Perhaps most importantly, "Microsoft needs to show how Windows still fits in the overall vision of Microsoft which is increasingly cloud-centric and device agnostic," Kleynhans said.
At the same time, Microsoft will also have to extol the virtues of its Azure cloud service. Microsoft will likely provide more details on how Azure is addressing the growing use of containers and hyper-scale computing, noted Dave Bartoletti, a Forrester analyst who covers cloud computing, by e-mail.
The recent wave of popularity in the Docker container technology comes in part because it allows organizations to re-architect their complex enterprise applications as a collection of modular micro-services, an approach that promises to help organizations modify and update these applications more quickly.
Another recent wrinkle in IT has been hyper-scale computing, in which the cloud service itself takes care of scaling up an application should it become too heavily used to run on a single set of virtual servers.
Microsoft has recently released Azure updates to address both these technology areas, and may reveal additional features this year at Build, Bartoletti said.
"We're looking forward to orchestration services, new mobile development tools, and additional support for various container technologies -- all designed to help position Azure at the center of enterprises' digital business strategies," Bartoletti said.
Every good technology conference has some futuristic buzz-worthy technology to prod attendees into thinking about the future of computing. This year that technology looks to be HoloLens, a Windows-based virtual reality headset that Microsoft unveiled in January. The company has promised that the HoloLens will run on Windows 10, so developers will be eager to see how these high-tech glasses work.
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