Category Archives : Management

16

Sep

Build a scalable security practice with Azure Lighthouse and Azure Sentinel

The Microsoft Azure Lighthouse product group is excited to launch a blog series covering areas in Azure Lighthouse where we are investing to make our service provider partners and enterprise customers successful with Azure. Our first blog in this series covers a top area of consideration for companies worldwide—Security with focus on how Azure Lighthouse can be used alongside Microsoft’s Azure Sentinel service to build an efficient and scalable security practice.

Today, organizations of all sizes are looking to reduce costs, complexity, and gain efficiencies in their security operations. As cloud security solutions help meet these requirements by providing flexibility, simplicity, pay for use, automatic scalability and protection across heterogenous environments, more and more companies are embracing cloud security solutions.

While achieving efficiencies is the need of the hour, organizations are also faced with shortage of security experts in the market.  Here is where there is tremendous potential for service providers to fill this gap by building and offering security services on top of cloud security solutions. Before diving deeper, let me start with a brief introduction to Azure Lighthouse and Azure Sentinel.

Azure Lighthouse helps service providers and large enterprises manage environments of multiple customers or individual subsidiaries,

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08

Sep

Simplify financial reporting with cost allocation—now in preview

Managing cloud costs can be challenging; especially if your organization needs to break down costs for internal chargeback. You might have separate business units, or you might need to facilitate external billing for distinct customer solutions. This becomes even more difficult when you employ shared services to reduce costs, since there may not be a clear way to break those shared services down by business unit or customer. This is where Azure Cost Management + Billing’s cost allocation preview for Enterprise Agreement (EA) and Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA) accounts comes in.

Know when cost allocation is right for your organization

Cost allocation is how you break down and distribute costs throughout the organization. Cost allocation is usually performed by identifying the shared services being used, pinpointing which business units or projects are utilizing those services, and determining how costs should be split across each.

Here are a few real-world situations you may be seeing today:

Networking—Multiple virtual machines (VMs) are using the same network infrastructure. Currently central IT covers these network costs as overhead, but there’s a desire to reduce that overhead and allocate those costs back to the departments or applications using them, driving more accountability

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31

Aug

Azure Cost Management + Billing updates – August 2020
Azure Cost Management + Billing updates – August 2020

Whether you’re a new student, thriving startup, or the largest enterprise, you have financial constraints, and you need to know what you’re spending, where, and how to plan for the future. Nobody wants a surprise when it comes to the bill, and this is where Azure Cost Management + Billing comes in.

We’re always looking for ways to learn more about your challenges and how Azure Cost Management + Billing can help you better understand where you’re accruing costs in the cloud, identify and prevent bad spending patterns, and optimize costs to empower you to do more with less. Here are a few of the latest improvements and updates based on your feedback:

Advanced scheduling options now available for exports. More details for reservation recommendations. Take action on recommendations faster with quick fix remediation. New ways to save money with Azure. Upcoming changes to Azure usage data. New videos and learning opportunities. Documentation updates.

Let’s dig into the details.

 

Advanced scheduling options now available for exports

Many organizations integrate cost data into internal tools and processes. Cost Management offers several ways to do this via the Azure portal, Power

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17

Aug

Advancing the outage experience—automation, communication, and transparency

“Service incidents like outages are an unfortunate inevitability of the technology industry. Of course, we are constantly improving the reliability of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. We meet and exceed our Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for the vast majority of customers and continue to invest in evolving tools and training that make it easy for you to design and operate mission-critical systems with confidence.

In spite of these efforts, we acknowledge the unfortunate reality that—given the scale of our operations and the pace of change—we will never be able to avoid outages entirely. During these times we endeavor to be as open and transparent as possible to ensure that all impacted customers and partners understand what’s happening. As part of our Advancing Reliability blog series, I asked Sami Kubba, Principal Program Manager overseeing our outage communications process, to outline the investments we’re making to continue improving this experience.”—Mark Russinovich, CTO, Azure

 

In the cloud industry, we have a commitment to bring our customers the latest technology at scale, keeping customers and our platform secure, and ensuring that our customer experience is always optimal. For this to happen Azure is subject to a significant amount of change—and in

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12

Aug

How to optimize your Azure workload costs
How to optimize your Azure workload costs

The economic challenges posed by the global health pandemic continue to affect every organization around the world. During this difficult time, cost optimization has become an especially critical topic. Recently, we provided an overview of how to approach cost optimization on Microsoft Azure, which laid out three focus areas to help you get the most value out of your Azure investment: understanding and forecasting your costs, optimizing your workload costs, and controlling your costs.

Today, we’ll dive more deeply into the second focus area—how you can optimize your Azure workloads costs—and show you how guidance in the Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Framework, tools like Azure Advisor, and offers like the Azure Hybrid Benefit and Azure Reservations can help you operate more efficiently on Azure and save.

Design workloads for cost optimization using best practices from the Azure Well-Architected Framework

The Azure Well-Architected Framework is designed to help you build and deploy cloud workloads with confidence, using actionable and simple to use deep technical content, assessments, and reference architectures based on proven industry best practices. You can assess workloads against the five pillars of the Azure Well-Architected Framework cloud design—cost optimization, reliability, security, performance efficiency, and operational excellence—to help you focus on

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06

Aug

Prioritize datacenter discovery and readiness assessments to accelerate cloud migration

Cloud migrations are an effective way to drive operational efficiencies and to flip capital expenses to operational. Successful cloud migrations are rooted in bias towards action and execute with urgency towards triggers that need immediate attention. In our experience, migration projects that start with a deep understanding of the IT landscape, are best positioned to mitigate any complexities. In our experience, leaders who set actionable project goals and timelines, bring together teams and encourage solution thinking, and lean in to track progress towards well-defined objectives, are the most effective in helping their organizations realize cloud migration targets.

In the kick-off blog of this series, we listed prioritizing assessments as one of our top three recommendations to accelerate your cloud migration journey. Comprehensive cloud migration assessments should cover the entire fleet and help you arrive at key decisions related to candidate apps, optimum resource allocation, and cost projections. You’ll want to understand your applications, their on-premises performance, uncover dependencies and interrelated systems, and estimate cloud readiness and run-cost. This analysis is critical to fully recognize what you are working with and proactively understand how to best manage these resources in the cloud. Further, in our experience with customers, inadequately planned migrations—especially

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29

Jul

Azure Cost Management + Billing updates – July 2020

Whether you’re a new student, thriving startup, or the largest enterprise, you have financial constraints, and you need to know what you’re spending, where, and how to plan for the future. Nobody wants a surprise when it comes to the bill, and this is where Azure Cost Management + Billing comes in.

We’re always looking for ways to learn more about your challenges and how Azure Cost Management + Billing can help you better understand where you’re accruing costs in the cloud, identify and prevent bad spending patterns, and optimize costs to empower you to do more with less. Here are a few of the latest improvements and updates based on your feedback:

Drilling into empty fields and untagged resources in cost analysis. What’s new in Cost Management Labs. New ways to save money with Azure. New videos and learning opportunities. Documentation updates.

Let’s dig into the details.

 

Drilling into empty fields and untagged resources in cost analysis

Azure Cost Management + Billing includes all usage, purchases, and refunds for your billing account. Seeing every line item in the full usage and charges file allows you to reconcile your bill at the lowest level, but since each record can

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27

Jul

New Windows Virtual Desktop capabilities now generally available

With the global pandemic, customers are relying on remote work more than ever, and Windows Virtual Desktop is helping customers rapidly deliver a secure Windows 10 desktop experience to their users. Charlie Anderson, CIO of Fife Council in the United Kingdom, was planning to modernize his companies’ existing Remote Destop Services (RDS) infrastructure, and then business requirements changed. He needed increased agility and scale to meet the changing requirements. In his own words:

“Windows Virtual Desktop was absolutely essential for us in terms of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many, we were faced with a continuity issue unparalleled in recent times. For us, this meant not only the continuation of services we already delivered, but also responding very quickly to new demands arising as a result of our public response to the pandemic.

To do that, we needed to provide as close to the “in-office” experience as we could to a workforce now working away from our offices. This meant multiplying previous remote working capacities by a factor of 15 almost overnight – something which would have been impossible without a scalable and cloud-based approach, which also worked well on a range of Council and self-provided devices.

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27

Jul

Advancing resilience through chaos engineering and fault injection

“When I first kicked off this Advancing Reliability blog series in my post last July, I highlighted several initiatives underway to keep improving platform availability, as part of our commitment to provide a trusted set of cloud services. One area I mentioned was fault injection, through which we’re increasingly validating that systems will perform as designed in the face of failures. Today I’ve asked our Principal Program Manager in this space, Chris Ashton, to shed some light on these broader ‘chaos engineering’ concepts, and to outline Azure examples of how we’re already applying these, together with stress testing and synthetic workloads, to improve application and service resilience.” – Mark Russinovich, CTO, Azure

 

Developing large-scale, distributed applications has never been easier, but there is a catch. Yes, infrastructure is provided in minutes thanks to your public cloud, there are many language options to choose from, swaths of open source code available to leverage, and abundant components and services in the marketplace to build upon. Yes, there are good reference guides that help give a leg up on your solution architecture and design, such as the Azure Well-Architected Framework and other resources in the Azure Architecture Center. But while application development

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16

Jul

Preparing for what’s next: Financial considerations for cloud migration

Co-authored by Jorge Magana, Director, Azure Finance (Financial Planning and Analysis).

In the kick off blog of this series, I shared our top recommendations to accelerate your cloud migration journey, one of which was around aligning key stakeholders across your organization. As you move through assessments and plan your migration, it is critical to get buy in from your CFO and other financial stakeholders—even more so in today’s challenging macro-climate.

IT and finance organizations need to be aligned around how to be agile to adjust to rapidly shifting demands while ensuring that their cost structure is lean enough to weather tough market conditions. With this dual focus, it is critical to understand not only the technical benefits of a cloud transition, but also the financial and economic opportunities associated with it. Today I’m sharing my own experience of partnering with finance along with the wisdom that customers have shared about their journey.

How can cloud migration affect CFO priorities?

Here are three key areas that IT organizations need to internalize and align on with their finance organization as they plan cloud migration:

What’s the holistic impact to the organization’s financial posture?  What will the impact be on external and internal

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