The first time I ever attended an IT/Dev Connections conference was back in 2006. At that point in time I had been in the industry for about 10 years. I recall attending sessions about the technologies that I used every day by the many well respected independent technical minds. Many of these great minds are still part of the various Microsoft communities today. As an attendee, I personally was blown away by the objective yet non-Microsoft point of view on the technologies covered at this conference. This was the stuff that I wanted to know! I was able to get real opinions from real people using the Microsoft technologies that I used every day.


So, here we are many years later and it is refreshing that IT/Dev Connections is still focused on bringing those same attributes to our inquiring IT minds. This conference is still community driven, with independent minded experts telling us what we really need to know about the technologies we are passionate about.

Technology Integration

For me that passion revolves Microsoft Exchange and how Office 365 Exchange Online is changing what that means for the future of Exchange. Tony Redmond led the Exchange Track keynote and indicated that we are looking at “A New Era of Integration” between Exchange and office products in the future. These integrations introduce complexities that can inadvertently break things in an unexpected way. During the keynote a couple examples were discussed where this already being seen. The latest Exchange 2013 Update CU6 caused issues with Hybrid deployments, and the latest update of Google Chrome caused some Exchange related headaches. Tony indicated that ensuring that software deployments are solid is a challenge and that updates shouldn’t be rushed.

The Future

Outside of this venue, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding what the future of Exchange will be, and became a topic of discussion during the Exchange keynote. There is an “The Emerging Gap” between On-Premises Exchange an Office 365 primarily because the Exchange On-Premises cannot change as quickly as Office 365 Exchange Online. Recently, Delve was unveiled to Office 365 tenants creating the ability to automatically organize data that they had access to. To date we do not know if/when this will be available to Exchange On-Premises customers. Current thoughts on the future of On-Premises Exchange deployments is that there will always be some customers that keep Exchange onsite, but that number will shrink over time and influence for new features with be lost for those types of deployments.

The overall thought is that Office 365 will continue to improve from all angles. Features will continue to be better than On-Premises deployments, support and availability are continually improving, and more.

Independent Opinions

Regardless of the technology track you are following this week, there are so many great learning opportunities at this conference. From the Exchange side you can find sessions that address both Exchange On-Premises and Office 365 deployments.  Including detail and insight that will empower YOU to make thoughtful choices about what is best for your organization or customers. Enjoy the conference!

“We’re independent and we have a voice. We expect that voice to be heard…” Tony Redmond