If you're a System Center guru, you're probably already planning on attending IT/Dev Connections, which takes place in Las Vegas, September 30 to October 4, 2013. This show promises to be a valuable opportunity to connect with not only your peers but also celebrities in the field—one on one.

IT/Dev Connections is delivered to you directly from industry experts who will provide practical and insightful discussions about how System Center works and how to best use its various components. You'll learn tips and tricks about managing third-party updates, deploying virtual applications, navigating Windows Installer, and much more! Real-world experience and expertise combine to deliver a unique learning opportunity that can only help you to plan, deploy, and manage System Center 2012.

Schedule Highlights for System Center Admins

Here are some highlights to mark down on your calendar:

  • "Managing Third-Party Updates with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1"—Why worry about third-party software updates, you might ask? Well, estimates of vulnerabilities in third-party programs have increased from 45% in 2006 to 86% in 2012. In 2012, we saw more than 9,000 different security advisories discovered in 2,503 products from 421 vendors. Although some vulnerabilities were found in programs from well-known vendors (e.g., Sun, Adobe, Apple), there were also lots of vulnerabilities found in programs from less-known vendors. The session will provide you with tips and tricks to solve the daily challenges around patching your environment with non-Microsoft updates. Speaker Kent Agerlund will cover how to implement and publish custom updates using System Center Updates Publisher 2011 and integrate the available third-party update solutions from Secunia and SolarWinds. (Tuesday, October 1, 10:00am)
  • "Using Orchestrator to Integrate with Azure IaaS"—John Savill will guide attendees through the key steps to integrate with Azure IaaS using System Center Orchestrator. The new Azure Integration Pack for Orchestrator will be explored, including how its cascading dependency structure works. At the end of this session, attendees will be able to use Orchestrator to create and manage virtual machines in Azure IaaS. Attendees will also learn key Orchestrator skills. (Tuesday, October 1, 10:00am)
  • "Deploying and Managing Virtual Applications and Settings with System Center Configuration Manager and MDOP"—In this session, Microsoft's Jeff Gilbert will show you how Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 and MDOP technologies can be integrated to provide users access to the applications that they need—along with their custom application and Windows settings—anywhere in the enterprise without installing applications directly on their desktops, laptops, or virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) sessions. This session will feature demonstrations of creating virtualized applications using App-V, generating custom settings templates for UE-V, and deploying and managing App-V and UE-V with Configuration Manager 2012. (Tuesday, October 1, 11:45am)
  • "The WHY of Configuration Manager"—There are plenty of resources to tell you HOW to perform various tasks with Configuration Manager. For that matter, there are multiple ways of doing many tasks. Jarvis Davis will use lessons learned from numerous Configuration Manager deployments to teach you WHY you would choose one method over another. This will be a broad, fast-paced session that digs into the questions you should ask to ensure that you implement Configuration Manager the right way in your company. (Tuesday, October 1, 11:45am)
  • "Windows Installer Survival Guide for System Center Configuration Manager Admins"—Windows Installer brought a robust and standard installation method to Windows applications, but it also brought a new set of skills for administrators to learn and master. Nearly every available commercial software application comes in the form of a Windows Installer package (aka an MSI). With the new Application Model in ConfigMgr 2012, knowing the ins and outs of MSIs, MSTs, and MSPs is even more crucial in managing a Windows environment. This includes not only environments with ConfigMgr deployed but also environments using any other deployment methodology or tool, including Group Policy. Jason Sandys's demo-heavy session will cover core concepts, advanced skills, troubleshooting, MSI packaging and repackaging, customization using MSTs, and proper command-line usage. It'll provide the knowledge needed to effectively and successfully manage Windows Installer-based installations and packages in a Windows environment. The use of MSIs with ConfigMgr 2012 will be explicitly covered. (Tuesday, October 1, 2:30pm)
  • "Migrating from Configuration Manager 2007 to Configuration Manager 2012"—Still on Configuration Manager 2007 and planning to migrate to Configuration Manager 2012? Make sure you attend Kent Agerlund's session, where you'll learn how to prepare the environment for a migration and perform a live migration. The session will have a very high focus on best practices and how to solve real migration challenges learned from more than 20 migration projects. You'll learn how to design your collection hierarchy and migrate packages, task sequences, reports, clients, distribution points, secondary sites, and multiple primary sites into a new System Center 2012 Configuration Manager platform. (Tuesday, October 1, 4:15pm)

And that's just Tuesday! Register now for the full show!