year the price has been lowered to $200, you really can’t beat that. Details on sessions at http://techdays.org

Tis the Season… Conference Season!

I admit it, I’m a bit of a conference junkie.  I love attending events, listening to interesting keynotes or panel speakers, passing through the expo areas and chatting with other IT Professionals.
There are only so many weeks in the year though and my calendar is starting to fill up with some promising events.

CITE Conference (April) –  Okay, well, you just missed this one. The last day is today. I attended it yesterday and thought it was a great conference around Consumerization of IT and Mobility in the Enterprise. I highly recommend looking for it next year. Visit their website to keep track of them via all the popular social mediums.

TechEd 2014 (May) – There is a special place in my heart for TechEd… this will be my 10th year attending and you’ll be able to find me in the Windows Client booth area.

TechDays SF (June) – Brought to you by PacITPros and hosted in the Microsoft SF office, this two day event is like a mini-TechEd bringing you similar caliber speakers talking about all the current topics.  Registration is currrently open.

Dev/IT Connections (Sept) – I was able to speak at this event in 2013, but won’t be able to attend this year.  Still, it’s a great event and I hope to be able to attend in 2015. Plus everyone needs a reason to visit Vegas, right?

That’s just a short list… Do you have any conferences you love that I should try to check out?

Virtualization Strikes the Bay Area

I’m serious, you can’t turn around without finding yourself in range of an upcoming event around virtualizing your datacenter.

If you missed the free Azure IT Camp in San Francisco on September 5th, you can join me in Mountain View on October 8th from 9-4pm. Register at www.technetevents.com. 

Also in October, PacITPros will be bringing Steve Evans and Nick Hawkins back for a full TechDay of “Hyper-V in the Real World”. This low cost event ($99) doesn’t pull any punches and gives you the lowdown on how to use Hyper-V effectively in your datacenter. Register at www.techdays.org.  Stay tuned for a two-day Hyper-V TechDays event in mid-November, as well.

Sadly, the October PacITPros meeting is cancelled for October.  There is a perfect storm of calendaring events that have Doug, Ed, Jochen and I all out of town.  Hope to see you on October 11th instead.

Don’t Miss Out on some Fun Stuff

Please tell me you’ve seen the tweets and gotten the emails! 

I’m co-chairing PacITPros 2nd TechDays SF – two days jam packed with a crazy menu of sessions to choose from, brought to you by some great speakers – many of which you’d pay 6 times the amount to see at TechEd.

Not going to TechEd?  Then this is the place for you to get the much of what you need to know about Cloud, Azure, PowerShell, plus some extra goodies on SharePoint 2013, Lync, Remote Desktop and Hyper-V!

The fine folks at Xantrion are sponsoring us and we’ve got our schedule available as a mobile app by EventBoard.  So go register now.  Otherwise, you are making me feel bad.

Speaking of Azure, if you haven’t done the 90 day free trial, it’s totally worth looking at.  Microsoft is even running a Virutal Networking challenge where you can win some pretty decent prizes, like a Surface Pro. 

TechDays SF is May 2nd/3rd – Check out our speaker list on Twitter!

This year, I’m a co-chair for the PacITPro’s TechDays SF.  If you didn’t attend this event in 2012, you should take a close look at what we are offering this May.  The event is two days and we are offering multiple tracks with a variety of sessions on Windows Server, Client, Cloud and PowerShell all for the bargin price of $300. Please visit www.techdays.org for more information or to register.

We are also using EventBoard Mobile for easy access to the most up to date information and schedule.  I recommend downloading that app for your Windows Phone, iPhone or Android.

Our speakers include some very well-known, knowledgable folks who’ve spoken at other popular conferences like TechMentor and TechEd. Most of them have Twitter handles – if you aren’t following these people yet, I’m sure you’ll find some interesting enough to add to your list.

  • @VirtualChrista – From  Microsoft, Christa Anderson will be presenting two sessions, “Delivering Applications with Remote Desktop Services in  Windows Server 2012” and “The User Configuration Cage Match”.
  • @scevans – Steve Evans will be presenting “IIS: Choose Your Own Adventure” and “Designing Hyper-V for the Real World”.
  • @nhawkins – Nick Hawkins will be co-presenting “Designing Hyper-V for the Real World” with @scevans.
  • @grouppolicyguy – Darren Mar-Elia will be breaking out of his Group Policy shell to bring you “!0 Tips for Success with Private Cloud”.
  • @gblock – Glenn Block will be lighting up the room with “Managing the Cloud from the Command Line”.
  • @alexandair – Joining us from Serbia, Aleksandar Nikolic will be presenting “Remote Management of Windows Server 2012 with  Windows PowerShell”.
  • @cacallahan – For those of you who support or dabble in SharePoint, CA Callahan will join us again to bring you two sessions on SharePoint 2013.
  • @ubergeekgirl – Our fearless leader of PacITPros in Southern California, Jessica DeVita will be part of the Women in Technology panel discussion.  Joining her will be @adfskitteh, @VirtualChrista and me, @jkc137. 
  • @KevinRemde – Also from Microsoft, Kevin Remde will bring us “Windows 8 Deployment” for those of you planning to move beyond Windows 7 and “Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V”.
  • @chrisavis – Often PacITPros’ host for our monthly meetings at Microsoft’s office, Chris Avis will be bringing us two session on Azure, including Azure IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service).
  • @mminasi – Mark Minasi, one of the household names for those of us reading technical books, will be presenting several sessions, so be sure to put one on your schedule: “Manage Server 2012 Like a Pro or, Better, Like an Evil Overlord!”, “Changes to Storage in Windows 2102: Storage Gets a Bit SANer”, “Understanding Dynamic Access Control: the File Share Recharged, Reimaged and Compliance-Enabled”.
  • @richardhicks – If you are looking for the latest in Remote Access, don’t miss Richard Hicks and his “Next Generation Remote Access with Windows Server 2012 DirectAccess” session.
  • @richcampbell – Richard Campbell will be presenting “People, Process, Tools – The Essence of DevOps” as well as host the Run As Radio: Women in Technology Panel
  • @adfskitteh – Part of the Idenity & Access Management team at Microsoft, Laura Hunter will be covering “Strong Authentication for BYOD” and “How Microsoft Has Adopted Office 365 and Azure”
  • @JeffHicks – Need more PowerShell? Choose from “Troubleshooting Active Directory with Windows PowerShell”, “10 PowerShell Mistakes, Trips and Traps and How to Avoid Them” and “File and Folder Provisioning with PowerShell and Windows Server 2012”.  Want more Hyper-V? Learn how to “Build a Windows 8 Hyper-V Lab”

We have a few other speakers in the works and are looking forward to putting on a great event, please join us – you won’t be disappointed!

You Don’t Have to Be Bored in Mid-March!

There are several exciting events this month that I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss out on.

TechDays SF – 3/22 and 3/23, San Francisco, CA

Is TechEd North America too far away?  Do you not have the training and travel budget you hoped for this year?  Maybe you are looking for a local event that more than one of the IT Pros in your company can attend… Look no further – TechDays SF is on March 22nd and 23rd, located in downtown San Francisco.  Don’t miss out on this great event for IT Professionals!

Speakers and Topics will include:
  • Stephen Rose (Microsoft) – Windows 7 Deployment
  • Harold Wong (Microsoft) – Exchange 2010 and Lync
  • Joey Snow (Microsoft) – How the Cloud will Impact IT Pros
  • Chris Avis (Microsoft) – System Center
  • Mark Minasi (Microsoft MVP, Author)- 10 Things to Know about Windows 2008 R2 Server; Windows 8 Server
  • Darren Mar-Elia (Microsoft MVP, Author) – Best Practice for Group Policy Design
  • Jason Helmick (Author) – Powershell Beginner and Advanced
  • Richard Hicks (Microsoft MVP) – DirectAccess; Microsoft Forefront
  • Steven Evans (Microsoft MVP) – IIS 7 for IT Pros; Windows Failover Clustering
  • Chris Henley (Veeam Software, Author) – Backup Solutions
  • CA Callahan (Author) – SharePoint
… And many more, check out the speakers (http://techdays.org/speakers) and session abstracts (http://techdays.org/techdays-sf-sessions/) for more information.  This fabulous two-day line up is only $300 if you sign up now.  Register at http://www.techdays.org/, early bird pricing ends soon!

Microsoft VIP Event – 3/18, Santa Clara Microsoft Store, 2855 Stevens Creek Blvd

See Windows 8 at a private VIP after-hours evening gathering at the local Microsoft Store. Play with Windows 8 in an immersive environment while we celebrate, network, and talk modern apps. Experience new Metro style gadgets that revolutionize a whole new generation of cool.

Microsoft IT Camp – 3/19, Mountain View, CA

IT Camps are semi-structured, no-fluff events exclusively designed to serve IT professionals.  They are a free, in-person learning event for anyone seeking professional development as it applies to IT Professionals.  The agenda is intended to deliver a technical overview and hands-on experience that is less formal or structured than traditional instructor-led training.

Participants will have a chance to perform hands on activities / exercises individually or as a team.  At the end of the day, we encourage everyone to share their thoughts and experiences with the rest of the group.  Come prepared to have fun, be excited, and interact in a group.

Where Will You Be on March 22nd and 23rd?

I hope you be joining me at the Pacific IT Professionals 2 day IT Professional conference in San Francisco – TechDays SF. We have a great lineup of speakers to present on current topics that IT Professionals won’t want to miss, including me!

The speakers also include Microsoft MVP’s Mark Minasi, Richard Hicks, Jessica DeVita, Steve Evans, Darren Mar-Elia and many more distinguished presenters. In addition, from Microsoft we will have Stephen Rose, Joey Snow, Chris Avis and Harold Wong.

Session abstracts are being posted as they become available. The conference agenda shows all the topics being covered for example, Best Practices for Group Policy Design, Beginner and Advanced PowerShell, Windows Failover Clustering and 10 Things to Know about Windows Server 2008.

To register for this incredible conference, please click here. The 2 day multi track conference is just $300 US dollars if you register before March 6th, after that it goes up to $400.

We bring the best IT Professional speakers and content to the SF Bay Area so come join us for two packed days of IT knowledge!

2 Days–$300–Dozens of Sessions

In March, I’m co-chairing a 2 day IT Professional conference hosted by Pacific IT Professionals called Techdays SF.  Join us in San Francisco on March 22 and 23rd. We already have a great lineup of speakers to present on topics that we hope IT Professionals will be interested in.

The speakers list so far include Microsoft MVP’s Mark Minasi, Richard Hicks, Jessica DeVita, Steve Evans, Darren Mar-Elia and more. Additionally, from Microsoft we will have IT Pro Evangelists Chris Avis and Harold Wong, plus some other special MS guests.

The topics to be covered include: Windows Server 2008R2, Windows 8, Deployment, IIS, SharePoint, Hyper-V, AD/GPO, System Center, Exchange, Lync, Powershell and much more. You can see the current agenda at www.techdays.org.

We now have the registration site set up for the event so please sign up here. This 2 day multi-track conference will be $300 US dollars. The first 75 paid registrations will receive a copy of Windows 7.  Also, all attendees will be entered in a drawing to win a Kindle!

Please share this your colleagues and friends in the IT industry. If we are able to get sufficient attendance for the event we will consider doing these every 6 months on-going to try and bring the best IT Professional speakers and content to the SF Bay Area so please help us along to that goal and spread the word!