Monday at TechEd North America 2014, Microsoft Corp. announced new services, products and partnerships that remove the barriers to cloud adoption for IT professionals, developers and technology users.
“Mobility and cloud are the future of business, and the future is now,” said Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud & Enterprise Division. “Our differentiated cloud innovations, comprehensive mobile productivity solutions and developer tools help all of our customers realize the true potential of the cloud era.”
Hybrid cloud: the gateway to “cloud-first”
According to Gartner, “nearly half of large enterprises will likely have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017.” Delivering on its commitment to offer the best of both worlds, Microsoft announced the following:
• Private connections to the cloud. Available Monday, Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute enables customers to create private connections between Azure and on-premises environments. Through alliances with providers such as AT&T, BT, Equinix, Level 3, SingTel, TelecityGroup, Verizon and Zadara Storage, ExpressRoute offers enterprises new options for embracing the cloud, including fast speeds, security and reliability features, and low latency.
• Radically simplified cloud storage. Available in preview, Microsoft Azure Files streamlines cloud storage by enabling a single file share from multiple virtual machines, helping save customers time and money.
• Enterprise-grade performance and networking. Microsoft also announced the availability of compute-intensive virtual machine sizes, in-region and cross-region virtual networking connections, and reserved IP addresses. Together, these advancements help customers architect, deploy and manage global-scale services.
• API management. Available in preview Monday, Azure API Management lets customers improve interdepartmental information sharing and create new business models by exposing APIs through the cloud.
Protecting cloud investments
As CIOs and IT directors move their businesses to the cloud, they have to secure their technology across on-premises and cloud environments. Microsoft announced on Monday new advancements that help customers better protect their data:
• Enhanced disaster recovery. Available in preview next month, Microsoft Azure Site Recovery, formerly Hyper-V Recovery Manager, enables enhanced, cost-effective disaster recovery in the cloud. With this new capability, customers can replicate and recover virtual machines and services to Azure in the event of an outage at their primary datacenter.
• New anti-malware. Microsoft Antimalware for Azure, available in preview, offers customers the ability to install an anti-malware agent for both cloud services and virtual machines. In addition, Microsoft announced solutions with cloud security partners Symantec and Trend Micro that integrate with Azure virtual machines.
• Enhanced encryption technologies. Beginning in July, Microsoft will begin to deploy new encryption technology for Microsoft Office 365 business customers, ensuring that every file stored in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business is encrypted with its own key for highly secure content storage.
• Expanded data loss prevention. Starting in June, existing Data Loss Prevention capabilities available in Exchange will now expand to include documents stored in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business for Office 365 E3 enterprise customers. Data Loss Prevention helps prevent the sharing of sensitive content inside and outside an organization.
Fueling “mobile-first” productivity
As customers use even more devices and services, IT must find ways to empower productivity on the go while protecting corporate information. Building on the recently announced Enterprise Mobility Suite, on Monday Microsoft introduced new capabilities that offer industry-leading mobile application management, protection and delivery:
• Office mobile app management with Windows Intune. Later this year, Intune and Office 365 will deliver mobile productivity across Office for iPad, iPhone and Android phones including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook Web App. Part of the Enterprise Mobility Suite, Intune will also deliver a tool to help customers manage existing iOS and Android line-of-business apps.
• Microsoft Azure RemoteApp. Available Monday in preview, Azure RemoteApp helps companies give mobile employees access to Windows applications across a range of devices. Combining Microsoft’s powerful Remote Desktop Services capabilities with the scale and cost-efficiencies of Microsoft Azure, RemoteApp will help end users stay productive on the go and enable IT to easily scale and meet customer needs.
Enhancing the developer experience
Microsoft also announced a series of tooling and framework updates that enable enterprise developers to embrace development opportunities with next-generation cloud and mobile applications, including these:
• Optimized .NET for the cloud. Microsoft shared a preview of the next version of ASP.NET, a streamlined framework and runtime that enables developers to optimize cloud and server workloads with maximum agility and performance. ASP.NET vNext will be a new Microsoft contribution to the .NET Foundation as an open source project.
• Agile software development. Today, Microsoft extended Visual Studio Online, the cloud-based application lifecycle management offering, by releasing a set of APIs and service hooks that integrate with third-party services. The new APIs make it easier for organizations to adopt Visual Studio Online without abandoning the tools they’re using today.