On June 19, right back from this year’s TechEd, John Sheesley told us what was hot—and what wasn’t—at this year’s conference. If you couldn’t join us then, enjoy the transcript and we hope to see you on our next live Guild Meeting.

On June 19, right back from this year’s TechEd, John Sheesley told us what was hot—and what wasn’t—at this year’s conference.If you couldn’t join us then, enjoy the transcript and we hope to see you on our next live Guild Meeting.

Note: TechProGuild edits Guild Meeting transcripts for clarity.

Welcome to TechEd 2000
MODERATOR: Welcome to the Guild Meeting! Just back from TechEd, John Sheesley’s here to provide the skinny on what’s hot and what’s not from this year’s conference. Today’s top chatter will receive a copy of O’Reilly’s Windows 2000 Active Directory.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Thank you Ms. Moderator. TechEd is Microsoft’s annual technical conference. Microsoft launched TechEd eight years ago as a venue for Microsoft developers to come together to find out and discuss the latest and upcoming technology. Later, Microsoft expanded TechEd to include things for system administrators as well.

Last year’s TechEd was held in Dallas, TX, and was one of the largest ever. This year broke all records. Whereas the first TechEd was attended by only around 1,000 people, this year’s sold out with over 14,000 in attendance. This year, TechEd was held in Orlando, FL. As was the case last year, there were both developer and administration tracks. This year they offered people who couldn’t make it to Orlando the opportunity to pay for certain individual sessions that were Webcast on a pay-per-view basis.

I didn’t attend any of the developer tracks, but instead I focused on the administration ones. Surprisingly, there was little direct focus on Windows 2000. I assume they did that because of the new Windows 2000 conferences that Microsoft is holding. However, it was strangely reminiscent of BrainShare where I noticed there was little direct focus on Netware 5.1.

No news about VB 7
MODERATOR: Who has the first TechEd question for John?

JLONG: Even in the Admin tracks, was there any mention of Visual Basic 7?

JOHN SHEESLEY: It seemed as if Visual Basic didn’t exist… except for mention of VBA. Most of the developer sessions focused on XML and COM+. Those that were language specific were mostly C++. There was discussion of some of the newer versions coming out in Visual Studio. They appeared to be mostly marketing pitches.

Turn down those advertisements
JOHN SHEESLEY: The actual marketing level of the sessions was much lower this year than last. TechEd99 at times seemed to be one long sales pitch for Windows 2000. From the sessions I attended, the sales pitch was Exchange 2000 and BackOffice. That said, the Exchange sessions were fairly detailed and gave lots of good information. The basic gist of the Exchange 2000 sessions was this… you can’t just take a sip of the Win2k KoolAid—you hafta drink the whole vat. Meaning, to go to Exchange 2000 you must go to Windows 2000 Server, which also means that you must implement IIS 5.0, Active Directory, and Microsoft’s DNS server. The main push to get people to go to Win2K Server now doesn’t seem to be for Active Directory itself or any of the other new features, but rather to get all the new features in Exchange 2000 and the new features in BackOffice 2000.

Did Microsoft say security?
JOHN SHEESLEY: Proxy Server will go away. The next version of it will be Microsoft’s ISA (Internet Security and Acceleration) server.

JWALLEN: Microsoft is actually putting the word “security” in something of theirs? How are they going to redefine their entire model to include security?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Apparently they are. ISA Server does a lot more than Proxy Server does, and naturally, it leverages AD.

NCADLE: Tell us more about ISA.

JOHN SHEESLEY: ISA does most of the same things as Proxy; it’s still so far in beta testing that the details were rather sketchy.

BackOffice’s licensing arrangements
JLONG: Regarding the new licensing model that Microsoft is using, was there any negative feedback from any of the attendees, even among themselves?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Actually, there was some positive feedback about some licensing changes in Backoffice. Microsoft has now changed the BackOffice license to allow you to break up a Backoffice package and spread it out on up to three servers. You can buy one copy of Backoffice and put Exchange on one server, ISA on another, and SQL on another, and they can all be under the same license.

JLONG: I thought the license(s) were based on the number of CPUs?

JOHN SHEESLEY: I don’t think they are… a four-processor server costs the same as an eight-processor server, as long as you are using Win2K Advanced server.

Win2K server will scale to four processors, and Advanced to eight. Above that, you must go to Data Center server, which still isn’t shipping but was talked about a lot in some of the sessions.

Performance enhancers
JOHN SHEESLEY: Microsoft made much hay of some recent Web site performance metrics using an eight-way Compaq processor, SQL Server 2000, IIS 5.0 and Win2K Advanced. The price/performance ratios were better than any UNIX platform, and the performance results were almost double that of the nearest tested competitor, which I believe was an RS6000 cluster using DB2. Of course, you had to take an extra swig of KoolAid.

TechEd looks to the future
JOHN SHEESLEY: TechEd really isn’t the place to be for beginners. If you want to go there to learn how to do your current job, you’re better off spending the money on local courses and training. However, TechEd does provide a good opportunity to see what’s coming out in the next year or two, so you can start planning and budgeting your future direction. For example, out of the 40 some odd Exchange sessions available, only four or five of them were dedicated to Exchange 5.5, the current version. Likewise there were many more sessions for SQL Server 2000 than there were for SQL Server 6.5.

What’s the scoop on Microsoft’s future?
JCARLISLE: What about the potential breakup of Microsoft? What was the view of it from there?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Surprisingly, there wasn’t much reaction at all. Most of the attendees seemed to follow the party line. It didn’t matter because the decision would be overturned on appeal. And even if it wasn’t, things wouldn’t change much in the near term because the applications and operating systems were so firmly entrenched that they weren’t going to switch now no matter what happened.

That’s a wrap
MODERATOR: If there are no further questions, we’ll go ahead and adjourn this meeting. Thanks everyone.
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