Microsoft Tech Ed 2011 Keynote

Today’s keynote was about two topics – Cloud and Devices.

Cloud topic was first.  Here is what Microsoft Corporate VP talked about.  He relayed Microsoft’s perspective as to why cloud is important and why it will continue to grow and play an important role for many companies.  Three primary reasons are agility, focus and economics.  Agility refers to companies’ ability to scale on demand, utilizing pay-as-you-go model. Focus refers to concentration of corporations on core software products and technologies instead of worrying about infrastructure.  And economics refers to decrease need to invest large amounts of money into hardware and licenses.  All these ideas are valid and important. 

Next announcements underscored Microsoft’s realization that private cloud is just as if not more important than public cloud.  The rest of the talk applied equally to public and private cloud.  Presenters talked about Microsoft System Center 2012 codename Concero as the next generation product that will enable users to manage and maintain their cloud offerings.

Next they talked about BI and data.  They underscored two important concepts the next generation of Microsoft software is going to address – insight and oversight.

Insight means allowing users, mostly business users to slice and dice the data as they see fit to gather important information from tons of collected data points.  PowerPivot, SharePoint and project Crescent that will ship with next generation of SQL Server were mentioned.  Crescent looks like PowerPivot which shipped a while ago on steroids, with ability to visualize data in many ways in addition to ability to view it.  Crescent will be integrated into SharePoint to give other users insight into gathered data via report / Crescent project sharing as well as oversight, since user actions will be captured in SharePoint.  Developer will be able to convert these business users’ created project into Visual Studio projects.

Next set of topic points refered to devices.  Average number of connected devices per adult in the US is 4.3.  Microsoft sees this number growing in the future, and growing rapidly.  The range of devices vary, and includes phones and tablets.  Mango, the next version of OS for Windows Phone 7 has many features that are intended to entice not only general public, but also corporate users.  These features include Lync (next generation of communication software, which includes some features of Communicator and Live Meeting) on the phone as well as corporate security features and Office 365 integration.

Kinect was also mentioned with World Wide Telescope being a flag ship product that identifies strengths of the Kinect platform in education.  Also a medical product was showcased that uses Kinect in an operation room.

Windows Phone was the next topic.  Windows phone toolkit for Azure was mentioned as the tool that can speed up development quite a bit if you are coding that type of application.

TFS v. next was the next topic.  One of the goals for the next release is to bring stakeholders and operations folks into the conversion.  Stakeholders will be able to prototype features using PowerPoint.  Operations manager will be able to create TFS work items directly from system center software using system center connector, and include relevant information such as stack trace.   IntelliTrace will be available in production as the integration point between operations and development.  Developers also get some new features, such as My Work tab that identifies the work items assigned to developers.  Developers will be able to handle interruptions better via “Save / Restore My Work” feature.

OK, at a high level this is what Microsoft guys talked about in the key note.  Now it is the time for my personal opinion.  After all, why have a blog if you cannot express yourself.

One thing that jumped at me was low energy level of all presenters.  Maybe they were tried after travel?  Also, there were very few announcements that I have not heard before at different events or have not read on blogs.  Ideally I would have liked to hear a little more about other technologies, such as web or Silverlight.  I know that TechEd is supposed to be about IT as well as Dev, but one could hope for more pertinent information.  Some of the jokes were a little stale to my taste, the usual “I am your boss, so drop everything and do this” jokes get old.  Maybe Microsoft should hire a comedian to help them next time.

Now some takeaways.  One message that was pretty clear was directed toward IT professionals.  They need to be up to speed on Azure, or they will be left behind.  Private cloud is coming, and companies need to consider if that technology suits them.  IMHO, private clouds are diminishing the value of cloud in general, but with the right tooling the gains are still there, although investment into hardware is still pretty big.  Message for developers regarding TFS is clear as well.  This product will continue to grow to help companies to collaborate, develop, test and operate software.  In devices marker Mango version of the Windows Phone OS will provide a number of cool new features that will undoubtedly advance its standing amongst consumers and enterprises.  Now we just have to wait and see if Microsoft marketing can do its job to let masses know what is coming soon.

Thank you.

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