Yesterday the news was that Microsoft had cancelled Ignite 2016 in Chicago. The event was previously scheduled for May 2016. Last night, Microsoft announced that Ignite 2016 was rescheduled. Now the event will be held in Atlanta on September 26-30.
Microsoft also announced the rest of their big event schedule for 2016:
- Build: Spring 2016 in San Francisco
- Convergence: April 4-7, 2016 in New Orleans
- WPC: July 10-14, 2016 in Toronto
- Microsoft Ignite: September 26-30, 2016 in Atlanta
Note that you can register now for Ignite. If you register early then the price is $1920 USD. That’s just €1,677 at this morning’s exchange rate.
Microsoft has a lot of experience of running large events in Atlanta. MGX is regularly held here, and this brings thousands of Microsoft’s sales staff from around the world to party hard at this internal event.
In my experience, Atlanta has an excellent international airport. I’ve transited trough Atlanta many times on the way to the west coast – there really is (or was) a leaf blower in the “do not try to bring one of these on board a plane” display case. The airport has large terminals with lots of services, unlike Chicago’s O’Haire which reminds me of a dungeon – narrow aisles with no seating, and angry shouty women staffing the teeny pre-packaged dodgy sandwich stalls (the international terminal).
I’ve never visited the city, but I get the feeling that there’s lots to see and do in this large southern city. Plus it’ll be September – maybe there’ll be an NFL game the weekend before – the Falcons are pretty good this year.
One of my theories yesterday was that Microsoft was shifting the schedule to suit product releases. I’ve always thought that Windows Server was on track to be released for the original schedule of Ignite – the core features are pretty good in TPv3. There’s some bug fixing to do, some polishing for new features like SET, and Containers and nested virtualization need some work, but there’s a fair amount of time left.
The real issue fro Microsoft is that System Center appears to be way behind, with the most recent technical preview indicating that they have just gotten started. And we still haven’t seen a public preview release of Azure Stack, the strategic glue for all the new cloud features of Windows Server 2016, such as the network fabric or Azure-consistent storage.
I think part of the decision to delay Ignite was to wait for the release of System Center and Azure Stack. Microsoft really needs to get the messaging of these products out there, and having Ignite 6 months before their release would have been a huge missed opportunity.
Let’s not forget Windows 10. By next September, Microsoft will have released Threshold 2 (this November) and Redstone 1 (June 2016), and Redstone 2 is expected in November 2016. That means there will be a lot of stuff to cover then so the timing will be fortuitous for IT pros that are currently managing or planning to manage Windows 10.
What does the schedule of Ignite mean to Windows Server? In case you’re unaware, Windows Server 2016 has adopted a similar development cycle to Azure, Office, and Windows 10. Windows Server will never be “finished”, but there will be interesting points in it’s life, as with Windows 10.
I think Microsoft will GA WS2016 in April. Some of the headline features that have been announced, or will be in coming months, might not be done yet, but they’ll come in later (let’s call them ..) Redstone updates and more (Glowstone or something else from Minecraft?!?!) in 2016 and beyond.
This will update System Center fans, but they should realize that a finished product is better than an unfinished one. And let’s get real here – updating WS2012 to WS2016 will be easy. Updating System Center is never easy, so they’re going to need time for planning, testing, and documenting the upgrade process of the elements of System Center that they use.
Anyway … Back to Ignite
It’s fantastic news that Ignite continues. We’re in an era of permanent constant change (perma-change?) now. There’s so many things for us IT pros to keep up with: Windows Server (and the plethora of features), System Center, Azure Stack, Azure IaaS, EMS, Windows 10, OS deployment, Azure AD, Office 365, … the list goes on an on. It’s impossible to keep up so an event like Ignite gives us a week to concentrate and a change to get a start on new stuff.
Thanks Microsoft – I’m looking forward to Ignite. And remember, even if you cannot go, you can watch the keynote live, many interesting sessions live, and every breakout session 24 hours later via stream or download.