Next week, Microsoft is throwing its big annual technology bash for North America, TechEd 2009, in Los Angeles. Last year, TechEd was split into two separate events: one for developers and one for IT professionals. This year, the two are combined again. Usually, I'd complain about the combination because I think it reduces the number of available sessions for the technologies I'm interested in, but this year there are plenty of sessions focusing on unified communications, security, and other top-of-mind topics.

The big news for us Exchange Server administrators, of course, is that TechEd 2009 is the big coming-out party for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. Microsoft has been steadily releasing details on Exchange 2010 since earlier this year, including the release of the public beta on April 15. However, as B. K. Winstead pointed out in his article "Exchange 2010: Problems, Problems, Problems," there are still several unanswered questions and problems around the public beta release. There are also some things that Microsoft has not yet talked about in its public disclosures.

Based on the session agenda available on the TechEd website, here are a few sessions that should be of particular interest:

  • "Introduction to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010" (UNC204)—This session is a keynote by Michael Atalla and Rajesh Jha from Microsoft. Expect this session to focus on the integration between on-premise Exchange and the Exchange Online service, as well as showcasing some of the new client access features. If we're lucky, the Office team will let Outlook 2010 out of its cage for this session, too, so we can see how it works with Exchange 2010.
  • "Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 SP1 and Microsoft Hyper-V: Dos and Don'ts" (UNC308)—In the past, the Exchange virtualization story was all about the "don't" aspect. With this session's intriguing title, it will be interesting to see what supportability changes Microsoft has in mind for the newest version.
  • "High Availability in Microsoft Exchange Server 2010" (UNC313)—This session will cover the new database availability group (DAG) architecture in depth. This should be popular with people who are wondering what the excitement is all about and whether DAGs are a suitable replacement for their existing high-availability solutions.
  • "Microsoft Exchange Server Outlook Web Access 2010: The Future of Web-Based E-mail" (UNC320)—If you haven't seen OWA 2010, you're in for some very pleasant surprises, and you should definitely hit this session to see it in action.
  • "Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 High Availability and Disaster Recovery Deep Dive" (UNC402)—This is the only 400-level session related to Exchange I expect this session to have some lively discussion about the best way to plan a high-availability architecture with Exchange 2007 while preparing that architecture for an eventual move to Exchange 2010.

Last, but hopefully not least, I'm presenting two sessions. "Deploying, Administering, and Managing Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2" (UC304) is on Wednesday, May 13, at 1:00 P.M. I'm also presenting "Managing Messaging and Collaboration in the Cloud with Microsoft Online Services" (UNC01-INT), an Interactive Theater session on the Exchange Online service. If you're at TechEd, come by and say hello!

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