In this #SPC11 Series:

Welcome to this last post on the SharePoint Conference 2011 series. This morning I managed to grab one last session:
Session Title: 36 Terabytes: How Microsoft IT Manages SharePoint in the Enterprise
Session Code: SPC294
Speaker(s):  Nate Bruneau, Jim Adams
Presented By: Microsoft
Level: 200
Room: ACC:
Abstract: Microsoft’s internal SharePoint services provide 180,000
global users a comprehensive collaboration experience hosting 36 terabytes of
content across three regional data centers. Learn how Microsoft IT architected,
deployed, and manages its SharePoint enterprise services. Topics include:
•Upgrade from 2007 to 2010 •Provisioning & Automation •Architecture •Storage
•Virtualization •Disaster Recovery •Monitoring Tools & Best Practices
•Governance and Life Cycle Management •Maintenance and Quality Control Auditing
•How the Cloud and Office365 fit into MSIT’s future
Comments: This session shows the many custom tools that Microsoft IT uses to manage their huge farm that hosts 34 Terabytes (not 36, they decommisioned a site and it freed up 1.6 TB) spread across hundreds of thousands of site collections and servers. They detailed how they do health management, scripted installations and gold configuration monitoring and reporting.
They detailed their site provisioning process, the sensitivity and mission criticality level tag that they put on all the page headers, their disaster recovery plans and scenarios, as well as future expansion and moving ito the cloud. It was a pretty cool session. Thanks Nate and Jim.




After the session, there was a few other things happening in the exhibit hall. There were lunch boxes being distributed – of course by the time I got there, there was only vegetarian boxes left… tons of them… and people complaining. We waited around for the final Avepoint draw for the Ducati Monster motorcycle. I didn’t win. Not much luck I guess.

We then rented a car for the last day of our trip – a Dodge Charger. Not as impressive as the Camaro, not as nice a ride either but it got us back to San Diego for some more shopping and for a last dinner before leaving back home. We went to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse for the most amazing ribeye steak. Cooked to perfection. Best steakhouse ever.

Drove back and the next morning, we checked out of the hotel early for one last visit to Laguna Beach, from the vista point, you get an amazing view of the whole area. I’d move down to Laguna Beach in a heartbeat :).

Headed to the airport and flew back home. No delays, or issues, just a lot colder weather when I got home. O lovely Canada!.

Now how do I get palm trees to grow here??? Anyone???


In this #SPC11 Series:

Hello everyone and welcome to yet again another report on the SharePoint Conference 2011. This morning I was too tired to wake up early for breakfast so I got up just before the first sessions and got ready to head there just in time. These long days are getting to me.
Here is a list of the sessions I attended today:

Morning sessions:

Session Title: Advanced SharePoint Data Access with Silverlight
Session Code: SPC400
Speaker(s):  Robert German , Ryan Sockalosky
Presented By: Microsoft
Level: 400
Abstract: SharePoint and Silverlight make an unbeatable combination
for building great web applications. In this session, you will learn how to
develop these solutions more easily than ever with Visual Studio 2010 and
SharePoint’s new client object model and WCF Data services. We’ll cover all
aspects of data access from Silverlight in Sharepoint, such as how to deal with
large datasets, working with shared services, piggybacking data on the web page,
external data access and more

Comments: This session was probably one of the best sessions I attended so far at the conference. They essentially threw out the slide deck and dove right into the demos. They went through demo after demo and provided explainations on the different parts of the code. This was definitely a great session for me and I will be doing a lot more Silverlight in the near future. Thanks Robert and Ryan for the great technical presentation and keepoing it fun along the way.

Session Title: Setting up and Configuring PowerPivot v2 for SharePoint
in SQL Server 2008 R2 and “Denali”
Session Code: SPC386
Speaker(s):  Dave Wickert
Presented By: Microsoft
Level: 300
Abstract: In this session we’ll explore how you can use PowerPivot
for SharePoint 2010 to enable your users to share meaningful insights with
powerful analysis and rich reporting while providing governance and control.
We’ll walk through the installation and configuration, management, and new
capabilities in the next generation PowerPivot for your users.

Comments: This session was a lot of technical information but barely any demonstrations. I was a bit disapointed. Not much more to say here.

Sessions after lunch:

Session Title: Developing Windows Phone 7 Applications for SharePoint
Session Code: SPC339
Speaker(s):  Paul Stubbs
Presented By: Microsoft
Level: 300
Abstract: Take your SharePoint business applications on the go with
Windows Phone 7. Windows Phone 7 has great integration with SharePoint via the
Office hub, but how do access your custom line of business applications on the
phone? In this session you will learn how to build your first Windows Phone
application for SharePoint.  Learn the fundamentals that will give you a running
start for your own applications

Comments: This session introduced the base concepts to get started setting up the development environment and how to get SharePoint integrated in the programming flow. I thought this was an interesting session and even though I have no Windows Phone 7 device, I think I will still take a crack at building a few apps. Thanks Paul.

Session Title: SharePoint, Azure and Claims Integration for Developers
Session Code: SPC412
Speaker(s):  Steve Peschka
, James
Presented By: Microsoft
Level: 400
Room: ACC:
Abstract: Learn how to use the Claims Azure and SharePoint
Integration (CASI) kit to connect, integrate and take advantage of Windows Azure
services in SharePoint.  The CASI Kit provides a set of guidance and code to
help you easily work with data in Windows Azure from SharePoint using web parts,
custom code, timer jobs, etc

Comments: This session introduced how to use CASI Kit to leverage Azure as a storage platform for external data to SharePoint. I was impressed how simple this toolkit makes this integration possible and will definitely be blogging more about Azure integration with SharePoint 2010.


Session Title: Deep Dive on SharePoint Ribbon Development & Extensibility
Session Code: SPC402
Speaker(s):  Chris O’Brien
, Andrew
Presented By: MVP
Level: 400
Room: ACC:
Abstract: Take advantage of the Ribbon in your SharePoint
applications for a tightly integrated and great user experience! Developers can
customize and extend the ribbon for custom solutions. In this session we’ll
examine the different components of the ribbon as well as how to create page
components, asynchronous callbacks and prompt the user with intuitive dialogs.
Best of all you can do all this from the sandbox and avoid getting admins
involved in deploying farm solutions!

Comments: This session presented the multiple custom ribbon items you can add to the SharePoint Ribbon. A very popular session, the room was paked! It was a good session with a lot of valuable information that will be useful later on – specifically with the Ribbon being integrated everywhere nowadays with Windows 8 and all Office products. Thank you Andrew and Chris it was a very good session.


The after-hours party today was the OktoberFiesta. The party was being hosted by Axceler at Tortilla Jo’s Restaurant in Downtown Disney, with the following sponsors: Apptix, Pointbridge, BAInsight, Jornata, Syntergy, Kodak, K2 and Bluerooster. There was a lot of people in this small restaurant and everyone was having lots of fun. Thanks Axceller for hosting this great party.




Hi everyone, thanks for visiting. If you have not had a chance to read the other posts in this series on the #SPC11, here are the links to them:

SharePoint Conference 2011 Day 0 Report
SharePoint Conference 2011 Day 1 Report
SharePoint Conference 2011 Day 1 Report Update – SPC12 and RED Party
SharePoint Conference 2011 Day 2 Report

This post is only an update of last night’s Disneyland Party. I left the Hilton Hotel at 7PM to head over to the shuttle service. The shuttle service brought us directly to the Disneyland park and once we got there, there was an initial checkpoint to check bags, then we waited in a first zone until they opened the gates at 7:50pm, this second gate checked the bracelets. Once this second gate was passed, we waited again until the park opened up.

Once the park opened up we were guided to the west side of the park where the dinner was served. I managed to get food and sat at a table. The food was cold and not that great but there were extra items available throughout the evening (churos, cotton candy, popcorn and popsicles). There was also a lot of tables to serve drinks which were also provided by the party sponsor – Neudesic. After eating, I managed to find a few guys that are at the conference with me and we waited around for the east side of the park to open. We went and did the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride, Autopia ride then Space Mountain and a few other rides. Not all the rides were open for the party and some of the rides had longer wait time (Bobsled).


We also went to Splash Mountain and half way down the entry pathway, the other guys dropped out. I went on the ride alone and of course got soaked but the ride was fun so I didn’t mind.

There was a DJ playing music in the center of the park, and itr was being broadcast throughout the park.

We didn’t stay too late and took the shuttle back. I was a bit disapointed with the size of the park – I have been to the DisneyWorld and it felt like this park was like 1/50th the size of Orlando’s Parks.

Here is a map of the park:

Disneyland Map

Overall it was a very enjoyable evening. Thank you Neudesic and Microsoft!

Here are a few other pictures of the evening:


Stay tuned for the Day 3 update later this evening.

Thanks for stopping by. Please RT and follow on twitter @matdesmarais


In this series:

SharePoint Conference 2011 Day 0 Report
SharePoint Conference 2011 Day 1 Report
SharePoint Conference 2011 Day 1 Report Update – SPC12 and RED Party


Welcome back to this SharePoint Conference Report series. So far it has been a good day and I can say that there is a lot to learn at the break-out sessions.

Quite the party last night. Still feeling the effects this morning. Worst part is that I had to wake up early to attend a private Breakfast gathering with one of the vendors from the conference. After a bit of coffee, things started to fall back in place.


This morning I attended the following session:

Session Title: Upgrading SharePoint Solutions and Features – A Closer Look
Session Code: SPC3995
Speaker(s):  Wayne Ewington
Presented By: Microsoft
Level: 300
Abstract: Okay, so you’ve already deployed your customizations into
production and you’ve now got a new set of requirements. What are you going to
do to help ensure a smooth upgrade? If you’re not sure what to do, or if you
want some tips and tricks, then this session is for you. We will look at the
application lifecycle management support within SharePoint 2010 and in
particular how you can version and upgrade your SharePoint Solutions and
Features. Be warned that this is a developer focussed session, so be prepared to
see XML, code, and demos!

Comments: This was a pretty good session and it demonstrated some good practice to upgrading custom WSP solutions – both Sandbox and Farm solutions. The presenter was quite knowledgable and presented the material very consistently. He did however have a few issues with his demos # 1 and 4… typical issues when you try to demo live actions in front of  a crowd. No worries though, the message got across regardless of the failed demos. Good presentation Wayne.


Following this session, I went back to my room because there was a presentation being live-blogged online on Engadget. They were live-blogging a product announcement from this fruit company everyone keeps talking about. Considering all the issues I currently have with my phone (their model from a couple years ago).The features in this new model will definitely make my life easier. Maybe the office will pay for the upgrade?? Wishful thinking 😛

I then headed to the Meals room for Lunch and spent a bit of time trying to win more swag from the vendors in the exhibit hall.

Following the lunch break, I attended the following sessions:

Session Title: The Inside Scoop: How Microsoft IT Enables Information Discovery with Managed Metadata
Session Code: SPC398
Speaker(s):  Pamela Green
Presented By: Microsoft
Level: 300
Abstract: In this session, we will show you how Microsoft IT
imports taxonomy from a legacy system into SharePoint 2010 in order to manage
metadata more effectively across the enterprise. We will discuss how we are
improving the information discovery process by demonstrating how our taxonomy is
governed and maintained and how syndicated content types are being used.

Comments: This presentation was interesting but not really at the 300 level I was expecting. Pamela did however make a good presentation of the chalenges Microsoft faces itself with managing taxonomy and tagging – issues that many other organizations might be facing – and it was interesting to hear how they are migrating from legacy systems and attempting to clean up the metadata to make the data sets more relevant. Thanks Pamela. Good presentation.

Session Title: SharePoint Infrastructure for Geographically Distributed Organizations
Session Code: SPC388
Speaker(s):  David McNamee
Presented By: Microsoft
Level: 300
Abstract: SharePoint requires careful planning when it is deployed
into a geographically distributed organization. This session will explore
tactics and strategies to handle issues of low bandwidth, high latency, and
unreliable connectivity. These will include the distribution of SharePoint
services and the impact of client applications and cloud-based services such as
Office 365.

Comments: This session had pretty good attendance and the content was more a discussion with no demos. The presenter introduced the many ways that SharePoint farms can be extended to reach a globally distributed user base – all good methods to increase speed of content delivery to remote or mobile workers. There will be more posts later on that will detail some of these methods to improve this delivery. Stay tuned for more on this topic later. Good presentation David.


Evening Event at DisneyLand!

Stay tuned, i will be updating this post later tonight with DisneyLand Pictures and details. Hope to see a lot of you there. Look me up on twitter! @matdesmarais.

Looks like the weather will be on our side for now. There was rain this morning but it is sunny out so it is looking good for an evening with Mickey.


Thank you to all those that have been retweeting the posts in this series. Also don’t forget to follow me on twitter @matdesmarais


In this series:

SharePoint Conference 2011 Day 0 Report
SharePoint Conference 2011 Day 1 Report


Day 1 Report Update:

As a follow-up to my previous post, the Day 1 Report, I noticed I forgot to mention that it was announced at the Keynote yesterday that the next SharePoint Conference is going to be held November 12-15, 2012 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV. Same venue as the 2009 conference. Should be another great conference and hopefully a lot of talk about wave 15 of SharePoint.

Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV (Source: Wikipedia)

The RED Party:

The party to be at last night was at The RED Party at Heat Ultra Lounge. The music was loud, the drinks were free, the room was packed, people were waiting in line to get in all evening (some didn’t make it in at all). Overall a great party. I took a few blurry pictures with my iPhone so sorry for the quality:


Thanks Avepoint. Really enjoyed it.


In this series:

SharePoint Conference 2011 Day 0 Report
SharePoint Conference 2011 Day 1 Report


Today was the first official day of the SharePoint Conference 2011 and of course I was up early because of the time zone difference. I went over to the meals hall at the convention center and it is HUGE! there is enough room there to feed 7500 people. When I got in to get my food, there was literally a wall of staff directing people to the last tables at the end of the room. There must have been about 200 staff members there to direct the traffic. They did a great job doing that because there was no holdups anywhere.

Here is the meals hall:

 The hall where we are served meals - packed

Headed to the Keynote speech right after the meal and on our way there, I noticed there was a marching band passing by outside so I went to check it out. Turns out it was Huddle – a software vendor that is trying to do direct competition with the SharePoint platform – that had hired a high school marching band to walk straight through the SPC11. I think it was a childish move that will not win them much love by anyone from the SharePoint camp.

The ambiance at the keynote however was great with DJ Kameleon playing his tunes on stage. You can hear his mix online here!!!

Jared Spataro, Senior Director of SharePoint Product Management, came up on stage and presented a bunch of very exciting figures like 125 Million licenses across 65,000 customers and how a large percentage of Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint in their enterprise. He then presented an update that will be done to Office 365 – the ability to connect to Line Of Business (LOB) data using BCS to a web service on premise. This will greatly enhance the capabilities of Office 365 by removing the boundary of having all the data in the cloud.

We saw a cool demo of a SharePoint farm that was running on servers on stage – crazy hardware like 1TB of RAM on the blade for the servers and 80 CPUs. The Sharepoint environment was configured with 6 WFE servers and 4 application servers (2 for FAST) with a SQL Denali CTP3 Database cluster configured for redundancy. They were running this environment with an automated load of 7,500 concurent users continuously hitting the site to simulate 150,000 users aproximately.

The Sharepoint site was loaded with 130 million documents for a total of 14TB of data in a single sharepoint content database. 14TB, without Remote Blob Storage (RBS).

They did a test of FAST using the search query ‘#’ which is a special keyword I learnt about at the FAST training yesterday, that returns all available results in the FAST Search Index – 130,000,000 records returned in 0.23 seconds!

Then they pulled a crazy move on stage in front of the audience – they pulled the network cable that was feeding the main SQL server. The full 14TB Database was back online on the hot standby SQL Server within 40 seconds. Crazy redundancy.

I still cannot get over the fact the content database was at 14 TB.

The full Scale Test Report for the demo from the keynote is available here.

We were also shown another demo of an Azure application that is used to collect voting results and storing the content to an Office 365 SharePoint application. Pretty cool demo and here is the link so you can go cast your vote to tell Microsoft how to allocate the $50,000 they will be donating:

Thank you Microsoft for supporting these charities.

Breakout Sessions:

I attended two breakout sessions today:

Session Title: Creating Beautiful and Engaging Web Sites with SharePoint
Session Code: SPC216
Speaker(s):  Randy Drisgill , John Ross
Presented By: MVP
Level: 200
Abstract: The process of building, branding and delivering a
beautiful web site is more than just skin deep. In this session we will walk you
through best practices for planning, creating and deploying engaging web sites
with SharePoint 2010. We will also share best practices around the branding
process with lessons learned and examples from real world SharePoint branding

Comments: This session was pretty good – of course level 200 but I really wanted to see Randy Drisgill present his session. I have mentioned Randy a few times here on my blog as he is the one that created the Starter masterpages on CodePlex and the Real World Branding with SharePoint 2010 article from MSDN, both mentioned in my articles here. The attendance to this session was pretty high – i’d say 900 to 1000 people showed up. Good job Randy and John. Lets hope you guys continue working with SharePoint and won’t actually start your breakfast consulting company :).

Session Title: Deep Dive: Excel Services and PerformancePoint Services Administration and
Session Code: SPC403
Speaker(s):  Kevin  Donovan
Presented By: Microsoft
Level: 400
Abstract: This deep dive session will walk you through the
necessary steps on how to setup and administer Excel Services and
PerformancePoint Services. We will address common issues and workarounds,
focusing on data connectivity, to help you build a robust platform for
provisioning Excel Services and PerformancePoint Services in your BI
environment. Finally, we will demonstrate how to build an Excel Services report
in PerformancePoint.

Comments: It was a pretty deep session into the issues that one might encounter in using Excel Services and PerformancePoint Services. Kevin Donavan is very knowledgable and presented these challenges and their resolutions pretty good. Good presentation Kevin.

This concludes my Day 1 report for now, I will update it later tonight – getting ready for The RED Party at Heat Ultra Lounge with AvePoint.


Hi everyone an welcome to this “Day 0” report on the SharePoint Conference 2011 (#spc11).

For the past few days I’ve been driving around California in a bright orange 2011 Camaro. We visited Santa Monica, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive all on Friday, then San Diego, La Jolla, the beach at La Jolla, the USS Midway aircraft carrier, the border town before crossing into Tijuana, and Laguna Beach on Saturday. Driving around sightseeing was a lot of fun and this morning I woke up early to go for a final drive with the Camaro. If anyone wants to gift me one of these beautiful cars I’d take it in a heartbeat :). Here is a picture:


Right after this final joy ride, I went to the Anaheim Conference Center and registered to get my pass for the week.

I attended the FAST Search Hands On Labs pre-conference session and completed all the labs about 3 hrs before the end of the session. There was a lot of content to go through but it was nice and complete. It introduced a few concepts of FAST that I was not familiar with so overall it was a valuable session. I will post more on FAST Search later after the conference. Met some very nice people and I am looking forward to making more contacts tonight.

The Welcome Reception hosted by Microsoft will start in about an hour so there will be an update to this post tonight.

Thanks everyone for tuning in. Keep an eye out for further updates.

Conference Center - Pretty quiet for now. Calm before the storm.

SharePoint Conference 2011

Anaheim Convention Center #SPC11

Update: The welcome reception just finished, There are a lot of exhibitors, and a lot of great giveaways. I won a few nice prizes – thanks Metalogix.