ClipTraining’s J. Peter Bruzzese speaking at MEC 2014 in Austin TX
The Microsoft Exchange Conference (known by all as its acronym MEC) is happening this year (March 31st to April 2nd) in Austin Texas. This beloved event was an annual highlight for Exchange admins but it disappeared over a decade ago and was engulfed into the TechEd conference platform. But that was never the same vibe for Exchange admins and so folks were thrilled in September 2012 when MEC re-emerged like the phoenix to a new generation (with plenty of MEC veterans still present).
This year’s MEC (www.iammec.com) appears to be bigger and better than the previous one in Orlando and we see a great deal of effort being put into the session content and overall agenda. The breakout sessions deep dive into architecture, deployment/migration, eDiscovery and compliance, extensibility, client solutions like Outlook/OWA and mobile device clients, manageability and support, security and protection and more. There is also a tremendous effort on the part of MEC sponsors to ensure the event is both education and fun for attendees.
ClipTraining: J. Peter, how important is MEC to you?
J. Peter: Well, there are three events within the year that I look forward to. The MVP Summit, TechEd and MEC. MEC isn’t an annual event (although I hope they change that going forward) so a year that has a MEC is a special one indeed. 2012 was actually my first one, I wasn’t part of that previous group that extolls the lore of MECs past and writes poetry about it to this day. I thought it was amazing. Whereas at TechEd I’m surrounded by admins and developers with a variety of focus and skill, MEC allows me to be with my peers. Hundreds… no, thousands of my peers although we may all be at different skillset levels with Exchange/Office 365.
ClipTraining: We hear you have a couple of exciting things coming up at this MEC, care to share them with us?
J. Peter: I was incredibly pleased to get the approval to give a session at MEC. On Tuesday morning from 9:00am to 10:15am I’m giving the session “Eliminate the Regulatory Compliance Nightmare” which focuses on the built-in tools within Exchange 2013/O365, walks through the overall story of regulatory compliance and how some are choosing to cope with it, and introduces a few third party tools (including Mimecast’s archive) as ways to mitigate the nightmare. It should be both informative, as well as entertaining.
Now, another exciting aspect of MEC will be the release of my latest book entitled “Conversational Exchange (in 10 days!)” which is a 10 chapter book that helps conceptualize messaging subject matter to truly help newbies to Exchange to start grasping what Exchange/O365 is all about without having to learn the step-by-step how-to information that you can easily find on TechNet. It’s a fun book with cartoons and easy-to-understand explanations and I’m super proud of it. So, the first copies go live at MEC and I’m happy to mention that Mimecast is sponsoring these copies so that we will be giving them away at a signing at the booth right after my session on Tuesday, April 1st from 11:30pm to 1:30pm. It’s important to note that I didn’t write this book to sell. This one was a labor of love for the community and it’s free to the community. We’re giving out hard copies at the event but will also have PDF versions available and online review of the content available soon after MEC.
ClipTraining: Wow, great stuff. Are all MVPs as involved at MEC as you are?
J. Peter: Are you kidding? Many are more involved than I am (if you can believe that). Bhargav Shukla, an MVP who previously worked for Microsoft and now works for Kemp Technologies, has 3 sessions! But it’s not just about giving sessions, many MVPs will be present who aren’t speaking, it’s also about being available to support the community as a whole. Those that show up at MEC will be ones who not only appreciate the effort the Microsoft Exchange Team has put into keeping them educated (and I think the Exchange Team is one of the best for disseminating information to the community) but they have their blogs that they read, many of which are written by MVPS, that now they can meet in person. Many of these MVPs are traveling at their own expense to be at the event, coming from all over the globe. Their presence will benefit the attendees of MEC, but what they learn and can take back with them will also benefit readers of their blogs and all they touch in their local community efforts. That’s part of what being an MVP is all about so it’s great that so many will be able to attend.
ClipTraining: It sounds like you are completely pumped up for MEC 2014. Which sessions are you personally planning on attending?
J. Peter: Good question. There are too many to choose from for me right now. I’m battling that dilemma, which happens at every conference I attend but it’s worse for one that is completely Exchange/O365 focused as you would imagine.
Ok, so I always try to catch a session from Ross Smith IV. He has one on Monday at 10:30 am that explains Exchange 2013 architecture. Jeff Mealiffe has one on Exchange Server 2013 sizing scenarios on Monday at 1:30pm that I think will be very valuable considering the significant architectural changes in Exchange. Scott Schnoll, another of my favorite speakers, has one on “Exchange Server 2013 Tips and Tricks” on Monday at 2:45pm that looks really fun. That session conflicts with another that I’m looking forward to, Paul Robichaux’s “Exchange Unified Messaging Deep Dive” on Monday, March 30th at 2:45PM. I just finished up an Exchange 2013 Unified Messaging course for Pluralsight so I’m excited to hear Paul’s UM deep dive, he’s a master with UM. I’m also looking forward to Tony Redmond’s “Retention Policies in the Real World” on Wednesday morning at 8:30am. There is a “Build a hybrid configuration in less than 75 minutes” by Michael Van Horenbeeck that is happening at the same time and I really wanted to catch that one too so we’ll see which one wins out.
As I said… too many to choose from. I expect by the end of MEC to have my head filled with knowledge. I might have to start work on the second edition of “Conversational Exchange” by the time it’s all over!
ClipTraining: Indeed! Well, we thank you for taking the time to chat with us about the event. Thanks again, J. Peter.