Microsoft Steps into the Spotlight at Open Source DevNation 2016


By Jason Milgram, Director Software Development & Microsoft Azure MVP, Champion Solutions Group / MessageOps

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and other Red Hat applications available on Microsoft Azure

“Geeky and good fun” is how Linux professionals might describe the annual Red Hat DevNation event. Over the space of three to four days, developers and system, database, and network administrators can listen to a slew of presentations on the latest advances in Red Hat and associated technologies. DevNation is described by its organizers as a full stack development conference, featuring the best in open source.

So, it may have come as a surprise to some to see Microsoft sharing keynote speech time and cropping up in various presentations in the DevNation 2016 conference in San Francisco, June 26-29. After all, Microsoft has historically focused on closed source and its own server software solutions. However, times change. With Microsoft Azure a leader in the cloud provider space, the company now sees Linux platforms as an opportunity. Microsoft and Red Hat announced a partnership in November 2015, in which Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and other Red Hat applications would be made directly available on Azure.

Spreading the .NET Experience to Red Hat Linux and OpenShift
DevNation 2016 was the occasion for further announcements from Red Hat and Microsoft, including the support of Microsoft’s .NET Core and ASP.NET Core 1.0 on RHEL and on Red Hat OpenShift, the container-based Platform-as-a-Service application. At the same time, Microsoft also announced the availability of Entity Framework Core, the cross-platform version of Entity Framework that enables new platforms and new data stores.

.NET Core and ASP.NET Core 1.0 are cross-platform server apps that together offer a modular, open source platform for developing server applications to run on Windows, Linux, and Mac. .NET Core offers a general development model and freedom of choice for developers in terms of development tools, while ASP.NET Core is framework specifically for building web and cloud applications. Developers can be assured that whether they run their .NET application on Windows or Red Hat Enterprise Linux, they will receive the same level of support.

SQL Server 2016, Visual Studio Code, and CloudForms in the Azure-Red Hat Mix Too
In addition, Microsoft now runs its SQL Server 2016 database on Linux platforms and on RHEL in particular. The company has also demonstrated that SQL Server can run inside a Linux container using Docker Datacenter in a virtual machine using the on-premises version of Azure. Among others, this configuration corresponds to Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform running on Azure.

Red Hat is also adopting the Language Server Protocol of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code, which is an open protocol enabling certain rich editing features. At DevNation 2016, Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman demonstrated the IntelliSense feature in Visual Studio Code for context-based suggestions for completion of lines of code. In general, Microsoft’s commitment is that developers can then build cloud applications using any language, tool, or platform.

Further announcements included support of Red Hat CloudForms 4.1 for Azure, making state analysis, metrics, chargeback, and retirement functions available when managing Azure from CloudForms. To simplify deployment of OpenShift on Azure, Microsoft has also introduced an Azure Resource Manager template.

What Might We Expect, This Time Next Year?
In all, DevNation 2016 was the chance for Microsoft to provide yet more solid proof that it has now embraced Linux and Red Hat Linux in particular. It was also the opportunity for Red Hat to further differentiate RHEL as the only commercial Linux distribution with full, enterprise-grade support for .NET, and therefore the “go-to” choice for customers looking to use .NET in Linux and (thanks to Red Hat OpenShift) container-based environments. It looks like the only question left for the moment is what Microsoft and Red Hat might be working on together to announce in one year’s time at DevNation 2017.


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Erick Bacallao joined Champion Solutions Group in 2015 after a career of Software Development in Cuba at the National Cancer Care Institute of Cuba, followed by moving to the States with allAware.


Champion acquired allAware and its properties and Erick has utilized his extensive background and expertise in IT and Software Development to rise to VP of Product Development in less than 5 years. During this time, Erick has been involved with key projects that led to the launch of numerous products including CSP Boss, Inscape platform and 365 Productivity Insights.


Erick has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Havana. He won Gold Medals for Programming from the Ministry of Education in Cuba, and he is certainly still a Gold Medalist for Champion!


As President and CEO, Chris is responsible for the development of key strategic alliances and solution portfolio. He leads Champion’s go-to market and execution strategies for integrated offerings in the cloud, in security, and in digital infrastructure, always focusing on improving the customer experience and driving transformative business outcomes.


He also aligns key partner initiatives with company strategy and oversees corporate marketing and messaging to gain mindshare with customers and partners. It’s his vision and innovativeness that have catapulted Champion up the ranks to become a $100M+ organization—and one of the most respected solution providers in the industry.


Over the past two decades, Chris has also focused on mergers and acquisitions, as well as innovative product development. He is the original founder and an active member on the Board of Managed Maintenance, Inc., a SAAS provider and consulting firm that utilizes their award-winning One-View Portal to help the IT Channel and its customers manage their IT Maintenance.


Chris is also the original founder and chief strategist behind one of the original storage cloud providers, Storage Access / BluePoint. During the course of a few short years, he had raised $20M and took that company public on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It has since been acquired by Pomeroy.


In 2012, Chris led the acquisition of MessageOps and continued the product development and worldwide launch of its premier SAAS, 365 Command. Built on Microsoft Azure, 365 Command is currently managing over 1 million seats of Microsoft’s Office 365. After achieving this phenomenal milestone, 365 Command and other MessageOps O365 utilities were sold to Kaseya.


Over the past 35 years, Chris as worked tirelessly to not only advance his own career, but those of his employees. In addition to leading a $100M organization, Chris can also be found sitting with sales teams, cold calling and coaching, and validating why Champion has been listed on Best Places to Work by both South Florida Business Journal and Computerworld.

Ultimately, the success garnered by Champion Solutions Group, its associated companies, and their employees is due in large part to the leadership of its President and CEO. Perhaps the most fitting award Chris has earned is South Florida Business Journal’s 2013 Ultimate CEO Award.