The FINANCIAL — On September 29 at AzureCon, Microsoft Corp. is announcing new solutions spanning containers, security, infrastructure and the Internet of Things (IoT) that enable organizations of all sizes to transform their business in today’s mobile-first, cloud-first world.
Through these latest advancements, Microsoft continues to showcase rapid innovation on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, while enabling choice and simplicity for a growing list of customers of all sizes including Alaska Airlines, Jet.com Inc. and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nepal, according to Microsoft.
“We live in a connected world, and the intelligent cloud is powering it all,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud + Enterprise Division. “As data and devices continue to proliferate, there is vast opportunity for businesses to tap into their data to make their applications more intelligent. Through our offerings across applications, data and IoT, and cloud infrastructure, we are enabling companies to innovate more easily and rapidly, using the tools and platforms they know and love.”
Modern applications: driving innovation through choice and simplicity
Applications are at the heart of business growth and transformation, and containerization is an increasingly popular way to maximize application value. Furthering its commitment to container technology and extending customer choice, Microsoft announced a new Azure Container Service that will combine the openness of Apache Mesos and Docker with the hyper-scale of Azure for container orchestration and management. With the service, organizations using Azure will now be able to easily deploy and configure Mesos to cluster and schedule Dockerized applications across multiple virtual hosts. Unlike many other container services in market today, this offering is based on open source to enable customer choice across the ecosystem and will support Windows Server containers in the future. The service will be available for preview by the end of the year.
“With large-scale production users like Airbnb, Twitter and Apple, Apache Mesos is the most scalable and flexible container orchestration platform available on the market today,” said Florian Leibert, co-founder and CEO, Mesosphere. “At the same time, Microsoft continues its rapid growth and enterprise cloud leadership, with more than 80 percent of the Fortune 500 using Microsoft’s cloud to power their businesses. The partnership between Mesosphere and Microsoft will give customers unmatched choice and flexibility in managing their container investments, delivering a first-class implementation and enterprise support experience on Azure.”
Internet of Things and big data: transforming business through data insights
The intelligent cloud is powered by data — and innovation is limitless when that data can be shared, gleaned for insights across connected assets, devices and systems. To that end, Microsoft announced that its Azure IoT Suite is now available for customers to purchase. The Azure IoT Suite integrates with a company’s existing processes, devices and systems to quickly and easily build and scale IoT projects across their business using preconfigured solutions. In addition, Microsoft announced the new Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT program, an ecosystem of partners whose offerings have been tested and certified so businesses can take their next IoT project from testing to production, more quickly. Current partners include BeagleBone, Freescale Intel Corporation, Raspberry Pi, Resin.io, Seeed Technology Inc., and Texas Instruments Inc.
To further enable customers to better manage their data Microsoft yesterday announced the expansion of Azure Data Lake. This includes Azure Data Lake Analytics, Azure Data Lake Store, a new programming language U-SQL, and Azure HDInsight general availability on Linux. Helping customers be productive from day one, Azure Data Lake makes big data processing and analytics simpler and more accessible for everyone.
Intelligent infrastructure: enabling innovation and trust at hyper-scale
Demonstrating its commitment to delivering trusted cloud services and infrastructure, on Tuesday Microsoft announced the availability of Microsoft Azure services in India. As the first global public cloud provider in India, Microsoft has opened three new regions — Central India in Pune, South India in Chennai, and West India in Mumbai — which will provide local customers with data residency and replication in multiple regions while fueling innovation and digital transformation within India. With 24 Azure regions around the world — more than any other major cloud provider — this latest expansion is further proof of Microsoft’s commitment to bring its cutting-edge cloud to as many customers as possible. Azure services are available in India today, with Office 365 services slated for availability in October, and Dynamics CRM Online services to follow in the first half of 2016.
Security is often cited as a top concern when moving to the cloud. Customers today are looking for greater control, transparency and protection across their cloud infrastructure and assets. To help meet this demand, on Tuesday Microsoft announced Azure Security Center, a new integrated experience that gives customers visibility and control of the security of their Azure resources without impeding agility, and helps customers stay ahead of threats even as they evolve.
This first-of-its-kind service integrates with security solutions from companies such as Barracuda, Checkpoint, Cisco Systems Inc., CloudFlare, F5 Networks, Imperva, Incapsula and Trend Micro Inc. In addition to enabling integrated security, monitoring and policy management, Azure Security Center also provides invaluable recommendations. By analyzing information gathered from customers’ deployments and comparing with global threat intelligence aggregated by Microsoft, the service introduces a unique ability in the industry to detect threats while taking the guesswork out of cloud security. Azure Security Center will be broadly available for Azure customers by the end of the year.
Finally, continuing investments to deliver industry-leading compute capacity, Microsoft is announcing the N-series, a new family of Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) powered by NVIDIA GPUs. GPUs have long been used for compute and graphics-intensive workloads. Microsoft is the first hyper-scale provider to announce VMs featuring NVIDIA Grid 2.0 technology and the industry-leading Tesla Accelerated Computing Platform for professional graphics applications, deep learning, high-performance computing and more. A preview will be available in a few months.
Easy and affordable cloud innovation
As demonstrated at AzureCon, Microsoft is committed to helping customers manage their cloud investments easily and affordably, with new troubleshooting tools, support resources and pricing options. On Tuesday Microsoft announced the Azure Compute Pre-Purchase Plan, a new pricing program designed for customers with steady state, predictable workloads on Azure. With this new offer, customers who pre-purchase Azure compute for one year can realize cost savings of up to 63 percent. This plan will be available globally starting Dec. 1.