hmmm....ok, so here's an interesting problem: I'm a Microsoft employee. My blog is hosted on Technet.com. And I'm pretty sure that there is a policy somewhere, which I'm unaware of, that addresses blog posts about 3rd party companies... But I've never really been one for following too many rules anyways, so here you go:
I wrote a post back in May about changes to our organizational structure for supporting AD internally at Microsoft. While I still think the re-org was a great thing to happen within IT, and we're making big progress on many things that had been stalled in the past (ADFS, smartcards, selective auth forest, etc...) - one thing that I noticed were all of the new faces who were going to be managing the DC's. Now, most people in the org have AD experience, but let's face it, there's a big difference between reviewing schema extensions and doing delegations; versus troubleshooting replication or a server on which lsass.exe is taking 90% of the CPU. Both can be difficult, but they are seperate skills. So, to make a long story short, (too late), I fired off an e-mail to Dean at MSETechnology to see if he could help us out with some training. Many people who have been around AD for a while know Dean (or at least "of" him), whether it's the random references in Joe's blog, his answers on ActiveDir.org, or from NetPro's Directory Experts Conference.
Anyways, after a bit of back-and-forth figuring out the logistical details, Dean came on-site here in Redmond and has spent the last week giving what can only be described as the most entertaining, in-depth training on AD that I've ever seen. Topics ranging from replication and topology, to sid history/filtering, to the most...ummm...."descriptive"...segment on the FILE replication service which I've ever sat through, I would have to say that if you're looking for some 300-400 level AD information (as opposed to someone standing up reading a book to you), then this was the class you want to be in.
There's no comparison to the quality of the content, but two things stood out most...and note, that I didn't even sit through the entire week, but was coming and going at random:
- While there was definitely structure and order to the content, there was never hesitation to go off on wild tangents which would ultimately enhance the topic being discussed. Most impressive are the impromptu labs, which went something like: "That's a great question...why don't we log into the VPC and try running xyz command and see what happens...ok, well since that didn't work, let's figure out why and then see what we should do." Having taught classes before, I can say that it takes an ENORMOUS amount of confidence in your knowledge to make up labs on the fly.
- Professionalism - Yes, a couple of you just looked and said "what? that's not the Dean I know!" Well, actually it is and you know it, but it's fun to play. Most mornings and some afternoons we sat down to go over the class progress and to make sure we were hitting the right topics. There wasn't ever any hesitation to change things "on the fly" (again, very difficult for 'structured' instructors) and the open dialog was exactly what we needed to make sure that everyone was getting the most out of the class. He truly cared about making sure we got the most of the time spent.
So if you're looking to bring in some custom (in-depth, not MOC based) training, and wondering what other people have done, then MSE Technology is worth a look.