Want to know what’s going on? Come to the Black Marble Tech Update

It’s January, which can only mean one thing. It’s time for the annual Black Marble Tech Update. If you’re an IT or development manager, come along to hear the stuff you need to know about Microsoft’s releases and updates last year and what we know so far about what is coming this year.

Tech Updates are hard work to prepare for, but they’re quite exhilarating to present. In the morning, myself, Andy and Andrew will run through the key moves and changes in the Microsoft ecosystem to help IT managers with their strategic planning: What’s coming out of support, what’s got a new release due; in short, what do you need to pay attention to for your organisation’s IT.

In the afternoon Robert, Richard and Steve will be covering what’s important to know in the Microsoft developer landscape and this year they are joined by Martin Beeby from the Microsoft DX team.

You can find the Tech Update on our website as two events (IT Managers in the morning, Developers in the afternoon). Feel free to register for the one that most interests you. Most people stay for the whole day and leave with their heads buzzing.

Why you should attend a Microsoft IT Camp

I’ve posted before about helping out at the IT Camps run by the Microsoft DX team. I’m a fervent supporter of them – they are hands-on days of technical content run by great people who know their stuff and, importantly, they are run around the country.

Next week will see me in Manchester with Ed Baker for the latest instalment. The current series of campus are two days with the first being around Mobile Device Management and the second around extending your datacentre into Azure. I’ll be there for day two to be Ed’s wingman as we take attendees through hands-on labs around virtual machines and talk about virtual networks, Azure Active directory and pretty much anything else Azure-related we get asked about.

Ed and Andrew really enjoy running the camps – they are a great way to talk to you, the customer, about how you use Microsoft’s services. I’m not backwards in coming forward with feedback about what works and what doesn’t in the MS stack and you shouldn’t be either. Unlike regular events, these are technical days for technical people by technical people and that’s what makes them so rewarding to attend and so satisfying to run. Those of us that are involved want the camps to continue and that means people like you need to turn up, enjoy the day and give feedback.

Go read more about them, get registered and come along. And you don’t even have to travel south to do it!

See you there.

Speaking at SQLBits 2015

We’re only half way through January and this year is already busy. I am really excited to be speaking at SQLBits this year!

SQLBits is a conference that various members of the Black Marble team attend regularly and rave about. It’s the event if you want to gain knowledge and insight into all aspects of databases and data management, reporting, BI and more. Microsoft are a platinum sponsor of the event this year and a whole heap of big names are flying in to present.

Why am I, an Azure MVP, speaking at SQLBits? I’ll be talking about virtual networks and virtual machines in Azure. Whilst not directly DB-related, it’s an important topic these days when designing the architecture for your application. Yes, there is the Azure SQL service, but that’s not always the right choice. Sometimes you want to run your DB on a VM. Sometimes you might even want to access data held securely within your organisation, even if your application is in the cloud. As a DB guy, knowing what options are available to you when designing your solution is important.

The Azure community and the SQL community shouldn’t be separate. Cloud is all pervading, but is not a universal fix all. Hopefully sessions like mine can make connections between the two groups for the benefit of all.

Did I mention how big SQLBits is? Go take a look at the agenda, packed full of great content. The run, don’t walk, to the registration page.

See you there!

Get informed with TechDays Online 2015

Block out your diary from February 3rd until February 5th. The great guys at Microsoft DX are running another TechDays Online event and it’s absolutely worth your time. I had the absolute pleasure to be involved last year and will again this year, both in front of and behind the camera.

For those who don’t know about the event, TechDays Online is three days (and one evening, this year) of technical content delivered by MVPs and Microsoft evangelists across a broad range of topics. Whilst you watch the sessions, streaming live through the power of the internet, you can ask questions in the chat channel. Some of those questions may find their way to the speaker during the session, but all will be picked up by a team of experts backstage, fuelled by caffeine and sugar.

Each day covers a different topic area and is lead by one of the DX team. Tuesday is led by Ed Baker and is around Devices and managing a mobile first world. I’ll be talking about Azure Active Directory, Robert is doing a session on Internet of Things and we are joined by a great line up of MVPs. Tuesday evening is An evening with Office 365; Wednesday sees Andrew Fryer curating The Journey to the cloud-first world; finally on Friday, Martin Beeby is in the chair for Multi-device cross platform development. Richard is involved in that final day.

Content on Tuesday is more relevant for IT pros, Wednesday is a mix of IT Pro and developer content and Thursday is aimed at developers. Having said that, I learned something useful across all the days of the last event and I’d urge you to tune in for all three. Hook a PC up to a screen in the office and stream it in the background for everyone if you can’t dedicate time – you won’t regret it!

In addition to presenting sessions, I will be on the chat stream across all three days, chipping in where I can.

Oh, and did I mention that Mary Jo Foley will be there too?

There’s still plenty of time to register at http://aka.ms/techdays2015 so what are you waiting for?