The first Exchange training that I organized was held in Dublin in 1996. On behalf of Digital Equipment’s European Messaging Team, I asked Microsoft to send over their best trainer and they obliged. The training was not a happy event because it was very much in the “click here and have a nice day” genre. Essentially, the training went through every single option in the Exchange administration program but never explained why, where, and when an option might be used or valuable. In short, it was a totally unsatisfying experience.
I vowed that we would never do the same kind of training again and the search to discover the best way of training for Microsoft enterprise products began then. The effort eventually resulted in the “academy” series of week-long training events that Compaq delivered to its professional services consultants first for Windows 2000 and then for Exchange 2000 in 1999. An academy was conceived as an event that mixed lectures from acknowledged experts with compelling labs that stressed real-world experiences of working with the software. The response was terrific and Compaq opened the events up to customers who were grappling with the same challenges of how to train people to plan and manage the software in enterprise deployments. After the HP acquisition of Compaq in 2002, the academy series continued to cover Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 and Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007 and events were delivered by well-known experts such as Kevin Laahs, Donald Livengood, Kieran McCorry, Guido Grillenmeier, and Jan de Clercq around the world. I never delivered anything except keynotes at these events but I was always in the background.
HP decided in 2009 that they were out of the academy business. I happen to think that Exchange 2010 merits academy-type training because it’s a complex piece of software that introduces many new concepts such as the Database Availability Group. Paul Robichaux and I have therefore joined with Penton Communications to organize training that we think will be of the same quality as an HP academy event, albeit delivered over three days rather than five. We’ve even roped in Brian Desmond, another MVP, to act as lab master and come up with some very interesting labs that explore the new software.
The first two events will be held in Boston and Anaheim this coming October. See Exchange 2010 Maestro seminars for more information. Depending on the reaction to this training, we may hold additional events in other locations later on in 2010 or in early 2011. One thing’s for sure – we will have a lot of fun delivering these events and we hope that those who come along will have a similar amount of fun as we tease out the essence of Exchange 2010, including Service Pack 1 and all the improvements that Microsoft has made.
Looking forward to it…
And if you can’t get along to the seminars, why don’t you pick up a copy of my Exchange 2010 SP1 Inside Out book to keep your mind occupied and learn more about the ins and outs of Exchange 2010!
I attended the Exchange 2000 (Boston), 2003 (Philly), and 2007 (Baltimore) academies. I did not know about the 2010 that you put together. Will there be something similar for Exchange 2013?
The answer is “I don’t know”. We did not have high attendances at the Exchange 2010 Maestro events – at least, not high enough to justify the work that went into the events. With that experience in mind, we will really have to think hard about taking on Exchange 2013.