Microsoft Ignite 2016 recap
Microsoft’s recently concluded Ignite 2016 conference brought a lot of new things, although not a lot of surprises. Windows Server 2016 reached RTM status (with expected GA in October), Azure DNS hit GA and new features (although not a new name) for OMS were announced. The big news was, perhaps, in confirmation of several fine-print details:
Windows Server 2016
Windows Server 2016 Nano will be available only to Software Assurance customers. This is due mainly to the fact that the team plans to iterate this product rapidly, and wants customers to follow suit, rather than waiting for “major” releases.
Azure Stack will be offered only as a “sealed OS” appliance, available as part of a hardware purchase from OEMs like HP and Dell. This is to ensure the stability of the highly complex platform. Architect Jeffrey Snover acknowledges that this approach means, “Azure Stack may not be suitable for every customer,” but insists that it’s necessary to keep the product stable and supportable.
Free Windows Server 2016 Datacenter licenses for VMware customers
During a promotional period in effect now, Microsoft will offer free Windows Server 2016 Datacenter licenses - including run-all-the-Windows-guests-you-want rights - to VMware customers who switch from vSphere to Hyper-V. Microsoft’s relatively less mature large-scale virtualization management tools are going to make that challenging for vSphere customers who rely on VMware’s more-mature vCenter family.
Re-org for Microsoft
Microsoft has also re-organized a bit, putting Windows Server into the main Windows OS team (which includes the Client OS), moving Windows PowerShell under the OMS team, and dedicating Jeffrey Snover to Azure Stack architecture. That last decision underscores the future import of Azure Stack as a major Microsoft solution - likely, in my opinion, starting to replace some of what System Center has done for us in the past.
Microsoft Ignite 2016 conclusion
Ignite also showed a renewed Microsoft commitment to working and playing well with others, including features specific to running Linux in Azure, supporting cross-platform management and so on. All in all, Ignite offered a good look at Microsoft’s near-term releases and roadmaps. If anything, the lack of a major surprise announcement points to a more transparent Microsoft that communicates these plans more continuously, rather than waiting for an annual keynote splash.