I have now spent the first day of TechEd listening to keynotes and sessions, and walking between the different rooms where the presentations take place. Actually it’s a lot of walking, then venue is pretty large…
The keynote discussed four themes:
- Empower people-centric IT
- Enable modern business applications
- Unlock insights from any data
- Transform the datacenter
A lot of sales talk of course, and not a whole lot of news. A little unexpected for me, it was actually point 3 above that was the most interesting with a some very cool demos of Excel Data Explorer and GeoFlow, new tools for data discovery and BI in Excel. These worked with data sets coming from HDInsight (Hadoop) in Azure.
If we skip the sales talk it seems the main trends are the cloud (of course), big data, BYOD (bring your own device, i.e. how IT departments handle people bringing their smart devices to work)
Also interesting was the announcement of Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server, enabling automatic provisioning of VMs in on-premise servers letting user’s configure their environments using the well-known Azure Portal locally. Pretty neat.
I went to several different sessions, most of them relatively good. Best was probably Steve Sanderson’s talk Cloud-Powered Web Apps in Minutes with Windows Azure Mobile Services where he developed a SPA (Single Page web Application) using Azure Mobile Services as a backend. Really cool presentation with almost no PowerPoint. Interesting to see that Mobile Services is not just for mobile apps, it can be used as a backend regardless of the type of application, something I had not realized can be quite useful.
This evening there was the customary welcome reception with free food and drink and a lot of exhibitors throwing swag at you if you let them scan your badge. Being a TechEd alumni, I have learned that it’s not worth all the spam you’re going to get in the coming year so I got away with just foldable frisbees for my kids and a “tech trap”, apparently used for stowing away mice and cords in the computer bag…
To sum this up I think it was an okay first day. Comparing to TechEd North America it’s a quite similar experience but in a smaller scale (perhaps half, or a third, of the number of participants). The sessions are of similar standard to those that I have attended in the US.