Notes from the Tampa ITCampSaturday (#1)

I’m little late posting this, but wanted to log some notes about the first ever ITCampSaturday that ran in in Tampa back on March 19th. The formula for the event was basically the same as SQLSaturday (both a minor compliment and a practical decision), with four tracks, lunch, and a few sponsors on site at the KForce Building in Ybor City.

Everything went smooth from what I saw, no logistics issues other than they used the stick on name badges which have a tendency to fall off due to the humidity! I attended three sessions, one on PowerShell, one on MS Lync, and one on SCOM (operations manager). I learned something in all three, but have a couple notes to share on the latter two:

  • Lync
    • MS telephony solution
    • Huge/complex/powerful – lots and lots of moving parts, but some interesting advantages when you look at both remote workers and disaster recovery
    • Breakeven point for owning is about 250 users, below that a hosted model is supposed to make sense,though I didn’t hear if there is a minimum for even that
  • SCOM
    • Presentation focused on monitoring
    • Interesting to hear the process they used to ‘interview’ each new application to understand how to monitor it (anything from text based based log files to the event log to opening a port) and understanding which problems indicated a true failure and which were merely problems to be addressed
    • I’d like to see more on this from both an application and server best practices perspective

Attendance was about 125. Not as much as organizer Chad Miller had hoped for (and about half the number that registered),but a very respectable crowd for a first time event. I knew only a handful of people, quite a different experience from going to SQLSaturday, and of course the topic list was a lot different. As I walked around thinking about the down sized logistics for a 100 person event the only part I missed was the ‘buzz’ when you get a lot of people in one place, and I think that was only missing because the space is really suited to the 200-300 sized audience. Aside from that – and that is fixable – it’s worth considering events that size because it just reduces the workload so much on the organizers.

Chad built the site on WordPress set up as multi user, so if they do more events it’s just another website (blog), and registration was done via EventBrite. His biggest challenge was finding a good way to take sponsor payments (which we handle in our world by having PASS manage a PayPal business account).

He has had interest from South Florida about having one there, and I really hope this will grow into a SQLSaturday sized effort. I’ve long noticed the difference in the communities and the IT Pro side has – in my view – been very under served. I think it’s harder because it’s not “one” product like SQL Server of Visual Studio. Maybe over time we’ll see HyperV or Exchange events, but for now a combined event will make sense. Will a real community form? Who will be the leaders (besides Chad Miller that is)?

Chad reached out to a few of us here in Florida for advice based on our events and efforts, a smart move to use his network. I had hoped to have PASS engage with him as well to provide the same first time coaching that we do for SQLSaturday, but ultimately was told that it was ‘out of scope’. One of those battles I didn’t have time to fight and I wish I had, there were a few places where knowledge we had would have helped him have an incrementally better experience.

Kudos to Chad for a nice job, trying something new and investing the sweat to make it work. If you’re interested in having one, post a comment and I’ll forward it, or contact him via his blog at

Posts from Chad:

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