Microsoft Ignite 2017 Summary and Announcements

Featured

Ignite 2017 Key takeaways

This was the first year I have not attended Microsoft Ignite, due to unforeseen circumstances. But this didn’t stop me from covering Ignite 2017. So here we go…

ignite 2017

Ignite 2017 this year has about 25k attendees. During the same time as Ignite, they are also running Microsoft Envision. This is more focused to business leaders across industries.  Its main focus is to have Business Leaders understand and manage their organizations in the Digital Age.

Ignite 2017 Attendee Breakout

  • 47 % ITI/IT Pros
  • 34% Developers
  • 19% ITDM.

Top Industries Attended

  • 34% IT and Software (flat YoY)
  • 20% Education
  • 9% Healthcare
  • 9% Manufacturing
  • 9% Professional & Business Services

Ignite Keynotes Summary and Links

ignite 2017

Modern Workplace

ignite 2017

Key Takeaways – Modern Workplace

Expanding Microsoft 365

  • Microsoft 365 Firstline offering and Microsoft 365 Education
  • New Windows 10 S devices from HP, Lenovo, Acer and Fujitsu starting at $275 USD

Intelligent personalized search power by Microsoft Graph

  • Bing for business
  • LinkedIn data integrated with Office 365 profile card
  • Office 365 search & discovery improvements
  • Windows 10 taskbar search

Intelligent Communications vision

  • Bring voice and video + new cognitive and data services into Micro Teams

Advances in Intelligent Security

  • Integrated Adminced threat Protection using Intelligent Security Graph
  • Better data protection and access control across Microsoft 365
  • New Compliance Manager, a single GDPR dashboard

Modernizing Business Process with Cloud and AI

Key Takeaways – Business Applications

New Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI Solutions

  • First solutions for customer care includes a virtual agent for customers, an intelligent assistant for support staff and conversational AI management tools, power by Microsoft AI
  • HP, Macy’s, and Microsoft already using this technology to improve customer satisfaction and handle more requests, more quickly

Modular apps for Dynamics 365

  • New modular apps are lightweight SaS services designed to transform one business process at a time
  • Work with Dynamics 3 business apps or can be used independently
  • Extend existing systems of record, integrate with Office 365 and augment with LinkedIn insights.
  • First to allow talent leaders and hiring managers to address a company’s most important asset, people
  • Attract: focused on recruiting | Onboard: helps you make new employees successful – Available later this year.

Deeper integration for PowerApps and Microsoft Flow + Office 365 and Dynamics 365

  • Rapidly build apps, automate tasks, simplify workflows and solve unique business problems.
  • Allow any business user familiar with InfoPath forms, Access databases or SharePoint list. This allows customers to build apps that help them achieve more, on a single no-code/low code platform.

Apps and Infra/Data and AI

  • Every customer is an AI customer

The Enterprise Cloud

Key Takeaways – Hybrid

Delivering true hybrid consistency

  • Azure Stack shipping through OEM partners including Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo
  • Database Migration Service (DMS)

Empowering customer to optimize costs

  • Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL server
  • Azure Cost Management by CFloudyn – free to all Azure subscriptions

Key Takeaways – Intelligence

Any data, any place

  • SQL Server on Linux Windows and Docker availability with SQL Server 2017 GA’

One convenient workbench for data scientists and AI developers

  • Azure Machine Learning Updates

Build intelligent apps at global scale

  • Azure Cosmos DB and Azure Functions integration

Performance and Scale for mission-critical analytic apps

  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse preview release of new “optimized for compute” performance tier

Cloud for Good – Key takeaways

To empower nonprofits, Microsoft Philanthropies will:

  • Microsoft has announced they met their 2016 commitment to donate $1 billion in cloud computing resources to nonprofits
  • Continue the cloud donations program, and triple the number of nonprofits Microsoft serves over the next three years
  • Launch a new Tech for Social Impact group, and the first offers, announced this week include:
    • Microsoft 365 for Nonprofits
    • Nonprofit Surface discounts for the first time ever

To get more detailed information about these announcements, please see links below or check out the Ignite2017 Site.

Official Microsoft Blog
Office Blogs
EMS Blog
Dynamics Blog
Azure Blog
Hybrid Cloud Blog
Data Platform Blogs

ignite 2017

Until next time, Rob.

Azure Stack…What is it?

The Ignite 2015 conference in Chicago is where Microsoft made the the official announcement of Azure Stack, its private cloud infrastructure for data centers that want to be Azures in their own right. Or in other words, on-prem will be in full parity with Azure Cloud.

AzureStackW1 Azure Stack

Quotes from Brad Anderson from Keynote on Azure Stack

“If you think about Azure, there’s all the infrastructure that you’re aware of, in network, storage and compute. There’s a set of services like IaaS and PaaS that we deliver. And then there’s all your applications, and that, really, is what Azure is,” explained Brad Anderson, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for cloud and enterprise, during a keynote session Monday morning. “Two years ago, we announced we were going to bring portions of this to your data center, and we called it the Azure Pack.”

Portions of this Azure Pack had made their way onto partner vendors’ hardware in the past — in the form of Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track Program and Dell’s Cloud Platform System. My company, Nutanix was one of the first Private Cloud Fast Track Partners with certified reference architecture.   So we’ve seen private cloud platforms with third-party vendor brands, built around server software made by Microsoft but not called Windows.

What Azure Stack becomes, over and above Azure Pack, is not just a microcosm of Azure, but an extension of Azure itself. As several Microsoft officials confirmed at Ignite, Azure Stack extends the file and object system of Azure into the private space. (And Azure Stack won’t be the only Microsoft technology that does this….Hint, Hint…Hmm…under NDA at moment)

“You want to be able to take those cloud applications, and host them in your environment,” said Anderson. “You’ve told us you want Azure — all of Azure — in your data centers. Azure Stack … is literally us giving you all of Azure to run in your data centers.

I saw early demonstrations of Azure Stack at Ignite, and what I saw was user access policy management system that essentially duplicated the one currently used on the public Azure cloud as shown below.

“The Microsoft Azure Stack gives application owners the ability to ‘write once, deploy anywhere,’ whether it be to your private cloud, a service provider’s cloud, or the public Azure cloud,” reads a post to Microsoft’s server and cloud blog Monday. “Developers will have the broadest access to application development platforms across Windows and Linux to build, deploy and operate cloud applications using consistent tools, processes and artifacts. One Azure ecosystem across public, private and hosted clouds will allow you to participate in a unified, robust partner network for Azure clouds.”

Microsoft’s idea is to make private cloud space and public space addressable and manageable using the same toolset, and by extension, to effectively make data centers into planks, if you will, for Azure. It’s one big reason why the words “Windows Server” are being spoken less and less often by people whom you would think were in charge of it.

Azure Stack Deeper Dive

Now let’s start at the top. When we look at the image below we see the browser experience. In the current version of Azure Pack we have 2 portals, 1 for the tenant and 1 for the admin. In Azure Stack we have 1 browser experience. That experience is also the same across Azure Stack and Azure. So admins as well as the tenants go through the same portal site and leveraging the same portal API’s and extensions. In the deployment of the portal site there is still an option to scale out to multiple website nodes like we do with an distributed deployment of Windows Azure Pack today. When we go down that rabbit hole, we see the Azure Resource Manager and the Core Management Resource Providers. The Core Management Resource Providers integrate in Azure Resource Manager and all components interact with that. Below in this post,  I will focus on the Azure Resource Manager and the Core Resource Providers. Further down we see the Service Resource Providers. The Service Resource Providers will control and manage the resources it is assigned to. Like the Compute Service Resource Provider will manage the compute resources (nodes), the Storage Resource Provider will manage the storage resources (nodes) and so on… And that’s really in a nutshell the top to bottom service layout of the Azure Stack.

AzureStackW2 Azure Stack

Let’s look at the portal. The portal is completely redesigned and which allow you to fully personalize. It is highly scalable and have integration across services. When you install new resource providers today in WAP you need to edit the core code for the Azure Pack portal. Then you need to restart the web service process to see the result of that change. With the new design the portal process runs continuously in a separate process and when you extend the portal by adding extensions a workflow will distribute the extensions to all nodes running the portal site. As mentioned before the admin and tenant site are integrated in the same portal.

AzureStackW3 Azure Stack

The portal UI is very nice, but it would be useless if we cannot login to the portal, right? Let me talk about the identity part of the new Azure Stack. In the old portal we had the options to use the SQL .Net membership or we could integrate ADFS to use AD or other federated identity providers (IDP’s). In the new portal they use claims-based authentication and there is native support for the following:

  • Azure Active Directory
  • Windows AD
  • Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS)

From the Azure Resource Manager to the Core Management Resource Providers it will use Windows Authentication or Basic Authentication. The Core Management Resource Providers will use Windows Authentication or an authentication method defined by the Resource Provider.

AzureStackW4 Azure Stack

Now on to the Azure Resource Manager. The Azure Resource Manager is the new Service Management API. It’s as Microsoft calls it “a product” that allows the management of the compute, storage, network. When you, as a tenant, create a resource group it allows you to put all the resources (VM’s, Networks, websites etc…) in a resource group that can be managed as a whole (Create /Add / Update /Delete – aka Life Cycle Management). With role based access control (RBAC) you, as a tenant, can also provide access to other users that have access based on the permission you assign to the resource group. Also usage is collected for a particular resource group so you can see how much the resources in a resource group will cost. The Azure Resource Manager will also allow you to put deployments in regions. Regions represents the datacenters of your service provider or your own datacenters. Furthermore the Azure Resource Manager is providing audit logging on your subscriptions and resources. To create resources using the Azure Resource Manager you need to create or use an existing template. A template is a json file what can be edited to define the resources in your deployment.

AzureStackW5 Azure Stack

The Azure Resource Manager will talk to the Core Management services. Let’s look at the components involved in that.

  • The Authorization Service: By using RBAC, it allows us to granular assign permissions to resource groups. Subscriptions are assigned to tenants that have a plan defined.
  • The Subscription Management Service is responsible for managing the Service Plans, Offers and subscriptions. You can even use Azure Resource Manager templates to define new subscriptions based on a template you have defined.
  • The Gallery Service is a core common service that will work across any of the connected services. Admins as well as tenants are allowed to put their own gallery items in it.
  • The Events Service is a collector to collect all events across all the services
  • The Monitoring Service collects metrics from all services.
  • And last but not least we have the Usage Service which will collect the usage per service for each tenant / resource group.

AzureStackW6 Azure Stack

So this what I know so far from MS, but will update this post as I know more. MS is not giving defient answer, but rumors are beta late fall and Tech Preview in spring. I can’t wait to get the early bird bits to play around with it and when I do I will follow up on this post to give you more technical information of Azure Stack!