Brad Anderson Outlines New Azure Features at Ignite Conference

Brad Anderson – CVP of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise division – laid out the key attributes upcoming in Microsoft Azure:

Azure in your datacenter

Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 – partners and availability

New Networking services and capabilities in Azure

  • New Network Virtual Appliances

  • User Defined Routing

  • Azure ExpressRoute Premium Add-on Package

  • Azure DNS

  • Azure ExpressRoute and Site-to-Site VPN co-exist

  • New Standard VPN Gateway

  • Multiple Virtual IPs per Cloud Service

Azure Active Directory enhancements

Disk Encryption for Linux and Windows Virtual Machines

  • Virtual Machine Scale Sets

Full Details on the Microsoft Azure Blog

Assume Breach: An Inside Look at Cloud Service Provider Security

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Great summary of Azure CTO Mark Russinovich’s presentation at the 2015 RSA conference by Rob Wright.

Azure security is split into three categories. The first is protection, which features components such as identity and access and vulnerability management. The second is detection, which includes auditing, logging, monitoring and penetration testing. And the third category is response, which involves breach containment and customer notification.

Cloud services are appealing targets for hackers and cybercriminals, according to Russinovich.

“It’s easy to get a free trial,” he said. “And once you get a free trial, you have at your disposal huge network pipes, lots of compute power, and you’ve got a concentration of vulnerable assets in the cloud, which are the other customers in that cloud.”

Microsoft looks at best — and worst — practices for Azure security (TechTarget)

Mark Russinovich’s RSA slides

Looking to move to the cloud? Only 6 cloud providers left. AWS on top, MS nipping at heals

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Today there’s only 6 cloud providers in the game.  I predict that in 3 years or less there will be only 3 players left i.e., an oligopoly.  Below is the most recent data from Synergy Group to back up my assumption.  

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) remains larger than its four main competitors combined in the cloud infrastructure service market. Microsoft can once again lay claim to having by far the highest revenue growth rate”

“…now six companies that can lay a valid claim to having annual cloud revenue run rates in excess of $5 billion – AWS, IBM, Microsoft, HP, Cisco and salesforce”

AWS Still Bigger than its Four Main Competitors Combined Despite Surging Growth

Competition for Tableau [from their neighbor down the street]

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Microsoft makes a shrewd move with the acquisition of Datazen.  The product / technology will compete directly with the undisputed leader – Tableau (according to Gartner) .

“Datazen technology and solutions will complement Power BI, our cloud-based business analytics service, rounding out our mobile capabilities for customers who need a mobile BI solution implemented on-premises and optimized for SQL Server”

Microsoft acquires mobile business intelligence leader Datazen

Why CIOs should care about Microservices – [the future of cloud computing applications]

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Interesting summary from Forbes on Microsoft’s new Azure technology with comments from Azure CTO Mark Russinovich 

“Microsoft firmly believes that the future of application development for all organizations will be created using microservices. Microservices is a modern take on software architecture, in which complex applications are composed of small, independent processes communicating with each other using APIs. These services are small, highly decoupled and focus on doing a small task. The rise of Docker, the proliferation of third party developer tools and the increasing reliance on the cloud all play into the growth of microservices.”

Forbes: Microsoft Reinvents The Meaning Of PaaS–Welcome To The Microservices Future

Microsoft and Amazon’s approach to cloud computing and the road to $128 billion

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Microsoft’s cloud growth is led by Office 365, their productivity suite that’s been around for 20+ years.  For most Microsoft’s customers, that means exporting all their existing emails / contacts / calendars that reside on their internal Exchange server to Microsoft’s cloud. All the productivity applications (i.e., outlook, excel, powerpoint, access) still run on their local PC / notebook. 

A considerable amount of Amazon’s cloud revenue is derived from moving servers run in traditional corporate datacenter to Amazon’s datacenter.  A very different model.  Both Amazon and Microsoft are working on delivering both services.

Charley Blaine provides additional insights about how both companies reported financials are leading him to predict a $128 billion cloud industry

“the market for cloud services will hit $128 billion a year “in the next few years.” I’d guess sooner rather than later.”

Forbes – Amazon And Microsoft Will Tell Us A Lot About The Cloud’s Size

The new lock-in – the cloud, in short, is sticky

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Great summary from Matt Asay of Infoworld about cloud strategy from an ISV's perspective.

“When Microsoft said it wouldn’t rule out putting Windows in the open source domain, people scoffed — but it could be a shrewd business move for the cloud era”…

“It turns out switching costs in the cloud are equal to or greater than what they were in the on-premise era.”…

“Once I build my app on AWS or, more poignantly, dump my corporate data into Salesforce, the likelihood that I’m going to be able to easily switch is less than zero.” …

What if Microsoft really did open-source Windows? by Matt Asay

Top 3 Reasons to use the new Azure Premium Storage

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Microsoft moved Premium storage out of beta and into production yesterday. There’s 3 compelling reasons why you should take a look:

  1. Solid states drives (SSDs) are lightning fast! It won’t be long before disk drives become floppy drives.  For those of you under 30 wondering what a floppy drive is, click on the link for the Wikipedia article
  2. Works with Page Blogs (lots of reads/writes – think Virtual Machines) and Block Blobs (few read / writes – think photo and movie files).
  3. Combine Premium Storage with the Azure New D and G series virtual machines (that use SSD for their OS and temp drives) and you have a beast of a server that can handle some impressive workloads.

For more details, read Mark Russinovich’s blog

The “Big Three” are all in on big data / predictive modeling

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Here’s a quick summary on the technology behind next big thing – machine learning

All three major public cloud providers have connected their core storage services, and one or more of their database products, to the machine learning offerings:

  • Amazon Machine Learning connects to S3, Redshift and the MySQL flavor of its Relational Database Service (RDS).
  • Google Prediction API can read data from Google Cloud Storage, and BigQuery.
  • Microsoft supports both its Table and Blob storage services as data sources, as well as SQL Database, Hive tables in Hadoop and both OData feeds and flat files pointed to by a valid Internet URL.

Full Story: Machine learning is the next frontier in Big Data innovation. And the cloud is the next frontier within that frontier. By for Big on Data

Open Source for Microsoft Windows, just a mater of time

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Developers have been “hammering” on Microsoft since the early 2000s when the LAMP stack took off.  One of the reasons that LAMP flourished were complaints about performance and reliability of Internet Information Server (IIS) and the lack of API documentation for Windows 2000 and 2003.  Microsoft has seen the same problem with Internet Explorer (IE) which led to Chrome, Firefox and Safari’s domination of the consumer market.  If it weren’t for business applications tied (read “handcuffed”) to IE, Microsoft’s browser market share would be similar to the Windows Phone.  On that note, in my opinion, open source for the Windows Phone is too late. It’s a moribund OS (unless Microsoft buys a product like Xamarin).

The goods news is “there’s a new sheriff in town” (I’m dating myself with a reference to character Reggie Hammond in 48 hours).  There’s some interesting new developments and an interesting quote from the Azure CTO.

“It’s definitely possible,” Russinovich says. “It’s a new Microsoft.”

Full Story: Wired