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Exchange MVP J. Peter Bruzzese on UCC, Bull Riding and Why VDI is like a Keurig

Kasia Lorenc



J. Peter Bruzzese is an Exchange MVP, author, and speaker. You’ve probably seen his popular Enterprise Windows column at InfoWorld or read one of his books or many articles.

Peter recently spoke at the TechMentor conference in Las Vegas and we got a chance to ask him a few questions about his sessions, upcoming projects and more. He’s a great speaker, and as you’ll see from the video, he has a unique way of explaining technical concepts. During our interview Peter compared VDI to Keurig (yes, the coffee maker), which might sound a little weird, but when you hear it you’ll see why it makes sense. And I wouldn’t be surprised if you end up using the same comparison when you have to explain the benefits of VDI to others.

Oh yeah, and then there was a discussion about bull riding… but I’ll let you get that from Peter himself. Check out the video below and say hello to Peter on Twitter at @JPBruzzese.

Following is a full transcript of the interview.

J. Peter Bruzzese: My name is J. Peter Bruzzese, and I’m a Microsoft MVP. We’re here at TechMentor, speaking about a variety of different subjects, like Exchange, Windows 7, and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. And so, that’s why we’re here.

Question: Are you a regular at TechMentor events?

J. Peter Bruzzese: I am a staple, yes. Actually, for over 10 years, I’ve been speaking at TechMentor events. Wow, it’s been that long. It’s kind of surprising.

Back in the day, when we first started with TechMentor events, we’d have thousands of people here, and I’d speak to rooms of hundreds. But, of course, it’s kind of narrowed, especially with the economy being what it is. We have about 250 here this week, and so it gives you a more intimate environment. And I like that, actually. When you’re speaking to larger groups, you don’t have an opportunity to really get to know everybody, but here I have a chance to really talk to people, solve some of their problems one-on-one. That’s not something you get with larger conferences. Sometimes I’ll speak at TechEd, with thousands, again, and you don’t really get to know your audience.

The other thing I like about this, and being a recurring speaker, is that I’ll ask the audience, “Hey, have you ever been in one of my sessions before?” and a group of hands will show up, and it’s like, “Wow, that’s great.” These are people that you start to get to know over years, and you become like a mini-family. I like speaking for TechMentor.

Question: What are you presenting at TechMentor 2010?

J. Peter Bruzzese: On Monday, I had a pre-con on four hours of Windows 7 tips, tricks, and tools. Most of my TrainSignal fans would know me more for the Exchange side, or perhaps now for the SharePoint administration course that I’ve done. Those are my staples, really, in terms of speaking, but I’ve written books on Windows 7 as well. Over time, I’ve collected a grouping of tips, tricks, and tools that turned into a four-hour session. It went really, really well. I had a nice crowd.

Check out J. Peter Bruzzese’s best selling Exchange Server 2010 Training courses

But then, on Tuesday, I had two sessions on Exchange, one on high availability and another on virtualizing Exchange, which dealt more with support policies that Microsoft has put out. It’s unfortunate, but you can set up a virtualized environment of Exchange that works perfectly, but if you don’t have the support policy in mind, you might be breaking certain rules, and then Microsoft won’t support you. There’s a session on that.

And then today I did a session on Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, which I liken to my Keurig. I love coffee. Lots of you, probably, at home like coffee. But somebody bought me a Keurig recently, and the convenience is excellent. I love that I can just put the little thing in. I don’t have to do any cleanup. But let’s be honest, it’s not cheaper to do it this way. My coffee has gone from being just $10 a month, perhaps, to now being like $30 a month.

Well, that’s VDI for you. VDI is much more expensive. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid and start believing this is going to save you money. There is no ROI, really, in most circumstances. But it’s convenient for administrators. It’s better for security in some cases because you get everything off of the desktop. It’s an easy way to deploy an operating system. There’s very little hassle on the inside.

This is what I spoke about this morning, and it was more of a warning to folks, that, hey if you’re going to deploy this, just keep in mind that it’s kind of like your Keurig. You’re going to spend a little extra money in order to get the convenience.

Question: What other projects are you working on?

J. Peter Bruzzese: So I recently wrapped up a course on SharePoint administration. I was really happy about that, because for years I was working on Exchange. You might think, “Well, that’s a box that you should stay in. Stay in the Exchange box.” But I’ve been a big fan of Microsoft’s push for Unified Communications and Collaboration: UCC. And that’s a combination of Exchange, Unified Messaging with Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync. When you look at all of that, I started to realize, “Hey, why stay in this one box over here when I can move into another box, into SharePoint, and start learning more about how to be a good SharePoint admin?”

Check out J. Peter Bruzzese’s SharePoint 2010 Administration Training

I encourage that to administrators, who, if they’re in this box and they’re worried about the economy, branch out. Look at other fields and technologies that you should start pursuing. I created a SharePoint administration course that’s more from my perspective. It’s from the perspective of someone who is not into SharePoint for the last 10 years, but somebody who’s looking to get into it and start focusing on it. I’m really pleased with it. It’s about 15 hours of training, 31 videos. We just released that, and now I’m working on a Unified Messaging course for Exchange 2010 Service Pack 1. That should come out, in I guess, a month or two.

Check out J. Peter Bruzzese’s new Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging Training

Question: Have you had any fun in Vegas outside the event?

It’s been a very busy conference. I spent a lot of time preparing sessions. Obviously, you don’t want to let the fans down. You want to make sure you give them a good show. I did have some time, though, to go out the other night to a local bar that’s connected off of the Planet Hollywood Hotel. It had a mechanical bull. Which, I mean, hey, who can resist that? So some of my colleagues at TrainSignal were like, “What do you think?” I didn’t even let them finish. I was like, “I am first.”

I think there’s some video footage of that, too. Really, really, an embarrassing event altogether. But I was thrilled, so thrilled that I decided to do it a second time, and I think that went a lot better. I was a lot smoother on the bull. Not as good as others at TrainSignal, yourself included. But yeah, I was thinking about getting one, actually, for my home, put it in the garage, do a little “Urban Cowboy.”

Question: How can people get in touch with you?

They’re welcome to come right to my house. I can give you my address and they can just take a plane out to Orlando, Florida. However, probably more convenient is if they just email me. You can email me at peter [at] You can also follow some of the things that I do through Twitter. I have a Twitter feed at @JPBruzzese. I should probably spell that, because you’re not going to know how to spell that, but it’s J-P-B-R-U-Z-Z-E-S-E. Even I have to think about it sometimes, like, “How do you spell that again?”

You can follow me on Twitter. And I also have my weekly column; it’s an Enterprise Windows column with InfoWorld, and so you can follow me there as well. “Enterprise Windows” is just a little bit about the desktop, every once in a while, but mostly about Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and other large enterprise server solutions from Microsoft.

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