Microsoft recently announced that they are making Azure HDInsight available for all customers in China as a public preview. This means Microsoft is the first global cloud provider to have a publicly available cloud Hadoop offering in China. So, both local Chinese organizations and multi-national corporations with offices in China can spin up a Hadoop cluster within minutes. HDInsight is a Hadoop distribution powered by the cloud. This means HDInsight was architected to handle any amount of data, scaling from terabytes to petabytes on demand. You can spin up any number of nodes at anytime. Microsoft charges only for the compute and storage you actually use. Since it’s 100% Apache Hadoop, HDInsight can process unstructured or semi-structured data from web clickstreams, social media, server logs, devices and sensors, and more. This allows you to analyze new sets of data which uncovers new business possibilities to drive your organization forward. HDInsight ...

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Microsoft yesterday announced the general availability of Azure AD Basic and Azure Active Directory Synchronization Services (AAD Sync). AAD Basic is targeted towards deskless employees of organizations and it provides essential features like company branding, group-based application access and self-service password reset. Azure AAD sync simplifies the process of connecting Azure AD to Windows Server AD, including making it simple to connect complex, multi-forest deployments. It also enhances the single forest capabilities. The features included in Active Directory Basic are: Company branding – This feature enables you to add your company logo and color schemes to your organization’s Sign In and Access Panel pages. You also have the option to add localized versions of the logo for different languages and locales. For more information, see Add Company branding to your Sign In and Access Panel pages. Group-based application access – Easily manage user access to thousands of SaaS applications based ...

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In an interview, Microsoft Germany head has revealed that Microsoft is thinking of creating German controlled data centers to better serve its customers in Germany. In the recent years, information security is becoming a key concern for enterprises and governments. After the recent revelations about governments snooping on data, cloud data storage location has become the key point of discussion. In fact, Microsoft is now considering the possibility of working with partners to develop a cloud data centre based in Germany, with the aim of alleviating national concerns over cyber security. According to Illek, Microsoft is “testing” the idea of a ‘German cloud system’, where data could be hosted by a partner company but not be subject to US law. However, he said: “Whether and when it will happen, I cannot say.” Illek said Microsoft’s current data centres in the Netherlands and Ireland are becoming “increasingly popular” with major clients, ...

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Microsoft today announced the release of new optimized SQL Server images in the Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines Gallery. These new SQL server images are optimized for transactional and Data Warehousing workloads. The following four new pre-configured VM images are now available in the Azure VM Gallery: SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Optimized for Transactional Workloads on Windows Server 2012 R2 SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Optimized for Data Warehousing on Windows Server 2012 R2 SQL Server 2012 SP2 Enterprise Optimized for Transactional Workloads on Windows Server 2012 SQL Server 2012 SP2 Enterprise Optimized for Data Warehousing on Windows Server 2012 You can have these images on VM instances that allow up to 16 data disks attached to provide the highest throughput and these instances are Standard Tier A4, A7, A8 and A9 and Basic tier A4. Read more about it here. ...

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Microsoft today announced that Azure API Management leaves Preview and it is available for everyone with a 99.9% SLA. Many companies and startups nowadays have providing APIs as their business model. Publish APIs more reliably, more securely, and at scale is a difficult job and Azure API Management enables them to do that. Developers can now open doors to directly monetize digital assets, transforming it into a platform, and creating new content distribution channels across mobile devices. This service provides the tools that your organization needs to manage APIs–from provisioning user roles to creating usage plans and quotas, applying policies for transforming payloads, throttling, conducting analytics, monitoring and configuring alerts. In addition, we have enhancements with the Azure API Management REST API that enable you to automate API management operations and integrate API management with their other systems and processes. Read more about it here. ...

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Azure Websites is a fully managed Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables you to build, deploy and scale enterprise-grade web Apps in seconds. Focus on your application code, and let Azure take care of the infrastructure to scale and securely run it for you. Azure Websites allows developing, testing, and running corporate websites, business applications, and digital marketing campaigns with ease. Yesterday, Microsoft announced the release of following new features for Azure Websites aimed at enabling enterprise customers to unfold new scenarios. One of the main announcement was the release of Scalable WordPress in the App Gallery.  With this Scalable WordPress, sites are configured to use Azure Storage for great performance and more. VPN Support for Azure Websites: With VPN Support, customers can securely connect to any provisioned VM’s or Cloud Services inside a virtual network. This capability enables Websites for hybrid scenarios where the database or other services need to remain ...

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Microsoft partnered with broadcasters of 2014 Winter Games and 2014 FIFA World Cup to deliver an internet scale streaming solution for serving of millions of customers globally. Today, Microsoft announced that this solution is now available as a preview to its Azure customers as Live Streaming and Content Protection offerings from Azure Media Services. One of the main pain points of streaming is content protection, for that Azure Media is introducing a new Content Protection offering which features both static and dynamic encryption with first party PlayReady license delivery and an AES 128-bit key delivery service. Faster Speeds and Effective Billing Azure Media Services is also introducing faster encoding speeds and more cost-effective billing. We’re also introducing faster encoding speeds via our Basic, Standard, and Premium Encoding Reserved Units. These tiered Reserved Units offer further flexibility by allowing you to tailor the encoding capability you pay for to the needs ...

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In the past of couple of years, Microsoft has improved Azure cloud services platform more than any other competitors in the space. As a result, they are now in the position where customers are looking to migrate their cloud solutions to Azure. To make the migration process easier, Microsoft has now announced the limited preview of  Migration Accelerator (MA), for Azure. It is designed to seamlessly migrate physical, VMware, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Hyper-V workloads into Azure.  It automates all aspects of migration including discovery of source workloads, remote agent installation and more. MA changes the cloud migration paradigm by offering: Heterogeneity:  With MA you can migrate workloads running on a broad range of platforms such as VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, Amazon Web Services and/or Physical servers within your environment. MA can support workloads running on Windows Server 2008 R2 sp1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 operating systems. Simple, ...

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At the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON), Microsoft announced their partnerships with Packer.io and OpenNebula to enable interoperability of applications and services with Windows Azure and Hyper-V. Similarly in July, Microsoft announced their work on Docker’s libswarm project and Kubernetes, two cluster-management solutions available for Docker containers, and several other open source cloud projects. Since their announcement, The Microsoft Open Technologies engineering team has been hard at work bringing Docker and Kubernetes support to Microsoft Azure. Recently, they are announcing that Kubernetes can be used to manage Docker containers on Microsoft Azure. In addition the Azure team has released the Azure Kubernetes Visualizer project which builds upon this work and makes it much easier to experiment with and learn Kubernetes on Azure. Docker is an open-source engine that automates the deployment of any application as a portable, self-sufficient container that will run almost anywhere. Kubernetes is an open source cluster ...

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The Enterprise Mobility Suite is the comprehensive cloud solution from Microsoft to address your consumerization of IT, BYOD, and SaaS challenges. The suite is the most cost effective way to acquire all of the included cloud services, Microsoft Azure Active Directory Premium, Windows Intune and Microsoft Azure Rights Management. Recently, Microsoft blogged about their views on VMWare’s focus of the at VMWorld with respect to end-user computing and enabling Enterprise Mobility. The focus on the blog post is clear, customers need to compare Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite & Office with what VMware announced today (the VMware Workspace Suite). Microsoft strongly believe that the value being delivered through the Enterprise Mobility Suite is far greater that what VMware can deliver. Some key facts that Microsoft cited to compare their solution with VMWare’s, Fact: Your Enterprise Mobility Strategy Must Include Strong Identity and Access Management Fact: Your Enterprise Mobility Strategy Must Manage Office on ...

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Microsoft recently announced that from September, they will make available the new service tiers for Azure SQL Database, their database-as-a-service that gives customers greater price performance and business continuity for cloud apps. They are reducing the service tier prices from previously-announced rates, introducing a new performance level and offering hourly billing. Find the details on new service tiers, Details are below. Premium and Standard price reductions:  Final pricing will reflect up to 50% savings from previously-published pricing.  Updated pricing will help more customers benefit from higher performance and greater business continuity. New S0 performance level:  Within the Standard service tier, we will offer a new S0 performance level.  This new lower cost entry point will enable more customers to benefit from the features in the Standard tier. Performance levels provide a defined level of throughput that can be easily dialed up or down, based on performance demands. Hourly billing:  Azure SQL Database ...

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Microsoft today announced previews of new Azure DocumentDB, a fully-managed transactional NoSQL document database-as-a-service and Azure Search, which enables developers to easily add search capabilities to mobile and cloud applications. They also announced the general availability of Azure HDInsight, our Hadoop-based solution for the cloud, now supports Apache HBase clusters. Azure DocumentDB is the main announcement here. It’s a NoSQL document database-as-a-service that provides the benefits of a NoSQL document database but also adds the query processing and transaction semantics common to relational database systems. Built for the cloud, Azure DocumentDB natively supports JSON documents enabling easy object mapping and iteration of data models for application development. Azure DocumentDB offers programming libraries for several popular languages and platforms, including.Net, Node.js, JavaScript, and Python. We will be contributing the client libraries to the open source community, so they can incorporate improvements into the versions published on Azure.com. Second new thing announced today is ...

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Microsoft Azure users around the globe are now facing service interruption to cloud services, virtual machines, backup service, websites, and more in multiple regions. Microsoft acknowledged the issue and they are working to restore the services. They also noted that Azure core components are working fine. Starting at 18 Aug 2014 17:49 UTC we are experiencing an interruption to Azure Services, may include Cloud Services, Virtual Machines, Websites, Automation, Service Bus, Backup, Site Recovery, HDInsight, Mobile Services and possible other Azure Services in multiple regions. We are currently evaluating options to restore service. The next update will be provided in 15 minutes. You can check this page for live status. ...

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Following Satya Nadella and Bill Gates, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also accepted the ALS challenge by taking ice-bucket water over him. Ballmer has nominated Hal Wright, LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers, and TV football analyst Rick Neuheisel. The als challenge is a great idea Nominated by Spencer Hawes Nominating Doc Rivers, Rick Neuheisel, Hal Wright http://t.co/RFuaNWyZoy — steve b (@stevebmicrosoft) August 15, 2014 Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and many others accepted the challenge and few also promised to make donations for ALS. ...

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If you are following the cloud computing industry for the past few years, the title should not have surprised you. Microsoft Azure continues its momentum of gaining customers more than Amazon and Google. A survey of CIOs by the research firm Pacific Crest Securities has found enterprise customers are going to spend more money on Microsoft’s Azure and Office 365 than Google and Amazon Web Services. Also, Microsoft was the second most preferred supplier for public and private cloud services behind VMware. For the survey, Pacific Crest checked in with CIOs at 152 companies with 1,000 or more employees — most of them with over 5,000 employees. That at least partially explains the overall strength for Microsoft: Big as it is, Amazon’s AWS tends to be more popular with earlier-stage (and therefore smaller) companies. One thing that large enterprises tend to like, writes Pacific Crest’s Brendan Barnicle, is that Microsoft’s cloud tends ...

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As Microsoft announced last year, Microsoft started expanding encryption across their services in an effort to reinforce legal protections for their customers’ data last month. All Outlook.com emails are now encrypted like how Office 365 e-mail works already. Even they made encryption improvements for Microsoft Azure guest OS. Today, they are announcing further improvements for encryption on Azure. The encryption improvements, which apply to Microsoft Azure cipher solution for hosted guest virtual machines, provide customers with enhanced protection when connecting and transmitting data. For example, the enhancements to the default Transport Layer Security (TLS)/Secure Socket Layer (SSL) cipher suites helps ensure that connections are better encrypted during transmission.  In addition, enabling Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) helps ensure a different encryption key is used for every connection, making it more difficult for attackers to decrypt connections. As technology advances and attackers continue to adjust their tactics, it’s essential that cloud providers evolve their ...

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