Wow, what an amazing week last week.  If you've been reading my blog in the past, you'll know that most of our team's time has been spent on getting ready for the 6th Annual Financial Services Developer Conference, that was held March 12, 13th at the Marriott Marquis in NYC.  WHAT AN EVENT!!  I really feel it was our best yet.  We had over 1000 register and over 500 attend (for anyone out there who has done big conferences, 40-50% drop-off is expected.   The theme was HPC and we had all sorts of folks attend to present, to showcase partner expertise and to just network.

Kyril Faenov, General Manager - HPC for Microsoft, took part in the opening keynote, and the invitation only Architect Breakfast prior to the keynote.  He shared Microsoft's vision on HPC and we received a TON of great feedback.  I need to thank Kyril and his entire team for really going the extra mile to make this event a success.

But the fun didn't stop there, we had Mike Walker - Architect/Technical Evangelist, in from Redmond, who did a phenomenal piece on the OBA (Office Business Applications) Component Library.  Our customers who attended loved it...and you will too.  I've provided a link to Mike's blog via his name above, so please go ahead and check it out.  He's got some really great stuff to say.  And my colleague Joe Rubino and I will be conducting one of our 'Industry Chats' with him soon, so stay tuned.

Speaking of Industry Chats, Joe and I had the opportunity to sit down with Marc Jacobs of Lab49, and Bill Bain from ScaleOut Software for a chat on distributed caching for server farms.  Now, if you're like me and thinking...HUH?...then this is the right session for you.  Marc and Bill did a great job of not only explaining what they and their firms do, but also why it's important and how large scale enterprises can benefit.  A really great session that's in post-production now, so look back here for the link when it's ready.

We also had some great customer presenters including Wachovia, Unum, and Merrill Lynch to name a few.  It's nice to hear from us folks at Microsoft, but sooo much better when our partners and CUSTOMERS are able to get on stage and talk about their solutions including challenges and successes.

FINALLY, I wanted to announce the availability of our Retail Financial Services Silverlight Demo.  This was a collaboration between a few of us folks in Microsoft, and our great partner Infusion Development Corporation.  The purpose of the demo was to showcase not only the Silverlight technology, as phenomenal as that is, but also to put that technology into the context of real-world financial services applications.  We took it a step further making the source code available externally to our customers.  That means you can look at it, download it, tweak it, and create your own proof of concept!!  HOW GREAT IS THAT???  The bits, along with a script on how to install and how to work your way through the application can be found on http://www.financialdevelopers.com.

I know I'm missing a TON of stuff (and yes, this all happened in 2 days!), so I will definitely write more as it comes to me.  Also, in the spirit of 'cross team collaboration', I will be posting details about our Health and Life Sciences Developer and Solutions Conference coming up April 22 and 23rd in Atlantic City.

So, stay tuned, stay informed, and stay connected!

Joe