My Final Thoughts and Key Takeaways on Microsoft Ignite 2016, Atlanta!

Hola readers, I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and provide you with my much anticipated wrap-up and final thoughts on the recent trip to Atlanta for MVPDays and Microsoft Ignite. During the week I was able to be super active on Twitter and the show room floor having taken part in many interviews with the likes of Stephen Rose, Sami Laiho, Ben Armstrong and the PowerShell Team! To check these videos and more out checkout Interview with an MVP on Channel9.msdn.com

MVPDays
Well MVPDays is a Microsoft focused community event that I have been helping my good friends @SuperCristal1, @DaveKawula with over the last few years. But in short is it is a 100% Microsoft Community event driven my their community of Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs). This year Dave and Cristal decided to host their first event in the United States as all previous MVPDays were hosted in their home country of Canada. This time around we had a fantastic showing, in fact the MVP Lead for the Southeast of the States invited his MVPs to enter the CFP. But my favorite part of this round of MVPDays was having Ed Wilson aka – The Microsoft Scripting Guys as well as Ken Hansen, Principle Program Manager for PowerShell @ Microsoft. Truly awesome! We were able to sit down with these guys for a few minutes and chat!

If you’re interested in attending an MVPDays be sure to check out Dave and Cristal’s site @www.mvpdays.com or on Twitter its easy to find them using the #MVPHour hash tag or @MVPDays

Microsoft Ignite
So, Microsoft Ignite is their largest conference of the year and outside of MSBuild, which is a Developer only conference, Ignite is THE event for Microsoft. Last year, 2015 in Chicago, was the first time this event was run as it was a combination of many other MS events like MMS and TechEd. So what happened?!?

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The event started on Monday, September 25 and kicked off with a keynote session that was delivered in the Philips Arena – the same place that the Atlanta Hawks play NBA. This keynote was hosted by Julia White and quickly drew a comparison of what old “IT” or aka Information Technology to what the new definition of “IT” is being, Innovation & Transformation. Now I did not actually go to the keynote, I viewed it from the Expo room floor, as there were many different viewing stations setup around the conference. Julia turned it over to Scott Guthrie, Microsoft Executive Vice President and his famous red polo shirt.

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Scott discussed how business organizations are leveraging digital transformation to effect their respective business’ and how technology is playing such a key part in that transformation. Several organizations that were featured in this segment of the keynote were Adobe, BMW and Facebook. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft formally announced that Adobe will now offer all of their Cloud Services that are a part of the Adobe Cloud within Azure. BMW has leveraged Microsoft and Azure to transform the in car driving experience and Facebook has migrated all of their on-premises workers to Office 365.

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The cool pieces of infrastructure related news:

  • Windows Server 2016 is Officially ‘Soft’ Generally Available (GA)!
  • System Center 2016 is NOW RTM!
  • Azure Stack is NOW RTM!

In a future post I will go in more depth on the Azure Stack pieces because a simple paragraph here would not do the service justice.

In the afternoon of the first day Satya delivered his Innovation Keynote. The amazing part of this session was the intense focus on the power that BI can provide. Coolness that occured: Microsoft actually converted the entire contents of Wikipedia from English to Spanish in under a second. Now obviously this was done using the compute power of Azure. While this may sound cool, which I was impressed – no real business needs this type of horsepower. But you’ll soon be able to take advantage of this as Microsoft announced their own field programmable gate array, or FPGA, to accelerate these actions within Azure. Definitely pretty cool.

My Favorite Sessions
Many sessions obviously went on during the week at Ignite. Microsoft is cool enough to open this content up to the public, so definitely check out the MSIgnite Channel on YouTube to view your favorite sessions and get the learn on!

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Now my favorite sessions were (in no particular order either)

  1. Case of the unexplained: Windows troubleshooting with Mark Russinovich
  2. Explore PowerShell unplugged with Jeffrey Snover & Don Jones
  3. Discover Windows 10 Internals

I generally focus on the big guns when I attend these shows as they’re more likely to give you less product pitch per se and more of the active and live demo sessions that we all want. So the names to search for on the infrastructure side of the fence are Ben Armstrong (Hyper-V), Jeffrey Snover (Nano Server, PowerShell and Azure Stack), Mark Russinovich (Azure Stack, Azure & Sysinternals – Performance).

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Above all MSIgnite was an absolute stellar event, where I had a fantastic time! I’d highly recommend viewing the sessions offline, because there’s just way too much to take in during the short week in Atlanta. Did you attend Ignite? What did you think of the event? What were you favorite or even least favorite parts? Share your thoughts with the community below!

Cheers- /cw.

 

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