Wednesday, October 31, 2012

TEC Europe Review

Barcelona was a nice break from Seattle, except for the thunderstorms but those just gave me an excuse to camp in my hotel room and tweak my decks and demos.

The week before TEC I pulled the plug on my OData session because ‘experimental’ turned into ‘holy kittens this is way harder than I hoped’.  Gil was kind enough to let me switch this session for a session on ‘FIM Workflow Using PowerShell’.  The session went very well, and I even did a lot of demos which all worked quite well except for…

Beware the Spanish Wifi… the day before my first session I was sitting in the conference, connected to the conference wifi on my Win8 laptop.  I’ve been running Win8 for over a month and have been very happy with the stability.  Sitting there taking notes, suddenly I was graced with about a dozen Win8 blue screens.  Turned out to be a problem with the Hyper-V bridge adapter, something specific to that access point.  Disabling the bridge adapter was a good enough workaround.  Luckily the bug didn’t interrupt my sessions or fail any of my demos.  Phew!

My last session was the ‘FIM PowerShell Deep Dive’ and my intent was to re-deliver last year’s deck, then I realized I could do a LOT better.  Last year I pretty much told people about the scripts they could write.  This year I showcased a lot of the commands from the FIM PowerShell Module on CodePlex (fimpowershellmodule.codeplex.com).  It turned into a huge demo-fest where I showed what the OOB commands do, then how to extend them with the FIM PowerShell Module.  Attendance wasn’t huge, but everybody stayed for the intended hour, and stuck around for another hour.  There was no session scheduled after mine, so I continued on through and kept doing demos.  It was actually a lot of fun, and 100% of what I showed in the demos is available on CodePlex.

There was an odd hole where the FIM product group used to be at this conference.  Maybe it was budgets or schedule mayhem, but I can’t believe it was intentional since this is such a great opportunity to rally the FIM field.

Dell held another event right after TEC in the same location, and you could tell it was more sales oriented because the food suddenly improved and there were a LOT more people wearing suits.  Looking forward to another TEC next year, and can’t wait to hear where it’s gonna be!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

PhoneFactor Joins Microsoft, and FIM?

Yeah BHOLD was an interesting addition to FIM, but PhoneFactor is pretty exciting too!  I’ve watched Jeremy’s sessions at TEC, as well as demos by the guys at ActiveIDM with phone integration, and it is always very cool to see. 

PhoneFactor Joins Microsoft

You can see how this could be added to FIM for AuthN workflows (how cool would it be if this became part of the FIM Request Processor?), but you could also see how cool this would be as part of Win8 and Active Directory.

This would be a big win for IT Pros if FIM adopts PhoneFactor and makes this integration simple.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Summits, Summits, Everywhere!

Pretty neat.  A new summit focused on Identity and Access has just been announced:

Redmond Identity, Access & Directory Knowledge Summit 2013, USA

The event is organized by Oxford Computer Group and will be in Redmond in January.  Oxford runs a similar event in the UK that has been quite successful, so it will be nice to have one on this side of the pond, and once again right in my backyard!

Endangered IT species No. 8: The Purple-Tufted Programmer (Codus cobolus)

Network World published this interesting slideshow.  Slide 9 introduces Endangered IT species No. 8: The Purple-Tufted Programmer (Codus cobolus).  The interesting part is this tidbit, which can easily be seen as Identity Management junkies:

IT pros who only hack code may quickly wind up on the wrong side of the evolutionary divide.

The advice for avoiding extinction is spot on:

Coders who want to survive need to expand their expertise and align their skills with the needs of the business, says StorageIO Group senior adviser Greg Schulz.

"Coders and script junkies need to also be integrators of business logic, cloud tools, and more, or they'll join the ranks of mainframers who are becoming extinct," he says.

If you’ve worked with FIM, you are already behaving like an integrator.  FIM is the glue that binds lots and lots of systems together, so Darwin may forgive your script junkie tendencies.  For now…

So Long, XMA

Per MSDN the XMA has been deprecated, after a long run of fun MA developments.  The new and improved framework, ECMA 2.0 is the way to develop connectors going forward.  Times have really changed since the XMA was first introduced, and while the new framework is way more complete, I sure had fun (and lost hair) banging on XMAs trying to extend Sync into other systems.

The new framework delivers features that make connector development more developer friendly, and a higher bar for IT Pros, but this IMHO is a good thing since the average IT Pro probably should not be developing connectors anyhow.  My opinion on that changes drastically when PowerShell is involved, which makes the PowerShell MA by Søren Granfeldt pretty exciting.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

PowerShell Summit North America 2013

I was a bit bummed to learn that The Experts Conference no longer had the PowerShell Deep Dive track.  Turns out I got lucky and the PowerShell Deep Dive morphed into a new community-owned and –operated event called the PowerShell Summit (lucky because I live near where the event is, and could ride my bike to attend it instead of flying).

The event will follow the same format as the PowerShell Deep Dive, whereby each session is just 35 minutes.  You can create an account at PowerShell.org, then login to view the session proposals.  Session proposals will be voted on to determine who will be the next contestant on So You Think You Can Script.

Why am I excited about attending?  Every new thing I learn in PowerShell makes me better at my job.  Browsing the session proposals I can easily spot a dozen things I want to learn more about, in order to do my job better.  Actually I really just want to do my job FASTER so that I can hang out with my family, ride my bike, and play hockey, etc.

This looks to be an awesome event and I can’t wait to attend!

Friday, October 05, 2012

TEC 2012–I’m Speaking!

I’ve been honoured with the opportunity to speak at The Experts Conference in Barcelona!

This time I’m giving two talks:

FIM / PowerShell Deep Dive

Bring your big ears, I’m going to blast through what you need to know about PowerShell in order to make your FIM deployments better.  If you work with FIM, you NEED to come to this session.

FIM as an OData Endpoint

FIM is a powerful policy and workflow engine hiding behind a set of web services that are no picnic. 

PowerShell is a powerful automation and integration platform turning DevOps into reality.

Version 3.0 of PowerShell has just shipped and comes with a very interesting solution to FIM’s API challenges; the Management OData IIS Extension.  This feature enables IIS to expose your management data (think FIM) accessed through PowerShell, as OData Web service entities.  So instead of querying the FIM web service for person objects, you could use URLs like this:

Pretty cool, and that is just the GET verbs.  You can also map to the other verbs to support Create, Update and  Delete.

I’m looking forward to getting my demos together for this one!