The Experts Conference

In the spirit of sharing a conference experience, I wanted to create this summary.  I returned recently from The Experts Conference (formally The Directory Experts Conference).  This conference was hosted by Netpro in the past, but is now hosted by Quest Software because they purchased Netpro last year.  This conference is focused on Microsoft’s directory, identity and messaging technologies and this year had tracks for ILM, Federation, AD, Exchange and Information Protection.  Personally I focused on the ILM and AD track.  Overall I will have to say this is one of the best conferences I have ever attended.  I think because it was so focused and it was small in size (~450 attendees).  The following is a quick summary of some of the breakouts that I attended:


Exchange Provisioning with ILM and ILM “2”

Avanade (Jeremy Palenchar & Andrew Weiss) provide a unique method of provisioning Exchange mailboxes that goes beyond what is capable from ILM out-of-the-box.  Only caveat is that it goes against the best practice of calling outside systems from provisioning or extension code.  Avanade have created a Web Service that performs .NET calls for Powershell and WMI to manage Exchange 2003/2007 environments.  If you are not aware, ILM will only provision a new mailbox / user.  If you want to mailbox enable an existing user, create a shared mailbox, move a mailbox or provision a mix of Exchange 2003 / 2007 on the same MA, you need to be creative.  This presentation showed how they did this using calls to a Web Service.


Human Behavior

This presentation was put on by our ILM product group (Andreas Kjellman and Mark Wahl) and for me was one of the best.  Within ILM 2 there are many interactions with the end user, from emails to a web portal.  They showed that we need to consider how we modify the existing defaults and templates to convey valuable communication to the users.  Here are few highlight of things to consider:

·         How will the users get to the portal?

·         Hide technical information from the user in the communications.  “Please contact your ILM administration.” Is not a good idea.

·         Install Clients silently (GINA extensions, Outlook Add-ins)

·         Password Reset questions:

o   Run the questions through HR and Legal

o   Check out

o   Avoid Facebook or MySpace questions from surveys.  They make it easy to socially engineer your users password reset questions.

·         Customize the help links on the portal sites

·         Customize the email templates


Codeless Provisioning Deep Dive

This was a wonderful presentation by Microsoft Services (Mike Dube and Markus Vilcinskas).  They went into deep details to explain and demonstrate the provisioning process in ILM “2”.  Let me tell you that it was very deep and a good refresher for me.  What I found the most interesting was the use of what they call “Operational Synchronization Rules” (OSR).  This was a rule that was evaluated on the end of an inbound synchronization.  It would allow you to determine the current state of an attribute of an already created object.  For example, if you want to determine who has a disabled account.  It would return true for those accounts and based on that, you could generate a notification via email.  Great possibilities with using OSRs.


*Note: Keep your eye open for a more detail post from Mike Dube next week right here.


ILM “2” from an IT Pro’s Perspective

This was another presentation from our ILM Product Team (Andreas Kjellman).  This presentation provided a perspective for implementing ILM “2” by using steps for planning, identifying business processes, rules and roles and how to map the processes to those rules and roles.


Migration Scenarios – MMS\MIIS\ILM to ILM “2”

This was a useful presentation by Oxford Computing Group (Craig Martin) to show the simplicity of upgrading to ILM “2”.  The process is pretty straight forward if you are going from apples to apples.  But when it is time to utilize some of the improvements of ILM “2”,  it will require more work.


Managing Active Directory with AD Administrative Center

This was a presentation from our product group (Ivan Lam).  This presentation was about the Windows Server 2008 R2 Administration Center.  This new management console which is similar to Hyena, if you are familiar with it, does not use MMC.  It is built to use a web service that will need to be installed on a domain controller.  It uses Powershell on the back end to perform the necessary AD administrative activities.  It seems to be a really nice replacement/enhancement for ADUC.


Overseeing an IDA Project

This presentation was from Oxford Computing Group (Peter LaCrosse).  It was a good presentation on project management.  The processes he discussed can be geared toward any project.  The presentation talked about such things as learning the cultural differences for international projects and defining the frequency of communication.  It also pointed to Gartner’s latest communication that companies will start to need faster ROI.  The presenter stated that Gartner is saying the companies will expect to see ROI in less than twelve months.  This will be a difficult task for large projects that last beyond twelve months.


If you work in this field, I suggest you make it a point to attend one of these conferences in the future.  It is well worth the information and networking you will receive.

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