New Webinar: An Introduction to Azure DocumentDB

Josh Lane

16 Jan , 2017   Video

In the last several years NoSQL database stores have emerged as viable and useful alternatives to traditional relational databases. While relational technologies like SQL Server will likely always have a place in the enterprise, the means to store data as documents or connected graphs vs. classic “rows and columns” is powerful and should occupy a first-class position in any modern enterprise developer’s toolbox.

Azure DocumentDB is true NoSQL-as-a-service; it provides a fast document-oriented data store that scales globally on the Azure cloud and provides familiar JavaScript and SQL-style query syntax. It has SDK integration with .NET, Node.js, and other developer platforms, and even offers protocol compatibility with MongoDB. Attend this one hour, demo-filled webinar to see DocDB in action and learn how you can start using it today!

Click on the video above to view, and post your feedback in the comments.… Read more

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Microsoft Open-Sources Azure Container Services Engine

Paul Ballard

8 Nov , 2016  

Microsoft on Monday announced a number of updates to Azure Container Services that it says will make the container service more open and flexible.

First up: The Kubernetes cloud orchestrator is now available in preview for Azure Container Services. This gives ACS customers a choice of orchestration technologies, with support for DC/OS, Swarm and Kubernetes.

Microsoft is also open-sourcing the engine it uses to create Azure Container Service deployments, with the code available on GitHub. “This new open source project…will allow us to share with the community how we deploy DC/OS, Swarm and Kubernetes and collaborate on best practices for orchestrating containers on Azure, both public and on Azure Stack,” reads a Microsoft blog post.

“Furthermore, with the ACS Engine, you can modify and customize deployments of the service beyond what is possible today. Finally, with your help, we can take contributions from the community and improve the service running in Azure.”

Containerization is becoming increasingly popular as a virtualization technology for businesses. Microsoft has also promised to unveil a new integration of Visual Studio and Azure Container Services for developers. Set to drop November 14, the new experience will allow developers to “easily set up continuous integration and deployment of multicontainer Linux applications using Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Services and the open source Visual Studio Code,” according to Microsoft.… Read more

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New Webinar: Harness the Power of Data With Azure Data Lake

Josh Lane

4 Nov , 2016   Video

The modern enterprise generates huge amounts of data and requires state-of-the-art tools to store, analyze, and derive actionable meaning from that data. Mainstream open-source options like Apache Hadoop, Spark, and Storm are powerful but have a big learning curve and impose significant ongoing operational burdens.

Azure Data Lake combines these powerful tools with flexible, approachable alternatives into a unified, cloud-enabled analytics-as-a-service platform that scales to any size enterprise.

Attend this one hour, demo-filled webinar from Wintellect to learn the major components of Azure Data Lake and how you can start using it today to gain deep insight into your business.

Click on the video above to view the webinar, and share your feedback in the comments!… Read more



New Webinar: An Introduction to Azure IoT Suite

Josh Lane

14 Oct , 2016   Video

The growing universe of smart devices provides us with an immense amount of data that can be analyzed to improve productivity and, ultimately, our quality of life. But what’s the best way to reliably and securely collect that data? In an insightful new webinar, Wintellect Principal Architect Josh Lane provides an overview of the technology behind Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite, a set of cloud-powered tools for effectively managing and communicating with connected devices at scale.

In the one-hour session, Lane will walk you through general principles for creating a robust IoT platform, the various elements of the Azure IoT ecosystem, some real-world scenarios for applying them, and options for businesses considering subscribing.

Click on the video above to view, and share your feedback in the comments.… Read more

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A More Secure Microsoft Edge, and Other News from Ignite 2016

Paul Ballard

27 Sep , 2016  

In the wake of highly publicized cyberattacks on big companies, Microsoft on Monday rolled out new security features for its Edge browser. Windows Defender Application Guard, developed for the company’s enterprise customers, will use Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization technology to isolate potential security threats.

“The threat landscape has changed significantly in recent years,” reads a Microsoft blog post on the new security package, announced at the company’s Ignite conference for IT professionals. “Today, over 90% of attacks use a hyperlink to initiate the attack to steal credentials, install malware, or exploit vulnerabilities.”

Application Guard kicks in when a user visits a site not trusted or recognized by the network administrator, creating a separate copy of Windows 10 that blocks access to sensitive resources including memory, local storage and other installed applications.

The new feature was just one of a number of announcements in the first two days of the Atlanta conference. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced a partnership with Adobe that will bring together Redmond’s Azure cloud infrastructure with the former’s marketing software.

Nadella also spoke in detail about Microsoft’s artificial intelligence projects, which now rely on specialized, reprogrammable chips—known as field programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs—designed in-house. He demonstrated how the lightning-fast processing capacity of the chips can translate 3 billion words in less than a tenth of a second.… Read more

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Azure Container Service Now Commercially Available

Paul Ballard

20 Apr , 2016  

Azure Container Service is out of preview and ready for prime time, Microsoft announced Tuesday. The service gives businesses a simple way to run their containerized applications in the cloud; it’s been available in preview since the end of last year.

Microsoft is offering Azure Container Service with a choice of two orchestration systems: Docker Swarm and Mesosphere’s Data Center Operating System, or DC/OS.

Microsoft also announced it is collaborating with Mesosphere and a number of other technology companies on an open-source version of DC/OS. DC/OS is powered by Apache Mesos technology, which major players like Twitter and Yelp already use to build and run distributed systems and applications. It can be operated from the web or command line, and includes an “app-store-like” environment for selecting and adding new components, according to a Microsoft blog post announcing the project.

Enterprises have moved quickly to adopt containers over the past couple of years, with Docker the leading vehicle for managing them. Containers allow for running multiple local development environments from the same host across different software and operating systems. Developers can more easily test and deploy projects uniformly, without using space-guzzling virtual machines.


 … Read more

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Games, HoloLens, Cloud Services Highlight Build 2016 Schedule

Paul Ballard

28 Mar , 2016  

It wouldn’t be a developer conference without some surprises, and Microsoft is already getting us in the mood for Build 2016 with a mysterious description in the event schedule of a session on ‘Something Awesome.’

We’ll have to wait until Build kicks off this Wednesday for details, but the rest of the schedule promises a conference packed with information on game development, the Internet of Things, cloud services and augmented reality.

Attendees can learn about app design approaches for HoloLens, or build a Universal Windows App for Raspberry Pi in a hands-on lab. There are a number of sessions on cross-platform development, including using Xamarin to build mobile apps, Project Centennial to bring desktop apps to the Universal Windows Platform, and Microsoft’s iOS-to-Windows Bridge.

There’ll also be plenty on using Azure to enhance apps, whether that means working with data or engaging players in a game. A session will focus on using Windows 10 to power smart homes. And there’ll be sessions on how Visual Studio is evolving and the integration of Windows 10 games with Xbox Live.

As for news, Microsoft will likely use its keynote to give details on the ‘Redstone’ update to Windows 10, expected later this year.… Read more

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SQL Server on Linux: A Savvy Move By Microsoft

Paul Ballard

8 Mar , 2016  

The graphic said it all: the words SQL Server and Linux, linked together with a cheerful red heart. Microsoft’s announcement yesterday that it will bring its popular data software to Linux servers is the latest sign of its ongoing love affair with the open-source community.

It’s also smart business. As Microsoft’s Azure cloud services become an increasingly important part of the company’s business, Microsoft has to face the fact that many of its corporate customers are running Linux servers. The total number of Linux servers shipped grew by 50 percent between 2011 and 2014, while the number of Windows servers fell slightly, according to data from Gartner research cited in the New York Times.

Windows could take a hit from this decision, with more business customers choosing Linux as it becomes easier to do so. But today’s Microsoft is about much more than just Windows. Microsoft’s acquisition of cross-platform development company Xamarin a couple weeks ago, its overtures to the Java community, and its work on a Windows “bridge” for iOS apps—all signal that Microsoft wants to meet its customers, including developers, where they are. The days of insisting that everyone adopt Windows are over.

Microsoft is collaborating with Linux companies Canonical and Red Hat to bring the SQL Server to Linux by mid-2017.… Read more

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Microsoft’s Q2 Earnings Point to Success of Cloud-Focused Strategy

Paul Ballard

1 Feb , 2016  

After Microsoft reported earnings last week for the quarter ending Dec. 31, its stock jumped by more than 8 percent. That’s despite the fact that both profit and revenue fell from the previous year.

Why? Investors are excited about some of the same segments of Microsoft’s business that have drawn interest from developers: cloud services and productivity software.

Microsoft Azure, now second only to Amazon Web Services in its share of the public cloud market, saw revenue growth of 140 percent in the quarter. That number helps validate Microsoft’s ongoing transformation from a company known for making PCs and operating systems to one focused on providing cloud and enterprise services for today’s tech-savvy businesses.

“Azure is a compelling option that is slowly closing the gap on AWS, and I don’t see anything taking away from that trend,” Gartner Research vice president Adam Woodyer told USA Today. “Microsoft is still tied to (shrinking) PC demand, but we do see a gradual decoupling on that front.”

Office 365, the cloud version of Microsoft’s productivity suite, now boasts 20.6 million consumer subscriptions, up from 9.2 million last year. On the enterprise front, new research from Gartner shows Office 365 beating Google Apps for Work in adoption by large, publicly-traded companies.… Read more

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Microsoft Will Release First Technical Preview of Azure Stack on Jan. 29

Paul Ballard

26 Jan , 2016  

Microsoft will debut its hybrid-cloud platform, Azure Stack, this week, offering a technical preview that goes live Jan. 29.

Aimed at enterprise customers who aren’t ready to put all their sensitive information in the public cloud, Azure Stack allows users to deliver Azure services from their own datacenters. The platform’s architecture mimics that of Azure. Microsoft explained in a blog post what this means for developers:

Azure and Azure Stack have a standardized architecture, including the same portal, a unified application model, and common DevOps tools. The application model is based on Azure Resource Manager, which enables developers to take the same declarative approach to applications, regardless of whether they run on Azure or Azure Stack. Tooling-wise, developers can use Visual Studio, PowerShell, as well as other open-source DevOps tools thereby enabling the same end user experiences as in Azure.

In other words: Build once, deploy on either Azure or Azure Stack.

Microsoft is hoping that offering a hybrid model that plays nicely with its public cloud will spur more businesses to turn to the cloud, adding to the nearly 100,000 subscribers that are already signing up for Microsoft Azure each month. “Microsoft believes enterprises have to approach cloud as a model – not a place,” the blog post reads.… Read more