Facing a maraca-shaking audience of IT Pro heros warmed up by a Florida-style Polynesian dance team, Bob Muglia, senior VP of Microsoft Server and Tools business at Microsoft, delivered a keynote focused on the progress Microsoft has made on its Dynamic IT initiative over the past five years.

“It’s really all about you,” Muglia told the crowd.

The keynote was less about path-breaking new technologies and more about reporting progress on a 10-year plan designed to alter the IT landscape by shifting IT from a cost center to a strategic asset within an enterprise. Dynamic IT, Muglia says, is “a broad idea to transform business through technology” through changes in approach throughout the IT lifecycle. Muglia explains that “The IT industry is evolving at a rate like never before—driven by changing user needs, globalization, shifting economic pressures, increasingly faster processing speeds, and more. We truly believe this change represents an opportunity for IT professionals to move the needle at their companies by employing new solutions and technologies to boost the agility and speed of their IT systems—ultimately making these systems more dynamic.”

Announcements from Microsoft include:

Identity Lifecycle Manager 2, beta 3. Muglia says that ILM delivers comprehensive identity and access management and drives down costs of identity management.

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Release Candidate. “It’s gone to the RC process.” This is another milestone in the long-awaited and much anticipated release of SQL Server 2008. Muglia said that “We’re very close to shipping this product. It’s in great shape.” There were demos of SQL Server 2008 data compression and policy-based management features. This is the “third of the trifecta,” as Muglia put it, which includes Windows Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008. The other two products shipped several months ago.

There were demos on .NET Configuration Service 2.0, Forefront Security for Office Communications Server Beta 1, and Forefront Client Security.

Muglia discussed a number of updates to assist IT Pros and their organizations in implementing virtualization technologies: There’s a Server Virtualization Validation program. Microsoft is adding four new virtualization certificates. Application Virtualization 4.5 release candidate will be available soon (within the month). Hyper-V is still on track to ship 180 days after Windows Server 2008 RTM.

Muglia kicked off the speech with a report on how technicians in New Orleans used Microsoft technologies three years ago to help connect victims of Hurricane Katrina with their families. Three years is practically a lifetime in the IT world. Our hearts are warmed by how Microsoft helped then. What are they doing now?