I used to go to Microsoft Tech Ed every year (I even spoke at it twice) and found it to be a great way to see what was going across Microsoft, as well as what Microsoft’s customers had done. The following video shows some highlights of this year, but inside of the video (about 1 minute and 20 seconds in, running for about a minute) is the discussion of the HP servers that run the lab area:
The lab area has always been one of my favorite places to learn, since it allows you to run through hands-on sessions as well as play around with the latest software technology. There are usually a few glitches, and figure out how to overcome them may be the most educational part.
There are literally hundreds of people experimenting in the labs during peak times of the day. The infrastructure to support this in the past filled a pretty good sized room, now it is in a single HP C7000 BladeSystem rack – providing better performance than ever before. It doesn’t even fill the rack.
For those who wonder about how a virtualized desktop environment can be brought on-line, this may be a good example of the current state. It had to be brought up quickly and will be torn down at the end of the week.
Many of the sessions from Tech Ed are available on line. It looks like you can even access some of the labs remotely as well. I started the Introducing the Visual Studio 2010 Parallel Debugger lab. It took a couple of minutes to get started but that is much less than setting up my own environment. I wonder how long they will keep the environment operational.