Today is the day I returned from my inaugural MVP Global Summit 2013, the one often being tagged the November edition as there were two summits this year. Apart from some discomforts like back issues and jetlag, the summit lived well up to my expectations of being the place to meet fellow (Exchange) MVPs, engage product groups and with regards to the contents presented or discussed (which for obvious reasons I can’t disclose as they are under NDA). Only thing I can mention on the sessions is that the last panel discussion was hilarious as the MVPs turned it into a drinking game where all MVPs took a sip of their beverages when a PG member mentioned “That is great feedback” or “Yammer”. Epic.
The summit was well organized, hotels were great and relatively close to each other and transportation frequent from the hotel to the summit locations on Microsoft campus. Evenings were filled by regional or global events for meeting people or catching up while enjoying food and drinks. The closing party was held in the Seattle Aquarium with great people, good food, music, the Bumbys, caricature drawing, seals and a ferris wheel. And for some reason, all my evenings always ended up with the Exchange and Lync MVPs at the infamous Joey’s. Good times.
Being one of The UC Architects contributors, I got to meet some of the fellows in real life, like Michael van Hoorenbeeck, Serkan Varoglu (and the missus), Pat Richard, Ståle Hansen, Tim Harrington and Tom Arbuthnot. Other people I got to meet or catch up with – I’ll probably forgot a few – were people like Jeff Guillet, Jason Sherry, Paul Robichaux, Magnus Björk, Siegfried Jagott, J. Peter Bruzzese, Justin Morris, Norbert Klenner, Johan Delimon, Didier van Hoye, Peter de Tender, Ken Lasko, Damian Scoles and Martina Miskovic; the latter two being a first time MVP as well, like myself.
Provided I get re-awarded in October and depending on when it wil take place, I am really looking forward seeing my old and new friends again at the next summit. But first things first, I hope to catch up with some of them at MEC 2014 in March/April, 2014. For now, a big thank you to the MVP Award program, the MVP Global Summit organization, my MVP lead for Benelux and Nordics, William Jansen, and last but not least the product groups for providing great content, interaction and finding time to engage with MVPs.
Note that while I was at the summit, Microsoft announced that Exchange 2013 Service Pack 1 is set for early 2014. It will be part of cross-product SP1 release, as Office 2013 SP1 was also announced for the same timeframe. Major changes to expect in Exchange 2013 SP1, besides the usual fixes and improvements, are support for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Edge server role; the latter being especially of interest to shops who want to standardize on Windows Server 2012 R2 as they will then be able to deploy all Exchange roles using the same OS.