This is my first time attending the Convergence conference for Microsoft Dynamics and I must say I'm more than thrilled to be here. Plus the Orlando weather is a lot more welcoming than the rainy & cold Seattle area.
Getting back to the conference, if you are working with Microsoft Dynamics whether you're a Partner, Customer or a Microsoft employee, Convergence is THE place to be. There are over 10,000 people attending this conference (some say it is over 20,000 people!) and lots of ideas and thoughts flow around here that shouldn't be missed.
As Klaus Anderson pointed out in the executive discussion yesterday, convergence is about Learning and Networking.
There are plenty of concurrent sessions that teach you different aspects of the various dynamics products. If you want to learn more about a Dynamics product, do attend those. Also the hands-on-labs are great if you'd like to check out a product and play with it real time.
One of my favorite part is the "Interactive Discussions". I attended one that was hosted by Anne Stanton, the CRM Lady and the discussion was very thoughtful. It was on Archiving and Best Practices for MSCRM, a topic not many MSCRM practitioners address. People also talked about Performance and compared it to MOSS 2007 a lot during that session. Being a devotee of MOSS, it prompted me to think about some knowledge that MSCRM can take from SharePoint. I immediately drafted one of my ideas and wrote this blog post.
BTW. if you're attending Convergence, the discussion rooms are limited to 50 people but the upside is that discussions are very deep and engaging . Well, with thousands of people attending, you must arrive early! I twittered about it earlier and realized one another fact which I also twittered regarding a room full of attendees.
Being a corporate person, I don't get a lot of opportunity to get face-to-face with the ISV partners that I help out. The EXPO booths, where partners exhibit their solutions was my favorite hang-out to meet with a lot of Partners and learn about their solutions. You'd be amazed at the amount of expertise the partners have. Some of the solutions they had were pretty cool and I will blog about each of those as I check them out.
Finally what better tool to network than partying! There is plenty of parties to attend at Convergence and right now I am heading out to the Universal Citywalk for the Mega party and it should be a lot of fun. And oh BTW, I don't drink any kind of alcohol or atleast that's what my wife thinks ;-)
I just attended an interactive discussion at Convergence on Archiving and best practices. Though the topic was mainly on archiving, several people talked about performance especially related to the SQL database. Also many of them compared CRM with SharePoint (MOSS 2007) and sought out differences.
Though SharePoint usually has a monstrous database storing all of the documents, the performance of the product is usually great because of one great feature in SharePoint(since MOSS 2007) . Whenever a request comes in from the user, the SharePoint front-end server requests the document from database and then caches it. For repeated requests, the front-end server serves the data from the cache instead of going to the database again. This largely reduces the round trip back to SQL and decreases the page load time for the user at the same time reducing the load on the back-end SQL server.
Now thinking about CRM, many users often want to read account and contact information and I thought it'd be cool if CRM could cache the data and serve it from the front-end server. Of course as data gets updated, the cache must be refreshed and the process will get busier on a transactional system. But still, with the right pattern, the performance improvements will be much larger.
Incidentally I ran into Shan McArthur of ADXStudio yesterday and he was telling me about the CRM Developer toolkit that they're building. He says this toolkit addresses this very problem in that it'll cache the data using .NET caching and does Cache Invalidation when the data gets updated. There is a lot more in the toolkit and I can't wait to check it out.
At the end, I must say I'd love to attend every one of those interactive discussions if only we had enough room for all the people. But as I mentioned earlier, maybe it is good that they limit the number of attendees.
Like everyone else, I'm always amazed at the wide open sky ever since I was a little kid. Growing up in India, where sky is clear on almost every day, it was my favorite past time to gaze at the open sky and try to find neat little patterns of stars. Well, today that I live in the Seattle area, it could only be a dream. For those who don't know about Seattle, see Jim Glass's post on Seattle's weather to get a taste of life in this area and what I terribly miss out.
Well getting to the point, watching the video of the World Wide Telescope, I felt like a little kid all over again. It is truly a magic carpet to travel through the Universe and I can't wait to check it out.
Though people point to several other projects that are similar such as the Celestia, KStars or even Google Sky, the World Wide Telescope seems to be something that has grabbed everyone's attention and the clarity and usability of it seems to definitely win over others.
Oh BTW, WWT was the reason behind me looking into Google Sky and as I was playing with it, I discovered something really funny. I marked a few places in Chennai that I visited during my India trip last month within the Earth view. I then switched to the Sky view and saw this!
I am sure these places aren't separated by several light years or have several stars in between them!