Are you getting geared up for the Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC) in 2 weeks? This is a busy time for me in preparation for my activities at the conference. I thought I'd give you my take on some important topics and sessions that would be worthwhile to focus on at the conference.

This year’s conference will be the coming-out party for Exchange Server’s Platinum release. Along with announcing the actual product name for Platinum, the conference will hold in-depth technical sessions on Platinum technology. Although I recommend that you attend as many of these sessions as possible, don’t forget that most of us will have Exchange Server 5.5 around for some time. So, here are the Exchange UPDATE editor’s Top Ten Picks for sessions at MEC99:

  1. Deploying Exchange Platinum–Part 1: Fundamentals (Ken Ewert)
  2. Deploying Exchange Platinum–Part 2: Directory Integration (Lyle Curry)
  3. Deploying Exchange Platinum–Part 3: Routing and Storage (Paul Bowden)
  4. Exchange Platinum Routing Architecture (David Lemson)
  5. Exchange Platinum Database Technology (Laurion Burchall)
  6. Exchange 5.5 Administrator’s Guide to Platinum (Tony Redmond)
  7. Backup Strategies for Platinum (Jerry Cochran)
  8. Clustering Support in Exchange Platinum (Mark Wistrom)
  9. Getting Current on Exchange 5.5 (Larry LeSueur)
  10. Deployment Best Practices for Exchange Server 5.5 (Panel Discussion)

The first three picks, a three-part series, should give you much to think about for when you get ready to move to Platinum. Because Platinum will no longer base message routing on the Message Transfer Agent (MTA) by default, pick 4 is also important. Laurion Burchall’s database technology talks are always excellent, and you won’t be disappointed with the Platinum update. Session picks 6 through 8 are also important. Tony Redmond’s session will give you a great contrast of some key administrative differences you'll see when moving from Exchange 5.5 to Platinum. Although I'm recommending my own session as pick 7, backup strategy for Platinum is an important topic to discuss--I won’t let you down. The session on Platinum clustering from Mark Wistrom (along with developer Gordon Brown) will renew your interest and faith in clustering Exchange Server. Finally, because Exchange Server 5.5 is not going away, take time to get current with Larry LeSueur’s presentation (pick 9). Then, get your deployment questions ready for the panel discussion on Exchange Server 5.5 deployment best practices. All in all, you'll be pleased with this year’s program. I look forward to learning a lot myself. If you get to town early, join the MEC group at the Atlanta Falcon’s game on Sunday, October 3. I’ll see you there!