The Keynote started off like a Keynote from another technology company.  A DJ was spinning tunes and also showed off his new ’turntable’ that runs on Windows technology and is all the rage these days (so he says).




Post DJ dialog, Satya Nadella stepped up to the mic and provided some insight into the state of computing inside and outside of Microsoft.  He provided the following:

  • We are at the shift of a new paradigm.  Much like at the dawn of Client-Server, we find ourselves in a position where we need to re-invent ourselves by leveraging new technologies such as the cloud.
  • Microsoft is focused on providing Services at internet scale
    • Microsoft currently runs some of the worlds biggest apps (Xbox live, Bing, Exchange, CRM)
    • feedback loop
    • global scale, 24 x7
    • ultra-modularity.
    • 16 major Microsoft Data centers around the world
    • Bing 300 petabytes of data
    • Microsoft battle testing each piece of new technology released
    • Bing is running on top of the the Windows Server 2012 RC
      • You can’t “head fake” this type scale

Next up was Jason Zander and he was here to speak about some of the advancements in the Windows Server and System Center product space.  Jason added that datacenters, no matter on-premise or cloud, are required to be more responsive to ever changing business needs.  Much like everything, it seems, these days people want services cheaper, faster and delivered yesterday.  The advancements in Windows Server and System Center have been created to address these needs(well except the yesterday bit).

The Modern Datacenter needs to be:

  • Scalable and elastic
  • Always up, always on
  • Shared Resources
  • Automated and self service

Windows Server 2012

  • Windows Server 2012 has been designed to handle “workloads that can’t be virtualized”
    • unprecedented hardware configurations
    • 64 node clusters and 4000 VMs in a single cluster
    • If you own a SAN, using Windows Server 2012 is a no brainer
      • 10gb file copied in 10 seconds using ODX
    • 80 000 customers downloaded Windows Server RC in first week
    • ~150 TAP customers

Mark Russinovich was up next.  He wanted to discuss some of the advances that the Azure team has made in the area of supporting durable Virtual Machines in Azure.  One of the more humorous moments was when he referred to a slide that had a Linux logo on it: “no we didn’t get hacked, we do support Linux”.

Provisioning Cloud infrastructure

  • New Metro interfaces in portal
  • VMs now supported includes
    • OpenLogic
    • SUSE
    • Ubunto
    • Windows Server 2008 R2
    • Windows Server 2012 RC
  • We can deploy a new VM into a segregated “corporate network” in Azure (I assume this means what previously was known as Brooklyn")

The CIO from Aflac, an insurance company, who has deployed a SharePoint solution to Azure was brought on stage to share his experiences with Azure.  They have built a solution by provisioning VMs into Azure.  Aflac chose Azure based upon the agility and flexibility that it provides.

Cloud and Aflac (CIO)


  • Need Agility
  • Flexibility
    • Aflac may run promotions or have peak usage periods based upon customer policy expiration dates
  • Performance
    • They have many different locals and support offices in many different regions.  They need global scale to reduce latency
      • Japan is a heavy user of their services


  • SharePoint 2010
    • Built on VMs hosted on Azure
    • One use case is to schedule customer appointments  with a Customer Service representative
      • Capture this information in Azure and then bridge it back to On Premise using VPN (Azure Connect)
  • 12 VMs support solution including
    • SharePoint App Servers
    • SharePoint Web front ends
    • SQL Server cluster
    • AD cluster
    • SCOM
  • Use availability sets to further mitigate failure points
  • Looking to use Azure for extranet and customer scenarios

The Keynote then shifted towards the Developer experience including new Azure and Visual Studio 2012 functionality.

Inside the modern Application

  • Personal App experiences are now mandatory
  • Social is something that needs to be built into application and can’t be a “bolt” on
  • Build, Measure, Learn, Move

New Tools:

  • Visual Studio 2012


  • .Net 4.5

Comprehensive Runtime

  • Windows Server
  • Azure



    • Built in support for Mobile and Web Applications
    • pluggable emulators

HTML is now supported for LightSwitch

  • You can create a Mobile Client using HTML5/Jquery/Javascript/CSS)

Keynote Summary

Having the DJ out there at the beginning was a nice touch.  I am sure they wanted to pump up the crowd and generate some excitement.  I think they hit the mark here but slowly the energy started to drain.  There were several demos that didn’t work or required a second take for them to run.  This is a bit of a let down as an attendee.  Sure “stuff happens” but it seems like there could have been more rehearsing happening before hand.

I also felt Microsoft missed an opportunity to talk about Windows 8 and consumer devices.  Arguably this is not the right time or place to do this but everyone in the building uses a computer on a day to day basis as part of their job.  I would have loved to seen some demos of some slick new tablets or ultra books running the latest offerings.  Ironically I heard more people talking about the newly released MacBook Pro today than Windows 8 devices.  I see this as suitable evidence that they missed the mark considering the “pro” Microsoft audience at this conference.

Windows Azure Today and Tomorrow (Scott Guthrie)

If you have never seen Scott speakyou are missing out.  He has this uncanny ability to take an awkward situation and make people laugh.  He did this at Summit with his “Bob” Azure site and once again today with his “Dude” Azure site.  He is very engaging and enjoys ’pop-star’ status amongst the Microsoft loyalists.

In his presentation, he elaborated on some of the recent news that he shared at the Meet Azure event.  More specifically he focused on the new durable VM support, Azure Websites and ServiceBus.  Surprisingly he even included “BizTalk” a couple times and  he did not include the words “death, dead, soon to be dead or shot dead” in the same sentence.

General Update

  • Azure is flexible, open and solid
  • Microsoft has opened their minds to new platforms and open source
    • Linux hosted on Azure
    • SDKs being opened and hosted on GitHub
  • 99.95% monthly SLA
  • Pay only for what you use
    • Scale your resources as you grow


Scott then reminded the attendees with MSDN that it includes Azure benefits

  • Benefits are based upon type of MSDN account (Pro/Premium/Ultimate)
  • Free trial
    • If you use MSDN your hours will be credited

Durable VMs

  • Create a new VM in seconds/minutes
  • Users have Full Admin on the provisioned server via RDP
  • Can install your own applications on the durable VMs including SQL, SharePoint and BizTalk (check out Steff-Jan’s BizTalk post here)
    • Storage is replicated to 3 locations
      • Seamless failover
    • Async  backup to another datacenter at least 500 miles away
      • Don’t have to do this if you don’t want to
  • Websites
    • Build with ASP.Net,  Node.js or PHP
    • Deploy in seconds with FTP, GIT or TFS
    • Start for free, scale up as your traffic grows
  • Shared Mode (Free)
    • 10 websites for free
    • other tenants co-hosted
  • Reserve Mode (Pay as you go)
    • Dedicated VMs
    • No other tenants
  • Charge for VMs on a per hour basis
  • Converting existing applications to cloud is easy
    • Right mouse click and select “Add Cloud Services Project”
    • Another Azure package will be added to solution
    • Create new roles
      • backend
      • front end
  • VMs are always being monitored and if a failure does exist, your application will be migrated to a new VM to ensure of business continuity
  • You have the granularity to spin up or down a particular worker role.
  • You can RDP into a Role instance as well
  • Cloud allows you to focus on apps and not infrastructure
  • Azure is great for the following scenarios:
    • Burst/bust scenarios
    • Seasonal events (tax, Christmas, Thanksgiving)
    • Dev/Test
    • Sales/Promotions
  • Many SDKs are supported
    • .net
    • java
    • python
    • php
    • node.js
  • SQL Database
    • Relational SQL Server Engine in the cloud
    • Clustered for HA
    • Fully managed service
      • backups
    • SQL Reporting support
    • Provisioned in seconds
    • Can scale to 150 gb in seconds
    • Can be accessed from ADO.Net
      • Can be accessed from on-premise/cloud, websites etc.
  • BLOB storage
    • HA, scalable and secure file system
    • Blobs can be exposed publically over http
    • Continuous geo-replication
  • Distributed Cache
    • low latency, in memory distributed cache
    • Dynamically grow and shrink cache size
    • ha support
    • memcached protocol support
    • Twitter demo went from 1.6 seconds to retrieve tweets from twitter down to .29 ms
  • ServiceBus
    • Secure messaging and relay capabilities
    • Easily build hybrid apps

Windows Azure Today and Tomorrow Summary

Overall it was a good session.  Like I mentioned before, Scott is a great speaker and I enjoyed listening to him.  Some of the content he provided I have seen at Summit, but I certainly can’t hold that against him.  I think this was a great introduction to Azure for people that have not seen it before or for those who took a look a few years back and are now interested in learning more about it.