Today I was at the spring MSDN Technet brief in Rotterdam, a free event that you can attend, where Microsoft and partners get you up to speed on the goings on, and where you can follow some interesting sessions and labs.
The Keynote, given my MS’ Tony Krijnen (exellent speaker) of course focused on the bran-spanking-new SP1 release for Windows Server 2003, which was last night released as RTM, aswell as going into some depth on the x64 versions of MS products that are also RTM as of today.
No mention though of the new Exchange 2006, even though that news has seen hitting the MS news crowd today also.
Followed 2 sessions on security, one was on security policies, which was terribly presented, and was nothing new for me. The other was very interesting; all on hardening and securing Exchange 2003, which I still have way too little experience with. Level 300 material does it for me! 😉
Also attended an in-depth session on Service Pack 1, with special focuse of course on the new Security Configuration Wizzard. I couln’t help but wonder weather there is now a rather large overlap in the way one can role-out security settings, and the tools one can use for it: Group Policies and the various interfaces we use to administer them, Security Templates used locally, again with associated consoles, now the SCW. I mean.. all great stuff, but i feel MS might be getting a little bit away from itself here with all these different aspects of doing basicly the same thing!
Also demo’d briefly today was Visual Studio’s new DSI (Dynamic Systems Initiative) interface, by which I actually mean the Visual Studio 2005 Team System To show it off they did a little play-act between the “sysadmin” and the “developer” , where the developer could inport a “model” of the sysadmins network, and test application design and deployment against it. This was definatly a tool that got me looking, and I would make good use of it if the oppertunity presented itself. However.. I have very rarely been directly involved with developers, because of the services-based orientation of my job.
Now it was interesting to see this particular angle of DSI, as I was more aware of it as a drive towards more interoperability and procedural administration (think MOF), amungs other things. That there is also this development integration aspect was not something I was aware of, so back to the technet site for me! (or perhaps the MSDN site? 😉
Also demonstrated was the Office Communicator 2005 (Istanbul), the client portion of Live Communication Server 2005. I was impressed by the deeper integration it appears to offer.. also it looks dead cool with its steely gray standard skin 😉 Tried in vain to find a picture to post here, must be NDA or something 🙁
We also got a little sneak preview of Windows Server 2003 “R2” in action.. we where briefly shown the Active Directory Federation Services tool, where you can couple AD to another Identity system. Learn more about ADFS here and here . (for lack of a better resource currently). After hearing all those cool talks on Federated Identity on IT Conversations, this was pretty cool to see. Also, being the silly and backward Dutch IT crowd, I am sure this is the first time many of them even heard the word ‘federation’ ..or “Identity” for that matter 😉