This was my first time attending this event and I was fairly disappointed with it. This is not to say that I didn’t get any value from it – I did. But MS tried to do to much in too short a time with too diverse an audience. The intial informal survey of the audience indicated that there was a mix between SharePoint Admins, developers, those who had little experience with the platform and those that weren’t running it and wanted to learn more.
The initial session was titled Deploying MOSS in a virtualized world. The speaker was very knowledgable. The topics covered ranged from SharePoint topologies, server relationships and roles, interesting facts on the mechanics of search indexing and querying, options for installing SharePoint, application log errors, information SQL Server aliasing, backup and DR options as well as some information about Hyper-V virtualization. All this in an hour and a half! Regardless, I talked to the presenter afterwards and got some excellent information about the mechanics of search indexing and moving your query services to your WFE. This is something I have been considering for some time.
The next session was held by Eli Robillard, a long time SharePoint MVP that I have worked with in the past. His level of knowledge is quite frankly incredible. He spoke about versioning and upgrade of SharePoint based solutions. It was interesting but very, very detailed but I wasn’t clear on why it was not part of a development related track. For the non-developer audience, which was most of the room, he might as well have been speaking Mandarin. This is no way a knock on Eli, he is a wonderful presenter.
The following session was Comprehensive Security for MOSS 2007. This was interesting but the coverage was too broad in my view. There was good information about service accounts, permission levels, zones, authentication providers, FBA etc. I found this quite useful. The presenter then moved into standard SharePoint security. I couldn’t quite grasp how someone that didn’t understand SharePoint OOB security would possibly benefit from a presentation the more administrative and technical aspects of security required to run the MOSS platform.
So overall I was disappointed but did come away with some information that I can use. My advice to Microsoft is firstly to narrow the focus of the presentations. Cover fewer topics more effectively. Making the registration process more proactive in understanding the audience would be useful as well. Personally I don’t think taking a show of hands to see who is a SharePoint admin at the beginning of the day is the appropriate time to get an understanding of your audience.
Will I go next year? No. However I’m glad I experienced it this year. By the way – the breakfast was great, the lunch was awful.