Yesterday we ran TechCamp 2013, the Irish community launch of Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, and Windows Intune. All the feedback I have heard has been positive – thankfully! :)
We kicked off with Dave Northey (Microsoft CAT Program Manager). Dave was the IT Pro DPE in Ireland for quite some time and has spoken at every launch event since Windows NT. It would have been wrong not to have Dave in to do the keynote.
After that we broke into two tracks. I did the WS2012 R2 session and next door, Damian Flynn (MVP) did the Windows 8.1 in the enterprise session. I wanted to attend Damian’s session – I hear it was excellent, covering the BYOD and mobile worker scenarios.
In the desktop track, some speakers from Microsoft introduced the new generation of devices that the various OEMs are bringing to market for Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, and what Windows Intune now offers for distributed end users, mobile workers, and BYOD device/app management.
Back in the server & cloud track, Paul Keely (MVP) did a session on service automation.
Damian was back on stage in the server & cloud track talking about using SCVMM 2012 R2 and Windows Azure Pack to build a hybrid cloud on Azure and Windows Server 2012 R2. Kevin Greene (MVP) wrapped up the track explaining how System Center can be used to manage service availability and quality.
Niall Brady (MVP), an Irish man living and working in Sweden, wrapped up the desktop & devices track by talking about System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2.
We asked for a small registration fee to encourage legitimate registrations and to get a higher turn-up rate. That fee went to a good cause, an NGO called Camara. We had Mark Fox in from Camara. This gave Mark a chance to tell the audience (after the keynote) about the good work that Camara does. They take unwanted PCs from businesses, securely wipe the PCs, track them, and reuse those machines to provide a digital education to needy kids. Education is the best weapon against poverty and war, and Camara is on the frontline. Mark also staffed a stand in the exhibition room, and hopefully businesses found a way to get rid of machines in their drive to rid themselves of Windows XP, and make a difference in the world while doing it.
We have a whole bunch of sponsors to thank:
- MicroWarehouse: My employers were the primary sponsor. This event would not have happened without the huge effort by John Moran. I would have been happy with a projector in a shed (with VPN access to my lab) but John made this a professional event.
- Microsoft: Thanks for the support from Ciaran Keohane, the help from Michael Meagher.
- Ergo: One of the leading Microsoft partners in Ireland, regularly winning Server partner of the year.
- DataOn Storage: One of the manufacturers of certified Storage Spaces hardware
- Savision: Creating dashboards for System Center that aid IT operations.
- Toshiba: who had some devices on hand (including their new 8” Windows 8.1 tablet), most of which aren’t even on sale yet!
A big thank you goes out to each speaker who prepared 75 minute sessions (two of them in the case of Damian). In case you don’t know, that’s probably a couple of days work in preparing slides, demos, and rehearsing, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning.
And finally, thanks to everyone who helped us communicate the event, and of course, came to the event to hear about these new solutions. I hope the day proved valuable.
We had a number of people ask if we’ll run more events like this next year. I believe that this is something that we will strongly consider. There won’t be any launch stuff for us to cover for a while, so maybe we’d look at doing more “here’s how” content. We’ll have to review and consider our options before we make any decisions.