Category Archives : IT Pro



Azure Support API: Create and manage Azure support tickets programmatically

Large enterprise customers running business-critical workloads on Azure manage thousands of subscriptions and use automation for deployment and management of their Azure resources. Expert support for these customers is critical in achieving success and operational health of their business. Today, customers can keep running their Azure solutions smoothly with self-help resources, such as diagnosing and solving problems in the Azure portal, and by creating support tickets to work directly with technical support engineers.

We have heard feedback from our customers and partners that automating support procedures is key to help them move faster in the cloud and focus on their core business. Integrating internal monitoring applications and websites with Azure support tickets has been one of their top asks. Customers expect to create, view, and manage support tickets without having to sign-in to the Azure portal. This gives them the flexibility to associate the issues they are tracking with the support tickets they raise with Microsoft. The ability to programmatically raise and manage support tickets when an issue occurs is a critical step for them in Azure usability.

We’re happy to share that the Azure Support API is now generally available. With this API, customers can integrate the creation and management of support tickets directly into their




Azure Container Registry: Securing container workflows
Azure Container Registry: Securing container workflows

Securing any environment requires multiple lines of defense. Azure Container Registry recently announced the general availability of features like Azure Private Link, customer-managed keys, dedicated data-endpoints, and Azure Policy definitions. These features provide tools to secure Azure Container Registry as part of the container end-to-end workflow.

Customer-managed keys

By default, when you store images and other artifacts in an Azure Container Registry, content is automatically encrypted at rest with Microsoft-managed keys.

Choosing Microsoft-managed keys means that Microsoft oversees managing the key’s lifecycle. Many organizations have stricter compliance needs, requiring ownership and management of the key’s lifecycle and access policies. In such cases, customers can choose customer-managed keys that are created and maintained in a customer’s Azure Key Vault instance. Since the keys are stored in Key Vault, customers can also closely monitor the access of these keys using the built-in diagnostics and audit logging capabilities  in Key Vault. Customer-managed keys supplement the default encryption capability with an additional encryption layer using keys provided by customers. See details on how you can create a registry enabled for customer-managed keys.

Private links

Container Registry previously had the ability to restrict access using firewall rules. With the introduction of Private Link, the registry




Cost optimization strategies for cloud-native application development

Today, we’ll explore some strategies that you can leverage on Azure to optimize your cloud-native application development process using Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and managed databases, such as Azure Cosmos DB and Azure Database for PostgreSQL.

Optimize compute resources with Azure Kubernetes Service

AKS makes it simple to deploy a managed Kubernetes cluster in Azure. AKS reduces the complexity and operational overhead of managing Kubernetes by offloading much of that responsibility to Azure. As a managed Kubernetes service, Azure handles critical tasks like health monitoring and maintenance for you.

When you’re using AKS to deploy your container workloads, there are a few strategies to save costs and optimize the way you run development and testing environments.

Create multiple user node pools and enable scale to zero

In AKS, nodes of the same configuration are grouped together into node pools. To support applications that have different compute or storage demands, you can create additional user node pools. User node pools serve the primary purpose of hosting your application pods. For example, you can use these additional user node pools to provide GPUs for compute-intensive applications or access to high-performance SSD storage.

When you have multiple node pools, which run on virtual




Advancing Microsoft Teams on Azure—operating at pandemic scale

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reset what it means to work, study, and socialize. Like many of us, I have come to rely on Microsoft Teams as my connection to my colleagues. In this post, our friends from the Microsoft Teams product group—Rish Tandon (Corporate Vice President), Aarthi Natarajan (Group Engineering Manager), and Martin Taillefer (Architect)—share some of their learnings about managing and scaling an enterprise-grade, secure productivity app.” – Mark Russinovich, CTO, Azure


Scale, resiliency, and performance do not happen overnight—it takes sustained and deliberate investment, day over day, and a performance-first mindset to build products that delight our users. Since its launch, Teams has experienced strong growth: from launch in 2017 to 13 million daily users in July 2019, to 20 million in November 2019. In April, we shared that Teams has more than 75 million daily active users, 200 million daily meeting participants, and 4.1 billion daily meeting minutes. We thought we were accustomed to the ongoing work necessary to scale service at such a pace given the rapid growth Teams had experienced to date. COVID-19 challenged this assumption; would this experience give us the ability to keep the service running amidst a previously unthinkable growth period?




Azure responds to COVID-19
Azure responds to COVID-19

The global health pandemic continues to impact every organization—large or small—their employees, and the customers they serve. Over the last several months, we have seen firsthand the role that cloud computing plays in sustaining operations across the board that helps us live, work, learn, and play.

During this unparalleled time all of Microsoft’s cloud services, in particular Azure, Microsoft Teams, Windows Virtual Desktop, and Xbox Live experienced unprecedented demand. It has been our privilege to provide support and the infrastructure needed to help our customers successfully accelerate their cloud adoption to enable digital transformation during such a critical time.

Over the last 90 days, we have learned a lot and I want to share those observations with you all. The following video has been developed to provide a more technical look at how we scaled Azure as the COVID-19 outbreak rapidly pushed demand for cloud services.

Related post: Advancing Microsoft Teams on Azure – Operating at pandemic scale.
Related article: Growing Azure’s capacity to help customers, Microsoft during the COVID-19 pandemic.




Six reasons customers trust Azure to run their SAP solutions

As global organizations across every industry adjust to the new normal, SAP solutions are playing an increasingly vital role in addressing immediate needs and paving a path to a resilient future. Now more than ever, companies are realizing the value of running their SAP solutions in the cloud. While some are using advanced analytics to process their SAP data to make real-time business decisions, others are integrating their SAP and non-SAP data to build stronger supply chains. Whether it’s meeting urgent customer needs, empowering employees to make quick decisions, or planning for the future, customers running SAP solutions in the cloud have been well prepared to face the new reality. Check out how Walgreens delivers superior customer service with SAP solutions on Microsoft Azure.

Many organizations running their SAP solutions on-premises have become increasingly aware of the need to be more agile and responsive to real-time business needs. According to an IDC survey, 54 percent of enterprises expect the future demand for cloud software will increase. As global organizations seek agility, cost savings, risk reduction, and immediate insights from their ERP solutions, here are some reasons many of the largest enterprises choose Microsoft Azure as their trusted partner when moving




Learn how to deliver insights faster with Azure Synapse Analytics

Today, it’s even more critical to have a data-driven culture. Analytics and AI play a pivotal role in helping businesses make insights-driven decisions—decisions to transform supply chains, develop new ways to interact with customers, and evaluate new offerings.

Many organizations are turning to cloud analytics solutions to quickly create a data-driven culture, accelerate time to insight, reduce costs, and maximize ROI. Join us on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, from 10:00 AM–11:00 AM Pacific Time for Azure Synapse Analytics: How It Works, a virtual event where you’ll hear directly from Microsoft Azure customers. They’ll explain how they’re using the newest Azure Synapse capabilities to deliver insights faster, bring together an entire analytics ecosystem in a central location, reduce costs, and transform decision-making.

In technical demos, customers will show how they combine data ingestion, data warehousing, and big data analytics in a single cloud-native service with Azure Synapse. If you’re a data engineer trying to wrangle multiple data types from multiple sources to create pipelines, or a database administrator with responsibilities over your data lake and data warehouse, you’ll see how all this can be simplified in a code-free environment.

Customers will also demonstrate how Power BI provides a graphical complement




Microsoft announces next evolution of Azure VMware Solution

Today, I’m excited to announce the preview of the next generation of Azure VMware Solution, designed, built, and supported by Microsoft and endorsed by VMware.

With the current economic environment, many organizations face new challenges to find rapid and cost-effective solutions that enable business stability, continuity, and resiliency. The new Azure VMware Solution empowers customers to seamlessly extend or completely migrate their existing on-premises VMware applications to Azure without the cost, effort, or risk of re-architecting applications or retooling operations. This helps our customers gain cloud efficiency and enables them to innovate at their own pace with Azure services across security, data, and artificial intelligence, as well as unified management capabilities. Customers can also save money with Windows Server and SQL Server workloads running on Azure VMware by taking advantage of Azure Hybrid Benefits.

Microsoft first party service

The new Azure VMware Solution is a first party service from Microsoft. By launching a new service that is directly owned, operated, and supported by Microsoft, we can ensure greater quality, reliability, and direct access to Azure innovation for our customers while providing you with a single point of contact for all your needs. With today’s announcement and our continued collaboration with




Turning to a new chapter of Windows Server innovation

Today, January 14, 2020, marks the end of support for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Customers loved these releases, which introduced advancements such as the shift from 32-bit to 64-bit computing and server virtualization. While support for these popular releases ends today, we are excited about new innovations in cloud computing, hybrid cloud, and data that can help server workloads get ready for the new era.

We want to thank customers for trusting Microsoft as their technology partner. We also want to make sure that we work with all our customers to support them through this transition while applying the latest technology innovations to modernize their server workloads.

We are pleased to offer multiple options to as you make this transition. Learn how you can take advantage of cloud computing in combination with Windows Server as you make this transition. Here are some of our customers that are using Azure for their Windows Server workloads.

Customers using Azure for their Windows Server workloads

Customers such as All Scripts, Tencent, Alaska Airlines, and Altair Engineering are using Azure to modernize their apps and services. One great example of this is from JB Hunt Transport Services, Inc. which has




Introducing maintenance control for platform updates

Today we are announcing the preview of a maintenance control feature for Azure Virtual Machines that gives more control to customers with highly sensitive workloads for platform maintenance. Using this feature, customers can control all impactful host updates, including rebootless updates, for up to 35 days.

Azure frequently updates its infrastructure to improve the reliability, performance, and security, or to launch new features. Almost all updates have zero impact on your Azure virtual machines (VMs). When updates do have an effect, Azure chooses the least impactful method for updates:

If the update does not require a reboot, the VM is briefly paused while the host is updated, or it’s live migrated to an already updated host. These rebootless maintenance operations are applied fault domain by fault domain, and progress is stopped if any warning health signals are received. In the extremely rare scenario when the maintenance requires a reboot, the customer is notified of the planned maintenance. Azure also provides a time window in which you can start the maintenance yourself, at a time that works for you.

Typically, rebootless updates do not impact the overall customer experience. However, certain very sensitive workloads may require full control of all maintenance