The 700 people who attended Microsoft's Tech Ed conference this year spanned the spectrum of the IT industry, from network managers to database operators to developers, consultants and resellers.
Wayne Earle, of reseller Computerland Central in Palmerston North, New Zealand, was back for a second year to catch up on more of Microsoft's .Net developments. He was also interested in the concept of Web portals, in particular using Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration and portal software as opposed to taking the thin-client approach.
For Datacom technical consultant Darren Johns, thin-client technology and Windows Terminal Server were high on the list of hot topics, as it's an area he's seeing a lot of business growth.
Johns was keen on the best practice workshops for Windows Terminal Server and other products such as Windows 2000, Exchange Server and Active Directory. Johns says he is seeing Active Directory becoming a mainstream technology through companies upgrading from Windows NT, new implementations and migrations from Novell NetWare.
On the self-education side, Johns recently installed Linux on his personal PC to "see what all the fuss is about". It's early days, but he thinks as a desktop operating system it still has a way to go in its ease of use.
Grant-David Taylor from Waitakere City Council was interested in networking and wanted to know where Microsoft is going with its server and desktop technology. In the near future, the council, which has more than 600 desktops, will be migrating to Windows 2000 and in the long term it will be looking at Windows .Net Server. Taylor sees Windows .Net as Microsoft's idea of an integrated environment of management, servers and desktops.
Yvon Lepine, of insurance company American International Group, says with support for Windows NT coming to an end, his company of 75 desktops will be moving to Windows 2000 at the start of next year. He too was interested in learning more about .Net. Both Lepine and Taylor say open-source software has no impact on their day-to-day work.
Yoke Foong Yong, a database administrator with casino operator Sky City, was there to learn about Microsoft SQL Server. Originally an Oracle database administrator, Yong was interested in hearing about administering and data warehousing on SQL Server.