Exchange 2010 SP1 training in Anaheim

Our Exchange 2010 Maestro seminar is now two days through in Anaheim, CA. We’re located in the Sheraton right beside Disneyland (its address is 900 South Disneyland Drive). The hotel is significantly better than the Doubletree that we used in Boston last week. The room is bigger and brighter, the food is tasty and plentiful (and no evidence of cockroaches has been discovered to date), the AV works all the time, no bathroom refurbishment is happening outside the seminar room, and the bedrooms are more comfortable. Poor wireless connectivity is the only issue we have run into and the hotel IT staff has done their best to fix the problem – today, they even installed wired connections for attendees who didn’t experience good wireless connectivity.

The closeness to Disneyland delivered the opportunity to provide Paul with something that he has been lusting after for quite some time. This isn’t the chance to attend a character breakfast or get Winnie the Pooh’s autograph. Instead, we presented Paul with a Disney smoked turkey leg yesterday. This gastronomic treat was procured from Disneyland by Alice, one of our attendees who had had the privilege of working with Paul previously. She brought the leg back, kept it in top shape by storing it in the room fridge, and placed it lovingly on the keyboard of Paul’s Mac just before he spoke. He was gobsmacked to receive his turkey leg and has been nibbling on it since. Thankfully, this activity happens in the privacy of his own room.

We delivered sixteen hours of lecture in Boston and I think we’re on track to deliver even more in Anaheim. The sessions are getting longer for a couple of reasons. First, we have more to talk about because of the experience we gained from last week, including all of the questions that came up then. Second, this week’s attendees have asked even more questions – not better questions, just different questions. Each question seems to lead into a new discussion and our schedule suffers. We don’t want to suppress questions as we think that attendees gain a lot of value through the cut-and-thrust of questions and answers, so I guess we will continue to cope with an “evolving” schedule.

Our lab master, Brian Desmond, keeps on telling us to remove slides from our decks. This is a good solution that would help keep us on schedule but it’s hard to remove good information. However, I think we shall do a major refresh of the material once this seminar is done as we clearly can’t expand to deliver eighteen hours or more of lectures during a three day event. It’s just too much information for attendees to absorb and it’s really hard to stay focused and attentive for extended periods over three days.

Quote of the day: Paul Robichaux on Apple server debug logs – they contain “droppings of worthlessness”. Superb! Why was Paul talking about Apple servers during an Exchange 2010 seminar? I guess he can’t help himself talking about Apple technology at every opportunity. That being said, Paul ran all his presentations from his Mac and demonstrated just what a good job Microsoft has done to support Outlook Web App (OWA) and the Exchange Control Panel with Safari. Of course, Safari can only run the premium OWA client on Mac – it is limited to the basic version of OWA if you run Safari for Windows. But then again, who would run Safari for Windows when you can run IE, Chrome, or Firefox instead (I use Chrome to access OWA).

News of the day: Microsoft launched their Office 365 cloud service ( today. This is a combination of Office Professional Plus, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online, previously known as Microsoft Business Productivity Services (BPOS). Office 365 is a much better name than BPOS because it communicates what the service is all about more precisely than the BPOS tag. Lync is the new name for Office Communications Server and it’s yet another silly made-up name that offends anyone who attempts to master the English language. Just another example of eroding standards in literacy! I wonder whether Microsoft Marketing needs to buy some copies of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation – a truly great book for anyone who is offended by assaults on the English language.

Although you can sign up for Office 365 beta (in the U.S.) today, the production version of Office 365 won’t be available until sometime in 2011. The site was obviously under load today, probably because quite a few people are interested and have signed up for the beta. Despite the fact that some products such as Exchange 2010 have been available for over a year, Microsoft still has work to do to upgrade the cloud platform to integrate the 2010 versions of Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync. This is interesting because it demonstrates the complexity involved in upgrading massive computing environments with new software. You could argue that Google has mastered this trick but I’d argue that Gmail and the Google Apps run in a much simpler environment and have never run in anything other than the cloud. Google has been able to evolve their applications over time with total control over the operating environment. Gmail runs on bespoke hardware with a Google-specific version of Linux and a purpose-designed file system. By comparison, Microsoft is coping with a platform (Windows) that was never designed to support the cloud and is deploying applications that have to support both on-premise and hosted environments. That’s where the complexity comes from and I imagine that it’s why we’ve seen a delay in the deployment of the newest applications.

On the plus side, Microsoft is our #1 sponsor for the seminars and they are very kindly taking all the attendees to dinner tonight in PF Chang’s. Given some of the lively folks who are attending, I’m sure that dinner will be memorable.

– Tony


About Tony Redmond

Lead author for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook and writer about all aspects of the Office 365 ecosystem.
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