Category Archives : Cloud Strategy



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




SAP at Microsoft Ignite: Announcing SAP Data Custodian for Azure

Enterprises are accelerating their digital transformation. We have seen this momentum over the last year as evidenced by customers moving their mission critical SAP applications to Azure. This digital transformation is being powered by the adoption of SAP’s intelligent ERP, S/4HANA, running on the agile cloud infrastructure offered by Azure. For example, Daimler AG is transforming its mission critical procurement system with S/4HANA and chose Azure for its agility, cost savings, and speed of deployment.

Since last November, both Microsoft and SAP have been embarking on our own journeys to run internal SAP S/4HANA systems on Azure. We announced at SAP’s Sapphire NOW that Azure supports the largest scale and broadest choice for SAP HANA including our Azure M-series VMs and BareMetal offerings. In addition to this, we have launched a managed services option for customers with SAP’s HANA Enterprise Cloud with Azure and enabled SAP developer productivity with the general availability of SAP’s Cloud Platform on Azure.

Microsoft and SAP share a common goal of enabling customers to build secure and compliant solutions in this journey. Microsoft is a leader in protecting customer data in the cloud and Microsoft Azure offers a comprehensive set of security and compliance tools




Ignite 2018 – Making AI real for your business with Azure Data

Today at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, I shared how the confluence of Cloud, Data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is driving unprecedented change and is rapidly becoming foundational to innovation in every industry. The driving force behind powerful AI applications is data – and getting the most out of AI requires a modern data estate. Unlocking the potential of data has become an imperative for organizations that want to leverage AI to uncover new insights and create new business opportunities.

Today, we shared a number of exciting announcements that will enable organizations to build data and AI solutions that transform their businesses. For over two decades, organizations have relied on SQL Server to manage all facets of their relational data. Last year at Ignite, we announced the general availability of SQL Server 2017, which brought the much beloved SQL Server engine to Linux. With over 5.6 million downloads in just the first 6 months, it rapidly became our most popular SQL Server version yet. Today, we are building on that momentum with the announcement of the SQL Server 2019 preview. With SQL Server 2019, organizations can now seamlessly manage their relational and non-relational data in a single, integrated solution. It comes




New investments in Azure Stack extend Microsoft’s hybrid cloud leadership

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been a whole year since we officially launched Azure Stack! Our customers have been with us through the journey this past year providing great feedback, and we’ve been listening. Last year at Ignite was a huge milestone for our customers who consider Azure Stack a part of their core cloud strategy as they move faster than ever. Azure Stack changed the game for our customers, allowing them to leverage the benefits of a consistent hybrid cloud and innovate at a rapid pace.

At this year’s Ignite conference, there is so much to be excited about. Customer interest and adoption of Azure Stack is high, with customers already capturing business value from its unparalleled capabilities.

I’m delighted to share more today and throughout the week at Ignite about the innovative capabilities we continue to bring to Azure Stack, all to provide value to our customers and partners so they can do more.

New innovation and Azure services coming to Azure Stack IoT and Edge

Microsoft offers one of the most comprehensive end-to-end IoT solution platforms in the industry, from Azure Sphere, to Azure IoT Hub, and Azure IoT Central. Our solution portfolio has resonated well




Retail brands: gain a competitive advantage with modern data management

Retailers today are responsible for a significant amount of data. As a customer, I expect that the data I provide to a retailer is handled properly following the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other compliance guidelines.

I also expect that the data I give to a retailer is being leveraged in a way that improves my shopping experience. For example, I want better recommendations given my purchase history, my “likes,” and my browsing. I expect the retailer to know my email and payment information for a single click checkout. These are small and trivial frictions that can be eliminated, as long as the data is handled properly with the right permissions. And the capture and analysis of big data (general information aggregated from all customers) is an opportunity for the retailer to fine-tune the overall customer experience.

However much of the data collected goes unused. This occurs because the infrastructure within an organization is unable to make the data accessible or searchable. It can’t be used to improve decision-making across the retail value chain. The unused data comes from many sources: mobile devices, digital and physical store shopping, and IoT.




Five options to help actuarial and account processes meet IFRS-17 deadlines

Actuarial compute solutions are what keeps insurance companies in business. The legally required reporting can only be done at scale by employing thousands of server cores for workloads like monthly and quarterly valuation and production reporting. With these compute-intensive workloads, actuaries need the elasticity of the cloud. Azure offers a variety of compute options, from large machines with hundreds of cores or thousands of smaller standard machines with fewer cores. This scalability means you can use as much compute power as needed to finish your production runs with enough time to spare to correct an error and rerun before a deadline.

Microsoft supports a range of actuarial compute solutions running on Azure including popular life actuarial partner platforms from Milliman, Willis Towers Watson, FIS, and Moody’s. All of these companies are experienced in both policy reserving and project modeling. Many life insurance companies today use at least one of these platforms, some of the largest insurance companies use parts of all of them. Partner solutions built on Azure provide different options for model creation and model modification. The solutions are flexible and support customization of both the model and the cloud environment. 

The new regulation, IFRS-17, adds new levels




Reduce costs by optimizing actuarial risk compute on Azure

Actuarial risk modeling is a compute-intensive operation. It employs thousands of server cores, with many uneven workloads such as monthly and quarterly valuation and production runs to meet regulatory requirements. With these compute-intensive workloads, actuaries today find themselves trapped by traditional on-premises systems (grid computing on hardware) which lack scale and elasticity. Many find they cannot even finish simple tasks like production runs with enough time to spare to correct an error and rerun before a deadline. With scalability and elasticity being the cornerstone of the cloud, risk modeling is incredibly well suited to take advantage of this near bottomless resource. With Azure, you can access more compute power when needed, without having to manage it. This translates to a great savings in time and money.

Your immediate savings comes from reallocating your costs from hardware investments to operational expenses. With on-demand compute, personnel are released from hardware and software burdens. They can devote their time and expertise to other production costs, such as writing scripts for the optimum deployment of cores.

More power, less time, faster reports

New regulations, such as International Financial Reporting Standard 17 (IFRS 17), Solvency II, and Actuarial Guideline XLIII, are increasing the pressure




Save money on actuarial compute by retiring your on-premises HPC grids

No insurance company should keep on-premises compute grids for actuarial computing. In the past, resistance to the cloud went along these lines: the cloud has a lack of data security, the cloud is expensive, and no one has experience with the cloud. But those arguments are out of date. I have worked in and supported, compute grids at many different Insurance companies. Just before joining Microsoft, I led a project to move workloads to Azure and to decommission on-premises grids globally. At this point, all insurance companies see the increasing demand from growth in the number of policies processed, and new regulations that require changes to the actuarial and accounting systems. IFRS-17 requires changes to workflows, reporting and control throughout the actuarial and accounting process. Now is the time to move to a cloud-based solution on Azure.

Why wait to move to a cloud-based compute solution?

Over the years, I’ve worked in IT departments supporting actuaries, and in an actuarial department working with IT teams. I have seen three main blockers when moving to an all cloud-based solution. It always starts with the Business Information Security Officer (BISO) who has security and business continuity questions. Then the accounting, legal and




Monitor all Azure Backup protected workloads using Log Analytics

We are excited to share that Azure Backup now allows you to monitor all workloads protected by it by leveraging the power of Log Analytics (LA). This allows enterprises to monitor key backup parameters across Recovery Services vaults and subscriptions irrespective of which Azure backup solution you are using. In addition, configure custom alerts and actions for custom monitoring requirements for all Azure Backup workloads with this LA based solution.

This solution now covers all workloads protected by Azure Backup including Azure VMs, SQL in Azure VM backups, System Center Data Protection Manager connected to Azure (DPM-A), Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS), and file-folder backup from Azure backup agent.

Here’s how you get all the benefits.

Configure diagnostic settings

If you have already configured Log Analytics workspace to monitor Azure Backup, skip to the Deploy solution template section.

You can open the diagnostic setting window from the Azure Recovery services vault or from Azure Monitor. In the Diagnostic settings window, select “Send data to log analytics,” choose the relevant LA workspace and select the log accordingly, “AzureBackupReport,” and click “Save.”

Be sure to choose the same workspace for all the vaults so that you get a centralized view in the