21

May

Azure Stack updates and how it enables intelligence at the edge

Today, more than ever before, it is essential that our colleagues, customers, and partners be able to react quickly and confidently to rapidly changing circumstances. The ability to ingest, analyze, and act on incoming information requires that an organization have a robust, scalable technology infrastructure.

Such an infrastructure is not limited to one place or one platform. Modernized, and cloud-native applications can span across on-premises, multi-cloud, and edge environments. Creating and managing this vast technology estate requires a modern paradigm that enables seamless experiences, no matter where the workload exists. The mindset of combining on-premises and cloud environments into a hybrid cloud has become a force in today’s industry and has been a core part of our strategy since the inception of Azure. In the face of the unprecedented transitions in today’s world, our mission remains the same: To enable our customers and partners to transform their organizations to achieve more, wherever they are.

Healthcare and Azure Stack

The healthcare industry has recently been confronted with incredible demands. Healthcare providers must balance the need to efficiently treat many new patients, and work with sensitive data to unlock possible treatments. These missions require that healthcare organizations practice diligent and careful stewardship

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20

May

HoloLens 2 expands markets; Azure mixed reality services now broadly available

“When the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge are imbued with mixed reality and artificial intelligence, we have a framework for achieving amazing things and empowering even more people.” – Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO speaking at the HoloLens 2 launch

At Microsoft Build 2020, we shared some exciting mixed reality news that is helping us create a new reality for empowering organizations and people to achieve more. This blog post highlights some of that news across the following areas:

Strong adoption of HoloLens 2 is driving us to expand availability into new markets. Our Azure mixed reality cloud services are now broadly available. HoloLens 2 and mixed reality are empowering firstline workers through the global pandemic. HoloLens 2 expands to new markets this Fall

HoloLens 2 is currently available in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In these markets, industry-leading companies in manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and education are using enterprise mixed reality applications to improve the productivity and quality of work for firstline workers. As you can see in the video below, with HoloLens 2 and Azure, these organizations are simultaneously driving faster training and up-skilling of employees, decreased

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20

May

Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes preview and new ecosystem partners

In November 2019, we announced the preview of Azure Arc, a set of technologies that unlocks new hybrid scenarios for customers by bringing Azure services and management to any infrastructure across datacenters, edge, and multi-cloud. Based on the feedback and excitement of all the customers in the private preview, we are able to deliver Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes in preview to our customers. With this, anyone can use Azure Arc to connect and configure any Kubernetes cluster across customer datacenters, edge locations, and multi-cloud.

Over the last few months through private preview, organizations across a wide range of industries have experienced the power of Azure Arc for Kubernetes. Retail customers are deploying applications and configurations across their branch locations with guaranteed consistency. Financial institutions and healthcare providers are using Azure Arc to manage Kubernetes instances in geographic regions with custom data sovereignty requirements. Across several application scenarios and deployment environments, customers are embracing the diversity of the Kubernetes ecosystem. Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes is uniquely positioned through its openness and flexibility to help our customers meet their business challenges using the tools of their choice.

With today’s preview of Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes, support for most CNCF-certified Kubernetes distributions works

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20

May

Build apps of any size or scale with Azure Cosmos DB
Build apps of any size or scale with Azure Cosmos DB

During these uncertain times, building apps with agility and cost-effectiveness is more important than ever before. Azure Cosmos DB, Microsoft’s NoSQL cloud database, is introducing new ways to affordably scale performance, launching features that enable rapid application development across teams, and making enterprise-grade security available to apps of any size or scale. With Azure Synapse Link, Azure Cosmos DB also becomes the first database to break the barriers between transactional and analytical stores.

Run low-cost, high-performance applications with autoscale and serverless

With guaranteed speed and availability, APIs for MongoDB, Cassandra, and Gremlin, and instant and elastic scalability worldwide, Azure Cosmos DB has been a popular choice for building cloud-native applications since it launched three years ago. We’re pleased to introduce new support for spiky and unpredictable workloads that can offer savings of up to 70 percent compared to running these types of workloads with the standard provisioned throughput pricing model.

Autoscale provisioned throughput (called “autopilot mode” in preview) will maintain SLAs while scaling up to a customer-specified maximum to meet the needs of unpredictable, high-throughput workloads. Consumption-based billing (starting at 10 percent of maximum) eliminates the need to monitor capacity, and the first 400 request units per second (RU/s) of

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19

May

Code, collaborate, and ship your apps from anywhere

Welcome to Microsoft Build 2020! This all-new 48-hour digital experience is designed to help you and other developers around the world come together to solve challenges, share knowledge, and stay connected. Here we’ll cover some of our latest innovations in developer tools and cloud platform technologies—to help you code, collaborate, and ship your apps from anywhere, so you can support the changing needs of your business and continue to deliver the quality experiences that your customers expect.

So how do you overcome the challenges of today and remain productive as developers? Thankfully, in today’s digital world there are tools to help you work remotely and be as productive as ever: with Azure as your trusted cloud platform and cloud-powered developer tools with Visual Studio and GitHub.

Code

Developers often spend endless hours configuring dev machines for new projects: cloning source code, installing runtimes, setting up linters and debuggers, configuring extensions—just to do it all again for the next project, the next bug, or the next code review. The challenge is even more prevalent in times of remote work, where you might not have access to your preferred development machine. Visual Studio Codespaces, available in preview, enables you to create a

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19

May

Developer Velocity: Empowering developers to fuel business performance

Developers have been drivers of innovation and transformation for decades. They have pioneered innovation across countless industries and helped businesses weather tough conditions. Now, we are living in unprecedented times where organizations in every industry and sector are working to adjust to a new normal, rethinking how business is done and meeting new, changing customer demands.

Because technology underpins everything from how businesses run to the products and services you sell, organizations must learn to excel at developing software. Business leaders need to empower developers to unlock productivity and innovation, in what the industry has started referring to as Developer Velocity.

Developer Velocity isn’t just about increasing the speed of delivery, but about unleashing developer ingenuity—turning developers’ ideas into software that supports the needs of your customers, and the goals of your business.

McKinsey & Company recently conducted a comprehensive review of what it takes for a company to become a technology company (have tech intensity) and converged on a single holistic metric—Developer Velocity Index (DVI). They shared their findings and key insights in their recent Developer Velocity: How software excellence fuels business performance report.

The report concluded that driving business performance from software development comes down to creating the right

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19

May

Build AI you can trust with responsible ML

As AI reaches critical momentum across industries and applications, it becomes essential to ensure the safe and responsible use of AI. AI deployments are increasingly impacted by the lack of customer trust in the transparency, accountability, and fairness of these solutions. Microsoft is committed to the advancement of AI and machine learning (ML), driven by principles that put people first, and tools to enable this in practice.

In collaboration with the Aether Committee and its working groups, we are bringing the latest research in responsible AI to Azure. Let’s look at how the new responsible ML capabilities in Azure Machine Learning and our open-source toolkits empower data scientists and developers to understand ML models, protect people and their data, and control the end-to-end ML process.

Understand

As ML becomes deeply integrated into our daily business processes, transparency is critical. Azure Machine Learning helps you to not only understand model behavior but also assess and mitigate unfairness.

Interpret and explain model behavior

Model interpretability capabilities in Azure Machine Learning, powered by the InterpretML toolkit, enable developers and data scientists to understand model behavior and provide model explanations to business stakeholders and customers.

Use model interpretability to:

Build accurate ML models.

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19

May

Azure Analytics: Clarity in an instant
Azure Analytics: Clarity in an instant

What 2020 is teaching us is that the world can change in an instant. In the span of a few months, we have witnessed massive disruptions across every industry around the globe. Factories are idle, hotels are empty, and the transportation backbone that connects us all is quiet. Navigating these unprecedented times is challenging and requires a new level of agility for businesses to deal with abrupt changes in our world.

Core to achieving this agility is the ability to gain fresh, continuous insights from data. Our commitment to customers is to make analytics in Azure the most performant and secure experience it can be, and when we debuted Azure Synapse Analytics in November 2019, we effectively removed the barriers between enterprise data warehousing and big data analytics to enable data professionals to collaborate, build, and manage their analytics solutions with ease. Azure Synapse Analytics is a game-changer in the industry, and it has been exciting to see the strong customer interest since its debut.

But we didn’t stop there. Another barrier that has long existed is the one that separates operational data from analytical systems. Historically, supporting hybrid transactional analytical processing (HTAP) workloads has been complex, costly, and has

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13

May

Migrate to Azure: Save now, be future ready
Migrate to Azure: Save now, be future ready

The global health crisis has transformed the way we work and live. Remote work has surged across industries, and the ability to scale and manage your business from anywhere has become essential. As our customers are moving beyond resolving immediate crisis needs, many are thinking about the next set of IT investments that can set them up for long term success. Microsoft is here to help.

Moving to the cloud has clear economic benefits. Convert upfront capital expenditures into operating expenditures and pay as you consume. The cloud scales up and down to meet demand as you need, so you don’t need to over-provision resources to be ready for peak usage and incur expenses on idle servers. Best of all, the cloud improves operational productivity for your staff, so they can focus on priority business initiatives.

When migrating to the cloud, Azure can provide unique and differentiated value that can help you save. Here’s how…

Save money with unique offers and programs

Meeting your business and budget needs has always been a priority for us. We make this possible through unique offers, transparent and competitive pricing, and free cost management tools. Azure is the most cost-effective cloud for Windows Server

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12

May

Monitor your Azure workload compliance with Azure Security Benchmark

The Azure Security Benchmark v1 was released in January 2020 and is being used by organizations to manage their security and compliance policies for their Azure workloads. We are pleased to share that you can now track and monitor your compliance with the benchmark across your Azure environment in Azure Security Center.

The Azure Security Benchmark is a collection of over 90 security best practice recommendations you can employ to increase the overall security and compliance of all your workloads in Azure. The Azure Security Benchmark is based on common compliance frameworks and standards but is tailored to cloud deployments and specifically to Azure workloads. The benchmark provides specific guidance on how these common controls apply to Azure, and what you specifically need to implement in Azure to meet those requirements.

Now, not only can you understand the fundamental compliance framework requirements in Azure terms, but you can also measure and track how your own deployed Azure workloads are meeting those requirements at any given time.

Azure Security Center provides built-in automation for monitoring your compliance with the benchmark controls across different Azure resource types and workloads. Azure Security Center not only measures your compliance with the controls but also provides actionable

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