Lessons Learned from TechReady 6

I proctored two labs yesterday around migrating sites from mixed mode to native mode. I talked to a lot of people and tried to answer a lot of questions. There were a few common threads, which I will elaborate here because I found them interesting.

Native mode is hard

Native mode setup is something I pretty much take for granted. I've been setting up native mode sites since June of 2006, so it's all pretty much second nature to me. The certificate authority setup and requirements, provisioning certificates, and so on. But, seeing people struggling through the labs brought me back to reality. Native mode has a lot of dependencies and complicated configuration steps required outside of the product for it to work. Unfortunately, there's not a lot we as a product team can do around that. One of the decisions we made was to be agnostic to PKI environments. We just use the certificates that we are given (provided they are in our basic set of parameters). One of the reasons this was done was because in the "real world", most companies would have completely separate people as their "SMS guy" and "PKI guy", so the "SMS guy" would give his or her requirements to the "PKI guy", who in turn would provide the requisite certificates.

People are really interested in Internet Based Client Management

I'd say 80% of the questions that were asked of me were about Internet Based Client Management. Things such as basic requirements, different modes, how it works in big hierarchies, and most of all, ISA configuration. I think a lot more people are interested in IBCM than we may have originally estimated, and there's a lot of questions about it. I pretty much figured this was the case given how the forums have been lighting up with questions around it, but hearing it from people out in the field further validates that. 

ISA setup with ConfigMgr was a very hot topic. I'm going to prioritize my postings here to make my next post specifically on ISA bridging as that was definitely up in there as a "most asked" class of questions.

Overall, it was a great experience going to TechReady and talking with people out in the field. It's always great working with customers, and those who work with customers, and I hope in my future postings here, I can answer some of the common questions people have had about native mode and IBCM.

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