I wasn't sure if I was going to attend the Microsoft MVP Summit this year. After the MVP program decided to remove the Windows Server - Networking category I didn't think I had much reason to attend and honestly was expecting to not be renewed because of the category going away.
I am now very happy I changed my mind and I attended. It seems that my new category of Enterprise Security felt that it was important to add networking sessions back to the mix.
A ton of folks from the MS Networking Team showed up! From Sandeep Singhal, Sean Siler, Dave Thaler, Ravi Rao, Tyler Barton, Devrim Asli Iyigun, Mahesh Prakriya, to Joseph Davies - thanks to you all for taking the time and effort to listen to my feedback and opinion about networking and what Microsoft is doing right and wrong.
So, without violating my NDA what was I most excited about from the event? Honestly, it is things that were already on my radar (NDA or not) - specifically Direct Access, Branch Cache and IPv6. I think any Enterprise that is running AD and has a large mobile workforce will adopt Direct Access just to make remote support of that mobile workforce easier, there is literally nothing the end user has to do at all (well, you have to turn the computer on and have some sort of Internet connection) to make it work and the initial scaling numbers I have heard put it on par with a typical traditional VPN deployment. Just as many Enterprises have adopted rpc over http/s for Outlook to Exchange the next natural step is to adopt a paradigm that allows ALL corporate applications the same flexibility and access that Outlook and Exchange currently have today - that solution is Direct Access.
Microsoft is pushing more advanced services into both Windows Server 2008R2 and Windows 7 - Branch Cache is one of these services and one that makes a lot of sense for folks to use (big and small IT shops will win with this one - and it is free to turn it on - how cool is that). It does not replace WAN accelerations devices (though with the changes in Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Server 2008 networking you could argue you might not need the acceleration part) but specifically targets the caching of file content. Given the cost point and relative easy of deployment I think it will have a good adoption rate.
Finally, IPv6 - there are several solutions in both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008R2 that just won't work without IPv6. There is no getting around it and you need to start learning it - period. In Windows 7 there is HomeGroup and for Windows Server 2008R2 if you want Direct Access you will need to get up to speed on IPv6. There are more subtle IPv6 items but those two alone should make folks stand up and notice.