Microsoft acquires cloud-based HPC developer

Microsoft pulled off a big get with its acquisition of Cycle Computing, the developer of a suite of high-performance computing (HPC) services called CycleCloud for cloud orchestration, provisioning and data management in the cloud.

You may not know its name but Cycle Computing is actually a major player. In 2012, it helped Amazon create the first massive cloud-based supercomputer, spanning 51,000 cores. For just one hour of run time, the bill was $ 5,000.

+ Also on Network World: Azure Stack: Microsoft’s private-cloud platform and what IT pros need to know about it +

In 2013, Cycle Computing hit its biggest cloud run, creating a cluster of 156,314 cores with a theoretical peak speed of 1.21 petaflops that ran for 18 hours and spanned Amazon data centers around the world. The bill for that monstrosity was $ 33,000. 

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Network World 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 rumor: Company to reorganize cloud computing division

Multiple news outlets in Seattle and the tech press report that Microsoft plans to announce a significant reorganization in an effort to refocus its cloud computing division. In the process, a lot of people are going to lose their jobs.

The Seattle Times, Puget Sound Business Journal, Bloomberg and TechCrunch all cite sources claiming that the news could come this week, and that could mean layoffs in the thousands. 

The Seattle Times said it was unclear what groups would be affected and where they are located but that the move would be to get its sales teams to emphasize its cloud computing products instead of pushing packaged software. 

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Network World Cloud Computing

Microsoft rumor: Company to reorganize cloud computing division

Multiple news outlets in Seattle and the tech press report that Microsoft plans to announce a significant reorganization in an effort to refocus its cloud computing division. In the process, a lot of people are going to lose their jobs.

The Seattle Times, Puget Sound Business Journal, Bloomberg and TechCrunch all cite sources claiming that the news could come this week, and that could mean layoffs in the thousands. 

The Seattle Times said it was unclear what groups would be affected and where they are located but that the move would be to get its sales teams to emphasize its cloud computing products instead of pushing packaged software. 

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Network World Cloud Computing

Microsoft rumor: Company to reorganize cloud computing division

Multiple news outlets in Seattle and the tech press report that Microsoft plans to announce a significant reorganization in an effort to refocus its cloud computing division. In the process, a lot of people are going to lose their jobs.

The Seattle Times, Puget Sound Business Journal, Bloomberg and TechCrunch all cite sources claiming that the news could come this week, and that could mean layoffs in the thousands. 

The Seattle Times said it was unclear what groups would be affected and where they are located but that the move would be to get its sales teams to emphasize its cloud computing products instead of pushing packaged software. 

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Network World 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.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Computerworld Cloud Computing

IDG Contributor Network: Going interstellar with Microsoft Cosmos

At Microsoft’s Build developer conference last week, the company announced Cosmos DB, a new cloud database offering that, if you believe the hype, entirely changed the database game. Before reelecting on what this means for developers and organizations, it’s worth taking a look at what Cosmos is.

Cosmos is a schema-free database service built with the aim of delivering high performance, fault tolerance, automatic indexing of data and truly globally distributed scalability. Cosmos is, at least in part, the evolution of Microsoft’s previous DocumentDB offering. DocumentDB was Redmond’s first foray into the NoSQL world. And while DocumentDB was a NoSQL choice in contrast to Microsoft’s relation offerings, Cosmos DB is multi-modal, offering developers the options to store relational or non-relational data. Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s perennially red-shirted Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise group, described Cosmos as, “the first globally distributed, multi-model database service delivering turnkey global horizontal scale out with guaranteed uptime and millisecond latency at the 99th percentile.”

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

IDG Contributor Network: Microsoft announces a Surface laptop that won’t run Call of Duty

Locked-down laptops rule the classroom.

It’s already possible to control what apps can be accessed if you hand a middle schooler a Chromebook. What can you run on that thing? Not anything fun. Industrious hackers could run a first-person shooter through a browser window, but let’s be honest — it’s not going to run the latest Call of Duty game.

Now, Microsoft wants to essentially do the same thing.

The Microsoft Surface laptop — available in four trendy colors like cobalt blue — weighs 2.76 pounds, opens with a finger, and runs the new Windows 10 S operating system, which only supports approved apps you can download from the Windows Store.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

Leaked Microsoft document confirms Windows 10 Cloud and a Chromebook competitor

A Microsoft document detailing the minimum hardware specs for Microsoft Windows 10 Cloud-powered laptops seems to be the best evidence yet that Microsoft plans to launch a Chromebook competitor on May 2.

Windows Central obtained a “recommended minimum spec” document, presumably handed out to Microsoft’s partners. The document outlines what Microsoft hopes to achieve with what the document calls an “Edu Cloud device” (and industry watchers have dubbed “Cloudbooks”): all-day battery life, a quick boot and resume cycle, and at least a quad-core Intel Celeron processor powering it all. It’s also titled “Windows 10 Cloud Performance Targets,” confirming the name of the new OS.

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CIO Cloud Computing

Microsoft will cut OneDrive and Skype access to standalone Office users

When Microsoft launched Office 365 in 2010, Microsoft officials said then that customers were asking to move to the cloud. Beginning in 2020, some Office customers will need to buy an Office 365 subscription to do so.

In an update to Microsoft’s Office 365 system requirements released today, Microsoft said that consumers who have already purchased “perpetual”—i.e., standalone—versions of Office, such as Office 2010, Office 2013, and Office 2016, would be cut off from accessing the business versions of OneDrive and Skype after mainstream support expires. Those who have purchased those Office suites will be allowed to connect until Oct. 13, 2020—the day mainstream support ends for Office 2016, and the day the new support policy kicks in. 

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Microsoft acquires Deis to boost its Kubernetes chops

Microsoft is acquiring Deis, a company that makes tools to work with the Kubernetes open-source container orchestration system. The deal, announced Monday, marks Microsoft’s continued interest in container orchestration.

Deis creates tools that aim to simplify the development of modern, containerized applications. Containers allow developers to write an application for an isolated, portable runtime that is supposed to be easily transferrable from a workstation to a server environment.

Tools like Deis’s Workflow, Helm, and Steward are supposed to ease the complex process of managing multi-container applications. They build on top of Kubernetes, the popular open-source container orchestration system that Google released to the world in 2014. Deis plans to continue its contributions to those tools as part of Microsoft, company CTO Gabe Monroy said in a blog post.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Microsoft expands connected car push with patent licensing

Microsoft’s push into the connected car space has moved up a gear with a new patent licensing agreement with Toyota. The world’s second-largest auto maker will have access to a range of Microsoft patents as part of the deal announced this week.

Rather than trying to build a high-tech automobile of its own, Microsoft is focusing on providing carmakers with the tools they need to create smarter vehicles and the Toyota deal is the first of what it hopes will be a series of such agreements.

Microsoft offers an entire suite of cloud services aimed at aiding the development of internet-enabled automobiles and is also integrating its Cortana virtual assistant into cars alongside PCs, phones and other devices. In the future, a connected car could become a rolling extension of a user’s office, with Office 365 integrations.

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CIO Cloud Computing

IBM chases Google, Microsoft with Kubernetes in the cloud

It’s only a matter of time before every major cloud vendor offers a version of Kubernetes as a service. Now it’s IBM’s turn.

This morning IBM announced the next logical step in its work with Docker containers: Kubernetes support on its Bluemix Container Service. Currently available in a limited beta, its feature set should match Google’s and Microsoft’s offerings.

Kubernetes, the Bluemix way

Previously, the default for managing Docker containers on Bluemix Container Service was to spin them up individually by hand or to use Bluemix’s container groups metaphor, where Bluemix directly managed multiple containers running the same image.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

AWS, Microsoft and Google take different paths to the cloud

SAN FRANCISCO — An outage at Amazon Web Services Tuesday rekindled the debate about whether it is wise to rely too heavily on one cloud service provider. Such snafus are rare for AWS so CIOs worry more about the potential for vendors to turn off their service without notice.

But CIOs who bet on multiple providers often invite challenges, including committing resources to work with each vendor, said Adrian Cockcroft, vice president of cloud architecture strategy for Amazon Web Services, at this week’s WSJ CIO Network conference, which included also appearances from executives running Microsoft and Google’s cloud businesses.

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CIO Cloud Computing

Microsoft blends IaaS and PaaS with new Managed Disks

Microsoft introduced a nifty new feature to its Azure public cloud this week called Managed Disks. The idea is that developers will not have to worry about provisioning storage when spinning up virtual machines. Managed Disks automatically adds persistent disk storage for Azure virtual machines as applications demand it.

+MORE AT NETWORK WORLD: HPE’s Mesosphere reseller agreement heats up the container management market | Rackspace is cutting 6% of its workforce +

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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 Office 365 tackles management with StaffHub

Microsoft is making a strong push toward building tools for human capital management (HCM). Perhaps best considered a replacement for older-generation human resources tools like PeopleSoft, HCM blends traditional HR features with new analytics tooling to help organizations understand more about their employees.

The Office Graph (as shown in Office 365’s Delve), for understanding social networks inside your organization, is one such example, while other HCM tools take advantage of platforms like Dynamics to develop models around resource requirements and productivity.

There’s a lot of data in our business systems that can promote efficiency and help find the best teams for tackling various business initiatives, and mixing query graphs across platforms combines information sources to answer what can often be complex questions. Adding LinkedIn’s social network to Microsoft’s existing tooling could help with a key aspect of HCM: talent management. Finding new ways to build teams, especially where a significant part of the workforce is freelance, can give businesses a significant advantage over its competition.

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InfoWorld 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

Oops, this Redditor accidentally deleted his company’s DNS in Microsoft Azure’s cloud

One Redditor has made a mistake that you can be assured he will not make again: He deleted an entire zone of his company’s Domain Name System in the Microsoft Azure cloud.

“I meant to delete a single record, but it’s the same button in the same place as deleting a zone. As soon as I hit the button I knew what I had done, then all our websites start failing,” the Redditor confesses.

That’s an oops. He goes on to describe how his unidentified company’s VOIP phones went offline and the backup domain controller began having issues resolving DNS.

Meanwhile, in the ‘when it rains it pours’ line of thinking, an unrelated error occurred AT THE SAME TIME on the company’s Hyper-V server network interface cards (NICs).

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Network World Cloud Computing

Microsoft is bundling cloud services to make cars smarter

CES has turned into the first car show of the year, with major automakers choosing to show off upcoming features in Las Vegas. Microsoft wants to help make cars more intelligent, and it unveiled a new suite of services Thursday to do so.

The Connected Vehicle Platform brings together a smorgasbord of services from Microsoft, including Azure IoT Hub, Cortana Intelligence Suite, Microsoft Dynamics and many others. In addition, Office 365, Skype for Business and Cortana can be integrated with the platform.

It’s not a surprising move. Microsoft frequently packages cloud services as suites, then markets them for kick-starting particular applications. Furthermore, the company has been saying for some time that its goal in car tech is to support carmakers rather than build its own connected cars.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

Microsoft is bundling cloud services to make cars smarter

CES has turned into the first car show of the year, with major automakers choosing to show off upcoming features in Las Vegas. Microsoft wants to help make cars more intelligent, and it unveiled a new suite of services Thursday to do so.

The Connected Vehicle Platform brings together a smorgasbord of services from Microsoft, including Azure IoT Hub, Cortana Intelligence Suite, Microsoft Dynamics and many others. In addition, Office 365, Skype for Business and Cortana can be integrated with the platform.

It’s not a surprising move. Microsoft frequently packages cloud services as suites, then markets them for kick-starting particular applications. Furthermore, the company has been saying for some time that its goal in car tech is to support carmakers rather than build its own connected cars.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Network World Cloud Computing

Microsoft is bundling cloud services to make cars smarter

CES has turned into the first car show of the year, with major automakers choosing to show off upcoming features in Las Vegas. Microsoft wants to help make cars more intelligent, and it unveiled a new suite of services Thursday to do so.

The Connected Vehicle Platform brings together a smorgasbord of services from Microsoft, including Azure IoT Hub, Cortana Intelligence Suite, Microsoft Dynamics and many others. In addition, Office 365, Skype for Business and Cortana can be integrated with the platform.

It’s not a surprising move. Microsoft frequently packages cloud services as suites, then markets them for kick-starting particular applications. Furthermore, the company has been saying for some time that its goal in car tech is to support carmakers rather than build its own connected cars.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Computerworld 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

Microsoft is working on tools to help people use cloud-based FPGAs

Earlier this year, Microsoft made a splash at its Ignite conference for IT professionals when it announced that it has been racking cards of programmable chips together with servers in its cloud data centers.

The chips, called field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), can be reconfigured after being deployed to optimize them for particular applications such as networking and machine learning.

Now, Microsoft is investing in tools that would allow customers to program the FPGAs, said Scott Guthrie, the executive vice president in charge of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise division, during a talk at the Structure conference in San Francisco.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

How Google, Apple and Microsoft just saved the PC

The long-neglected PC got a massive injection of innovation this week with major announcements from Google, Apple and Microsoft.

Each company introduced advancements that users didn’t ask for, didn’t think they wanted and are already complaining about.

Why? Because we love new technology in theory but hate it in practice.

Technology change is expensive, transition is messy and people are creatures of habit.

We demand innovation, but resist it when it actually appears in our favorite product lines. That’s why only tech giants like Google, Apple and Microsoft can force the necessary change users want, but don’t know they want.

This was a huge week for forced innovation in PCs thanks to wildly divergent new products from Google, Apple and Microsoft.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

What’s better: Amazon’s Availability Zones vs. Microsoft Azure’s regions

Although they both offer core IaaS features like virtual machines, storage and databases the leading public cloud providers, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, take very different approaches in offering cloud services, including at the most basic level of how their data centers are constructed and positioned around the world.

+MORE FROM NETWORK WORLD: What’s behind the Amazon, Microsoft and Google’s aggressive cloud expansions? (With an interactive map!) +

Both companies’ clouds are made up of regions: AWS has 14 and Microsoft has 30. But those numbers aren’t quite an apples-to-apples comparison.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Here’s why Microsoft and Google have the same competitor as a partner

It sounds like the start of a bad joke: executives from Microsoft, Google, Amazon and IBM walk into a conference with one thing in common. But all of those companies are appearing on stage at BoxWorks in San Francisco, in part because they all work with the cloud storage and content services company in one capacity or another.

Box works with Microsoft to integrate its products with Office 365, Amazon to host services in different cloud data centers, and IBM on new applications, services and sales. Google is the newest addition to that club — the two companies announced Wednesday that they’re working on storing Google Docs, Sheets and Slides files inside Box.  

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Network World Cloud Computing

Here’s why Microsoft and Google have the same competitor as a partner

It sounds like the start of a bad joke: executives from Microsoft, Google, Amazon and IBM walk into a conference with one thing in common. But all of those companies are appearing on stage at BoxWorks in San Francisco, in part because they all work with the cloud storage and content services company in one capacity or another.

Box works with Microsoft to integrate its products with Office 365, Amazon to host services in different cloud data centers, and IBM on new applications, services and sales. Google is the newest addition to that club — the two companies announced Wednesday that they’re working on storing Google Docs, Sheets and Slides files inside Box.  

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CIO Cloud Computing

IDG Contributor Network: Why Microsoft open sourced PowerShell and ported it to Linux

Microsoft has open sourced PowerShell, it’s automation tool and command line shell. That’s not all, PowerShell is also coming to Linux. The alpha release of PowerShell for Linux is available on the GitHub page; you can test it on Ubuntu, Debian and CentOS. The source of PowerShell is also available on GitHub.

Surviving in the multi-cloud world

Microsoft has been kind of behind the UNIX (Linux) world when it comes to feature rich command line interfaces and tools. PowerShell was Microsoft’s answer to those developers who wanted such capabilities. Thanks to its .NET Framework base PowerShell has some great scripting capabilities….but it doesn’t have everything. It can’t cater to everyone.

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CIO Cloud Computing