Future Decoded Tech Day – 12th November, Excel, London.



Building Cloud Applications Track – register on the website.

13:50 – 14:30

Why the Cloud; Why Azure?

Steve Plank (Planky)

It’s no longer the guy with the most money who can be successful at writing software. With the advent of cloud computing it’s down to those with the best ideas. The cloud has democratised the notion of large Internet scale applications. This sessions spells out the opportunities it opens for individuals, startups and enterprises. It concentrates on the new cloud first, mobile first world of modern connected apps and shows how Microsoft Azure can be brought to bear. Planky highlights some of the career development opportunities that now exist with Microsoft Azure certifications: how to make yourself more attractive to employers by acquiring the skills needed as a developer or IT Pro. He also shows you how to get started with a free Azure trial subscription so that, with the information in the other sessions here – you should be able to create something that runs on Azure when you leave.


Steve Plank -- @plankytronixx


Steve, or “Planky” as he is more widely known is a technology evangelist for Microsoft UK who specialises in the cloud. He speaks, writes, blogs, runs online conferences and special one-off projects, runs seminars and camps, teaches and helps individuals/companies/startups to get over that initial learning hump and get them launched on their journey to the cloud.


Microsoft Azure Compute

Steve (Planky) Plank

In this session for newcomers to Azure, Planky introduces the core compute features: Web Sites, Virtual Machines, Mobile Services and Cloud Services. There is a discussion of the logical and physical architecture of Microsoft Azure, but the session consists mostly of demos that should help get you started with creating your cloud apps or cloud back-ends. This is a breathless race through the main Azure compute features and should give you that all-important leg-up.


Break Time

15:30 – 16:15

Microsoft Azure Data

Another session for newcomers to Azure, only this time concentrating on data. Richard starts off with a look at the core data service – Microsoft Azure Storage and shows how to create and use a Storage Account. He then follows with a discussion of Blobs, Tables and Queues before moving on to the 2 relational database options – SQL Azure DB and running a database on a Virtual Machine. The session moves quickly to a discussion of Big Data with Azure’s implementation of Hadoop, known as HDInsight and then of course, a new preview service – Azure Machine Learning. Combining the compute and the data sessions together, you should gain enough knowledge to build a really simple Azure cloud application.


Richard Conway -- @azurecoder



Richard is a Microsoft MVP and one of the co-founders of the UK Windows Azure Users Group. He has built a thriving community of Azure users and developers with the help of business partner Andy Cross and Microsoft UK. The user group currently stands at over 500 members. Richard and Andy also run Elastacloud, a Microsoft Azure Circle Big Data member, policy advisor and member of the elite Microsoft Azure Insiders group.

16:15 – 16:50

Gateway Interactive Case Study

Louis Deane

In this session Louis talks about how the Azure Cloud has helped Gateway Interactive to instrument and discover how their game is played. It gives them new insights in to what the core game design should be like. The way they take the data and re-apply that to what the gamers actually want is looked at from the gamers’ points of view, not from a marketing department deep in the bowels of the organisation. The cloud has allowed them to solve several problems and in a way that would have been prohibitively expensive before Azure hit the streets. This is a must see session for anybody interesting in cloud gaming and the architecture of software scaling.


Louis Deane – Gateway Interactive – @gateway_louis


With his blue hair and skinny jeans, Louis Deane is just what you'd imagine a digital gaming entrepreneur to look like. The computer science graduate from the University of Hull has a handling of physics and computer "stuff" that would make most arts graduates wince. “We make games. We make games we love” is his mantra. Now as CEO of rapidly expanding Gateway Interactive he has a lot to do – but his core love is writing games that draw you in; and solving all the technical problems that creating a successful game throws at you.


Milliman Case Study

Tom Peplow

What happens if you need to perform 200 years of computations in 4 days? You could have 20,000 cores work on your problem simultaneously...  That is precisely what Milliman use Azure to achieve.  Tom will talk about the challenges that presents and the design choices his team made to get around those challenges.

Milliman are among the world’s largest providers of actuarial related products and services.  In that capacity they help their clients overcome the ever increasing complexity in financial modelling.  It’s in these efforts that Milliman have developed Integrate™ Compute, which provides their clients virtually unlimited computing power to answer ever more complex questions in shortening timelines demanded by regulators.

Year to date Milliman’s clients have used just over 35 million core hours for cash flow projections and capital modelling in the EU, Asia and US.


Tom Peplow -- @tpeplow


Tom is the software development lead in the UK and is responsible for developing products within the Integrate™ product suite.  Currently, Tom is developing a new cloud based ETL and Reporting platform with the goal to simplify and industrialise actuarial data management.  Tom is also responsible for the on-going maintenance and enhancement of Integrate Compute for Azure, the cloud hosted computational power house driving Integrate Financial Projections.

Tom has an in-depth working knowledge of Microsoft Azure and has made it his mission to become an expert in delivering highly scalable, secure, reliable and maintainable cloud based applications.

Tom joined Milliman as a consultant in 2012 to help deliver Integrate Compute for Azure.  He moved on to drive innovation on the wider product suite and joined Milliman to run the UK development team in April 2014.   Prior to joining Milliman, Tom worked as a consultant, primarily in financial services. 



Q&A and wrap-up

Take a few minutes to ask any questions of the presenters in the Building Cloud Applications track.

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