Great live band music and a Windows 7 Phone t-shirt cannon at 8:30 in the morning? OK, you have to be at TechEd North America in person to experience those – and enjoy the excitement of mingling, meeting, and networking with more than 10,000 IT Pros this week at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. But even if you’re not lucky enough to be at the conference this year, you can follow the best of the TechEd and BI sessions and get that “almost there” feeling by logging on to TechEd Online.

 

Bob Muglia’s keynote speech to the crowd this morning made it clear that for Microsoft the cloud – with five dimensions, no less – is the key IT paradigm today, and nearly every Microsoft technology and product he spoke about has a cloud component, interface, or story. And he made it clear we’re at just the beginning of this big shift. Microsoft’s approach is to make sure you can leverage your existing infrastructure and IT investments and find the right mix of on-line and cloud services to deliver business value and cost savings to your organization.

 

If this cloud talk still seems a bit nebulous (if you’ll pardon the pun) for those of you in the SMB space, there are at least two ways to see how the cloud may change the way you do your work:

1.       Check out the Microsoft hosted versions of Exchange and SharePoint (more at Microsoft Online Services). In the fast-moving cloud application space, these are road-tested, mature services that you can put to work right away and begin to mingle your on-premises and cloud assets.

2.       Learn more about Microsoft Intune, a comprehensive cloud-based management solution that includes Windows 7 PC management, malware protection, Windows upgrades, and more. Intune is in beta now, but you’ll be hearing more as the product gets ready to ship within about a year.

Exciting times to be at the beginnings of a big shift in IT, and to be at TechEd North America!

--Dan Lepow