IT/Dev Connections Speaker Highlight: Darren Mar-Elia

IT/Dev Connections Speaker Highlight: Darren Mar-Elia

Part of an ongoing series, we're highlighting the excellent speakers we have handpicked to present phenomenal and extremely valuable content at the IT/Dev Connections conference.

Today's speaker highlight is the PowerShell monster himself, Darren Mar-Elia.

Darren Mar-Elia is the CTO and Founder of SDM Software, a Group Policy solutions company. Darren has 30 years of IT and Software experience in the Microsoft technology area, including serving as a Director of Infrastructure at Charles Schwab, IT Architect at Autodesk, CTO of Windows Management Solutions at Quest Software, and Senior Director of Product Engineering at DesktopStandard. He has been a Microsoft MVP in Group Policy technology for the last 10 years, and has written and spoken on Active Directory, Group Policy and PowerShell topics around the world. He maintains the popular Group Policy resource site, and has been a Contributing Editor for Windows IT Pro Magazine since 1997. He has written or contributed to 13 books on Windows and enterprise networking topics. Darren also speaks frequently at industry conferences on Windows infrastructure topics.

Speaker's IT/Dev Connection sessions:


Recently, we asked Darren to give us a little information about himself. Here's what he shared:

WITPRO: Give us a brief introduction to Darren Mar-Elia.

Speaker: My day job is  CTO & Founder of SDM Software—a company that builds software products that help customers better manage Group Policy. I’ve been in technology for 30 years, include 20 years in enterprise IT and 10 years in the software business. I’ve been a director of IT at a large financial services company and I spent nearly 4 years as CTO of Quest Software’s Windows Management business before starting SDM. My focus has always been around Windows and around systems management and especially in large environments. I love building software, though I’m an IT guy at heart. In my (limited) spare time, I train and occasionally compete in cycling, running and triathlon events. I raced bicycles as an amateur for 10 years back in the 80s and still love doing it today. I have a wife and son and we live in Northern California. I’ve been writing and speaking since about 1995. I think the first time I spoke at a Connections conference was in Fall of 2001.  And I’ve been to Vegas far too many times.


WITPRO: Describe the sessions you are presenting and why you feel the topic is important.

Speaker: I’m presenting two sessions at IT-Connections and for the first time in a while, not speaking on Group Policy (well not directly)! The first talk covers the use of PowerShell as a means of managing public cloud, Infrastructure-as-a-Service platforms like Amazon AWS and Azure IaaS. In fact, I’ll be using those two services to show how you can manage public cloud IaaS resources—like creating or removing VMs or adding and managing cloud storage (and more).  My second talk is one that I’m pretty excited about. It’s an introduction to the new Desired State Configuration technology Microsoft is introducing with PowerShell v4. Think of DSC as a potential long-term replacement for technologies like Group Policy and the engines for configuration within other Microsoft configuration products like SCCM and Intune. If nothing else, think of it as a great way to configure your Windows servers going forward.


WITPRO: What should attendees expect to be able to take away from your sessions?

Speaker: My "Managing Public Clouds with PowerShell" should provide two things. First, if you've not leveraged IaaS environments yet, then this will provide a great introduction to their capabilities. Second, if you are managing them today through GUI tools, this session will provide a good foundation for beginning to automate management and provisioning of these environments. My DSC talk is a really must for any Windows Server administrator. You're going to want to leverage this technology when you see what it can do, and this session will bring you up to speed on how it works and how you can start leveraging it as soon as it ships.


WITPRO: What is your primary reason to be excited about IT Connections?

Speaker: It’s my favorite conference for Windows-related IT technology. It is smaller than TechEd, so much more manageable. Yet you still get a great collection of world-class speakers that you can actually interact with at a deeper level. And the content tends to be more focused and hands-on than what you get at larger shows.


WITPRO: What is the one key technology you believe is changing IT right now?

Speaker: For sure it’s the public cloud and the concepts around data center management that the cloud introduces. It is changing the way we think about computing. While not every IT shop is on board with it, nor will be fully "in the cloud", it is shaping products and services that enterprise IT users use today and in the future.


WITPRO: Who would you suggest Microsoft hire to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO? 

Speaker: Well, I think it has to be someone from outside Microsoft, frankly. For sure it should be a technologist, or someone with a technology background who’s become a good manager. Ideally it would be someone who is an innovator in today’s biggest technology areas (i.e. cloud, mobile, etc.). Ironically, Microsoft culture tends to be so insular that I’m not sure an outsider would succeed but that would be my preference if, you know, someone was asking me.




IT/Dev Connections runs from September 30 – October 4, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. IT/Dev Connections has been designed specifically for IT. You can read all about what IT/Dev Connections offers you HERE.

And, there's still time to register!  Here's some important resources to check out:


Windows, System Center, and Cloud Sessions

Pre-con and Post-con Workshops

Travel and Lodging Information

Full Speaker List



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