Microsoft Heros 2008 Launch Event

Today I attended Microsoft’s launch event for Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008 held at Georgia’s International Convention Center in College Park. This event was completely sold out with thousands in attendance. It makes me realize just how large and dominant Microsoft really is. The keynote kicked things off in the morning. Followed up by breakout sessions on all three of the new products. I was excited to find the giveaway was free production copies of Windows Server 2008, Vista Ulitimate, and Visual Studio 2008…very cool. I also snagged a free video training DVD for Windows Server 2008 that should help me through the install. The big news on Windows Server 2008 is virtualization and a smaller attack surface…and built-in support for PHP…I suppose to make it easier to migrate from Linux to Windows. Visual Studio just keeps getting better…IMHO the best IDE on the market. (I’ve even heard James Gosling, father of Java, practically say this before). One nice new feature of 2008 is a split window when editing pages so the rendered view is available in one window while code is seen in the other. Now to see if Windows Server 2008 will even install on my old Dell (pre 2003) servers *sigh*

Clouds on the Horizon

Clouds aren’t always a bad thing as often they bring a much needed resource to a thirsty environment. Today I attended the Tour de force roadshow by Salesforce.com, an all day event focused on their new “on demand” cloud (PaaS) solution Force.com. Force.com is a high end version of the new cloud application builders like Quickbase, DabbleDB, Google App Engine, and Coghead where the entire application runs on hosted services and is accessed completely inside your browser thus eliminating the cost of buying and maintaining on-premise technology stacks like servers, databases, etc.

I like the Force.com byline of “Innovation not infrastructure” which makes alot of sense nowadays in this world of “always on” network computing. One issue I’m always hearing with regard to the cloud model is that of data security. “How can I trust someone else to keep my data secure?” Salesforce addressed this concern extensively citing customers in financial and healthcare industries using force.com (which is SAS 70 certified).

I’m always struck by the large numbers of people drawn to these Salesforce events. They are always packed. As usual for a Salesforce event this one was first class. Held at the downtown Hyatt they provided real force.com development books for each attendee…hands on labs….partner booths….keynote…and three different breakout tracks (1) force.com basics, (2) apex language programming for experienced force.com developers, and (3) SaaS startups based on the force.com platform. This 3rd track for startups was of particular interest. They paraded several startup software companies across stage with testimonials of bringing new products to market in record time (months not years) with little risk all based on the Force.com platform. Innovation not Infrastructure.

And I can’t forget to mention the nice lunch and post event reception with free drinks and yummy hors d’oeuvres.