Held at the London Excel, this partner-only event was put on to showcase Microsoft’s cloud services and how people are already using and benefiting from their systems. Kris, Ben and Hannah journeyed up to London to see what all the fuss is about…

The Highs

I thought the format for the day worked exceptionally well – regular presentations were then immediately followed with a less-formal Q&A session, with audience interaction (including twitter and text questions). Katie Ledger did an excellent job of hosting the day, and must’ve done a fair bit of background research with Microsoft. The mix of presentations was good – videos introducing subjects, some excellent talks from the likes of Bert Craven from EasyJet (they also presented at the previous Windows Server 2008 launch) and some funny moments (Yes we’re looking at you Alex Reeve – maybe don’t choose Amy Winehouse next time you demo windows phone 7!)

Congratulations to the 4 prize draw winners, who each received a Dell netbook. The top prize was quite astounding – Shaun Frohlich’s team at Microsoft would spend time working with the overall prize draw winner and also put on a marketing event for the winner’s company at Microsoft’s cost – part of Microsoft’s $10 million commitment to marketing in the UK over the next year no doubt.

We spotted ourselves in the last shot of the closing video – hopefully this will be made available in the next couple of weeks (we’ll upload it here if possible).

The Lows

I feel that more attention could’ve been spent with the ‘interactive’ areas, these areas were quickly overwhelmed with people, and having a single pod with only one or two people to man them didn’t really give much time for delegates to interact during the short breaks.

No mention whatsoever of Small Business Server Aurora or 7 – in fact, Windows Intune appears to co-exist in the same marketplace as SBS Aurora – both offer management of desktop machines (update management, security, antivirus, monitoring), and Aurora only has the benefit of adding centralised file storage.

What I took away from the event:

I really had no idea that the Azure software platform was as mature as it apparently is (going by the demos shown). Switch Systems is now seriously looking at PHP on Azure for some of our projects.

Overall a very interesting day, some eye opening topics, and an excellent well organised event put on by Microsoft.

Links:

Event Twitter Feed
ArsTechnica: Some interesting discussions going on about moving medium sized orgs to the cloud