This was another busy week (are they ever not busy?) in Azure land. The RFP I’ve been working on and mentioning here is finally nearing completion. It has turned into a very complex effort between Microsoft and a partner in terms of helping our customer migrate out of all of their on-premises datacenters into Azure and associated management of the new infrastructure. I’ve also been working on a second large effort around Microsoft’s Cloud Platform System (CPS) which is a large fully integrated solution combining Dell hardware and Microsoft’s Hyper-V, System Center, and Windows Azure Pack platforms. Finally, myself and some colleagues are gearing up to deliver two Azure training courses later this month internally to over 160 students (not to mention the Microsoft TechReady conference in between). Yikes, that is a lot of work.
The Azure PG has been bust too! Here is a list of interesting articles this week.
Announcing the Azure Automation PowerShell ISE add-on
In Azure Automation, runbook authoring is typically done in the Azure portal, using our browser-based experience. However, in experimenting with ways to improve our runbook authoring process, we developed a new, open-source tool for runbook authoring – the (take a deep breath) Azure Automation PowerShell ISE add-on! Announcing the Azure Automation PowerShell ISE add-on | Microsoft Azure Blog
This really starts to fill in the round-trip authoring experience. I would have LOVED to have this a couple years ago when I was writing hundreds of PowerShell heavy Orchestrator runbooks.
Helping customers achieve more at the best prices
As part of our promise to deliver the best customer value on Azure, we have had a longstanding commitment to make our prices comparable on commodity services like compute, storage, and bandwidth relative to Amazon Web Services. In keeping to this commitment, we are announcing price reductions up to 17% on the latest version of the popular Azure D-series virtual machines, Dv2 Virtual Machines. Dv2 Virtual Machines sport 35% faster CPUs than D “v1” virtual machines and are based on the newest generation Intel Xeon (Haswell) processors. Helping customers achieve more at the best prices | Microsoft Azure Blog
Who doesn’t like Azure price reductions? Continued competition with Amazon benefits customers.
What would you do with 100,000 cores? – Big compute at global scale
So, if you had 100,000 cores at your disposal (or, let’s say, 25,000 computers with four cores each), what would you do? How about calculating the cost of providing life insurance coverage to every person in the world?
Well, by running a specialized insurance model on Azure, that’s exactly what Towers Watson did in collaboration with the HPC and Big Compute team at Microsoft. The whole effort took less than 12 hours, from provisioning 100,000 cores in 14 different regions worldwide, to the final downloading of results. What would you do with 100,000 cores? – Big compute at global scale | Microsoft Azure Blog
I LOVE this article? Could you have a better example of the power of cloud computing? Zero to 100,000 cores deployed in 12 hours!!! That is insane. A couple years ago I did a demo with some colleagues for an Azure RFP where we provisioned 1000 Hadoop nodes and it took about 3 hours. This is amazing progress. Think of the science that can be done now without having to buy and manage a multi-million dollar cluster.
Optimize your network infrastructure for Microsofts cloud | Microsoft Azure Blog
Is your organization trying to get a handle on how to evolve your networking infrastructure for a cloud-based world? Just what are the new paradigms and skill sets you need to master to ensure current and future optimal access to your workloads running in Azure?
The new Microsoft Cloud Networking for Enterprise Architects poster (http://aka.ms/cloudarchnetworking) helps IT decision makers and architects to:
Understand the fundamental change in networking infrastructure for the cloud and areas of future networking investments
Optimize the common elements of your network for all Microsoft cloud platforms and services
Design your intranet and network edge for Azure-based PaaS applications and IT workloads running in Azure infrastructure services
Design your Azure virtual networks to host virtual machines Optimize your network infrastructure for Microsofts cloud | Microsoft Azure Blog
Nice poster and details on network architecture.
Announcing enhanced migration and disaster recovery for VMware using ASR | Microsoft Azure Blog
I’m excited to announce the General Availability of the Azure Site Recovery (ASR) enhanced VMware to Azure functionality. Customers can now protect and replicate their VMware virtual machines and physical servers to Azure, without the need to deploy any replication or orchestration components in Azure IaaS. This enhancement to ASR is designed to help drastically reduce the total cost of ownership and dramatically improve manageability and simplicity when customers choose to deploy ASR to replicate, and protect (or migrate) their VMware workloads to Azure. Announcing enhanced migration and disaster recovery for VMware using ASR | Microsoft Azure Blog
Massive improvements to ASR with VMware. This is opening up so many scenarios for DR and migration to Azure. It’s become difficult to keep up with demand from customers wanting to dig into this.
Microsoft kicks VMware right in its weakest, cloudiest spot The Register
Microsoft has flicked the switch on an enhanced version of its Azure Site Recovery (ASR) for VMware customers.
ASR is pretty simple in concept: the service allows you to replicate virtual machines into Azure, update them and then run the VMs in Azure as a disaster recovery option. You pay US$54 a month per instance stored in Azure, but don’t pay any compute or storage costs until you run the VM.
VMware offers a similar disaster recovery service in its own vCloud Air cloud. But VMware can’t match Microsoft for cloudy scale or reach: ASR is offered in 18 locations compared to the nine (plus two government-only sites VMware operates.
Gartner’s rating ranks vCloud Air as “underperforming” and urges “caution” for the company’s hybrid cloud portfolio. Microsoft kicks VMware right in its weakest, cloudiest spot The Register
Sorry, I couldn’t help but include this one from The Register
Mark Russinovich on Modern Authentication with Azure Active Directory for Web Applications – Microsoft Press
As you might have seen, last week Microsoft Press published Vittorio Bertocci’s Modern Authentication with Azure Active Directory for Web Applications, an authoritative, deep-dive guide to building Active Directory authentication solutions. Today we’re happy to share the book’s Foreword, by Mark Russinovich (Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft Azure), in which Mark describes the importance of Azure AD: “Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is arguably the heart of Microsoft’s cloud platform. All Microsoft cloud services, including Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Xbox Live, and Microsoft Office 365, use Azure AD as their identity provider. And because Azure AD is a public cloud service, application developers can also take advantage of its capabilities.” Here’s the Foreword: Mark Russinovich on Modern Authentication with Azure Active Directory for Web Applications – Microsoft Press – Site Home – MSDN Blogs
Great topic AND a detailed forward by Mark Russinovich. This post provides the forward so definitely check that out even if you aren’t a developer.
That’s it for this week. Did you see any other interesting articles this week?