Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009: Day 4

Today’s highlights from the sessions I attended:

  • One of the new features of SharePoint 2010 is Access Services – we at Black Marble have been doing some work using Access Services (see Richard’s blog post for more details, along with the Access 2010 demo on Channel9), which Robert and I presented during the first session of the day.  The talk was received well, with a number of people wandering over to me during the rest of the day to let me know they liked it.
  • The number of management packs for System Center Operations Manager required to monitor SharePoint 2010 has been reduced to precisely one!

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009: Day 3

A few more highlights from the sessions I saw:

  • The new taxonomy services in SharePoint 2010 look superb. The ability to be able to centrally define terms for use by the end users, along with allowing both open (i.e. read-write to the end user) and closed (i.e. read-only to the end user) term stores looks very promising indeed.
  • Some more of the new features of SharePoint Designer 2010 were demonstrated, including the ability to highlight those sections of a masterpage which when edited would cause the page to become unghosted.  The more I see of the new version of SharePoint Designer, the more I like it!
  • The ability to extract data from Excel workbooks using Excel Services, Web Services, JavaScript OM and REST looks very interesting.
  • Some really interesting things can be done within SharePoint 2010 using jQuery – Dustin Miller showed some simple but extremely useful ideas, some of which I’m now longing to have a play with.

All in all, a very useful 3rd day!

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009: Day 2

A few highlights from today’s talks:

  • With SharePoint 2010, we no longer have a Shared Service Provider (SSP), instead we now have service application instead. All of the applications benefit from an internal load balancing scheme (fault tolerant round robin load balancing), meaning that as long as you start a service application on more than one server, you’re better protected from failure.  Oh, and yes, that goes for indexing as well!
  • The Service Application framework is extensible; this means you can write your own services to be hosted by SharePoint. These will, in turn, benefit from the internal load balancing scheme mentioned above.  Yes, you can also use a hardware load balancer and from what I gathered, even write your own load balancer!
  • All of your Service Application management can be done from PowerShell – if you don’t know PowerShell, now is going to be a very good time to learn…  If you want to have a look at the available applets, try the following in PowerShell:
    get-SPServiceApplication
    this will return the list of available commandlets.
  • You will be able to add delegated administrators for specific Service Applications. These delegated administrators will have their view of the Central Administration site trimmed to only those items they should see.
  • Claims based auth looks very interesting, and can be extended to allow 3rd party applications to provide additional claims.
  • SharePoint Designer 2010 rocks!

Microsoft SharePoint conference 2009: Day 1

I’m attending the Microsoft SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas – it’s been an interesting first day with some notable announcements:

  • A public beta of SharePoint 2010 will be available in November, with RTM in H1 2010.
  • The new version of SharePoint Designer for SharePoint 2010 will be a free download.
  • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 is the next version of what was called Windows SharePoint Services in version 3.0.
  • SQL Server PowerPivot for SharePoint (with a version for Excel as well) has been announced.  This was called project Gemini in previous demonstration I’ve seen and allows the manipulation of hundreds of millions of rows of data in real time. No, that number of rows is not a typo.

Tech Ed 2008 EMEA IT – Day 5 and home time

I’ve been a bit delayed writing this final blog post from Tech Ed EMEA 2008, so I’m back in the UK. The final day at Tech Ed 2008 EMEA IT was not quite as session filled as previous days, mainly because Rik and I had to be heading off to the airport shortly before 3pm to catch our flight home.

The first presentation of the day was on getting the most out of WSUS 3.0 SP1. One of the items that was mentioned was the arrival of WSUS 3.0 SP2; this is currently in the planning phase and aims to fix the top customer and partner issues seen. It will also install on Windows Server 2008 R2. A number of scenarios for WSUS were discussed, including larger numbers of clients, branch offices and disconnected clients (submarines being the example used!) and some best practices discussed. If the video of this talk is available (at the time of writing, it isn’t unfortunately) and you use WSUS, I’d recommend watching it.

The second (and last) talk of the day I went to discussed Exchange 2007 SP1 and Hyper-V. The good news is that Exchange 2007 SP1 is fully supported on any of the x64 hypervisors validated by Microsoft on Windows Server 2008. If you want to virtualise your Exchange 2003 installation, you’ll need to use Virtual Server 2005; note that Exchange 2003 is explicitly not supported on Hyper-V.

Following these talks Rik and I spent some time talking to more of the experts in the ask the experts pavilion and got some answers to some long-standing questions.

Our flight home was uneventful, but it seemed rather cold when we stepped out of the plane at Manchester after the week in Barcelona!

Tech Ed EMEA 2008 IT – Day 1 reflections

Today has been interesting. Rik and I started the day doing the sightseeing we had time for. The Gaudi cathedral had been particularly recommended, so with limited time at our disposal, that’s what we decided to see. We arrived at the gate just as it opened, and were in within a few minutes. The cathedral is very, very impressive, though there is an awful lot of construction work going on at the moment. It is an amazing structure, with a very impressive sense of light and space inside:

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Following the trip to the cathedral, we headed back towards the convention centre to get lunch and to try to get into the main auditorium for the keynote early enough to get a good seat. I was glad that we made the effort as we managed to get seats near the front tucked off to one side. Here’s our view of the stage, and the auditorium once it had nearly filled:

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The keynote by Brad Anderson was interesting, with a number of announcements and some very useful demos. I was particularly impressed with the drive towards virtualisation, and the available and forthcoming tools to help you manage the resulting data centre. There was a live migration demo using Server 2008 R2 which demonstrated a live move of a virtual machine from one host to another with no interruption of service. In addition, Gemini was demonstrated; a self service BI offering allowing anyone within the organisation to view and manipulate data from sources such as SQL Server. The most impressive part of the demonstration as far as I was concerned was the ease (and speed!) with which the data could be published to SharePoint for consumption within the business:

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Also mentioned were items such as Cross Platform Extensions for SCOM allowing monitoring and management of non-Microsoft systems and server Application Virtualisation allowing the separation of the server OS and the server application allowing each to be managed (and patched) separately – all very interesting! A number of announcements were also made, for example System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 Beta will be available for download at the end of November.

From there it was off to the first session; Planning and Operations Tools for SharePoint which provided some useful pointers and allowed the possibility of some feedback to the managers of the solution accelerators programme.

After the sessions this afternoon, Rik and I spent some time wandering around the Ask The Expert area generally asking awkward questions of most of the people we could find.

All in all it’s been a very useful first day.