Tech Ed North America kicked off today with a keynote from Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft's Server and Tools Business.  During the keynote, Muglia outlined the benefits and opportunities with cloud computing, and showcased products and technologies that can help enterprise customers enhance and transform the way they do business, both on-premises and off-premises.

Highlights include:

  • Forthcoming public beta release of SP1 for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. Available in July, the SP1 public beta will deliver new virtualization tools, including Remote FX and Dynamic Memory, as well as a series of incremental updates for both Windows Server and Windows 7 users.
  • Updated Windows Azure SDK with support for .NET Framework 4 and Visual Studio 2010 Intellitrace. These enhancements enable developers to build more connected applications in the cloud, and simplify the process of debugging services in the cloud.
  • Spatial data support and access to 50GB of SQL Azure Database capacity. These updates allow for higher scalability, flexibility and easier management of applications and services.
  • Windows Server AppFabric Availability. Released to manufacturing today, Windows Server AppFabric simplifies the development and management of composite applications by providing improved speed, elastic scale and high availability through distributed caching capabilities and new tools.
  • Bing Maps New SDK. Developers can now create their own map apps built on top of Bing Maps and hosted on bing.com/maps.
  • Microsoft Communications Server "14" Features. Key new features in the upcoming release include expert search, Office document and application sharing and one-click meeting access from Outlook, SharePoint and Mobile phones which contribute to the complete unified communications experience that connects people anytime from anywhere. Additionally, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1 beta is available today for customers to download.

A full version of today's press release can be found here; for additional background on Microsoft's cloud strategy and services, visit the Cloud Guide for IT Leaders

Be sure to keep up on TechEd news and activities online via the Virtual Press Room and TechEd Online where you can watch the keynote on-demand, and experience all-day streaming coverage and live interviews. You can ask questions to be answered on air (put @ch9live in your tweet) with Tony Scott, Microsoft CIO (Monday, 11:30 a.m. PT), Bob Muglia, (Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. PT) and Bill Laing, CVP Windows Server (Tuesday, 12:00 p.m. PT),  and follow the conversation via #TechEd.