Well, the Iron Architect competition at TechEd 2007 is over – the final showdown (with tasting and judgment) took place Thursday evening, and in the end I emerged victorious.

There were four contestants in the final showdown, each one of whom came up with an architectural proposal for the same problem posted on the MSDN Iron Architect Blog. Each contestant had a very different approach. My architecture was based on using SQL Server Analysis Services Data Mining as the core engine to segment and categorize attendees and to define relationships between new attendees during the registration process and the existing registered attendee base. This core engine would then be implemented as a discrete service that would then interact with external systems (such as the conference scheduling systems and the hotel registration systems) via BizTalk Server.

The competition was pretty fierce. I went second, and although I thought I did a better job than the first and third contestants, but the fourth guy started out really strong, focusing on the build vs. buy decision, which I had not considered at all. Still, in the end the judges (who were delightfully critical – I love getting critical feedback!) thought that my solution and my presentation were strongest over all, and awarded me the grand prize.

Of course, although this content was stressful, the hard work is now just beginning. The prize I’ve won is basically a scholarship to get accepted into the Microsoft Certified Architect program. Now I have to do all of the work for the MCA, and from what I hear, that’s far from trivial. Time will tell, and I’ll be sure to post about it here…


About ssimagine

My name is Matthew Roche, and I am a Senior Program Manager with the SQL Server product group at Microsoft. I work on Master Data Services and Data Quality Services, and have previously worked on SQL Server Integration Services. Although I work for Microsoft and will be posting on technical topics, I want to stress that this is a personal blog, and any opinions posted here are mine and mine alone. I built my career around SQL Server and Microsoft technologies for well over a decade before I joined Microsoft as an employee, and I plan on using this blog to share my personal experience and opinions. They may well be shaped by my experience on the SQL Server team, but they’re still mine, and not that of Microsoft, disclaimer, disclaimer, etc., etc..
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4 Responses to Victory!

  1. lynn says:

    Well, I can say, “I knew him when…” Delightfully critical – how appropriate. Matthew, you should get a shirt that says that on it – said the author who survived your book editing frenzy!

  2. dof says:

    A well deserved victory Matthew. Congratulations! And it was great to catch up with you again at TechEd.Donald

  3. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. But I think you should refer to it as the “Metallic Architect”.

  4. Demiliani says:

    Congratulation… an important recognition!

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