Also, just as a follow up on my comments about using Azure Automation for monitoring and reacting to events. Remember that you are metered on how long your runbook is executing, so a runbook that is an infinite loop will be constantly using minutes. Also, for the example of using Automation as a replacement for SQL Agent, that's very plausible, just be aware that if the job runs greater than that 30 minute mark it will be suspended and resumed, though the target SQL Machine will continue to do the work.
Finally, in my demos I was using Write-Output to push out what was essentially logging information. I should have actually been using Write-Verbose instead. There is a great blog article on the Azure Blog about how to better handle input/output of runbooks and one of the things they point out is that Write-Output is meant to pass data back up to the calling runbook if there is one.
At least in the mid-west some of the volunteer driven conferences are starting to get bigger because they are cheaper and aren't vendor focused. Check out the CodeMash conference for instance. It's put on by a complete volunteer crew. At the 2009 conference
they had a "Precompiler" day where you could learn about .NET, Python, Ruby, whatever from people that were very talented. I think these are the types of conferences that Scott B. is referring to when he said non-vendor driven. Note that these types of conferences DO
exist in the U.S. already.
Check out: devlink.net, codemash.org and codestock.org. All three are conferences I'd recommend. Oh, and Ted Neward, Richard Campbell, Scott Hanselman... those big names? Yeah, they were at some of these too. And unlike the PDC, I was able to sit at
the bar and listen to Richard tell awesome stories. I was able to see Ted sit in an Open Spaces session and give his opinion.
Personally, I think that instead of these massively large conferences, perhaps more frequent and much smaller (say 500 to 1,000 attendee) conferences that are not vendor linked are the future. Then it won't be the death of the professional speaker. It
will be the rise of the regional talent with some of the professionals in to add their experience.