Last month I took a new step in my career, and began a journey into full-time SharePoint consulting. I’m now a SharePoint Solutions Architect for ICC, an IT services firm and Microsoft Certified Partner here in Columbus, Ohio.
So far, it looks like my timing was pretty good, as the excitement among our customers seems to be continuously building as we near the launch of SharePoint 2010. One of my primary tasks at ICC is to help us prepare to be effective in the delivery of SharePoint 2010 services, specifically in the area of application development. That means I’ve had to spend a lot of time recently getting acquainted with all this SP2010 goodness. :) And as I’ve started diving deep into its many offerings and improvements, I can say that the excitement seems well worth it.
There’s been some challenges, though. Usually, when one wants to play around with the latest Microsoft offerings, one of the best ways to do so is to grab a virtualized environment that contains a pre-built copy of the software and all the other goodies. However, the caveat this time is that all the software is now built on 64-bit architecture. No argument from me on that decision – 64-bit is the future, and I’m even running 64-bit Windows 7 at home. The problem is, Microsoft’s current virtualization solutions don’t easily support 64-bit. So now, developers like myself have to jump thru extra hoops in order to enjoy the convenience of a VM playground.
Enter VirtualBox. This open source masterpiece helps bring order to the chaos. It allows me to run 64-bit OS VHDs right on my Windows 7 box. So now, I can take advantage of, for instance, the SharePoint 2010 Information Workers Beta Demo. Yeah, it would have been nice to run all my VMs via Windows 7’s built-in Virtual PC solution, but hey, why complain if no one’s listening? :) You will, however, also need to throw as much horsepower at the VM as possible. So give up on your 8-year old eMachine and go put 6 or 8 Gigs of RAM in a new box with as many processor cores as you can find.
With all that said, 2010 looks to be an exciting year for Microsoft geeks like myself. So, I’m gonna grab my trusty Touch Pro 2, ignore all those ridiculous iPad gimmicks, and jump right in! Hope to see you there! ;)