Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise group today highlighted the number of great enhancements they have added to Microsoft Azure this past month. These include: Virtual Machines: Preview Portal Support as well as SharePoint Farm Creation Machine Learning: Public preview of the new Azure Machine Learning service Event Hub: Public preview of new Azure Event Ingestion Service Mobile Services: General Availability of .NET support, SignalR support Notification Hubs: Price Reductions and New Features SQL Database: New Geo-Restore, Geo-Replication and Auditing support Redis Cache: Larger Cache Sizes Storage: Support for Zone Redundant Storage SDK: Tons of great VS and SDK improvements All of these improvements are now available to use immediately. If you don’t already have a Azure account, you can sign-up for a free trial and start using all of the above features today. You can read more details about them at Scott Guthrie’s blog. ...

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Last year, Microsoft announced commitment plans for Azure which offered up to 32% discounts. Now, Microsoft has pulled this offer for new subscribers. However, existing subscribers can continue to use this offer. Make a monthly commitment to Azure for 6 months or 12 months and receive a significant discount of 20-32%. The discount you earn is determined by the monthly monetary amount you commit. We offer two options: Pay Monthly: Minimum commitment $500/month billed monthly Pre-Pay: Pre-Pay for the entire term and get an additional discount If you have an unused commitment balance at the end of a billing month, it will be rolled over as a credit to future billing months until the end of your offer term. Microsoft is yet to comment on this new change in policy. Update: Microsoft provided the following statement regarding this policy change, “We have nothing to share at this time, but Microsoft ...

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According to me, the real highlight of Microsoft’s quarterly financial results releases yesterday was regarding their Cloud OS business. Cloud OS represents the fastest growing opportunity for Microsoft. Quarter after quarter, Microsoft is driving growth and customer adoption. In fact, commercial cloud revenue grew 147% with an annualized run rate that exceeds $4.4 billion. Also, server products revenue, including Azure, grew 16%, with double-digit growth for SQL Server and System Center. “Our results reflect our customers’ long-term commitments to our products and services, and strong execution by our field teams. We are thrilled with the tremendous momentum of our cloud offerings with Office 365 and Azure both growing over 100% again,” said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft. “Looking forward, we are excited by the amazing opportunities enabled by our technology roadmap and our strong engagement across partners, customers, and developers.” Satya Nadella commented the following on Cloud OS ...

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Lincoln Electric System (LES), a utility company that serves more than 114,000 residential customers and 15,000 commercial and industrial customers in Nebraska, has selected Microsoft partner Schneider Electric to implement the task-based, map assisted mobile solution, Orbit, to accurately capture, manage and unify all field data from transmission poles, while improving the efficiency of infrastructure upgrades and repairs. Since it is powered by the Microsoft Azure platform, Orbit provides real-time capabilities to the solution, allowing updates and data to be distributed throughout the entire workforce immediately. According to John Leiferman, Schneider Electric senior vice president of Cloud Services, “Orbit represents a new wave of data capture capabilities in the field. We are proud to offer secure solutions that help utilities operate efficiently and provide the best service to their customers.” “With Orbit, Schneider Electric is providing LES with easy integration of field inspection data and assets, eliminating the delay and ...

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Gartner has named Microsoft as a Leader in its 2014 Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Magic Quadrant report. Gartner has also named Microsoft as a Leader in the Enterprise Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS) market in its 2014 Enterprise aPaaS Magic Quadrant. It is worth noting that Microsoft is the only player who are leaders in both aPaaS and IaaS market. Scott Guthrie commented the following on Gartner’s report, We have long maintained that customers need choice and flexibility to navigate this mobile-first, cloud-first world and that Microsoft is uniquely equipped to deliver on that by enabling customers to use public, hybrid or private clouds for maximum flexibility and business benefit. For example, they can instantly provision Virtual Machines, apps and services within Microsoft-managed datacenters around the world. Or, they can develop apps using the languages and frameworks they already use without giving a second thought to the ...

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Bloomberg today reported that Microsoft and Salesforce are in a discussion to announce a cloud partnership. This partnership will allow Microsoft Azure customers to run Salesforce in Microsoft Cloud and also will allow users to integrate data from Salesforce products into Microsoft’s Office programs. Microsoft and Salesforce are considered to be longtime rivals and it will be interesting to see how this partnership will work out. Microsoft announced similar partnership with SAP last week. The partnership was in three critical areas: Enterprise cloud computing with business-critical SAP applications certification for Microsoft Azure; Improved interoperability between data from SAP applications and Microsoft Office, including general availability of connectivity between SAP® BusinessObjects™ business intelligence (BI) solutions and Microsoft’s Power BI offering; Mobile productivity with expanded development and support for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1. Source: Bloomberg ...

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Microsoft today announced a new way for businesses to license Microsoft Azure through partners. This new licensing program will enable partners to gain  benefits of Microsoft Volume Licensing, flexible monetary payments, and additional opportunities. Previously, there were two options for purchasing Microsoft Azure, either on www.azure.microsoft.com or as part of an Enterprise Agreement (EA) with Microsoft. Through the Open Licensing program, Azure will now be available through another familiar licensing option that offers the benefits of Microsoft Volume Licensing, flexible monetary payments, and additional opportunities for you to grow margins and deepen customer relationships. When you resell Azure in Open Licensing, you purchase tokens from your preferred Distributor and apply the credit to the customer’s Azure Portal in increments of $100. The credits can be used for any consumption-based service available in Azure. To add more credit, you simply purchase new tokens and add them to the account. This gives ...

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Microsoft and SAP today announced the expansion of their global partnership to deliver new solutions that are intended to help improve employee productivity, enhance workforce mobility and drive increased business value for customers and partners. The partnership is in three critical areas: Enterprise cloud computing with business-critical SAP applications certification for Microsoft Azure; Improved interoperability between data from SAP applications and Microsoft Office, including general availability of connectivity between SAP® BusinessObjects™ business intelligence (BI) solutions and Microsoft’s Power BI offering; Mobile productivity with expanded development and support for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1. From Microsoft, Windows Server is a great platform for SAP business applications, and now we’re taking that to the cloud. By the end of June, SAP will certify a number of their 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) ...

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In an interview to GigaOM, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth praised Microsoft’s Cloud service Azure for treating Linux as a first class citizen in the product. Also, he pointed out that Microsoft Azure might be the service that might give Amazon Web Services a run for its money in the future. “I have never had an experience engaging with the Microsoft cloud guys where I felt that they saw Linux as a second-class citizen. I think they have an undeniable institutional prerogative to make Windows a great experience and to convince people that it’s going to be the right platform for themselves. But I think the Azure team saw straightforwardly that if they wanted people to trust them in moving their data centers into Microsoft’s data center, then they had to be able to move everything — and a lot of that was going to be Linux.” And, he added, “The ...

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Microsoft released its third quarter (Q3) earnings earlier today for fiscal year 2014 (FY14). This is the first quarter under new CEO Satya Nadella. The earnings report contained a number of interesting pieces of the enterprise side of Microsoft is doing. Windows Azure grew over 150% in the third quarter. Windows volume licensing was up 11% with business customers. Lync, SharePoint, and Exchange, our productivity server offerings, collectively grew double-digits and office commercial revenue was up 6%. Server product revenue up 10%. Total commercial licensing revenue grew 3% to 10.32 billion. SQL server revenue grew 15%. Other commercial revenue was up 31% to $1.90 billion. Commercial cloud revenue grew 101% with Office 365 growing 100% and Windows Azure revenue growing 150%. Gross margins were up 6% to 80% gross margins! All this contributed to commercial revenue of $12.23 billion, up 7%. Compare this to Devices and Consumer with revenue of ...

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We already have a cloud platform from Microsoft called Azure. Thousands of organizations and developers are already building and deploying their apps on this service. A new job listing has revealed that Microsoft is developing a new product in which they will offer Windows as a Service. 1st and 3rd party service providers can also build on this Windows as a Service. Even though this sounds similar to what Azure is offering right now, I guess this could be consumer version of Windows offered as a service. We are a team focused on developing services that will power Microsoft’s ability to offer Windows as a Service. You will help will build the software platform that allow 1st and 3rd party service providers to onboard their services on to the Microsoft’s new consumer membership program. You will prototype and develop services that connect partners with consumers to offer an integrated Microsoft ...

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Along with the announcements about big data and insights, Microsoft today released the preview of a powerful new Azure service: Microsoft Azure Automation. With Azure Automation, Microoft has combined the scalability, reliability, and availability of the Azure platform with the management capabilities of System Center. Azure Automation looks and functions similarly online in Azure as SMA does on-prem in the Windows Azure Pack – but it has been built specifically for cloud-based app/workload management. This means that you can automate the management of your public cloud resources using PowerShell, without an on-prem connection at any point in the process. And because Azure Automation operates as a service, there’s no installation, configuration, or maintenance of the service necessary to get (and stay) up and running. Azure Automation allows for powerful integration, automation, and orchestration that has until now been nearly impossible to do at scale: Integrate: Build new and import existing Windows ...

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The Internet of Things promises vast opportunities, but it also poses challenges for businesses that seek to take action and realize tangible results, as it can seem overwhelming, complicated and expensive. With its latest announcements, Microsoft is trying to help enterprises drive business value while building on existing technology assets, devices and data. Microsoft today announced the Microsoft Azure Intelligent Systems Service helps enterprises embrace the Internet of Things (IoT) by securely connecting, managing and capturing machine-generated data from a variety of sensors and devices. You can watch this video to see how IoT built on Microsoft’s platform is transforming the world’s first underground railway in London. The Microsoft Azure Intelligent Systems Service marks a critical expansion of the comprehensive Microsoft cloud-first data platform. This includes addressing challenges enterprises face securely connecting, managing and capturing machine-generated data from industry devices, sensors and other line-of-business (LoB) assets across a range of OS platforms. Enterprises ...

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Microsoft today announced that the European Union’s data protection authorities have found that Microsoft’s enterprise cloud contracts meet the high standards of EU privacy law. This enables enterprise customers to use Microsoft services to move data freely through cloud from Europe to the rest of the world. This approval applies to Microsoft’s enterprise cloud services – in particular, Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Windows Intune. The EU’s 28 data protection authorities acted through their “Article 29 Working Party” to provide this approval via a joint letter. Importantly, Microsoft is the first – and so far the only – company to receive this approval. By acknowledging that Microsoft’s contractual commitments meet the requirements of the EU’s “model clauses,” Europe’s privacy regulators have said, in effect, that personal data stored in Microsoft’s enterprise cloud is subject to Europe’s rigorous privacy standards no matter where that data is located. This ...

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  Microsoft today announced that they are revamping the Azure Management Portal with a whole new UX that will delight developers and IT admins. It now offersa fully integrated experience that will enable customers to develop and manage an application in one place, using the platform and tools of their choice. The new portal combines all the components of a cloud application into a single development and management experience. New components include the following: Simplified Resource Management. Rather than managing standalone resources such as Microsoft Azure Web Sites, Visual Studio Projects or databases, customers can now create, manage and analyze their entire application as a single resource group in a unified, customized experience, greatly reducing complexity while enabling scale. Today, the new Azure Manager is also being released through the latest Azure SDK for customers to automate their deployment and management from any client or device. Integrated billing. A new ...

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  Microsoft is keeping up to its promise of matching the price of Amazon for its Windows Azure services. As Amazon announced price reductions last week, Microsoft followed up with theirs today. Consistent with our previously announced commitment to match Amazon on prices for commodity services, we are cutting prices on compute by up to 35% and storage by up to 65%. We recognize that economics are a primary driver for some customers adopting cloud, and stand by our commitment to match prices and be best-in-class on price performance. Microsoft has also announced new Basic instance, On April 3, we will introduce a new tier of General Purpose Instances called “Basic” (A0-A4) that offers similar machine configurations as the Standard tier of instances offered today (Extra Small [A0] to Extra Large [A4]). These instances will cost up to 27% less than the corresponding instances in use today (which will now be ...

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