My experience with organizing Global Azure Day 2020 – Omaha

As a co-organizer of the Omaha Azure User group, I have organized Global Azure Day 2020 – Omaha on Saturday, April 25th, 2020. It was a half-day online live event with 5 back to back sessions on Azure. Overall, the event was successful. We had 90 unique registrants watching our live stream. We concluded the event with a live Q&A session with the speakers where attendees asked some very interesting questions. The sessions were recorded and have been posted on the youtube channel of Omaha Azure User Group here.

Out of a total of 5 speakers, 3 were Microsoft MVPs. Here is a brief on all the speakers and their sessions –

Jeff Bramwell (Vice President – Solutions Architecture with Farm Credit Services of America / MVP-Microsoft Visual Studio and Development Technologies) – Jeff presented on “The Power of Azure DevOps“. In his session, he touched upon different features of Azure DevOps like Boards and Pipelines.

David Klee (Founder, Heraflux Technologies / MVP-Microsoft Data Platform / VMware vExpert) – David presented on “All thing SQL in Azure“. He talked through different offerings in Azure to run SQL workloads efficiently in Azure.

Mike Pfeiffer (Founder and Chief Technologist, CloudSkills.io, MVP- Microsoft Azure) – Mike talked about “Designing event-driven systems with Azure Functions“. He demoed some good stuff around running Powershell in Azure Functions.

Drew Wigodsky (Technical Director at Edgile). Drew talked about “Why Identity matters: Intelligent Security with the Microsoft Cloud” covering different security options available in Microsoft cloud.

Vaibhav Gujral (Cloud Architect, Kiewit / Co-organizer, Omaha Azure User Group) – I spoke on “Getting Started with Microsoft Azure” to give the attendees enough information so that they can start their journey with Microsoft Azure.

We had five sponsors for the event.. each sponsoring one session. Thanks to our sponsors we had given away 17 prizes (12 $100 Amazon gift cards and 5 CloudSkills training vouchers). Special thanks to Sami Frain from Harbinger Partners for getting the zoom meeting setup.

One person who has always been supportive of me in running the user group and the global azure day is Steve Christian. He is co-founder of Omaha Azure User Group and is working with Microsoft. He has always been available to help, whenever I needed anything. Thanks, Steve.

What an event this has been. It was originally scheduled to take place as an in-person event. But, due to the on-going situation with COVID-19, I had to convert it into an online event. Considering that I’ve never organized an event like this before, it was not easy.

It all started with registering Omaha as a location at https://globalazure.net/. Then I have arranged a venue to host the event. This year, the event could’ve been hosted on any or all of the 3 dates. I’ve opted for Friday, April 24th for the in-person event based on the feedback from last year’s organizers who have organized it on a Saturday. Generally, people are busy on weekends in Omaha in the month of April as there are soccer tournaments going on during that time.

Then I have put up the website for the event: https://globalazureday.omahaaug.com/. Its a WordPress site hosted in Azure. No fancy stuff. I already own the domain name omahaaug.com for Omaha azure user group and for the event, I had just created a sub-domain.

Coming to speakers, before the COVID-19 came in, I had already talked to all of them and I had the tentative agenda in-place – https://globalazureday.omahaaug.com/agenda/

I had just started working on the required logistics and involved costs when this COVID-19 situation happened. At first thought, my plan was to cancel the event altogether. But, then I decided to execute what I have planned for by converting the full-day in-person event into a half-day virtual event. All the speakers were supportive of the idea. I had reached out to all the sponsors, roughly a week before for the event and they all readily agreed to sponsor. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the speakers, sponsors, and attendees for making the event a success!

If you have any questions or feedback about the event, you can reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Looking forward to more events like this!