Microsoft Ignite 2018

What Are The Most Important Takeaways?

Top 3 Takeaways From Microsoft Ignite

It’s about a month ago that Microsoft kicked off the new tech year with its annual Ignite conference. Over 30.000 company representatives, developers, tech nerds and IT whizz kids from all over the world headed to Orlando, Florida to hear about Microsoft’s next steps. You missed it? No worries, SoftwareONE expert and Microsoft MVP, Eric Berg, was there and sums up Satya Nadella’s keynote for you.

Keynote Satya Nadella

Before the more than 700 deep-dive sessions and 100 workshops started, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella opened the conference with a keynote on September 24th. In his speech he addressed three key themes of news: Security, AI and Data, IOT and Edge Computing which are critical areas to the future of IT. Here are the most important takeaways.

Takeaway #1: Security

Nadella announced Microsoft Threat Protection, a new end-to-end solution that identifies cyberthreats, eliminates their effects and protects organizations from new and changing threats. The solution combines threat protection solutions across email, PCs, documents, identities and infrastructure into a single integrated experience in Microsoft 365.

Moreover, Nadella declared the end of the era of passwords. As compromised passwords are the number 1 reason for data loss, Microsoft will drive forward support for password-less login via the Microsoft Authenticator app for the hundreds of thousands of Azure Active Directory connected apps. By combining your phone and fingerprint, face, or PIN for a more secure, multifactor sign-in, passwords are no longer necessary.

When it comes to Azure, Microsoft has also focused on the issue of security. With Azure Sphere, a holistic solution to create secured, connected, microcontroller devices, is now available in public preview.

Takeaway #2: AI and Data

Microsoft introduced AI for Humanitarian Action, a new $40 million, five-year program designed to make use of the possibilities that artificial intelligence (AI) offers for disaster recovery, helping children, protecting refugees and displaced people, and promoting respect for human rights. Nadella announced partnerships with NGOs through grants and investments of technology like drones or image recognition and expertise.

Visitors also had the chance to take a first glimpse at MS SQL Server 2019. The new version comes with big data capabilities. It is now possible to ingest, store and analyze great amounts of data with a built-in Spark and Hadoop distributed file system. New connectors let you enquire databases like Oracle, Teradata and MongoDB directly from SQL Server, therefore reducing data silos.

With introducing the Open Data Initiative (ODI), Microsoft made clear that data are among a companies’ most valuable assets and should be in the center of attention. The ODI is a joint initiative by Microsoft, SAP and Adobe to facilitate data exchange and therefore enabling customers to gain more value from their data assets. The aim is to ensure data exchange between the individual applications and platforms of the three companies that are to be available on Microsoft's cloud platform Azure.

Takeaway #3: IOT and Edge Computing

Azure IoT Central, Microsoft’s solution for getting started quickly with the Internet of Things (IoT), is now generally available. The solution is designed to enable organizations to benefit from IoT with the security and global scale of Azure, allowing them to build enterprise-grade, secured IoT applications without having to manage back-end infrastructure.

Moreover, Edge Computing (decentralized data processing at the verge of the network, the so-called edge) is becoming ever more relevant. Nadella presented Azure Data Box Edge, a new solution to transport data in and out of Azure. The solution is a physical network appliance equipped with AI-enabled edge computing capabilities to help you analyze, process and transform on-premises data before uploading it to the cloud.

Microsoft announced the launch of Azure Data Box Gateway, a new solution for easy deployment of a data transfer gateway. The storage solution is a virtual appliance that runs on Hyper-V and VMWare and enables organizations to seamlessly send data to Azure.

Other topics at Ignite


Bigger, better, faster – is the motto here. The Azure cloud has adopted a scaling and performance that leaves nothing to be desired.

Among the novelties:

  • general availability of Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server, version 1809 availability
  • larger Azure Managed Disks sizes

Office 365

Mobile work is in the focus and Office 365 operates as a center for teamwork, data and security.

Among the novelties:

  • Microsoft introduced new capabilities in Teams designed to support Firstline Workers, for example new schedule management tools
  • Microsoft Teams will integrate new Yammer and SharePoint features, for example a new Yammer tab in Teams that shows your team relevant discussion across the organization

In a Nutshell

The overall tenor was that data is king! It became very clear that data is the most important asset of a company and that the management of data should be paid special attention to. Besides, security is the determining factor of our time and should be translated into your strategic considerations.

So, what to think about Microsoft’s approach? The IT world is getting faster and the ideas of Microsoft are getting bigger. The objectives pursued are well chosen, comprehensible and consistent with market trends and development. Nevertheless, some customers (especially small and medium-sized businesses) are likely to be overtaken by many of the innovations if they don’t act, as the fast cycles are hard to master without support.

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Eric Berg

Microsoft MVP, independent Azure expert

Microsoft MVP for Microsoft Azure and Cloud & Datacenter Management

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