I was away all last week in Barcelona at my first Tech Ed, and although PDC slightly stole its thunder the previous week with some major headlines around Windows 7 and Windows Azure, I was still very impressed by the Tech Ed experience! Before I give you the run-down on what went on in Barcelona, I first want to do a quick recap on the unveiling of Windows Azure and showcasing of a Pre-Beta Release of windows 7.

1. Windows7  was announced as the formal name of the next Microsoft Client Operating System. See a blog post on why it's called Windows 7.
2. Azure Services Platform and Windows Azure, offering unprecedented power of choice and open connections for developers.

So what are the key things in the many announcements surrounding Windows 7 Client and Windows Server 2008 R2 that are interesting for IT pros? Here is a view on the top 5:

1. Introduction of DirectAccess, a capability that allows IT to manage and update internet-connected remote PCs, even when they are off the corporate network.
2. There is a new Powershell v2 and its graphical editor helps to automate repetitive tasks with minimal scripting expertise required.
3. You have probably heard about BitLocker, with Windows 7 there will be BitLocker to Go - allowing USBs to be protected.
4. Windows 7 will allow IT to control access by specific users to specific applications.
5. Even more tools to help make deployment easier in your organisations, such as Dynamic Driver provisioning, the Deployment Image Service and Management tool, Multicast Multiple Stream Transfer, and improvements to user state migration.

What about Windows Azure? It has arrived and you may have seen previous stories about codename 'Red dog' but its formal name was announced during last week's PDC.