Microsoft (News - Alert) Ignite wrapped up last week in Orlando. At the company's big conference dedicated to IT professionals and developers, 25,000 business customers headed to the Sunshine State to hear about Microsoft’s latest enterprise technologies ranging from cloud and IoT to machine learning and AI.
The focus last year was on accelerating the digital transformation of enterprises through IT. This year, Microsoft focused on demonstrating how it was integrating AI, mixed reality and cloud technology throughout its portfolio to prepare for the workplace of the future.
Below are some key takeaways from the event:
Workplace of the future
During his keynote, Nadella asked, “How are we going to empower people?” He emphasized that every piece of technology developed should “embellish the capability of human beings” and Microsoft’s overall goal to empower every person and organization to achieve more. This shined the light on what the workplace of the future will look like.
Nadella announced that Microsoft plans to replace Skype (News - Alert) for Business with Microsoft Teams, and they’ve been building a new Skype infrastructure that will serve as the enterprise-grade service for voice, video and meetings in Microsoft Teams. The company is betting on a mix of communications technologies for coworkers to interact and exchange files and ideas.
This portfolio approach definitely appears to be taking hold as companies adopt digital transformation initiatives. At Tintri, we’ve also observed that chat-based and voice-guided virtual assistants to monitor applications, provision virtual machines and perform other operations are gaining adoption. These tools are key in keeping developers and IT operations staff on the same page as they prioritize speedier software deployment in the digital era.
Microsoft makes play into hyper converged infrastructure
Microsoft announced a number of new Azure initiatives over the past week, keeping the software-defined datacenter (SDDC) focus on hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). SDDC will certainly be an important factor to how the world will do business, as it dynamically supports higher productivity and improved data-driven experiences.
It was interesting to see Microsoft make this HCI play with its Azure stack. They're betting on this technology to offer SDDC and enterprise cloud solutions for their customers, but there are pros and cons to this approach. While a single pane of glass for compute and storage is appealing, HCI technology often makes storage performance less predictable as the environment changes and scale. Tintri believes that storage and compute should scale independently depending on the enterprise needs and not be constrained by the requirements of the low-level architecture.
The potential of Quantum (News - Alert) computing
Nadella finished the keynote highlighting the potential for quantum computing, which aims to provide even greater computing power than currently available to accommodate the era of AI, IoT and the cloud. The company announced that they’ll be launching a new programming language for quantum computers that will be offered through the company’s Visual Studio toolkit.
Quantum computing represents a change in the typical model of computing by making use of superposition, uncertainty and entanglement. In short, bits of information in quantum computing could exist in multiple states at the same time, allowing for massive advances in computational power for certain applications.
As Microsoft Ignite came to a close, there is no doubt we are entering a revolutionary new phase of technology evolution where AI and IoT become ubiquitous as a part of our personal and business lives.