At the end of last month, we held our second Live Lab at Microsoft TVP. A hands-on workshop supported by technical experts from Grey Matter and Microsoft, we helped attendees get their projects up and running on Azure.

Now that we’re back in the office we’re looking back at why this type of event works so well for attendees, and why if you’re even thinking about a migration to Azure, you should consider attending our next one.

What are the benefits?

We’ve modelled our Live Labs on Microsoft’s Hacks, if you’ve ever attended one you’ll know that they are renowned for the level of expertise on tap and their networking opportunities. Our Live Labs have been devised with the aim of helping attendees to migrate their projects to Azure, either in live or test environments, across two days. In some cases, providing a valuable proof of concept.

From the feedback we’ve received from events that we’ve run over the last few years, it’s clear that attendees place a huge amount of value in being able to talk technical face to face. There’s nothing quite like being able to discuss the challenges you’re facing with an expert and then also being able to walk through the solution, all in one event.

It was good to be able to try out the new technologies and get solutions working with the expert knowledge on hand to walk you through the steps and assist with common gotchas.” – Robert Haigh, Director of IT, The Pallet Network

What’s on the agenda?

We set our attendees a little bit of homework to complete before they arrived on the first day – namely working with their account managers to set up any product trials needed. This way our techies could spend more time helping them with the nitty gritty details of migration and deployment.

Everyone works differently, so we like to keep the format of our events flexible. Aside from the initial introductions and break for lunch in the restaurant, attendees were left to get stuck in to their projects with our technical experts. Microsoft Cloud Solution Architects specialising in Data and AI, SQL Server, and DevOps were also available throughout the day to answer questions and give mini-presentations on their areas of expertise. The expertise present is tailored to attendees.

At this event we also had a technical expert from one of our partner vendors Awingu on hand for the first day, as three out of the four companies in attendance needed to create a browser-based work space for simple application front-end delivery.

A well-structured, professionally organised event. We were able to go at our own pace and receive input when required. It was an excellent opportunity to speak with people from Microsoft/Grey Matter/Awingu about our architecture and possible solutions to current challenges.” – Diomac

What was achieved across the two days?

Our technical team and Microsoft Cloud Solutions Architects helped attendees make significant progress in a whole range of areas including:

  • Lift and shift migration of Application Servers to Azure VMs
  • Deploying solutions on Azure for simple application front-end delivery
  • Synchronising AD DS into Azure AD
  • Leveraging ARM Templates for automated deployment of Azure resources
  • Overcoming package management blockers with VSTS
  • Activating Visual Studio Azure Subscription benefits
  • Modernising SQL Server to Azure SQL DB (and discussions about SQL Managed Instance)
  • Understanding the benefits of CosmosDB

The sheer level of technical expertise made available to us was astounding, as was the ratio of Microsoft/Grey Matter staff to attendees. The support and assistance in so many fields, immediately available, made the days hugely productive.” – David Biggins, Q-RIMS

Want to attend?

Grey Matter will be running more events like this throughout the rest of 2018 and 2019 at locations across the UK.

If you’re interested in attending a Live Lab and would like to be kept up to date with when and where these events are being run, fill in the short form on our registration page:

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