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Microsoft Build 2019 agenda reveals .NET, Azure insights

Microsoft’s Build conference for developers and IT operations professionals is just a few weeks away, but a close look at the session catalog reveals clues to the event’s likely highlights. Here’s a look at four key themes slated for the event.

The .NET lowdown

Build attendees will peer into the future of Microsoft’s venerable .NET software development framework. One session, “.NET Platform Overview and Roadmap,” will focus on .NET Core, the open-source, cross-platform version of .NET first released in 2016.

.NET Core 3.0 was released as public preview in December 2018, with another update in February. This year’s Build could serve as the general-availability date for the framework update, which in previous versions focused mostly on ASP.NET web apps and ones for Universal Windows Platform-compatible devices.

NET Core 3.0 also adds support for WinForms and Windows Presentation Foundation, the company’s longstanding GUI frameworks for desktop applications, which rounds out the picture for enterprise IT shops.

Getting real on GitHub

Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub last year was a seminal event for enterprise IT, as a tech bellwether scooped up a cherished champion in the DevOps community.

Microsoft has sought to burnish its image as an open source-friendly company under CEO Satya Nadella, but the GitHub deal nonetheless roiled many users. Microsoft aims to use Build as a platform to further ease any lingering concerns, judged by one session, “Microsoft’s journey to becoming an open source enterprise with GitHub.”

Redmond now has more than 20,000 developers that contribute to or use open-source projects on GitHub, according to the session abstract. The talk will feature the .NET Compiler Platform team, which will discuss its use of Azure DevOps and GitHub to build software.


Like rivals AWS and Google, Microsoft has steadily increased the amount and variety of databases available on Azure. One prominent Build session, led by Rohan Kumar, corporate VP of Microsoft’s data group, will discuss “Azure’s price performance leadership in cloud scale analytics and innovations in Azure SQL Database, Azure Database for PostgreSQL, Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Cosmos DB.”

Also on the Microsoft Build 2019 agenda is Azure Databricks, Microsoft’s option for Apache Spark for large-scale analytics. Coca-Cola, Paychex and ASB Bank will join Kumar onstage to discuss their use of Microsoft’s data technologies. Other Build sessions hone in separately on Cosmos DB, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.

In one talk, Citus Data, a company Microsoft acquired in January, will provide an update on an extension for PostgreSQL that turns it into a distributed data store. PostgreSQL has increasingly become a favorite target for Oracle workload migrations, which could be a key reason behind Microsoft’s decision to buy Citus.

Countdown to containers

Application modernization is a key theme for Microsoft and rivals such as Google. The Microsoft Build 2019 agenda reflects that, with a talk titled “Take the right path: 5 ways to modernize your .NET apps with Windows Server Containers.” This type of Microsoft container shares a kernel with the container’s host and other containers on the host, according to Microsoft documentation. They can be managed with Docker.

Microsoft also offers Hyper-V containers, which provide more isolation since each container runs within a virtual machine and don’t share the kernel. This is geared more for multitenant SaaS applications that require additional security measures against attackers.

The Windows Server container session at Build, then, likely targets Microsoft shops with a back-catalog of .NET applications that would benefit from a new deployment model. The session will cover container scenarios for on-premises, Azure and hybrid deployments and feature “lots of demos,” according to the abstract.

Microsoft Build 2019 attendees may seek more clarity on the company’s longer-term container strategy, particularly for large-scale deployments. In December 2018, Microsoft said it would sunset Azure Container Service, its managed service which supported Docker containers, and focus development efforts on Azure Kubernetes Service, as the latter has emerged as the dominant standard for containers.

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