• 6 min read

Cloud experts & enthusiasts come together to learn at India Microsoft Azure Conference 2015 – Pune

Cloud computing is no longer an option that businesses ‘should consider’. It has become a necessity for businesses of all sizes. If you are a technical decision maker, business decision maker, a professional developer, an architect or an IT administrator – you are either already on a cloud platform or looking to get on the best one.

Cloud computing is no longer an option that businesses ‘should consider’. It has become a necessity for businesses of all sizes. If you are a technical decision maker, business decision maker, a professional developer, an architect or an IT administrator – you are either already on a cloud platform or looking to get on the best one.

As an extension of Microsoft India’s efforts to create a supportive cloud ecosystem for our customers and partners, we hosted a two-day technology extravaganza – Microsoft Azure Conference 2015, India’s largest cloud conference, – at Pune on 18th & 19th March 2015. The conference brought together India’s top business decision makers, developers, IT Pros, cloud gurus, entrepreneurs, partners & ISVs.

The two meaningful days were fruitful for like-minded individuals to share & learn about cloud technology, discuss path-breaking innovations & businesses, not to mention discovering the secrets of operating at scale in an economical fashion.

Some of the exciting highlights are included below and I also recommend heading over to the recent post from Aditee Rele to check out even more!

Launch of India’s Cloud Accelerator Program

The Cloud Accelerator Program will serve as a catalyst to accelerate the adoption of Microsoft cloud services amongst enterprises and government organizations. This will help organizations to not only plan local cloud roadmaps, but also adhere better to compliance with local regulations. Microsoft announced that it will offer Microsoft Azure and Office 365 cloud services from local India DataCenters by the end of 2015.

With the help of in-house experts and trained partners, Microsoft India’s Cloud Accelerator Program is specially designed to help Indian customers start and complete their cloud journey. More than 15 Microsoft partners including HCL, Wipro and Tech Mahindra will be part of the roll out of the Cloud Accelerator Program in India. More partners will come on board with new offerings over the coming months.

In addition, Microsoft launched cloud training programs – Azure Vidyapeeth for partners that will enable SMBs transition to the cloud. The program will up-skill partners to help 10,000 SMBs across 250 cities to move to the cloud.

Launch of ‘AzureRider’ contest for Developers and Azure Night

AzureriderFor a quirky & a rewarding engagement with developers, AzureRider contest was launched during the conference and was received with great enthusiasm by all the developers. By building an Azure solution, developers stand a chance to ride home, a brand new Harley Davidson Forty-Eight. Apart from this, there are Windows Phones and many more exciting prizes to be won. The last date for submitting the solution is August 14th, 2015.

Azure Night, an overnight hackathon, with 145 participants took place on March 18th, 2015. Azure Night showcased non-stop feature demonstrations in a 12-hour overnight window, along with exciting learning activities . An amazing must-share story from the Azure night is that of the nine-year old Kuljot Singh from Patiala. Kuljot built an ecommerce website, PatialaBottoms.com, for his mother’s garment business using Microsoft’s Azure offerings during the Azure Night at the conference.

– Keynote Sessions:

The audience’ interest was quite obvious since we had some of the leading minds & field experts in cloud technology engage with them on the conference day. The stellar line of speakers included Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India;  Dave Campbell, CTO, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft; Karan Bajwa, Managing Director, Microsoft India; Mark Hill, VP, Open Source & Marketing Strategy, Microsoft Corporation; Srikanth Karnakota, Senior Director,  Cloud and Enterprise Business, Microsoft India  & Tyler Bryson, General Manager, Marketing & Operations, Microsoft India.

Bhaskar Pramanik shed light on how Azure is making new innovative business models possible today that were never thought possible, without such a robust & scalable cloud platform. He also highlighted that it is not just about creating new business models but creating a more productive workforce on the large. He posed an interesting question to the audience that is worth taking note of, for all technology and technology-enabled startups today – If you had infinite computing, what would your business model be?. Azure can very well provide this computing power & entrepreneurs are free to experiment & build new businesses faster & at a lower price.

Dave Campbell had the audience glued to their seats during his intriguing & in-depth presentation on the disruptive potential of cloud technology. He noted what makes India a special market. He said, “India has a special combination of three attributes: deep technical skills, entrepreneurial spirit and last, but most important, is the pragmatism & sensibility about what are the meaningful problems to solve & what are the clever ways of solving them.” Dave’s notable statement, in some way, highlighted the philosophy of Azure – the way to succeed is to make others successful. That’s exactly what Azure is trying to do for businesses.

Karan Bajwa talked about Azure’s offerings of local data centers by the end of 2015 and how Azure is a step ahead in scaling its innovation efforts to keep up with the increasing demands of partners & customers of Azure. He also touched upon the Cloud Accelerate Program to help SMEs migrate to the cloud. “We want to take the cloud to the people & places that have not consumed IT in the past & that’s the real excitement for us,” said Karan.

Mark Hill shared that Microsoft is constantly innovating and reinventing itself. “We are a company that provides productivity, platforms & platform services for a mobile-first and cloud-first world,” said Mark. He talked about how Azure has been able to build an open, transparent & a secure cloud that meets the needs of every modern business.

Tyler Bryson entered the conference hall on a Harley Davidson Forty-Eight and set the developers’ hearts racing, when he announced that the bike would be awarded to the star developer, the winner of the Azure Rider Challenge. He also announced the winners of the IoT contest.

Tyler Bryson hosted a ‘Cloud Everyday’ panel along with his closing note. The panellists spanned across sectors ranging from gaming and smart cities, to enterprise cloud consulting and mobile apps companies.

Nothing else could have given a better idea of how successfully Azure suits business needs of companies which are spread across sectors & stages, than the listening to the panellist’s experiences.

Founders shared some real pain points that they are resolving using Azure. Cloud allowed them to think scale & believe that they could compete against the ‘big boys’ in the industry without having to worry about infrastructure. They also shared that Azure brings in the agility & the speed that their customers require and that they are able to achieve exponential dynamic growth in their ventures.

Tyler shared CNN-IBN Microsoft Election Analytics Center Case Study  which helped bring even every tiny bit of update during India’s national elections, to people’s fingertips. And that the entire project was setup in just 6 weeks.

Tyler spoke to Ankit Bhati, co-founder & CTO, Ola Cabs. Ankit shared how cloud allows Ola to do more with less workforce, by increasing their productivity & efficiency. Some of the fascinating advances that Azure has made, is making it an interesting option for Ola to explore. Ankit said, “especially the monster machines that Azure is making, are the largest available on any cloud platform. Another great thing about Azure is the user interface. The interface is aware that it is talking to an engineer & the learning curve is not very steep.”  Ankit’s  humility and candour was the highlight of this session.

In the closing note, Tyler said, “Microsoft Azure has seen more than 300 enhancements in just the last one year. This rapid pace of innovation has fuelled excitement and enthusiasm across the entire cloud ecosystem.”

This also well summarizes why Microsoft Azure is a partner of choice for businesses across sectors & sizes – by being one step ahead of its partners needs, Microsoft Azure is becoming the default platform to adopt for businesses getting onto the cloud today. The Partner Showcase Area at the conference saw participation from over 15 businesses showcasing their varied solutions built on Azure.

The conference saw deep engagements with our Microsoft Most-Valuable-Professionals (MVPs) & Regional Directors (RDs) at the conference. These community influencers – ‘Azure Heroes’ were speakers at technical tracks, proctored HOL sessions, interacted with the customer audience at Azure booths and provided critical feedback from the community to our Microsoft Leaders.

A comprehensive Microsoft Azure Handbook was published, as a part of the conference. This handbook provides a detailed guide for our customers & partners to get a jumpstart on Azure. The Handbook will be updated & shared with our customers & partners on a monthly basis.

The scale & popularity of the conference can be gauged by the enthusiastic participation from 1200+ technical audience, 200+ BDMs, over 35 journalists & 100+ stories in the press. Eager participants who could not make it to the conference live streamed the content (55000 + views) & over 7 million impressions for the conference came through social media alone. Soon all breakout sessions recordings will be available on Channel 9 . Please get in touch with me at @spaliwal for any feedback and suggestions.