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Azure News & Analysis

Will Microsoft Land the Federal Market with Azure Government?

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Remember when Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced his Cloud First Mobile First strategy? He really wasn’t joking.

On Monday, he announced a new hybrid cloud initiative with Accenture. Last night, he announced that Microsoft’s Azure Government cloud is now generally available, and that Dynamics CRM Online for government will be available next month.

This follows hot on the heels of the recent announcement that Office 365 for Government has been awarded some major security certifications and that the Feds are now happy to work with it.  

Accenture, Microsoft Team Up to Take Enterprises to the Hybrid Cloud

Enterprises are increasingly willing to weigh the commercial advantages of cloud computing against potential security issues, yet many are still uncomfortable with making the leap.

To help them get over any lingering reluctance, Accenture and Microsoft have extended their existing partnership with the introduction of Accenture Hybrid Cloud Solution for Microsoft Azure. The hybrid cloud solution enables enterprises to manage applications between private and public clouds.

Hey SharePoint Users, You Can Now Get Busy on Google's Cloud

What will it take for Google to win business from companies that have gone all-in on Microsoft? A better Gmail/Inbox (reviews on the latter will be coming soon) or Google Docs experience doesn’t seem to be the answer.

But one good option may be to give enterprises that want to mitigate risk in the cloud an alternate platform – in this case, Google cloud -- that makes it easy to keep SharePoint document repositories and run Exchange Server mail without having to cough up additional licensing fees.

That’s why earlier today Google introduced Microsoft License Mobility for Google Cloud Platform with a pretty strong pitch. 

Outage Outrage As Microsoft's Azure Stumbles

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Microsoft is trying to recover from a widespread outage that affected its Azure cloud platform across multiple regions. The company acknowledged that 11-hour issue, which started last night, affected customers with virtual machines in all regions other than the new Australian data center.

The unanswered question now: What's the long-term impact of the outage, which knocked many third-party sites offline and created problems with Microsoft's Office 365 suite?

SharePoint in the Clouds: Choosing Between Office 365 or Azure

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Every time I read about “the cloud” I want to drag out a red pencil and edit the sentence. Why? Because we should really be talking about “the clouds,” plural.

There are dozens of cloud hosting options for SharePoint, beyond Office 365. Amazon, Rackspace and Fpweb offer compelling alternatives to Microsoft’s public cloud for SharePoint online with a mix of capabilities.

Following SAP and Oracle, IBM Latest to Jump to Microsoft Azure

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Microsoft already partnered with SAP and Oracle on its cloud-computing platform. Why not toss in the fourth player in the Big Four?

IBM is the latest partner in Microsoft's enterprise software layer, a deal that includes:

  • IBM and Microsoft making IBM middleware such as WebSphere Liberty, MQ, and DB2 available on Microsoft Azure
  • Windows Server and SQL Server being offered on IBM Cloud
  • IBM and Microsoft working together to deliver a Microsoft .NET runtime for IBM’s Bluemix cloud development platform

Microsoft Azure welcomes the business.

The news announced yesterday comes five months after Microsoft officials said SAP will certify a number of its business applications to run on Microsoft Azure, including SAP Business Suite software, SAP Business All-In-One solution, SAP Mobile Platform, SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (SAP ASE) and the developer edition of the SAP HANA platform.

And about a year and a half ago, Oracle jumped into the Microsoft Azure cloud. 

Take a Seat Google, Amazon: Microsoft's Cloud Wins the Day

Though the new mobile-first, cloud-first Microsoft is more open and plays nice with everyone, it also wants to knock the socks, shirt and hat off of the competition. And, if CEO Satya Nadella is right, it has everything it needs to do so.

While mobile, as Microsoft now defines it, is “not about the device” whether it’s a sensor, small screen or large screen, but about “powering mobility with intelligence,” the productivity and collaboration tools are all Microsoft (Office 365 and Dynamics).

And when it comes to the cloud, Microsoft may have one few others can match. We’re not talking only about a super-charged, hyper-scale cloud in the heavens, but also about a new Azure-like appliance that Enterprises can deploy in their own data centers. It has been designed specifically to handle big data workloads (32 cores, 450 gigabytes of RAM and 6.5 terabytes of local solid-state drive storage). Officially named the Microsoft Cloud Platform System (CPS), powered by Dell it is, in essence, an “Azure consistent cloud in a box” with pre-integrated hardware from Dell and software from Microsoft.

Building a Hybrid Bridge to the Microsoft Cloud

2014-29-August-Rope-Bridge.jpgWhen Satya Nadella announced Microsoft’s new Mobile-First, Cloud-First strategy, he drew a line in the sand with Microsoft employees and set the company on a new course. When Microsoft COO, Kevin Turner reiterated the message at the World Wide Partner Conference in July, he sent partners scrambling to get cloud certified, saying “Selling on-premises software was good for you and us for a long time but the future lies in the cloud and mobility, and Microsoft plans to go in that direction with our partner community intact.”

Customers have felt the shift as well as they ponder what solutions can be cloud based and how to integrate them without significant effort and cost. Some organizations look at Office 365 and feel insecure about moving to a multi-tenant environment. Many organizations have significant investments in on-premises applications and infrastructure so moving to the cloud will not be an easy process.

These critical business systems have kept the wheels of commerce running for some time and have been built up with many layers of complexity and integration. Strict compliance regulations prevent many companies from exposing data in a cloud environment. With these constraints and issues in mind Microsoft has created a number of hybrid options that allow companies to selectively migrate enterprise solutions or build new applications that use cloud services while maintaining an on-prem infrastructure.

Let’s look at the options.

Microsoft Secures Azure Data with Enhanced Encryption

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Microsoft — like Google — is beating the drum on security. It is enhancing the encryption of data transfers between users and the Azure cloud guest operating systems. 

The encryption improvements, which apply to Microsoft Azure cipher solution for hosted guest virtual machines, gives users better and more secure connections during the transmission of data.

According to a Microsoft blog post the new enhancements apply to the Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which makes it harder to decrypt connections and information going across such connections.

This follows  recent moves by Google to secure and encrypt emails. In the coming weeks, it announced that it will publishing a list of best practices in the coming weeks to make Transport Layer Security (TLS) adoption easier and to avoid common mistakes.

The Enterprise of the Future: Not as Cloudy as You Think?

The enterprise is “all in” on the (public) cloud, right? That’s certainly what all the hype leads us to believe.

After all, hardly a week goes by without Amazon, Google or Microsoft dropping their prices as they race to the bottom in the cloud wars. Not only that but there are also a host of celebrity-like CEO’s such as Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, Amazon’s Werner Vogels and Box’s Aaron Levie. They’re constantly in front of crowds preaching cloud-only gospels.

And there are the more recently converted to consider as well, such as IBM’s Ginni Rometty, who bought Cloudant, Silverpop and SoftLayer over the past 18 months and launched the IBM’s cloud Marketplace in April. Never mind SAP’s Bill McDermott, who started to refer the company he now single-handedly reins as “the cloud company”.

But all of that being said, there’s a newer trend in the enterprise now taking hold that indicates that the future may actually be hybrid. It seems that some managers don’t want or can’t have their data floating around “in the heavens” for reasons of security and compliance reasons, despite the cost savings.

Microsoft Offers Feds Secured Dynamics CRM #WPC14

It always happens this time of year. Microsoft, which spends most of the time locked tighter than a clam, suddenly opens up and starts giving out news bites like a leaky cauldron. It’s the prologue to the Worldwide Partner Conference and Microsoft can’t seem to stop giving.

Yesterday it announced a whole bunch of productivity and synching releases for the private sector. It also announced a bunch of public sector releases that nearly slipped under the radar, including the fact that as of the beginning of next year, Dynamics CRM Online will be available as a separate instance for US federal, state and local governments.

The new Dynamics CRM instances will also comply with the FedRAMP standard. The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is a government-wide program that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services.

Can Microsoft's Newest Azure Service Help Change the Future?

2014-16-June-Zoltar.jpgNo, Microsoft’s new boss, Satya Nadella, hasn’t gone loopy on you.

But today the world’s largest software provider unveils a cloud-based, big data/analytics solution to help enterprises predict the future and to react to it -- ahead of schedule -- thereby increasing the odds of achieving a desired result.

“It’s been cooking for a while,” said Eron Kelly, general manager of the company’s data platform division. 

“It,” to be more precise, is a Microsoft Azure Machine Learning service, AzureML, that helps enterprises apply advanced analytics to big data to forecast and take action on what is yet to come.

These Cloud Computing Vendors are Edging Up on AWS

Sure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the golden child of cloud computing, but Microsoft Azure isn't too far behind. And according to Gartner’s recently released Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas), it's starting to nip into AWS’s market.

Gartner contends AWS is beginning to face significant competition on two fronts:  Microsoft is competing in the traditional business market and Google is challenging it in the cloud native market.

Microsoft's Mobile-First, Cloud-First Mantra Takes to the Enterprise

Microsoft owns the enterprise. Don’t expect it to be letting go of even the tiniest sliver anytime soon. In the last few months the world’s biggest software company has upped its data game, its analytics tools, its database, brought Office to the iPad and new Enterprise File Sync and Share (via OneDrive) capabilities to businesses.

Google, Amazon Cut Cloud Prices Again

The battle for cloud supremacy intensified again.  At its Cloud Platform Live event Tuesday, Google slashed the prices for its cloud services lower than Amazon and Microsoft. Amazon responded with similar cuts. No news from Microsoft yet, but one thing is clear.

The big winners are cloud users.

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