6 min read
I'm at Ignite this week, where more than 20,000 of us are talking about how we can drive our businesses forward in a climate of constant technology change. We are in a time where technology is one of the core ways companies can better serve customers and differentiate versus competitors. It is an awesome responsibility. The pace of change is fast, and constant – but with that comes great opportunity for innovation, and true business transformation.
Here at Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. I believe that mission has a special meaning for the IT audience, particularly in the era of cloud computing. Collectively we are working with each of you to take advantage of new possibilities in this exciting time. That's the reason we are building Azure – for all of you. The trusted scale and resiliency of our Azure infrastructure, the productivity of our Azure services for building and delivering modern applications, and our unmatched hybrid capabilities, are the foundation that can help propel your business forward. With 42 regions announced around the world and an expansive network spanning more than 4,500 points of presence– we’re the backbone for your business.
Cloud usage goes far beyond the development and test workloads people originally started with. Enterprises are driving a second wave of cloud adoption, including putting their most mission-critical, demanding systems in the cloud. We are the preferred cloud for the enterprise, with more than 90% of the Fortune 500 choosing the Microsoft cloud. Today at Ignite, we’re making several announcements about advancements in Azure infrastructure:
- New VM sizes. We continue to expand our compute options at a rapid rate. In my general session, I will demonstrate SAP HANA running on both M-series and purpose-built infrastructure, the largest of their kind in the cloud. I will discuss the preview of the B-series VM for burstable workloads, and announce the upcoming Fv2-, NCv2-, ND-series which offer the innovation of new processor types like Intel’s Scalable Xeon and NVIDIA’s Tesla P100 and P40 GPUs.
- The preview of Azure File Sync, offering secure, centralized file share management in the cloud. This new service provides more redundancy and removes complexity when it comes to sharing files, eliminating the need for special configuration or code changes.
- A new enterprise NFS service, powered by NetApp. Building on the partnership with NetApp announced in June, Microsoft will deliver a first-party, native NFS v3/v4 service based on NetApp’s proven ONTAP® and other hybrid cloud data services, with preview available in early 2018. This service will deliver enterprise-grade data storage, management, security, and protection for customers moving to Microsoft Azure. We will also enable this service to advance hybrid cloud scenarios, providing visibility and control across Azure, on-premises and hosted NFS workloads.
- The preview of a new Azure networking service called Azure DDoS Protection, which helps protect publicly accessible endpoints from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Azure DDoS Protection learns an application’s normal traffic patterns and automatically applies traffic scrubbing when attacks are detected to ensure only legitimate traffic reaches the service.
- The introduction of two new cloud governance services – Azure Cost Management and Azure Policy – to help you monitor and optimize cloud spend and cloud compliance. We are making Azure Cost Management free for Azure customers, and you can sign up now for a preview of Azure Policy.
- Integration of the native security and management experience. New updates in the Azure portal simplify the process of backing up, monitoring, and configuring diaster recovery for virtual machines. We are also announcing update management will now be free for Azure customers.
- A preview of the new Azure Migrate service, which helps discover and migrate virtual machines and servers. The new service captures all on-premises applications, workloads, and data, and helps map migration dependencies over to Azure, making IT’s jobs immensely easier. Azure Migrate also integrates with the Database Migration Services we released today.
- A preview of the new Azure Data Box, which provides a secure way to transfer very large datasets to Azure. This integrates seamlessly with Azure services like Backup and Site Recovery as well as partner solutions from CommVault, Netapp, Veritas, Veeam, and others.
Building on the news from last week about the preview of Azure Availability Zones, later today I will also talk about the unique measures we are taking in Azure to help customers ensure business continuity. As the only cloud provider with single VM SLAs, 21 announced region pairs for disaster recovery, Azure offers differentiated rich high availability and disaster recovery capabilities. This means you have the best support, resiliency, and availability for your mission-critical workloads.
Applications are central to every digital transformation strategy. One of the compelling and more recent technologies that is helping in the modernization of applications is containers. Having received more attention from developers to date, containers are now accelerating application deployment and streamlining the way IT operations and development teams collaborate to deliver applications. Today we are announcing even more exciting advancements in this space:
- Windows Server containers were introduced with Windows Server 2016. The first Semi-Annual Channel release of Windows Server, version 1709, introduces further advances in container technology, including an optimized Nano Server Container image (80% smaller!), new support for Linux containers on Hyper-V, and the ability to run native Linux tools with the Windows Subsystem for Linux (aka Bash for Windows).
- Azure supports containers broadly, offering many options to deploy, from simple infrastructure to richly managed. Azure Container Instances (ACI) provide the simplest way to create and deploy new containers in the cloud with just a few simple clicks, and today I’m announcing Azure Container Instances now support Windows Server in addition to Linux.
- Azure Service Fabric offers a generalized hosting and container orchestration platform designed for highly scalable applications, and today we are announcing the general availability of Linux support.
Nearly 85 percent of organizations tell us they have a cloud strategy that is hybrid, and even more – 91 percent – say they believe that hybrid cloud will be a long-term approach. Hybrid cloud capabilities help you adopt the cloud faster. What is unique about Microsoft’s hybrid cloud approach is that we build consistency between on-premises and the cloud. Consistency helps take the complexity of hybrid cloud out because it means you don’t need two different systems for everything. We build that consistency across identity, data, development, and security and management. Today we’re advancing our hybrid cloud leadership even further via the following developments:
- Azure Stack is now shipping from our partners Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Lenovo. You can see all of these integrated systems on the show floor at Ignite. As an extension of Azure, Azure Stack brings the agility and fast-paced innovation of cloud computing to on-premises environments. Only Azure Stack lets you deliver Azure services from your organization’s datacenter, while balancing the right amount of flexibility and control – for truly-consistent hybrid cloud deployments.
- Our fully managed Azure SQL Database service now has 100 percent SQL Server compatibility for no code changes via Managed Instance. And today, we are introducing a new Azure Database Migration Service that enables a near-zero downtime migration. Now customers can migrate all of their data to Azure without hassle or high cost.
- Azure Security Center can now be used to secure workloads running on-premises and in other clouds. We’re also releasing today new capabilities to better defend against threats and respond quickly, including Just in Time (JIT) access, dynamic app whitelisting, and being able to drill down into an attack end to end with interactive investigation paths and mapping.
Beyond all of the product innovation above, one of the areas I’m proud of is the work we’re doing to save customers money. For example, the Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server and the newly announced Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server allow customers to use their existing licenses to get discounts in Azure, making Azure the most economical choice and path to the cloud for these customers. Together with the new Azure Reserved VM Instances we just announced, customers will be able to save up to 82 percent on Windows Server VMs. The free Azure Cost Management capabilities I mentioned above help customers save money by optimizing how they run things in Azure. And we are now offering the new Azure free account which introduces the free use of many popular services for 12 months, in addition to the $200 free credit we provide.
It’s an exciting time for IT, and we’re equally excited that you are our trusted partners in this era of digital transformation. I look forward to hearing your questions or feedback so that we can further your trust in us and empower each of you to achieve more.