Saturday, May 01, 2010

Another Heckuva TEC

Back from the TEC conference, oddly wishing it was a day or two longer.  There’s always so many great people to hang out with to trade stories with.

The Venue

No matter how much money I lose I always have fun in Vegas but this year’s venue was pretty sweet.  The hotel was gorgeous, which worked out really well since I didn’t stray far from it.

The Keynote

Opening with a video of the TEC chicken was hilarious, but even funnier was the quip from the audience when Gil announced the challenges to the speakers, “Build FIM with cardboard, duct tape and bailing wire” to which somebody piped up, “Isn’t that what Microsoft did?”.  Ouch indeed, but Conrad soon took the stage to introduce himself as the GM after a pretty big re-org.  My expectations are pretty high for the next major release, and I am confident they’ve organized in such a way to get there.  This will all be fun to track but the reality is that we are going to be very busy deploying FIM, and that subject is what really matters for us in the trenches of identity integration, right?

The Sessions

The conference was small as usual, and for FIM we had two tracks with no repeats which made for some tough choices sometimes.  My PowerShell session was so much fun to deliver I gave it another go on the last day.

I missed Fred’s session on FIM Futures, but it will be one of the first ones I look for on YouTube, since everybody seemed to refer to it over and over again. 

David Lundell offered up his regular guidance on FIM performance, and had some great tips for solving some of the challenges for the initial loading of the FIM service.

Jeremy Palenchar and Gil had an awesome session that brought back memories of Mission Control.  They were able to demonstrate Request parsing whereby they could dig through the Requests in FIM to reproduce every change to an object in the service.  This has some huge potential, and one could easily argue that this should have been in the box.

Gil demonstrated the PowerShell cmdlets by Quest built for FIM.  These are really cool, and I’ve already been able to use them as a workaround for a bug in the cmdlets shipped by the FIM team.  Way to go Gil!

Jeremy Palenchar did another great session, kind of a part 2 to his Speech Server demo last year.  This year he demonstrated an Authentication WF with integration to Speech Server for self-service password reset.  There were two great things about this session:

1. How cool to see FIM detect an account lockout then react by calling your phone to notify and prompt for a reset, all accomplished by phone?

2. The FIM service is complex and it is easy to get overwhelmed by it.  Watching such an elegant demo reminds you that the FIM service can be even more powerful than complex.

Next Up

I was scrambling to put a session together for Wednesday, but I only found out days before that I even had the opportunity.  Unfortunately the session wasn’t ready, so it wouldn’t have been fair to any attendees to watch me fake it.

The session topic is something I am quite passionate about, and people I’ve talked to seem to share my passion so next up I am going to propose this session:

Dev Tools for the IT Pro Deploying FIM

Each release of FIM brings increases in complexity and the product shifts focus farther away from the IT Pro into the realm of the Developer.  The time has come to embrace this shift by treating FIM deployments like the software developments they really are.  This session touches on methodology but stays rooted in fun tools and techniques.

So, would you come to a session like that?

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