Category Archives : Cloud Strategy



Migrating SAP applications to Azure: Introduction and our partnership with SAP

Just over 25 years ago, Bill Gates and Hasso Plattner met to form an alliance between Microsoft and SAP that has become one of our industry’s longest lasting alliances. At the time their conversation was focused on how Windows could be the leading operating system for SAP’s SAPGUI desktop client and when released a few years later, how Windows NT could be a server operating system of choice for running SAP R/3. Not long after in 1996 we started our own SAP project based on Windows NT/SQL Server and complimented our SAP alliance that has continued to evolve since then, while meeting the needs of SAP customers of all sizes.

That said, with 90 percent of today’s Fortune 500 customers using Microsoft Azure and an estimated 80 percent of Fortune customers running SAP solutions, it makes sense why SAP running on Azure is a key joint initiative between Microsoft and SAP. At the SAPPHIRENOW conference in 2016, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and SAP CEO Bill McDermott were on stage talking about the significant progress of SAP and Azure, especially with the release of SAP HANA on Azure Large Instances. Most of our conversations with large scale SAP customers at the time




Want to evaluate your cloud analytics provider? Here are the three questions to ask.

We all want the truth. To properly assess your cloud analytics provider, ask them about the only three things that matter:

Independent benchmark results Company-wide access to insights Security and privacy What are their results on independent, industry-standard benchmarks? 

Perhaps you’ve heard from other providers that benchmarks are irrelevant. If that’s what you’re hearing, maybe you should be asking yourself why? Independent, industry-standard benchmarks are important because they help you measure price and performance on both common and complex analytics workloads. They are essential indicators of value because as data volumes grow, it is vital to get the best performance you can at the lowest price possible.

In February, an independent study by GigaOm compared Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Amazon Redshift, and Google BigQuery using the highly recognized TPC-H benchmark. They found that Azure SQL Data Warehouse is up to 14x faster and costs 94 percent less than other cloud providers. And today, we are pleased to announce that in GigaOm’s second benchmark report, this time with the equally important TPC-DS benchmark, Azure SQL Data Warehouse is again the industry leader. Not Amazon Redshift. Not Google BigQuery. These results prove that Azure is the best place for all your analytics.




IoT in Action: Enabling cloud transformation across industries

The intelligent cloud and intelligent edge go hand-in-hand, and together they are sparking massive transformation across industries. As computing gets more deeply embedded in the real world, powerful new opportunities arise to transform revenue, productivity, safety, customer experiences, and more. According to a white paper by Keystone Strategy, digital transformation leaders generate 8 percent more per year in operating income than other enterprises.

But what does cloud transformation look like within the context of the Internet of Thing (IoT)?

Below I’ve laid out a typical cloud transformation journey and provided examples of how the cloud is transforming city government, industrial IoT, and oil and gas innovators. For a deep dive on this very topic, I hope you’ll join me and a whole host of cloud and IoT experts, and Microsoft partners and customers at the upcoming IoT in Action event in Houston.

The typical cloud transformation journey

As mentioned, the cloud is a vital piece of IoT. Below I’ve outlined a typical cloud journey.

Embrace an innovation mindset: The first part of the cloud transformation journey—and this applies to digital transformation in general—is building a culture and mindset that is willing to innovate, and welcomes change and the potential




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