Training day: Best Ignite conferences, free to view

Microsoft hosted its second annual technical conference known as Ignite in Atlanta, Ga., in September, where some 20,000 customers came to spend a week of deep technical training, meeting Microsoft employees from the product groups and the field, seeing what partners and vendors had to offer on the expo floor, and socializing, ehm, networking, with their peers in some great venues throughout downtown Atlanta. I got to go, and I have to tell you, it was a great event to attend. Getting to meet so many of the people who write the code, the TechNet articles, and blog posts, and who help to create and to shape the products my livelihood depends upon was really cool, and several of the vendors had some pretty cool swag too. But if you didn’t get to go, take heart, because most of the sessions presented at Ignite were recorded and are available for you to view online at YouTube or embedded here. You didn’t have to attend and you don’t even have to register. They are all free to view, and already there are well over 700 online, including the keynotes. Here’s a rundown of some of the best ones for Exchange and Windows admins.


More than a few of the Exchange sessions had some element of Office 365 included, which I guess is almost unavoidable at this point, but there were still plenty of good sessions all about those of us who want to stay in our own datacenters. I’ve listed my favorites all below, with descriptions taken from the Ignite site. Some may cross over to O365 just a little bit, but all have great content for Exchange admins.

Experience Scott Schnoll’s Exchange tips and tricks – LIVE: In honor of the 20th Anniversary of Microsoft Exchange Server, we’re continuing the 20-year tradition of the Exchange Tips & Tricks series. This is the world premiere of the Tips & Tricks session for Exchange 2016 and Exchange Online, with all new and never before seen tips, tricks, and other useful information related to planning, setup, deployment, the new Exchange Admin Center, and more!

Improved calendar

Improve shared and delegated calendar experiences in Microsoft Outlook: Microsoft Outlook is making it easier to share your calendar and improve the reliability of shared and delegated calendars. We’re also working to help you more quickly find time and locations for meetings. In this session, we go in-depth on how we’ve re-architected calendar sharing and what that means for your users. We also cover improvements to the time and location suggestions, as well as the meeting form to allow more flexibility such as suggesting more than one time when creating a meeting.

Discover what’s new and what’s coming for Microsoft Outlook: We’ve been busy enhancing the Microsoft Outlook family of apps, with improvements across Microsoft Windows, Mac, mobile, and web. But we’re not finished — we have even more updates coming. Learn firsthand how Outlook is getting better, and see live demos of some of the exciting updates.

Peer behind the curtain – how Microsoft runs Exchange Online: For 75 minutes, you’ll give you a virtual Microsoft blue badge and enter the world of Microsoft Exchange Online operations. See how it’s done with a rare look behind the scenes of one of the world’s biggest email service providers.

MS Exchange Troubleshooting

Investigate tools and techniques for Exchange Performance Troubleshooting: Why is W3WP using 12GB of RAM? Getting to the root cause can take a lot of time, but we’re here to help. This session will focus on troubleshooting Microsoft Exchange Performance issues using tools and techniques used by the Microsoft Escalation Engineers as they diagnose performance issues, including high CPU, memory contentions, and performance issues that can be caused by dependent components like Active directory, storage, and networking and demonstrate tools and techniques for troubleshooting performance issues. We use recent support cases related to performance issues with Exchange 2013.

Unplug with the experts on Microsoft Exchange Top Issues: The unplugged panel is your chance to hear directly from Microsoft Exchange support experts in an unscripted, conversational format. You hear about common customer issues and how to resolve them – or how to avoid them in the first place. Bring your tough questions and hear them answered live on stage, as top experts discuss the issues that matter to you.

Deploy Microsoft Exchange Server 2016: If you haven’t run an installation of Microsoft Exchange for a version or two, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the changes. Learn how to deploy Exchange Server 2016 on-premises into existing Exchange infrastructure. The session includes real-world best practices and first-hand feedback from customers who have deployed Exchange Server 2016. …

Dive deep into Microsoft Exchange Server High Availability: If you’re an IT Pro focused on Microsoft Exchange Server infrastructure, then ensuring that your users’ mailboxes are always available is probably one of your most important tasks. This session dives deep on Exchange Server High Availability, covering architecture, recent updates, and best practices.

Design your Exchange infrastructure right (or consider moving to Office 365): Designing and implementing Microsoft Exchange on premises can be a complex and challenging task. That’s why Microsoft offers the Preferred Architecture for simpler, easier and less expensive implementations. Why follow Microsoft’s design guidance? Exchange architects, consultants, and support engineers who attend this session will learn about Exchange architecture concepts and design principles, and how to apply them to design and deployment decisions; analyze design challenges; understand “supported” vs. “recommended”; and uncover typical misconceptions and errors.

Exchange Server Architecture

Understand the Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 Architecture: There have been major changes to the Microsoft Exchange Server architecture from the older versions still in support (Exchange 2007 and 2010) to Exchange 2016. In this session, we dig into what’s changed from past versions of Exchange, such as server roles, storage, and protocols – and what the impacts of these changes are. You’ll also hear directly from a large Exchange Server customer who has deployed and operated their Exchange infrastructure based on the goals of these product changes.

Move from Exchange 2007 to Modern Exchange: Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 hits the end of support in April 2017. If you’ve got Exchange 2007 in your messaging infrastructure, learn about your options — migrating to Exchange Online, or to Exchange Server 2016; the reasons why you might select one option over the other; and the steps you’ll need to take to complete the migration and retire Exchange 2007.

Windows S5erver 2016

With the general availability of Windows Server 2016 in October, most of you are probably going to download and install it somewhere, be it in the lab, or for the next new server build you need to create. Here are some of my favorite sessions from Ignite on Server 2016.

Introduce Windows Server 2016 into your environment!: Microsoft Windows Server 2016 brings a host of new technologies for infrastructure (software defined compute/networking/storage) and for the application platform (Containers, Nano Server). It’s both the server you know and the bridge to the cloud. We’ve heard you are eager to understand what Windows Server can bring to your organization and want to know how you can incorporate into your organization. In this session, we dive into deployments, upgrades, monitoring and more, so you can quickly onboard Windows Server 2016!

Drill into Storage Replica in Windows Server 2016: Delivering business continuity involves more than just high availability… it means disaster preparedness. In this session, we discuss the new Storage Replica feature, including scenarios, architecture, best practices, requirements, and demos.

Deploy, configure, and remotely manage Nano Server: Hear about important transformations in Microsoft Windows Server — the new installation option called Nano Server. Nano Server is a deep rethink of the server architecture. The result is a new, lean cloud fabric host and application development platform, resulting in 20x smaller than Server Core and a reduction in security attack service surface and reboots! We cover everything you need to know in order to create a Nano Server image, deploy the image, how to configure as part of deployment, as well as remotely configuring and managing post deployment.

Hyper-V Containers

Dive into the new world of Windows Server and Hyper-V Containers: Applications need to be always available, globally accessible, scalable, and secure in today’s 24/7 economy. Businesses must be able to deploy rapid updates and revisions at a lower cost with fewer resources than ever before to be competitive. Containers are an amazingly powerful technology for building, deploying and hosting applications that have been proven to reduce costs, improve efficiency and reduce deployment times – making it a hot new feature in Windows Server 2016. We dive into the architecture features of the new container technology, and talk about development and deployment experience.

Secure privileged access from active attacks: Dealing with emerging threats in your datacenter and hosting environment? Privileged Identity is the new security boundary. This session covers how you can use Microsoft Windows Server 2016 and Microsoft Windows 10 to create a secure and deployable infrastructure for protecting Privileged Access in your environment. This session weaves together capabilities in Windows 10, MIM’s Privileged Access Management, and Windows Server 2016’s Shielded VMs / Guarded Fabric / Just Enough Administration (JEA) features.

Configure your heterogeneous environment with PowerShell and DSC: Come see the Windows Server 2016 capabilities of PowerShell and DSC. Understand the ramifications of PowerShell being developed in GitHub using the OSS Model on Windows, Linux and macOS. Find out how to write scripts today for portability and how to contribute to a stronger PowerShell experience.

With these 17 sessions, you’ve got almost a month of long lunches covered if you’d like to watch while you eat, or better still, view them while you are on the treadmill. No matter how you consume them, the information included is great, and you can even download the slide decks to help you jump start your own diagrams and documentation.

Did you attend Ignite, or have you spent any time going through some of the other online content? If so, leave a comment below and let us and your fellow readers know which sessions you found most valuable.

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