What an amazing first day at Microsoft Ignite that all started at about 6:30 this morning when I got in line to be one of the first 3000 that got the opportunity to see the Keynote from Satya Nadella. There were so many new announcements made during the Keynote and I am sure that I am going to miss a few in my round up but will try to get all the ones I can remember and my own take on their impact. So here we go!!
First it was obvious that the theme of the keynote was, this is the year of the evolution of the hybrid cloud, where we will start seeing the growth, adoption and seamless integration of cloud services being to be deployed to Edge devices or even on your own datacenter hardware while all still being managed through Azure portal. Sticking to this theme let’s first talk about all the announcements made that are directly related to this:
- Azure ARC
- SQL Database Edge
- Azure Data Share
- Windows Virtual Desktop
- Azure Stack Edge with new form factors
I am going to focus here in what I think is the most significant game changer and that is Azure Arc. With the ability to now deploy Azure based services to any infrastructure with a Kubernetes endpoint , including AWS and Google cloud , will transform how people now think about cloud architecture and deployments. All of this while still managing those deployment from a single interface using Azure Portal or automation through the Azure API. For myself this now enables me to develop solutions that are truly hybrid and brings applications and data sources into a hybrid model, where previously I was stuck in an on-premise mode due to many different factors. From a database perspective organizations have sensitive data that due to security concerns, regulatory requirements or latency SLA’s migrating to the cloud is a near impossibility now with Azure Arc we can put still have them on premise in our data center while taking advantage of features such as hyperscale, updates and security monitoring. Since I could keep going on and on about this feature I will stop here for now and just end with “It’s a game changing announcement”
Next let’s quickly review some of the Azure Data Services announcements:
- Azure Synapse Analytics
- SQL Server 2019
- Azure Postgres HyperScale
- Azure Data Services Preview
- Azure Data Factory Data Flows
While all these new announcements are amazing in the own right I want to take a few minutes to call out the Azure Synapse Analytics, think of this as Azure DW rearchitected. It has many similarities and traits that were started with Azure SQL DW and it’s predecessor of SQL Server PDW, however the similarities stop there as Azure Synapse Analytics was re-architected from the ground up to be a true cloud based platform. If you used Azure DW one of the issues was getting the performance you desired at a reasonable cost and why competitors such as Snowflake and Redshift where taking a majority of the market share. While demos always highlight just how fast a system can be, who would put a demo together to show how slow a platform is, the performance and cost differences now with Azure Synapse Analytics change the entire conversation around what the future of your data warehouse should look like and now have capabilities such as automatic data ingestion that didn’t even exit before. One more quick note on this is that Azure Databricks also already has connectors for Azure Synapse Analytics, opening up so many more possibilities for data ingestion and machine learning.
Lastly, I will wrap up with the last area I wanted to highlight which was Power Apps. There were several announcements here such as Power Virtual Agents, Integration with Microsoft Teams and increased data sizes for Power BI. This is an area that I have not paid much attention to over the last year or so and most of the new capabilities were release a couple weeks ago with Release Wave 2. What really opened up my eyes here was all the capabilities that Power Apps now has and if you have not looked at this recently then you really should be. The integrated security and controls really allow you to extend capability to Business Users while not creating a culture of Shadow IT as it’s still a centrally managed platform where you can prevent data sprawl and unauthorized data usage. I’m seriously looking at this as a way to eliminate custom SharePoint development going forward.
In a nutshell Day 1 at Ignite was a great day and boy did my brain hurt at the end of the day as I was thinking of all the new possibilities of a true hybrid cloud architecture.