Our sessions for this year’s TechDays are:

— Cloud & Virtualization Track —

10 Tips for Success with Private Cloud – Darren Mar-Elia – In this presentation, Darren will go through the practical ins-and-outs of deploying a private cloud, and provide tips for success and traps to avoid to ensure your private cloud deployments are successful. This session will focus less on particular technology or product implementations and more on best practices to ensure that the private clouds you deploy meet your business and technical requirements.

Taking Advantage of the Cloud: Connecting to SaaSJessica DeVita – In this session, Jessica will guide you through evaluation, testing, selecting and integrating the cloud services your business needs, like CRM, helpdesk or accounting products. Implementing the right SaaS solutions, from understanding TOS, SLA’s, growth, uptime, backups and encryption, she’ll help you understand and plan for your business’s unique cloud needs.

Designing Hyper-V in the Real World (Parts 1 &2) – Steve Evans / Nick Hawkins – Cut past the hype and let’s talk about the real world design decisions you need to make when building your Hyper-V infrastructure.  We won’t just prescribe the solution, but talk through the decisions and the pros and cons of the different options.

Windows Azure Management on Steroids from the Command Line – Glenn Block – If you are deploying solutions to Windows Azure or using Azure Services, there’s a great set of tools at your fingertips for managing your Azure assets, The Windows Azure command line tools. Come to this talk and we’ll see how you can manage your compute and service arsenal right from your favorite shell whether running on Mac, Windows or Linux.

Windows Azure Overview – Chris Avis –  This will be a general overview of Windows Azure to introduce IT Pros to what is available right now and what is on the horizon. When first announced, Windows Azure held the promise of unifying cloud computing for Windows under one umbrella. But until recently, there wasn’t much that could be used by anyone other than developers. Now with Windows Azure Active Directory, VM Roles, and advanced networking features in the “preview” stage, Microsoft is showing IT Pros what they can do to connect their on-premise infrastructure to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) in Windows Azure.

Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Chris Avis – Cloud Computing has taken center stage in recent years. The ability to host workloads in the cloud provides unparalleled scalability for production workloads and now – Infrastructure as a Service. Virtualization kicked off the trend of requiring less server hardware on premise. Will IaaS eliminate local servers completely? Maybe someday, but for now, we will be looking at how to connect traditional on-premise infrastructure with what we can do today in Windows Azure.

How Microsoft Has Adopted Office 365 and Azure – Laura Hunter –  In this unique session, come and hear about adopting and implementing the Microsoft Cloud from a seasoned Identity professional who has been working with these technologies first-hand from Day One. We’ll begin with an overview and description of the technologies which allow an Identity Management professional to interact with both Windows Azure and Office 365. We’ll then walk through a real-life example of integrating Microsoft cloud technologies from the perspective of both the application developer and the infrastructure architect. Along the way, we’ll share best practices and tales from the trenches from customers, partners, and Microsoft’s own evangelists and internal Identity Management architects.


— PowerShell Track —

Troubleshoot AD with Windows PowerShellJeffery Hicks – Active Directory is one of those technologies that when it works, nobody notices. But when it doesn’t work, everyone does. Fortunately, Windows PowerShell and Windows Server 2012 make a terrific troubleshooting tool. In this session we’ll look at some common Active Directory problems, how to diagnose them and in some cases resolve, all with Windows PowerShell.

File and Folder Provisioning with PowerShell and Windows Server 2012Jeffery Hicks – If you manage file servers and aren’t using PowerShell, you are working much too hard. Or if you are using PowerShell v2 you are still working pretty hard. Fortunately PowerShell v3 along with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 offer a much better solution. This session will demonstrate how to provision and manage folders, files and file shares using PowerShell from a Windows 8 client. With a little up-front work, you ‘ll be able to create provisioning scripts to deploy a new file share in seconds.

Remote Management of Windows Server 2012 with PowerShellAleksandar Nikolic – In this demo-packed session, learn how to remotely manage Windows Server 2012 with new and improved capabilities of Windows PowerShell 3.0. Join us to see how to leverage robustness of vastly improved PowerShell Remoting, delegate administration, and access remote WMI objects by using CIM cmdlets. All demo servers will run in Server Core mode.

10 PowerShell Mistakes, Trips and Traps and How to Avoid ThemJeffery Hicks – Windows PowerShell is a language and management technology that many IT professionals, including developers, think they understand. Yet very often they get caught up in pre-conceptions and misinterpretations, usually based on prior experience with scripting or development. This session will explore the 10 most common mistakes and traps that people fall into with PowerShell and how to avoid them.

Standards-based Management with CIM CmdletsAlexsandar Nikolic – PowerShell 3.0 brings a new set of cmdlets to manage any server or device that complies with CIM and WS-Management standards. Most of the new Windows Server 2012 cmdlets are based on CIM. One of the best new features in PowerShell 3.0 is the new way to access and manage remote systems – CIM session. In this session you will learn about capabilities of new CIM cmdlets and how they compare to old WMI and WSMan cmdlets. You will also see how to use CIM sessions to access WMI information on a legacy systems, and use CIM-based cmdlets even on a system without a PowerShell.

— Windows Server Track —

Windows Server 2012 Hyper – VKevin Remde – Are you a VMware professional who is looking to get more information on Microsoft virtualization, how Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V works?  Are you wondering how it compares with VMware vSphere?  This session will introduce you to the newest version of Hyper-V virtualization.  At the end of this session, you will be more familiar with Hyper-V and Windows Server 2012 virtualization, storage, and high-availability options, and you will have a solid foundation and resources for further investigation.

Manage Server 2012 Like A Pro or Better, Like an Evil Overlord! – Mark MinasiServer 2012 comes with a real treasure trove of useful new tools, but none of those tools are of any value if you don’t know how to install them, start them up and point them where you want them to go.  Setup has changed little, but then there’s the “Core or not?” question.  In 2012, though, next question is “so does Server 2012 have a GUI at all?,” and the answer is “sure… four GUIs in fact, counting Server Core.”  There’s still something called Server Manager, but it’s completely different from the Server Managers we’ve seen since 2003 SP1.

The biggest change in server management is, however, not the all-new Server Manager;  — no, that title has to go to the ten-fold increase in PowerShell tools.  And from that point, there’s the constant need to keep an eye on things and tweak what needs tweaking.  With 2012, though, there are so many more ways to keep things running, and who better to explain those things than Windows expert and bestselling author Mark Minasi.  Give him just 75 minutes and we guarantee you’ll be ready to crack the whip on your new servers more quickly, easily, and consistently… and deliver a few laughs in the process.  Don’t miss this session, or you may end up helplessly trapped in the Roles and Features wizard, and trust us, that is a terrible way to go!

IIS: Choose Your Own AdventureSteve Evans –  Are you tired of sessions that don’t quite cover what you want to learn about? Here is your chance to take part in customizing a session just for you. Attendees will have the opportunity to vote on a selection of IIS related topics and we will cover as many of the top picks as time allows. Do you want to discuss site deployment, SSL, the art of application pools, site troubleshooting, performance optimizations, load balancers? . . . Trust me you will have a hard time choosing! You rely on IIS to host your applications. Come learn what you need to know about IIS and how it can make your life easier.

People, Process, Tools – The Essence of DevOpsRichard Campbell – DevOps is about making software better – by bringing everyone involved in software closer together, including (but not limited to): domain experts, architects, developers, designers, testers, security and operations. This session takes you through the DevOps culture, focusing on people, process and tools (in that order). You’ll learn how to get the conversation started between the teams, how to bring the teams closer together, and how to ultimately become one team (we’re all in this together)! Understanding DevOps is about focusing on what’s important: building and delivering the best software you can.

Changes to Storage in Windows 2012: File Services just got SANer – Mark Minasi – Work with Server 2012 for a while, and the same idea will keep banging into your head:  “you know, I’ll bet they built this cool thing because they needed it to make Azure inexpensive to run while still offering reliability and scaleability.”  Take, for example, shared storage — SAN boxes.  All they really are, of course, are single-purpose PCs built around x86 motherboards with space for a bunch of off-the-shelf drives, off-the-shelf Ethernet or Fibre Channel hardware of varying speeds, and then there’s the “special sauce” — the proprietary software that lets that box deliver iSCSI/Fibre Channel storage at high performance. That’s all great stuff, but it can be a bit of a pain to manage, and to pay for.

Now suppose YOU go buy the bits and pieces of PC hardware needed to deliver a SAN of some kind, but the software is just Windows Server 2012?  That’s the idea with Storage Spaces, the central new storage game-changer in Windows 8.  Why it’s a potential game-changer is that (1) such a device actually WILL be cheaper in most cases, (2) you can manage it using the Windows management tools that you already know, like PowerShell, VBscript, group policies or the Disk Management GUI, (3) because it’s a good bet that Azure runs on this stuff, it’s reasonable to expect that it’s been well-tested, and (4) inasmuch as Microsoft’s pushing the “hybrid cloud” concepts, it’ll probably run securely even across an Internet connection.

More specifically, Storage Spaces makes it easy to plug a bunch of drives into a box and combine them into something RAID-like.  You then access it via the Microsoft management tools or the familiar Storage Management Interface (SMI-S) interface used by many existing tools.

Server 2012 storage also includes yet another set of improvements in the venerable SMB file server as delivered in SMB 2.2.  SMB 2.2 lets you build a simple, inexpensive clustered share volume file server.  If you have a monster need for speed, SMB 2.2’s new SMB2 Direct can support very high speed file transfer with RDMA boards, some of which transfer data at 16 Gbps.  Where SMB REALLY changes, however, is in Dynamic Access Control (DAC), a complete re-write of the file share permissions model that we’ve known for decades.  It’s a much more flexible, role-based approach to file shares, and it’s one that enables IT pros to move some of the administration of the the shared data away from the IT pros (who have no way of knowing what shared data is more or less secure) over to the folks who own the content, and so know better what needs to be locked up tight.

But that’s not all there is to Windows 8 storage.  Disk de-duping saves space on disks as well as in BranchCache (and, for that matter, across network connections and in RAM itself).  Oh, and how could we forget to mention that running chkdsk on a server’s volumes is no longer a task to be viewed with fear and loathing?  Join Windows techie writer, speaker, and consultant in a fast, enlightening and interesting tour of what’s new in Windows storage — from a guy who remembers NT 3.1 software RAID!

Delivering Applications with Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012Christa Anderson – If you care about Remote Desktop Services at all, you’ve had the feature overview of what’s new in Windows Server 2012. Therefore, this is not a feature overview but a practical guide for getting a Microsoft-only deployment up and running to deliver desktops and applications for VMs, sessions, or a mix of the two. We’ll focus on what’s practical, what’s not, and how the new features of RDS in Windows Server 2012 can help you meet your goals.

Understanding Dynamic Access Control: the File Share Recharged, Reimagined and Complinance-EnabledMark Minasi –  The competition for the title of “most significant change in Server 2012” is a pretty tough one, but Dynamic Access Control (DAC) is almost certainly the winner.  As you probably know, before 2012, we controlled access to file shares via group memberships — if you were a member of the right group, you got to the share.  You can still do that, but DAC adds many new ways to control access to a file share.  You can require users to be members of multiple groups or you can forgo groups altogether — and stave off a pernicious disease called “token bloat” — by controlling access to shares based on particular Active Directory attributes.

You can control access to a share based on the machine the user’s sitting at.  You can link access to a file based on file type and ontents, as in “only allow access to files of type ‘source code’ to users with the title ‘programmer.'”  But wait, there’s more… you can tell 2012 to automatically classify a file as being of type “source code” if it included the text “#include.” But that’s not all, not by any means.  Windows’ “effective access” page has become a useful access troubleshooting tool, and when you ARE denied access, a form can pop up and let you tell the share’s owner why you should be granted access.  Find out about this and a whole lot more with Mark Minasi, a guy who’s been working with Microsoft file shares since 1985.  DAC is big, but only Mark can explain it all in 75 minutes!

Next Generation Remote Access with Windows Server 2012 DirectAccess Richard Hicks – In today’s highly connected world, users expect, and sometimes demand, easy access to the data and applications they require to remain productive, regardless of where they are. The challenge for corporate network engineers and security administrators is to meet this requirement in a safe, secure, and effective way. If this goal can be accomplished, a world of possibilities opens up. With ubiquitous access to the corporate network from anywhere in the world, providing users with instant access to data and information will have a profound and positive effect on how people work. In 2007, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates outlined his vision for “anywhere access”, and since that time Microsoft has been working toward making that lofty goal a reality. Microsoft DirectAccess realizes that vision. DirectAccess is an always-on remote access solution for managed Windows clients. In this session you’ll learn about the evolution of DirectAccess from Windows Server 2008 R2, Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) 2010, and Windows Server 2012. You’ll learn what’s new in DirectAccess in Windows Server 2012 and understand the supported deployment scenarios and their infrastructure requirements.

The Essentials of Essentials – Jeremy Anderson – In this session, Jeremy Anderson will run through the best practices of deploying Windows Server 2012 Essentials. This re-imagining of the proven Small Business Serve line of product has many new features that IT Pros need to be aware of. This session will cover DHCP and DNS setup and configuration, and how Essentials differs from a traditional deployment. Client backup is the killer feature, but what is the fastest way to restore a client machine? We will talk about licensing, and what licensing is approiate, including when you need to purchase CALS. Also covered will be ensuring that computers and users are properly showing in the dashboard, accessing the server remotely and how to integrate other servers on the network into the essentials environment.

What’s New in SharePoint 2013 – CA Callahan – There has been a lot of marketing around the newest version of SharePoint 2013. Is there anything to worry about? Come see a whirlwind demonstration of the new features gained, and old features lost. From lost site templates to the new App Management infrastructure, come see some of the ins and outs of the newest SharePoint version. Get the facts first before deciding to upgrade. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Migrating to SharePoint 2013 – CA Callahan –Come see some of the new things you need to know, and learn tips and tricks about how to make your migration happen the safest and easiest way possible. The session comes with a healthy supply of useful migration resources free from the internet. There are all kinds of ins and outs that can improve the odds of a successful migration to be covered in this quick session

Windows Client Track —

Windows 8 DeploymentKevin Remde – Windows 8 is “more beautiful, more flexible, more you”, with more device choice and mobility options than ever before.  In this demo-heavy session, we will briefly introduce you to why Windows 8 is ready to be the next best choice for business computing.  And then we’ll introduce, demonstrate, and allow you to try out configuring the deployment of Windows 8 using the new versions of Microsoft’s free deployment tools, as well as System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.  By the end of the day, you’ll understand how to build a customized deployment of Windows 8.

The User Configuration Cage MatchChrista Anderson – There’s a lot of options for maintaining user configuration data these days. Should you use User Profile Disks? UE-V? Configuration Manager? How does each compare to storing user configuration data in GPOs, or roaming user profiles?  Can you combine them–or should you?–and if you do, what happens? If you’ve ever wondered how these options work, what they do, and Microsoft’s recommendations for using each for controlling the user experience, then you should attend this session.

 Building a Windows 8 Hyper-V Lab – Jeffery Hicks – We all know the benefits of testing in a non-production environment. But sometimes resources are limited and having a test setup seems like a lot of work. But now that Windows 8 includes Hyper-V, you can setup a lab environment in very little time. This session will guide you through setting up a Hyper-V based test lab and how to get the most out of it using the PowerShell management tools.

Strong Authentication for BYOD – Laura Hunter – Consumer technology is playing an increasingly important role in business and enterprise IT – people expect to be able to use the same technology at work that they use at home. Rather than being overwhelmed (or even afraid!) enterprise IT can achieve a number of benefits from the consumerization of IT trend as long as we take the right approach.

In this session, come and hear about how Microsoft IT is approaching the Consumerization trend, and hear real-life “Tales from the Trenches” about how we’re working to strike the right balance between enterprise requirements for security, privacy, control, and compliance, and creating a great experience for our users and customers who want to stay connected and productive no matter where they are or what device they’re using.

— Security Track —

IPv6 SecuritySam Bowne – IPv6 is here, running on every LAN and increasingly on the WAN too, and it will explode in popularity when North America runs out of IPv4 addresses in 2014.  Unfortunately, the American IPv6 deployment has been a rushed, patchwork affair and many security problems have resulted.

This talk will explain and demonstrate several important IPv6 security issues, including Denial-of-Service attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, tunneling, and Intrusion Detection System penetration.  Network administrators will need to understand these security problems and countermeasures as IPv6 deployment moves forward.

Targeted attacks and the SMBStephen Ferrero – The small business threat landscape is changing. Instead of relying on old “drive-by” vulnerabilities, attackers are now focusing on specific targets including small businesses. Once thought to be too small to bother with, smaller organizations are finding themselves the target of deliberate, laser-guided attacks. In this session you will learn what these new threats look like and why we need to change our thinking when it comes to small business security.

— Unified  Communications Track —

Lync 2013 – Can it be your next PBX? – Alex Lewis – Enterprise companies are adopting Lync at a very high pace. This presentation will give an overview of Lync 2013, a feature-driven demo and a discussion of how it fits into existing environments and integrates with your PBX. In addition to features, we’ll cover basic architecture, management and planning to make your Lync 2013 deployment a success!

If you have questions or comments please email us at techdays@pacitpros.org