Get-PSConfEU -Year 2017 | Set-PSConfEU -state ‘Awesome’

On my way home from one more visit to Hannover, and the PSConfEU conference.
Tobias has once again superseded my expectations of a well-organized event,
and I thought I’d go through my conference experience.
Let’s start with the non-technical.

PSConfEU has, both years I have been there, been really good arranged.
The Conference center is nice, and although it´s a bit easy to get lost in the corridors,
it worked out fine thanks to excellent pointers, rollups, markings and most of all the extremely helpful ‘ladies in pink’
The food was descent, but definitely up to par with other conferences I’ve been to,
and I have had far, far, worse ones (Hello Ignite Chicago 2015…).
The Evening event was a visit to the Hannover Zoo.
A nice zoo, where we got to see a show including Caribou, Seals, and most notably,
A Bald eagle flying over the audience so close you could feel its wings in your hair.
After that, it was food and bar at the Zoo restaurant,
with some amazing food, and even more amazing company.

But PSConfEU isn´t just about food and sessions..
The biggest advantage is the social part, and getting to meet, talk to, and get starstruck, by the crème de la crème of the PowerShell society.
With 42 speakers, where 6 was core members from Microsoft, you get the chance to really dig in to the interesting bits,
Whether it’s Azure, PS Core, VSCode, Optimizing or anything else, there is someone here who not only can,
but wants to talk to you about it.
and like someone said in 2016; ‘If you have a PowerShell question, and no one here can answer it, it is impossible to answer’
Everyone here is really nice, and they love talking about what they do!

So, getting down to the sessions.
I Will try to score them on a 1-5 scale (apart from the opening sessions), but please don’t get me wrong..
getting a 1 in PSConfEU sessions is probably like getting a 4 in other conferences anyway!

Wednesday.

Opening Ceremony, 2017-05-03, Tobias Weltner,
Tobias started the conference in a good, funny, and lighthearted beat,
by giving away prices for 2016 best speaker (Will Schroeder), and best beer (Chrissy LeMaire),
talking about last year’s conference, hashtags that came up during ‘pre conference tweeting’ (#PSConfEURoadtrip, #PSConfEUChocolateChalenge)
And I got a new 2016 mug, and started the conference knowing that my so far biggest contribution to the PowerShell society is being a klutz..

Keynote: State of the Union, 2017-05-03, Jeffrey Snover,
Where is PowerShell today, and where are we going? If anyone knows, it´s Jeffrey.
The talk was a lot about PowerShell Core, PowerShell on Linux and OSX,
and the key was ‘any platform, any target, any shell, anywhere’ (no, it’s not a quote, it’s my interpretation of it =) )
PS Core is the future, and although PowerShell for windows isn’t dead yet if you haven´t already, it’s time to start in to digging in to the other platforms as well.
Glad I at least started running PS on OSX =)

PowerShell Warm-Up: Quiz & Quirks, 2017-05-03, Tobias Weltner,
The first day continued with a short session where Tobias told us about random quirks.
Apparently, these were all questions asked by MVP / the ‘smarter than me’ crowd (all names censored off course),
in public discussions, that probably should have been pretty easy to figure out.
One of my favorite pictures is this;
imposter syndrome
Imposter Syndrome is quite common, and I think most of us suffer from it from time to time.
so why do I mention this, and why do I think it is important for this session?
Even the smartest guys I have talked to don’t know everything, and it´s easy to forget that. I´ll get back to this topic later.
In the end, it was a rather funny session, completing the lighthearted feeling of the first morning…

Catch Me If You Can – PowerShell Red vs. Blue, 2017-05-03, Will Schroeder,
..Because then there is this guy.
Will won last years’ best speaker doing the same topic as this year,
and it is amazing how interesting this is.
Will is a fantastic speaker, and the session is about what is going on in the chase of red team (the white hat ‘bad guys’) vs. blue team (white hat ‘good guys’).
Off course, since it is a PowerShell Conference, the main topic was PowerShell security,
and it was very interesting hearing him saying that the PowerShell security is basically so good today,
red teamers are moving towards other surfaces.
I guess my first task when I get home is activate PowerShell logging.
This session also marked the end of the opening sessions, and the start of the room running race. Off we go!

Breakdown the GUI: PowerShell logging to automate everything, 2017-05-03, Jaap Brasser,
Jaap is so cool, Heat don’t stand a chance =)
A talk about what tools you can use, and how to use them,
to automate the stuff, they don’t tell you how to automate.
I found myself knowing the tools used (PowerShell Logging and Procmon), but it´s always nice to get a fresh view of things.
In the end, I´ll give this session a 3/5.

Getting started with Windows Server Containers, 2017-05-03, Flynn Bundy,
In my work we already use Linux containers, and I would really like to start using them on windows as well.
As I am in such a position, this was a really inspiring speech,
and one ill definitely come back to as soon as the vids are online.
Flynn showed how easy it really is to manage, set up, and fix it,
and although I confess, I don’t remember right now how (hey, it’s 12 AM, I’m on a train and have spent 4 days in Hannover),
I left this session inspired and with the feeling that this is something I can, and must, do.
If not for company profit, because it´s fun! And in the end, that’s the feeling a speech should give you.
A solid 4/5 (mainly for my own bad memory and problem taking notes I believe.. Might add 1 after rewatching =) )

When every second counts! 2017-05-03, Mathias R Jessen, Øyvind Kallstad,
think your stuff runs fast? you´re wrong.
I always like to read blogposts and tweets from these guys,
Because it always gives me more knowledge of how to write better scripts.
The base content of the talk was showing time differences between different ways of doing the same thing.
However, I got the impression that they could do much better..
in my opinion it was a bit to low lever, and I would have liked to go more in to the nitty gritty of it.
Details of why it’s faster and what happens behind the scenes.
On the plus side, the slides part was really fun, and kept an easy feeling all the way.
+1 for ‘computers isn´t magic, they are bound to C’
In the end Mathias and Öyvind gets a solid 2/5
(also, Mathias, fix and release Out-Graph 😀 )

Green is bad Red is Good – Turning your Checklists into Pester Tests, 2017-05-03, Rob Sewell,
Rob is probably one of the most inspiring speakers out there,
and if you ever get a chance to see him, do.
This was a pester session, but not one of the ordinary.
Although it was a lot of code involved, the core point was the hows and whys,
which, if you ask me, is actually more useful!
In the end, only I can write my tests, but I do like to get different views of how to think!
He showed lots of examples as how the dbatools.io  team tests, and even though I am not a DBA,
it was really inspiring and gave me a good push in to the Test field.
I seriously think Pester is still far from its potential,
and could be used in many different scenarios we still haven´t figured out.
Let’s go home and see what there is to test. 4/5

Thursday.

PowerShell Microservices: At the Service of DevOps, 2017-05-04, Gael Colas,
Having the first session the day after the big party is hard,
And I sure hope no one fell asleep during morning hours..
Gael knows what he is talking about, and just like Flynn’s session this is one I will get back to later.
The art of writing ‘DevOpsy’ PowerShell scripts isn’t easy,
But Gael put in to words how to think.
Unfortunately, I, just as many with me, was tired, and I will have to watch this session again to get the full content of it.
(?/5, will watch again.. Sorry Gael!)

Start-NewEra -Repo PowerShell, 2017-05-04, Ben Gelens,
An Open Source PowerShell Session held all through using OSX and Open source IDE.
Now tell yourself ten years ago that sentence. Did you believe it? 27 y/o Björn didn´t.
Going in to the details of .net core, and how to build scripts and functions that works well both ways, this was a really interesting session.
Just like Jeffrey said in the opening session, functions will from now on be coded targeting PS core,
and ‘back ported’ to PS for Windows. my big takeaway from this session was ‘if you don’t start learning this now, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Ben is a really good speaker, and I’ll give him a solid 3/5

Performant PowerShell, 2017-05-04, Staffan Gustafsson,
Staffan is a Developer, and most of his speeches has gone ‘swoosh’, right over my head.
This one didn’t.
Instead of showing loads of code, and how to write it,
most of Staffans session was showing graphs! (Off course the graphs was done using PowerShell though)
This, in turn, made this a really useful and interesting session,
as it instead showed direct performance hits using various techniques in coding.
Also, Staffan made a point of using optimizing only when you actually care,
which I really liked hearing (I love getting my opinions confirmed by those smarter than me =) )
In the end, optimizing techniques are always interesting, but in all honesty,
I watch these sessions because I find them interesting more than actual work use.  4/5

Take your Automated Release Pipeline to the next level! 2017-05-04, Jan Egil Ring, Øyvind Kallstad,
A Multicloud release pipeline with automagic failover. sounds good? it is!
Öyvind and Jan Egil showed how to build a release pipeline using both AWS and Azure,
with source control, testing, surveillance and everything else needed.
I have seen a lot of sessions on ‘devops’, ‘ci/cd’ and such,
but not many that actually did it all.
After all, failover and redundancy is the key to a useful cloud strategy.
I really liked this session, since they both showed the automation part, and also the ‘behind the scenes’
Unfortunately, when I tried to re-watch the recorded session, the audio is really horrible,
to the point of unlistenable, so I can’t go back and refresh it.
5/5, useful, interesting and practical. everything done right!

The psychology to building a team that automates, scripts and DevOps’, 2017-05-04, Jeff Wouters,
A PowerShell geek gone psychologist? Yep, that’s Jeff.
I have seen a couple of speeches of him before, and they are mostly enjoyable, and full of laughter.
This one was fun, but in all honesty it felt like he just quoted different psychologists.
The only really fun part for me was when he said
‘stop using curse words, instead just say anything else! like fika!’
Fika is the Swedish word for coffee break, and I think everyone thought I was insane when I laughed at this =)
In his defense, he was called in last minute as Ravi (who should have had more than one talk in the conference) couldn’t get his visa through.

Mastering a complex DSC lab infrastructure – The story of the BMW Group DC deployment, 2017-05-04, Jan-Hendrik Peters, Raimund Andree,
I was not supposed to see this session, but was recommended by Christian Lehrer (@chris_tea) to go anyway.
Apparently they had done a similar session before in German which had been really good.
And I must say; Thank you Christian! This was really cool!
Jan-Hendrik and Raimund have built a module to create advanced lab deployments either on prem, or in azure.
this has been done before, but this one looks like they really thought it through,
and made it to be used by all types of administrators and users (and not just the PowerShell geeks!)
They presented the framework while talking about how they started designing it for a use case in BMW (like the title says..)
This made the talk really interesting, and really easy to keep up with,
as everything was put in place not just with a how, but also a why.
In the end, this framework will probably end up in my toolkit. 5/5

DevOps and the Harmonious Whole, 2017-05-04, Kenneth Hansen,

Friday:

Automation in a hybrid world, 2017-05-05, Jakob Gottlieb Svendsen,
OMS is the key to knowing what is going on in your azure environment,
and Jakob is the guy knowing how to do OMS.
Like I mentioned before, we are currently doing Linux and Docker in Azure,
and we are trying to figure out how, what and why to monitor stuff using OMS.
In the evening party Wednesday, I spent a while listening and talking to Jakob about OMS,
and it was really interesting, so I ended up going to this session,
and it was really worth the watch. loads of info and demos on using Azure Automation and OMS to get what you want.
Yet one more session I will watch online, that left me wanting more. 5/5

Azure Automation – Advanced Runbook Design, 2017-05-05, Jakob Gottlieb Svendsen,
..and more I got.
I confess, I did miss a bit of the needed basic knowledge as I have yet to start using runbooks,
but in the end this was also a really good session which I know I will get back to in the future.
If my mind serves me well, Jakob had to cut this session short because he had to many bullet points.
shame, I really like listening to him,
and if we ever need a consultant to help us with our OMS designing, I will do my best to get Jakob coming to Sweden.
4/5

Demystifying $THIS, $_, $PSITEM, $$, $Whatever…, 2017-05-05, Jason Yoder,
Really? I had the impression from the abstract that this was to be a session diving into some unknown and fun ways of using variables outside of the standard ways,
but it ended up being variables for beginners…
Although Jason is a really good speaker, and he can wake up an audience,
I left this session thinking I could have done a lot more useful stuff.
I feel that the level of PSConfEU should be mainly -ge 500, but this was at most 200.
Sorry Jason, 1/5

Building Your First CI/CD Pipeline in Azure, 2017-05-05, Benjamin Hodge,
Most of the speakers at PSConfEU I follow on social media, and Ben is no exception.
The problem with this is that you often get the impression that you are so far behind everyone else (Again, see the imposter syndrome..)
Bens talk was about building a CI/CD pipeline without actually having to do all the heavy lifting right from the start,
showing what small steps he had taken to do it, and in what order.
‘Sort what you do, do one thing automatically today, one more tomorrow and go on ´til you´re done’
In the end he still was running some stuff manually,
but with all the heavy lifting done by simple scripting.
I found this really useful to see, as I currently find myself in a similar position,
where I want to automate my builds and releases, but don’t really know where and how to start!
I don’t know if I will steal his code, but definitely his ideas. 4/5
(Also, it should be PoshPipe!)

Test your PowerShell code with AppVeyor for ITPros, 2017-05-05, André Kamman,
I´ve been looking in to appveyor for my personal builds,
so this was a given for me.
Turns out André was joined on stage by Rob Sewell also, and it was a blast!
Apparently, they had more or less no practice together doing this speech, and they joked and looked like they were really enjoying themselves.
And they managed to fit in a bit about Appveyor as well!
They showed how easy they were using it in the dbatools.io release pipeline,
and it looked really useful. (not surprised though, many projects use it.. must be good, right?)
4/5, will start using.

AMA – Ask Microsoft Anything, 2017-05-05, Angel Calvo, Bruce Payette, David Wilson, Jeffrey Snover, Joey Aiello, Kenneth Hansen, Mark Gray,
How can you end a conference like this?
with this off course!
It was exactly what the topic said,
with questions from the audience, ranging from light hearted, to advanced, future, to passed.
want to know what they talked about? go watch the video!
I am constantly amazed by how humble and down to earth the main people of Microsoft is..
they are really just glad knowing what they do is useful to people!
And dear Microsoft, we are glad you are doing it. even those of us to starstruck to tell you..
6/5.
quote of the week goes to Jeffrey: ‘I am really glad we paid for your tickets, David’

In the end i would really like to say thank you to everyone involved, everyone i met, and everyone who helped out doing this.
It has been an awesome experience yet again, and i hope to see you all again in 2018!
I recomend you go to PSConfEU on youtube and look at all the sessionvideos,
and to GitHub and download slides and code. I know I will.

Disclaimer: I know citations are wrong, some facts are wrong, I still haven’t reviewed Kenneth´s session, and there might be other things wrong in here as well,
but in all honesty, this is my blog, and my interpretations. Deal with it. I might complete it later.