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Meet Your Tech on Tap – How Cloudy Is Your Organization? Speakers


Photo courtesy Nicolas Raymond

The next Tech on Tap is brewing on Saturday, May 30, from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm! Join us to learn more about Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and VMware private clouds with the following experts.

Jason Young is a Senior Program Manager with Microsoft. He focuses on commercial ISVs building large-scale technical projects built on devices, Windows, and Azure. His history includes working for a manufacturing startup, building MES software at GE, and consulting on a variety of technologies. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was CTO of an energy company where he directed development of a large-scale Windows Azure-based building automation and IoT data collection solution.

Jason will present “Azure in the Real World”.

Forget about “the cloud”. Let’s dive in and see what Azure can actually do for me today. From connected cows to running the travel world, we’ll look at real examples showing how you can build your own services and applications in a hyper-scale environment. Whether you want to dip your toes in or take a bath in Kool-Aid, there is something you can use today.

Bob Plankers is a technology generalist who has been writing, speaking, and blogging at for a decade. He is a virtualization & cloud architect at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, analyst at The Virtualization Practice, and a freelance IT consultant on interesting projects all over the region. In his free time he can often be found wondering why no houses ever have 90 degree angles and smoking a cigar while mowing the lawn.

Bob will present “Clouds Are Magic, and Other Related Nonsense”.

We spent a lot of money on a private cloud, but now we just have a mess. We went from having 2000 VMs to 5000 VMs almost overnight, now that the developers can deploy things on their own, and we’ve been adding capacity constantly. Someone told me these things are revolutionary, but the only revolution seems to be the one the CFO is having. And now people are talking about scrapping it all and sending everything to the public cloud. Aren’t clouds supposed to magically fix IT problems, not create new ones? Oh, and what the heck are containers?

Jeff Lehmann from Slalom Consulting has worked in technology and IT for more than 25 years, with 10 of those years spent as a certified SAS administrator and 3 years working with AWS.  He recently presented two sessions at the SAS annual user conference, SAS Global Forum in Dallas: “How to Implement SAS 9.4 on an Amazon Web Services Cloud Server Instance” and “The Advantages and Pitfalls of Implementing SAS in an Amazon Web Services Cloud Instance”. He combines his technical skillset with an analytical mindset.  He enjoys learning about and deploying new technologies.  He is delighted to present AWS to an MS SQL server audience!

Jeff is presenting, “The AWS Cloud Supports Microsoft Windows Server”:

According to Cloud Analyst Industry reports, AWS has the most robust cloud services offerings in the sector.  As well, Microsoft workloads on AWS have provided many success stories.  This presentation is targeted at an MS SQL Server audience and will provide an introductory overview of AWS.

How Cloudy Is Your Organization is going to be a fantastic day of learning, networking, and of course, great beer and food. Register by Wednesday, May 27th!

Cheers for Tech on Tap Nothing But .NET!

Whiteboard time at Nothing But .NET with Jon Cwiak and Adam Driscoll

Whiteboard time at Nothing But .NET with Jon Cwiak and Adam Driscoll

The beer was cold, the food was delicious, the sessions were incredibly informative, and the networking was unbeatable. Yes, we had an incredibly successful Tech on Tap v3.1 Nothing But .NET!

Thank you to the attendees for taking a Saturday to increase your knowledge (about beer and code) and learn with us. You had great questions, excellent insight, and were appropriately thirsty.

Thank you to our speakers, Jon Cwiak and Adam Driscoll. You two are unbelievably smart and we couldn’t have done this without you. We learned more about LINQ, weaving, continuous integration, open-sourcing, and much more.

Thank you Stone Cellar for a tasty lunch (mac and beer cheese – yum!) and delicious beer, root beer, and sodas. Your service is excellent, and Kayla was fantastic to us.

Ready to join the fun? We’ll be back with How Cloudy is Your Organization on Saturday, May 16, 2015, and SQL Server on Saturday, October 10, 2015 – sign up for our mailing list today!

It’s almost time for Tech on Tap – Nothing But .NET!

Can you taste the Stone Cellar Six Grain Ale and hear the soothing sounds of laptop fans cooling the hard-working CPUs yet? Tech on Tap – Nothing But .NET is days away! The Brewmasters have been hard at work making this a stellar event.

The schedule for the day is

10:30-11:00 Registration
11:00-12:00 LINQ – .NET’s Nifty Little Query Syntax – Adam Driscoll
12:00-1:00 Lunch & brewery tour
1:00-2:00 Speaker TBD
2:00-2:15 Break
2:15-3:45 Learning to Weave: AOP and Other Threads – Jon Cwiak
3:45-4:00 Wrap-up
4:00-5:00 Bar chat

Lunch is going to be Stone Cellar’as to-die-for mac & beer cheese. We’ll have several varieties of their beer to try, along with their delicious root beer.

If you haven’t signed up yet, you have until 6:00 PM CST on Wednesday, February 25 to do so!

Most importantly, though, we’ll have great learning and networking opportunities. Make sure to bring a device for note-taking and business cards to share with your new contacts.

15 Conferences To Attend in 2015

The Tech on Tap Brewmasters and attendees are both eager students and teachers, so we’re always looking for more opportunities to expand our knowledge. Here are some of the conferences and experiences we’re looking forward to in 2015!

DeveloperWeek – February 6-12. San Francisco, CA. Learn about HTML5, Javascript, Ruby and more. Participate in a Hackathon. Have fun!

Visual Studio Live – March 16-20, Las Vegas, NV. June 1-4, Austin TX. More locations and dates, too! A great conference for .NET developers looking to hone their skills.

SQL Saturday Madison 2015 – April 11. Madison, WI. All SQL Server, all day, for FREE.

PowerShell Summit North America 2015 – April 20-22. Charlotte, NC. Three days of deep technical education on PowerShell.

Wisconsin VMUG User Conference – April 28. Middleton, WI. A full day of VMware training from local and national experts – and it’s free!

Build – April 29-May 1. San Francisco, CA. This is the conference for developers to learn what’s new and upcoming!

Ignite – May 4-8. Chicago, IL. Microsoft’s newest conference builds on TechEd, covering topics from Azure to Yammer. Bonus: Chicago is close for most of us!

Intersections – May 18-21. Scottsdale, AZ. DEV intersection, SharePoint intersection, Office365 intersection – there’s something here for everyone.

TechWeek Chicago – June 22-28. Chicago, IL. “Techweek’s mission is to showcase, celebrate and enable emerging innovation ecosystems.”

ThatConference – August 10-12. Wisconsin Dells, WI. “Summer camp for geeks” focuses on Mobile, Web, and Cloud – and they have a killer party at the indoor waterpark!

VMworld – August 30-September 3. San Francisco, CA. Want more VMware training? This is the biggest and best conference to get it.

IT/DevConnections – September 14-17. Las Vegas, NV. Sessions on Windows, SharePoint, Azure, SQL Server and more, from independent speakers.

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing – October 14-16. Houston, TX. The world’s largest gathering of women technologists. Education and inspiration!

PASS Summit – October 27-30. Seattle, WA. The largest SQL Server conference in the world, with almost 200 sessions across three days, plus all-day pre-conference sessions.

AWS Summit – Various dates and locations. Direct-from-Amazon training on their cloud offerings.
Microsoft virtual conferences – Tech Days

What conferences are you excited about? Are you attending one that isn’t listed here? Tell us about it!

Recap: v2.2

Last Saturday, we hosted a crowd of eleven for Tech on Tap v2.2 – Diving Deeper Into PHP. It was our first foray into a programming language, so it was nice to see a few new faces – and old friends!

The day kicked off with “CI:IRL” from Beth Tucker Long (website| twitter). Beth is an experienced PHP developer, leader of the Madison PHP user group, and editor-in-chief of phparchitect – she knows her stuff! She gave a great talk on Continuous Integration – what it is, what it takes to be successful with it, and when (and when not) to use it. Slides are available here.

Then we adjourned to the Beer Garden for lunch and networking. The food was good, the beer was great, and the discussion was even better.

This did not suck!

This did not suck!

After lunch, Aaron Saray (website | twitter) led us through a group programming exercise! The group was given two challenges and had to tell Aaron exactly what to type. This was a great exercise for the programmers in the room – debating who would do what, and why – and was enlightening for the non-programmers too!

To wrap up the day, we got a tour of the Stone Cellar brewery. This was awesome. We got to walk through where the beer is brewed, led by owner Tom and restaurant manager Steve. We got to ask them questions about their brewing process and what their favorite beers were.

We closed the day with a Q&A with the speakers and one last beer. The Stonetoberfest was, as always, spot on.

Thank you to our speakers and our attendees for another great event!

Registration for v2.2 Digging Deeper Into PHP is Live!

Ready to grab a beer, sit back, and learn (more!) about PHP? We’re ready for you!

Register today at EventBrite and mark your calendar for Saturday, September 28!

Announcing Tech on Tap v1.3 PowerShell

The Tech on Tap Brewmasters are excited to announce that v1.3 PowerShell will be held on Saturday, October 13, 2012, at Stone Cellar Brew Pub in Appleton, WI.

PowerShell is quickly becoming the must-know scripting language for working in a Microsoft Windows environment. It is used in Windows Server, Active Directory, SQL Server, and more. Join us as Steven Murawski and other PowerShell experts share their knowledge over pints of Stone Cellar’s famous brews!

Register today! 

Announcing Tech on Tap v1.2 – SharePoint


Microsoft SharePoint is everywhere, in organizations of all sizes. If it is in yours, or your company is considering implementing it, you won’t want to miss Tech on Tap v1.2 – SharePoint!

Tech on Tap is a unique one-day training event. A diverse group of IT professionals will get together at a brewpub to discuss SharePoint in-depth, have advanced training sessions, and of course, taste some beer!

Tech on Tap v1.2 will be held Saturday, June 9, 2012, at Stone Cellar Brewpub in Appleton, WI. Registration will open in mid-April.

Interested in speaking? Please email a session title and abstract to no later than March 31, 2012.

Interested in sponsoring? Please review the sponsorship plan and email

We look forward to seeing you in June!

Tech On Tap v1.1: Virtualization – The Presentations

Tech On Tap v1.1 will be held Saturday, January 28, 2012, at Stone Cellar Brew Pub in Appleton, WI. The topic of the day is Virtualization. We’ll have three presentations by industry experts. Join us for a day of great information!

Administering Virtual Environments

So you’ve got a virtual environment, and have things running in it. Now what? This session is geared for the medium-sized virtualization admin, and will cover a lot of ground with advanced considerations for virtual environments, from technical subjects like storage layout, and guest OS tuning tricks, to political topics like how you get along with your network & storage admins, and how to institute maintenance windows when you don’t have any. Most questions in IT are properly answered with “it depends on your environment,” and the session will be geared towards providing ideas and provoking thoughts to take home and try.

Presented by: Bob Plankers 

Bob Plankers has been virtualizing servers for 13 years, starting when Connectix gave him a copy of Virtual PC. Bob is a multi-year VMware vExpert, recovering storage admin, networking enthusiast, and system administrator, and outspoken on most virtualization issues, technical to political, on his blog at

Virtually Monitoring SQL Server

Lots of what you monitor on SQL Server is completely unaffected by whether or not you’re running on a virtual machine, but some of it is. Knowing which is which, and why, is the purpose of this session. We’ll spend time outlining what you can monitor normally in SQL Server, and we’ll show what parts of monitoring require you to do things differently because of the nature of virtual servers. Standard tools such as Performance Monitor, Extended Events and Dynamic Management Views will be demonstrated so the monitoring tips and tricks you learn here will work regardless of the virtualization system you’re currently using.

Presented by: Grant Fritchey & Jes Schultz Borland 

Grant Fritchey is a SQL Server MVP with over 20 years of experience in IT, including time spent in support and development. He has worked with SQL Server since 6.0, back in 1995. He has developed in VB, VB.NET, C# and Java. He has authored books for Apress and Simple-Talk and joined Red Gate Software as a Product Evangelist in January 2011. He blogs at

Jes Schultz Borland is a Technical Consultant at Blue Door Consulting in Oshkosh, WI. She holds an AAS – Programmer/Analyst degree. She has worked with SQL Server since 2007, focusing on Reporting Services and day-to-day administration. She is an active member of PASS, Director of Communication for MADPASS, and Director of Social Media for PASS WIT. She’s a frequent presenter at user groups, SQL Saturdays, and other community events. She is also an avid tweeter, blogger at, and runner.


Microsoft Virtualization Technologies

The industry is buzzing about the cloud in all its forms, including public, private and hybrid deployment models. If you’re eager to explore the cloud and ways of building next-generation of dynamic data centers then this session is for you. We’ll take a technical look what makes a Microsoft Private Cloud and focus in on the Microsoft virtualization technologies and how they can help you harness the cloud – on your own terms.

Presented by: Brian Lewis 

Brian Lewis works as an IT Pro Evangelist for Microsoft Corporation in the Midwest, where he focuses on the IT Pro audience in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. He is very passionate about technology and has over 18 years of enterprise IT experience.

Brian enjoys working with all computer and networking technologies. He enjoys everything from programming and scripting to working with all types of infrastructure. There just isn’t a technology that isn’t interesting to him. Brian enjoys several hobbies outside of computers including rock climbing, trail biking, and swimming.

Brian received his Bachelors degree in Management of Information Systems from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. One of Brian’s passions is computer security and he holds the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification among other computer industry certifications.

Tech On Tap: Virtualization – The Speakers

We’re excited to announce our speakers for our inaugural event, Virtualization! Each of these speakers is a well-regarded member of the technical community, and we’re excited to have them on board.

Bob Plankers is a Virtualization & Cloud Architect at UW Madison in Madison, WI. He is also a VMWare vExpert. He blogs at and tweets as @plankers.

Brian Lewis is an IT Pro Evangelist at Microsoft, based in Wisconsin. He actively supports the technical communities in the region. He blogs at and tweets as @BrianLewis_.

Grant Fritchey is a Product Evangelist at Red Gate Software, from the Boston, MA area. He’s a Microsoft MVP and is known as the Scary DBA. He blogs at and tweets as @gfritchey.

We hope you’re interested in getting high-quality training from these speakers! Register for Tech On Tap: Virtualization today!