Category Archives: Azure

Migrating Your Network to AWS & Azure to Achieve Hyper-Flexibility

What to Consider When Migrating Your Network

Network Consultant, Bobby Mazzotti, discusses how to migrate Layer 2 MPLS Networks to AWS & Azure and by moving away from traditional networks, you can achieve hyper-flexibility in your network. He also discusses what you need to consider first when migrating your network. The Azure vs AWS showdown has been going on for some time now. There’s no easy answer, so always take the time to figure out which is best for you!

Contact your account manager or reach out to us and set up a meeting to discuss your AWS/Azure migration initiatives.

By Jake Cryan, Digital Marketing Specialist

Celebrate Microsoft Build Conference with 20% off Parallels Desktop Pro Edition

Microsoft Build 2017 is a phenomenal conference for developers who transform the world in the most magnificent ways. MSBuild will unveil new technology and announce exciting plans for developers and professionals alike! Not only is this the most exciting conference for developers, but the latest details surrounding HoloLens®, Xbox®, and Azure® will also be released. […]

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Parallels RAS on Microsoft Azure: Demos at MWC in Barcelona

At the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Parallels announced that Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) supports Microsoft Azure. This blog post will show you this new support and what it now enables end users to do in Parallels RAS. A future post will discuss in some detail how IT admins configure Parallels RAS (and […]

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Parallels at Mobile World Congress Press Event

We had a great time at ShowStoppers press event Mobile World Congress (MWC) at the University of Barcelona yesterday, on February 26, announcing to different journalists that Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) is now available at Microsoft Azure Marketplace. Parallels RAS on Azure was demonstrated at the event including hands-on demos of how simple it is to use […]

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Microsoft continues cloud transformation with 100% Azure growth

Microsoft1Microsoft has reported 5% growth to $22.6 billion as the Intelligent Cloud business unit led the charge, with the Azure public cloud offering more than doubling in revenues and compute usage, reports Telecoms.com.

The Intelligent Cloud unit, which includes server products and cloud services, Azure and enterprise mobility offerings grew 7% to $6.7 billion, while the Productivity and Business Processes, which includes Office commercial and consumer product lines as well as the Dynamics suite, grew 5% to $7 billion. Despite revenues in More Personal Computing declining 4% to $8.9 billion, Xbox Live monthly active users grew 33% year-over-year to 49 million and search advertising revenue grew 16% over the period.

“We delivered $22.6 billion in revenue this quarter, an increase of 5% for the quarter in constant currency,” said Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft. “This past year was pivotal in both our own transformation and in partnering with our customers who are navigating their own digital transformations. The Microsoft Cloud is seeing significant customer momentum and we’re well positioned to reach new opportunities in the year ahead.”

Cloud computing has once again brought Microsoft to the forefront of the technology industry following a challenging couple of years. It would appear the transition from software to cloud computing brand is being successfully navigated, though there were a few missed steps along the way, most notably the team’s foray into mobile. Microsoft is moving towards the position of ‘mega-vendor’, infiltrating almost all aspects of an organization (cloud, hardware, social, databases etc.), to make it an indispensable factor of a CIOs roster.

The Intelligent Cloud unit continues as the focal point of the company’s growth strategy, as Nadella claims nearly 60% of the Fortune 500 companies use at least three of the company’s cloud offerings, generating more than $12 billion in Commercial Cloud annualized revenue run rate.

“Companies looking to digitally transform need a trusted cloud partner and turn to Microsoft,” said Nadella. “As a result, Azure revenue and usage again grew by more than 100% this quarter. We see customers choose Microsoft for three reasons. They want a cloud provider that offers solutions that reflect the realities of today’s world and their enterprise-grade needs. They want higher level services to drive digital transformation, and they want a cloud open to developers of all types.”

AI has previously been positioned as one of the cornerstones of growth for the company, and this was reinforced during the earnings call, as Nadella noted the component of the Intelligent Cloud business unit. The Cortana Intelligence Suite, formerly known as Cortana Analytics Suite, is built on the company’s on-going research into big data, machine learning, perception, analytics and intelligent bots. The offering allows developers to build apps and bots which interact with customers in a personalized way, but also react to real-world developments in real-time.

“Just yesterday, we announced Boeing will use Azure, our IoT suite, and Cortana Intelligence to drive digital transformation in commercial aviation, with connected airline systems optimization, predictive maintenance, and much more,” said Nadella. “This builds on great momentum in IoT. This is great progress, but our ambitions are set even higher. Our Intelligent Cloud also enables cognitive services. Cortana Intelligence Suite offers machine learning capabilities and advanced predictive analytics.

“Central to our Intelligent Cloud ambition is providing developers with the tools and capabilities they need to build apps and services for the platforms and devices of their choice. The new Azure Container service as well as .NET Core 1.0 for open source and our ongoing work with companies such as Red Hat, Docker, and Mesosphere reflects significant progress on this front. We continue to see traction from open source, with nearly a third of customer virtual machines on Azure running Linux.”

The company exceeded analyst expectations for the quarter, which was reflected in pre-market trading which saw shares in the giant growing 4%. In terms of outlook for the next quarter, most business units are expected to be down a fraction on the Q2 reported figures, unsurprising considering the summer period. Intelligent Cloud is expected to bring between $6.1-6.3 million, Productivity and Business Processes $6.4-6.6 billion, and More Personal Computing $8.7-9 billion.

Citrix and Microsoft team up to tackle enterprise mobility

Silhouette Businessman Holding PuzzleCitrix has expanded its partnership with Microsoft as the team aim to capitalize on flexible working and enterprise mobility trends.

Speaking at Citrix Synergy in Las Vegas, CEO Kirill Tatarinov outlined objectives to meet the needs of the modern workforce with application and desktop virtualisation in the cloud, network delivery and enterprise mobility management. Citrix has selected Azure as the preferred and strategic cloud for its future roadmap and the team will work to develop new integrations between Citrix XenMobile, NetScaler and the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite, to improve efficiency and data security.

“Companies of all sizes across all industries around the world have an amazing opportunity to embrace digital transformation and empower their people to work productively from anywhere at any time,” said Kirill Tatarinov, CEO of Citrix. “Our customers are asking Citrix and Microsoft to work closer together to help them fully leverage innovations like Windows 10, Office 365 and Azure. This enhanced partnership ensures we can be more agile in responding to our customers’ needs and help them accelerate the move to digital business.”

As part of the partnership, the team will aim to accelerate the deployment of Windows 10 Enterprise within their customer’s organisations. Citrix customers can use AppDNA to aid migration to Windows10 by providing application lifecycle management tools to discover and resolve application compatibility issues, the team claims.

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Citrix NetScaler will integrate with EMS to provide virtual private network capabilities for more secure, identity-based access to on-premises applications on Microsoft Intune-managed devices. Citrix will also offer customers who have purchased Windows Software Assurance on a per-user basis the option to host their Windows 10 Enterprise Current Branch for Business images on Azure through its XenDesktop VDI solution, which the team claim is a first in the industry.

“Our relationship with Citrix has always been founded on the commitment to making our mutual customers successful by empowering their people to be more productive,” said Scott Guthrie, EVP of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft. “By selecting Azure as its preferred and strategic cloud, Citrix is helping companies mobilise their workforces to succeed in today’s highly competitive, disruptive and global business environment.”

SAP and Microsoft expand partnership

SAPPHIRE now

SAP CEO Bill McDermott (Left) and Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft (Right) speaking at SAPPhire Now in Orlando

Microsoft and SAP have extended a long-standing partnership to deliver broad support for the SAP HANA platform on Microsoft Azure.

The extended partnership will focus on greater integration between the two portfolios to simplify work-through integrations between Microsoft Office 365 and cloud solutions from SAP. The new team also claim the combined proposition will provide enhanced management and security for custom SAP Fiori apps.

The announcement builds on a previous relationship which was debuted in 2014, allowing SAP customers to build HANA applications in the Microsoft cloud platform, taking advantage of public cloud scalable resources, though the new partnership now incorporates more of the Azure security and management capabilities.

“This partnership is perhaps one of the broadest things we’ve done together,” said Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft. “Take the cloud. We’ve taken the best of SAP and the best of our hyper-scale cloud. It means SAP certifications are now certified on Azure, HANA is certified on Azure and S/4 HANA is certified on Azure.

We’ve taken our hyper-scale cloud and made it real for customers. Every application which SAP run is now compatible with Office 635 meaning we now have seamless integration. This recipe is going to accelerate the growth which our customers seek, by combining two product portfolios which are customers probably already use.”

As part of the new agreement, there will be a new deployment option for SAP HANA on the Azure cloud. The updates will certify SAP HANA to run development, test and production workloads on Microsoft Azure, including SAP S/4HANA, and will enable customers to run larger and more demanding workloads than previously possible. New integrations will also enable customers to combine Office 365 features (including communications, collaboration, calendar etc.) with SAP cloud-based applications including Concur, SAP Fieldglass and SAP SuccessFactors.

New developments which can be expected towards the latter end of the year also include the ability to deploy custom mobile hybrid SAP Fiori apps on SAP HANA Cloud Platform with an open standards plug-in framework, which will enable Microsoft Intune capabilities to be embedded within the app itself. The team believe these integrations will be available in Q3.

“We believe the IT industry will be shaped by breakthrough partnerships that unlock new productivity for customers beyond the boundaries of traditional platforms and applications,” said SAP CEO Bill McDermott. “SAP and Microsoft are working together to create an end-user experience built on unprecedented insight, convenience and agility. The certification of Microsoft Azure infrastructure services for SAP HANA along with the new integration between Microsoft Office 365 and cloud solutions from SAP are emblematic of this major paradigm shift for the enterprise.

The news follows another partnership announcement from SAP with Apple made in recent weeks. Apple has made multiple moves over the last 24 months to improve its position in the enterprise IT space, partnering with Cisco last year, to optimise iOS device performance across Cisco’s suite of enterprise communications services, and IBM in 2014, bringing IBM’s strengths in big data and analytics to Apple devices.

Rackspace extends Azure Fanatical Support footprint to Europe

Europe At Golden Sunrise - View From SpaceRackspace has announced the unlimited availability launch of its Fanatical Support services for Microsoft Azure customers in the UK, Benelux and DACH regions, as well as two new service levels, Navigator and Aviator.

The Fanatical Support was previously available in US markets, though the expansion puts the Azure service in line with its other offerings, such as for Amazon Web Services. The Navigator service offers access to tools and automation, whereas Aviator does the same, and goes further to offer a fully-managed Azure experience, providing increased man-hours, custom architecture design and all-year support, as well as performing environment build and deployment activities.

“It’s been nearly a year since Rackspace announced Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure, which we launched to assist customers who want to run IaaS workloads on the powerful Azure cloud, but prefer not to architect, secure and operate them first-hand,” said Jeff DeVerter, Chief Technologist for Microsoft Technology at Rackspace.

“Our launch of this offering marked an important expansion of our strategy to offer the world’s best expertise and service on industry-leading technologies, and is a natural progression of our 14-year relationship with Microsoft.”

As part of the announcement, the confirmed Help for Heroes would be one of the first UK organizations to utilize the new offering. The company has been utilizing the Azure platform for some time now, as a means to counter website downtime during periods of high traffic volume during fundraising campaigns.

“Being able to scale up quickly is important, but so is scaling down during times that are quieter,” said Charles Bikhazi, Head of Application Services at Help for Heroes. “As with any charity, we’re always looking to make cost savings where possible and that’s exactly what this solution has delivered. Now, we only pay for infrastructure that’s actually being used which ensures that costs don’t spiral out of control. The new offering gives us access to this much needed scalability and resilience without the burden of having to run the platform ourselves.”

Microsoft grows Azure IoT offerings with Solair purchase

Microsoft To Layoff 18,000Microsoft has acquired IoT platform provider Solair in a bid to bolster its Internet of Things division, writes Telecoms.com.

The acquisition will see Solair integrate with the Azure IoT business within Microsoft, a move which Microsoft says will continue to enhance its IoT offering for enterprise consumers. While it wasn’t forthcoming with in-depth details, suggesting that more specifics are in the offing, Microsoft did highlight some of the areas in which Solair already has its solutions in live deployment.

Solair is already integrated into the Azure cloud, and provides IoT gateways and platforms to both connect and monitor IoTdevices and processes, coupled with customisable management software. According to Sam George, Partner Director for Microsoft’s Azure IoT division, Solair has proven success in developing and deploying industrial IoT services, about which there exists quite a lot of excitement at Microsoft.

“Solair’s IoT customization and deployment solutions, built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, are engineered to help businesses in any industry utilize IoT to run more efficiently and profitably,” he said. “For example, Solair has brought the power of IoT to the Rancilio Group’s full line of espresso machines, allowing the Italian manufacturer to remotely monitor machines resulting in greater efficiency across the supply chain. Using the power of cloud-based data and analytics, Solair has helped the Rancilio Group reduce costs and increase revenue.

The cost of the acquisition to Microsoft is yet to be disclosed, although George did suggest further information and details of the deal are to be release in the not-too-distant future.

Microsoft adds more software capabilities to Azure IoT suite

AzureMicrosoft has announced the acquisition of Solair, an Italian IoT software company which currently operates in the manufacturing, retail, food & beverage and transportation industries.

Solair software, which runs on the Microsoft Azure platform, focuses on helping customers improve efficiently and profitably of their IoT initiatives. The acquisition continues Microsoft’s ambitions in the IoT market segment, delivering a more complete solution, as opposed to simply the Azure IoT platform.

“The integration of Solair’s technology into the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite will continue to enhance our complete IoT offering for the enterprise,” Sam George, Partner Director, Azure IoT at Microsoft. “We’ll have more specifics to share about how Solair is helping us build the intelligent cloud in the future. In the meantime, I’d like to reiterate my welcome to the Solair team.”

Solair has been in operation for five years now, and boasts a healthy number of customers including Rancilio Group, where it enabled a connected coffee machine maintenance strategy, and Minerva Omega where it created a remote maintenance and service strategy for the food processing group. Financial details of the acquisition were not released, and Microsoft did not release any specific details of how the business will be integrated into the overall Azure IoT suite.

“From the very start, our mission has been to help customers quickly and easily gain access to the huge benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT),” Tom Davis CEO at Solair. “By building our solutions based on real customer requirements that allow them to gain real value, I’m confident that Solair’s technology and talent will be able to make an important contribution to Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite and Microsoft’s broader IoT ambitions.”

Microsoft has seemingly been on a mission to bolster its position in the IoT market, both organically and through industry acquisitions. At Build 2016, the team launched Azure Service Fabric and new IoT starter kits, as well as previews of new services to serverless compute for event-driven solutions, Azure Functions, and Power BI Embedded which allows developers to embed reports and visualizations in any application.