Ignite 2015–Keynote


The room is huge. The screens feature a sports-style “before the event” set of reports and interviews to entertain the audience – necessary because the wifi is frakked. Brad Anderson goes through lots of stats, including that there are 24,000 IT pros attending Ignite – which is actually small for this venue according to a taxi driver we talked to over the weekend.

Here goes the start of Ignite – Spark the Future

Here goes the start of Ignite – Spark the Future

Rapper, Common, opens the show, walking through the crowd, evangelizing us to spark the future and to drive change.


Satya Nadella

The Microsoft CEO comes out to laucnh Ignite. He tells us that this was an important time to bring more IT pros together, thus the conference merger that makes Ignite. It makes sense – Microsoft products are not vertical solutions; they’re integrated. This is more than technology; it’s how we do business, partner, and meet the real world needs of our customers.


What is mobile first, cloud first. Mobile first is not about the monbility of  a single device. What matters is the mobility of our experiences across all devices. Cloud first is the back-end enabler that adds intelligence. We are not there yet – there’s years of evolution.

There will be more devices than people on the planet – see IoT. Cloud will be required to support them.

There is a tension to manage this changing IT landscape. They want to enable users to have friction free and mobile choice computing, while maintaining security and privacy. Business needs to choose SaaS of choice, but with control and efficiency. We will manage the data deluge. Big data is not equal to big insights, but that’s what Mirosoft is chasing. There are questions about what clouds you will work with – the diversity of workloads will drive decisions about hybrid computing. Here lies the opportunity for IT.


And here is where Microsoft wants to win with 3 interlocking ambitions:

1) The era of more personal computing
2) Reinventing the process of how we work
3) Building intelligence the intelligent backend for these applications

Creating more personal computing.  What matters most is the mobility of experience. Human interaction should be natural. They are investing in mouse, keyboard, hologram, ink and touch.

We will see Surface Hub and HoloLens, samples of new types of devices that will change how we work. Innovation of silicon hardware and software together enables this. The most profound change is the new generation of Windows, Windows 10 delivered as a service.

Announcing a new capability in Windows 10. Windows Update today has great reach in consumer world. A new business capability will drive improvement for business users. Details not shared.

He wants to reinvent productivity and business process. New tools like Cortana (5 countries only), Sway, Delve, PowerBI and sales productivity (CRM online). Microsoft is building a control plane to enforce compliance.

Announcing Office 2016 public preview. Skype for Business Broadcasting. Office Delve organizational something.

Building the intelligent cloud:

Having data alone is useless. You need the tooling to get insights. The data center must be transformed to enable choice between public and private cloud, and to enable tiering across the two.

There are some server announcements. Server & System Center 2016 preview. SQL Server 2016 preview too. The Operations Management Suite is one IT control plane for all virtual machines and servers irrespective of which data center they are in: server health availability, backup, orchestration. Avcanced Threat Analytics is a new security solution.

The CEO of Real Madrid is brought out to share their story. FC Barcelona fans storm out in a huff.

Real Madrid is a members club with 90,000 owners that requires great social media. They are using big data analysis for partner operations, player analystics, and fan engagement. They used Microsoft technology to transform their business.

Satya wants to close out by talking about the rest of the keynote.

Joe Belfiore

His mission: your end users are going to love and desire Windows 10.


Need to make it easy for XP/Windows 7 users to get a familiar experience with a balance of things are where they expect them, and new features with help.

There are new ways to interact: with Edge, pen, Cortana, and the security improvements make Windows 10 more human friendly.

Straight into the demos, starting with the beginning for Windows 7 users. The start menu must balance familiarty and new features. They think they are near the final design now. Jump lists are back in for Windows 7 users. Live Tiles are there for Windows 8 users in the menu – this is a more natural approach on the PC for Windows 7 users IMO.

The task bar has a button for ALT-TAB to switch between apps. Only 5-10% of users use ALT-TAB. Universal Apps work just like programs from the user perspective. Now some new stuff. CTRL Windows plus arrow flips between desktops. You can drag and drop apps to another desktop now (applause).

Cortana. Boo! 5 countries that it will support care. I fall asleep. Cortana via PowerBI and Azure AD can tell Joe how many people were registered for Ignite as of a week ago. Very useful demo of real business usage: simple questions asked of the PC, and useful answers pulled from big data.

Next on to Edge, the new browser, a universal app with protections and high performance. Joe talks about extension support. He has a BBC Mundo (Spanish) page. He goes into reading mode and a translator extension automatically translates the page into his native language.

He has a phone and PC. Outlook mail is open on both. Both are similar looking – it is literally the same code. Same with Word. Adaptive UI capabilities in Windows re-lays out an app for the screen size and input methods. Everywhere from HoloLens and phone to massive Surface Hub: 1 app.

Continuum transforms your device for mobile scenarios without compromise. he opens apps on dekstop mode in a Surface Pro 3. Takes off the keyboard. A popup asks if he wants to go into tablet mode. And the primary app now goes full screen. He can still swipe from left to switch apps. The Action Center is there. And the start menu is a full screen.

Continuum also goes the other way. There’s an 8” Lenovo tablet where the default usage is in tablet mode. The start screen scrolls vertically like on the phone.  Same task switching and menu buttons. There is a system-wide back button for app navigation, like in Android. The tablet can run Win32 apps. He docks it, and the machine goes into PC mode with a nice big desktop on the monitor. The apps are now in Windows on the desktop. Users get natural UI for the way the device is currently being used.

Now: Windows Phone docks via MiraCast and Bluetooth (simulation now due to lack of phone hardware) but you get a desktop on a monitor and can run apps on the phone via the mouse and keyboard. It’s the same programs as on a tablet or PC: Universal Apps. The Start Menu is the start screen of the phone. This will revolutionise mobile computing IMO. The phone is the dominant form factor and Microsoft is the first to offer this package.

Joe promises that users will love Windows. Security will “smile and wink at them” while keeping your business secure.

Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport demo combination. Passport replaces passwords. It enables 2-factor authentication (e.g. phone and PC). Hello uses biometrics with special hardware. He has covered a camera with a black cloth. He pulls the cloth, and is logged in instantly.

BitLocker is up next. You get more control over how data moves between apps. He has a “secret” doc in Word. The default save action is to save and encrypt the document. Some docs are green (encrypted) and black (not encrypted).. Selects some old docs in File Explorer and encrypts them. Files can be shared via USB key but the docs remain encrypted and useable by authorised users. IT gets tools to set the right policies to make actions default and/or natural. This supports third party apps.

Gurdeep Singh Pall

Another corporate VP, wanting to talk to us about reinventing productivity. 20 years ago he worked on TCP-IP to work on pre-Internet slow networks.

If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near – Jack Welch. Once, companies stayed 75 years on the Fortune 500. Now they stay there for 15 years. The Miillenials are the carriers of that change. By 2020, the majority of workers will be post-Internet millenials. They work different, the talk different, they use different.

  • Work is what you do, not where you go.
  • Individual productivity is important, but teams of people accomplish things.

Serial workflow of the past will not succeed in the future (is that now?). Microsoft considers themselves the custodians of productivity:

  • Teams: very dynamic and needs to be simple to create/disband teams via self-service. This is empowered by O365 via groups.
  • Work from anywhere: Focused on mobile experience. The phone is not mobile – it cannot move without you. The experience is important: across all devices. Skype had 500 million downloads on Google play on Valentines day.
  • Meetings: Most meetings have remote attendees. The remote person is usually the special guest so they cannot be second class. Video is a huge bet for Microsoft: Skype for Business. Half of all Skype calls are video – bringing that experience to work. 55% of communications is body language. Average meeting takes 30 minutes to get going. They want to eliminate that with Surface Hub and partners. “Stop using Webex and other tech from the last decade and use your money on better things” – after showing HoloLens video.
  • Content co-creation; Office 2016. Innate collaboration built-in.
  • Intelligence: 4.4 zetabytes in 2013. 44 zetabytes in 2020. That data will inundate you! Requires intelligence. This is where things like Delve and PowerBI become important.

Julia White

The fast-talking Julia White comes out to demo the previous 5 concepts with Microsoft tech. Delve is first, pulling in information from Office 365 and SalesForce (possible via API). Office 365 is the YouTube of the enterprise. Office 365 groups is a dynamic team with content gathered in one place via Delve. Skype for Business has federation and consumer connectivity.

Sneak Peek of a feature coming to O365 later this year. It’s a dashboard of social interaction to breakdown how time us being used, connections made, interactions, etc. She can see that lots of time is used on meetings and dives into that to get analysis. Outlook supports O365 groups for meeting invitations. When she clicks attach, the most recently used docs are in a nice jump list – TIME SAVER!

Does a Skype for Business video meeting. Opens Word and shares a doc so everyone can co-create. Nothing new about the concept but … now this works with the desktop app via Office 2016.  Now we’re cooking with diesel.

Sway is coming to O365 business and education plans in June. Julia has the Surface Hub out on stage. Feature list: all that’s missing is coffee maker. Does some whiteboard notes on the device. Adds in a person mid-meeting. Does stuff with PowerBI to visualise data. Hard to keep up because … well .. she talks fast.

Skype Broadcast is shown. There’s a sentiment chart for what’s happening at the moment. The producer view enables you to switch between feeds, etc. It’s a part of Skype and O365.

Lots of productivity solutions made from integrated solutions.

Back to Gurdeep.

Once again, we get the "IT is at the interaction" slide gluing togther the 3 concepts from Satya’s keynote. We are Q in James Bond. Take the products to our users and make them productive.

Brad Anderson


Essential features in cloud and computing:

  • Tustworthy
  • Flexible
  • Integrated
  • Intelligent

The nature of threats has changed. Damage and theft are caused primarily by compromised identity. 

Security starts with the device. Your ID managment, Azure AD, stretches ID to the cloud so you can control ID policy. EMS provides a way to manage devices and applications that empowers users but keeps security and protection under IT control. This is a modern architecture for what the user and business both want: mobile first and cloud first.

MSFT offers defense in depth. Protect:

  • device
  • apps
  • files
  • identity (the glue)

Windows 10 was designed for enterprise defence against modern attack methods. There are a variety of uses cases: factory automation, IoT, personal phones, etc.

Brad opens an email on Windows 7. It looks legit. Some code will execute: the firewall and antimalware services are turned off. Same attack on Windows 10. Device Guard prevents this unauthorised code from running.

There is a full set of MDM features for ConfigMgr and Intune.

Application management is about separating personal from corporate apps and data. Feedback was that users wanted Outlook support. He has an iPad running with Outlook. The demo gods descend and prevent Outlook from starting – it freezes and crashes. Intune can now enforce policies in Outlook. He copies text from an email and attemps to paste it in. Paste works fine. Now he opens Twitter and the paste option is missing. Policy prevents data from moving from corporate to personal apps.

Feedback: users want to use apps for personal and professional stuff. IT can allow this now.

Data Leakage Protection (DLP) is in Windows 10 too. The message for this allows users to override the block, but this is logged for later auditing. This works in programs natively: no wrapping required.

They want people to distribute apps via the Windows Store. RDS is also available. Now he’s showing off azure RemoteApp. We get a demo on the iPad with a Windows touch app.

Files can be self-protecting: Azure Rights Management. Telemetry is sent to a central management site so IT/security/auditors can track file usage and transport. In a demo we see a person tried to open a file unsuccessfully a number of times. A world map shows good/failed opens with names and a timeline.  The business can track the usage of their sensitive information.

On to identity. AD is the traditional system we have used on premises. Cloud App Discovery finds the SaaS apps that people are using, and therefore  using bad ID. You can bring these apps under the control of Azure AD for single/shared sign-in with IT control over shadow IT. If a person leaves the company, they lose access to SalesForce.

Advanced Threat Analytics allows IT to track log-ins. For example, a user logs into machines in 2 countries at the same time. MSFT are searching for ID that is for sale in the dark web to alert you. This works with Azure AD and on-premises AD (via acquisition). There’s an on-premises demo. A developer is trying to access LOB apps that are outisde his scope of work. All of this is audited and presented in a dashboard. His device tried to run a couple of attacks against a DC. There was a brute force attack on his account that succeeded. All of this is shown in a timeline in the dashboard. (applause).

Here comes Terry Myerson to talk about how Windows 10 adds more.

Terry Myerson

He’s talking about a new update mechanism for Windows 10. The room is starting to empty. This keynote is too long. @cloud_girl_mwh tells me that the floor at the back is full of people sitting on the floor – not enough space.

858 million diverse Windows devices will be updated by Windows Update. Android: Google takes no responsibility for updating their devices: up to the telephone companies who rarely issue updates.

Windows 10 is introducing long-term servicing branches. Only security updates will be in the long-term branches, keeping mission critical devices secure. Consumers will get Windows as a Service, continually getting innovation. They’ll get security updates from Windows Update and feature updates. They’ll also spread this out over more than just 1 day per month. There will be distribution rings. Some want it fast, and others are more cautious. Windows Update for Consumers will offer this, as in the preview.

They want to address issues with updates for business customers doing selective patching. This can leave security holes and configuration fragmentation. The process is thankless and tiresome. Today they are announcing Windows Update for Business: best of both worlds. IT control over the automated process of delivering innovation and security updates. Free for Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise.

  • Distribution rings
  • Maintenance windows
  • peer-peer delivery: better usage of bandwidth for remote sites
  • Integrates with existing tools (Intune and SCCM) for single pane of glass management

At this point 1/5 of the room has emptied. There’s a huge queue of people at the back trying to exit the room.

System Center 2012 SCCM will offer support for Windows 10.

40% of IT spend is in shadow IT on SaaS apps, outside of the control of IT. Microsoft is offering a solution to bring these under IT control.

Stretch database. Stretch SQL Server from your data center into Azure. You can stretch a part of a table (cold data) and place it in the cloud where storage is cheap.

Onto Windows Server and System Center and Azure. The Azure Pack is evolving. People want all of Azure in the data center. The Azure Stack provides the entire IaaS and PaaS environment in private or hosted deployments. Customers can have their own cloud-inspired infrastructure. This includes service load balancing.

Windows Server 2016 technical preview 2 is out today. System Center 2016 preview is out next week. Micro applications are possible on Windows Server in 2016. This is Docker on Windows. There is desired configuration management on Linux.

Here comes Jeff Woolsey

Jeff Woolsey

He’s doing an Azure Stack demo. He shows RBAC in Azure. Now he shows the on-premises Azure Stack. This has the same blade-based Ibiza UI as Azure. The UI looks identical. RBAC, blob storage, etc, all there. Software defined networking from Azure fabric comes to Windows Server 2016. We see JSON based IaaS template deployment.

Back to Brad.

Microsoft Operations management Suite (OMS) gives you any location/cloud/OS/application management: DR, Hyper-V, VMware, backup, etc. This is EMS for data centers. Here’s Jeff to demo.

OMS will be avaialble for free this week. It appears to be a re-labelled Operational Insights. You can link things like SCOM or Azure Storage Accounts. He can import custom logs. Marketing has definitely made over Operational Insights. This is probably still not a SCOM replacement – probably still needed to aggregate health/performance stuff (guess). Data analytics is done by Hadoop in the back.

Back to Brad.

And that was it. In my opinion:

  • I would have like to have seen more Windows Server & System Center
  • The types of demo were prefect: solutions from integrated products.
  • There were lots of announcements
  • It was 1 hour too long.

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