I have the privilege of spending the week at MS Ignite, so I'd like to highlight a few of the things I've learned and am looking forward to implementing soon.
The keynote certainly did not disappoint in describing Microsoft's technology roadmaps and diving into some demos for specific areas. What stuck with me most from Satya Nadella's opening was the focus of everything Microsoft is doing is on the user. Even cloud solutions are positioned as tools to enable user mobility. This is a direction that they committed to previously, and it is great to see it remains a strong commitment.
Windows 10 was highlighted throughout the keynote, and Joe Belfiore focused on a few features that stood out to me. First and foremost, the Windows 10 user experience is being designed to be familiar to Windows 7 users, and adds new features where it makes sense. To me, the biggest place this is evident in with the modern applications running in the desktop, so they have the advantages of the modern framework and the familiarity of a traditional application.
Belfiore went on to demonstrate how Cortana is moving beyond just a search tool. Early testing showed users where asking Cortana how to use Windows 10, so Microsoft has responded by building Windows help into Cortana. Cortana can also search and integrate with Power BI, to serve as a natural language query for the data.
Security was a theme throughout, and Brad Anderson highlighted the functionality of Mobile Application Management (MAM) with the upcoming release of Outlook. On a mobile device, MAM will prevent a user from copy data from their corporate email in Outlook and pasting it into a personal application such as twitter. User profiles are supported so that when the users accesses their personal data on the device, they can copy data to any application. Another key feature of MAM, that can be enabled on a desktop, is prompting the user when they try to move company data to a personal application, so they can choose to allow the data through or not. If they do allow the copy, the activity is logged and tracked through MAM.
The keynote concluded with Terry Myerson discussing what's new in Windows Update, and they saved the best for last. On the consumer side, Windows Update patches over 800 million consumer devices every patch Tuesday and it is bringing that efficiency to businesses for both security and new features, without patch Tuesday. Instead, "rings" will be utilized to define how quickly systems get updates and the controls will integrate with existing tools such as SCCM. This platform may mean that Windows 10 is the last major OS upgrade for client systems because they will be getting new functionality to keep them current on a regular basis.
You can check out all of this from the keynote and more here: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/KEY01
After the keynote, I did a lab session on SCCM and MDT in-place upgrade task sequences for Windows 10. Unfortunately, there isn't a video for the lab. The key take away is not to assume that you need to do a wipe and rebuild on all of your devices to move to Windows 10. This is an area Microsoft is heavily investing in to help organizations move to Windows 10 quickly. I'll be going to more sessions on this throughout the week and blog more then.
My last session was on Azure Operations and moving services to the cloud. I think some people in the audience were disappointed that it was not a technical deep dive, but instead was a process based discussion on what it takes to be successful moving services to the cloud. The quick version is, if you have well defined standardized processes, you can be successful moving to the cloud. If things are a mess in your datacenter, then you are just moving a mess to the cloud. You will find a much more eloquent version here: http://channel9.msdn.com/events/Ignite/2015/BRK3475