Today was the first day of Microsoft Ignite Australia 2017 and I am very lucky to have the opportunity to attend!
Microsoft Ignite is the successor of Microsoft TechEd, which had a 2 decade history after being first held in Australia in 1994.
I plan to post about my experiences over the next few days.
I flew in yesterday so was able to pre-register during the afternoon, not that it mattered because the registration process in now so streamlined that you are done in about 2 minutes, with no queues.
As always, Targus have sponsored backpacks and this year it is the 15.6″ Grid Essentials backpack with conference livery. Whilst the backpack is a great bag for IT people on the go, I am not sure how sold on it I am when compared to the 2012 TechEd backpack.
With around 2300 delegates, it was no surprise that there was a sea of humanity rolling in for the keynote presentation, featuring Scott Guthrie the current executive Vice President of Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group.
Scott’s keynote on the Microsoft Cloud was quite interesting, particularly around the evolution of using business intelligence to form workflows. The example demonstrated was taking a twitter tag search, being able to use Azure’s intelligent computing to determine if the tweet had an “happy” or “sad” intent and then form a workflow that would log a job for the tweet to be reviewed and for someone to respond.
I could see this as a great way to drive responsiveness in a social engagement context where most people hunger for a right-now answer.
It was then time for lunch and the supplied lunchbox with a roll, small chips, salad and the most amazing chocolate brownie was quite enjoyable.
After that were the kickoff sessions, and I really don’t have much to say on that other than that they were a run through of what was on.
Certainly the big highlight of today was the presentation by Troy Hunt on Building a large scale real world application on azure with a coffee budget. Troy took us through how he was using Azure to host haveibeenpwned.com including the setup and the costs, as well as how scaling out and monitoring works. This really resonated with me as I have been looking at the Azure platform services but not really understanding how they all tied together.
Another really cool thing that I did not know about until the talk was the “integrity” attribute of the script tags in HTML. When used, you include a SHA-384 has of the script you want to run to ensure that the script you are trusted is not tampered with. If the hash does not match, then the script will not run for that location with the option of loading it from another trusted URL. In the above picture is a SRI Hash generator that does all thew hard work for HTML generation for you. This is very cool
After this presentation I was torn between taking a break before the welcome reception or gong to a block chain presentation by one of my university colleagues, David Burela. I ended up going because I was interested in finding out what the big deal was, particularly as my only exposure had been through crypto currency
What I did learn is that block chains could be very useful for confirming the integrity of of data transactions and could potentially be used to track nearly ever aspect of a given thing. David’s presentation used the idea of being able to create hashes with blocks of information about the components of a car and then hash those to form the block for the car. That way in the future, you could then scan all the components again, hash them and confirm the car still has all the same parts from factory.
Another interesting part of the presentation was the differentiation between blockchain 1.0 and 2.0, particularly with smart contracts which will change the way many transactions can be handled. Many new businesses are starting up in this area and it’s definitely something worth keeping an eye on, especially in the identity ownership space.
After the presentations was the welcome reception as the expo, where people quickly swarmed the vendors for free giveaways and to discuss the products.
I managed to have some good conversations with some of the vendors, between drinks and having dinner, but with the expo hall open all week, tonight was about getting out there and meeting people.
Its been a great first day, but tomorrow will be the big day for me with close to 10 hours of sessions lined up, which I will probably have to drop some to save my sanity 🙂