TechEd, days 2 and 3

Tuesday, day 2 at TechEd, was one of the busiest days I’ve had in a while. I spent part of the morning preparing for my afternoon Interactive Theater session on Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online offering, then worked a three-hour booth shift, this time in the Protection and Compliance booth. I was a little surprised with the number of questions that centered on Active Directory Rights Management Services; lots of people wanted to know more about Outlook protection rules (the new feature that lets you push a policy to Outlook clients that requires them to apply specific RMS templates to certain messages) and transport rules for RMS application. We also had a few archiving and cross-mailbox-search questions too, although not as many as I expected going in.

In the afternoon, I held UNC01-INT, a live demo and chalk talk on the Business Productivity Online suite. It was fairly well attended; I’d guess that there were about 40 people in the room. Thankfully my demos all went well; I showed the Microsoft Online Customer Portal, which you use for signup, billing, and so on, as well as the “my company” portal and the BPO single-sign-on agent. For the web-based portions of the demo, I used Windows 7 RC with IE8, and it performed flawlessly– a good sign for the stability and utility of the release version.

The Business Productivity Online team scheduled a thank-you dinner at Ciudad for the people who spoke on BPO topics, and they were kind enough to invite me to join them. At my end of the table, I had a former commercial fisherman who was born and raised in Alaska, a man who worked two summers in college as a commercial fisherman in Alaska, and an avid fisherman from Seattle. You can probably guess what we talked about!

Wednesday was the big enchilada: UNC304, my talk on OCS deployment and management. However, before I could do that session, I had another turn of booth duty, this time in the deployment and management booth. I could distill the bulk of the questions I got into two individual queries: Is it true that you can do online mailbox moves in Exchange 2010, and if I’m using Exchange 2003 right now, should I move to Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2010? These were popular enough questions that I’m working on separate posts for them.

The session itself went well, although I was in one of the cavernous 600-seat rooms, so it felt kind of empty. I demoed the OCS 2007 R2 topology planning tool and showed some screen shots of the new device management console (having neglected to bring a real device with me to manage!) Afterwards I got into a long discussion with some folks from the University of Florida about how their helpdesk might use OCS, plus I met Tyler Regas for the first time face-to-face. Following the session, I had to duck out and grab a taxi to the airport to catch my flight home.

One post-show update: in UNC304, I mentioned the client interoperability matrix for using multiple points of presence, or MPOP. Microsoft’s Peter Schmatz was kind enough to send along an updated link to the most recent matrix; it’s here.

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