This week, I was fortunate to attend Microsoft's SharePoint Conference (SPC) in Anaheim, CA, and to meet and learn from some of the most talented SharePoint people in the world. I’m summarizing some key take-aways from the conference via a series of blog articles.
Perhaps I’ve been jaded by 5 Worldwide Partner Conferences and other events such as Convergence and past SharePoint Conferences, but I wake up early to get to keynotes in order to hear the words “We are pleased to announce…” followed by a momentous announcement. As Microsoft was disinclined to discuss the next version of Office and SharePoint, there were few momentous announcements in the keynotes, and most attendees I spoke to said the same.
These keynotes were generally celebratory in tone, including such data points as:
- 125 million licenses of SharePoint in use at over 65,000 customers
- 67% of all enterprise customers have rolled out SharePoint to everyone in their enterprise
For me, the highlight of the keynote, however, was a demo of the failover capabilities of the newest version of SQL Server, code-named “Denali,” which entailed a helpful assistant taking down a server (literally unplugging the network cable from a giant rack of servers/storage on-stage, pictured here with my colleague Deanne), then watching an enormous SharePoint 2010 content database running on Denali under an enormous workload (7,500 concurrent users, a 14 TB content database, 107 million records in search results) recover from this total failover in about 40 seconds – a remarkable feat of high availability.
The rest of the keynote was organized around three main themes:
Re-defining collaboration: It’s not too hard to argue that the prevalence of SharePoint in many organizations has changed the way workers collaborate over the last ten years, and a nod was given to the future in the form of a discussion about self-service business intelligence redefining and democratizing BI in the same way (data in SQL, presentation via SharePoint, analysis in Excel).
A rich ecosystem: The explosion of SharePoint adoption has been a boon to many system integrator and ISV partners, as well as to Microsoft. Given that, if SharePoint were its own company, it would still be one of the 50 largest software companies in the world, and the heuristic that each dollar of SharePoint licensing generally begets $8-10 in services revenue, it is no small wonder that the shortage of SharePoint talent is top of mind for every SharePoint partner I spoke to.
An end-to-end platform: Microsoft has continually improved their story about both host (on-premises, hybrid, third-party host, or Microsoft cloud) and client (PC, tablet, phone) options for SharePoint.
No jaw-dropping product announcements, just good solid “blocking and tackling” for a mature, enterprise-class platform which, perhaps, is what Microsoft wanted us to take away.
Other announcements of note:
- The next (due Q4, CY2011, if I heard correctly) version of Office 365 will support read/write integration with external data sources using Business Connectivity Services
- A new, elite-level SharePoint certification: Microsoft Certified Architect
- A great template from Microsoft’s Visio team documenting a SharePoint farm topology automatically, with gorgeous Visio-based graphics.