While Microsoft's specific TechEd announcements haven't yet been revealed, some analysts are hoping for details about Windows Azure, Microsoft's answer to Amazon's popular EC2 cloud platform.
There are any number of cloud topics Microsoft could address at TechEd, from its struggle to wrench momentum away from Google Apps, to security of the cloud, and licensing the use of Windows in cloud services.
But Microsoft's strategy around Azure seems to be less well defined than its other cloud ventures, and therefore may receive a bigger focus at TechEd, analysts say.
"I expect them to make a major move" regarding Azure, says Burton Group analyst Drue Reeves, who believes Microsoft has to walk a fine line with Azure, which delivers a cloud-based operating system, relational database and several other services.
Azure potentially poses a conflict of interest for Microsoft, he says. Microsoft wants partners to use the Hyper-V virtualization technology and .Net software framework to build cloud services, but the market presence of Azure might dissuade cloud providers from using those Microsoft technologies, Reeves says.
"If you're a new provider, are you going to use Hyper-V, or are you going to use .Net and offer that as a service and compete with Azure? Not likely," Reeves says. Microsoft is "providing the enabling technologies for cloud providers and selling against them at the same time."
Azure exited beta and went into general availability on Feb. 1 of this year.
But Microsoft has been relatively quiet overall about the cloud service, analysts say. "I have a list of questions to ask [Microsoft] about Azure," says Pund-IT analyst Charles King.