Atlanta is hot, especially when you’re used to Cardiff temperatures in late September!
Being adaptable we got used to that pretty quickly and had a little time to explore Atlanta before the conference started. It’s a very nice relaxed place with a few interesting sights. The Centennial Olympic park is a calm oasis in the centre of the city and right next door is the World’s largest aquarium, containing 10 million gallons of water and 4 enormous whale sharks, which as a scuba diver I found pretty amazing!
So, onto the conference, 20,000 people is a lot to cram into the Georgia World Congress Centre. However the place is massive and housed everyone fairly well, although there was quite a lot of queuing on day 1.
Day 1 kicked off with the Keynote speech in which Microsoft laid out their visions for the future. The key message focused on digital transformation. More and more work is moving to the cloud and Microsoft Azure is expanding and increasing its ability to support cloud first computing. Scott Guthrie, executive vice president for cloud and enterprise, announced a range of new security and data analytics features designed to make Windows, Office 365, and Azure run better.
As you’d expect there were plenty of testimonials from happy Microsoft customers.
The tech keynote later in the afternoon was a little more fun, showcasing some of Microsoft’s latest innovations, such as machine learning and the world's 'first AI supercomputer'.
For the rest of the conference my colleague, Andrew, and I split our time between various strands of seminars, workshops and labs. Mainly focusing on our core technologies such as .NET, Azure and SharePoint.
There was plenty to take home to share with colleagues, including:
Learning a lot about the recently released .NET Core v1.0 which provides a more lightweight cross-platform, open source, and modular platform.
A more in depth look at Azure Resource Manager, ARM templates, Azure Functions and deployment slots.
The SharePoint Framework - a development model that enables client-side development, easy integration with the Microsoft Graph and support for open source tooling.
Lots of new features for Azure SQL databases.
We even managed to fit in a game of baseball at the home of the Atlanta Braves, Turner field. All in all, a pretty good trip.
We’re looking forward to Orlando for Ignite 2017!