Traffic in Boston delayed our arrival to program manger, Henry Seiler's 8:30 talk on Diagnostics. When we got in he was in the middle of a demo on the Runtime Status & Control API (RSCA). He showed how to write a C# program leveraging the Microsoft.Web.Administration API to display currently executing request information exposed by RSCA. It was a great demo and thoroughly explained but unfortunately IE cached the page Henry was refreshing to generate a request, so he didn't get this demo to work. No one caught it at the time but a few demos later, a customer pointed this out and it helped Henry get his custom trace demo to work.
It is great when customers interact like that, it shows they are paying attention and that means the material we are trying to teach them actually matters. In the future, we want to do this talk with one huge broken app and then debug it using RSCA, Failed Request Tracing, trace extensibility and the rest of the IIS7 Diagnostics features. Also, doing the demos in a Vista VPC is a risky move and we'll make sure Henry and the rest of the speakers use native installs of Vista Ultimate or Longhorn Server if necessary. All in all, Henry delivered a very informative talk.
I took off at the end of the session and helped out at the booth for the rest of the morning. Today, our IIS Resource Kit DVDs arrived so we had some additional swag to give out to customers besides the tattoos. These kits are pretty sweet, besides a very cool look and feel, there is also new content on these DVDs. The last Resource Kit DVD we put out was the IIS 6.0 Resource Kit DVD and it has grown a little outdated. This new DVD has all the content of the previous one as well has a plethora of new articles, videos, documentation and tools for IIS7. We realize a good chunk of our customers are still on IIS5 and that IIS7 does not release for production servers until late in 2007. Considering this, we are going to continue to update this DVD with fresh IIS6 content as well as new IIS7 resources coming out of the product group.
Since we missed a good opportunity to hand them out on Monday, I brought a box of the DVDs to the afternoon breakouts we had today. First, IIS MVP Scott Forsyth from ORCSWeb gave a killer talk on managing Web Farms on IIS6. I especially liked when he was demoing DFRS in Windows Server 2003 R2 for replicating content across two different servers. At one point he closes one of his servers' VPC (simulating a total server failure), then he refreshes the page and redundancy DFRS provides kicks in, about 20 seconds later, the page is back up but now the ServerName identifier we put on the page shows the server on the other VPC has picked up the load. It wasn't an IIS feature but it was still way cool.
Right now, Scott is scoring pretty high, about a 7.8, but Ken Schaefer from Avanade, is scoring even higher, about an 8.0 with his IIS6 and MOM talk. Ken has a very engaging style that kept the audience captivated. I don't think the Australian accent hurts either. In any case, the talk was straightforward, informative, useful and the demos all worked. Ken's talk focused on the IIS Management Pack and the Web Sites and Services Management Pack for MOM 2005. What really made these talks great was that both Ken and Scott were able to explain concepts and questions with real world experiences from their own careers. In addition to being an IIS MVP, Ken is a consultant who regularly sets up large MOM deployments. Scott works for a company selling dedicated hosting services, specializing in the MS hosting platform. We are truly lucky to have these guys to help us teach customers about the product. IIS.net is planning a special online MVP showcase which we’ll HOPEFULLY have up soon.