Headed down to registration around 0800 – HOLY COW, the line was long!  It took about an hour to get through registration.  The Shwag is pretty nice:  The shirt is a gray Nike polo, the bag is pretty understated and functional – good stuff.

I started my day first thing with SD-IL306 System Center 2012 Orchestrator: Install and Integrate.  The session was cut short because of technical issues, but it was still really good to walk through the configuration of Integration packs.  That by itself met my criteria for attaining some useable skills.  The same content is available in the Hands on Labs, so I’ll be hitting that up to complete the labs.

My next session was CD-B207 Configuration Manager 2012: Getting Started. This session was seriously packed.  I would guess close to 1000 people seated and a bunch of people standing.  Jason Sandys was the primary speaker.  Jason is really engaging speaker, so overall the session was enjoyable – but it was a lot of comparing how ConfigMgr 2012 is different from ConfigMgr 2007.  Hearing the concepts is good, but I still have some work to do to have a reasonable grasp of the technology.  I can see some home lab time on this one.

Jason Sandys session at MMS

(Photo courtesy of @CFullerMVP)

My final session for the day was FI-B308 Getting to the System Center 2012 Datacenter Stack.  This session was done by the Microsoft Program Managers in charge of MPSD.  I didn’t jot down what that acronym stands for, and I think it’s new because I don’t remember seeing it before but I have definitely seen the sessions “How Microsoft does IT”.  Basically the two Program Managers in charge of Microsoft Data Center Monitoring and Management.  This session was sparsely attended and I think that is kind of a shame.  Maybe it’s the ConfigMgr leanings of the conference attendees (this was mostly about OpsMgr and SCSM).  What an opportunity to hear how a large organization is currently using System Center, and how they plan to roll out aspects they are not currently using.

As a group they are monitoring ~7000 servers, mostly web Apps (Microsoft.com, blogs.technet, Windows Update, etc).   One key thing that I heard: To effectively adopt System Center 2012 requires operational maturity, which I think is really true – and no small elephant to bbq.

Some Points of interest from their OpsManager migration:

  • Migrating and not upgrading:
    • OM 2007 hardware is reaching EOL
    • They are taking the opportunity to upgrade the OM2007 Agents to OM 2012 and multi-home.
  • They are pointing ALL agents to Gateway Servers, no agents are pointed at Management Servers.
    • In testing they felt like Management Servers doing the SQL inserts were giving higher priority to Gateways vs. agent to Mgmt. Server in terms of packets on the wire.
  • They are very happy to have done away with the single point of failure RMS, and feel like the Config Service is performing much better using resource pools.
  • New features they are using today:
    • New Dashboards
    • Visio MP designer
    • Web Availability monitoring

I’m off to the expo!