What a crazy first day at Microsoft Ignite 2019!
As most of you know, Ignite 2019 kicked off yesterday (November 4th) in Orlando Florida, hosting a whopping 26,000 attendees from around the globe – and 26,000 it did feel like, our booth was swamped! Azure definitely took centre stage on Day 1 with Microsoft announcing new releases that take care of data from every angle.
Microsoft’s Vision Keynote
Starting the conference with a bang, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella opened his Vision Keynote with a cheeky virtual wander into the Upside Down where he gallantly rescues someone from a rampaging demogorgon. Covering themes that ranged from “tech intensity” and cybersecurity to hybrid cloud solutions and quantum computing, Satya dropped a number of Microsoft announcements that were red-hot exciting, before ending the walk-and-talk by killing a rabbit with a pickaxe in a Minecraft demonstration.
Azure Arc: New era of hybrid computing
Top on the list of exciting news is Azure Arc. With Azure Arc, Microsoft kickstarts what Satya calls “a new era of hybrid computing” in which there is a control plane built for multi edge. Azure Arc “is a control plane built for multicloud, multi-edge, and for the first time managed data services for where the edge compute is,” said Satya. It brings Azure tools to customers on other clouds or infrastructure – including those of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP)– unifying operations and enabling connectivity across platforms.
Satya was quick to show off a unified dashboard highlighting Azure on-prem infrastructure. Check out what we put together in 5 minutes: an equivalent status dashboard at SquaredUp for Azure showing the status of Azure databases in a multi-edge environment.
Azure Synapse: Limitless data estate
Said by Satya to be a “limitless data estate”, Azure Synapse brings together data warehousing and big data analytics, allowing both unstructured and structured data analytics to be brought together at unprecedented scale. It’s quick too – a sample query takes 9 seconds to complete in Azure, versus the 11 minutes required in GCP!
Superman stored in glass disc
In a surprising announcement Satya revealed that Microsoft worked with Warner Bros. to store and retrieve the entire 1978 Superman movie on a piece of glass – a piece of glass no bigger than a coaster that was built to last centuries, through natural and man-made disasters. The glass is encoded with data using a laser, that creates “layers of three dimensional nanoscale gratings and deformations at various depths and angles,” reports Microsoft. To read the data, machine learning algorithms decode images and patterns created when polarized light shines through the glass. The silica glass can take being boiled in water, microwaved, and baked in an oven. Not only is it indestructible (although one does wonder what'll happen if you drop it on a bit of concrete) – glass storage potentially will become a lower-cost option for long-term storage at the cloud scale, given that long-term storage costs often accrue due to the need to move and rewrite data before hardware wears out or goes out of date.
Green Azure data centers
Microsoft’s efforts to go green were also highlighted – they have deployed the first zero-waste, 100% renewable energy-powered data centre, the goal of implementing something similar across Azure’s 54 data center regions.
We also snuck in a couple sessions in between peak hours at the booth, and here is what stood out.
THR2153: Best practices and tips for operating and monitoring apps on Azure App Service, Yutang Lin, Microsoft
The first talk we attended was Yutang Lin of Microsoft’s “THR2153: Best practices and tips for operating and monitoring apps on Azure App Service”. Judging from the turnout, it was huuugely popular, and from what we could see and hear from the back of the crowd, Yutang did a great live demonstration showing an existing app, adding the Azure web analytics features and demonstrating how to actively monitor for several failure conditions to ensure uptime in the face of unexpected bugs and unanticipated demand spikes.
AFUN10: Discovering Microsoft Azure, Christina Warren, Microsoft Senior Cloud Advocate
Next we attended Microsoft Senior Cloud Advocate Christina Warren’s “AFUN10: Discovering Microsoft Azure”, which was the perfect presentation for the new Azure admin. It was a well laid out session that started at the very beginning with the familiar (terminology, service models, reasons why you should move to the cloud etc.), before exploring the Azure Portal, resource manager, and then finally demonstrating a server deployment. This “What is Azure” slide is the talk in a nutshell – it breaks down the different layers into one easily digestible graphic.
Another handy slide was the “Compute Service DecisionTree”:
BRK2046: Azure Monitor Fundamentals: What, why and how, Shiva Sivakumar and Evgeny Ternovsky, Microsoft
Lastly, we checked out “BRK2046: Azure Monitor Fundamentals: What, why and how” by Microsoft’s Shiva Sivakumar and Evgeny Ternovsky. It started with a brief, high level talk about what Azure Monitor this, followed by a slick demo highlighting numerous features. Highlights included a nice architectural diagram, a “What’s New” section, and finally a three month road map.
With our big Azure release, it’s been a huge Ignite Day 1 for SquaredUp!
We did some demos...
A couple customer briefings…
A booth talk from CEO Richard…
All in all a busy busy day smashing out demos and preparing to give out LEGO!
Big thank you to everyone who came by the booth, it was lovely meeting you!
Don’t forget to activate your trials and get cracking with those dashboards! We're off to massage our sore feet now - catch you tomorrow 😉