Ignite 2017

I just got back from Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Florida. Ignite is Microsoft’s IT Pro focused conference with a lot of sessions around Azure, Artificial Intelligence(AI) and Machine Learning (ML), Windows Server, SQL Server, Office 365, Dynamics and more. It was Microsoft’s third conference in 3 weeks. First there was the Edge Web Summit on Sept 13. This was focused on announcements from the Microsoft Edge team. Then there was .NET Conf September 19-21 which covered all of the great work Scott Hunter’s team has been doing around .NET Core, ASP.NET Core, Visual Studio, Xamarin, and more. There has been so many great announcements. I have tried to capture as many of them as I could from the talks I have listened to so far. At the end of the post I have included links to the conference sites where you can find videos of the sessions and I have included links to articles that cover many of the topics I mention.

Azure

  • Azure Cost Management by Cloudyn available for free. Azure Cost Management helps organizations manage and optimize cloud spend across Azure, AWS and Google Cloud Platform.
  • Azure Security Center protection for hybrid workloads. Azure Security Center helps you protect workloads running in Azure from cyber threats and can now also be used to secure workloads running on-premises and in other clouds.
  • Integration of management into the virtual machine experience in the Azure portal. This new experience simplifies the process of adding backup, site recovery, monitoring, update management and more to your existing virtual machines.

  • Update management, configuration management & change tracking included at no cost for Azure customers to help manage missing updates and track configuration changes efficiently across Windows and Linux virtual machines in Azure, and across hybrid environments.

  • Azure Policy. The new Azure Policy service, now in limited preview, helps establish standards, guardrails, and continually monitor compliance to deliver enterprise-wide governance. Azure policies can be applied over Azure resources, from a single subscription to a management group with control across an entire organization.
  • End to end monitoring from the application to the infrastructure

    • Azure Monitor you can now get at-a-glance reporting on the health and performance of all your cloud resources, from virtual machines to applications to individual lines of codes in the applications.
    • Azure Monitor will now provide near real-time alerting, analytics, and logs from Azure services such as Virtual Machines, Networking, ServiceBus, EventHubs, Networking, Storage, Traffic Manager, Network Interfaces, Express Routes, Load Balancers, Data Lake Store, Data Lake Analytics, etc.
    • New Log Analytics & Container Monitoring Solutions – Azure Application Insights and Azure Log Analytics are offering cross-resource querying, which will allow users to query across multiple Application Insights applications or multiple Log Analytics workspaces. This will enable querying across multi-tiered or geo-distributed applications as well as across multiple logical infrastructure groups.
    • Performance Monitoring and Failure Diagnostics (in public preview) to provide an interactive experience and show contextual insights.
  • Azure now supports migrating your SSIS packages using new managed SSIS hosting capabilities in Data Factory.

  • Azure Migrate – a new service that provides the guidance, insights, and mechanisms needed to assist you in migrating to Azure.
  • Azure Database Migration Service enables the migration of your on-premise instances with zero down time
  • Azure Functions Integration with Azure Cosmos DB
  • Azure File Sync Announced – keeps your Azure File share in-sync with your on-premises Window Servers.
  • Azure Machine Learning
    • The AML Workbench, a cross-platform client for AI-powered data wrangling and experiment management,
    • The AML Experimentation service to help data scientists increase their rate of experimentation with big data and GPUs, and
    • The AML Model Management service to host, version, manage and monitor machine learning models.

Windows Server

  • Next Version of Windows Server, called 1709, available in October
  • Windows Server Core has a 60% smaller footprint and Windows Nano Server is 80% smaller
  • Linux Container support
  • Project Honolulu – is a new flexible, locally-deployed, browser-based management platform for managing Windows Server. Provides a lightweight deployment to remotely manage not only Windows Server, version 1709, but Windows Server 2016, 2012 R2 and 2012. This was really cool and I had it installed and working against our corporate servers before the session was over. I can’t wait to see where they take this.

SQL Server

  • SQL Server 2017 Available October 2
  • Linux and Container Support
  • Graph data management and analysis in order to discover new kinds of relationships. You can track and analyze highly interconnected data, for uses like detecting financial fraud or understanding pharmaceutical drug interactions.
  • Adaptive Query Processing is a new family of features in SQL Server that bring intelligence to database performance. Adaptive Memory Grants in SQL Server track and learn from how much memory is used by a given query over time to avoid over- or under-provisioning memory and spilling to disk, a situation that can negatively affect performance. The more you run your application, the smarter this feature gets. Automatic Plan Correction ensures continuous performance by finding and fixing performance regressions.
  • SQL Vulnerability Assessment (VA) is a new service that provides you with visibility into your security state, and includes actionable steps to investigate, manage, and resolve security issues and enhance your database fortifications.

Windows

  • Microsoft adds intelligent search experience to Windows 10 taskbar searchbox
  • Microsoft 365 powered device – It’s a device running Windows 10, with Office 365 ProPlus deployed, and managed by Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS).
  • Microsoft Rebranding Windows Store to Microsoft Store

Microsoft Edge

  • Progressive Web App (PWA)
    • Support coming to Windows and Edge in Fall Creators Update
    • No code changes needed to make available in Microsoft Store. Just add check for availability of WindowsJS library to start adding native functionality.
    • Service worker support coming behind flag in Edge in Fall Creators Update
    • Microsoft Teams application moving to new PWA which is currently in testing
    • Microsoft is searching the web for PWA’s and adding them to the Microsoft store
  • CSS Grid Support coming in Fall Creators Update
  • Sonar – a new tool from Microsoft that they refer to as a linting tool for the web.
  • Microsoft joining with Mozilla for web documentation at MDN web docs

.NET Framework

  • C# Features
    • 7.1 – Available Now
    • Async main
    • Default literal expressions
    • Inferred tuple element names
    • 7.2 – focused on safe efficient low-level code
    • 7.3 – taking the next steps for evolving pattern matching
    • 8.0
    • Default Interface Implementations
    • New Lightweight Classes: Records
    • Non-Nullable & Nullable Reference Types
  • Visual Studio
    • VS 15.5 coming with large performance improvements. Seeing 2x improvements in large solution load times.
    • Here is an interesting quote from one of the talks “You are seeing just the beginning of what we want to do now that we are developing with Rosyln in VS”
    • VS 15.5 is also bringing:
    • More refactoring’s
    • Null checking
    • Find All References improvements with coloring and more information

.NET Core

  • Windows Compatibility Pack coming for .NET Core which adds back native Windows libraries such as registry, ETW, System.Drawing, and many others that are currently missing.
  • .NET Core 2.0 introduces Runtime package store – it’s possible to package and deploy apps against a known set of packages that exist in the target environment. The benefits are faster deployments, lower disk space use, and improved startup performance in some cases.
  • HastLayer – compiling .NET code to Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA)
    • A demo showed 10 million calculations with a summation at the end. There was a 10x performance increase between a cheap development FPGA board and dual processor 8 core computer running the same calculations.
    • Working with CERN on practical applications
  • Microsoft’s love for open source software continues as they have now joined the Open Source Initiative (OSI) as a Premium sponsor.

ASP.NET Core 2.0

  • SignalR for ASP.NET Core 2.0 – This is the first official release of a new SignalR that is compatible with ASP.NET Core. It consists of a server component, a .NET client targeting .NET Standard 2.0 and a JavaScript/TypeScript client.
  • New default WebHostBuilder means the Startup.cs is greatly simplified
  • Authentication framework rewritten to simplify Api and models
  • Authentication has added ability for Two Factor Authentication
  • New JavaScript templates for Angular, React, and VueJS
  • WebPack integration for quicker setup
  • Hot Module Reloading for quicker development cycle
  • Server Side Rendering of JavaScript templates for faster page load times
  • ASP.NET Core Startup time is significantly faster. Demo showing a standard MVC app displaying first render in 3 seconds on .NET 1.1 and taking .5 seconds on .NET 2.0
  • ASP.NET Core 2.0 allows seamless, zero code change enabling of AppInsights integration.
  • Visual Studio includes local AppInsights store and displays AppInsight information in event trace window.

Xamarin

  • Support for MacOS, Linux, WPF is RTM and joins Tizen and Unity support
  • Embeddinator 4000 continuing to mature with it’s first preview release this past August
  • Mono and Web Assembly enabling a native C# to JavaScript Api
  • UrhoSharp library supports building AR and VR experiences

Office 365

  • Teams Is being positioned at the center of Microsoft’s collaboration strategy.
  • Transitioning Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams- Over the next few months, Microsoft says that Teams will gradually acquire new features to become the primary client for business communications inside Office 365.
  • Ford Car Demo; Notes taken using HoloLens show up in Teams; People can join a Teams meeting using Mixed Reality;
  • JavaScript support in Excel
  • Microsoft Graph is being integrated with LinkedIn
  • Outlook showing information and actions from LinkedIn

  • Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow, will soon be more deeply integrated within Dynamics 365 and Office 365.

  • Microsoft announced that users will be able to embed PowerApps and custom list forms directly into SharePoint pages, and use Flow’s point-and-click rule builder to express conditional logic in apps for formatting and actions.
  • Office 365 users will also be able to implement a multi-app approvals system using Dynamics 365, Flow, OneDrive, and SharePoint. Approval workflows can be created by using the built-in SharePoint document library support for Flow.
  • Microsoft announced several new OneDrive updates including refreshed web UI

Bing for Business

  • Bing will show corporate search results directly in the Bing.com search results when logged in with your Corporate Microsoft Account
  • Display people information including calendar, files, conversations, LinkedIn; Display integrations with other systems such as expense reports including the ability to add, approve and deny

Dynamics 365

  • New Dynamics 365 AI solutions, such as chatbots and virtual agents, designed to augment existing customer support and sales processes with intelligent assistant technology and natural language processing (NLP). These agents are already in production within Microsoft Support operations and in pilot with customers, including HP and Macy’s. The virtual agents can also integrate with third-party chat apps through the Microsoft Bot Framework, letting them live in apps such as Facebook Messenger, Kik, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Slack
  • New LinkedIn integration

Related Links

Conference Web Sites

Development

Windows and Office365

Azure and AI

Quantum Computing

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