What the heck happened at TechEd 2013?

July 24, 2013 at 8:59 am | Posted in Kaplan IT Training news, Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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TechEd 2013 in New Orleans started with James Bond and ended, no lie, with me dancing on stage with Tina Turner. In between those two events, I did some technical stuff and saw some technical things.

As you may have heard by now, Microsoft Vice President Brad Anderson started the keynote speech by driving onto the stage in an Aston Martin, doing his best James Bond imitation.
Color me impressed.

Moving onto more relevant news: Microsoft announced the R2 revision to Windows Server 2012 as well as a new version of SQL, SQL Server 2014. During the keynote speech Brad Anderson gave a demonstration of the speed of Live Migration with Server 2012 R2. Server 2012 R2 performs Live Migration with compression that brings a significant improvement over Window Server 2012. SQL Server 2014 will support migration to Windows Azure virtual machines.

I got to attend a nice session on how SQL Server 2014 can easily back up and restore to the cloud, plus the improved “Always On” functionalities. For those of you unable to attend a TechEd session, you can bring yourself up to speed by reviewing the official SQL Server Blog, this article from Redmond Magazine, and this MSDN video, “Getting the Most out of Windows Azure Storage.”

The title of the keynote speech should have been “Cloud…James Cloud.” Microsoft is soaring toward the cloud at the speed of sound. Companies that currently manage a private clouds,  use a public cloud, or use some type of hybrid cloud configuration were excited to see improvements to Windows Azure, System Center, and Windows Intune.  A few bullet points:

  • With Windows Azure services for Windows Server, hosters can use System Center to manage hosted environments from a single management console in System Center.
  • Azure and Windows Server can offer web hosting and manage virtual machines.
  • Windows Intune is a cloud-based systems management and security service that can help integrate BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

The BYOD sessions at TechEd were heavily attended. IT professionals need to connect to network resources with their iOS, Android and Windows devices. Microsoft said that they would provide support iPads and other devices in future updates.

One of the more interesting sessions I attended was the “Case of the Unexplained 2013: Windows Troubleshooting with Mark Russinovich“. It was informative and funny.

One of the more popular attractions at TechEd was that perennial favorite, the Hands On Labs. An attendee could go to the Hands On Labs and get their hands dirty with the latest technology. I got to work in the Hands On Labs this year. The Server 2012 R2 (Yes, Server 2012 R2!), Lync, and SharePoint labs were very popular. At certain times during TechEd, there was hardly a seat available for an attendee.


One nice bonus: Microsoft announced that attendees were given the opportunity to purchase Surface RT tablets for $99 and Surface PRO tablets for $399.


There was a mass rush for these tablets. Lines to purchase the tablets stretched for what seemed like miles. I heard of people that waited hours in line to purchase the tablets. It was a complete zoo.


However, Microsoft had plenty of tablets, they did not run out, and both Josh and I came back with shiny new tablets. For those of you who would like to run Transcender test engine software on the tablet: we are both running it with no problems, but not as an installed application. You have to run it in Internet Explorer (in compatibility mode).

Screen of Surface RT

Microsoft Surface RT running Transcender’s online test engine. Plus Daddy’s little helpers.

As always, Microsoft had a blow out party during TechEd; since this was New Orleans, it was held at the Superdome and featured the famous local music and culture.

Future NFL Hall of Famer, Drew Brees, played football with the TechEd attendees.One of my co-workers dropped a pass thrown from Mr. Brees. Tina Turner sang for the crowd. In what was probably the most surreal and memorable of my TechEd attendances to date, I, George Monsalvatge, got to go onstage with Ms. Turner and dance to “Proud Mary”.


The Transcender crew had a great time and I learned a lot.  Such as: I can’t dance. Or at least not with that many people staring at me.


Josh Hester, Aima Rotella, and Yours Truly. BTW, that’s not a booth babe, that’s our boss.

Until next time,

George Monsalvatge

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