What went down at Microsoft Ignite 2015

May 13, 2015 at 11:53 am | Posted in Conferences, Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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After spending a week in Chicago at Microsoft Ignite, I have a lot to report.

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First, some comments on the big picture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that Microsoft has changed their strategy from buying companies to partnering with companies to get at new technologies and provide services to Microsoft customers.  Microsoft wants to be mobile first and cloud first. They announced that there will be new changes to Azure to make it the next-generation hybrid cloud. Microsoft hopes to convince customers to use Azure as their secure public cloud deployment.

Windows 10

Yes, there was a big splash for Windows 10.  Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore presented Windows 10 at the keynote.  Windows 10 is billed as “Windows as a service.”  The voice assistant, Cortana, will be built-in. Cortana can perform web queries and pull indexed files on the computer or OneDrive. Internet Explorer’s days are numbered; IE is slated to be replaced by the new Edge browser.

TheEdgeWindows

The Edge browser will have a language extension to quickly translate a website from one language to another. You will be able to use Microsoft Passport with Windows 10 which means you can use your face as authentication to log in. Encryption in Windows 10 will improve. In the past, you could use BitLocker to do an “all or nothing” drive encryption. Now you can encrypt by document, not drive. You can further extend the protection capabilities by emailing the encrypted file to another person in the company and allow that person to open the file if they use the same encryption type. Users outside the company will not be able to open the file. You could have the encrypted file copied to a USB thumb drive so that another person in the same company could open it, but not have a person outside the company open it.

Windows Update for Business

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When you mention Windows updates to someone, their eyes roll and a low guttural groan comes from their mouth. A system administrator does not like to be overloaded with untested patches that will be applied to unsuspecting computers. With Window Update for Business, the administrator will have more flexibility on what updates are applied to company computers. You can configure distribution rings so that updates will not show up on the first Tuesday of the month.  You can configure maintenance periods to avoid updates and configure peer-to peer distribution.  Windows Update for Business will be free for Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise.

HoloLens

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Microsoft mentioned  HoloLens, but did not offer a demonstration. HoloLens is a holographic headset which overlays virtual environments onto real ones.  Is this another Google Glass, or something else?  Too soon to tell.

Reinvent the nature of work

Millennials are changing the way business works. Yes, Millennials were raised by “helicopter parents” and always got a trophy for participating. However, this same generation will be the majority of the workforce in five years (2020). Millennials believe work is what you do , not where you are.  Companies such as Uber and AirBnB have used technology to disrupt industries in a similar way to how Millennials have changed corporate culture.  Millennials care less about how the individual worker is productive, and more about how the team is productive. Microsoft  announced that Office 2016 and Skype for Business will help change the nature of work to better fit the needs of this generation. Skype was mentioned a lot because studies show that 55% of communication is body language, rather than spoken word.

BodyLanguage

Security

VP Brad Anderson mention that the attendees of the Microsoft Ignite conference were not James Bond, but rather  the dude with all the nifty gadgets, Q.

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Security is the number one topic on every company’s agenda. Microsoft took the opportunity to highlight the security features of Windows 10. Device Guard verifies whether each application is signed by Microsoft.  Device Guard will prevent the application from downloading if the code is not approved.   Outlook has been improved to prevent data leakage.  Data leakage protection keeps data from being copied and pasted to non-approved applications, such as Twitter, so employees cannot Tweet security secrets.  You can create a policy to allow copy and paste, but ensure that the action is logged for security purposes.   Microsoft also announced its Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA) software that uses deep packet inspection and file analysis to determine suspicious data. ATA can spot the location of a potential attack.

Coming Soon

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Yes there will be a new version of Windows Server and SQL  Server, Windows Server 2016 and SQL Server 2016 respectively. There was not a sneak peak of either one. However, there was mention that SQL Server 2016 will allow you to stretch part of a table into the cloud. A good use of this could be stretching a table that contains historical data.

Microsoft Ignite was different than Microsoft TechEd shows in the past. For starters, it was a heck of a lot bigger. There were over 20,000 reported attendees at the inaugural Microsoft event.  The McCormick Convention Center was a city in itself. If you were there, I hope you got an opportunity to visit the Hands On Lab.

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The Hands On Lab offered you the opportunity to run through different labs on SharePoint, Azure, Office 365, SQL Server, and others. Attendees of Microsoft Ignite can access these labs online through https://myignite.microsoft.com/#/ until  June 1st, 2015.  If you did not attend, you can still access Microsoft online labs at https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/virtuallabs/bb467605.aspx for free.

Microsoft Ignite was a blast. It will be back in Chicago next year. I hope to see you there!

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–George Monsalvatge (that’s me in the middle)

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