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Inside Microsoft Ignite: Kick-off Highlights

After just one day Microsoft Ignite is already sparking major interest for Microsoft Azure & Hybrid technologies. Tom Kerkhove, Codit Technical Architect / Microsoft Azure Advisor and MVP, gives you the inside scoop on this year’s hot announcements from the architect’s perspective. Read his first-hand insights on the kick-off sessions.

After just one day Microsoft Ignite is already sparking major interest for Microsoft Azure & Hybrid technologies. Tom Kerkhove, Codit Technical Architect / Microsoft Azure Advisor and MVP, gives you the inside scoop on this year’s hot announcements from the architect’s perspective. Read his first-hand insights on the kick-off sessions.

Microsoft’s Ignite event is the biggest learning conference for IT pros and developers looking to further strengthen their expertise. Each year, developers, architects, and data professionals from across the globe come together to discover Microsoft strategy and new technologies in keynote sessions, explore the latest tools in Learning Paths’ technical training, and connect directly with Microsoft experts. Codit’er Tom Kerkhove (Technical Architect, Microsoft Azure Advisor and MVP) and speaker at Ignite .

Stay tuned this week as we continue to post Tom’s takeaways throughout the Ignite event

Day 1 Highlights

New Azure Technologies: “After some pre-event prep on Sunday to give all the MVPs & RDs a head’s up on the announcements to come during the conference, this year’s IGNITE officially kicked off with Satya Nadella’s vision keynote. During the keynote, Satya announced : Azure Arc, Azure Synapse (or, full name, “Azure Synapse Analytics”), and Azure Quantum.” or “Azure extensions”?

All three Azure services  are positioned to facilitate the integration implementation process. Synapse sounds especially promising as it allows architects to very easily work with terra/petabytes of data. And Quantum provides the ability to run full quantum applications in Azure. But for me, the major announcement was Azure Arc.

To first give some context, let’s take a step back: In the early days, Microsoft released Azure Pack, which was a way to install Azure software on your own hardware with very minimal requirements. This technology basically allowed you to create hybrid applications and easily shift them as needed. Unfortunately, this approach wasn’t very stable and only included a handful of services.

A couple of years ago, Microsoft announced the Azure Pack’s successor, Azure Stack. When you buy this hardware appliance, the rack(s) are installed in your local datacenter of choice, allowing you to run (almost!) all Azure services on-premises or in hybrid fashion.

Over time, more flavors of Azure Stack have become available to provide support in different scenarios. One example is that Azure Stack Edge – small enough to fit in a backpack and can be used to bring Azure into the field

For this reason, Microsoft has renamed Azure Stack to the Azure Stack Portfolio that includes Azure Stack Hub, Azure Stack HCI, and Azure Stack Edge.

However, Azure Stack is very expensive and is typically used for reselling or by big companies. Many organizations will not use it for that exact reason. Enter Azure Arc.

Azure Arc brings users the Azure Resource Manager (ARM), which deploys, manages, operates, etc, all resources in Azure and allows you to run them anywhere. Whether in the cloud, on-premises, or hybrid scenarios, Arc has your back.

The technology is literally an arc across all your applications, enabling you to fully manage everything from the Microsoft cloud while it runs somewhere else. This offers more control, but as you are in charge of running resources, it’s not exactly a walk in the park.

The first examples Microsoft offered for Azure Arc are SQL & Kubernetes (which are not a coincidence as it seems to me that everything will be container-based), and to run containers you need a container orchestrator like Kubernetes!

Next to that, Azure API Management has announced a public preview of its Arc-enabled API Management, which we’ve been testing in private preview, to show  how organizations can deploy API management and how they can run their apps on-premises while still using Azure to manage it across different customer sites, etc.

While Azure Arc brings stakeholders easier application management, in my opinion, this technology should be used as a last resort where companies truly can’t go to the cloud as we should still be using a cloud-first approach.”

Dive deeper into Azure Arc in the technical post “Running Azure API Management anywhere with Azure Arc for API Management.”

Azure Arc and Containers: “With Kubernetes and SQL as first supported services in Azure Arc, it is again confirmed that containers (and container orchestrators) are here to stay! IT pros will need to continue to learn more about working with them as they will soon become part of our core toolset.”

Open Application Model: “Open Application Model (openappmodel.io) is an open source project that Microsoft has recently released along with Dapr (dapr.io). It’s a big step forward to build app-centric solutions for customers that are vendor/platform agnostic. This means that they can build and describe their own app and deploy it on a PaaS service. Once these companies have more traffic and need more control, we can simply redeploy that app on different infrastructure – without having to change our app or its description. I’ve had the opportunity to meet – in person – the people with whom I’ve collaborated to release Open Application Model, and I was honored to see how passionate Mark Russinovich (Azure CTO) was about it – how much he believes in the idea. The fact that Mark participated in a discussion on a topic before it’s even public shows me just how big this is for Microsoft and how serious the company is about it.”

That wraps up the kickoff of Ignite 2019. Stay tune for more in the coming days!

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