This is year 5 of the conference. Year 1 had ~50 attendees; Year 5 had ~800. There were roughly ~120 invited to the Day 0 events.
SOA, BPM and Microsoft: A Pragmatic View by David Chappell (Principal, Chappell Associates)
Turns out, that there are three David Chappells and two out of the three have appeared on tv. Given that, it might be easy to understand how there might be some initial confusion; which David Chappell are we talking about? Is it David Chappell, David Chappell, or David Chappell?
Dynamic speaker, has great stories and a good sense of humor. Poked fun at both Gartner and Forrester definitions of an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).
Discussed upcoming Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) as this generations tcp/ip standard for the Microsoft Platform. Also indicated that the Service Component Architecture is the Java worlds answer to WCF. There was some discussion that Sun technologies were fragmenting and that the platform might be left in chaos. This statement is based on three technologies competing for shares on the Java platform: Open SOA, Service Component Architecture, and Open Source.
Noted that there is no queing standard with WCF for application to application communication. I had incorrectly assumed that WS-Reliable Messaging (WS-RM) fullfilled this requirement. Thats not the case. The message is not durable (ala MSMQ), however, it is guaranteed much like a TCP/IP connection. Its indicated that this is a target area for future development for WCF.
Real World SOA by John deVadoss (Director of Architecture Strategy, Microsoft Corporation)
Somewhat dryer material. The biggest message seemed to be damage control on the SOA negative spin in the media lately. Kept referring to the "hype cycle" typical of industry buzzwords and not to "throw out the good with the bad".
The Architecture of SOA by John Evdeman (Microsoft)
Again dry technology material. Biggest message is that SOA is not technology, or platform, specific.
Pointed out that Readings in Service Orientation is a free, online book which contains some best practices when composing SOA.
Choosing the Right Technology for Exposing and Composing Services by Kris Horrocks (Microsoft)
I've caught talks delivered by Kris at TechEd 2006 and he does a good job at keeping the information at 'just the right level'. The biggest topics are around deciding when to use SSIS, BizTalk or Windows Workflow Foundation (WF).
There might be an opportunity to replace the proprietary SCSWS Sql Queue with a Sql Server Service Broker implementation.
Selling BizTalk-Based Engagements by David Chappell (Principal, Chappell Associates)
I went into this session thinking that it would be about selling BizTalk as a solution to integration opportunities within an organization, and for the most part it was. However, it was definitely parnter focused in helping you move from the Sales Call through The Close. Much of it was still applicable to stake holders within an organization.
The partner expo was definitely no comparison to something you might see at a PDC or TechEd. There was little to no swag to be had. The only thing worthwhile was a copy of the book BizTalk 2006 Receipes. However, they weren't giving them away, they were just for display. When I asked how I could get one of them, they joked that several of the authors were here and that if I could get them to tell the staff to give me one, they would. Well, holding down an author and forcing him to give me a free copy of his book wasn't high on my list of priorities (already have a copy of the book on the way). But, grabbing a bite to eat and getting back to the hotel for a 6AM conference call with Dallas was. The snacks were just that...snacks.
Since the snacks didn't fill me I went ahead and ordered room service; vegetable lasagna. It was worst dish I have had in a while. There were raw carrots in the middle of it. Not little carrots mind you, but the big fat kind. blech.