Last week our 2013 World Of Servers series reached its climax with a trip to New Orleans for Microsoft's TechEd North America 2013 conference. Here are the five big lessons I took away from that event (plus a round-up of what our competition-winning bloggers thought about it).
1. The future is PowerShell
No matter how shiny the front-end of Windows Server 2012 becomes, when it comes to management and automation, PowerShell remains your best friend. Check out its co-creator's tips on how to master learning it and PowerShell guru Don Jones' top 3 tips for mastering it.
2. People want to experiment with Azure
The TechEd 2013 keynote revealed plenty of new developments, but by far the most rousing audience reaction came from the news that developers can now use their MSDN licences for Azure installs. That makes it much more tempting to test the full range of technologies available on Azure, which should drive usage, so it seems like a smart move.
3. The Surface has potential
Microsoft offered a special price on the Surface RT and Surface Pro to TechEd attendees. While some people instantly listed theirs on eBay, the intention was clearly to stimulate interest amongst the IT pro audience. I succumbed and purchased a Surface RT, and have been toying with it constantly ever since. There's something very alluring about a tablet that can run PowerShell (and the addition of Outlook in Windows RT 8.1 will definitely be a bonus.
4. Cloud staff shortages aren't going away
Alright, it's not entirely surprising that there's a shortage of people with cloud skills, but the fact that there are a predicted 1.7 million unfilled vacancies worldwide suggests that every IT pro should be ensuring they have skills in this area. The future is definitely data-centre shaped.
5. SQL Server can look sexy
OK, on the surface SQL Server (which is prepping for a 2014 upgrade) might not seem too shiny, but it provides an awesome backend for data visualisations, as you can see in the video we shot. With that approach, you'll soon be a big data guru. For more video insights, check out our complete collection of TechEd 2013 videos
Of course, that's just my perspective. We also had our three guest IT Pro bloggers along -- Adam Webster, Tommy Carron and David Klemke. They'll be summing up their experiences on Tuesday, but you can catch all their posts from the show here.