Microsoft has been running a campaign called "Heroes happen here" as part of the launch of 3 major products from the 27th February all over the world. The launch of Visual Studio 2008, Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 is supposed to be the largest software product launch from Microsoft ever and covers the most important tools which Microsoft sells to developers and businesses. The campaign reached Indian shores yesterday at Bangalore and today the launch party reached Mumbai. The Mumbai launch about which I had blogged earlier was held today at Regal Theatre from 10am.
Microsoft's odd selection of a movie theatre for the launch of its product was explained VJ Gaurav Kapoor, who played the host to today's Microsoft party. Microsoft explains that developers who use Microsoft products create technology that can help change lives and play heroes in today's world of technology. "Like film heroes, this party is to celebrate their success story and what better place than a movie theatre to showcase heroes", said Gaurav Kapoor.
Microsoft has also created a song for the event, which was quite peppy I may add and definitely better than the "Vista Wow Song"!! A group of young dancers came up to the stage and performed on the song...
S.Somasegar, Senior VP at Microsoft started the keynote and mentioned all the new things that Microsoft brings with these new products. He talked about the upcoming Dynamic IT (read here) and how these products launched today are going to help reach that goal. He also talked about Virtualization being one of the primary goals and future technology in the IT world. A small demo on virtualization was also shown. I would have loved to ask why Hyper-V is still in beta (won't be out-of-the-box feature) and why understanding that the market needed virtualization took so much time for Microsoft. Alas! they didn't have a Q&A session.
Then there was a presentation on new features of SQL Server 2008. With SQL Server 2008, Microsoft brings a lot features that it lacked in previous versions. New Large User DataTypes, Data/Time Datatype, Spatial Data are some new things for SQL Server 2008, but have existed in other database systems like Oracle for sometime now. SQL Server 2008 didn't seem to me as a revolutionary product compared to the competition, but adds much needed features to this product line. A few SQL Server 2008 benchmarks do tell us that performance has improved considerably. SQL Server 2008 is actually not going to be released now. Microsoft is still testing it and adding last few touches. It will RC sometime in Q2 '08 and will be released in Q3 '08
Visual Studio 2008 was the next product that Microsoft talked about. Microsoft has done some hard work with Visual Studio 2008 and from the audience reaction at the product demo and technical presentations, it seems they have a winner. A lot of new features from ASP.NET were shown and out-of-the-box AJAX controls were shown. Time was running out and everyone was waiting for lunch... but I added to everyone's pain by requesting Harish (the speaker) to demo how to create an app with Silverlight. He obliged by explaining to the audience about Silverlight and its CLR and demo'd a small button animation. The audience loved it and everyone clapped. Silverlight seems to be an interesting proposition and Expression Blend 2 is turning out to be a good product so early in the game. Flash tools still are better, but Silverlight v2.0 with C# is more powerful compared to ActionScript or Flex.
Windows Server 2008 was the last to be introduced. It has a host of new features and IIS 7.0 was the main part which Microsoft highlighted. A few other things like WMS, failsafe clustering, Sharepoint services were also mentioned. Large part of the demo featured on how easy it was to manage the different services and talked about the small "core" of services that were enabled by default. Improved Security was also discussed to some extent and Microsoft said it was one of the main priorities in Windows Server 2008.
After lunch Microsoft showed the movie, "Transformers" to the audience and everyone attending the event left smiling with some goodies in a bag. The goodie bag contained lots of PR material and partner information. A 90-day evaluation DVD for Visual Studio Team System 2008 and Windows Server 2008 RC were part of the goodies. Having already played with Windows Server 2008 during the beta testing, these weren't exactly goodies for me. But all in all the event was fun, but I didn't wait to watch the movie!!