Azure Container Instances: No Kubernetes required

Microsoft has introduced a new container service, Azure Container Instances (ACI), that is intended to provide a more lightweight and granular way to run containerized applications than its Azure Container Service (ACS).

ACI runs individual containers that you can configure with specific amounts of virtual CPU and memory, and that are billed by the second. Containers can be pulled from various sources – Docker Hub, the Azure Container Registry, or a private repository – and deployed from the CLI or by way of an Azure template.

Microsoft is emphasizing how ACI is complementary to ACS, rather than a replacement for it. ACI is meant for smaller, more burst-able workloads, or as a way to temporarily satisfy a surge in demand, rather than as a way to deploy complex, long-running applications with many interdependencies between containers.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Microsoft consolidates its mobile management tools under Azure

Microsoft has consolidated its Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) suite of products under its Azure portal, combining its Intune mobile application management tools and its Azure Active Directory (AD) and Information Protection under a single console.

The move offers a unified admin experience aimed at bolstering enterprise mobility management efforts.

Microsoft introduced the EMS suite in March 2014, targeting businesses with strong mobile and cloud-first strategies.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

Microsoft consolidates its mobile management tools under Azure

Microsoft has consolidated its Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) suite of products under its Azure portal, combining its Intune mobile application management tools and its Azure Active Directory (AD) and Information Protection under a single console.

The move offers a unified admin experience aimed at bolstering enterprise mobility management efforts.

Microsoft introduced the EMS suite in March 2014, targeting businesses with strong mobile and cloud-first strategies.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

IDG Contributor Network: Azure Stack and the role of context

There were dozens of announcements at Microsoft’s Build conference last week, but perhaps one caused the most angst among the cloud cognoscenti.

I’m referring to the upcoming general availability of Azure Stack. Microsoft’s offering will let organizations leverage the Azure cloud operating system, but only within the context of an on-premises deployment.

Azure Stack has something of a checkered past — it has been announced, in one guise or another, more than once. I remember years ago the notion of a private cloud deployment that would involve Microsoft software and partner hardware. That never really eventuated, and things went quiet.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

IDG Contributor Network: Cloud war collateral: What the rise of AWS, Azure has meant for data centers

When Henry Ford introduced the Model T in the fall of 1908, he likely didn’t comprehend the full scope of events he would set in motion. Come 1914, and Ford’s production line had reduced assembly times from 12 hours to less than two and a half hours, slashed the going price of an automobile, and redefined the working wage of factory employees, ultimately putting more than 15 million Model T’s on the road and igniting the entire automotive industry in the years to come.

Competition often leads to innovation and progress for other industry players. One modern equivalent of this can be seen in the rise of public and private cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft.  AWS’ sales numbers recently topped $ 12 billion, up nearly 55 percent from the same period last year. Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to push ahead and is projected to reach $ 20 billion in annual cloud revenue by June 2018. As these powerhouses and others like Oracle and Google continue to see widespread adoption across industries, other players have stepped in to consume their piece of the $ 204 billion-dollar cloud infrastructure pie, leading to an ecosystem of cloud and data center partners that continue to push the technology envelope to expand capabilities of these offerings. 

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Network World Cloud Computing

Microsoft launches new Azure intellectual property protections

Microsoft wants to help its cloud customers feel better protected from intellectual property lawsuit threats. To that end, the company is launching a new feature that’s designed to give them additional shielding.

The Azure IP Advantage program (the IP stands for intellectual property) provides a trio of benefits. First, Microsoft will indemnify all Azure customers from intellectual property infringement claims resulting from their use of Azure products, including open source components.

Second, the company will allow customers that meet a set of criteria access to a “patent pick” program, which will allow them to transfer one Microsoft patent from a list of 10,000 to help them with defending against an infringement suit.

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CIO Cloud Computing

Microsoft drops a pay-as-you-go Azure cloud option

Microsoft is shifting its licensing for its Azure cloud service, eliminating the pay-as-you-go option for new Azure customers using MPSA (Microsoft Products and Services Agreement) as of February 1. Instead, they will be steered toward the company’s CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) program.

Geared to organizations with at least 250 users, MPSA is Microsoft’s simplified agreement consolidating purchase of cloud services and software. The move detailed today follows on Microsoft’s decision to not move forward with its proposed Enterprise Advantage program, which was supposed to allow customers to buy organization-wide on the MPSA.

Microsoft’s volume licensing focus is on creating synergies across three ways of doing business: partner value-added, self-service Web, and partner-assisted, said Richard Smith, Microsoft general manager of commercial licensing. This required adjustments in licensing programs.

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CIO Cloud Computing

Microsoft brings F# to Jupyter Notebooks on Azure

Microsoft’s Azure Notebooks cloud service is adding support for F#, the Microsoft-developed “functional-first” language.

Azure Notebooks, a free service for sharing documents that contain live code and equations, features the Jupyter Notebook web application and is geared to data analysis and data processing scenarios. Previously limited to the R and Python languages, the service can be used for building machine learning models for deployment to Azure.

“Notebooks are basically executable documents. The combination [of Notebooks and F#] enables the F# community to quickly prototype code, have prose, inline graphs, etc., and share their live code documents,” said Microsoft’s Shahrokh Mortazavi, Partner program manager for the Visual Studio Cloud Platform Tools. Execution is done via Mono in Docker containers on Ubuntu Linux.

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CIO Cloud Computing

Azure Roundup: New high-performance compute instances and more

August was a slow month for tech news, but Microsoft continued to update its Azure cloud platform with a variety of new features, including a new type of instance for high-performance computing. Here’s the breakdown of all the features you need to know about:

A new instance type powered by Nvidia Tesla GPUs

Microsoft announced the private beta of a set of new compute instance types to power applications that need a lot of parallel processing. The new N-series virtual machines are powered by Nvidia’s Tesla GPUs and built for high-performance computing.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

Microsoft’s Azure cloud revenue doubles, but phone sales plummet

Microsoft’s cloud push continued to pay off last quarter, with revenue from its Azure services more than doubling from the same period last year, the company reported Tuesday.

Overall revenue for the quarter was down, however, thanks partly to a steep decline in Microsoft’s handset business. Total revenue for the three months ended June 30 was $ 20.6 billion, Microsoft said, down from $ 22.2 billion last year. Net profit was $ 3.1 billion.

Microsoft’s retreat from the smartphone market hurt its device sales significantly. Phone revenue sank 71 percent, after the company back pedaled from its Nokia acquisition to focus on a few models of Windows phone.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Samsung’s Joyent buy is a swipe at AWS and Microsoft Azure

The Internet of Things is as much about computing as it is about the “things” themselves, and that’s why Samsung Electronics is buying Joyent.

At first glance, a maker of smartphones, home appliances and wearables doesn’t seem like it would need a cloud computing company. But so-called smart objects rely on a lot of number-crunching behind the scenes. A connected security camera can’t handle all its video storage and image analysis by itself, for example, and that’s where cloud services come in.

The real money in IoT will be in the services more than the devices themselves, research firm Gartner says. It’s not entirely up to Samsung to deliver services its devices, but the company sees an opportunity there.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Red Hat, Microsoft buddy up to run RHEL in Azure

InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Microsoft will cut some Azure compute prices

Good news for businesses using Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform: their infrastructure bills may be shrinking come February.

Microsoft announced that it will be permanently reducing the prices for its Dv2 compute instances by up to 17 percent next month, depending on the type of instance and what it’s being used for. Users will see the greatest savings if they’re running higher performance Linux instances — up to 17 percent lower prices than they’ve been paying previously. Windows instance discounts top out at a 13 percent reduction compared to current prices.

160115 microsoft Microsoft

Right now, the exact details of the discount are a little bit vague, but Microsoft says that it will publish full pricing details in February when they go into effect. Dv2 instances are designed for applications that require more compute power and temporary disk performance than Microsoft’s A series instances.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Microsoft will cut some Azure compute prices

Good news for businesses using Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform: their infrastructure bills may be shrinking come February.

Microsoft announced that it will be permanently reducing the prices for its Dv2 compute instances by up to 17 percent next month, depending on the type of instance and what it’s being used for. Users will see the greatest savings if they’re running higher performance Linux instances — up to 17 percent lower prices than they’ve been paying previously. Windows instance discounts top out at a 13 percent reduction compared to current prices.

160115 microsoft Microsoft

Right now, the exact details of the discount are a little bit vague, but Microsoft says that it will publish full pricing details in February when they go into effect. Dv2 instances are designed for applications that require more compute power and temporary disk performance than Microsoft’s A series instances.

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CIO Cloud Computing

Its public cloud soon gone, HP aligns with Microsoft Azure

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has partnered with Microsoft to offer its Azure cloud services to customers, filling a gap when HPE closes its own public cloud early next year.

Microsoft will be a “preferred” public cloud partner to HPE, and HPE will become a “preferred provider” of Microsoft Azure services, CEO Meg Whitman said on HP’s quarterly earnings call Tuesday. She didn’t provide details but said they’ll be forthcoming at HPE’s Discover conference in London next month.

It’s no surprise to see HPE cut its first cloud deal with Microsoft rather than Amazon or Google. The companies work closely in servers and PCs, and they’re both trying to sell customers a mix of on-premises and cloud products.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Its cloud soon gone, HP aligns with Microsoft Azure

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has partnered with Microsoft to offer its Azure cloud services to customers, filling a gap when HPE closes its own public cloud early next year.

Microsoft will be a “preferred” public cloud partner to HPE, and HPE will become a “preferred provider” of Microsoft Azure services, CEO Meg Whitman said on HP’s quarterly earnings call Tuesday. She didn’t provide details but said they’ll be forthcoming at HPE’s Discover conference in London next month.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

MariaDB pops up on Azure with new cluster service

Companies interested in deploying the increasingly popular MariaDB open source database on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform now have an easy way to do so, thanks to a new offering provided through the Azure Marketplace. 

Database administrators can deploy the new MariaDB Enterprise Cluster with MaxScale fairly simply by finding it inside Azure’s storefront for software vendors and going through a brief setup process. As the name implies, the system is set up as a system of three different MariaDB Enterprise instances, connected by Galera and MaxScale middleware. It’s provided by the MariaDB Corporation, a company built to help govern and make money off the open-source database of the same name. 

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Dell and Microsoft announce ‘Azure in a box’ for $9,000 a month

Dell and Microsoft have teamed up to sell a converged system that combines servers, storage and software in an integrated box which they say can connect easily to Microsoft’s Azure cloud services.

Called the Cloud Platform System Standard, it’s aimed at customers building out a hybrid cloud environment, one in which on-premises equipment is linked to the public cloud for services like backup and recovery, or to provide more compute and storage capacity when it’s needed.

It’s a model most of the big IT vendors are pushing, including Hewlett-Packard, Cisco and Oracle. Dell and Microsoft claim their system is different because it runs basically the same software stack that Microsoft uses in its public cloud, making it easy for the on-premises and cloud components to work together, although that’s a claim Oracle is making too.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

Gartner Magic Quadrant Report Shows Only a Race Between AWS and Azure

Gartner Gartner Magic Quadrant Report Shows Only a Race Between AWS and AzureThe annual report of research firm Gartner the market for IaaS cloud computing shows that no clear leader (Amazon Web Services) and someone who clearly defies (Microsoft Azure). And then there are all the others. The market is dominated by only a few suppliers, especially by Amazon Web Services, but also increasingly by Microsoft Azure.

Gartner’s interest is in computing power, storage and network available to customers. Amazon Web Services is distinguished by a capacity 10 times greater than that of its 14 largest competitors combined. AWS and Azure are the only two suppliers in the quadrant leaders of the report, which clearly states AWS has the leading role.

Other providers (Google, CenturyLink, Rackspace, VMware, Virtustream and to a lesser extent, IBM SoftLayer) received good grades, but none of them have the clouds to rival those of the big two. However, between AWS, Azure and all other providers, there are significant differences, Gartner says it is important to choose the best way to align with your needs.

AWS was the first to market with an IaaS offer, based on Xen virtualized servers and has not stopped since. AWS has a diversified customer base and the broadest range of use cases, including in business and mission critical applications. With its overwhelming dominance, it attracted a wide ecosystem of partners and software vendors. It remains the industry leader, extremely innovative, exceptionally agile and very responsive to the market. Although it begins to face more competition from players like Microsoft and Google, it retains a lead of several years after the others, says Gartner.

However, AWS can become complex. Pricing structures can be confusing and not transparent; individually charged for some services that other providers don’t charge. This means that many users employ AWS external management providers to help in the management of costs and deployments.

The significant market share of Microsoft in the enterprise IT market, combined with its continued investment in Azure, making it the main competitor of AWS. The company has a mandatory packaged offer – the public cloud is integrated closely with its management tools on the premises, such as Windows Server and Systems Center. Microsoft has a beautiful hybrid offering, but Azure had been struggling lately with considerable interference, something AWS years ago had to do with it. Gartner recommends to make critical applications on Azure; customers need to consider a non-Azure disaster recovery backup plan.

Gartner states that the IaaS market is dominated by Amazon Web Services, followed by Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine. And according to the study, these three giants continue to provide the majority of contracts to supply IaaS services in 2015. Gartner warns businesses that, given the competition in terms of price and scale of investments needed, many IaaS providers may have to interrupt their offer during the year.

Note that companies like HP are not even mentioned. HP continues to work on its IaaS offer (HP Public Cloud) but seeks only to promote and sell the service as part of a hybrid solution. With respect Google, the report says that Google needs to expand its sales capabilities, engineering solutions and support. Google lacks many important features for companies looking to migrate legacy workloads to the cloud.


CloudTimes

MainOne’s MDX-i taps Azure to offer cloud services in West Africa

MDX-i, a subsidiary of MainOne, West Africa’s largest data center, is leaning on  Microsoft’s Azure to launch a service to help meet the computing infrastructure needs of companies deploying private, public or hybrid clouds from its Tier III Data Center in Lagos.

MDX-i is looking to ensure quick provision of infrastructure for businesses and government agencies that want to cut delivery time for on-demand applications and services.

Azure’s role will be to help MDX-i provide access to computing resources including storage, CPU, memory, security firewalls and network bandwidth on a subscription basis. MDX-i will use Azure’s pre-built templates and managed services to make it easier for customers to build and manage enterprise, mobile, Web, and Internet of Things (IoT) apps.

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CIO Cloud Computing

Azure Cloud Computing Platform Safe from Heartbleed Bug, Says Microsoft

azure
Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing

Microsoft commends the Windows based Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform safe from the biggest security bug heartbleed.

This was announced by Microsoft Corporation, the software giant and the strong supporter of windows based cloud computing services that, its cloud computing platform Azure is fully safe from the heartbleed openSSL bug that created havoc in the domain of internet and cloud computing recently. The statement further informed that the OpenSSL flaw has no impact on the Microsoft cloud computing platform Azure. The announcement came via the official blog of the senior director security incident response unit of Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform, Mr. Andrew Cushman.

He further explained that the Microsoft does not implement the OpenSSL in the termination of SSL connections on the website, which is the main reason that the services of Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform are safe from the nasty bug of heartbleed. He wrote in his official blog that, “Microsoft Account and Microsoft Azure, along with most Microsoft Services, were not impacted by the OpenSSL vulnerability. Windows’ implementation of SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transfer Layer Security) was also not impacted”. He further added, “Windows comes with its own encryption component called Secure Channel (a.k.a. SChannel), which is not susceptible to the Heartbleed vulnerability.”

While writing about the technicalities of the security mechanism, he wrote that the people who run Linux server images on the Microsoft Azure platform’s virtual machines, or those who run applications that use OpenSSL as the security encryption may be some vulnerable to the threat posed by the heartbleed. Meanwhile, he maintained that the OpenSSL bug issue is mostly related to the virtual machines that run Linux. Therefore, it is more critical for those services that use the Linux open source platforms in the cloud computing services rather than the windows based services.

This very important to note that the heartbleed term was coined by the Codenomicon company a few days back that referred to the potentially dangerous bug in the open source secure socket layer SSL that has a serious bug, which can be exploited to scan the passwords and personal information during the course of transportation of the data over the internet. Many companies including Google Corporation are patching their cloud computing as well as other services. “The company has assessed this vulnerability and applied patches to key Google services such as Search, Gmail, YouTube, Wallet, Play, Apps and App Engine” wrote the Google product manager in his blog a couple of days back after this vulnerability was disclosed.

Vexxhost Cloud Hosting have a very successful tutorial on the blog on How to Fix OpenSSL Heartbeat on CentOS or Ubuntu.