On Monday I went to the Chicago stop of the getVIRTUALnow roadshow with a some of the Train Signal crew. I like the new direction Microsoft has taken with the product launch/showcase events. In the past I disliked going to these because of they showed very little tech and more marketing, though in the last two I have gone to, it has squarely been a technical show. Between seeing live demo’s by the people who actually implement and work with the product (not just a marketing guy), and having a hands on lab with walk through scenarios so you could get your hands on the product, it was a very informing event.
The presenters also stick around to sit in "Ask the Experts" tables down in the expo area so if you have something you want to ask that doesn’t get answered in the session. I have found this to be extremely cool to go and talk to these guys to get a more "inside" talk about the product as it might apply to your environment.
It wasn’t all sunshine and roses though. I found the Expo area pretty weak on vendors, especially for smaller/midsize business solutions. You would think in these economic times they would be willing to target whoever could buy, but this just wasn’t the case.
While I found the hands on lab very informative, it took a TON of time to complete even one of the labs because of the underpowered PC’s in place. I missed almost an entire session because I was waiting quite a bit during the lab because of the low memory on the virtual machines in the lab. While I realize the problem, someone else might not and think the technology is slower than it really is on a correctly provisioned box. I am not sure if it was a local company providing equipment or if it floats with the show, but I think if they are going to showcase it, they should at least make sure it can do better then the minimum specs.
The venue was nice, but a bit crowded for the show, but nothing too bad. At the end of the show, we got the free t-shirt, a voucher for free E-Learning Collection 6319: Configuring Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 from Microsoft Learning, along with a free voucher for Exam 70-652: TS: Windows Server 2008 Virtualization, Configuring! They will also be mailing out the session slides with some evaluation software to all attendees.
All in all, a good event, I would recommend it for anyone who wants to learn and see how Microsoft is implementing virtualization into its core product offerings.
There are only 5 more stops left as of today at:
Oct 31st: Boston, MA
Nov 3rd: New York, NY
Nov 10th: Washington, DC
Nov 13th: Philadelphia, PA
Nov 17th: Atlanta, GA
You can sign up at https://www.getvirtualnow.com/usevents/cityselect.aspx