Life is good when an enterprise’s cloud infrastructure is working well. But when the inevitable problems arise, it’s smart to be prepared with a proper technical support plan to get expert help as soon as possible. Continue reading
In most cases, a lift-and-shift cloud migration does little more than provide basic redundancy. A better approach—that offers better efficiency and better value—is to move cloud-ready workloads over to Azure, keep legacy applications on-premise, and set up orchestration to manage cloud recovery and backup.
Following general evaluation and planning, when you reach consensus from each team on the cloud migration plan, you’ll need to execute the plan. Getting down to the details in your mind, you’ll find yourself asking: How do I proceed? In this guide, we’ll break down the major steps involved in each phase of the Azure migration process. Continue reading
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 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
- Satya Nadella – CEO
- Kirk Koenigsbauer (Modern Workplace)
- Jame Phillips (Business Applications)
- Scott Guthrie (The Enterprise Cloud)
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
Hybrid Cloud Blog
Data Platform Blogs
Until next time, Rob.
Hello Everyone….Today I will go over the Azure External Connectivity Options. There is a lot flexibility depending your needs of your workload/application with Azure. So let’s dive in and go into each option start at the bottom as shown in the handy graph below:
Azure External Connectivity Options
Private Site-to-Site Connectivity – ExpressRoute
ExpressRoute provides organizations a private, dedicated, high-throughput network connection between Windows Azure datacenters and their on-premises environment. See my blog post on ExpressRoute from last year for more details. Below is a comparison from traditional site-to-site tunnel versys Express
A Site-to-Site VPN allows you to create a secure connection between your on-premises site and your virtual network. To create a Site-to-Site connection, a VPN device that is located on your on-premises network is configured to create a secure connection with the Azure VPN Gateway. Once the connection is created, resources on your local network and resources located in your virtual network can communicate directly and securely. Site-to-Site connections do not require you to establish a separate connection for each client computer on your local network to access resources in the virtual network.
A Point-to-Site configuration allows you to create a secure connection to your virtual network from a client computer, individually. A VPN connection is established by starting the connection from the client computer. This is an excellent solution when you want to connect to your VNET from a remote location, such as from home or a conference, or when you only have a few clients that need to connect to a virtual network. Point-to-Site connections do not require a VPN device or a public-facing IP address in order to work.
Service Bus is a generic, cloud-based messaging system for connecting just about anything – applications, services, and devices – wherever they are. Here are of the basic fundamentals.
Different situations call for different styles of communication and this one is for more complex scenarios. Sometimes, letting applications send and receive messages through a simple queue is the best solution. In other situations, an ordinary queue isn’t enough; a queue with a publish-and-subscribe mechanism is better. In some cases, all that’s really needed is a connection between applications; queues aren’t required. Service Bus provides all three options, enabling your applications to interact in several different ways.
Service Bus is a multi-tenant cloud service, which means that the service is shared by multiple users. Each user, such as an application developer, creates a namespace, then defines the communication mechanisms she needs within that namespace. See below pic on how this looks.
Service Bus provides a multi-tenant service for connecting applications through the cloud.
Within a namespace, you can use one or more instances of four different communication mechanisms, each of which connects applications in a different way. The choices are:
- Queues, which allow one-directional communication. Each queue acts as an intermediary (sometimes called a broker) that stores sent messages until they are received. Each message is received by a single recipient.
- Topics, which provide one-directional communication using subscriptions-a single topic can have multiple subscriptions. Like a queue, a topic acts as a broker, but each subscription can optionally use a filter to receive only messages that match specific criteria.
- Relays, which provide bi-directional communication. Unlike queues and topics, a relay doesn’t store in-flight messages-it’s not a broker. Instead, it just passes them on to the destination application.
- Event Hubs, which provide event and telemetry ingress to the cloud at massive scale, with low latency and high reliability.
When you create a queue, topic, relay, or Event Hub, you give it a name. Combined with whatever you called your namespace, this name creates a unique identifier for the object. Applications can provide this name to Service Bus, then use that queue, topic, relay, or Event Hub to communicate with one another.
To use any of these objects, Windows applications can use Windows Communication Foundation (WCF). For queues, topics, and Event Hubs Windows applications can also use Service Bus-defined messaging APIs. To make these objects easier to use from non-Windows applications, Microsoft provides SDKs for Java, Node.js, and other languages. You can also access queues, topics, and Event Hubs using REST APIs over HTTP.
It’s important to understand that even though Service Bus itself runs in the cloud (that is, in Microsoft’s Azure datacenters), applications that use it can run anywhere. You can use Service Bus to connect applications running on Azure, for example, or applications running inside your own datacenter. You can also use it to connect an application running on Azure or another cloud platform with an on-premises application or with tablets and phones. It’s even possible to connect household appliances, sensors, and other devices to a central application or to one other. Again, Service Bus is a generic communication mechanism in the cloud that’s accessible from pretty much anywhere. How you use it depends on what your applications need to do.
Azure Data Factory
Data Factory is a cloud-based data integration service that orchestrates and automates the movement and transformation of data. Just like a manufacturing factory that runs equipment to take raw materials and transform them into finished goods, Data Factory orchestrates existing services that collect raw data and transform it into ready-to-use information.
Data Factory works across on-premises and cloud data sources and SaaS to ingest, prepare, transform, analyze, and publish your data. Use Data Factory to compose services into managed data flow pipelines to transform your data using services like Azure HDInsight (Hadoop) and Azure Batch for your big data computing needs, and with Azure Machine Learning to operationalize your analytics solutions. Go beyond just a tabular monitoring view, and use the rich visualizations of Data Factory to quickly display the lineage and dependencies between your data pipelines. Monitor all of your data flow pipelines from a single unified view to easily pinpoint issues and setup monitoring alerts.
Collect data from many different on-premises data sources, ingest and prepare it, organize and analyze it with a range of transformations, then publish ready-to-use data for consumption.
You can use Data Factory anytime you need to collect data of different shapes and sizes, transform it, and publish it to extract deep insights – all on a reliable schedule. Data Factory is used to create highly available data flow pipelines for many scenarios across different industries for their analytics pipeline needs. Online retailers use it to generate personalized product recommendations based on customer browsing behavior. Game studios use it to understand the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and the use cases go on…..
So, as you can see, there are lots of options for connecting your on-premise environment with Azure and that dovetails me into the next topic in the series, Azure VNET’s….
Until next time, Rob……
One of the traditional impediments to businesses adopting public cloud computing is the concern over putting all your eggs in one basket. This is where Hybrid Cloud steps in.
The Hybrid Cloud is a description of utilizing a preexisting on-premises datacenter and a cloud solution such as Microsoft Azure to balance the overall solution. Hybrid Cloud requires the need for a constant reliable connection to your datacenter.
Building a Hybrid Cloud and having a customer put this over the shared Public internet connection gives you no SLA or reliability.
Introducing Azure ExpressRoute
Currently, there are three connection options into Azure as shown below. Scenario 1, is over the Shared Public Internet connection. and the last 2 are the ExpressRoute options.
What is Azure ExpressRoute in simple terms?
ExpressRoute provides a private dedicated connection between Azure and the customer datacenter. Within this network, you can now choose the network performance you want or need (or can afford). This will allow you to design your Apps better and meet QoS and SLA requirements.
How fast can it go?
Well, up to 10Gbps – is that fast enough! If you have large amounts of data to move between your datacenter and Azure or vice versa then this is a great, fast and economically sound option.
So it is fast but what can I use it for?
ExpressRoute is designed to cater for mission critical workloads such as:
- Storage (Migration, DR, retention archives)
- Dev/Test (large VM movements from Dev / Test / Production environments)
- BI and Big Data (Efficient transfer of large data sets to increase ‘Big Data’ performance)
- Media (solid and predictable performance for streaming data to or from Azure)
- Hybrid Apps (the mix of High Bandwidth and Low Latency links create a great environment for Azure to be used as a datacenter extension for multi tier apps – improved I/O and API response times.)
- Productivity Apps (SharePoint as an example requires high bandwidth and low latency to work at scale)
Two flavors of ExpressRoute
ExpressRoute provides a dedicated private route in one of two flavors, Exchange provider or Network Service provider route. The former provides a simple point to point solution while the latter exposes Azure as an additional site in the corporate network.
If you know Powershell, then configuring ExpressRoute is just adding additional commandlets.
Microsoft provide ExpressRoute pricing for the access and bandwidth as well as throughput and your network provider will add their charges on top of this.
Below is example pricing:
And finally, setup is very easy. Once you the cross connects are in place, then you just need to go to the Azure portal and request an S key. The customer then gives S-Key to service provider. The S-key provides all the provisioning details to set up ExpressRoute between Customer Environment and Azure. See graphic below:
Hopefully, this clear ups up questions around ExpressRoute. If not, please post your comments below. The only question left for me is why wouldn’t you adopt this economically viable, flexible and fast solution to the your Hybrid Cloud solution!
Until next time, Rob…