DEC 2007 - Its a Wrap!

DEC 2007 is over, and I have to say it was probably our best DEC to date. We had about 675 people attending, a good 100+ increase over last year. But size is not really a good measure of success for DEC; the success of a community event like DEC really lies in the amount of communication that goes on between the attendees.

I spent a lot of time observing and talking to the delegates, both during the receptions and between sessions, to get a sense of how much communicating was really happening. I have to say the place was positively buzzing. DEC is one of the few conferences where you routinely see people greeting each other loudly from across the room, hugging each other, enquiring after each other’s children, and so on. It gives me a warm and fuzzy, because that’s a good indication of a successful conference.

We had some significant problems with the lab infrastructure for the Longhorn AD workshop on Sunday: problems with power for the blades and the SAN, problems with VMWare ESX, problems with the wireless, etc. It was a real PITA, and we could only get a few of the virtual environments up and running… more on that in a later post. But Guido, Ulf, Laura, Mike, and Jorge all stepped up and made the all-day session a success despite the malfunctioning labs. What a bunch of superstars! The MIIS/ILM and ADFS workshops (by Oxford Computer Group) went very well according to the attendees I talked to.

Kim Cameron’s keynote was just what I had hoped for… an introduction to the world of claims-based identity and some speculation as to how it would affect corporate IT in the future. Stuart Kwan’s Day 2 keynote was entertaining and educational as always, and made Kim’s talk a little more concrete.

Wook Lee was unable to attend DEC this year… some lame excuse about work or something. But the Stuart Kwan-Wook Lee challenge lived on. We piped Wook over the PA into the main conference room Tuesday morning so that Stuart could present this year’s challenge to Wook:  create a spoof of the Kermit the Frog classic Rainbow Connection, using strong authentication as the topic. As always, Wook was up to the challenge and we played a PowerPoint with lyrics synchronized to the melody at the ADFS session Wednesday morning. You know, I don’t even think he worked up a sweat on this one. Wook is one scary-creative dude.

General feedback on the sessions has been very positive, with most people of the opinion that this year’s sessions were a bit better than last year’s. The only consistent complaint was that Read-only DCs got a little too much coverage in several sessions. Complaint noted.

The hotel and staff was fantastic, the food was quite good I thought, and the only logistical problem was (once again) internet access in the conference area. This year the wireless worked ok, but with only 200 IP addresses allocated, we ran out pretty quickly.

So DEC 2007 is a wrap, and by any measure it was a great success. And the planning for DEC 2008 starts next week!