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I have just spent a week at the Microsoft Ignite 2018 conference in Orlando, Florida.
This was my first visit to both the conference and to Orlando, so I was very excited.
Upon arrival att MCO (Orlando International Airport) you can pick up your badge straight away at the baggage claim. This was a super simple process and highly appreciated!
Before the conference, me and my colleague spent a full day at Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, even though the closing party was held at the same venue. We were happy that we did since there simply is not enough time to experience the parks in a few hours. If you like theme parks, I highly recommend to do the same thing next year 🙂
All hotels were booked through Ignite and because of that, transportation was very well organized with a bus going every 5-25 minutes during the day, depending on peak hours.
What first hits you when you come in to the conference is how huge it is and how many people are there.
During the course of a few days, 700 sessions are held and the conference is visited by roughly 25 000 people.
I work at Mansoft, where we work within the specialist consulting field, and more specifically Enterprise Client Management. This year, 13 of us from both Sweden and Denmark traveled to Ignite, and the reason for that is that we were Silver sponsors through our product Software Central. I hope that everyone had the chance to swing by our booth during the conference 🙂
What kicks of the conference, is the Vision Keynote by Satya Nadella. We were there about 30 minutes before it started, and we had no chance to get in. There were other viewing rooms available with a live stream, but we didn’t manage to get a seat there either. Was quite a poor way to start the conference.
Lessons learned: Be early next time!
ANNOUNCEMENTS & TALKING POINTS
There were some cool announcements during Ignite around the Modern Desktop and how to manage and deploy it. For example, Desktop Analytics will be replacing Windows Analytics to be used for insight gathering in regards to upgrading to new versions of Windows 10. What I really liked was the possibility to create Deployment Plans for phased deployments and also the integration with SCCM. It also looks like the dashboard will be much more user friendly than Upgrade Readiness was. With Upgrade Readiness, you were forced to create OMS queries, which could be quite cumbersome if you were not used to it.
With Desktop Analytics it will also be possible to create Pilot Groups based on coverage. What this means is that you can see how large percentage of your hardware and applications are covered within the group. Creating Pilot Groups with a good representation was previously very difficult to get right.
OFFICE 365 PROPLUS
For Office 365 ProPlus we are receiving a new Office Customization Tool, which is currently available at config.office.com or as an integrated part of SCCM 1806. The aim from Microsoft is that we should no longer need to use the Offscrub scripts for removing old Office installations. I think they almost got right, but not quite there yet for advanced scenarios. The really good thing about the tool is that you can create the XML from it, reducing the risk of accidentally adding additional characters and thus corrupting the file. It is also possible to import existing XML files.
New ISOs of Windows 10 will in the future be released with a maximum of 3 days apart at MSDN and VLSC. Microsoft is also working on removing all consumer applications from the Enterprise and Education SKUs.
In regards to SCCM, there was a lot of talk about co-management and how easy it is to set up using the 4 clicks in the SCCM console. Since new Windows 10 releases are quite large, a common topic was also network optimization with technologies such as LEDBAT and Delivery Optimization. We also received some inside information from the Configuration Manager team that they are working on removing the requirement for WSUS, similar to removing the requirement for WDS. Also, the payload size of Express Updates on the server side will be significantly reduced in the future. Another cool addition is that there will be support for Git in Deployment Types to allow for script versioning.
Intune will at last receive the possibility of deploying Win32 applications! This has been long overdue and adds significant extra value to the product.
There were a lot more announcements made and other talking points. Make sure to look at my resources list.
MICROSOFT VIRTUAL DESKTOP
Windows Virtual Desktop was also a cool announcement. Basically, you can run your desktop or applications in Azure with a streamlined experience. Looks really promising!
Another announcement was Ideas, where AI can help with tasks within Office products, among other. It’s going to be interesting if it can help me with creating better presentations much faster 🙂
Meeting feed was also an announcement made by the Microsoft team. It can basically record your meetings and transcribe voices and link those voices to different people, thus creating excellent meeting notes. Even more impressive, it can also transcribe and translate languages in real time.
CONCLUSION AND KEY TAKE AWAYS
You should not be forced to choose cloud only or on-prem only, but rather use the pros from both camps.
For those that worry that SCCM is going away, you need not to worry. There is significant effort being put in to the product, and together with Intune it provides significant value for managing the Modern Desktop. I belive that SCCM will be the main Enterprise Client Management software for many years to come!
As for Ignite 2019 it will be held in Orlando, Florida between 4-8 November next year, and I hope that I will make it there 🙂
IGNITE 2018 IN SHORT
- Great organization by Microsoft.
- A LOT of people. It was very difficult to find people I knew, even though I know quite a lot of people that were there.
- Really cool Microsoft closing party on Thursday at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
- If you want to see the Vision Keynote, make sure to line up at least an hour beforehand.
- If you want to meet someone, book a meet up. Don’t expect that you will bump in to each other 🙂
- If you want to visit any of the amusement parks nearby, leave an extra day for that.
- Expect to get sick, due to the warm outside weather and the cold air conditioned conference center. Bring DayQuil and NyQuil! I did, and I was the most popular guy at the hotel 🙂
I hope to see you next year at Ignite 2019!