15 Scenes From Microsoft TechEd 2011

Microsoft TechEd: Georgia On My Mind

This year's Microsoft TechEd North America was held at the sprawling Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta. The five-day affair provided more than 10,000 attendees with a peek at Microsoft's plans for such products as Windows Phone 7, System Center and Visual Studio, among others.

Attendees had to pace themselves: The conference offered 250-plus hands-on labs and more than 600 sessions ranging from such high-level offerings as "Adapt or Perish: How 2012 Will Change IT Architecture" to the more nuts-and-bolts "HTML5 and CSS3 Techniques You Can Use Today."

Checking in

Gotta get registered, then pick up those show materials and the freebie backpack.

It's All About The Cloud

Robert Wahbe, corporate vice president of server and tools marketing, delivered the conference's opening keynote in which Microsoft's cloud computing efforts were the focus.

"Over time, we think most of your workloads will run in the context of cloud computing," Wahbe told the attendees. More immediately, he said, businesses will develop cloud extensions to existing applications and use cloud computing to handle workloads with large volumes of data or high-performance computing requirements. Some specific applications, including content distribution and marketing campaigns, will migrate to the cloud more quickly.

"We are investing heavily in technology for all these scenarios," Wahbe said.

Microsoft Calling

Senior product manager Augusto Valdez demonstrated some of the new capabilities in the next major release of Windows Phone, code-named "Mango," that's due out later this year. "Every single Windows Phone 7 [device] available today in the market is going to be updatable to this new release," Valdez said.

The mobile OS will offer links to Microsoft's upcoming Office 365 cloud application suite and will support Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft's latest-generation browser.

A Glitch In The System

The Glitch Mob provided techno music as attendees filed into the main hall for the keynotes and again following the speeches.

Preaching The Ways Of Systems Management

Senior technical evangelist Joey Snow gave attendees a look at the new management tools in System Center 2012, all of which are slated to be generally available by the end of this year.

A highlight is a new management tool code-named "Concero" that will provide a way to oversee both on-premise and cloud-based IT systems using a single portal.

This Developing News...

Visual Studio 2010 shipped just over a year ago and Jason Zander, corporate vice president, Visual Studio, said in his keynote that it's "the fastest-adopted version of Visual Studio we've ever had."

Zander also touted the capabilities of Visual Studio LightSwitch, an integrated development environment for creating line-of-business applications on existing .NET technologies and Microsoft platforms. Microsoft has shipped two beta releases of LightSwitch, and Zander said the company is "getting right in there close to the end and getting ready to ship" the new toolset.

And Zander gave a preview of the next version of Visual Studio, cleverly called "vNext," with advanced application lifecycle management capabilities, more sophisticated ways of obtaining business requirements for development projects, and better ways for development teams to communicate and collaborate.


These escalators were often a bottleneck as attendees made their way from the section of the Georgia World Conference Center where breakfast was served and the keynotes were held, to the section with the exhibition show and most of the workshops and sessions. With most attendees carrying the same gray "TechEd 2011" backpack, it looked like some strange army of programmers heading off to battle.

TechEd North America 2012 will be held in Orlando in June.

The Microsoft Ecosystem

Approximately 175 hardware, software and service vendors that do business within the Microsoft universe were showing off their Microsoft-related products. While Microsoft's own product demonstration pedestals occupied a big piece of the exhibition show floor, other industry heavyweights like Dell, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and NetApp were present.

Maxed-Out Mini

EMC's booth included this Mini Cooper crammed to the roof with stuffed animals – an apparent metaphor for the current state of data storage systems at many businesses. The company was making a pitch for its VNX Unified Storage systems.

Fast Company

AvePoint, a Microsoft ISV partner and developer of infrastructure management software for Microsoft SharePoint, was giving away this sleek Ducati Monster 796 motorcycle in a drawing on the show floor.

A Slice Of (TechEd) Life

A reception was held on the exhibition show floor on Monday evening following the first full day of TechEd. The pizza, heated up in portable ovens and served to the hungry hordes, was easily the most popular item.


SharePoint 2010 is a hot product, judging by the stacks of SharePoint-related books and publications for sale in the conference store and bookstore.

Now That's Just Mean

This was among the T-shirts for sale in the conference store.

Performing On Cue

Microsoft Gold Partner Grape City PowerTools had a pool table in its booth with this pool shark performing some pretty impressive trick shots. Grape City develops applications and software components, including reporting and business intelligence software, for use with Microsoft's .NET-based systems.