The Scalar team was down in sunny Florida this fall to attend Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft’s premier annual technical conference for all things Microsoft Azure & Microsoft 365. I wanted to share some announcements and highlights that we feel are relevant to the industry and to our customers.
Windows Virtual Desktop
Microsoft finally announced their own VDI-as-a-Service offering; Windows Virtual Desktop. This offering will provide a fully virtualized multi-user Windows 7, Windows 10, or Window Server 2012+ experience coupled with Office 365 Pro Plus. Pricing-wise you will have access to the service for free (less compute, storage, and bandwidth costs of course) if you’re already a Microsoft 365 E3, E5, or F1 customer.
It’s not entirely clear if they will also offer a bundled pay-as-you-go option that would bundle in Windows 10 + O365 licensing in a per month option, but we will have to wait and see.
Open Data Initiative
During his keynote, Satya Nadella invited the CEO’s of both SAP and Adobe to the stage to announce the Open Data Initiative. To boil it down, if you use any of these three companies’ products, you will soon be able to maintain access to all of your data across all platforms and eliminate any data silos that have historically been an issue when leveraging multiple vendors products. This means that as enterprises build up their data lakes they will also be able to pull in data from SaaS and PaaS vendors who are part of the Open Data Initiative. This will allow enterprises to make maximum insight into all their data regardless of the applications and services they use.
Azure Digital Twins
Azure Digital Twins will allow enterprises to model their real-world IoT deployments in the cloud. IoT is a massive new market for cloud providers and businesses that were serious about IoT and were already building something analogous to Digital Twins, but in a homegrown fashion. This will allow enterprises to truly model their IoT deployments without having to invest in any hardware or devices prior to rolling out their IoT strategy.
- Ultra SSD Disks; IOPS of up to 160K IOPS per disk and throughput of up to 2,000 Mbps per desk
- Standard SSD Disks; These are now generally available
- 32TiB Managed Disks; These are now generally available
- Managed Disks Migration; You can now move Managed Disks between subscriptions and resource groups. A huge pain point in the past!
- Azure Data Box is now generally available. Those of you who have large data sets can now physically migrate your data to Azure via the Azure Data Box
- SQL Server 2019 preview announced
- Azure Data Explorer; A new speedy indexing and querying service to perform ad-hoc queries on terabytes of data
- Azure SQL Database Managed Instance; GA as of October 1st
- Azure Database Migration Service; Now GA and gives customers the ability to assess SQL Server workloads running on-the-iron or on VMs, and then perform offline migrations to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance
Security & Networking Announcements
- Azure Virtual WAN; Connect your global branch offices, POS locations, and sites using Azure and the Microsoft global network
- Azure Firewall; Now generally available
- Password-less logins; Now corporate Azure AD accounts can use the Microsoft Authenticator app as the first factor instead of a password and then as a second factor a fingerprint, facial biometric, or PIN. Maybe the era of passwords will be behind us soon!
All-in-all, there were lots of things announced at Microsoft Ignite 2018 and the above just barely scratches the surface! If you’re interested in checking out any of the sessions, Microsoft has posted quite a few of them already on their Tech Community page.
If you are looking for help on any cloud initiatives, or just have something specific you need more information on, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the cloud team here at Scalar.