Tag: azure

Windows Server shrinks its footprint  

giantfootprintSoftware King of the World, Microsoft, has shrunk Windows Server’s footprint when you run it in Azure.

The slimmed down version of Windows Server is destined for use in Azure’s Managed Disks. This is a storage option that allows the creation of disks without first creating a storage account and without the need to manually assign a universal resource indicator.

Microsoft offers Managed Disks at 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 512GB and a terabyte, with the two smallest sizes a recent addition. But it looks like users had trouble squeezing Windows into the little ones, because Microsoft’s now announced it has “added a second set of Windows Server offerings with 30GB OS disks for Windows Server 2008R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012R2 and Windows Server 2016”.

Microsoft channel partners can now put it into 32GB Managed Disks and save customers “US$2.18 per VM if you choose to deploy with 32GB Standard Managed OS disk vs. 127GB”.

Windows Server 2012 could be installed onto a 32 GB partition that was an absolute minimum value needed for successful installation. It was providing a  Windows Server Core with IIS and no GUI, which was not very useful.

The new Azure version, though, makes it fit rather well into the tighter partition which makes it an easier sale.

Microsoft looks to channel to sort out its small blue things

hqdefaultSoftware King of the World Microsoft is ending pay-as-you-go Azure access for new smaller customers on the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement, as it turns to channel partners to win small customers.

At the moment punters are purchasing Azure on a pay-as-you-go basis through the MPSA.  Vole’s new customers seeking the payment plan will be “guided” towards Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) programme.

According to Richard Smith, Microsoft’s general manager for commercial licensing the new licensing focus was a matter of “enhancing and creating synergies” across the ways in which it goes to business.

It means that customers seeking to dip their toes into Azure on a PAYG basis will now need to go through the Channel.

Vole will not make much extra cash from selling through the channel, but Volish thinking is that small suppliers are more likely to stay signed up to a Channel programme than sticking to something more direct.

Many smaller customers don’t see the true benefits of the Azure cloud because they lack the skills.

By encouraging customers to work with partners via the CSP programme, it will mean that there is a  greater chance of success and ultimately a greater consumption of services from the Cloud.

France surrenders to Microsoft Azure Blitzkrieg

surrenderMicrosoft is pushing hard to get its Azure cloud offerings accepted in Europe and has announced that it will build its first Azure data centre in France this year.

Vole has written a $3 billion cheque to build its cloud services in Europe. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told the assorted throngs in Dublin that the expansion would mean that Microsoft covers “more regions than any other cloud provider. In the last year the capacity has more than doubled.”

The French data centre comes a month after Amazon announced that it would also be building a data centre in France.

Nadella said today that Microsoft has data centres covering 30 regions across the globe, “more regions than any other cloud provider,” with the European footprint including Ireland, the Netherlands, the UK and Germany.

In Germany, its data centre is operated by its glorious Deutsche Telekom allies in a trustee model, a move made both for “digital sovereignty and compliance,” Nadella said, “and a real world understanding of what the customer needs.”

“We have a very particular point of view by what we mean by mobile first and cloud first,” Nadella said today “It’s about the mobility of your experience across all devices in your life [and] the way to achieve that mobility … those experiences… is only possible because of the cloud.”

Vole claims that it is the “more trusted, more responsible and more inclusive” cloud provider, in contrast to Amazon and Google.

HPE unveils new channel scheme

HPE The former maker of expensive printer ink, HPE has taken the covers off its new channel programme.

The outfit’s new Flexible Capacity model for Microsoft Azure allows partners to bridge private and public cloud with a single pay-as-you-go unified billing consumption model.

HPE unveiled the Flexible Capacity option as part of the launch of a new HPE Microsoft Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) stack for HPE’s DL380 hyperconverged system.

The HPE Microsoft Azure stack should be ready to go in mid-2017 and HPE Consulting for Azure Hybrid Cloud services are available now.

The stack provides customers with Flexible Capacity single pay-as-you-go bill for both on-premise HPE private cloud and Microsoft Azure public cloud.

HPE said the DL380 Azure stack, which will sit in the customer’s data center, can be deployed with HPE SecureData software – protecting data in both public and private clouds and HPE Operations Bridge analytics software.

Microsoft about to knock Amazon off of its cloud

Every silver has a cloudy liningBeancounters at Morgan Stanley think that Microsoft’s Azure will edge out Amazon Web Services by 2019 for both Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

The 2016 CIO Survey worked out that  31 percent of the CIOs will be using Azure for IaaS, versus roughly 30 percent using AWS. Today, about 21 percent are using AWS and 12 percent are using Azure. While nearly 55 percent of the surveyed CIOs said they’re using no public-cloud IaaS today, that number will drop to less than 10 percent by the end of 2019.

Azure is already leading AWS in PaaS and it is used by 18 percent of the respondents, versus AWS’s 16 percent. Azure’s lead will grow slightly by 2019, growing 9.8 percent versus 6.4 percent, Morgan Stanley said.

Software as a Service (SaaS) spending is looking promising with 95 percent of the 100 respondents predicting it will be flat or will increase, up from 90 percent last year.  Its key driver will be marketing applications from the likes of Adobe, HubSpot and Salesforce.

Nearly one-third of all applications will be migrated to the public cloud by the end 2017, up from 14 percent today, the survey said. On-premises apps will decline to 58 percent, from 71 percent today.

Hardware vendors, including conventional and flash storage makers, will continue to suffer as their market is eaten by the cloud. Hardware spending growth is down this year to 3.2 percent, from 3.4 percent last year.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise and NetApp face the largest threats, the study said. Biggish Blue might be saved by its cloud investments and cognitive-computing offering.

Oracle, EMC, Dell, VMWare and Cisco, in that order, all face declines in their share of the next three years’ IT budgets, ranging from -17 percent to -9 percent.

Microsoft’s Azure cloud growing

Every silver has a cloudy liningMicrosoft’s Azure cloud computing platform is growing like topsie.

Vole announced that it was signing up 120,000 new business customers and developer subscribers monthly.

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the company’s Cloud and Enterprise group, said at a developer conference in San Francisco that more than four million developers are also registered to use Microsoft’s developer tools. In January, Microsoft claimed it had 3.8 million developers registered.

Microsoft is focusing on business services and its Azure cloud services platform is a major competitor to Amazon.com’s AWS. Both companies have huge server banks which run services and software for customers looking for added flexibility, lower costs and reliability.

Vole has been getting its foot in the door thanks to parceling up Azure services through its channel and is doing quite well at getting its cloud to rain on Amazon’s parade.

 

Microsoft to build Azure UK data centre

Every silver has a cloudy liningSoftware giant Microsoft is building a new UK data centre for its Azure cloud – the announcement follows something similar from AWS.

Vole wants its cloud services based in the UK beginning in 2016 and AWS will have it ready by the by the end of 2016 (or early 2017).

Vole is behind AWS in cloud services but the distance between the pair is huge.

Setting up in the UK makes a lot of sense. London’s status as a financial hub makes it attractive market for cloud vendors, and having a local region (composed of multiple data centres) mimimises latency.

Microsoft is a US corporation there may be circumstances when the US government can demand access to data. This is less likely to be possible if the data is kept in a local data centre.

If the US does succeed in getting court orders for the data stored in Europe chances are the EU would ban American companies running data centres. This would be too much of a political hot potato for the US government which is currently attempting to re-negotiate its safe-harbour status in Europe having lost it due to its spying antics.

Microsoft has the Ministry of Defence signed up as its first customer, which is probably why it has to have the data kept within the UK.

The department will be migrating to a “private instance” of Office 365, hosted partly by HP and in part by the new UK Azure region.

Microsoft teams up with Red Hat

redmondMicrosoft and Red Hat have announced a partnership that will help customers embrace hybrid cloud computing by providing greater choice and flexibility deploying Red Hat solutions on Microsoft Azure.

Vole is offering Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the preferred choice for enterprise Linux workloads on Microsoft Azure.

Redmond and Red Hat are also working together on common enterprise, ISV and developer needs for building, deploying and managing applications on Red Hat software across private and public clouds.

In the coming weeks, Microsoft Azure will become a Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider. This will enable customers to run their Red Hat Enterprise Linux applications and workloads on Microsoft Azure.

Red Hat Cloud Access subscribers will be able to bring their own virtual machine images to run in Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft Azure customers can also take advantage of the full value of Red Hat’s application platform, including Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, Red Hat JBoss Web Server, Red Hat Gluster Storage and OpenShift, Red Hat’s platform-as-a-service offering. In the coming months, Microsoft and Red Hat plan to provide Red Hat On-Demand — “pay-as-you-go” Red Hat Enterprise Linux images available in the Azure Marketplace, supported by Red Hat.

Customers will be offered cross-platform, cross-company support spanning the Microsoft and Red Hat offerings in an integrated way, unlike any previous partnership in the public cloud. By co-locating support teams on the same premises, the experience will be simple and seamless, at cloud speed.

Red Hat CloudForms will work with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft System Centre Virtual Machine Manager, offering Red Hat CloudForms customers the ability to manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux on both Hyper-V and Microsoft Azure. Support for managing Azure workloads from Red Hat CloudForms is expected to be added in the next few months, extending the existing System Center capabilities for managing Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Developers will have access to .NET technologies across Red Hat offerings, including Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, jointly backed by Microsoft and Red Hat. Red Hat Enterprise Linux will be the primary development and reference operating system for .NET Core on Linux.

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president for Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise division said the move will be a powerful win for enterprises, ISVs and developers.

“With this partnership, we are expanding our commitment to offering unmatched choice and flexibility in the cloud today, meeting customers where they are so they can do more with their hybrid cloud deployments — all while fulfilling the rigorous security and scalability requirements that enterprises demand.”

 

 

 

Microsoft opens up Visual Studio to Java developers

microsoft-in-chinaMicrosoft has opened its Visual Studio Application Insights cloud software telemetry service so that Java developers can come up with new Azure designs.

For those who came in late, Application Insights is part of the Visual Studio Online set of services that Redmond announced in November 2013. It gathers and generates reports on usage and performance data for online applications.

These can be accessed through the Microsoft Azure Portal – which means you need an Azure subscription to use Application Insights.

The service had only allowed for the connection web applications and apps written using Microsoft’s own ASP.Net framework. But the new rules allow the same kind of monitoring to Java applications.

Microsoft is also offering support for Application Insights in its new version of the Azure Tookit for Eclipse.

A free trial of Application Insights is available. After that, pricing depends on the level of Visual Studio Online service you need and the amount of Azure resources you consume each month.

Open saucy Microsoft puts Azure on Ubuntu

Every silver has a cloudy liningMicrosoft has released its Azure hosted service so that it can run Linux.

Microsoft showed off a preview of Azure HDInsight running on Ubuntu and the makers of the open saucy gear Canonical claims that it is a recognition that Ubuntu is great for running Big Data solutions.

For those who came in late, Azure HDInsight, is Microsoft’s Apache Hadoop-based service in the Azure cloud. It is designed to make it easy for customers to evaluate petabytes of all types of data with fast, cost-effective scale on demand, as well as programming extensions so developers can use their favourite languages.

The big idea is that people that already use Hadoop on Linux on-premises like on Hortonworks Data Platform, because they can use common Linux tools, documentation, and templates and and now they can extend their deployment to Azure with hybrid cloud connections.

It is not all one way traffic.  Canonical has Juju which  is a Cloud Orchestration tool. This is the result of years of effort to optimize Big Data workloads on Ubuntu. This will mean that Azure will effectively gain access to this.

Microsoft offers start ups Azure credits

Pic Mike MageeMicrosoft has launched a package to lure start-ups and SME’s to its Azure profile by offering them $500,000 in Azure credits. 

The deal, announced by partner Y Combinator, is only available to Y Combinator-backed companies and will be offered to the 2015 Winter and future batches.

It seems that Microsoft is following Google, AWS and IBM which already offer incentives for start-ups to join them.

Microsoft is giving Y Combinator start-ups a three years Office 365 subscription, access to Microsoft developer staff and one year of free CloudFlare and DataStax enterprise services.

It is starting to look like Microsoft is getting more aggressive in its competition with Amazon Web Services and Google, both of whom already offer credits and freebies.

Amazon offers $25,000 in AWS credits and other freebies, while Google offers $100,000 in Google platform credits and IBM offers $120,000 in credit for SoftLayer infrastructure of BlueMix PaaS.

Writing in his company’s bog Sam Altman said that this brings the total value of special offers extended to each YC company to well over $1,000,000. “The relentless nagging from partners to grow faster we throw in for free,” he said.

It is likely that the YC deal is the first of many which will be rolled out worldwide to Microsoft’s partners.

 

Microsoft’s cloud blue screens

Pic Mike MageeMicrosoft ‘s Azure cloud-computing service, suffered a kick in the credibility on Tuesday after it suffered serious outages. Microsoft’s MSN web portal was taken offline.

According to Microsoft’s Azure status page, the problems started around 5pm Pacific time and have still not been fully solved. “We are experiencing a connectivity issue across multiple Azure Services,” the page said.

“Microsoft is investigating an issue affecting access to some Microsoft services,” said a Microsoft spokesperson. “We are working to restore full access to these services as quickly as possible.”

Azure outages are a serious problem for Microsoft as the company tries to sell its cloud-computing service as a cost-effective and reliable alternative to Amazon’s AWS.

The outage was a major problem for those punters relying on Azure to host websites – such as Microsoft.

Microsoft suffered its last major Azure outage in August.  Amazon also has outages which does not bode well for those who look to the cloud for total reliability.

 

Microsoft adds more to Azure

MSlogoSoftware giant Microsoft said today it has added a number of additions to its Azure offerings.

At a conference in Barcelona, Jason Zander, VP of Azure, said that it will release Azure “Operational Insights” which combines HD Insight and MS System Centre to gather and analyse machine data across clouds.

Azure Batch gives access to thousands of cores to analyse complex problems while Azure Automation, as its name suggests, allows batch operations on both Azure and third party environments.

Microsoft said it has also made improvements to security with support for multiple network interface cards (NICs), Network Security Groups for creating security boundaries and giving better control over traffic flow, and a service, at no charge, called Anti-Malware for virtual machines.

The company also said it has improved its Enterprise Mobility Suite and Office 365, allowing administrators to manage Office mobile apps, conditional access features, and secure mobile app viewing.  These improvements will arrive in the next few months, Zander said.

Microsoft improves its Azure offerings

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeSoftware company Microsoft said it has added features to its “cloud-first” media services.

The features incude HD quality live streaming, protection capabilities and a service to simply indexing audio and video content.

In addition, Microsoft has added four industry partners to its Azure Media Services including Telestream’s Wirecast, NewTek TriCaster, Cires21 and JW Player.

Microsoft said it is indtroducing faster encoding speeds and more cost effective billing.  The better Azure Media Encoder is billed on output GBs while it used to be based on both input and output GBs – that means cost savings, the company claims.

The Azure Media Indexer is a content extraction service to index media libraries so they can be searched by keywords, phrases or clips and also create transcripts of audio files.

Azure fails

cloud (264 x 264)Microsoft has fixed a worldwide outage on its Azure cloud computing service, which occurred across multiple regions.

Partial disruptions began as of 1.40pm on Aug. 18, the company said on the Azure website.

This is bad news for Microsoft which is touting its cloud-based platform for creating, deploying and maintaining online applications and services such as websites and web-hosted applications. As such, it has to work 24/7 or customers will be severely put out.

Azure is used by governments and corporations around the world, supports various programming languages, tools and frameworks.

Microsoft said that Azure services such as virtual machines, cloud services, mobile services, service bus, site recovery, HDInsight, websites and Storsimple were down during the outage.

However, Vole insisted that the core platform components were working properly throughout and only a small subset of customers were affected by the outage.

Still reports of outages might make many firms question if moving to the cloud is such a good idea, or if they can get the same levels of reliability on-site.