GWAB 2014 Berlin: A look back

Do you have some highlights in your annual schedule? Are you going to attend an event you are really looking forward to? I have one – the Global Windows Azure Bootcamp (GWAB).

Yesterday, on a sunny Saturday, one of my highlights of the year took place in Berlin. No, it was not the visit of the Chinese president. I’m talking about the second Global Windows Azure Bootcamp. Last year it was a pleasure to take part in the first GWAB. 8,000 attendees in 96 locations. How could this be any better? Make it bigger! This year 138 locations were part of a common goal – to show the power of Windows Azure … and to help science to fight against diabetes. More on that in a minute.

At the end of 2013 the global Windows Azure community started to prepare something, which was one of the highlights of the last year – the GWAB. At the MVP summit in Seattle we spoke about how great this experience was and if we could make this any better. We thought that we should give it a try. An exciting journey started.

I knew that Berlin should take part in it. In just a few days we had a complete list of speakers and some topics we all wanted to talk about. One of the greatest things of the first GWAB was the global render lab. We wanted to make something similar, but instead of wasting the power of the cloud we wanted to help. After a long selection process the global organizer had chosen to help the Biological Sciences Division at Pacific Northwest National lab (PNNL) in their fight against diabetes. Helping was simple: download a deployment package and upload it to Windows Azure and let the magic happen. At the end of the day 1,172 attendees have uploaded 19,769 worker role instances with a overall processing time of 462 days, 3 hours, and 24 minutes. In Berlin we had a total of 260 worker role instances.

The lab was not the only thing we have done in Berlin throughout. During five sessions the attendees learned about what they can do with the Windows Azure Web Sites, what they should keep in mind when using Infrastructure as a Service, how Microsoft’s Cloud OS strategy looks like, how security in Windows Azure works and how they can analyze social networks with HDInsight. With Peter Kirchner (Technical Evangelist at Microsoft), Anton Staykov (MVP Windows Azure), and Hans Laubisch (Microsoft Senior Student Partner) we had a great list of speakers, who love to talk about their passion.

After eight hours of exciting talks and demonstrations we had learned a lot about Windows Azure and I hope that I’m not the only person who is looking forward having the time to try out the things shown at the GWAB.

On a final note, I would like to thank everybody who made this GWAB one of my early highlights this year. I’d like to thank our speakers, who also helped to organize the whole event. I also want to thank the guys from Microsoft working in the background, namely Nico Wilhelm, Malte Lantin, Holger Diekhoff, and Alexander Singer. You rock!

But my biggest THANK YOU goes to all attendees, who arrived not only from Berlin, but from Cologne and Chemnitz. You are the reason why I love the community!

See you at the Global Windows Azure Bootcamp 2015!

– Jan (@Horizon_Net)

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