Microsoft Ignite 2018 delivered the same thrilling and informative five-day experience IT professionals have come to expect from this premier tech event… including important announcements that could impact many customers. WWT spotlights four technology developments we were watching at Ignite.

Four tech developments from Microsoft Ignite

For every enterprise IT professional with an eye toward looming end-of-life software support dates, 2018’s Microsoft Ignite shaped up to be a pivotal, must-attend technology event. A team from WWT was on hand, along with our top technology partners, including Ignite co-sponsors Cisco, Dell/EMC, Intel and NetApp.

This heavily attended conference is where Microsoft often announces important technology developments that could profoundly impact how we help our customers remain competitive and secure in an age of rapid business transformation. With more than 700 deep dive sessions, 100 expert-led trainings and countless demos, Ignite is always a mind-expanding five days of revelation and wonder.

Right now we’d like to spotlight four of the top technology innovations and announcements that were eagerly anticipated.

More creative collaboration with Microsoft Surface Hub 2

One product that was sure to garner attention at Ignite is Microsoft’s latest version of its Surface Hub 2 display device. In May Microsoft announced an impressive new design for Surface Hub 2, featuring improved integration with other Microsoft collaboration and productivity tools, including Windows 10, Office 365, Microsoft Whiteboard, and Microsoft Teams – all backed by the intelligent cloud.

It’s more than just another smart board or interactive whiteboard: Surface Hub 2 is optimized for your organization’s team members to connect and collaborate regardless of their location. And, multiple Surface Hubs can be paired to create a larger, interactive 4K+ display.

“We see a transformation happening, starting with Meetings and Teamwork,” said Derrick Monahan, WWT’s Unified Communications Practice Manager. “Our work styles and activities are changing. WWT helps customers create workspace experiences that are easily aligned to the activities being performed. Being able to move from one modality to another without thinking about the device is critical. In our Advanced Technology Center (ATC) we can show a powerful, seamless experience across the O365 ecosystem, leveraging apps like Teams, OneDrive, or OneNote within the Surface Hub.”

WWT’s Collaboration Practice offers demonstrations and workshops right here on our technology campus for interested customers to get hands-on experience with Surface Hub and learn the full potential of this powerful team co-creation tool.

A full-featured solution suite: Microsoft 365

Microsoft extended support for Windows 7 until January 2020, giving organizations the time they need to plan their migration to a new, integrated productivity suite: Microsoft 365. This complete, intelligent solution package brings together Windows 10, Office 365, and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS). Developed for simplicity and ease of use, Microsoft 365 delivers flexible device management, integrated administration tools, and built-in compliance solutions.

Ignite attendees saw and heard much more about Microsoft 365 in multiple conference sessions. In addition, WWT can show you the proprietary, award-winning CPMigrator tool we use to help customers migrate successfully to the integrated components of Microsoft 365.

Artificial intelligence comes of age

No longer limited to the realm of futurists, artificial intelligence (AI) exists squarely in the here and now, a critical feature in the technologies we’re already selling and using today. As expected, you could see AI just about everywhere at Microsoft Ignite.

One example of AI’s growing presence: artificial intelligence is baked into Microsoft 365, at work in security tools to recognize certain patterns in documents that might indicate the attempted theft of classified data. It’s an enabling technology in cloud service offerings and quantum computing capabilities. AI can even help Microsoft determine the most appropriate times to push out Windows 10 software updates so as not to impact user productivity.

Looking ahead to SQL Server/Windows Server 2019

At Ignite 2018, conference attendees received some updates about the general release plans for Windows Server 2019, as well as what’s next for SQL Server 2017. At the same time, Microsoft also reminded people about the forthcoming end-of-life dates for a pair of legacy server products:

  • Extended support for the highly deployed SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 ends on July 19, 2019.
  • Support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 ends on Jan. 14, 2020.

These EOL dates are especially important if you work in one of the countless organizations still relying on aging infrastructures – you’re about to lose access to regular security updates, in an age when the need for modern security safeguards has never been more vital. Given the lead time necessary for planning a smooth migration from legacy systems, now is the time to start embracing data center modernization.

By upgrading to modern data center solutions optimized for the Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor, businesses can position themselves for the future while deriving significant benefits immediately. WWT can demonstrate those infrastructure solutions for you in our Advanced Technology Center and advise you on a go-to-market strategy that sets a clear path to greater security, performance and flexibility. Bring your IT challenges to us and we’ll help you navigate the migration process.

Let’s continue the conversation at Microsoft Ignite

This is just a sampling of the exciting information coming from the Microsoft Ignite event. To learn more about data center infrastructure modernization, including the Azure Stack hybrid cloud solution, WWT encourages you to visit us anytime in our Advanced Technology Center – we’d love to talk to you.

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