Ignite 2017: This Year’s Top Session Picks

Microsoft Ignite is coming up fast — the flagship event kicks off Sept. 25 in Orlando, Florida and I’m looking forward to joining the more than 25,000 Microsoft users, partners, experts and fans expected to attend this year.

This will be the third time Ignite is a combination of TechEd, Microsoft Exchange Conference, SharePoint Conference, Convergence and Project Conference (as well as some others). Given that span of technology, you can imagine how much content will be covered, spread out across two Orange County Convention Center buildings.

(A quick weather update: In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Microsoft has worked closely with the Orange County Convention Center, hotel venues, the City of Orlando and other local entities to ensure attendees’ safety during the event.)

Since the conference will likely be the largest Ignite to date, I’ve listed some of my top session picks below to help you navigate the more than 1,500 options in this year’s catalog. My focus is mainly on Azure, Identity, Office365/SharePoint/OneDrive and Business Intelligence, but there are certainly other sessions for a wide array of Microsoft products that will all prove valuable. Here’s my list:

Office 365, SharePoint and OneDrive:

Accelerate your digital transformation with SharePoint and OneDrive

Dan Holme, Jeff Teper, Omar Shahine; session code BRK2184

Microsoft Corporate Vice President Jeff Teper, Office, SharePoint and OneDrive, shares the latest innovations and roadmap for content management and collaboration as well as how customers are creating more connected workplaces leveraging Office 365, Windows and Microsoft Azure.

Support data residency in global organizations with multi-geo support for SharePoint and OneDrive

Sesha Mani, Bill Baer; session code BRK3236

One of the key strengths of SharePoint and Microsoft OneDrive it that they can ensure your data resides in multiple locations, providing resilience and the ability to serve data to partners, customers, and employees wherever they happen to be. This session will introduce new multi-geo capabilities that allow users to meet their data sovereignty needs and ensure compliance with residency requirements.

Learn from MVPs: Panel discussion on all things SharePoint and OneDrive 

Alistair Pugin, Spencer Harbar, Laura Rogers, Wictor Wilen; session code BRK2247

SharePoint MVPs talk about Microsoft SharePoint and OneDrive across the board, be it within Office 365, Microsoft Azure, on-premises or in a hybrid deployment. This session is designed to help technology decision-makers find the right cloud formula to deploy based on practical business and technical considerations.


Datacenter transformation — a roadmap for platforms, processes, and people

Jeffrey Snover; session code BRK3378

To effectively manage cloud-born assets, it’s key to understand how application architectures are evolving through innovations in the cloud. Learn about ways IT practitioners can stay ahead of a rapidly changing ecosystem. Join Jeffrey Snover, Technical Fellow, to understand how you can innovate and drive business results faster using Microsoft Azure.

Azure Compute: New features and roadmap

Corey Sanders; session code BRK3085

This will be a demo-heavy session for everyone working with or considering their strategy for the cloud. Learn about some of the newest features and upcoming capabilities in the Azure Compute platform. The session will also feature some new sizes experiences new integration technology available during Microsoft Ignite or coming soon across VMs, Azure Service Fabric, Azure Container Service, Azure Functions and more.

Azure security and management for hybrid environments 

Jeremy Winter; session code BRK2405

This session will look at how Azure security and management services can help you address the challenges of securing and managing resources across hybrid environments without any secondary tools. Jeremy Winter, Partner Director in Azure Security and Operations Management will share the new and upcoming technologies to secure and manage your workloads wherever they are.


What’s new in Azure Active Directory Domain Services 

Mahesh Unnikrishnan; session code BRK3295

See what’s new in Azure AD Domain Services and explore how you can leverage this service to secure your Azure virtual machines.

Modernize your customer identity management with Azure Active Directory B2C

Saeed Akhter; session code BRK2276

This session will provide information about Azure AD B2C, an enterprise-grade customer identity and access management service, and the ways it can allow you to easily secure your consumer-facing (or citizen-facing) web and mobile applications.

Understanding hybrid identity, authentication, and authorization with Microsoft Azure Stack

Shriram Natarajan; session code BRK4011

A discussion on hybrid identity and ways applications can authenticate consistently with Microsoft Azure and Azure Stack. This session will cover APIs and methods to connect to an Azure instance regardless of the data center it’s running in.

Business Intelligence:

Self-service BI and enterprise reporting on-premises with Power BI Report Server

Chris Finlan; session code BRK2156

This session will cover Microsoft Power BI Report Server, which offers self-service analytics and enterprise reporting as an on-premises solution. The talk will include an overview of this powerful tool, as well as demos of its features in action.

Keeping your on-premises data up to date with the on-premises data gateway 

Miguel Llopis, Robert Bruckner; session code BRK3118

This session covers the on-premises gateways and ways you can keep your data fresh by connecting to your on-premises data sources without the need to move the data. Query large datasets and benefit from your existing investments. The gateways provide the flexibility you need to meet individual needs and the needs of your organization.

Enterprise BI deployments and governance with the Microsoft Power BI service 

Sirui Sun, Nikhil Gaekwad; session code BRK3112

Learn about tools for developing, publishing, and managing your BI assets. This session will cover the data gateway, managing report lifecycle, publishing options, administration and governance controls, and end-user capabilities across devices and platforms.

Bonus pick:

PowerShell Unplugged with Jeffrey Snover and Don Jones 

Jeffrey Snover, Don Jones; session code BRK3128

Join Jeffrey Snover, the inventor of PowerShell, and Don Jones for their annual PowerShell update. Their discussion covers the latest and greatest PowerShell features which can help you automate and manage the hybrid cloud. The focus of this year’s talk will be the PowerShell community, and how it’s embracing open-source and transformative change.

That covers my top picks. Don’t forget the list of sessions being led by Rackspace Microsoft experts Jeff DeVerter, Bill Hall and myself. Looking forward to a great Ignite – I hope to see you there!

Jason Himmelstein is a Microsoft MVP & the Director of Technical Strategy & Strategic Alliances for Rackspace. With more than 20 years of experience working with Microsoft and related technologies and a strong passion for technology, Jason has spent the past 11 years dedicated to SharePoint & Office 365. Jason has successfully architected solutions for customers of all sizes and maintains an active speaking schedule, addressing conferences around the world. He also is an organizers/advisor of multiple Users Groups and SharePoint Saturdays, co-host of the BIFocal.show podcast, and has served as the SharePoint/Office 365 Track Chair for several national conferences.


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