Early yesterday, Julia White, the Office Exec at Microsoft, cast shadowy counsel on Twitter.
If you haven't registered for @MS_Ignite and want to go, you should get on this right now. Consider this a heads up...— Julia White (@julwhite) March 31, 2015
With the constant news bouncing around at Microsoft these days, and the official announcement of the Surface 3, some thought maybe the company was planning to announce something additionally spectacular. As it turns out, Julia was alluding to a pending announcement that Microsoft's new conference, Ignite, would closing registration.
Registration for Ignite opened on October 16, 2104. And, through constant promotions over email, Twitter, Facebook, and other places, Microsoft has reached its max limit for general attendance after 5 ½ months. The company says the event is sold out but without publicly announcing the intended attendance numbers. Originally, I heard that Microsoft was planning for well over 20k, hoping to push the Chicago convention center to its capacity, but sources suggest that number has leveled-off around the 15k mark. That's still a lot of people.
UPDATE: Joe Kelly told me on Twitter that Microsoft reported it hit the 20K mark. But, its still unclear if that is total attendance (vendors, MSFT included) or general attendance. Sources say that general registration was only at the 7k mark last month. If true, that's quite a number of registrations in a very short time, considering there was a 5 month lead-up.
Ignite is Microsoft's one chance in the year to hit this particular audience with news about coming releases and roadmap plans, considering this event is a merging of 6 separate, individual conferences. So, having the largest crowd available is important to the company.
If you missed the 5 month window for registration, I know of one way to possibly still get a trip to Ignite. Adaptiva, a maker of System Center add-ons, is giving away conference passes (up to 4). All you have to do to be eligible is sit through a 15 minute webinar. Details HERE. Some have asked for a waitlist, but Microsoft has yet to respond to the query.
Microsoft Ignite runs from May 4-8, 2015 and WindowsITPro will be on-site all week and reporting live. If you're not able to attend, watch for our coverage, and also monitor Channel 9. The major keynotes will all be streamed live in addition to a majority of the technical sessions. So, you'll still be able to gather the information you might have missed if you attended – the only things you'll miss out on is the networking, community, and the Chicago nightlife. But, you might be able to substitute those with friends, coworkers and a couple hot dogs.
Additionally, Microsoft also used the registration announcement to roll out MyIgnite. MyIgnite is a Cloud-based tool that allows you to stay connected to announcements and news during the week-long event and it gives you the ability to create your schedule for the week.
Some have reported issues logging in to MyIgnite (requires a Microsoft account) and general sluggishness. So far, I've not experience any of those issues and the tool looks to be a valuable resource.
P.S. If you aren't able to attend Ignite this year, there is another option. IT/Dev Connections 2015 is great alternative. It's a more intimate event (1300 attendees) with strong technical sessions in every topic area as Ignite. And, it's in Vegas, at the Aria Hotel and resort. IT/Dev Connections runs from September 14-17, 2015.