We wrapped up the Boston Exchange Maestro event today, and it was quite good! (Except that I had hoped to finish my summary before Tony got his writeup done… perhaps I’ll have better luck next time.)
Tony kicked the morning off with an optional 8am session on migration considerations. As much of the class is still on Exchange 2003, this was well-attended. There’s a wide variety of environments out there, and I enjoyed hearing the attendees’ specific questions about exactly how to accomplish specific tasks in their environment.
I then gave a longer-than-expected presentation on Exchange scalability. It took more than the 90 minutes I’d allotted, and there were still many areas of the topic that I didn’t get to delve into. In particular, I would like to have enough time to walk through more of the details of the Exchange 2010 mailbox role storage calculator. There’s way more there than I can cover in such a limited amount of time, though we did have some interesting discussions around storage provisioning.
The high point of the day was our group work. Tony, playing the role of a hard-nosed corporate CIO, gave the attendees a high-level description of an Exchange 2003 environment with 12,000 users and a simple set of requirements. Their task was to break into groups and develop high-level designs, then present them. We were joined by two consultants from HP’s services organization who circulated around and helped the groups identify the key points required for their designs. At the end of an hour, Tony and I had the attendees mail us their presentations, then I chose three teams to present their designs for Tony’s scrutiny. Our presenters showed a great deal of mental agility in answering Tony’s sometimes-pointed questions.
The low point of the day was finding a live roach in my sandwich. As Tony points out, this can indeed happen at almost any hotel; however, we had a long string of problems here, ranging from noisy construction work during our classes (which Melissa quickly stopped) to numerous A/V problems to getting kicked out of the room earlier than we’d planned. This sort of thing does happen from time to time, but I think and expect that we’ll have better luck in Anaheim.
One of the most valuable things about this training is that we’re trying to move the emphasis away from the purely technical. The general level of training for Exchange is fairly low: the official Microsoft curriculum is too limited, and the variance in instructor quality too great. We wanted to deliver training with more technical depth and an exploration of the business issues behind Exchange 2010 deployment. I feel like we did that here, and we’re both looking for opportunities to sharpen that message in our future events.
Tomorrow I have an early-morning flight back to San Jose, where I’m looking forward to spending some time with the boys. Sunday night I head down to Anaheim for our next event, which I’m looking forward to quite a bit.