Microsoft Ignite 2019, Orlando

It was another successful conference at Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando last week. The scale has somewhat changed since my last Ignite visit in 2011, the Orlando Convention centre is enormous, and it needed to be hosting ~30,000 attendees. Satya Nadella’s opening Keynote focussed on Tech Intensity at a Global Level across these key areas:

  • Microsoft 365
  • Dynamics 365
  • Power Platform
  • Developer Tools
  • Trust
  • Azure

With over ~1700 Ignite sessions to choose from it was a busy week ending with a conference party evening hosted in Universal Studios exclusively for Ignite Attendees, superb!

As ever the event was full of technical sessions and included an expo hall where I had the opportunity to target some of my product related questions directly to the engineering teams. I’ve listed some of my key take away’s from the event including answers to my product related questions below.

Microsoft Endpoint Manager

  • This rebrand encompasses the convergence of Intune and SCCM aimed at bringing together all endpoints through a single management plane
  • Intune Device Firmware Configuration Interface (DFCI) is now in public preview providing the ability to remotely configure device firmware
  • Microsoft Security Baselines for Edge and Office will be made GA 2020 H1

Azure Arc

  • This is the new control plane for multi-cloud, multi-edge
  • Provides management functionality for Azure Stack appliances which extend your Azure environment on-premise

Azure Synapse (Data Layer)

  • This is a service which brings together Data Lake and Big Data solutions and can deliver quite advanced predictive analytical capabilities

Project Silica

  • This is an impressive femtosecond laser etched glass storage solution which will be used by Warner Brothers to satisfy their requirement for storing mass amounts of media data

Power Platform

  • This marks the introduction of Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) and Power Virtual Agents
  • I attended a few sessions on this throughout the week and the chat bot capabilities provided by Power Virtual Agents provides an interesting solution to optimise some of the repetitive tasks undertaken within an organisation without the need to write code
  • This product also provides a wizard that can automate processes executed by legacy Win32 apps!

Teams

  • There was a lot of focus on Microsoft Teams this week through Satya’s keynote, extensive workshops, in-depth sessions, and a wide range of Microsoft Partner demonstrations in the Expo hall
  • Microsoft Teams Content cameras are now available which make people translucent so the so meeting participants can always see the content of the whiteboard
  • Private Channels are now GA
  • Proximity Join capabilities will be introduced for Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTR) through “Bluetooth Beaconing”
  • Direct Guest Join for 3rd Party meetings will be introduced in 2020 H1 to enable Teams meeting interoperability with Cisco WebEx and Zoom clients
  • In 2020 H2 Microsoft will release a Device Management console within the Teams Management portal. This will list all shared office spaces, the equipment within those spaces and their health status
    • Users will have the ability to reset MTR devices
    • This technology will also assist in understanding how shared spaces are used by users based on their usage activity
    • This console will provide the ability to audit changes made to shared space equipment
    • Eventually this functionality will be integrated into the Microsoft Endpoint Management tool (MEM)
  • Support for emergency dial features on Teams phone lock screens will be made available in 2020 Q1
  • Automatic pairing and unlocking (sign-in) of Teams phones from the Desktop App will be introduced in 2020 Q1
  • Advanced collaboration features where you can share content from your Desktop Teams app and use a Teams phone for voice will be introduced 2020 Q2.

Project Cortex

  • This is an AI initiative to provide Data insights into Teams channels by creating a knowledge network based on relationships among topics, content, and people
  • Known topics identified within Teams conversations are automatically highlighted and when clicked open knowledge centre pages showing an aggregation of related content

Microsoft Edge (Chromium)

  • Edge Chromium will be in GA January 2020.
  • A significant announcement was the new Microsoft Edge includes Internet Explorer mode and Microsoft have committed to fix legacy IE application issues in Edge Chromium for free!
  • Increased security capabilities simplified into 3 security lockdown modes; Basic, Balanced and Strict
  • A new InPrivate mode across your entire web experience, so your online searches and browsing are not attributed to you
  • Bing search through Edge Chromium will provide unified search results from Internet and Intranet content

Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD)

  • It was great to see a sneak peak of the WVD User Interface scheduled to be available before the end of the year
  • Although this interface will be limited to managing host pools and User access I am pleased to see Group based user management included

MSI-X App attach

  • This will significantly enhance WVD capabilities enabling applications to be layered dynamically onto the virtual Desktop through FSLogix
  • Microsoft intends on integrating MSIX App Attach into the WVD portal
  • MSIX App Attach capabilities will be built natively into the OS which will be GA 2020 H1

Office 365 Groups

  • An “Access package” can be created per business unit role which provides a method of consolidating all Office 365 Group memberships. This will create an Access Portal link URL which can be emailed to employees or provided through a SharePoint Site
  • This can be used to accelerate the process of onboarding new users

Azure B2C

  • Identity Protection and Conditional Access will be made available in 2020 H1 as premium features

Azure File Shares

  • A new Azure File Shares tiering system will be introduced to enable the storage Tier to be changed dynamically without downtime
  • Hybrid AD domain join file share support will remove the need for AADS which will be GA 2020 H1
  • NFS 4.1 Support for Azure File Shares (currently in Preview)
    • This enables File Share mounting on Linux

Product Centric Q&A

  1. Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD)
    • When will Shadowing be introduced into the WVD Portal?
      • This is on the roadmap scheduled for April 2020
    • When will Auto Scale functionality be introduced into the WVD Portal?
      • This is on the roadmap scheduled for April 2020
    • When will B2B capabilities be added to WVD?
      • This is currently a backlog item and not featured on the product roadmap
    • When will we be able to perform native Intune Management for WVD?
      • This is on the roadmap scheduled for 2020 H1
    • When can we join WVD desktops natively to Azure AD?
      • This is on the roadmap scheduled for 2020 H1 
  2. When will native remote control functionality be introduced into Intune (now Windows Endpoint Manager)?
    • This is on the roadmap for 2020
  3. When will self-service password Reset be able to be subjected to Conditional Access policies?
    • This is currently a backlog item and not featured on the product roadmap
  4. When will we be able to assign Privileged Identity Management (PIM) roles to Azure AD Groups?
    • PIM Group based role assignment is currently available in private preview
  5. When will Teams and Skype (Consumer) integration become available?
    • This functionality will become available in December 2020.
  6. When will Azure Files support Conditional Access?
    • At present Microsoft are focussing on direct storage functionality and performance and Conditional Access support is on the backlog potentially as late as 2021