Settling In; TEC 2009

The last couple of months have been a bit of a blur. Quest acquired NetPro towards the end of September, and since then I've been traveling and meeting other parts of the team(s), and gradually figuring out what my job should be. I'm officially part of Quest's Active Directory and Identity Management business unit, and I report to John Milburn who heads up the BU. John's a really great guy who came up through the systems engineering and product management route, and we get along just fine. My role at Quest is similar to what I was doing at NetPro, with the main difference that I now have more direct involvement with the product planning process, which is something I've been missing over the last couple of years. I will be working with a team of PMs and architects to investigate new technology opportunities for Quest, as well as act as the "public face" of the business unit. That means I get to continue meeting with customers, writing articles (and books!), speaking at conferences, and continue in my role as host of The Experts Conference.

I have had nightmares (well, that's overstating it a bit. Maybe "bad feelings" is a better term) that Quest marketing would take over TEC and turn it into a drivel-laden corporate megaphone event. But Quest marketing has held true to their word that they will leave TEC alone, and Christine, Stella, and I get to run the conference the way we think it should be run, as a community-building educational event. I can't tell you how happy I am about that. In fact Christine and I were working on the opening ceremonies today, and if everything works out according to plan, it's going to be hilarious.

TEC 2009 is actually two conferences: TEC for Directory and Identity (formerly DEC), which will be focused on Microsoft IdA technologies, and TEC for Exchange, which will be focused on Exchange and Unified Communications. Registrations for TEC/D+I are doing great; we're ahead of where we were this time last year, and the pre-conference labs are filling up quickly as well. A lot of the "usual gang" will be there: Guido, Laura Hunter, James Booth, Jorge, Ulf, Joe Kaplan, the Tribe of Brians (Puhl, Desmond, and Komar), etc. Dean Wells is a question mark right now given his new role at Microsoft, but I'm pretty confident I can make a good case to Dean and his boss that Dean should make an appearance, or even better do a session. joe's situation is perhaps more nebulous; HP (like a lot of companies) is clamping down on travel. But we go through some flavor of this drama every year, and I'm hopeful joe will be able to make it as well. TEC without Dean and joe would be like a baseball game without beer and hotdogs... still enjoyable, but not quite right. (The question as to whether Dean is the beer or the hot dog is left to the reader.)

Registrations for TEC/Exchange are a little light for my liking. I expected that would be the case; after all, NetPro wasn't really known in the Exchange community, but Quest definitely is. We've got a pretty solid lineup of speakers as well: Ilse van Criekinge, Michael B. Smith, Evan Dodds, Brian Posey, and Brett Shirley (yes that Brett Shirley) for starters. We've got a great keynote speaker for TEC/Exchange as well, but I can't say who it is till the press release hits. Hint: Think large scale, hosted Exchange. So pass the word on to your Exchange buddies. TEC/D+I has been one of the best conferences around since day 1, and TEC/Exchange will be likewise. Check out for more information.

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