Tuesday, June 7, 2005

TechEd 2005 to this point

I have been attending TechEd 2005 this week and spending the vast majority of my time in the Server Infrastructure Cabana lounge.  I am there answering AD/MIIS questions as best as I can.  It has been an interesting experience as I will readily admit that I know relatively little about technical infrastructure as it relates to DNS and AD.  I happen to know quite a bit about programming against Active Directory, but the majority of users to this point have been asking more questions related to Active Directory topology and replication errors they are seeing than anything related to using ADSI and/or System.DirectoryServices.  When this occurs, I hand them off to some really amazing resources working there that seem able to troubleshoot just about anything in AD.  I have learned quite a bit listening to them in this way myself – just fascinating.

In terms of sessions so far, I have attended a session on ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services), which is being pitched as essentially a web single sign-on solution (SSO) that will be released with 2003 R2 (in beta now).  I previewed this technology a few months back and it has essentially only had minor changes.  It seems to be an interesting solution.  It does not provide all the functionality of some of the vendor available options on the market today like Netegrity, Cleartrust, Oblix, etc., but it certainly fills out a nice portion of that functionality and for a price point that is hard to argue with (it’s free with Windows 2003).  I would expect adoption of this technology to be rapidly be adopted by 6 months after release – it is just that compelling.  It will be released in phases with more functionality scheduled for later.  Expect only web SSO at first, moving to smart clients and SOAP next, and I am speculating here, even more complicated transports in the future (Citrix, RDS, anyone?).

Next, I attended Clemens Vasters’s session on asynchronous design.  He had some really interesting things to say about why and how to design for asynchronous transport.  The only complaint I had was that the demonstrations were much too quick to see what was really going on.  Luckily, he is going to be posting his sample code on his blog so I can inspect it later.  He is releasing a fairly substantial and full featured MSMQ Listener he created that greatly simplifies using ASMX and WSE providers with MSMQ in a pretty seamless and easy manner.  Good stuff, and I intend to dig deeper later this week.

Lastly, I have been very busy to this point and the situation has only been complicated by the utterly abysmal wireless access here this week.  I have yet to be to an MS event where wireless could stand up to the thousands of attendees.  It is almost completely unusable.  My hotel is actually competing with the convention this year to see which can provide crappier service – so far it is neck and neck.  You don’t realize how much you need the Internet until it is gone…