Experience at TechEd 2010 India

I have been attending TechEd in the past and decided that I would attend TechEd this year too. I went for Architect track in TechEd 2010. My experiences was mixed. The architect track had people who made me get an idea of what architect position represents in Indian IT industry as whole.  No one asked how many of them still code.  I met Gaurav Mantri. I loved the connection and  frank discussions with Gaurav for all the 3 days. I also connected  with Ramjee  and Manoj  who were on the developer track. To start with the sessions attended by me.

On the first day I attended all the sessions of Cloud Services for Architect track for architects.

  • Building Clouds – An Architect’s Perspective – A great impressive presentation
  • Migrating an existing ASP.NET Application to Windows Azure – the internet connectivity gave hard time to Farzin Faramarzi demo, and hence we had good I & A.
  • Integration and Identity Challenges for Enterprise Grade Cloud Applications – Niraj Bhatt explained the security challenges in Azure. a very focused session. i need to read the guide at Claims Based Identity & Access Control Guide
  • Panel discussion on Cloud Computing – After attending the panel discussion in Cloud Camp 2010, this panel discussion could have been more different. To its title, it would have been good to look beyond Windows Azure and compared with the other existing models.

On the second day I attended Developer track and Architect track

  • Windows Phone 7 Application Development Overview – This session was driving the point everything in win phone 7 is possible using Silver light model . They introduced that another model of XNA for games and intensive applications. They have single installation file type (XAP) for both the models and a high speed, full fidelity emulator working on a GPU, multi-touch PC. Every ont talks about cloud integration and less of enterprise integration currently.
  • ASP.NET MVC: Unplugged – I loved this session. Ram Kumar gave the prerequisites for the session and made clear the expectations from the session.  A question to Microsoft: Hw to migrate all developers who work on traditional ASP.net model and move to ASP.Net MVC say after 8 years of ASP.Net. What happens to existing ASP.net application that developer support? Do you recommend rewrite?  Lot of us moved from C++ to .net and now we are moving again. Why cannot Microsoft wait, build all the features and then release new technology, look how the industry uses new technology, stabilize and then move forward, instead of adding new versions every 6 months?
  • High Impact Decisions – A necessary skill to grow in any direction! an wonderful session needed by both developer and architect was done by Ranganathan S. Decision taking is influenced by information one has, challenges one face and the knowledge one possess.  Information can be fact or assumption. Fact can be stated or unstated. Assumptions can be reasonable or unreasonable. challenges can be Fixed or Changing. knowledge can be accessible or inaccessible.
  • The Future of IT – an interesting session and which creates fear that what would happen with changes in technology. Is technology really trying to reduce or increase problems?
  • Top Architect Presentation – I and Kishore tried to make submission for this contest and hence was aware of this session. My intent to attend the session was to learn what architects present and what should I improve in architecting.  I need to see other architecture and observe who people present as that seems to be secret for win as architect. Learning’s are( Kishore none has identified mechanism to access the right data) as follows
    • Than technology or domain knowledge, your presentation skills would take your architecture solution close to the stakeholders
    • Than plain figures, multi colored figures take your architecture solution close to the stakeholders
    • Articulation is a must

On the third day I attended Developer track mainly and also architect track. I was more satisfied on the third day with the sessions. was satisfaction due to right selection of sessions?

  • Sam Pitroda session was very nice and he stressed that there is more effort needed to solve India challenges in addition to  technology, which is one of the key enablers. It was a live session and I thank him for addressing us from the night time of Chicago
  • Spelunking windows Azure. He discussed in brief about Azure Fabric Controller and how Azure internals work. I would learn more using Google.
  • Managing Data on the cloud. Learnt about Azure Drives and need to build an example using Azure drives.
  • Cloud Patterns & Practices – John was clear that patterns are evolving of the cloud and what seems to be pattern might not work tomorrow. he talked of 10 possible patterns for the cloud that seems to be emerging, but the applications might change them. He is looking feedback at patterns & practices – Windows Azure Guidance-Discussions
  • Deploy, Manage, Monitor and Track your Cloud Applications with Microsoft Windows Azure Service Management –  what Jani explained is something cool and the demo was awesome. But the session demo challenge also made all aware of the fact that  without internet connectivity, cloud applications are of no use. knew a blog to look at  http://sriramkrishnan.com/blog/ 
  • Introduction to Windows Azure App Fabric – Rama did a best job, even when the machine was affected due to heavy rains and loss of connection.But the session also made all aware of the fact that  without internet connectivity, cloud applications are of no use.

TechEd 2010 ended with Ashok Soota personal journey session, followed by snacks and music/dance floor.

I am sure MS folks put a lot of time to plan and organize the sessions, but I have some personal observations.

I love in-person events and TechEd 2010 was in Bangalore. I went early from home(7: 45 AM) and tried to be on time to attend keynote sessions. Interesting most of the key note sessions were webcast. Think why should I come all the way to TechEd to hear a live webcast and could have come late and later seen the webcast in PC. Was he really in one of the halls? I think NO.

The sessions and  the questions revolve around how to make things possible, how to circumvent some limitations. I could see the focus of getting things done. Speakers wanted us to take questions at the end or preferred to take questions offline due to time constraints. I think we need to have more question session time. I see a lot of learning from the answers to the questions. Let me not be partial to the audience. The audience also does not seems to be interested in questions. Very few sessions explained what might go wrong or why something doesn’t work in a particular sessions.

Three service companies were at TechEd in addition to product companies. Two of them were converting the event as resume collection point. I did not like this, The third company stood clean. Why does Microsoft allow these companies to transform stalls as resume collector point? Companies do not nominate their candidates to go to TechEd and also look get the knowledge of a new job position availability.

When I have attended TechEd in the earlier years, I used to learn new information at TechEd which I was not aware of. This time I seem to be aware of the contents of a lot of session. Really I am neutral at TechEd for my technical learning’s in a lot of sessions. Was I expecting more? Did my learning from viewing webcasts from PDC 2009 and PST sessions increase my expectation. A lot of things seem to be old for me. Did I choose sessions wrongly?  what should I expect from TechEd 2011? Can Microsoft label the sessions as Level 100s, Level 200s and Level 300s? Can the sessions be ordered? The current ordering did not help folks who wanted to attend both developer and architect track.