Look - No Pens

Last week I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit Old Billingsgate in London for the MISCO Expo ‘08.  After standing in line for twenty minutes a good few hundred yards from the entrance I managed to get in and was pleasantly presented with a Wenger laptop backpack and a nifty wireless Kensington mouse.  The venue was quite small but there were plenty of suppliers packed in.

I spent a lot of time speaking with various vendors and had a look at some very shiny laptops from Sony and spent an inordinate amount of time discussing the perils of e-mail archiving with the Symantec representatives.

Throughout the day MISCO had arranged for a number of seminars.  Unfortunately my e-mail archiving discussions precluded me getting hold of some free protection software from CA in the last seminar, but I did attend a couple of interesting seminars.

The first was given by James Senior of Microsoft.  It was a high speed look at MS SBS 2008 (Small Business Server), MS EBS 2008 (Essential Business Server) and a little b it about MS Server 2008.  It  was quite engaging and whilst the organisation I work for is a little too large to be using SBS or EBS it was a good opportunity to find out a bit more about Server 2008 and about the differences between the versions.  The management consoles were familiar with more than a passing resemblance to the WHS (Windows Home Server) management console.  Apart from the technology overview and the discussion of the upgrade path (SBS to EBS to Server 2008) the presentation was particularly notable due to a couple of pieces of software James was making use of.

He had found some issues with using the wireless network for a live demo and so used DemoMate to create some demonstration server operations and it fit seamlessly into what he was doing … so much so that I actually wonder if it wasn’t actually planned that way.  He also used made use of pptPlex to create a PowerPoint presentation that could be scrolled across and zoomed in on.  It worked really well and the resolution when zooming in was really quite impressive.

The second seminar I attended was given by Dominic Wordsworth of Citrix who was talking about virtualisation and whilst he promised not to focus just on Xen, I think he somewhat missed his objective though it was still informative and its given me some things to think about in terms of what features different virtualisation solutions might offer.  I did find it particularly confusing though that the  presentation made quite a big thing of trying to sell the close Citrix/Microsoft links given Microsoft’s investment in virtualisation.

In the end it was quite an enjoyable experience and I managed to meet some of the MISCO people I deal with by phone and e-mail but at the end of the day I managed to walk away with a good stack of product information to update myself on, a variety of fairly pointless but childishly enjoyable freebies and most proudly I managed to walk away with no pens!

Author: Stephen Millard
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