Today was our last day at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) where 15,000+ people joined up for business sessions, networking, exhibits, heat, humidity, Lenny Kravitz and fantastic Houston Texas hospitality. As a first time sponsor we thought we would share our views from the conference.
Steve Ballmer opened the conference talking about the Microsoft transformation to a devices-and-services company and the four trends underpinning that transformation – cloud, mobility, big data and enterprise social. The WPC was organized around these four core pillars, described as the key areas that have the most customer acquisition and retention impact, and the largest opportunities for partners in the current marketplace.
Hortonworks exhibited in the Big Data area, and while that term – to many of us that are entrenched in it – means Hadoop, it’s good to step back and remember that Big Data encompasses a much larger scope that includes all data stores and solutions that support them. As the only vendor providing an Apache Hadoop distribution that runs on Windows – HDP for Windows – we were naturally the only Hadoop vendor exhibiting. Big Data is a core pillar for Microsoft, but Big Data itself is connected to other pillars, and Hadoop is instrumental there too from the importance of big data in the Cloud with Azure through the Microsoft HDInsight Service (which is built on HDP), the storing and processing of social data, and the data coming from all the mobile devices. Hadoop plays in all these areas, we had the opportunity to talk with many people on what Hadoop is, and what value it can provide.
While some (okay many) partners attending and exhibiting at WPC have not dipped their toe into the Hadoop market, and yes, we were asked “what’s HAY-doop” everyone recognized the trend toward the volumes of new types of data that their customers are trying to deal with.
But Big Data, and Hadoop, and Hortonworks are central to Microsoft strategy and Kevin Turner, Microsoft COO, in his day three keynote, emphasized that partners needed to jump on the opportunity and to “…get on board the big data train… transform your company into the new world… All in with Big Data, Hadoop and Hortonworks….”
In the keynotes, Microsoft emphasized the business value of Big Data and Hadoop, and consequently we had people coming by to learn more and even stopped us in the hall when they saw our Hortonworks shirts to ask questions.
In another keynote Microsoft’s Server & Tool (STB) Business President Satya Nadella talked about cloud meeting big data with the launch of Power BI for Office 365, a new self-service business intelligence (BI) solution delivered through Excel and Office 365. It provides data analysis and visualization capabilities to enable business insights from on-premises and cloud data. To complement existing Excel capabilities Microsoft also introduced Power Query and Power Map (these were project codenames Data Explorer and GeoFlow).
“These new tools not only make it easy to connect to traditional structured data, but also allows business users to easily connect to a Hadoop cluster in a company’s data center or to Windows Azure HDInsight in the cloud.”
Another announcement was CityNext, a global initiative empowering cities and businesses with citywide solutions for mobility, social, big data, and cloud. Through big data and analytics, city leaders can gain vital real-time insights from multiple streams, such as traffic cameras, social media and other public channels, to make more accurate decisions, achieve greater efficiencies and respond faster in emergency situations. CityNext enables cities to fully harness this new era of innovation with a people-first strategy. Read more on the Technet Blog.
The party was fantastic with food, beer, wine and margaritas listening to Lenny Kravitz – sorry no big data tie-in here, just a good time!