Take Five With Tom Fenton

5 Questions I'd Like to See Answered at Ignite 2017

Microsoft's big show should provide clarity on these issues.

What makes Ignite a unique event is that it takes the best aspects of formerly independent conferences—Microsoft Management Summit, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project and TechEd—and brings it all together in one conference.

Ignite is a must-attend conference for IT professionals, as it covers the full spectrum of Microsoft products: Not only do you get the vision of Microsoft's future from speakers like Satya Nadella, Dona Sarkar and Mark Russinovich, but you also get hundreds of technical sessions that can immediately impact your company by providing you with ideas and tools to make your company's IT operations run more effectively.

What is Microsoft's container strategy for the future? Containers are hot in the datacenter, and Microsoft has shown support for a wide variety of container-centric technologies (for example, DC/OS, Docker, Rancher, Kubernetes). Microsoft teased us last year with the announcement of Docker on Windows, but I would really like to know how containers will fit in with Microsoft's overall strategy, and more about how Azure Container Service (ACS) fits into this strategy.

Once IT departments embrace containers (and they will), how will they secure them? This is closely related to the previous question, and I'm especially curious because just as was the case with virtualized servers, containers bring about new security challenges that must be addressed; in order to be production-ready, containers must be highly secure before they can be deployed.

What does the future of Microsoft's datacenter management tools look like? System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) and Microsoft's other management tools are starting to get long in the tooth. Yes, Microsoft did update and add some features in SCOM 2016, but I'm interested in finding out whether Microsoft plans to keep up a reasonable long-term level of development in its datacenter management tools. Or will the company instead put all its efforts into Operations Management Suite, which is its Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering?

Will Microsoft make the Software-Defined Datacenter a focus?
Software-Defined Storage (SDS) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN) are becoming staples in traditional datacenters, but Microsoft hasn't really been pushing its own SDS and SDN products. With SDN and SDS being supported in Windows Server 2016, I'm curious whether Microsoft will give these two technologies the attention they deserve, or if it will let others take the leadership in these two categories.

Does Microsoft still care about on-premises OSes? Yes, of course it does, but with all its focus on Azure, I want to know what it's doing to improve its on-premises OSes and hypervisor, which a majority of its customers are still depending on and will continue to depend on until they transition to public cloud-based technologies. In July, Microsoft had a major restructuring that affected its traditional software groups, and I'll be looking to find out how this new direction will "Ignite" its customer base.

About the Author

Tom Fenton has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 30 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 20 years focusing on virtualization and storage. He previously worked as a Technical Marketing Manager for ControlUp. He also previously worked at VMware in Staff and Senior level positions. He has also worked as a Senior Validation Engineer with The Taneja Group, where he headed the Validation Service Lab and was instrumental in starting up its vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He's on X @vDoppler.


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