Are you “what’s next”?

Dear blog,

Yes, I know… it’s been a while since I’ve written anything.  True, I shared some of my personal videos from TechEd, plus some resources for attendees to series of presentations I did a little while ago.. but nothing really from the heart; from my personal thoughts or opinions.  And isn’t that what a blog (web log) is supposed to be?  A journal of sorts?

“No, Kevin.  I like the technical information.  Don’t get all personal on me here.”

Well.. you’ll just have to oblige me a little bit.  As I write this, it’s Saturday, July 24, 2010, and I’m sitting at the airport in Atlanta, Georgia.  And while I confess that I’m a little tired after celebrating with thousands of other Microsofties attending Microsoft’s MGX conference (Microsoft Global eXchange – an annual, global sales conference), the week has left me reinvigorated for the company, and for the solutions that IT Pros and their businesses are going to want to take advantage of. 

“Isn’t that the point of those kinds of corporate rah-rah events?”

Well.. yes… of course.  And so I thought it might be worthwhile sharing with you some of what I have learned, as well as what I’m going to do about it.

1.  “Be What’s Next”

Be what's next!

Microsoft is finally replacing the “Your Potential, Our Passion” catch phrase with a new one: “Be What’s Next”.  That’s not to say that we are no longer passionate for helping you reach your full potential.  We are.   And nothing is going to change my passion for helping IT Pros get the most out of their infrastructure investments.  But we’re also a company that has a lot to be proud of as an innovator in so many areas.  We’re pushing the envelope in so many ways; whether it’s a completely new way of gaming interaction (XBOX Kinect), or a new idea on phone user interface (Windows Phone 7).  We’re proud to say that we are “what’s next”, and want to help you enjoy and benefit from what’s next, too.

“But Kevin, I’m an IT Pro / IT Manager.  I can’t afford to push the envelope along with you.”

I hear you.   “New”, “improved”, “upgrade”…  These are all scary words to the practical IT Pro and IT organization.  Those words mean change, which often (really always) has an element of risk and of instability, which costs time and money.  We can’t afford that.  We’re not about change for change’s sake.  But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep aware (or be kept aware) of where information systems technology is headed.  You need to keep informed, be ready to adjust when it makes sense for you, your team, and your business, and be ready to “be what’s next” when the time is right for you.  And when is the time right for you?  When you’re able to show and to prove to the business owners and managers  that making this change will save you and your company money; either directly, or through increases in productivity, efficiency, competitive advantage, etc.  It’s my job to make you aware of the options you have, and to ease you comfortably through the process.

2.  “We’re All In”

All?  Yep.. ALL!

Cloud.  Online Services.  Software plus services.  Software as a Service (Saas).  Platform as a Service (PaaS).  Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).   We do it all.


All.  Nobody – not Amazon, Google, VMware or – has anywhere near the breadth or depth that we do in terms of giving you options on how or where you run your computing applications, services, or infrastructure.  If this is new to you, you need to check out this site, or BING the phrase “Cloud Computing”.

3. Be PROUD and compete HARD!

I Want YOU!

Back when I joined Microsoft in 2003, there was a big emphasis on adjusting to the reality of being the “big dog”.  The company had been an industry darling-turned-big-guy and hadn’t handled it very well.  Microsoft was seen as an arogant bully (sometimes unjustly, but often not), and we were all told basically that as the big-guy we had to walk softly, tread lightly, always say nice things, and just take our lumps.  Nobody cares if #2 or #3 make bold claims against their competition, but as #1 we couldn’t do anything to appear combative or defensive or even brazenly competitive.  You wonder why Microsoft never answered directly to any of the old Mac vs. PC ads?  …even when most of them were misleading, sensational lies?  (Yeah, I said it.)   We couldn’t.  In the long run, it wouldn’t have served us very well.

Good news: Those days are over.  We have a lot to be proud of.  We have so much to crow about.. so expect to hear some major crowing coming from Microsoft.  We’ve had so much to be proud of recently (Windows 7, Office 2010, record earnings), plus some amazing things coming; some hardware providers creating devices that are going to blow you away, let alone the excitement of Windows Phone 7 and the XBOX Kinect.  My personal goal this year is to become a local Virtualization resource, so that everyone currently running or considering VMware understands the benefits of including a solution that is technically on-par with (in both performance and feature-set), significantly less expensive (how about 3x to 6x less expensive!) and a more well-rounded management solution in the form of Hyper-V and the System Center suite of management solutions.



We’re “leading with our future” in all that we do.   That was the recurring theme of the conference.  It means that we represent Microsoft as the top innovator in consumer and business software and devices.  It means when we interact with you as representatives of Microsoft, that if we do nothing else, we at least leave you understanding what exciting things Microsoft has planned for the future.  And that future is definitely a bright one.

So what do you think?  Do I sound a little bit drunk on the Kool-Aid? 


Perhaps.  Share your thoughts in the comments, please.

3 thoughts on “Are you “what’s next”?

  1. Kevin, does Microsoft explain how to set up a private cloud on Server 08?  I've searched the Microsoft site and I haven't found a way of "creating" a personal cloud to learn about.  From what I've been able to read and study about "cloud" technology, it sounds to me like it is a user-authenticated, web-based storage area.  The example that I draw on for this conclusion is Microsoft's "SkyDrive".  It seems to me that since I authenticate with the Passport, I am given power user privileges over my folder, and I can organize and set security up as I wish.  I have my copy of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise that I received from the Windows Vista/Windows Server 2008 launch party.  Is that all I need to setup a private cloud?


  2. Hi Mike,
    There is a lot to "cloud", whether public or private.  Server 2008 is just one of the components for creating a "private cloud", but the bigger picture of what a "cloud" is really revolves around these 5 high-level tenets:
    – Scalable
    – Elastic
    – Multi-Tenant
    – Metered by use
    – Self-service
    The right hardware with the right OS and virtualization (Hyper-V) will get you dozens/hundreds/thousands of VMs, but the real benefit comes from then granting self-service to people, and being able to meter their usage.  System Center tools play the key role for managing the virtualization, monitoring the usage and the performance, and providing a self-service portal.
    Check out this blog post to get an idea of where we're going with this:…/what-s-coming-up-with-the-next-versions-of-scom-and-vmm.aspx
    I also recommend you look at System Center Virtual Machine Manager and the new Shared Service Provider 2.0. This is what has grown from the "Dynamic Data Center for Enterprise" initiative.…/system-center-virtual-machine-manager-self-service-portal-2-0-release-candidate-available.aspx


  3. Thanks, Kevin.  That's a lot to digest.  I'll take all of this and keep studying.
    I really appreciate all of the time and effort that you and the other folks at Microsoft put into these blogs.


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