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Azure is the Enterprise Cloud – highlights from Microsoft Ignite 2017

To help net out a very big week, I wanted to provide a summary of the top Azure discussions taking place and some useful articles from Ignite.

This is my favorite week of the year – spending five action packed days with customers, hearing what they are doing, and digging into their technology roadmaps. My discussions ranged from containers to cloud security to machine learning to quantum computing – and everything in between. There was also a huge number of new capabilities and Azure services released or updated at Ignite, so no shortage of new areas to dive into. 

To help net out a very big week, I wanted to provide a summary of the top Azure discussions taking place and some useful articles from Ignite. 

Hybrid cloud evolved. The general consensus I heard through the week was that the public vs private cloud battle is less relevant, and a distributed hybrid cloud makes sense technically and business-wise. The distributed hybrid cloud being the combination of public cloud and resources on premises to optimize for either technical situations and/or business policy. With Azure Stack systems now shipping, I saw customers better understand the approach of an intelligent cloud + intelligent edge as Satya talks about. And, I was excited to have reporters, analysts, and customers quickly connecting dots from Azure Stack to hybrid data with SQL Server 2017 + Azure SQL DB managed service + SQL migration enabling fluid data location across a hybrid deployment. Here are some articles that speak to hybrid being a lot more than infrastructure…

At Ignite, Microsoft extends hybrid cloud beyond just infrastructure 

Microsoft Azure Stack Changes the Game in Hybrid Cloud Computing 

Microsoft just unleashed three long-anticipated secret weapons in the cloud wars 

Microsoft’s Azure has become a terror to other cloud computing players 

AI is here for real. The level of customer discussions about using AI in their applications and business process was impressive, and a bit unexpected. While AI is still relatively new in the market, it’s clear from Ignite that it’s an area many organizations are looking to use in the near term. Even for customers who aren’t using public cloud for infrastructure, I saw strong interest in using Azure Machine Learning and AI to enhance an existing system and explore more significant business process changes through AI. This year at Ignite, I ran into more people who categorize their role as “developer + data scientist” which was perhaps not surprising to see, but definitely on the rise from past years. The Azure Machine Learning Workbench application was getting a lot of buzz. Here’s just a few examples of the buzz…

Microsoft launches new machine learning tools 

Microsoft Ignite 2017: It's all about choice, from SQL Server 2017 to Azure Machine Learning 

Microsoft Wants Developer to Get More Experimental with AI 

Security, security, security. There is no question that security remains very top of mind within the technical community. While security has always been a hot topic, at this year’s Ignite, the conversation was less focused on understanding cloud security that in past years. Instead, the security discussions I participated in were about broader security strategies, using machine learning and AI to improve security, and increasingly tapping into cloud technology to improve security efficacy. It’s great to see the shift away from, “Is the cloud secure?” discussions, to, “How do we all get more secure?” discussions. As Brad Smith said during his keynote at Microsoft Envision this week, “The tech industry, customers and governments must work together to address cybersecurity. Security is a team sport.” I couldn’t agree more. While a bunch of the news at Ignite focused on Microsoft 365 security updates, there was also new capabilities released in Azure Security Center for hybrid cloud security…

Microsoft looks to the cloud to expand its security offerings 

Quantum computing takes step closer to possible. When I asked people throughout Ignite for their keynote highlights, the quantum computing presentation during Satya’s keynote was consistently listed in the top 3. While most people quickly added, “I didn’t understand all of it!” just being witness to this milestone and a glimpse into this step-function change ahead of us, was inspiring. I’m also certain that the number of searches on ‘topological qubit’ have 10x in the past week. Here’s a well done write up on this complex topic…

Microsoft makes play for next wave of computing with quantum computing toolkit 

Thanks to everyone who joined us in Orlando. It’s incredibly inspiring and motivating week for me and hopefully the same for you! Looking forward to being back in Orlando with you again next year.