Archive for the ‘TechEd’ Category

Free Training, Labs, Videos and more from Microsoft, VMware and @TrainSignal!

January 28th, 2013

From 2001 until 2006 I would regularly do presentations on OMG THERE’S FREE TRAINING OUT THERE WHY AREN’T YOU USING IT. Which even culminated in the release of a Technical Offerings training deck as noted in this blog post I published in 2006 (Yes, Seriously, in 2006) Well, guess what. A lot of that data is STILL highly relevant even today! So… Let’s get started! :)

Training Videos


Kicking off the realm of training videos I’d like to highlight our good friends at Microsoft with their release of the Microsoft Virtual Academy!

Microsoft Virtual Academy - Learn about Windows 8

The MVA has a LOAD and I mean a serious LOAD of information, from Training Videos, Courses, Tutorials, Walkthroughs, even Tests and points and contests to increase not only the ‘fun factor’ but provide additional context in your education.   For those of you VMwarriors out there who will discard this and say BLAH, SHOW ME THE VMware STUFF.   I even did a little search for VMware in the “Quick Search” button and lo and behold lookie at the results!

Microsoft gets serious with VMware Virtualization solutions in Microsoft Virtual Academy 

So whether you are a rockstar, a seasoned professional or someone looking to get started and want to know where to get some good and valuable information without spending hours and $$$ in a classroom, this is definitely an excellent way to get started, so jump on in!


I know some of you are fighting the constant battle of “Damnit, can I attend Microsoft TechEd or not…” And with TechEd 2013 going to be in New Orleans I cannot blame you in the LEAST! But for those of you who just truly cannot find the time, the ability and are able to get away… something you should know.


Yea. Seriously. It is.  It actually has been for like the last… Oh I don’t know… since 2004 I believe? And all of that past-content since they started posting and making it available online has been posted online.   For some reason I’m only able to find the 2012 content and the 2011 Archive but who really needs access to material on product versions which may not even exist or are supported anymore, if you truly need that let me know and I’ll find the link!

The Microsoft TechEd 2012 Content Catalog (and prior) are freeeeeeee!


A lot of you are familiar with TrainSignal and the loads of great content they create, produce and respectively sell out there (You can get access to their paid training video series and content on their website,  But when I reached out to their President asking, “Hey, you have any freeeeeee stuff!?!?!?” He pointed me over by here!  So here is a whole bunch of videos freeeeeeeeeeeee of charge!  And of course, don’t hesitate to check out the amazing content produced by the likes of Scott Lowe and David Davis and others!

OMG TrainSignal does Free Training Videos too?! Available on Youtube? Booyah!

Ya know… as an example here! :)

That should get you going on quite a load of stuff from Microsoft, to VMware, to Citrix and Cisco and beyond!   But let’s drill down a bit into VMware now…


When it comes to VMware there are loads and loads (and loads) of information in the world, and often we never really know where to start… Well, here is a place to start and it’s home is in YouTube!

OMG VMware has a LOT of Channels on YouTube!

Yea, that’s lame right? I mean on YouTube there’s like a dozen channels?!?! Well, there are. Just go and use them. BAM, and BOOYAH.

VMworld Presentations are FREE TOO LIKE TECHED?!?!?

Well, no. Not exactly. Sorry!   Although this last year VMUG Advantage did have a brief offer for free access to the VMworld content if you signed up for that…  I’m unable to find any data on it at the moment, so that may have expired, but it’s still worth checking out!


You asked for Labs and here they are! More labs than you can shake a stick at!

This picture 'borrowed' from !

Err, okay, maybe that was a little too literal!   Let’s get on with our labs though!

FREE Hands On Labs from Microsoft!

The thing about Microsoft is… for 8+ years they’ve had FREE access to all of their products in a Try-Before-You-Buy model where you can DOWNLOAD any Product and play with it (okay, seriously that’s been around for going on 20 years) but they also instituted the Hands On Labs where the lab environments would BUILD themselves, provide you with a Lab guide to follow (or ignore) and learn and play with it that way.   Not to mention all of the content they’d have in the Hands on Labs at TechEd would be POSTED and made available for you to go in and learn, explore and beyond!

This isn’t something new, it’s been around FOREVER, Here are links to where you can access it (as it’s actually available in several places).

Disclaimer: When I wanted to test something out, I’d spin up a lab which was designed to ‘best practice’ and go in and do whatever I wanted, I mean it was a lab environment available in minutes. Why not? 

Interesting Fact, some of the types of labs and solutions available out there which you can play and learn from:

  • How to setup a product from scratch, like Sharepoint, Microsoft Exchange, SQL
  • How to MIGRATE a product from one version to another (like those products mentioned above and more)
  • How to Develop in a language like C#, Visual Studio, Azure, PowerShell and more
  • How to do other advanced types of things
  • Alllllllllllll the labs that were available at TechEd, so you know what that means… and if not, check it out!
  • You can find TechEd Labs in the Additional Content section here with this Microsoft TechEd Virtual Labs flask icon next to it!
  • Here at the MSEvents site there are a number of Virtual Labs on the “Virtual Labs” tab to choose and play from!
  • At the TechNet Virtual Labs site you can dive a little deeper on more Microsoft Technologies…
  • Looking to dive even deeper, the MSDN Virtual Labs site will take you there.

So if for a minute you thought this was going to be easy, or a single click site with all the answers. HAH.


Well, not exactly.. I mean, sort of, kind of… but, well, let me explain.   VMware recently announced “Project Nee” my dear friend Simon Seagrave talks about about it here at his blog.  But ultimately, what Project Nee is intended to be is… VMware Hands On Labs publicly available online.  However it is still in Beta at the moment.   You can follow details of the VMware Hands On Labs by going here to the VMware Hands On Labs community!


Some additional places not even mentioned but you should check out, and all of the cited links for easy access and consumption:


So hopefully those of you out there who are looking to stay relevant, continue educating yourselves, maybe even heading down the certification track and whatnot will find this of benefit.   I won’t lie to you, I’ve used these resources countless times over the years and I encourage others to.   If you have any other sites to suggest, toss em into the comment section… This is an epic resources to reference from here until well.. until I write another one ;)

Educate and Enjoy!

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Posted in .NET, Careers, Certification, Cloud, Education, Evangelist, Exchange, Free, Hyper-V, Informational, Licensing, MCT, Microsoft, Sharepoint, SQL, TechEd, Technology, Virtualization, vmware, VMworld, Windows Server | Comments (6)

SharePoint is Viral in Nature, just implement it and it’ll spread! (like Syphilis)

June 25th, 2010

(Part 2 in my series of “I hate SharePoint, and why every business should use it”)

Oh no you didn’t! You didn’t just compare my business application to a common STD often called “the great imitator” because it’s many features and functions are often indistinguishable from other products!    I have to say, this is by far the PERFECT anecdote! (I’ve referenced SharePoint in this way in the past in my talks.. but never before did I have this VERBATIM and slightly modified caption from the CDC Website on STD Facts)  So, let’s take a journey, slightly modifying and replacing a few words in this description of What is the Treatment


SharePoint is easy to cure in its early stages. A single injection of planning and training will cure a business who has had SharePoint for less than a year. Additional doses are needed to treat someone who has had SharePoint for longer than a year. For people who are allergic to planning, other forms of project management are available to treat SharePoint. There are no home remedies or over-the-counter solutions that will cure SharePoint. Treatment will kill the SharePoint sprawl and prevent further damage, but it will not repair damage already done.

Because effective treatment is available, it is important that persons be screened for SharePoint on an on-going basis if their legacy behaviors put them at risk for STD’s (SharePoint Team Deployments)

Persons who receive SharePoint treatment must abstain from sprawl with new partners until the SharePoint sores are completely healed. Persons with SharePoint must notify their partners so that they also can be tested and receive treatment if necessary.

As you can tell if you read the original sourced location, NOT A WHOLE LOT CHANGED! But this says SO MUCH for this STD and the SharePoint community as a whole!

If you’ve ever suffered through sprawl, be it SharePoint, Exchange, Notes, or Wiki-sprawl you know exactly what I’m talking about.    I cannot emphasize enough how beneficial planning is, but this is not for naught!   Just because you built a legacy infrastructure whereby your sprawl has left you almost crippled does not mean you have no recourse or option to turn this around.    These lessons learned and best practices from Microsoft’s own Internal IT on what they did to get from where they ‘were’ to where they are today on 2010 is an eye-opener and a must check out!

In this session we discuss key upgrade decisions MSIT made before and during upgrade. We review, in depth, the new capabilities and improvements to the upgrade process that we leveraged, our patching approach, and lessons learned. We specifically cover details of the approach adopted by MSIT for some of its larger SharePoint 2007 deployments and how upgrade was achieved smoothly and efficiently.

Learn how to avoid SharePoint Sprawl or Portal Propagation with SharePoint. With all the new features of SharePoint 2010, even more planning is required to maintain a healthy environment which will meet the diametrically opposed needs of the users and IT. This session goes into the needs and implementation of a Governance plan to meet the business needs.

Some of the best lessons I took away from these sessions (and more which I’m not referring to here) is I get it that you have a war-torn SharePoint environment which was created potentially years ago with bad patterns, practices and little strategy, direction or vision.   Guess what?  I don’t care!  I don’t care about yester-year, I care about the future; and the strategy for the future is… Build for tomorrow, and migrate yesterday; Don’t try to migrate yesterday in ORDER to build for tomorrow.   Is it possible? Yes.  Is it enjoyable? NO!   SharePoint easily migrates and data can shift and move far easier than other platforms.   You DO HAVE OPTIONS! Take advantage of them, but don’t try and cripple yourself attempting to fix your SharePoint 2003 environment so you can TRY to migrate to 2010.    Deploy 2010, get it the way you want, establish governance, proper practices, avoid the sprawl and migrate IN to it; don’t try to do this backwards – You don’t have to!

Oh, and get regular check-ups, you never know what your Partner has been getting in to. :)

Resources in this article from:

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Posted in Microsoft, Sharepoint, TechEd, Technology | Comments (5)

I hate SharePoint, and why every business should use it

June 25th, 2010

Let me start off with a shout-out to every SharePoint Zealot out there who is going to seethe, scream and yell at the very presence of this topic; who will vehemently disagree with me before they even take the moment to disregard and throw away this article, because frankly they don’t need to read it at all!  (Hi guys! :))  And for the rest of you, allow me to give you a journey in to some of the reasons I absolutely hands down DESPISE SharePoint; Oh did I mention that is also WHY you should not only be considering if, but be deploying it full-scale to take your business in that next direction?  K, glad we got that out of the way!

Disclaimer: The following is a breakdown of entirely non-sarcastic statements with core sound, business and technical justifications of just why SharePoint is the flaming pile of destructive pleasure that it is and will continue to be part of your organizations ecosystem from this point forward.    If you disagree, agree or are a contrarian this is the post for you!

Follow-up Disclaimer: I’ve decided to release this as a series instead of one really long blog post you likely won’t even read in the first place, so feel free to follow the entire series of why I hate sharepoint and why you should use it! :)

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Posted in Microsoft, Sharepoint, TechEd, Technology | Comments (3)

SharePoint is where you put your data if you never want anyone to find it

June 25th, 2010

(Part 1 in my series of “I hate SharePoint, and why every business should use it”)

Have you ever heard this statement before? I know I have, in fact I have lived it countless times in my life going back to the earliest versions of WSS and SharePoint Services ever since Microsoft made this available.    And is that story true today even? Sure; out of context definitely.     If you continue to do exactly what you are doing today, change nothing and start to leverage SharePoint the same way you are using File Services you will experience the same benefit and value of a pool of data to lose things in.   However, SharePoint changes things ever so slightly and for the better by introducing the concept of ‘metadata’ to your otherwise unstructured datasets.    Yea we’ve all heard of metadata, it’s where two bits go to get a byte (Wow, I can’t believe I just made that terrible joke!)   But it is so much more than that.    Unstructured content combined with Metadata, toss a little search services in there and all of a sudden you have the ability to not simply ‘find your data’ when looking for it, but you can go to the extents of searching across an enterprise and making the data available and extensible to an audience far greater than your own.

Do more with SharePoint Search

Secure access to information across all stacks

So rather than simply managing lots of silo’s – Be it SharePoint Servers, File Shares, EMC Documentum, MORE Websites, Notes Servers, Exchange data, external sources, and an infinite number of other resources you’d otherwise be managing individually and be unable to find things – SharePoint changes your game a bit by making them all consumable in one “Pane of Glass” instead of lots of individual “Pains of glAss” :)  

So, if you want to ensure no-one ever finds your data, I highly encourage you to put it into a file share, into SharePoint, into a random Wiki you manage and maintain internally; but regardless of where you put it, you can use this tool to ensure that your data is not only indexed, referenced and accessible, but you can continue what you’re doing today in a more efficient and accessible manner so as to flatten the enterprise down to a level at which even localization can come to grips with and understand.

Resources in this article from:

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Posted in Microsoft, Sharepoint, TechEd, Technology | Comments (4)

Wiki Wiki get your Tech on with the Technet Wiki Beta!

June 9th, 2010

I feel like Alex Russo in that episode of “Wizards of Waverly place” talking about the lame DJ who made that song “wiki-wiki-pedia!” but no, this is not only NOT LAME, it’s complete rock star, and champion some might say! (I might say!)

Wiki-Wiki-Technet Wiki Beta! 

So, what’s the big deal about the TechNet Wiki? I mean, we have other Wiki’s out there right? so obviously it must be the same! (it is not!)

Cool Features in the TechNet Wiki Beta!

  • The ability to create content that you feel really need to exist when it doesn’t
  • The ability to SEARCH for CONTENT (indexed in your favorite search engine without login… so no need to login/etc) and thus determine whether you need to create new content
  • Integration with your LiveID so there’s no need to manage and maintain yet ANOTHER acct in order to do things – That’s something you can write home about!
  • Forums! Forums! Forums! (Yea, that feature has existed… but it’s EASY to get to using this vehicle!)

And I’m sure there are other reasons to use it, but if there is one thing I can encourage you to do now, instead of waiting for it… Just go Check it out!

Do it! (Do It! :))   It may be something helpful which will change your life, and if not.. at least you can feel well knowing that Microsoft has adopted a Wiki architecture to enable you (the community) to express and move forward with doing things! :)

So, get out there and wiki-wiki your wiki on!

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Posted in .NET, ASP, Azure, Education, Microsoft, TechEd | Comments (1)

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