You’ve already heard my thoughts on the value proposition for conferences like TEC 2009 – but I didn’t get into details of the conference itself. Each of the tracks had a different feel – Directory Services was very mature, with most people in the audience having up close and personal experience with some form of the technology. Federated Identity consisted of more forward-looking content, and therefore the relationship between the audience was more theoretically founded. The ILM track was by far the most complex audience-presenter relationship. Some folks were diehard MIIS-era folks with already existing deployments. Others were new to the technology and looking to learn prior to the release of ILM2.
When the news broke that ILM2 was no longer expected to go live in 2009 there was a lot of disappointment, but I think that the backlash was much more muted at TEC than it would have been had the news come out at any other time, because the attendees couldn’t help but see that the most disappointed of anyone was the ILM team themselves; at the same time you could also see that in spite of their eagerness to RTM the product, they felt it was the right thing to do to hold off. Everybody was wearing their personal investment on their sleeve – the program team, the vendors whose dependent release dates were affected, and the customers who had rollout dreams for 2009. The ecosystem can’t be any more rawly exposed than this – yet the spirit of learning in the sessions stayed positive.
I did a session called the “Survivalist’s Guide to Identity Management”, which went really well I think – there was a lot of spirited discussion at the end, which is always my metric for whether the topic was interesting. I think this was my most popular slide:
Can you guess what #1 was? Ah, but that is the topic of another post :)
I think the best session that I attended was put on by Patrick Harding from Ping Identity. His presentation was an excellent big picture summary of federation as seen through the perspective of the different players – what the trends are, and also which trends had big red flags associated from various perspectives. His big picture encompassed federated provisioning too – something I believe that more people need to start paying attention to, and fast. For a first time TEC presenter, I think he definitely fell right into the spirit of TEC – digging to the heart of the overall problem with the belief that truth begets loyalty 100% more reliably than marketing shlack.
Lastly, I can’t finish a TEC wrap-up without talking about the Wook Lee Pro/Am Memorial Challenge – last year was a visual challenge – this year, the challenge was auditory. We chose to accept the challenge from Stuart Kwan to communicate the attendees’ top 10 feature requests for the next version of the federated identity suite – through the medium of an Elvis song.
Two days and a few alcoholic beverages later, we were ready – and the Quest multimedia gurus were there to make sure we could never ever live this down. Just remember – these are all highly respected members of the tech community – make fun of us too much and your implementations might mysteriously develop problems :) We had a blast putting this together, and we hope you all enjoy this in the same spirit as we did.