I recently returned from a two week trip across Europe where I attended Microsoft's Enterprise Partner Summit (EPS) as well as met with various people from EMC and Microsoft including the Microsoft Technology Centers in Paris & Thames Valley and the Microsoft Cloud and Interoperability Center in Brussels. One thing that was consistent throughout this roadtrip is that Microsoft is excited about 2012 including the upcoming release of SQL Server 2012 and a little later in the year their release of System Center 2012 and then Windows 8 which will include Hyper 3.0.
Just SQL Server and System Center would make for a big year, add in Windows 8 and all of the enhancements to Hyper-V including advanced scalability, performance and virtual networking and it has the makings of a HUGE year for Microsoft.
At EPS, the message was clear. Microsoft is positioning themselves to be the premier cloud provider both in the private cloud and public cloud. A significant advantage for Microsoft is a common set of technologies that will connect the private and public cloud including Windows, Hyper-V, Active Directory and common development tools so end users can easily transition between a private cloud to a public cloud and back on premise again without a major forklift or "rip & replace" migration process. System Center 2012 will be a key piece of this technology bridge as well as introduce new features such as App Controller which will provide application monitoring across clouds.
Another focus point of EPS was the Consumerization of IT and the explosion of devices that users access on a daily basis. More and more users are bringing personal devices such as phones, tablets and iPads into work and expecting to use them in the office place while also accessing business files, emails and programs on personal devices when not in the office. Managing all of these devices, providing access to business information through all of these devices all while ensuring security has become a major challenge for many IT organizations! Again, this is an area that System Center 2012 will address.
So what were some key takeaways from all of this? While Hyper-V has continued to gain market share in the US, it is even more popular in areas throughout EMEA. For Microsoft, they will improve on the features and scalability of Hyper-V when Windows 8 is released but their real focus is on improving management through System Center 2012. System Center 2012 is looking like the real deal. Not only will it help manage private and public cloud environments while continuing to provide application and system management for physical datacenters but it will also extend out to additional handheld devices such as phones (not just Windows) and tablets including iPads.
It may be a little early to be thinking about 2012 but it's hard not to get excited if you're Microsoft!