Microsoft TechEd: Cloud Updates, Windows 10 Details - InformationWeek

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Microsoft TechEd: Cloud Updates, Windows 10 Details

Microsoft announced a wide variety of Azure and Office 365 advances, new details about Windows 10.

10 Elegant Product Designs, Not By Apple
10 Elegant Product Designs, Not By Apple
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Last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella argued that his company offers the most complete cloud platform, not only with scale that only Amazon and Google can match, but also with a strong hybrid strategy and a willingness to run virtually any workload. As though to prove Nadella's point, Microsoft on Tuesday revealed a barrage of new cloud products at its TechEd Europe conference in Barcelona. For good measure, the company also threw in a few new details about Windows 10.

"We want to deliver the most complete cloud," said Mike Schutz, a GM with Microsoft's Server and Tools Division, in an interview. He characterized some of Microsoft's competitors, such as Amazon, as a "one-way street to the cloud" and others, such as VMware, as "all virtualization that keeps things on-prem."

But he said Microsoft is different because its emphasis on hybrid cloud products allows customers to find the right blend between the immediate control they enjoy in their data centers and the economies of scale available via Azure, Microsoft's cloud platform. Increasingly, the company's on-premises and cloud products share interfaces and features, enabling customers to more agilely handle either environment.

"Whatever the customer's onramp to the cloud, we want to support it," said Schutz.

[Are alliances key to battling Amazon and Google in the cloud? See IBM, Microsoft Cloud Partnership Examined.]

How does all this translate into new products? For starters, Microsoft announced three new cloud services at TechEd.

Azure Batch, announced as a preview, is designed to wrangle massive scale-out jobs, such as the risk calculations that banks and insurance companies perform or gene sequencing projects in the pharmaceutical industry. Schutz said Batch isn't just about spinning up thousands of computing cores so that customers can avoid infrastructure costs. "It's a finished service that puts the job scheduler in the cloud," he said, adding that without Batch, customers would have to build or rent a cloud scheduler in order to manage virtual machines.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft also announced Azure Operational Insights, a new business intelligence product that will be available as a preview in November. It brings together Azure, HDInsight, and Microsoft System Center to collect and analyze machine data across cloud environments. "It gathers all the exhaust coming off servers and devices, and provides [IT admins] with real-time operational intelligence," said Schutz, who added the server "is Azure-based but reaches down on-prem to provide an end-to-end view."

Azure Automation, another new service, will allow IT professionals to automate time-consuming tasks by transferring their PowerShell skills into a hybrid environment, according to Schutz.

In addition to new Azure services, Microsoft announced several advances for its most mainstream cloud product: Office 365. The Office news is headlined by new REST-based APIs that will allow Android, iOS, Windows, and web developers to integrate Office 365 content -- such as calendar data -- into apps. Microsoft says its new mobile SDKs will enable developers to more easily use Office 365 APIs to create apps

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Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Author
10/28/2014 | 2:09:40 PM
Windows 10 wishes
Listen to what IT people say they want in Windows 10, in this man on the street video our David Carr did at Interop New York:
Charlie Babcock
IW Pick
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
10/28/2014 | 4:41:29 PM
Big risk management tasks were a break through
Azure Batch changes the fundamental nature of Microsoft's cloud into more of a coordinated cluster, a mainframe-style batch machine. If the scheduler is built in, doing big jobs is much more feasible. Microsoft learned a lot of valuable lessons in serving this customer, Milliman.
Thomas Claburn
IW Pick
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
10/28/2014 | 7:18:07 PM
rest api for office
The REST-based API for Office 365 is really interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing what people build with it.
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