Monday, October 27, 2008

LIVE from PDC 2008 Keynote

It's finally here! After being cancelled last year, Microsoft has put together a PDC show that promises to make-up for lost time. With some people calling the new technology that Microsoft is introducing this week as big as .NET was back in 2000, there is no question that the developer excitement at this event is high. So sit back and get ready for a week's worth of live PDC coverage, starting with today's keynote. We're settled-in with the 6500 other PDC attendees and they're getting ready to start the show. Enjoy the coverage and stay tuned for more updates as the week goes on!

8:33 AM: People are still streaming-in. They've announced that we're about start. Some very bland electronic music playing- no Guerillas here.

8:37: Here we go! Ray Ozzie is on stage to get things kicked-off. Talking about how transformational the tech Microsoft is introducing is going to be. And now thanking us for being here, blah, blah...

8:39: Ray is trying to relate with the audience. Talking about how he used to be "one of us." Making the case for choosing Microsoft. Essentially, an elegant way of saying "no one ever got fired for picking Microsoft." Covering all of the things MS has done over the years in response to new tech/platforms (i.e. devices, mobile, etc.) and building the case for how MS is going to do it again for the era of services. Very clear the key message for PDC is going to be Software + Services (with heavy emphasis on services).

8:44: Ray is painting the picture for how the web has become central to business (foundation for buying in to services and the cloud). Trying to suggest that in today's global, connected environment, it's just too expensive (for many companies) to build the infrastructure they need. Main point: the cloud is a significantly new approach to infrastructure and is not some trendy term being assigned to the way things are already being done today.

8:50: Now saying MS has accumulated lots of experience and expertise in building and managing services in supporting their own global business. Point is to suggest even though MS is new to providing "external IT" services to devs, they're not new to managing them.

8:53: Wow! A keynote mention and nod to Jeff Bezos and Amazon for their cloud services. Ozzie says MS and others will be standing on Amazon's shoulders as they move in to cloud services.

8:54: And the first "announcement"! Windows Azure. A new cloud OS, i.e. Windows in the cloud. Tepid reaction from the crowd. I think people didn't know how to react.

8:55: Azure will be like Windows in the sense that MS will treat it like a platform and embrace 3rd party development on top of it. Ray just suggested the groundwork being laid for cloud computing today is going to set the stage for the "next 50 years" of software development.

8:57: You do not run Azure on your own PC/servers. Runs in MS datacenters (it's a service). Being released today as a CTP. Looking for feedback to buildout service features going forward. Ozzie says Azure will be the "highest availability" and most "globally friendly" version of Windows.

9:00: The Azure Services Platform is made-up of Live, .NET, SQL, SharePoint, and Dynamics CRM Services, all built on top of Azure. New .NET logo, by the way! Looks like a blue wave or spiral, or something abstract like that.

9:02: Demo time. Amistad (something incredibly hard to say and spell) from MS is now on stage to go in to more details about how Azure works. People are cracking-up at his bright red shoes.

9:07: Amistad (sp?) is still covering Azure detail. Too much detail for a keynote if you ask me. He's also just reading his cue cards- not very well prepared to be a keynote speaker (at least that's the what it sounds like).

9:08: So, while Amistad is still covering the ins and outs of how MS has built a network capable of delivering the Azure service, let me make a programming note and mention that I'm low on laptop batt (forgot to charge last night after the PDC parties). So if live updates stop, fear not. I'll keep writing and post the updates as soon as we get back to the booth. Now back to listening to Azure details...

9:11: Okay, now a demo! Stephen (something) from MS is on the stage and is showing us a "Hello World" app for the cloud. It's an ASP.NET app that he's going to run on the cloud.

9:13: There will be a "offline" replication of the cloud that can run locally on your dev boxes for testing/debugging (with all services available in the cloud). Enables familiar VS debug experience. When ready to publish, you "Publish" in VS (creates some meta data and a code package) and then deploy via a "Development Portal" MS website. for a live demo.

9:16: Jonathan Greensted is now on stage to how off a new app his company has built running on Windows Azure: It's a Silverlight app that enables you to track people via bluetooth (I think). It's not clear yet how they're using Azure.

9:19: Okay- a web service layer is running on Azure that all Bluehoo clients communicate with. Showing us how easy it is to scale service. Just "upgraded" Bluehoo from 2 instances to 20 via a simple configuration file change. Says that's all they need to do to handle the PDC load that's about hit (we'll see)! You can download Bluehoo later today.

9:22: Amistad (I know that's not his name) is now back on stage. Summarizing Azure and wrapping up his segment.

9:24: Bob Muglia (from MS) has taken the stage to talk about the Services stack on top of Azure. Starting with another history lesson of computing...

9:28: Okay folks- hit the battery wall. Check back soon for more updates. I promise I'll get a full charge for the next keynote!

12:05 PM: Recharged, so let me fill you in on the last portion of the keynote (you really didn't miss much):

  • Shawn Davison, VP at Red Prairie, demoed a new Contoso app that was running on Azure and consuming Microsoft Workflow Services. The demo was okay, but not particularly impressive for a keynote.
  • Microsoft made it clear they're EYODF (Eat Your Own Dog Food) with their new services offering. Showed a demo of a new version of System Center (codenamed "Atlanta") using some of the MS services. You can see a live demo at
  • More MS guys going on and on- Oslo was only mentioned in passing. Someone compared the significance of the launch of Azure to the launch of Windows NT in 1992.
  • Key theme of Software + Services is "Power of Choice"
Really, it wasn't a great keynote. Many of the MS speakers were reading directly off of the teleprompters (literally waiting for their next line before talking) and overall there wasn't much energy in the keynote presentations. A bit of a slow way to start the big PDC week. Tomorrow's keynote should be better, though, with ScottGu and Steven Sinofsky taking the stage to (presumably) talk .NET 4 and Windows 7 (among other topics). Keep it tuned here for the live coverage.


Unknown said...


Where's live blogging for 2nd Day ...? You yesterday's blogging was good. I thought you'll be doing it for today also.