Do you want to be a part of one of the largest global community events on the planet? The 2015 #GlobalAzure Bootcamp
kicks off on April 25th and you can participate and organize a location too! The story about #GlobalAzure is as unique as it is grand. Each year hundreds of organizers around the globe arrange Azure user group events on the same day. On April 25th, thousands of attendees will learn about the Microsoft Azure Cloud and virtually meet up with their peers on social media. Together, we will run a huge shared lab where tens of thousands of Virtual Machines in Azure compute for the good of the planet. It is important to point out that this is not a Microsoft owned event. Rather it is over one hundred individual and independent community events that occur simultaneously on the same day each year. Responsibility for each of these local event lies with the local organizers of that event.
Does this sound amazing? Your community can be part of this event too!
To read more about #GlobalAzure, head over to the Global Azure web site and click into the "organizer" section to learn how to organize your own location! (Another option is to simply forward this blog post to the local user group administrators or your local Microsoft office near you to help set things in motion where you live!)
How #GlobalAzure exploded from the start
#GlobalAzure was born three years ago when two user group enthusiasts in Sweden decided to each run an Azure Bootcamp on the same day in their respective cities: Malmö and Stockholm. An Azure Bootcamp at heart is simply a community user group event dedicated to learning about the Microsoft Azure Platform. "Azure Bootcamp" as a concept was a pre-existing event format that we wanted to utilize. But wait, said the duo, if we do our events on the same day, perhaps some of our other Azure community friends close by in Europe would want to do the same? What if we end up with ten locations, wouldn't that be awesome? We were wrong. Today we are ecstatic that we were so very wrong! The first year (2013) #GlobalAzure ran in 92 locations in 36 countries around the globe. The following year (2014) the numbers were 136 locations in 54 countries! Over 200 .NET and Cloud community enthusiasts around the world organized local events and received more than 6,000 attendees combined at their locations. Hundreds of hours of sessions and labs take place during the day which starts in the easternmost time zones and ends one earth revolution later in the westernmost time zones. This is the map of locations for the event in 2014 stretching from Auckland to Honolulu:
Who organizes this event?
Lots of people around the world help make this event successful. Most important, are of course the hundreds of local community enthusiasts around the world that make the local events happen. Important are also all of the local Microsoft employees, such as the local DX teams, local Azure Product Managers and MVP leads, who lend their eager support. As stated above, these local events are community owned and run events and in no location does Microsoft own or run any of the events. However, locally Microsoft eagerly offers assistance as much as they can and I recommend you to talk to your local Microsoft Azure Product Owners to find assistance and support! The global coordination of this event is stewarded by Microsoft Azure Most Valuable Professionals Maarten Balliauw, Mike Martin, Alan Smith, Michael Wood and myself. We cannot stress enough the great work local user groups, their community leaders and the local Microsoft folks put into the event to make it great!
“Microsoft is very proud of its technical community and we have never seen an event of this size and magnitude attempted with over 135 locations and over 5,000 people attending. Their efforts to bring together so many people for this world-wide educational event and to build the world’s largest crowd-sourced compute lab for Diabetes research is an amazing feat. Microsoft is proud to be a part of this event and to be associated with a great group of technical leaders.” – Mark J Brown, Microsoft Corporation
What about setup, agenda and content?
It's important that each location organize their event according to their resources targeted to the needs of their local community members. If the attendees are new to Azure, the agenda might contain introductory material about Cloud Computing and the Azure Platform. If the community is focused on developers only or perhaps is IT-Pro only, then material would be aligned accordingly. Finally if the local event is an expert Azure community content might be more deep dive in nature. Some locations are organized in a small room with 10-15 enthusiasts while the largest locations have over 500 attendees! Mileage will vary for each location, the local community sets up their agenda for the day and take full credit for all their work. If your community does not have a resident Azure expert, the global organization also makes training material available for you to use. You might reach out to your local Microsoft sub for assistance in connecting with suitable local presenters, assistance to find a venue and more! If you need any help connecting you with your local Microsoft office please contact #GlobalAzure through the site
This sounds like a really great event! How can I become a sponsor?
Part of the reason #GlobalAzure is so successful, is due to our amazing sponsors. Each organizer should feel free to mention their local sponsors in connection with their own event information on the #GlobalAzure web site! Not only do we have great local sponsors, we are lucky enough to have global ones too! These are for instance product developing ISVs who build software for Azure that they wish the world to know about. All we ask from a sponsor is they make some kind of special offer or opportunity available to our attendees which cannot simply be downloaded from their corporate web site. The sponsorship given from our eager sponsors mean the world to the local events. We are extremely grateful for these friendly tokens of support. Please visit our web site to learn more about our sponsors or if you wish to become a global sponsor contact #GlobalAzure through the site
The Global Lab- Where tens of thousands of Virtual Machines come to play!
Saving what is almost the best for last, all attendees have the option to deploy their own set of Virtual Machines and join a huge global swarm of compute power. This swarm computes research data during #GlobalAzure. Last year we ran about 17,000 server instances during our lab, a swarm that in one day had more compute power than the render farms of the early Pixar films. Some compute problems require several hours to calculate. These can be entertaining calculations such as animated pictures or important research calculations. The main point is that some data needs compute power and the problem can be solved faster by using more CPUs. This can be thought of as a horizontally scalable compute problem. Back in the day before the Cloud you could lend your residual PC CPU cycles to several different interesting research and science projects including finding intelligent life in space. Today, with the public Cloud, you can deploy the same type of efforts to multiple machines at your beck and call in the Cloud! The #GlobalAzure team has created an engine which is a vessel for any horizontally scalable calculation challenge. Because of this, we aptly named our Cloud Service application a "Minion". Each Minion runs on a Virtual Machine instance in the Azure Cloud and utilize the CPU of this instance for the calculation at hand. A pre-baked Minion package will be distributed to the #GlobalAzure attendees on April 25th. This package is easily configured and deployed by anyone with an Azure account who wants to join the swarm! Some attendees have 5-20 CPUs available and might deploy all of those. Other attendees borrow a few hundred up to thousands of cores from their corporate Azure account to run lots of instances! Small or large, the efforts are all tallied for each user and displayed on our lab web site dashboard during the event! However, make sure you ask your manager before you borrow the corporate Azure CPUs and if you do, feel free to put your company name on our web site. Below is the architecture diagram of the Minion and surrounding Azure assets used last year for #GlobalAzure. This year we'll be adding a few new Microsoft Azure Services to the picture such as EventHub with Streaming Analytics and Application Insights which are all services that were not available yet in Azure last year during the #GlobalAzure.
The Minion is, as previously stated, a brainless vessel which can potentially calculate anything. On startup, the Minion instance will load what we call a "brain" which is an implementation of a research algorithm. The now intelligent Minion will then proceed to spend its CPU cycles calculating important research data for the good of our planet but not for profit. If you have a horizontally scalable compute challenge, meaning a data pile which requires lots of compute power, you can have it processed during our event! We are actively seeking additional challenges to tackle on April 25th. We target non-profit research projects with our awesome compute powers, because with great powers comes great responsibility, right? Do you have such a data challenge for us? If so, please contact #GlobalAzure through the site
and we promise to not share your data or your algorithm but we will lend you our CPUs to help process your data!
#GlobalAzure is a uniquely global event which is a product of the global nature of the Azure Platform. We the Azure enthusiasts, experts and users around the world meet up at this event each year because it's so much fun and because together we can do extraordinary things! The event bears witness to the excitement buzzing around the Cloud today. Everyone joins because it's fun to be where the action is! Join our scores of events already committed by organizing your local event: #GlobalAzure 2015 locations
(To date, we already have over 75 locations signed up and are steadily climbing for the 2015 event.) Just a reminder, to be sure and use our hashtag #GlobalAzure
! Connect with us on Facebook
, and upload your pictures to Flickr and share with our group on Flickr
! Hope the next #GlobalAzure event will be as fun for you as it already is for us! Cheers, The #GlobalAzure team