When Newly minted Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Microsoft would be both a mobile-first and cloud-first company from here on in, beyond the feel-good sentiment of the announcement there was little clarity as to what it actually meant. Commentators looked towards the Microsoft TechEd North American conference, being held this week, to gain some clarity about the technical details of Microsoft’s future strategy. A raft of announcements being made today give us all a little more certainty about what the company is doing. An overview of the major announcements is below:
Extension of the ExpressRoute interconnect program: Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute enables customers to create private connections between Azure and on-premises environments. The list of involved parties has been extended and includes: AT&T, BT, Equinix, Level 3, TelecityGroup, Verizon and Zadara Storage
Simplified cloud storage: Available in preview, Microsoft Azure Files enables a single file share from multiple virtual machines
Following on from some AWS moves a month or two ago Microsoft also announced the availability of compute-intensive virtual machines sizes, in-region and cross-region virtual networking connections and reserved IP addresses
API management: Available in preview today, Azure API Management lets customers expose APIs through the cloud
Enhanced disaster recovery: Available in preview next month, Microsoft Azure Site Recovery, formerly Hyper-V Recovery Manager, enables enhanced disaster recovery in the cloud. With this new capability, customers can replicate and recover virtual machines and services to Azure in the event of an outage at their primary datacenter
Advancing antimalware: Microsoft Antimalware for Azure, available in preview, offers customers the ability to install an antimalware agent for both cloud services and virtual machines
Beginning in July, Microsoft will begin to deploy new encryption technology for Office 365 business customers. Code named ‘Fort Knox’, it ensures that every file stored in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business is encrypted with its own key. ‘Fort Knox’ also distributes files across multiple Microsoft Azure storage containers, each with separate credentials, to ensure highly secure content storage
Expanding data loss prevention: Starting in June, existing Data Loss Prevention (DLP) capabilities available in Exchange will now expand to include documents stored in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business for Office 365 E3 enterprise customers. DLP prevents the sharing of sensitive content inside and outside an organization.
The all-important mobile offerings:
Office mobile app management with Windows Intune – Later this year, Intune and Office 365 will deliver protected mobile productivity across Office for iPad, iPhone and Android phones including Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook Web Access
Microsoft Azure RemoteApp – Available today in preview, Azure RemoteApp helps companies give mobile employees access to Windows applications across a range of devices
.NET cloud optimized : Microsoft shared a preview of the next version of ASP.NET vNext, a streamlined framework and runtime that enables developers to optimize cloud and server workloads with maximum agility and performance. ASP.NET will be a new Microsoft contribution to the .NET Foundation as an open source project
Enterprise agility: Today, Microsoft extended Visual Studio Online, the cloud-based application lifecycle management offering, by releasing a set of APIs and service hooks that integrate with third-party services. The new APIs make it easier for organizations to adopt Visual Studio Online without abandoning the tools they’re using today.
Some of the announcements are extensions of what has already been announced (an example being the ExpressRoute program extension), while others are interesting new plays that certainly help Microsoft deliver on its promise of enabling enterprises to become mobile first. The Mobile Backend as a Service aspects in particular make it easier for existing Microsoft customers to simply stay with Redmond, as Microsoft delivers more of their specific needs, there is less necessity to go outside of the Microsoft tent to fill their requirements. The extension of the encryption offering across SharePoint and OneDrive is another interesting move and something of a “no brainer” that will let Microsoft keep its customer base despite threats from a number of different vectors.
If there was any doubt before, the appointment of Nadella and the obvious corporate focus on their near and mid term threats (mobile, developer, hybrid cloud) remind us all that Microsoft is still a serious force to be reckoned with – I can imagine some real positivity emanating from the TechEd event this week.
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