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System Center Universe Europe 2015

By 31 augustus 2015 No Comments

System Center Universe Europe is a community conference with a strong focus on systems management and virtualization topics such as cloud, datacenter and modern workplace management. In this post I do a small recap of the sessions I attended and my personal experience.

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Day 1:

After arriving at Sunday I met up with people I met last year and had a beer and diner with them. Good start of the event.
Monday 24th of august at 8:45 Marcel Zehner @marcelzehner kicked off with his keynote, as enthusiastic as always. Even more people than last year from over 15 different countries. The buzz of this year, or hype if you like is IoT , The Internet Of Things. It’s the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity to enable objects to exchange data with the production. (source: Wikipedia).
Cool, so how does this work in real life? Sascha Corti @TechPreacher takes us along the way with some real life examples on how this integrates in our processes. E.g. by real-time sending information from the Microsoft Band to Azure based services and dynamically create charts out of it, or send alerts when certain limits are met. Of course this is a funny example, but the same can be done for cctv camera information, detection ports at a train station, actually everything that registers data and can connect to an external source can be used as input. The sky is the limit and we will see more of these developments in the near future. Business Intelligence and Analytics are key.

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I closed off the day at an Irish pub with some other people and watched Arsenal – Liverpool on a big screen, while enjoying diner and a Guinness. However watching soccer isn’t my main way of relaxation I had a good time and good company.

Day 2:

  • Starting with an early morning discussion about Windows 10, what was turning out more like a Q&A session. Johan Arwidmark and Jason Sandys got the technical answers to in-place migration and difficulties experienced during upgrade scenarios. Seems like Windows 10 does a really good job at restoring to Windows 7 or 8 when something seems to be wrong after migration. You can decide to go back for 30 days. After that the old information is removed completely.
  • Nico Sienaert presented about Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite. Two hours of Cloud/Hybrid Identity, Intune and Azure RMS. That’s a lot to cover and even more to store in my head. He also had some news about Microsoft ATA (Advance Threat Analytics) an new product for fast detection of abnormal behavior, malicious attack detection and alerting inside the (hybrid) network.
  • Wally Mead showed the new stuff what is to come in ConfigMgr vNext, no official release name yet. The current version is in Technical Preview 3. OSD Windows 10 enhancements, Software Updates ADR enhancements, Cluster aware patching and support for SQL Always On Clusters is in there. The product is not really multi-tenant, however it can be tailored that way to make it work as desired.
  • Thomas Maurer and Carsten Rachfahl told about what’s new in Hyper-v 2016. While this is not my daily work some nice new features were introduced. Thomas wrote his own blogpost in this, which covers it all. http://www.thomasmaurer.ch/2015/05/whats-new-in-windows-server-2016-hyper-v/
  • Kent Agerlund and Mirko Colemberg about Visualizing ConfigMgr Data
    They showed different ways to enrich the reporting possibilities in ConfigMgr. Power queries, Dashboards and scripting to get just the information you want and presented in a way that fits your needs. Besides the default 400+ reports already in ConfigMgr, this can be very useful if your just looking for a specific tailored report.
  • Networking party
    This was nice again, a DJ playing some funky music and a beatboxer who showed off his skills. While drinking a beer and a good glass of wine the conversations came loose and as far as I could tell people had a great time.

Day 3:

  • Early morning discussion
    Pete Zerger and Jakob Gottlieb Svendsen led a discussion about Automation. On-boarding and off-boarding of users and devices and Azure automation as a central point for managing these resources. What about government, securing/encrypting credentials that are synced to and used in Azure. Many people are suspicious, but a lot of them already use e.g. Office 365 were credentials are already managed and stored with Microsoft, or other Saas applications.
  • IT Pro to IT Scientist
    Lee Berg and Samuel Erskine showed how a simple breadboard with sensors can instantly make collected data like temperature and humidity available and presented online in Azure tables and graphs. Cool stuff, also because Sam runs his mobile datacenter of a couple of Intel NUC’s. Nice duo presentation with a lot of laughing, Sam could go for standup comedian.
  • Samuel Zürcher showed real life solutions of Hybrid computing. Exchange, O365, Sharepoint, Identity Management, AD sync to Azure. What needs to be in place to really go hybrid? Technical session with lots of deep dive information and scenarios.
  • Johan Arwidmark showed troubleshooting tips with the tools provided in Windows 10 ADK. Which deployment log shows what information, loading drivers in WinPE, create custom ISO’s and unattended files to make a deployment act the way you need it. No deployment is standard and every organization has it’s own challenges and wishes. With these tools in hand the sky is the limit in deployment world. You can make it all possible.
  • In this last official time slot session Jason Sandys showed us some Advanced Data collection with ConfigMgr. How to Include AD property information in ConfigMgr using WMI and Powershell. Or use your own set of variables to assign custom information to assets in the database. Also pretty deep dive, but luckily more than enough information available.

Closing note

Marcel Zehner and his colleague Michael Rüefli did a nice presentation by managing their Tesla Model S vehicles using Powershell and Operations Manager. Very cool to see what can be done connecting IoT devices to cloud management. Afterwards all sponsors had some raffles and gave away presents to the winners.
SCU has been a great event this year and ITNetx did a great job organizing it for the third time. I’ve spoken to a lot of interesting and nice people and I’m looking forward to next year in Berlin.
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