Category Archives : Updates

28

Mar

Update #2 on Microsoft cloud services continuity
Update #2 on Microsoft cloud services continuity

Since last week’s update, the global health pandemic continues to impact every organization—large or small—their employees, and the customers they serve. Everyone is working tirelessly to support all our customers, especially critical health and safety organizations across the globe, with the cloud services needed to sustain their operations during this unprecedented time. Equally, we are hard at work providing services to support hundreds of millions of people who rely on Microsoft to stay connected and to work and play remotely.

As Satya Nadella shared, “It’s times like this that remind us that each of us has something to contribute and the importance of coming together as a community”. In these times of great societal disruption, we are steadfast in our commitment to help everyone get through this.

For this week’s update, we want to share common questions we’re hearing from customers and partners along with insights to address these important inquiries. If you have any immediate needs, please refer to the following resources.

Azure Service Health – for tracking any issues impacting customer workloads and understanding Azure Service Health
Microsoft 365 Service health and continuity – for tracking and understanding M365 Service health
Xbox Live – for tracking game and service status

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25

Mar

Azure Cost Management + Billing updates – March 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:

Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) invoice improvements. Tell us about your reporting goals. What’s new in Cost Management Labs. 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.

 

Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) invoice improvements

Managing and staying up to date on your Azure invoices just got a whole lot better with a few key improvements for Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) subscriptions:

You can now view and download your support plan invoices in the Azure portal, giving you

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25

Mar

Keeping your cloud deployments secure during challenging times

As the world comes together to combat COVID-19, and remote work becomes a critical capability for many companies, customers have asked us how to best maintain the security posture of their cloud assets while enabling more remote workers to access them.

Misconfiguration of cloud security controls has been at the root of several recent data breaches, so it’s extremely important to continue monitoring your security posture as usage of cloud assets increases.

To help you prioritize the actions that you need to take, we are listing three common scenarios for remote workers and how to leverage Azure Security Center security controls to prioritize relevant recommendations for these scenarios:

1. As more users need to access resources remotely, you need to ensure that Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is enabled to enhance their identity protection.

Azure Security Center has a security control called Enable MFA, ideally you should remediate all recommendations that are part of this security control, as shown below:

2. Some users might need remote access via RDP or SSH to servers that are in your Azure infrastructure.

Instead of allowing full 24 x 7 access to those servers, ensure that you are using Just-In-Time (JIT)

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21

Mar

Our commitment to customers and Microsoft cloud services continuity

Over the past several weeks, all of us have come together to battle the global health pandemic. During this time, organizations around the world are adjusting the way they manage their daily work and how their workforce continues in the face of extraordinary changes to their professional and personal lives.

With this blog we wanted to share a bit about what we have learned over the last few weeks, resources to help organizations manage through these times, support for critical first responders and emergency organizations, and the criteria we have put in place to manage cloud services capacity to support critical operations. 

We will continue to communicate regularly and openly, so you can have insight into what we are seeing, learning and doing.

As companies operationalize to address new and unique challenges, we have mobilized our global response plan to help customers stay up and running during this critical time. We are actively monitoring performance and usage trends 24/7 to ensure we are optimizing our services for customers worldwide, while accommodating new demand. We are working closely with first responder organizations and critical government agencies to ensure we are prioritizing their unique needs and providing them our fullest support. We

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26

Feb

Azure Cost Management + Billing updates – February 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:

New Power BI reports for Azure reservations and Azure Hybrid Benefit Quicker access to help and support We need your feedback What’s new in Cost Management Labs Drill in to the costs for your resources Understanding why you see “not applicable” Upcoming changes to Azure usage data New videos and learning opportunities Documentation updates

Let’s dig into the details.

 

New Power BI reports for Azure reservations and Azure Hybrid Benefit

Azure Cost Management + Billing offers several ways to report on your cost and usage

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28

Jan

Azure Cost Management updates – January 2020
Azure Cost Management updates – January 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 comes in.

We’re always looking for ways to learn more about your challenges and how Azure Cost Management 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:

Automate reporting for Microsoft Customer Agreement with scheduled exports Raising awareness of disabled costs What’s new in Cost Management Labs Custom RBAC role preview for management groups New ways to save money with Azure Recent changes to Azure usage data <!–li>New videos</li–> Documentation updates

Let’s dig into the details. 

Automate reporting for Microsoft Customer Agreement with scheduled exports

You already know you can dig into your cost and usage data from the Azure portal. You may even know you can get rich reporting from the Cost Management Query API or get

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06

Jan

Azure Cost Management 2019 year in review
Azure Cost Management 2019 year in review

When we talk about cost management, we focus on three core tenets:

Ensuring cost visibility so everyone is aware of the financial impact their solutions have. Driving accountability throughout the organization to stop bad spending patterns. Continuous cost optimization as your usage changes over time to do more with less.

These were the driving forces in 2019 as we set out to build a strong foundation that pulls together all costs across all account types and ensures everyone in the organization has a means to report on, control, and optimize costs. Our ultimate goal is to empower you to lead a healthier, more financially responsible organization.

All costs behind a single pane of glass

On the heels of the Azure Cost Management preview, 2019 started off strong with the general availability of Enterprise Agreement (EA) accounts in February and pay-as-you-go (PAYG) in April. At the same time, Microsoft as a whole embarked on a journey to modernize the entire commerce platform with the new Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA), which started rolling out for enterprises in March, pay-as-you-go subscriptions in July, and Cloud Solution Providers (CSP) using Azure plan in November. Whether you get Azure through the Microsoft field, directly from

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10

Dec

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

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02

Dec

Azure Cost Management updates – November 2019
Azure Cost Management updates – November 2019

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 Microsoft Azure Cost Management comes in.

We’re always looking for ways to learn more about your challenges and how Cost Management 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:

Cost Management now available for Cloud Solution Providers What’s new in Cost Management Labs Customizing the name on dashboard tiles Upcoming changes to Azure usage data Save up to 72% with Azure reservations–now available for 16 services New videos Documentation updates

Let’s dig into the details.

Cost Management now available for Cloud Solution Providers

In case you missed it, as of November 1, Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partners can now see and manage costs for their customers using Azure Cost Management in the Azure portal by transitioning them to Azure plan

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07

Oct

Customer Provided Keys with Azure Storage Service Encryption

Azure storage offers several options to encrypt data at rest. With client-side encryption you can encrypt data prior to uploading it to Azure Storage. You can also choose to have Azure storage manage encryption operations with storage service encryption using Microsoft managed keys or using customer managed keys in Azure Key Vault. Today, we present enhancement to storage service encryption to support granular encryption settings on storage account with keys hosted in any key store. Customer provided keys (CPK) enables you to store and manage keys in on-premises or key stores other than Azure Key Vault to meet corporate, contractual, and regulatory compliance requirements for data security.

Customer provided keys allows you to pass an encryption key as part of read or write operation to storage service using blob APIs. Since the encryption key is defined at the object level, you can have multiple encryption keys within a storage account. When you create a blob with customer provided key, storage service persists the SHA-256 hash of the encryption key with the blob to validate future requests. When you retrieve an object, you must provide the same encryption key as part of the request. For example, if a blob is created

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