SharePoint Saturday 2017 Atlanta

On June 17th I had the pleasure of attending another great SharePoint Saturday event put on by one of the best users groups in the area and it did not disappoint!

The morning Keynote was given By Stephen L. Rose from the OneDrive for Business team at Microsoft.

It was really great to see from him all the new features and functionality that are coming ahead in just the next couple of months! Its something I think that will make users of OneDrive want it even more!

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I also attended several other session about workflow and forms with Laura Rogers which was a great session describing all the ins and outs of how Flow is developing into quite a nice tool that still has a ways to go in certain areas, but is quickly being developed into an actual SharePoint Designer replacement.

There was also a great Power Apps session given by Laura later in the day where she went through some great scenarios and examples of how the current version of Power Apps compares with InfoPath as well. It can do some great things right now, but as with Flow, it still needs to be fleshed out I think more in order to be an actual replacement for the older tools everyone is used to.

Much of the content I saw from this day definitely centered around more of the push to Office 365, but what excites me even more is being able to mold these features and capabilities to the on premises and hybrid worlds of SharePoint.

Thanks once again to the Atlanta SharePoint group and all of the volunteers who work at this event! It was another great day of training that I learned more than my brain could hold. 🙂

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2016 Year In Review

2016 was such a great year for me professionally and personally. I had many things happen this year that were firsts for me. Longest duration on a plane, first Microsoft cert, and many others.

This year I travelled to the following places:

Orange Beach, AL

Tampa, FL

Atlanta, GA

Chicago, IL

Aurora, IL

Decatur, IL

St. Louis, MO

Phoenix, AZ

Previously I have never travelled this much in a year, so this was a big change for me. I was able to see some great places, eat some fantastic food, and enjoy and learn about a lot of new topics like Office 365 and SharePoint 2016.

This year was also the first time I had ever tried to attempt a Microsoft certification. Back in the middle of the year I tried (and failed) to pass the 70-331 exam for SharePoint 2013. I was extremely disappointed that I did not pass this test. I had prepared extensively for it and plus I’ve been working with the product in one way shape or form since it was released in 2012, for almost 5 years with two different companies.

But on a whim around the same time I signed up for the 70-339 test, I saw that Microsoft was offering a free chance to demo the exams for SharePoint 2016. Everything that I had read and studied on the product so far made me think this could go right along with what I was doing for 2013. Well… kind of…

There are some similarities and differences between the products that’s for sure. This test was different, because since it was a beta exam, I wouldn’t know my score right away.

I had a pretty good feeling about it after taking the test, but then had to wait almost two months before I found out that fortunately, I passed. 🙂

During this year I also attended a training class to prepare for the coming of SharePoint 2016 and Office 365. It was held by Critical Path Training and instructed by Matthew McDermot. This was a great course and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs SharePoint training.

I was only able to go to one SQL Saturday or SharePoint Saturday event and that was SQL Saturday Chattanooga. It was a great event, and look forward to the event next year as well.

I will definitely have to head out to more events in order to learn more with the pace that things are changing. Too bad I couldn’t travel each month to an event…hmm….

I look forward to the challenges the new year brings.

 

Here’s to a New Year!

MS Ignite 2016 Day 1

Well for the first day of ignite, I can pretty much sum it all up in one word. Wow! 

To begin the day with the keynote of the conference in an arena with 20,000 other people was truly amazing. If you would like to watch a replay of it, you can find it here:

https://ignite.microsoft.com/#fbid=LjEHvsDymJ4

 

Then from there, it’s an even more frantic day moving from session to session.

 

One great talk I attended was the roadmap update for SharePoint 2016 given by Jeff Teper and several other MVP’s. the link to this presentation is here:

 

Some great announcements coming out from this talk were for me the great ability now to do zero downtime patching in SharePoint 2016 with a 4 or even a 2 server farm. People will be able to do this with the new min role combo roles that they have coming out in November of 2016.

Another area of interest for me will be all of the new functionality and features given to Power Apps and Flow as well as more features being added to the mobile apps for SharePoint and others.

love the fact that Windows Server 2016 is now released to the public and out of tech preview! This means that everyone will now be able to bring up farms and other resources on all the 2016 products.

 

There were so many Azure related announcements, it made my head spin, so I will try to find a summary link and post it below.

 

Another highlight of the day was seeing the future of a lot of technologies in the innovation keynote. The link to that session is below:

 

They even brought Deon Sanders out on the stage to talk about playing fantasy football with an AI. Now that’s pretty cool.

 

As the videos and links to other talks become available, I will add them to this post. Now it’s time to start day 2 of ignite.

 

Enjoy!

 

-BJ

MS Ignite 2016 Day 0

Today I had the pleasure of attending a pre-conference as part of the ignite conference here in Atlanta about SharePoint 2016 Upgrade and operations deep dive. It was an all-day look into the aspects of SharePoint 2016 and what you can do as a professional to prepare yourself for the new features and some best practices to follow once you get ready to head down the road of moving to the newest version of SharePoint.

It was given by some great speakers such as:

Archana Aditi

Bill Bear

Neil Hodgkinson

Bob Fox

Todd Klindt

Troy Starr

Spence Harbar

Each speaker did multiple sessions on different content and aspects of moving to SharePoint 2016.

The subject areas covered in the talk were architecture considerations, prerequisites of the product, topology planning, upgrade, Office Online Server, patching, and new features.

Probably the most exciting part of the day was the demo of zero downtime patching and a small announcement that will be sure to make big waves once it comes out.

Min Role is a big part of SharePoint 2016, and during the talk today we were allowed to know that there are improvements coming to min role that will allow businesses with smaller farms be able to have zero downtime patching just like the bigger farms of the world with more than eight SharePoint servers!

THIS IS GOING TO BE HUGE!!! This will be a game changer I think as patching goes. It will finally allow many smaller farms to have less downtime and interruptions from patching.

Plus from what many people in today’s session said that I didn’t realize is that the QA testing for 2016 has improved leaps and bounds over 2013 and 2010 patching.

 

I’m so excited for this and hope to be able to demo this as soon as it is released.

 

Stay tuned!

-BJ

SharePoint Survival Course

This past week I attended a SharePoint Admin survival course and it was a great training event to learn SharePoint and everything related to it.

The main reason I wanted to attend this training was to get familiar with the new content for SharePoint 2016 and to get familiar with what it takes to implement a hybrid environment for SharePoint.

The content of this class was excellent, but the best part of the course for me was actually going through and configuring a test environment on premises and in the cloud and connecting the two. This was something in the past I wasn’t sure how to replicate and it was a great learning experience in the class.

We covered other topics like Hybrid One Drive and Sites (more like site pages), Hybrid Search in 2016, Configuring a workflow server, setting up Office Online Server (formerly Office Web Apps), and many other areas that give a good foundation to be prepared for SharePoint 2016.

There’s so many different aspects of SharePoint that could be focused on in this course, but I felt like that this had something if you are a beginner or if you have a few years (and grey hairs on you like me), there is plenty of information to be absorbed.

I would even recommend this course to those people not on 2016 yet. 2013 has plenty of presence and discussion in this course because while Microsoft has improved many areas in the newest version, the foundation of much of the product is still rooted in the functionality of 2013.

Lastly what you take away from this course is confidence. Confidence that you are better prepared for all SharePoint has to offer. You also get a great pool of scripts, links, articles and reference material that will take me a long time to digest thoroughly. If you have a chance to take this training, jump at it.

-BJ

Thoughts after taking the 70-339

Recently I saw the following post online and thought I’d take a stab at trying my first MS cert exam:

https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/b/weblog/posts/beta-exam-for-70-339-managing-microsoft-sharepoint-server-2016-now-available

The overall test was difficult for me since I have had very limited exposure to the new 2016 SharePoint Server and Office 365. From that aspect, I think I didn’t do very well on this exam. But it was free with the code above and It’s given me a great understanding of how to prepare better.

On the other hand, since the bulk of my experience has been with SharePoint 2010 and 2013, I was able to answer several questions without too much difficulty. For several others, I was able to find the correct answer with my 2013 knowledge and review of topics from my notes.

Great breakdown on prep content can be found here:
https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/certification/p/wiki?es=sharePoint&ec=331

READ THE CASE STUDIES!!! Then, read your questions and then re-read the case study again! If you don’t get any other advice from this post, it’s that simply reading the business case related to a certain questions and comparing details of it to what you are being asked can help you find the correct answer by eliminating incorrect answers.

Of course I have to say I should have studied more and into a few topics more in depth for sure to better round out my knowledge for the test. I hope to use this information and knowledge I have now to prep and take the 70-331 and 70-332 exams and then if I didn’t pass, I will go for and retake the 70-339.

Hope this helps!

SQL Saturday Chattanooga 2016

On Saturday June 25th, 2016 at the campus of UT Chattanooga the local SQL Server User group (SPOC) help their annual training event for the area.
This was a great even and the venue was a really great setting to take a day and get some knowledge related SQL Server and all the new features of 2016. The sessions I attended were as follows:
Using SQL server data tools 2015
16 enhancements for SQL Server 2016 (@SQLCowBell) Robert Verell
Connecting Power BI to On-Prem data with SSAS (AirborneGeek)
MS BI 2016 – More love for your data(TameraClark)
Perceptual Intelligence with Cortana Analytics
Keys to successful SharePoint Administration for the DBA

How’s this for an intimidating venue to present in? 🙂 Kudos to all the speakers who tackled this one:

The sessions were great and really enjoyed all of the sessions given. Thanks to all the presenters and volunteers who put this event on! If you’ve never attended one of these events, head over to SQLPASS.org