The Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference in Orlando, Florida is only a few short weeks away. The excitement for Microsoft’s largest annual conference is heating up, and rumors / expectations are starting to fly around the Internet. With such an exciting time of announcements and new feature / service releases coming in just a few short weeks, I thought I’d write up my own list of the top expectations I have for what we might see at or around the Microsoft Ignite 2019 time frame.

More Internet of Things (IoT)!

Microsoft keeps investing very heavily in Internet of Things. The IoT industry is rapidly growing, and Microsoft has been innovating on IoT + Cloud for a few years now. As they continue to innovate in the IoT space, I fully expect to hear lots of news and announcements about IoT from Microsoft at Ignite 2019. I expect lots of announcements about Azure IoT, in addition to other things like Azure Sphere, Windows IoT, and perhaps some other Microsoft IoT stuff we haven’t heard about yet.

The Internet of Things (IoT) space is innovating very rapidly, and Microsoft it certainly creating a lot of the innovation themselves. We will likely see lots of information about IoT be released around the Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference.

I expect to see announcement and feature releases around the following Microsoft IoT areas:

  • Azure IoT (IoT Hub, DPS, etc)
  • Azure IoT Central
  • Azure Sphere
  • Windows IoT

As is normally the case, releases around Ignite may lean more towards the IT Pro and Infrastructure side of things. I still expect we’ll still see plenty of innovation and advancement if all things IoT around Microsoft Ignite 2019.

For further proof, there is a lot of Microsoft IoT innovation coming our way, all you need to do is look up the publicly published session list for Microsoft Ignite 2019 and search for “IoT”.

More Machine Learning and AI

Another area Microsoft keeps innovating and advancing is with Azure Machine Learning (ML) and other AI services. I would expect Microsoft to continue to do so as ML and AI keep getting integrated into more areas of both the Azure cloud and other areas of computing. We will likely see more information about this around the Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference.

More Kubernetes and Docker Containers!

There are many services in Microsoft Azure that are built around either Docker containers, Kubernetes, or both. Some of these services are Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Azure App Service Web Apps for Containers, Azure Container Instances (ACI), Azure Container Registry (ACR), and probably a few I’m missing. It seems clear that Microsoft has been embracing containers for some time now, and at minimum Docker is making it’s way into just about every service within Azure! I expect this to continue, so we might see some more announcements about increases container support and utilization within Microsoft Azure.

For further proof, there is a lot of container-based innovation coming our way, all you need to do is look up the publicly published session list for Microsoft Ignite 2019 and search for “kubernetes” or “docker”.

Visual Studio Online

Back in early 2019, Microsoft announced some brief information about the new Visual Studio Online web-based development environment. This is SaaS-based IDE based on the popular Visual Studio Code (VSCode) editor, so it will provide a familiar experience for writing and working with source code; among other features.

Here are some of the additional features that Visual Studio Online has been announced to support:

  • Intellicode
  • Visual Studio Live Share support
  • Visual Studio Code workspaces
  • Extensibility through VS Code extensions
Microsoft Ignite 2019 Rumors and Predictions: What's coming? 1
Visual Studio Online interface preview

When the initial Visual Studio Online announcement was made, Microsoft opened up a Private Preview of this new browser-based editor that you could apply to take part in. Since the product has certainly been growing as the product team has continued working on it, there is a chance a Public Preview may be released at or around Microsoft Ignite 2019. Perhaps we’ll all be able to try out the new Visual Studio Online IDE very soon!

P.S. I know the “Visual Studio Online” (or VSO) name was originally used for what has now become Azure DevOps. This may give rise to some confusion when people do online searches for help information, but the VSO name does better fit with an online, SaaS-based IDE rather than a Source Control, CI/CD pipeline, and collaboration tool. This looks to be a good reuse of an old product name.

Microsoft Azure Portal Changes and New Icons

Recently, we saw Microsoft put out a public preview of some new Azure service icons, as well as some new UI / UX changes to the Azure Preview Portal. As of today, some of these icons have been released to the GA Azure Portal, but the UI / UX changes haven’t been fully released yet. You can check out some of the changes that have been made public on the Azure Preview Portal (https://preview.portal.azure.com), but I expect we’ll see more changes coming at or around the Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference.

Microsoft Ignite 2019 Rumors and Predictions: What's coming? 2
Azure Preview Portal with new icons

Microsoft Certification and Learning Updates

Generally, around the time of Microsoft conferences is when the Microsoft Learning team releases updates about the latest changes to Microsoft Certifications and related training from Microsoft. This is a normal occurrence, so I would expect to hear some news again this year either at or around Microsoft Ignite 2019. Perhaps we’ll hear about some new role-based certification paths they’re planning on releasing soon.

Clippy’s Comeback!

I’m just kidding. There wont be any re-imagining of Clippy, or bringing Clippy back to life within the Azure Portal. I’ve blogged about this idea (half jokingly) in the past, as a thought experiment of how AI like Cortana or even Clippy could enhance the cloud management space. While it may be an interesting thought experiment, it’s pretty clear we wont be seeing Clippy in any new products. Sorry Clippy.

Microsoft Ignite 2019 Rumors and Predictions: What's coming? 3
Rendition of how Clippy may look in the Azure Portal

Wrap up

This is just a list of a few announcements and released that I am predicting and/or expecting to see at or around Microsoft Ignite 2019. We’ll have to watch the keynotes and other sessions from the conference to find out what Microsoft officially releases and announces. Also, you’ll want to keep an eye on official Microsoft blogs for more announcements made “around” Microsoft Ignite, as not everything is announced directly at the event.

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Do you have anything you think Microsoft might / will release or announce at Microsoft Ignite 2019? Please post it in the comments as I’d love you hear all your expectations too!

Microsoft MVP

Chris Pietschmann is a Microsoft MVP, HashiCorp Ambassador, and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) with 20+ years of experience designing and building Cloud & Enterprise systems. He has worked with companies of all sizes from startups to large enterprises. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.
HashiCorp Ambassador Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect