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MMS 2017 Review

MMS 2017 is over, and as always, it lived up to the hype. I promised a review of the conference the month before last, so here it is.

This year marked my fourth MMS to attend. I swear each year gets better as the sessions consistently get better, the schedule becomes more streamlined, I know where all the good places to eat are, inside jokes increase, and most importantly, I have more friends to catch up with and meet.

During the conference, a fellow attendee tweeted the following:

Spot on, Julia! MMS is a chance to catch up with the people who help you solve daily problems in your work environment. It’s a chance to meet them, learn from them, pick their brain, thank them, and simply enjoy their company – they’ll enjoy yours as well!

This particular year I made a stronger effort to network and in the process made a lot of new friends. MMS is made for the community, by the community, and I tried to embrace that as fully as I could. The conversations were great and I learned more during those conversations than a lot of the sessions. Not because the sessions weren’t incredible, but because the conversations were meaningful and validating. There are more people in the same boat than you realize, and it shines when we are all thrown in the same conference center at once!

Some important takeaways:

  • After a great session on how to begin and improve user groups, many folks were inspired, myself included! I’m on the board for the DFWSMUG and hopefully we can get some more consistent meetings scheduled soon. Stay tuned.
  • Women in System Center – this is cool! When this gets going, let me know how I can spread the word more, and I will!
  • Peer-to-peer technologies are important to the future of Microsoft, Windows, and your enterprise/school district. Embrace them! I had the great pleasure attending “2Pint Friday at MMS” sponsored by 2Pint Software. Fantastic session with some really cool tech. Again, their product is free for education (except required support), so be sure to put it into your budget! I will be implementing over the next couple of weeks at my district. I’ll be sure to write up something on my experience implementing on this blog.
  • In the Focus Group: Education and IT session there was a lot of discussion over Office 365 Device-based Activation. See my previous blog on how to deploy Office 365 Device-based Activation with SCCM if you’re interested. Don’t forget to mention to your TAM you want an easier process. 🙂 We also discussed other Office 365 issues, Office 365 vs G Suite, compliance, old hardware/software, and more.
  • The Hackathon was a major highlight again this year with the ConfigMgr product team demoing some amazing *possible* features they have been working on. CTGlobal and Cireson also demo’d code that could make lots of sysadmin’s lives easier. Thanks for sharing your skills and passion with us, guys!

A big thank you to all the speakers and sponsors who make this conference possible, especially Brian Mason and Greg Ramsey. I would say your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, but it kind of does because of how effortless you make putting a conference of this size look and feel together. Thanks for everything you guys do.

Mark your calendar down for MMS 2018! The price of admission is nothing compared the knowledge, experience, and friends you leave with.

Until next year, MMS-er’s.


Microsoft EDU Event – Learn what’s next.

As many of you are aware today Microsoft hosted it’s “Learn what’s next.” education-focused event in New York City. Microsoft is putting a strong focus on education, mostly to compete with Google and Chromebooks in the classroom.

Microsoft announced the following during the event:

  • Office as modern universal Windows Apps (coming soon)
  • Windows 10 S
    • Streamlined for simplicity
    • Secure
    • Superior Performance
    • Runs only Store apps
    • Allows USB Provisioning for shared cart scenarios
    • Must be managed by Intune for Education
    • Runs on cheaper hardware options – all major OEM’s have jumped on board
  • Microsoft Intune for Education – broadly available today
    • Not a full-fledged replacement for Intune
    • Doesn’t manage iOS or Android devices/apps.
    • No integration with ConfigMgr yet
  • Code Builder for Minecraft EDU
  • View Mixed Reality
  • Microsoft Teams is getting new classroom collaboration tools
  • Surface Laptop
    • Beautiful device
    • High price-tag (starts at $999)

All in all the event was good, and it’s great to see Microsoft pushing forward in the education market. I continue to have hope for the future of their products in every classroom. After the event ended I still found myself wanting a little bit more from them. My main concern is the lack of apps in the Store and sub-par management for larger school districts and universities that consider Window 10 S. Hopefully with Joe Bellfiore’s return, they will continue to invest in education and stay true to their words “Technology should help, not hinder, teachers in the classroom” and “When technology and education come together, possibility becomes reality.” Regardless, I’m excited for the energy and momentum Microsoft provided today. I look forward to what’s next.

Microsoft End of Summer New Releases

Wow! What an incredible two weeks it has been for system admins all around the world! Microsoft has dropped numerous updated products at the end of the summer for 2016! Let’s take a look!

Windows 10 Anniversary Update (1607)

Microsoft released it’s second major update to Windows 10, right outside a year after the initial launch of Windows 10 (hence the ‘Anniversary Update’ title). Some highlights include:

  • Windows Ink
  • Microsoft Edge Extensions
  • Dark Theme UI
  • Bash in Windows (!!)

Some important unique features to education include:

You can now get the ISO download on VLSC and MSDN for deployment. From my understanding no need for an update to MDT is needed, so MDT 2013 Update 2, should suffice for deployment, however a new Windows ADK is needed. Look for a blog post on that coming soon!

For more information on what’s new for IT Pros in the anniversary update, check out this TechNet Blog. Continue reading


Welcome to SysAdminEDU!

SysAdminEDU is designed for the system administrator working in the education industry. I began it as a way to document issues I had encountered, but I hope it serves as a resource to other system admins (from all sectors) in their daily life. For the past few years I have been an online lurker to a variety of blogs written by folks smarter than me, and forums of my favorite topics. The community has given so much to me, including a career boost, that I thought it would only be fair to give something back. This is my way of doing so and I hope it provides you with useful tips, tricks, or solutions.

The main content will focus on deployment and management of client and server systems, such as Windows, Windows Server, Chrome OS, and iOS.

Thanks for joining me on this ride!

– Garrett Chandler