Microsoft Ignite 2021: Satya Nadella’s 5 ‘Key Attributes’ To Drive Cloud

At the virtual Ignite conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella presented his vision for what will ‘drive this next generation of innovation in the cloud.’

The Next Generation Of Cloud

As the recovery from the pandemic gets underway, the world “will require much more” from the cloud and will demand innovations from cloud computing to devices, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Tuesday. Speaking at the virtual Microsoft Ignite 2021 conference, Nadella outlined his vision for the five “key attributes” that will “drive this next generation of innovation in the cloud.”

“It’s time for us to reflect on how the cloud will change over the next decade, and the innovation [that] our changing world will require from the cloud,” Nadella said in his pre-recorded keynote address for Ignite 2021. “We will need to foundationally transform how cloud can drive the next level of broad economic growth that everyone can participate in.”

What follows are Nadella’s five key attributes to drive the next generation of cloud.

1. Ubiquitous And Decentralized Computing

“Every organization small or large, in every industry, in every country will require more ubiquitous and more decentralized compute power. We are going through a radical change in computing architecture--from the materials to semiconductors to the systems from the cloud to its edge. The result of all this will be continued, exponential growth in compute capacity. However, we are at peak centralization right now. As computing becomes embedded everywhere in our world--transforming how we interact with people, places and things--and as physical and digital worlds converge, we will require more sovereignty and decentralized control. Cloud and edge computing will evolve to meet all of these real-world needs.”

2. Sovereign Data And Ambient Intelligence

“The volume, variety and velocity of data will go through explosive growth in the cloud--and in particular at the edge, driving that decentralized architecture of compute I just talked about. In this world, data will be more private, more sovereign. Data governance and provenance will take on new importance. Large-scale, multimodal models will become first-class platforms unto themselves--creating that ambient intelligence all around us. We will develop new methods of federated machine learning to drive the next generation of personalized and yet privacy-preserving services. Business logic will move from being code that is written, to being code that is learned from data--creating a complete new generation of business process and productivity systems.

We will also see this new software tool approach being foundational to tackling these massive unsolved challenges, from personalized medicine to carbon recapture. In the AI we create using all this enormous power of the cloud, we will look for increasing levels of predictive and analytical power, common sense reasoning, alignment with human preferences--and perhaps most importantly, augmenting human capability.”

3. Empowered Creators And Communities Everywhere

“Our economy will find a new balance between consumption and creation. In the last decade, we saw several tech advances that drove more consumption--from browsing, [to] more shopping, more binge watching. And behind all of this is creation. We believe the next decade will require technology advances that radically democratize creation. We will need to expand access to skills, tools and platforms--as well as connections and collaboration across communities, so that everyone can create. Whether it’s building a virtual world, students working on an assignment with short-form videos, knowledge workers creating formulas in spreadsheets, pro developers writing code, or domain experts using low-code tools to build applications. This democratization of creation will drive new innovation in end-user computing.

Form and function of our devices will be reimagined across the stack--from silicon to the operating system to the experiences themselves. And these computing experiences will be further amplified by communities that learn from each other, build on each other and further amplify and accelerate creation.”

4. Expanded Economic Opportunity For The Global Workforce

“We need to create these continuous feedback loops between the work, skills, learning and credentials required--both for the jobs of today and tomorrow. We need to define productivity much more broadly--inclusive of collaboration, learning and wellbeing--to drive career advancement for every worker, including frontline and knowledge workers, as well as for new graduates, and those who are in the workforce today. All of this needs to be done with flexibility in when, where and how people work.”

5. Trust By Design

“Fundamentally, a technology provider should succeed only when it helps the world around it succeed. No one wants to build technology that rapidly scales, but breaks the world around us. And no customer wants to be dependent on a provider that sells them technology on one hand and competes with them on the other. We need to have ethical principles govern the design, development and deployment of AI. Our technology needs to be secure by design and promote zero-trust architectural principles. We need to build technology with the design intent to protect the fundamental rights of all people--including privacy--and strengthening these institutions we all depend on for our livelihoods and wellbeing. And we need tech advancements that protect our most finite resource--our planet.”

The Cloud Advantage

“Every organization will need to harness these five attributes to build their own digital tech intensity--so they can create proprietary technology required to generate durable, competitive advantage. They will need not only to adopt technology, but build their own technology. These cloud advances are what will enable every organization in every sector to create that broad economic surplus in every community, in every country--a cloud that helps small businesses become more productive, multinationals more competitive, nonprofits more effective, and governments more efficient. [A cloud] that improves health care and educational outcomes amplifies human ingenuity, and allows people everywhere to reach higher. This is what the Microsoft cloud delivers, and it underlies everything we will show you this week. The Microsoft cloud is built to accelerate your transformation today and going forward.”