This year, Microsoft Ignite 2023 took place in Seattle, Washington from November 12 to 15, 2023 and it was such a wonderful experience to meet and interact with nearly 5,000 of you in person, and many more online across the globe. One common theme stood out throughout the event: the potential of AI is becoming reality, and it’s happening right now. One news roundup even called Microsoft’s vision for AI an “everyday reality.”1 Read more about the economic impact of AI in business and industries in a recent IDC study that Microsoft commissioned.

However, as many organizations like yours are eager to innovate with AI for various use cases, it is also very important, if not more, to have a solid IT foundation that can support that ambitious AI vision—from a cost, performance, and security perspective. The last thing companies want is to make a big investment in AI and machine learning initiatives too soon, without the bandwidth, guardrails, or necessary performance in place to support it.

At the heart of your IT estate lies strategic investments you have in business-critical workloads like Windows Server and SQL Server that are and have been the foundation of many organizations for more than 30 years now. The question then becomes—how do you modernize these foundational technologies to make you ready to leverage the full power of AI, that will allow you to adopt AI in a secure, responsible way and gain an edge over the competition?

Catch up on sessions from Microsoft Ignite

Whether you missed some of the sessions at Ignite or just want a recap of all things Windows Server and SQL Server, we’ve got you covered. In this blog, we’re going to showcase the main Ignite sessions for Windows Server and SQL Server, where we had various announcements, demos, and customer testimonials.

Windows Server

What’s New in Windows Server v.Next: In this session, we provide a preview of what’s coming next for Windows Server, a platform that enables IT professionals and developers to modernize their applications and enable hybrid use cases. The topics covered were Active Directory, File Server, Storage, Hyper-V, Security, and more.

Do more with Windows Server and SQL Server on Azure: This session highlights how you can reap more technical and business benefits by running Windows Server and SQL Server on Microsoft Azure. You’ll learn how Azure provides optimal cost benefits, performance, and security for these workloads. Get tips and demos on how to extend Azure innovations to your hybrid and multi-cloud environments with Azure Arc.

Migrate to Innovate: Be AI-ready, secure, and optimize operations: This is an immersive session for IT practitioners on how to migrate to Azure. We highlighted practical steps, demos, and guidance on how migrating to Azure can accelerate the impact of AI in your organization. We then highlighted how you can enhance security and optimize operations once in the cloud and take the first step into Azure with Azure Migrate.

Learn Live: Upgrade and migrate Windows Server IaaS virtual machines: In this online session, you can learn to migrate a workload running in Windows Server to an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) virtual machine and to Windows Server 2022 by using Windows Server migration tools or the Storage Migration Service.

SQL Server

Get superior price and performance with Azure cloud-scale databases: In this session, you can learn how to improve performance with the latest capabilities for Azure SQL Databases, Azure Database for PostgreSQL, and SQL Server enabled by Azure Arc for hybrid and multi-cloud. You’ll learn how customers enabled ongoing innovation by migrating to Azure Database for MySQL. This session will cover tactical ways to get the most from your applications with the databases that are easy to use, deliver unmatched price and performance, support open-source, and enable transformative AI technologies.

Accelerate your SQL migration with Azure Data Migration Service: In this demo, you’ll see how the new Azure Data Migration Service along with Azure Migrate can accelerate your SQL modernization journey. We will showcase Azure Data Migration Service streamlined capabilities for readiness assessment, SKU recommendations based on workload rightsizing, and online and offline data migration across Portal, Azure Data Studio, PowerShell, and command-line interface (CLI) experiences that you need for your SQL Server migration journey to Azure from on-premises.

Migrate to innovate: Modernize your data on Azure SQL Managed Instance: In this session, you can watch new performance enhancements in action and experience the ease of online migration to Azure SQL Managed Instance using the link feature. See how you can continue to modernize on Azure through Microsoft Fabric integration and connections to other Azure services.

Bring enhanced manageability to SQL Server anywhere with Azure Arc: Join this discussion to discover how connecting your SQL Servers to Azure can enhance your management, security, and governance capabilities with live demos. SQL Server enabled by Azure Arc is a hybrid cloud solution that allows you to manage, secure, and govern your SQL Server estate running anywhere from Azure. Our experts will also explore different options for deploying Azure Arc to your SQL Servers at scale.

Next steps to modernize Windows Server and SQL Server

Ready to take the next step in modernizing your Windows Server and SQL Server? Here are some quick resources to get started:

  1. Upgrade to the latest versions of Windows Server to take advantage of the latest capabilities. Learn more about Windows Server 2022 and SQL Server 2022.
  2. Looking to migrate to Azure? Take the first step with Azure Migrate and Modernize, our offering that has programs, offers, support, free tooling, and expert guidance to confidently migrate to Azure.
  3. Join the discussion on our Windows Server Tech Community and SQL Server Tech Community.

1 ITProToday, Microsoft Ignite 2023 Envisions AI as an Everyday Reality, November 16, 2023.