February’s Rip-Roarin’ SharePoint Activities

February is a really busy month for SharePoint activities. In this post, I cover some speaking engagements I have during the month. I also talk about the release of Idera SharePoint backup 3.0 — the product we’ve been working so hard to build and make available!

Holy smokes!  2011 is off to a fast start, and February is already here.  Now that our product release is out (see below), I’m going to make good on my promise to get more “real” blog content out.  Before I do that, though, I want to highlight all of the great SharePoint stuff I’m fortunate enough to be involved with during the month of February.

Idera SharePoint backup 3.0 Release

Idera SharePoint backup 3.0 management consoleAs some of you know, I’m currently a Product Manager for SharePoint products at Idera.  Although it isn’t something that is strictly community focused, Idera SharePoint backup has been a large part of my life for most of the last year.  We’ve been doing some really cool development and product work, and I want to share a piece of good news: We just released version 3.0 of Idera SharePoint backup!

Idera SharePoint backup is “my” product from a management standpoint, and I’m really proud of all the effort that our team put in to make the release a reality.  There are a lot of people in many different areas who busted their butts to get the product out-the-door: development, quality assurance, information development, marketing, product marketing management, public relations, web site management, sales, sales engineering, and more.

To everyone who contributed to making the release a success: you have my heartfelt thanks.  To the rest of you who might be shopping for a SharePoint backup product, please check out what we’ve put together!

SPTechCon San Francisco

Idera-sponsored book signings at SPTechCon San FranciscoI’ll be heading out to BZ Media’s SPTechCon in San Francisco for most of the week of February 7th.  Although I will be delivering a lightning talk titled “Backup/Restore Knowledge Nuggets: What’s True, What’s Not?” (more-or-less the same talk I delivered at last Fall’s SPTechCon event in Boston) on Monday the 7th, that’s only a small part of why I’ll be at the conference.

The big stuff?  Well, first off is the big “public release” of Idera SharePoint backup 3.0.  I’ll be talking with conference participants, seeing what they like (and what they don’t like), explaining the new capabilities and features, etc.

My good friend (and co-author) John Ferringer and I will also be doing an Idera-sponsored book signing for our SharePoint 2010 Disaster Recovery Guide.  If you’re going to be at the conference and want to get a free (and signed!) copy of our book, come by booth #302 on Wednesday morning (2/9) at 10am during the coffee and donuts.  We’ll be around and easy to find: John will be the thin bald guy, and I’ll be the mostly bald guy next to him shoveling donuts into his mouth.  I have a tremendous weak spot for donuts …

Presenting for the Rochester SharePoint User Group

Rick Black is one of the organizers of the Rochester (New York) SharePoint User Group.  I met Rick late in 2009 at SharePoint Saturday Cleveland in Cleveland, Ohio; he and I were both presenting sessions.  We talked a bit during the event, and we pinged each other now and again on Twitter and Facebook in the time after the event.

At one point in time, Rick tossed out the idea of having me present for the Rochester SPUG.  I told him I’d certainly be up for it; after all, I really enjoy hanging out with SharePoint users and talking shop.  The trick, of course, would be getting me to Rochester.

Recently, I asked Rick if he thought a virtual SPUG presentation might work for his group.  I do quite a bit of time presenting on Live Meeting these days, so I figured it might be an option.  It sounded like a good idea to Rick, so I’m on the schedule to (virtually) present for the Rochester SPUG on Thursday, February 10th, 2011.  I’ll be presenting Saving SharePoint – a time-tested and refined SharePoint disaster recovery talk.  The abstract reads as follows:

In this session, we will be discussing disaster recovery (DR) concepts and strategies for SharePoint in a format that highlights a combination of both business and technical concerns.  We will define some critical planning terms such as “recovery time objectives” and “recovery point objectives,” and we’ll see why they are so important to understand when trying to formulate a DR strategy.  We will also identify the capabilities and limitations of the Microsoft tools that can used for backing up, restoring, and making SharePoint highly available for disaster recovery purposes.  Changes that have arrived with SharePoint Server 2010 and how they affect DR planning and implementation will also be covered.

I’ll be presenting the night that I get home on a red-eye flight from SPTechCon, so I could be a bit weary … but it will be fun.  I’m really looking forward to it!

SharePoint Saturday San Diego

SharePointSaturdayFor the last weekend of February, I’ll be heading back out to the west coast for SharePoint Saturday San Diego.  The event itself will be held at the San Diego Convention Center on Saturday, February 26th.  The event has filled-up once already, but Chris Givens (who is organizing the event) was able to add another 75 tickets thanks to some additional support from sponsors.

In addition to my Saving SharePoint session (which is described earlier in this post), I’ll be delivering another session called “Caching-In” for SharePoint Performance.  The abstract for the session reads as follows:

Caching is a critical variable in the SharePoint scalability and performance equation, but it’s one that’s oftentimes misunderstood or dismissed as being needed only in Internet-facing scenarios.  In this session, we’ll build an understanding of the caching options that exist within the SharePoint platform and how they can be leveraged to inject some pep into most SharePoint sites.  We’ll also cover some sample scenarios, caching pitfalls, and watch-outs that every administrator should know.

As always, SharePoint Saturday events are free to the public.  They’re a great way to get a day’s worth of free training, access to SharePoint experts, and plenty of swag and info from vendors.  If you live in or around San Diego and are free on 2/26, consider signing up!

Two trips to the west coast in one month is definitely a first for me, but I’m looking forward to it.  I hope to see you out there!

Additional Reading and References

  1. Company: Idera
  2. Product: Idera SharePoint backup
  3. Company: BZ Media
  4. Event: SPTechCon San Francisco
  5. Event: SPTechCon SharePoint Lightning Talks
  6. Blog: John Ferringer’s My Central Admin
  7. Book: SharePoint 2010 Disaster Recovery Guide
  8. Twitter: Rick Black (@ricknology)
  9. User Group: Rochester SharePoint User Group
  10. Events: SharePoint Saturday San Diego
  11. Twitter: Chris Givens (@givenscj)

SPTechCon Boston Lightning Talk

This post contains my SPTechCon Boston lightning talk titled “Backup/Restore Knowledge Nuggets: What’s True, What’s Not?” I also spend a few moments talking about Prezi and how it compares to PowerPoint.

Last week, I was in Boston for BZ Media’s SPTechCon Boston event.  It was a great opportunity to see and spend time with many of my friends in the SharePoint community, do a book signing with John Ferringer and Idera, and take in a few sessions.

Although I wasn’t technically a presenter at the conference, I did deliver a “lightning talk” on the first day of the conference.  Lightning talks are five minute presentations that are typically given by sponsors and designed to expose audiences (who are usually chowing-down on food) to the sponsors’ services, products, etc.

I was given Idera’s slot to speak, and I was also given the latitude to basically do whatever I wanted … so, I decided to have some fun with it!

The Lightning Talk Itself

The five minute presentation that appears below is titled Backup/Restore Knowledge Nuggets: What’s True, What’s Not?  If you weren’t at SPTechCon and can spare a few minutes, I think you’ll find the presentation to be both amusing and informative.

Follow the link and try it out!  You’ll find that the play button allows you to step through the presentation from start to finish pretty easily.

Prezi has a very slick mechanism for embedding actual presentations directly into a website, but that isn’t an option here on my blog.  WordPress.com hosts my blog, and they strip out anything with <object> tags.  I tried to embed the presentation directly, but it got me nowhere  :-(

Wait, What’s Prezi?

I recently became hooked on Prezi (the product + service that drove both the lightning talk and the link that I included above) when I saw Peter Serzo use it to deliver his service application session at SharePoint Saturday Columbus.  Prior to Prezi, I did everything with PowerPoint.  Once I saw Prezi in action and got some additional details from Peter, though, I knew that I’d be using Prezi before long.

I don’t see Prezi as a replacement for PowerPoint, but I do see it as a nice complement.  PowerPoint is great for presenting sequential sets of data and information, and it excels in situations where a linear delivery is desirable.

Prezi, on the other hand, is fantastic for talks and presentation where jumping around happens a lot – such as you might do when trying to tie several points back to a central theme or concept.  Prezi isn’t nearly as full-featured as PowerPoint, but I find that it can be more visually engaging and simply “fun.”

Wrapping It Up

The lightning talk at SPTechCon was the perfect arena for a test run with Prezi, and I think the presentation went wonderfully… and was a whole lot of fun to deliver, as well.  I certainly see myself using Prezi more in the future.  SharePoint Saturday Dallas is coming up in just a couple of weeks …

If you take the time to watch the presentation, I’d really love to hear your feedback!

Additional Reading and References

  1. Company: BZ Media LLC
  2. Book: SharePoint 2010 Disaster Recovery Guide
  3. Blog: John Ferringer’s MyCentralAdmin
  4. Company: Idera
  5. Presentation: Backup/Restore Knowledge Nuggets: What’s True, What’s Not?
  6. Product: Prezi
  7. Twitter: Peter Serzo (@pserzo)
  8. Event: SharePoint Saturday Columbus
  9. Event: SharePoint Saturday Dallas

Fall SharePoint Fun

In this post, I discuss a couple of events that I have coming up; specifically, SPTechCon Boston and SharePoint Saturday Dallas.

Fall is here, and the SharePoint bus keeps on rolling down the road.  There’s no shortage of events coming up – conferences, SharePoint Saturdays, and more.  Here are a couple of events in which I’ll be participating.

SPTechCon Boston

In a couple of days, I’ll be heading up to Boston for SPTechCon Boston 2010.  The event is put on by Dave Rubenstein of BZ Media, and it promises to be one of the bigger SharePoint conferences of this year.

Idera book signings at SPTechConAlthough I’m presenting a “lightning talk” on Wednesday the 20th titled Backup/Restore Knowledge Nuggets: What’s True, What’s Not?, it’s only five minutes long … and not the main reason I’m going to the conference.  To tell you the truth, I’m simply looking forward to taking in some of the sessions and seeing many of my friends in the community whom I haven’t seen in a while.

My co-author, John Ferringer, is one of those folks I haven’t seen in a while – since SharePoint Saturday Columbus, I believe. Thanks to the folks at Idera, the two of us will be getting the band back together to do a book signing on Friday morning (the 22nd) at 9:45am during coffee and donuts.  Idera purchased 20 copies of our SharePoint 2010 Disaster Recovery Guide, and they’ll be giving them away (see the poster on the right).  John and I will be signing those books, so if you want to meet a couple of flagship members in the “SharePoint Mr. Clean Team” (to quote SharePoint superstar and all-around great person, Joy Earles), please swing by the Idera booth!

SharePoint Saturday Dallas

SharePoint Saturday Dallas logo I knew that I was going to be down in Houston for some business during the second week of November, so when I learned that Eric Shupps was in the process of pulling things together for SharePoint Saturday Dallas during the same time frame (Saturday, November 13th), I pinged him to see if he could use another speaker.  He pinged me back, and it looks like I’ll be making a stop in Dallas on my way back to Cincinnati.

The session I’ll be presenting is titled SharePoint 2010 and Your DR Plan: New Capabilities, New Possibilities!, and it’s a relatively new one for me.  It’s a disaster recovery talk, but it’s primarily a technology-focused look at the new platform capabilities and improvements that come with SharePoint 2010.  Here’s the abstract:

Disaster recovery planning for a SharePoint 2010 environment is something that must be performed to insure your data and the continuity of business operations. Microsoft made significant enhancements to the disaster recovery landscape with SharePoint 2010, and we’ll be taking a good look at how the platform has evolved in this session. We’ll dive inside the improvements to the native backup and restore capabilities that are present in the SharePoint 2007 platform to see what has been changed and enhanced. We’ll also look at the array of exciting new capabilities that have been integrated into the SharePoint 2010 platform, such as unattended content database recovery, SQL Server snapshot integration, and configuration-only backup and restore. By the time we’re done, you will possess a solid understanding of how the disaster recovery landscape has changed with SharePoint 2010.

The SharePoint Saturday event is being held at the Hilton Dallas Park Cities from 9am until 5:30pm on Saturday, November 13th.  If you work with SharePoint and reside in or around the Dallas area, I strongly encourage you to sign up for the event and come on out.  Like all SharePoint Saturday events, there’s no cost to you – it’s simply a free day of training, food, giveaways, and interaction with the SharePoint community!

Additional Reading and References

  1. Event: SPTechCon Boston 2010
  2. Company: BZ Media
  3. Blog: John Ferringer’s My Central Admin
  4. Company: Idera
  5. Book: SharePoint 2010 Disaster Recovery Guide
  6. Twitter: Joy Earles
  7. Event: SharePoint Saturday Dallas
  8. Blog: Eric Shupps Blog
  9. Venue: Hilton Dallas Park Cities
  10. Registration: SharePoint Saturday Dallas

A New Chapter

If you check this blog with any degree of regularity, then you know that I’ve been relatively quiet for the last couple of months.  I haven’t really posted anything new in some time, my tweets have been fewer in number (not that I’m a generator of high traffic on Twitter anyway), and I’ve generally been laying low.  This is due in part to writing for the upcoming SharePoint 2010 Disaster Recovery Guide, but writing isn’t really the largest reason I’ve been “sparse” as of late.

Idera Software

For a few months now, I’ve been in a state of transition with regard to both my career and my employer.  Now that all of the discussions are over, the details have been finalized, and I’m on my way to Houston for a week, I’m excited to announce that I’ve joined Idera as their Product Manager for SharePoint Products!  The press release with some additional details can be found at this link.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the name, Idera is a software company that is based out of Houston, Texas.  Idera makes tools for SharePoint, SQL Server, and PowerShell.  In my new role with them, I’ll be part of the team that is working to craft the next generation of Idera’s backup and restore tools.  This excites me on so many levels!

I’ve actually had a relationship with Idera for the better part of a year now, and it has been nothing but positive.  John Ferringer (my DR Guide co-author) and I wrote a SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery Overview whitepaper for Idera, and we also presented a webcast on SharePoint Disaster Recovery Essential Guidelines through Idera.  On top of that, I was part of an “Ask the Experts” session at the SharePoint Conference 2009 that Idera sponsored, and I am also a member of Idera’s Technical Advisory Board for SharePoint Products.  When I had determined that I’d be moving on from my previous employer and mentioned my situation to Idera, elements in the SharePoint universe actually seemed to align in my favor for once.

Given the degree to which many of my “extracurricular” activities (that is, writing and speaking) have focused on disaster recovery and the SharePoint platform, I think the new position is going to be a great fit.  The match-up is wonderful in a number of ways:

  • Though I worked with SharePoint as a consultant with my previous company, I was always one step removed from the platform.  With Idera, I’ll be working on products that specifically target SharePoint – a big win in my book.
  • About a year and a half ago, I made it a goal to get more involved in the SharePoint community.  I wanted to participate more, give back some of what I had gotten, and host of other things.  I see this position as a great way to continue those efforts in a way that helps both me and the company I work for.
  • When it comes to SharePoint, I’ve always had one foot in the development world and one foot in the infrastructure/IT pro world.  Most of the development work I’ve done for SharePoint has focused on core plumbing, interop with other systems, performance improvement, and general tools.  I’d be hard-pressed to find a better fit in this regard than Idera!

Though Idera is headquartered in Houston, I’ll still be staying in Cincinnati.  I will be in Texas all week, though, to meet with my team, discuss strategies, and get myself “into the game,” so to speak.

If you see me around at a conference, SharePoint Saturday event, or anywhere else, please stop me and let me know what you think of Idera’s products.  Make sure you share your thoughts on what you think should be done to make them better, too.  From now on, I’ll be in a unique position to do something with the feedback!

Additional Reading and References

  1. Social Networking: Twitter
  2. Book: SharePoint 2010 Disaster Recovery Guide
  3. Announcement: Sean McDonough joins Idera
  4. Companies: Idera
  5. People: John Ferringer
  6. Whitepaper: Protect your SharePoint Content: An Overview of SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery
  7. Webcast: SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery Essential Guidelines
  8. Event: SPC 2009 “Ask the Experts” Session
  9. Announcement: Idera’s SharePoint Technical Advisory Board