We could not make it to Microsoft’s IT management focused in Atlanta, but that did not hinder us to watch the event from the fences. The conference is well attended, Microsoft says over 22k attendees, a very good turnout considering this was only the 2nd edition of the Ignite conference. 


Here is the 1 slide condensation (if the slide doesn’t show up, check here):


Want to read on? Here you go: Always tough to pick the takeaways – but here are my Top 3:

All about AI, democratize AI – In the afternoon keynote Satya Nadella coined a new marketing slogan we will hear more often from Microsoft – Democratize AI. Not surprisingly for Microsoft this means bringing Machine Learning to all its products – we saw Office, Dynamics, Hololens, Security, IoT, of course Cortana and more. Nadella was proud for Microsoft to win 2 world championships in Machine Learning – congrats – we need to see who participated. Voice and Conversation as a Platform that Nadella was very much about at the developer Build conference in spring (see my Event Report here), was less prominent, as was the push for voice is the new UI. But overall messaging was consistent – all the way to the Nadella very early days with MobileFirst and CloudFirst.

Adobe chooses Microsoft – We have written often about Microsoft needing to acquire additional load to fuel the growth of Azure, once Office365 conversions run out of steam. Beyond Office Microsoft does not have too much organic load in house, so it is key for Microsoft to attract ISVs, as ISVs provide a lot of load – and best – transform the load to their IaaS. Adobe is moving out of multiple clouds, but mainly out of AWS, where Adobe was certainly a Top 10 customer. We would not be surprised if commercial terms for Adobe were very attractive. Both vendors have more synergies, like Adobe integrating its marketing products with Dynamics (explicitly mentioned), and longer term Adobe using Microsoft Machine Learning capabilities (more implicit). My colleague R “Ray” Wang has also covered the decision in a News Analysis blog post – check it out here.

Azure is (almost) 100% FPGAed – Out of the R&D project Catapult that a brave researcher got passed former Microsoft leader Ballmer, Microsoft not only found a way to accelerate Bing, but all of Azure. Effectively Microsoft now has equipped almost each server in and every new server that comes to Azure with a FPGA, that allows to scale the server better. Especially for Machine Learning, as Microsoft impressively demonstrated that all of Wikipedia could be translated into Spanish in less than 0.1 seconds using all of Azure. So the FPGAs must be doing some very smart balancing across even hundreds of thousands of servers. An interesting approach, that has the flexibility of the programmable FPGA, but is very hard to code. It will be interesting to see how often Microsoft will re-program the FPGAs, for different purposes – or even open them up for Azure customers. But early days and kudos to Microsoft to come up with a unique architecture. 


A good start for Ignite, that not only showed innovation across all products, but also the depth and breadth Microsoft has from its R&D team and how it can differentiate offerings. It is clear Microsoft is on a good course, creating new products, innovating, adding new capabilities (e.g. Docker to Azure, normally a bigger announcement, but did not make the Top 3) – and attracting load – Adobe is certainly a big fish to catch. Strategy and messaging has remained consistent compared to the other two major events.

On the concern side Microsoft needs to stretch the rubber between where it needs to be vis a vis the competition (there most notably AWS and Google) and at the same time where its customers are. There is a lot for customers to digest, understand and bring back to their executive teams for the adoption conversation. Making the case to a CIO’s peers was something that Microsoft has room to improve on, and at the same time needs to make sure their customer base does not get overwhelmed. Sometimes less is more. But a good problem to have.

Overall a good start at MS Ignite and interesting and differentiating offerings shown and announced. No surprises – even on the FPGAs (more a question if Microsoft really pushed this out to all Azure Server, but it says it has). Interesting and exciting times stay tuned.

More Apps / SaaS vendor and IaaS vendor partnerships (in chronological order):
  • Infor runs on Amazon AWS (read here)
  • SAP on IBM Cloud (read here
  • Lumesse on Salesforce Cloud (read here) and
  • NetSuite on Microsoft Azure (read here)
  • JDA chooses Google Cloud Platform (read here)
  • SAP chooses Microsoft Azure (read here)
  • Salesforce chooses AWS (read here
  • Workday chooses IBM for DEV and TST (read here)

And more on Microsoft:
  • News Analysis - GE and Microsoft partner to bring Predix to Azure - Multi-Cloud becomes tangible for IoT - read here
  • Market Move - Microsoft acquired Linked - Tons of synergies, start with Cortana, maybe too many - read here
  • News Analysis - Microsoft opens Windows Holographic to partners for a new era of mixed reality - read here
  • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
  • Musings - Will Microsoft's Hololens transform the Future of Work? Read here
  • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2016 - A platform vision and plenty of tools for next generation applications - read here
  • First Take - Microsoft Build 2016 - Day 1 Keynote Takeaways - read here
  • Event Preview - Microsoft Build 2016 - Top 3 Things to watch for developers, managers and execs...  read here
  • News Analysis - Microsoft - New Hybrid Offerings Deliver Bottomless Capacity for Today's Data Explosion - read here
  • News Analysis - Welcoming the Xamarin team to Microsoft - read here
  • News Analysis - Microsoft announcements at Convergence Barcelona - Office365. Dynamics CRM and Power Apps 
  • News Analysis - Microsoft expands Azure Data Lake to unleash big data productivity - Good move - time to catch up - read here
  • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
  • News Analyis - NetSuite announced Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
  • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Microsoft really wants to make developers' lives easier - read here
  • First Hand with Microsoft Hololens - read here
  • Event Report - Microsoft TechEd - Top 3 Enterprise takeaways - read here
  • First Take - Microsoft discovers data ambience and delivers an organic approach to in memory database - read here
  • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Azure grows and blossoms - enough for enterprises (yet)? Read here.
  • Event Report - Microsoft Build Day 1 Keynote - Top Enterprise Takeaways - read here.
  • Microsoft gets even more serious about devices - acquire Nokia - read here.
  • Microsoft does not need one new CEO - but six - read here.
  • Microsoft makes the cloud a platform play - Or: Azure and her 7 friends - read here.
  • How the Cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
  • How hard is multi-channel CRM in 2013? - Read here.
  • How hard is it to install Office 365? Or: The harsh reality of customer support - read here.

Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below (if it doesn’t show up – check here).


Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.