Earlier this week I attended the UK User Groups Community day at TVP, here is a brief review and some of my thoughts from the sessions...
The keynotes from Gareth Hall and Kamal Patel were interesting and well delivered, I certainly agree with Gareths comment that there is a degree of honesty from MSFT that we haven't seen before...
The breakout sessions I attended were mainly the SharePoint track, but I also went to Mark Wilsons session on Hyper-V which for Mark's first UG presentation was very well delivered. IMO MSFT have done well with Hyper-V and I think Mark's summation that Hyper-V gets you 80/90% of what you get with the industry leading product but at 10% of the cost is very apt.
Steve Smith sessions were up to there usual high standard.
The "Capacity Planning" session wasn't what I was expecting as it was more about load/stress testing, but very valuable nonetheless - esp as he highlighted some of nice new things in Visual Studio 2008 that are improved on 2005.
I would echo everything Steve said here and really stress the importance of base-lining your deployments (both before and after customisations), I would also add that load/stress testing must be communicated to your Ops teams as they may get alarms (etc) when you place additional load on the LAN/WAN and servers, I've seen clients who haven't communicated this and had test results ruined by Ops guys reacting to a perceived attack!
The Forefront session was excellent, really got the importance of SharePoint AV across to the audience, obviously with me Steve was preaching to the converted but the number of people who will now be thinking about Forefront/AV was much increased by the end of the session. I have used both Forefront and Trend in deployments for clients and have both products to be excellent, Forefront tends to offer better protection (multiple engines) at a performance hit, as I said in the session McAffee's PortalSheild is not compatible with the v3 products (to the best of my knowledge).
Penny's session on SPD was great, the DVWP is very powerful and Penny showed how to start harnessing some it's power very well indeed.
I also picked up some good info from Penny after her session and think what we discussed would make a great SUGUK session (hint hint!).
Nick Swan's session on building solutions was also excellent, I'd never seen Nick present before and found his style very easy going and easy to follow, the content he covered off is essential (IMO) to deploying SharePoint with customisations in a supportable and sustainable manner.
The real gem for me was Colin's session on PowerShell and MOSS, absolutely fantastic, really blurs the lines traditionally drawn between ITPro/Admin functions and Dev's. The power of PowerShell (excuse the pun) is there for all to see, it's scripting (so falls largly in the remit of the ITPro) but can use .Net and talk to the SharePoint OM (typically Dev remit). The content migration example Colin used is really just the tip of the iceberg, I can see 1,000's of uses for this in automating deployments and maintenance...
The chalk and talk session were good, hopefully my contributions were useful.
I have blogged about service accounts in response to a question that cropped up from a few attendees, the other common questions were around Licencing and the use of content DB's, so watch this space for blogs posting and maybe a SUGUK session to cover these confusing topics off...
Another highlight, for me at least, was winning a copy of Vista Ultimate for my IT Hero presentation. Thanks!!
Big thanks to the SUGUK and other User groups guys for organising the event and to MSFT for hosting it (esp Phil Cross).