Category Archives : Announcements

21

May

Azure Stack updates and how it enables intelligence at the edge

Today, more than ever before, it is essential that our colleagues, customers, and partners be able to react quickly and confidently to rapidly changing circumstances. The ability to ingest, analyze, and act on incoming information requires that an organization have a robust, scalable technology infrastructure.

Such an infrastructure is not limited to one place or one platform. Modernized, and cloud-native applications can span across on-premises, multi-cloud, and edge environments. Creating and managing this vast technology estate requires a modern paradigm that enables seamless experiences, no matter where the workload exists. The mindset of combining on-premises and cloud environments into a hybrid cloud has become a force in today’s industry and has been a core part of our strategy since the inception of Azure. In the face of the unprecedented transitions in today’s world, our mission remains the same: To enable our customers and partners to transform their organizations to achieve more, wherever they are.

Healthcare and Azure Stack

The healthcare industry has recently been confronted with incredible demands. Healthcare providers must balance the need to efficiently treat many new patients, and work with sensitive data to unlock possible treatments. These missions require that healthcare organizations practice diligent and careful stewardship

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20

May

HoloLens 2 expands markets; Azure mixed reality services now broadly available

“When the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge are imbued with mixed reality and artificial intelligence, we have a framework for achieving amazing things and empowering even more people.” – Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO speaking at the HoloLens 2 launch

At Microsoft Build 2020, we shared some exciting mixed reality news that is helping us create a new reality for empowering organizations and people to achieve more. This blog post highlights some of that news across the following areas:

Strong adoption of HoloLens 2 is driving us to expand availability into new markets. Our Azure mixed reality cloud services are now broadly available. HoloLens 2 and mixed reality are empowering firstline workers through the global pandemic. HoloLens 2 expands to new markets this Fall

HoloLens 2 is currently available in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In these markets, industry-leading companies in manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and education are using enterprise mixed reality applications to improve the productivity and quality of work for firstline workers. As you can see in the video below, with HoloLens 2 and Azure, these organizations are simultaneously driving faster training and up-skilling of employees, decreased

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20

May

Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes preview and new ecosystem partners

In November 2019, we announced the preview of Azure Arc, a set of technologies that unlocks new hybrid scenarios for customers by bringing Azure services and management to any infrastructure across datacenters, edge, and multi-cloud. Based on the feedback and excitement of all the customers in the private preview, we are able to deliver Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes in preview to our customers. With this, anyone can use Azure Arc to connect and configure any Kubernetes cluster across customer datacenters, edge locations, and multi-cloud.

Over the last few months through private preview, organizations across a wide range of industries have experienced the power of Azure Arc for Kubernetes. Retail customers are deploying applications and configurations across their branch locations with guaranteed consistency. Financial institutions and healthcare providers are using Azure Arc to manage Kubernetes instances in geographic regions with custom data sovereignty requirements. Across several application scenarios and deployment environments, customers are embracing the diversity of the Kubernetes ecosystem. Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes is uniquely positioned through its openness and flexibility to help our customers meet their business challenges using the tools of their choice.

With today’s preview of Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes, support for most CNCF-certified Kubernetes distributions works

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20

May

Build apps of any size or scale with Azure Cosmos DB
Build apps of any size or scale with Azure Cosmos DB

During these uncertain times, building apps with agility and cost-effectiveness is more important than ever before. Azure Cosmos DB, Microsoft’s NoSQL cloud database, is introducing new ways to affordably scale performance, launching features that enable rapid application development across teams, and making enterprise-grade security available to apps of any size or scale. With Azure Synapse Link, Azure Cosmos DB also becomes the first database to break the barriers between transactional and analytical stores.

Run low-cost, high-performance applications with autoscale and serverless

With guaranteed speed and availability, APIs for MongoDB, Cassandra, and Gremlin, and instant and elastic scalability worldwide, Azure Cosmos DB has been a popular choice for building cloud-native applications since it launched three years ago. We’re pleased to introduce new support for spiky and unpredictable workloads that can offer savings of up to 70 percent compared to running these types of workloads with the standard provisioned throughput pricing model.

Autoscale provisioned throughput (called “autopilot mode” in preview) will maintain SLAs while scaling up to a customer-specified maximum to meet the needs of unpredictable, high-throughput workloads. Consumption-based billing (starting at 10 percent of maximum) eliminates the need to monitor capacity, and the first 400 request units per second (RU/s) of

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19

May

Code, collaborate, and ship your apps from anywhere

Welcome to Microsoft Build 2020! This all-new 48-hour digital experience is designed to help you and other developers around the world come together to solve challenges, share knowledge, and stay connected. Here we’ll cover some of our latest innovations in developer tools and cloud platform technologies—to help you code, collaborate, and ship your apps from anywhere, so you can support the changing needs of your business and continue to deliver the quality experiences that your customers expect.

So how do you overcome the challenges of today and remain productive as developers? Thankfully, in today’s digital world there are tools to help you work remotely and be as productive as ever: with Azure as your trusted cloud platform and cloud-powered developer tools with Visual Studio and GitHub.

Code

Developers often spend endless hours configuring dev machines for new projects: cloning source code, installing runtimes, setting up linters and debuggers, configuring extensions—just to do it all again for the next project, the next bug, or the next code review. The challenge is even more prevalent in times of remote work, where you might not have access to your preferred development machine. Visual Studio Codespaces, available in preview, enables you to create a

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19

May

Developer Velocity: Empowering developers to fuel business performance

Developers have been drivers of innovation and transformation for decades. They have pioneered innovation across countless industries and helped businesses weather tough conditions. Now, we are living in unprecedented times where organizations in every industry and sector are working to adjust to a new normal, rethinking how business is done and meeting new, changing customer demands.

Because technology underpins everything from how businesses run to the products and services you sell, organizations must learn to excel at developing software. Business leaders need to empower developers to unlock productivity and innovation, in what the industry has started referring to as Developer Velocity.

Developer Velocity isn’t just about increasing the speed of delivery, but about unleashing developer ingenuity—turning developers’ ideas into software that supports the needs of your customers, and the goals of your business.

McKinsey & Company recently conducted a comprehensive review of what it takes for a company to become a technology company (have tech intensity) and converged on a single holistic metric—Developer Velocity Index (DVI). They shared their findings and key insights in their recent Developer Velocity: How software excellence fuels business performance report.

The report concluded that driving business performance from software development comes down to creating the right

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19

May

Build AI you can trust with responsible ML

As AI reaches critical momentum across industries and applications, it becomes essential to ensure the safe and responsible use of AI. AI deployments are increasingly impacted by the lack of customer trust in the transparency, accountability, and fairness of these solutions. Microsoft is committed to the advancement of AI and machine learning (ML), driven by principles that put people first, and tools to enable this in practice.

In collaboration with the Aether Committee and its working groups, we are bringing the latest research in responsible AI to Azure. Let’s look at how the new responsible ML capabilities in Azure Machine Learning and our open-source toolkits empower data scientists and developers to understand ML models, protect people and their data, and control the end-to-end ML process.

Understand

As ML becomes deeply integrated into our daily business processes, transparency is critical. Azure Machine Learning helps you to not only understand model behavior but also assess and mitigate unfairness.

Interpret and explain model behavior

Model interpretability capabilities in Azure Machine Learning, powered by the InterpretML toolkit, enable developers and data scientists to understand model behavior and provide model explanations to business stakeholders and customers.

Use model interpretability to:

Build accurate ML models.

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19

May

Azure Analytics: Clarity in an instant
Azure Analytics: Clarity in an instant

What 2020 is teaching us is that the world can change in an instant. In the span of a few months, we have witnessed massive disruptions across every industry around the globe. Factories are idle, hotels are empty, and the transportation backbone that connects us all is quiet. Navigating these unprecedented times is challenging and requires a new level of agility for businesses to deal with abrupt changes in our world.

Core to achieving this agility is the ability to gain fresh, continuous insights from data. Our commitment to customers is to make analytics in Azure the most performant and secure experience it can be, and when we debuted Azure Synapse Analytics in November 2019, we effectively removed the barriers between enterprise data warehousing and big data analytics to enable data professionals to collaborate, build, and manage their analytics solutions with ease. Azure Synapse Analytics is a game-changer in the industry, and it has been exciting to see the strong customer interest since its debut.

But we didn’t stop there. Another barrier that has long existed is the one that separates operational data from analytical systems. Historically, supporting hybrid transactional analytical processing (HTAP) workloads has been complex, costly, and has

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12

May

Announcing Azure Front Door Rules Engine in preview

Starting today, customers of Azure Front Door (AFD) can take advantage of new rules to further customize their AFD behavior to best meet the needs of their customers. These rules bring the specific routing needs of your customers to the forefront of application delivery on Azure Front Door, giving you more control in how you define and enforce what content gets served from where.

Azure Front Door provides Azure customers the ability to deliver content fast and securely using Azure’s best-in-class network. We’ve heard from customers how important it is to have the ability to customize the behavior of your web application service, and we’re excited to announce Rules Engine, a new functionality on Azure Front Door, in preview today. Rules Engine is for all current and new Azure Front Door customers but is particularly important for customers looking to streamline security and content delivery at the edge.

New scenarios in Azure Front Door

Rules Engine allows you to specify how HTTP requests are handled at the edge.

The malleable nature of Rules Engine makes it the ideal solution to address legacy application migrations, where you don’t want to worry about users accessing old applications or not knowing how to

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12

May

Announcing the general availability of Azure Spot Virtual Machines

Today we’re announcing the general availability of Azure Spot Virtual Machines (VMs). Azure Spot VMs provide access to unused Azure compute capacity at deep discounts. Spot pricing is available on single VMs in addition to VM scale sets (VMSS). This enables you to deploy a broader variety of workloads on Azure while enjoying access to discounted pricing compared to pay-as-you-go rates. Spot VMs offer the same characteristics as a pay-as-you-go virtual machine, the differences being pricing and evictions. Spot VMs can be evicted at any time if Azure needs capacity.

The workloads that are ideally suited to run on Spot VMs include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

Batch jobs. Workloads that can sustain or recover from interruptions. Development and test. Stateless applications that can use Spot VMs to scale out, opportunistically saving cost. Short lived jobs which can easily be run again if the VM is evicted.

Spot VMs have replaced the preview of Azure low-priority VMs on scale sets. Eligible low-priority VMs have been automatically transitioned over to Spot VMs.

Spot Virtual Machine pricing

Unlike low-priority VMs, prices for Spot VMs will vary based on capacity for size or SKU in an Azure region. Spot pricing

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