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Career Development, Containers and Azure: What To Watch for at Live! 360

Live! 360, one of the biggest Microsoft technology-focused events of the year that is not put on by Microsoft itself, kicks off next week in Orlando, Fla.

While the prime audiences for the show are IT professionals and developers, there's a lot of deep content for Microsoft partners. The conference, which is organized by RCP's parent company 1105 Media, combines the long-running Visual Studio Live! and TechMentor conferences with SQL Server Live!, Office and SharePoint Live!, ModernApps Live! and AppDev Trends.

Here are some sessions across that six-in-one conference that we're tracking at RCP.

Careers Keynote
DevOps, cloud and artificial intelligence are just a few of the trends that are shaking up the IT landscape.

New to the conference this year is a general session by David Foote, co-founder, chief analyst and chief research officer at Foote Partners, an analyst firm focused on IT skills, certification and salary benchmarking. In the Monday evening session kicking off the main conference "Businesses Look to Become More Agile?" Foote plans to reveal important trends and pay data around IT skills.

Containers, Containers, Containers
Containers are already a big deal in the open source world. Microsoft nodded toward containers by making Docker technology and Linux containers available in Azure recently, but that served largely to draw existing container users to the Azure platform. Microsoft's biggest bet yet on containers arrived with Windows Server 2016, when the technology was integrated directly into Windows, making containers available to the general Windows Server user base.

Several sessions at Live! 360 drill down into containers' potential -- and given where the audience is in their container journey, the sessions are aimed at introducing the concepts and taking attendees through the basics. Adam Tuliper is running a session called "The Ultimate Intro to Docker for Developers." For IT professionals, Neil Peterson's two related sessions are "Container Technology and its Impact on Datacenter and Cloud Management" and "In-Depth Introduction to Docker."

A Deep Dive into Windows Server 2016
Windows author and speaker Mark Minasi will give the main keynote for the TechMentor conference on Tuesday morning covering Windows Server 2016. Minasi promises lots of insider tips about key storage features, critical details around containers and the potentially costly licensing traps of the eagerly anticipated Nano Server option. Later in the day, Minasi will also take a crack at explaining how the client-side Windows as a Service licensing works along with key advice for managing the constant updates.

SQL Server 2016 Encryption
Another member of Microsoft's 2016 release class, SQL Server 2016, includes new encryption capabilities, a timely feature set given ongoing concerns about data security, privacy and compliance. Thomas Larock is digging into the new encryption options affecting row-level security, data masking and Always Encrypted.

Getting Up to Speed on Azure
Building Azure expertise is a big theme of the conference. One session with implications for Microsoft partners is the "Migrating Customers to Azure: Lessons Learned from the Field" session by Ido Flatow, a Microsoft MVP and trainer with Sela Group. Flatow is covering common questions customers ask when migrating workloads to Azure, as well as how to overcome frequent obstacles and challenges that arise during the projects.

Among the other Azure-focused sessions are "Linux on Azure for the Microsoft Specialist," "Implementing Azure AD for Hybrid Identity" and "Fully Integrated Azure Resource Manager Deployments."

Next Big Things
Aside from dozens of sessions on traditional Microsoft technologies, many Live! 360 sessions are focused on next-generation technologies. Although some partners are building businesses on them, many are still evaluating where they will fit with Microsoft's and the industry's direction. One of those emerging technologies is the Microsoft Graph, featured in the "Introduction to Microsoft Office Graph" and "How It Works: Office 365 and the Microsoft Graph."

Another emerging technology is PowerApps, which just became more significant this month with the release of Dynamics 365 and is covered in "Get Started with Microsoft PowerApps."

The show also features sessions on the Internet of Things, virtual reality and mixed reality and chat bots.

Posted by Scott Bekker on November 28, 2016