IT/DevConnections Day 1

dc14-header-logoToday was day one (for me) of ITDevConnections 2014 held in Las Vegas. I wanted to do a quick post of some of the sessions I went through and some of the things I learned.

It started at breakfast I started talking to a couple of guys who work for a company doing a new form of marketing which I thought was interesting. I may not be saying this correctly, but the gist was they link banks with various companies such that when you use your ATM card at, in the example we talked about, Home Depot, you would automatically get a coupon applied to your order. Not exactly at that time, but some time down the road, the bank would apply the money you saved back to your account, like a refund. Couponless coupons I think they called it. Anyways, interesting.

My first session was a presentation Mark Minasi (, @mminasi) called “Windows Clusters for Beginners: From Highly Fearful to Highly Reliable in 75 Minutes!” Now, I’ve used clusters before but generally only how the pertain to Exchange. I went to this one hoping to get some new info maybe I didn’t know before. It’s always good to go over things, especially from an expert like Mark.

Mark has a great presentation style, very clear very concise and very engaging. He took the time to talk with everyone before the presentation to get a little info on them and what they wanted to get out of the presentation. The presentation was very much a starting point for learning about Clusters. For me, it was good to go over things. Like I said, I don’t really live in Clustering, and it was helpful to hear the history and how the bits and pieces worked. Mark is very good at presenting complex material in a straight forward way. If you get a chance to see one of his presentations, I would do it. He also presents on (If you don’t know what pluralsight is, check it out).

Next, was a presentation by Andy Malone @AndyMalone. Andy is an MVP for Security and now a published Sci-Fi author (The Seventh Day). Andy’s presentation “Office 365: Migrating Your Business to Office 365” went through all the various ways in which mailboxes can be migrated from using pst files to hybrid. There was only so much time, and really a lot to cover and Andy got it all in, complete with demos. Along the way Andy gave out some key pieces of intel. which anyone doing a migration to Office 365 would like to have.

  • 9 out of 10 errors come from DNS issues (IMAP migrations)
  • OST files are recreated so be ready for that.
  • Where DirSync is needed and when it is not.
  • Dynamic Distribution Lists don’t migrate in a staged migration nor is Send-As rights.
  • And more…

Lots of things to go over. There is a Hybrid migration presentation coming up that I’ll have to go to (If there isn’t something else I’m interested in more)

During lunch, the conversation was about land owners not having mineral rights in the North Dakota areas where they’re doing fracking and how much Cobalt coders are making because no one wants to code in Cobalt! You meet interesting people at these conventions.Bxr0anxCMAAfAi5

After lunch was a REAL treat. One of the reasons I came to the ITDevConnection convention… Jeffry Snover with Hemant Mahawar presenting on “PowerShell Desired State Configuration for Securing Systems.” Jeffry called it “Chewy,” as in lots of information to chew on and boy was he right. The rough concept is you’re environment is hacked <period, end of story>. Here is an easy way to create a secure, cocoon-like area where people can do their work. In short, you create a subdomain of the current domain and, using PowerShell and DSC, create a new environment where “the bad guys” can’t get into. basically strip out the domain admin permissions on systems, setup a “Jumpbox” (a system that administrators need to go through) using PowerShell remoting that is stripped down to only the commands they need and only the end users can read/edit/delete files. In the example we were working with file systems. Here is a slide Jeffry retweeted from someone in the audience: PowerShell DSC for securing systems slide.

I’m sure I’m not doing his presentation justice, so please don’t go by what I say alone. It was a great presentation plus we got to talk about some of the great new features in PowerShell v5 like classes! Such great stuff here. If you’re not using PowerShell you’re wasting your time.

The last presentation for the day, for me, was “MAPI/HTTP in Depth” with Bhargav Shukla who works for Kemp Technologies. This may have been a bit too in-depth for me for the end of the day. I may still have been thinking about the DSC presentation previous. Bhargav did go over a lot of information about the transition from MAPI wrapped in RPC wrapped in HTTP to MAPI under HTTP and where the pros and cons of it is. It seems as though you get better performance and better end-user experience with MAPI over HTTP but there is a higher processor cost on the Exchange CAS servers. In the long run, it may be worth it to make this change. I would speculate the change isn’t going away anytime soon.

So, It was a great day, I learned a ton of stuff and I feel like my first day alone was worth the trip. Did I mention I’m paying for all of this and not my employer or anyone else. I’m doing this for me, so I can be better at what I do and it is totally worth it. Should have started doing this years ago.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for day 2 & 3!


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