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Global Azure Bootcamp 2016 in Mauritius

Hello World!

For those of you who don't know it yet, the Global Azure Bootcamp (GAB) is a yearly global community driven boot camp dedicated to Microsoft Azure. This year, it was held on the 16th of April 2016 at the Voila Hotel.

Collaborating with the MSP and MSCC team

As a Microsoft MVP and having been involved in the past Azure Boot camps and several Microsoft DevCamps in Mauritius, this year, I had the opportunity to lead the team in terms of content delivery and planning.

Since this is the fourth we were organizing GAB, and most of our expected audience already know about the basic services on Azure, we had to find a way to innovate and deliver valuable sessions.

After various discussions, we decided to do a deep-dive in one of the interesting topics around, which is Data + Analytics, It was also an opportunity for me to share all the knowledge I acquired in the BI field in the past years with the MSPs and the audience.

It was then full on hard work, Skype and face-to-face meetings with the local MSP team to find the best way to present the content. We decided to build all our sessions around a common case study which was used to demonstrate Big Data, SQL Server 2016, Machine Learning and Power BI.

Besides the MSPs, we also had the help of the Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community (MSCC) and its founder Jochen Kirstatter who shared his years of experience engaging with the community with us and also helped with the all the logistics and registration purposes with the global GAB team.

How Data is changing the world and the way we do business


On GAB day, Jochen kicked-off the event with a welcome speech, then had the opportunity to do the keynote where I introduced GAB to all the guests before diving into the power of data analytics and how businesses in different sector of activities can use data to achieve more and better serve their customers. 



Following this, the powers of the Microsoft cloud platform in terms of the data analytics tools available to transform data into intelligent action was demonstrated. It was the main theme of the day.
Finally, Arnaud Meslier, the Technical Evangelist of Microsoft IOI, presented the Microsoft BizSpark programme and explained how companies can access Microsoft Azure.


Big Data Analytics using Azure HDInsight 

Cedric and Hansynee started with the basic concepts of Big Data before doing a live demo of analyzing data using a Ubuntu VM on Microsoft Azure via SSH. They demonstrated their expertise by fixing issues in their queries in real time. This was impressive!

You may also be interested to read:
  1. Big Data Analytics using Microsoft Azure: Introduction
  2. Big Data Analytics using Microsoft Azure: Hive
  3. Analyze Twitter data with Hive in Azure HDInsight
  4. Running Hadoop on Linux using Azure HDInsight

Real-Time Data Analytics using Event Hubs and Stream Analytics

Gulshan - @gulshan_mahadeb 
Varun Horril - @varun_horril  | 

Next on, was Gulshan and team. They demonstrated an End-to-End example of gathering data in real-time via Event Hubs, query them in motion using Stream Analytics and display a real time dashboard on PowerBI. Great work team!

You may also be interested to read:
  1. What is Stream Analytics?
  2. Azure Event Hubs overview
  3. Social media analysis: Real-time Twitter sentiment analysis in Azure Stream Analytics

SQL Server 2016 - Everything Built in!


The next presentation was about SQL Server 2016, with a focus on scaling it to the Microsoft Cloud. Dishay started with a pitch and introduction about the new SQL Server version and explained the new features such as Always Encrypted and improved In-Memory capabilities.
Then, Muzammil made a live demo of the new security features available in SQL Server 2016 which is important before scaling to the cloud, such as, Always Encrypted, Row Level Security and Dynamic Data Masking.

In the second part of the presentation, I demonstrated the power of Polybase, also a new feature of SQL Server 2016 which allows the user to join unstructured data from an existing Hadoop cluster to a relational data in SQL Server 2016.

Next, Prashant made a demo of the new Stretch Database in SQL Server 2016 where he migrated data to the cloud and queries them without any special code, thus making this transparent to the user.

You may also be interested to read:
  1. Announcing SQL Server 2016—everything built-in
  2. Data Driven Event
  3. Stretching SQL Server 2016 Tables To The Azure Cloud
  4. Query Unstructured Data From SQL Server Using PolyBase

Machine Learning


This was probably the presentation of the day, many people came specifically to the boot camp just to watch this presentation and Adrien and his team made sure that the presentation was up to the expected level.
The team started with an introduction of Machine learning (ML) and its uses before deep diving into the Azure ML studio and the different algorithms available as a service. Job well done guys!

You may also be interested to read:

  1. Predictive Analytics with Microsoft Azure Machine Learning
  2. Developing a Recommender Solution with Azure Machine Learning
  3. Powerful cloud based analytics, now part of Cortana Intelligence Suite
  4. Machine Learning documentation

Cognitive Services


The most entertaining session! Vidush did such a great job to deliver his presentation with the right mixture of jokes, examples, demos and codes!
Vidush demonstrated how easily we can plug Connective Services to our Apps to add features such as image recognition and video processing.

Just after Vidush's presentation, I made a small demo of using Congitive Services for analyzing text. I showcased a simple chat application which put a smiley asynchronously after each message based on the sentiment of the message.

You may also be interested to read:

  1. Cognitive Services
  2. Text Analytics API With Azure Machine Learning

Power Bi

Arshad - @the_artist_2 |
Yeahvee - @NathsRusso |

Since the beginning of the day, we have been talking about the tools to analyze and process data, to conclude the day, Arshad & Yashvee, demonstrated how Power BI can connect to these tools to visualize data.
The presentation was well planned and delivered in a conversational style which made it very interactive.
I was impressed by the quality of the content as both of the speakers, come from a non IT background. Well as we say, dashboards are for the "business users"!

You may also be interested to read:

Thank you!

A big THANKS to everybody who made this event possible! Thanks to all the MSPs, the MSCC, Jochen, Arnaud, and everybody who attended!


We have already received some feedback as listed below, keep sending them, not only positive ones, but also how we can improve.

Vivek Mathur ‏@vivektwetz -  @arnaudmeslier @mspmru brilliant presentations by students. Impressed with knowledge and presentation style.

yashmaudhoo ‏@yashmaudhoo -  Had a great time and fruitful session! #GlobalAzure Thank you @mspmru @MSCraftsman 

Raj Excellent -  I was very impressed by the knowledge and confidence shown by all the presenters. Congratulations to whoever trained and groomed them.

Jeshan G Babooa - Job well done, organisers and speakers!

Jochen Kirst├Ątter ‏@JKirstaetter -  Whew, back from #GlobalAzure #Mauritius! It was GREAT! Thanks to @mspmru @arnaudmeslier @MSCraftsman and all attendees.

Amal Bholah - It was a great Azure bootcamp. All presentations were great.


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