Category Archives : Cloud Strategy



Azure Stack IaaS – part five

Self-service is core to Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Back in the virtualization days, you had to wait for someone to create a VLAN for you, carve out a LUN, and find space on a host. If Microsoft Azure ran that way, we would have needed to hire more and more admins as our cloud business grew.

Do it yourself

A different approach was required, which is why IaaS is important. Azure’s IaaS gives the owner of the subscription everything they need to create virtual machines (VMs) and other resources on their own, without involving an administrator. To learn more visit our documentation, “Introduction to Azure Virtual Machines” and “Introduction to Azure Stack virtual machines.”

Let me give you a few examples that show Azure and Azure Stack self-service management of VMs.


Creating a VM is as simple as going through a wizard. You can create the VM by specifying everything needed for the VM in the “Create virtual machine” blade. You can include the operating system image or marketplace template, the size (memory, CPUs, number of disks, and NICs), high availability, storage, networking, monitoring, and even in guest configuration.

Learn more by visiting the following resources:

Deploy Azure Linux VM




Microsoft opens first datacenters in Africa with general availability of Microsoft Azure

Today, I am pleased to announce the general availability of Microsoft Azure from our new cloud regions in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. Nedbank, Peace Parks Foundation, and eThekwini water are just a few of the organizations in Africa leveraging Microsoft cloud services today and will benefit from the increased computing resources and connectivity from our new cloud regions.

The launch of these regions marks a major milestone for Microsoft as we open our first enterprise-grade datacenters in Africa, becoming the first global provider to deliver cloud services from datacenters on the continent. The new regions provide the latest example of our ongoing investment to help enable digital transformation and advance technologies such as AI, cloud, and edge computing across Africa.

By delivering the comprehensive Microsoft Cloud — comprising Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365 — from datacenters in a given geography, we offer scalable, available, and resilient cloud services to companies and organizations while meeting data residency, security, and compliance needs. We have deep expertise in protecting data and empowering customers around the globe to meet extensive security and privacy requirements, including offering the broadest set of compliance certifications and attestations in the industry.

With 54 regions




Protect Azure Virtual Machines using storage spaces direct with Azure Site Recovery

Storage spaces direct (S2D) lets you host a guest cluster on Microsoft Azure which is especially useful in scenarios where virtual machines (VMs) are hosting a critical application like SQL, Scale out file server, or SAP ASCS. You can learn more about clustering by reading the article, “Deploying laaS VM Guest Clusters in Microsoft Azure.” I am also happy to share that with the latest Azure Site Recovery (ASR) update, you can now protect these business critical applications. The ASR support of storage spaces direct allows you to take your higher availability application and make it more resilient by providing a protection against region level failure.

We continue to deliver on our promise of simplicity and help you can protect your storage spaces direct cluster in three simple steps:

Inside the recovery services vault, select +replicate.

1. Select replication policy with application consistency off. Please note, that only crash consistency support is available.

2. Select all the nodes in the cluster and make them part of a Multi-VM consistency group. To learn more about Multi-VM consistency please visit our documentation, “Common questions: Azure-to-Azure replication.”

3. Lastly, select OK to enable the replication.

Next steps

Begin protecting virtual machines using




Dynamic mission planning for drones with Azure Maps

Real-time location intelligence is critical for business operations. From getting real-time road data, to building asset-tracking solutions for navigating drone fleets. Today, we’re excited to highlight a customer, AirMap, whose software solutions rely on Azure Maps for real-time location intelligence in a new frontier of technology called dynamic mission planning for drones.

AirMap is the leading global airspace management platform for drones. AirMap’s Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) platform enables the deployment and operations of safe, efficient, and advanced drone operations for enterprises and drone solution providers. Since 2017, AirMap has been part of the Microsoft Ventures portfolio and has chosen Microsoft Azure as its trusted cloud for its cloud-based UTM platform. AirMap offers open, standardized APIs and SDKs that make it easy for software developers to integrate AirMap’s intelligence services and capabilities into third party applications. This includes situational awareness of flight conditions, airspace advisories, and global airspace regulations. The AirMap developer platform also offers easy access to AirMap’s global network of airspace authorities, who offer notification, authorization, and more to drone operators on the AirMap UTM platform.

Figure 1: AirMap dynamically renders polygons representing different geographic areas subject to airspace regulations.

When faced with the decision of selecting




New Azure Migrate and Azure Site Recovery enhancements for cloud migration

We are continuously enhancing our offerings to help you in your digital transformation journey to the cloud. You can read more about these offerings in the blog, “Three reasons why Windows Server and SQL Server customers continue to choose Azure.” In this blog, we will go over some of the new features added to Microsoft Azure Migrate and Azure Site Recovery that will help you in your lift and shift migration journey to Azure.

Azure Migrate

Azure Migrate allows you to discover your on-premises environment and plan your migration to Azure. Based on popular demand, we have now enabled Azure Migrate in two new geographies, Azure Government and Europe. Support for other Azure geographies will be enabled in future.

Below is the list of regions within the Azure geographies where the discovery and assessment metadata is stored.

Geography Region for metadata storage United States West Central US, East US Europe North Europe, West Europe Azure Government U.S. Gov Virginia

When you create a migration project in the Azure portal, the region for metadata storage is randomly selected. For example, if you create a project in the United States, we will automatically select the region as West Central US or East




Three reasons why Windows Server and SQL Server customers continue to choose Azure

For the past 25 years, companies of every size have trusted Windows Server and SQL Server to run their business-critical workloads. In fact, more than 70 percent of on-premises server workloads today run on Windows Server1. As more customers use the cloud for innovation and digital transformation, the first step is often migrating existing Windows Server and SQL Server applications and data to the cloud. Many of you have shared why you continue to choose Microsoft and stay with the vendor you trust. Below are the three main reasons that we hear.

Reason #1: Pay less with Azure

We understand that moving to the cloud needs to make sense for your bottom line, and we’re committed to making Azure the most cost-effective cloud for your Microsoft workloads.

The Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server and SQL Server and reservation pricing have been helping customers save when moving to Azure. We are committed to keeping your server workloads secure and Azure now offers free Extended Security Updates for Windows Server and SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2. When you add it all up, AWS is 5 times more expensive than Azure for Windows Server and SQL Server. With savings like this,




Simplifying confidential computing: Azure IoT Edge security with enclaves – Public preview

Enabling Open Enclave SDK for the intelligent edge and simplifying the development of trusted applications across operating systems and hardware platforms.

Today we are excited to announce the cross-platform availability of the Open Enclave SDK for devices at the intelligent edge, as well as the preview of integration of Open Enclave and the Azure IoT Edge security manager. Together with our partners, we help organizations solve a very challenging security problem in the Internet of Things (IoT) – protecting code and data while in use at the edge. This includes securing compute workloads within the confines of Trusted Execution Environments (TEE) or simply enclaves, a concept called Confidential Computing.  We offer a platform for developing applications that execute in enclaves, also known as trusted applications (TA), in a way that simplifies TA development for all audiences from hardcore hardware security experts to edge and cloud software applications developers.

With today’s announcement, Azure IoT Edge application developers can write TAs that root trust in any secure silicon TEE built on such enclaving technologies like ARM TrustZone®, Intel SGX, and embedded Secure Elements using Windows or Linux operating systems. This broad applicability across different enclave technologies and integration with IoT Edge greatly




Five lessons for building your roadmap to a secure hybrid cloud future

This blog post is a part of our security series for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month where we discuss how federal CIOs can best prepare for a cloud environment that works securely with your on-premises datacenters.

The need for federal agencies to get their hybrid cloud roadmaps in place has reached a tipping point over the past year, especially as pressures mount to modernize the government’s vast portfolio of aging legacy IT systems and make smarter use of available IT funding.

Agency IT leaders however, face a deeper challenge. Deciding which applications to move to the cloud and which should be rebuilt or replaced to function securely in a hybrid environment. They must do so while planning for a rapidly-changing cybersecurity landscape.

That’s why rationalizing and rightsizing your applications deserves careful attention. This is also why aligning with the right partners who can support your applications, whether in the cloud or on-premises, can be the difference between successful IT modernization versus just lifting-and-shifting to the cloud.

That’s one reason a growing number of agencies are choosing the flexibility and built-in security features of cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure Government. Azure Government gives leaders a flexible way to test out their




Enabling intelligent cloud and intelligent edge solutions for government

We are going through a technology transformation that is unlocking new mission scenarios for government agencies that were simply not possible before. Smart sensors and connected devices are changing the way agencies approach problems from equipment maintenance to measuring air quality, smart cities to military outposts, while new devices are increasingly cloud connected by default – whether it’s a traffic light or a rescue vehicle.

Simultaneously, hybrid cloud is evolving from being the integration of a datacenter with the public cloud, to becoming units of computing available at even the world’s most remote destinations working in concert with public cloud. Now, more than ever before, government can bring the power of cloud to missions around the globe.

Bring these two technology trends together, with AI running across all systems, and we enter the era of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. And while we expect every industry to benefit as these technologies advance, the work of government in particular will be changed by the ability to plan farther, gather information more efficiently, and deliver insight where it is needed most.
The intelligent cloud is ubiquitous computing enabled by public cloud and powered with AI. In this way, we refer to




Microsoft Azure: The only consistent, comprehensive hybrid cloud

When we talk to our customers about their cloud strategy, we continue to hear loud and clear from many of them that a hybrid approach to cloud makes the most sense for their business. Organizations choose a hybrid strategy for many reasons including to take advantage of the cloud while leveraging existing on-premises technology as an asset, to help them achieve greater flexibility, or to meet regulatory requirements.

Customers tell us they look for a cloud platform that enables choices, flexibility, and consistency of experience across their full environment. Microsoft deeply understands this reality. Based on our decades of enterprise experience, we designed Azure to be hybrid from day one, to offer true consistency across cloud and on-premises with the broadest set of hybrid capabilities in applications, data, identity, security, and management.

Customers choose Azure to power their hybrid cloud strategies

More than 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies trust their business on Azure today, and many of them take advantage of Azure hybrid capabilities to fuel innovation and deliver great business outcomes.

Running its $15 billion business on Azure using a hybrid cloud model, Smithfield Foods slashed datacenter costs by 60 percent, accelerated application delivery from two months to