In a world increasingly dominated by cloud computing and outsourcing, vendor management has become a core competency of running a great IT department. Here's how to maximize your partnerships. But too much choice, especially when it comes to collaboration tools, has been a problem for Microsoft. But at the company's Ignite IT Pro conference in Orlando this week, Microsoft execs took a step to try to clarify the company's strategy and messaging in this area. Microsoft Office 365 Marketing chief Ron Markezich kicked off the conference this week with a slide entitled "Microsoft 365 Teamwork: Where to Start a Conversation."
Those topics and more are mentioned -- or at least hinted at -- in Microsoft recently published the session list for its annual Ignite IT Pro conference happening at the end of the September. Looking through the 623 Ignite sessions currently listed, I saw a few things worth noting. Last year, Microsoft used Ignite to highlight its usual AI, intelligent edge and its futuristic quantum-computing technologies. In March 2018, Microsoft was touting quantum, mixed reality and AI as some of the major topic areas that would be featured at Ignite this year. However, at least from the listed sessions, it looks like the agenda may be a little more grounded in product reality.
Microsoft hasn't shared many real-world statistics on the uptake of its Azure Stack hybrid-cloud platform. Nor has it shared much lately about the long-term roadmap for the product. Earlier this month, however, Judson Altoff, Executive Vice President of Microsoft's Worldwide Commercial Business, did provide a bit of color about what's happening with Azure Stack during an appearance at the Citi Global Technology Conference. Azure Stack comes in the form an appliance built to run on specific server hardware. It provides customers with many of the pieces of Microsoft's Azure public-cloud platform in a form they can run inside their own or partners' on-premises datacenters.
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If expectations pan out, Amazon and VMware will announce today a tie-up that will give Amazon a hybrid-cloud computing play (at long last). Perhaps not so coincidentally, Microsoft, which has been touting hybrid computing as a key differentiator for the company for years, is stepping up its hybrid-cloud rhetoric as of late. As far and fast as cloud computing is embedding itself into the enterprise, there remain many cloud-resistant applications and services. For years, Amazon officials referred to private cloud as the "false cloud," claiming that any and every workload should be in the public cloud. For just as long, Microsoft officials have made the case that users should be able to decide which of their workloads belonged on premises, in the public cloud and/or in some type of hybrid configuration.