The last few months have been real busy for me with the release of System Center 2012, attending MMS, writing a book and working between all of the different System Center 2012 project deployments that we're involved in. Not to mention trying to make some quality time to spend with the family!
In fact, the last year has been pretty much the same story with everything that has gone on and I find myself never having the time to study for and sit the certification exams that I set myself targets for. Nor have I had anywhere near the free time that I would like to have so I can ramp up my skills on the likes of Orchestrator and Service Manager.
Still, when new technologies come to market or unusual fixes and workarounds are made public for the products that I deal with on a daily basis, I always seem to be able to quickly find the information I need to enable me to do my job. This is all thanks to the huge amount of community resources that are available to us all every day. It doesn't matter whether your preference is for System Center, Hyper-V, Exchange or Linux - there's always going to be specialists in the relevant disciplines from across the world who love to share their knowledge and experiences with their respective online and local technology communities. These community experts share their information through blogs, central community based websites, forums, Twitter and even by presenting at local user groups and events. Best of all - it's shared completely free!
It's with the latter in mind that this week allowed me the opportunity through expert local community resources to attend some excellent sessions on the upcoming Windows Server 2012 and newly released SQL 2012 technologies. Apart from the fantastic technical content on offer, the best part was, the events were completely free!
Windows Server 2012
Yesterday I attended the Windows Server 2012 Rocks event in Microsoft Ireland which was presented by Alex Juschin (RDP MVP) and Aidan Finn (Hyper-V MVP). Although this was never going to be a deep dive Level 400 type session (you'd never fit all that info into 4 hours!), it was perfect to get an overall understanding with some really cool demo's of the new features around managebility, remote access and virtualization that comes out of the box with this release.
Although the Irish Windows Server 2012 Rocks events have now finished, this event is taking place all over the world and you can check out the official site from the link below to see if there's a presentation on in your locality in the coming month:
I left there yesterday with a much better understanding of what we can now do with Windows Server and Hyper-V and more importantly for me, how my future System Center deployments will benefit from all of the new game-changing features. Did I mention that all this is for free?
SQL Server 2012
If the Windows Server 2012 event was more for me to brush up on my already pretty good Hyper-V and Server O/S knowledge, then the SQL 2012 Always On Deep Dive event that I've just attended tonight in Microsoft Ireland was purely to help me on the long road to improving my SQL 'Kung Fu' -which by the way, just about get's me out of trouble when I need it to!
I realised a long time ago that no matter how good you are at System Center, if you don't know SQL, then you're missing a trick and it's something that is a MUST for anyone deploying System Center 2012. Of course I've earmarked the SQL MCITP exams as ones to sit and pass, but I hardly ever can find the time these days to commit to studying for them!
Step forward another community resource in Ireland and that's the SQL User Group run by Niall Flanagan and Bob Duffy. The session this evening was presented by Bob Duffy who's been working on databases since I was still in school! He's an SQL Ranger and also an SSAS Maestro and definitely someone who knows what they're talking about when it comes to databases!
The session on SQL 2012 Always On was excellent and the demo's backed up seamlessly what Bob was presenting on and to top it all off, we all got our fair share of pizza's and refreshments. Once again, did I mention that this was all free?
The point I'm trying to make I suppose, is that, although as IT Pro's we might get caught up with all of the new technologies being released and the pressure of trying to juggle any spare time we have to get to know and understand them, it doesn't have to cost a load of money on instructer-led training or expensive books - we're in a recession right - to get the knowledge you need to become proficient.
Instead, if sometimes, you're prepared to give up a small amount of your own time, then take a look around the Internet and pay attention to your local IT community user groups, you can get expert technical advice from some of the best in the world, right on your doorstep and all for FREE!!
That's what I call Community Power!