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My MSTechEd 2011 Keynote Summary and Notes

MSTechEd 2011 kicked off this morning from the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta, GA. I attended the Keynote session, and the following are my summary impressions and thoughts.

If you would like to follow my live Monday CoveritLive stream of comments, tweets, photos, videos, and audio tune in here:

Cloud Power
There is no doubt that the primary message for today and the rest of this week is Microsoft’s private and public cloud offerings, tools, and integration. Whether from a phone, tablet, notebook, or desktop, and of course in the datacenter, Microsoft plans on a future dependent on cloud applications and services.

By the way, Microsoft mentioned that Apple IOS and Android based devices would be supported in the MS cloud. We listened to hints about using System Center via an iPad and Office via a phone, but I did not get an impression that anything actually exists for these devices today. Personally, I’d be happy with IOS or Android Apps for the Office Suite, but we’ll see where this ends up soon enough.

Just like VMware’s messaging, Microsoft spoke for a brief period about the future of server deployments and viirtualization’s impact on server hardware sales and implementation. The gist of this part of the talk was that virtualization leads to more server deployments without significant impact to server hardware sales, and that IT Pros will eventually shift to either higher level functions while their physical infrastructures are no longer as important or even in their own control. This line of speaking has always made the guy in the trenches shutter, but it is a reality of the cloud. SLAs and contract guarentees will soon become the new configuration tweaks for today’s private datacenter admins who migrate to the hybrid cloud of the future.

Cloud Manager
System Center is the manager of the Microsoft Cloud, and today’s keynote brushed over both managing Hyper-V VMs between public private clouds as well as developing and deploying Windows Phone applications with Visual Studio. Throwing in demos of Sharepoint Cloud services, Microsoft claimed to have all the answers for customers ready to expand workloads to the cloud.

Intelligent Business Applications
Demos of popular office applications back ended by modern SQL highlighted manipulating huge amounts of data into what appeared to be automated reporting that would make any CEO instantly smarter than the competition. Starting with Excel data that somehow transitioned to impressive, easy to digest graphics, charts and graphs, Microsoft seems to have the answer for the modern “TPS Report” as several people tweeted. Of course these reports can easily be uploaded Sharepoint in the cloud to be consumed by all who need to know.

The Average Adult has 4.3 devices
Although Microsoft demoed some never before publicly seen features of the Windows phone, this piece of the Keynote was a little disappointing. Sure it’s great to be able to quickly develop any application for users to do their jobs, and a cloud infrastructure married with a smartphone enables this kind of flexibility, but these announcements really didn’t invoke any gasps from the audience.

Office 365 delivering feature rich document functionality to mobile devices loooks promising however, and I believe they promised availability by the holiday season this year. Also promising is the deep integration with Microsoft Outlook and the ability to (once again) use Sharepoint document repositories in the cloud.

Microsoft definitely seems more focused on business productivity for all mobile devices than making sure everyone can play Angry Birds, but that’s what I would expect!

100,000 Virtual Desktops
Microsoft announced that HSBC will be deploying their entire VDI infrastructure on Hyper-V. Adding to the virtualization load, HSBC will also virtualize their SQL and Shareporint servers. This would make Microsoft the proud owners of the largest VDI deployment in the world. Definitely an impressive win.

Put Your Hands in the Air!
Using the Kinect technology most famous today from Microsoft XBox, the Keynote featured examples of doctors examining X-rays and catscans as well as a demo exploring the universe without using a keyboard and mouse. Being able to manipulate images on the screen by waving your arms is definitely a universal, easily understood interface that even the most computer challenged should be able to comprehend. This was definitely the coolest part of the Keynote for me.

The last piece of the Keynote I witnessed was on Visual Studio and deploying apps to Windows phones. I lost interest quickly, and decided to head over to the exhibition hall to catch Veeam’s announcement.

If you missed the Keynote live stream or want to watch it again use this link:

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  • Josh A

     I currently use Microsoft Office OneNote on the iPhone.  Syncs with Microsoft Live SkyDrive.  It works pretty well but my wife and I have had some intermittent syncing issues.  I’m sure it’s probably our usage but overall we both really like it.  No iPad specific app that I’ve seen thus far though.  I’m definitely looking forward to seeing additional development that will let me use my devices for both business and pleasure.

    • rbrambley


      I to have OneNote for the iPad, but I’ve never really adopted using when mobile. I’ve learned to use Evernote over the last few years because it’s free and web based. I’ve had great success with syncing between devices with Evernote. That being said, I welcome OneNote’s progress, and I certainly want the entire Office suite to follow in it’s path.

      My favorite MS app is Live Writer. I wish it would come out in a flavor for tablets too. Although a phone just doesn’t have enough screen space for an app like that IMO



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