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Highlights from D365UG/CRMUG Summit 2017 in Nashville

As I settle back into the real world after a fantastic week in Nashville for the D365/CRMUG Summit conference, I thought I’d share a few thoughts about the week.

CRMUG Summit 2017 – The Newbie Perspective

My first impressions of my first ever CRMUG Summit event were tremendous; it was a jammed-packed week bringing together the best of the best of Dynamics 365 speakers. Even after getting lost trying the find sessions on the first day (I’m told that a complicated venue layout is common for these types of large conferences), and having to arrive early to sessions in order to get a seat (or sometimes even to get somewhere to stand), I felt that I was getting value out of every minute I spent there. I had the privilege of working with the Dynamic Communities folks years ago on their websites, so it was great to finally attend their marquee event. I look forward to attending D365UG/CRMUG Summit next year in Phoenix!

The Growing Interest in Dynamics 365 Portals

I attended a number of sessions on Dynamics 365 Portals, including ones by MVPs like Sheila Shahpari and Colin Vermander, Microsoft Dynamics 365 team member Dileep Singh, and Portals customer Eric Guthrie of Spectra Logic. One thing was very clear – there is a huge interest in Portals, with most of these sessions overflowing with attendees. My impression was that a lot these people were seeing Portals for the first time, so I think over the next little while we’ll start to see the number of Portals implementations skyrocket.

I found Dileep’s session to be especially helpful. Dileep is involved with the team at Microsoft responsible for actually hosting the Portals on Azure, so he gave some great insight into how Portals are architected from an infrastructure point of view. This includes how each portal has two Azure Websites instances created in different data centers for redundancy, and they use Azure Traffic Manager to redirect traffic if the primary data center is having issues, as well as how they use Azure Event Hub for dealing with cache invalidation.

Migrating Dynamics 365 to the Cloud from On-premise

Of the non-Portals related sessions I attended, the one that was the most interesting was on the new tool Microsoft will be making available to assist customers migrate from on-premise to the cloud. We were asked not to give out too many details right now, but expect to hear something in the next week or two about it.

Dynamics 365 MVPs – Meeting Face-to-Face

It was great to finally see in person people I’ve only ever known virtually – including Colin Vermander, Nick Doelman, Joel Lindstrom and Gus Gonzalez. If you’re into Dynamics 365 and don’t already follow those people, now is the time to start.

Nashville Hospitality

This was my first major conference, and it was somewhat of a last-minute decision, so unfortunately the conference hotel was already fully booked by the time I got around to it. I ended up staying at a Quality Inn about a 20 minute walk away; the hotel was ok, and certainly cheaper, but in the future I’ll plan further ahead, and spend the extra money, to be on-site. I’ve already booked the conference hotel for Extreme365 in Long Beach in November; I think it will be worth every penny.

When in Rome…,  Grand Ole Opry

As a long-time country music fan, getting to attend the Grand Ole Opry was definitely something on my bucket list. So thankfully, even with my lack of preparation (I purchased my ticket about 2 hours before the show), I was able to check that item off. I got a great seat – nine rows back, right in the middle, and as a child of the 90’s, the lineup was great. From Lorrie Morgan, to Mark Wills, and Lonestar, it was a thrill to see the show in person after having seen it all these years on TV.

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