Microsoft Ignite 2015 summary – #MSIgnite, #EnvokeIT, #Azure, #Office365, #OneDrive, #EMM, #PaaS, #IaaS

Hi all,

We at EnvokeIT participated and collaborated at Microsoft Ignite 2015 in Chicago. And it was one of the most intense events I’ve visited in years with a lot of happening in the business and Microsoft really showed that they are the leading innovator in many areas!

I hope that you enjoy my report and that it gives you a condensed overview of what happened and please contact us at EnvokeIT if you want assistance within any area below! And thank you Microsoft for such a great event and also all you bloggers out there that I’ve linked to in this material.

I must say that this event was positive and a bit scary at the same time. Microsoft is for sure pushing as visionairies and innovators in a lot of areas, and I think that competitors will have a hard time competing in the coming years.

These are the areas where A LOT have been released already and where Microsoft according to my oppinion will increase its market share significantly:

  • Cloud and Mobile services, and with this I don’t mean IaaS service for just running a VM in their public Azure cloud or building a hybrid cloud with connectivity to on-premise datacenters. They are delivering so many capabilities now as PaaS and SaaS services. Just look at the sections below, it’s everything from Enterprise Mobillity Management (EMM), Business Intelligence, Database, Storage, Web Apps/services, Service Availability services (DR, Monitoring/Reporting, Backup etc.), Development, Source Control, Visual Studio Online etc. It’s amazing!!
  • Open Source/Linux support – It’s so cool how much Microsoft have shifted to become an adopter to support more open source technologies and way of thinking than just a couple of years ago! Just have a look at all the Linux support they have in Azure, the Linux support they now have in System Center, Docker support to deliver more DevOps capabilities and all the other services in Azure. It’s amazing and so fun! So now both Microsoft have opened their eyes and realized that they can’t ignore this anymore just like Citrix has with their addition of XenDesktop for Linux with SuSE and RedHat support!

The first day kicked off and was a bombarding of product announcements aimed at helping IT pros secure and manage the new Universal Windows Platform.

CEO Satya Nadella presided over a three-hour keynote, which focused on how Microsoft’s new wave of software and cloud services will enable IT and business transformations that are in line with the ways people now work. Nadella talked up Microsoft’s focus on “productivity and platforms” and how it’s tied with the shift to cloud and mobility. He also highlighted the need for better automation of systems and processes, and better management of the vast amounts of data originating from new sources such as sensors and other Internet-of-Things-type nodes.

As mentioned there where a lot of updates and below I’ve tried to gather these and I hope it gives you a good insight on the infromation we received and also guidance on how you can get more information about the topics.

Included below are links to detailed overviews of each of the demos (from Microsoft blog post) – including information about how to use them, where to learn more, and what you’ll need to get started.

The following picture is a sketch of the keynote and is also quite good at summarizing the message of Mobile and Cloud first!


vNiklas also created a great powershell script that automates the downloading of all MS Ignite content with PowerShell and Bits from Channel 9 that you can find here!

Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) – MDM, MAM, MCSM/MIM etc…

Microsoft’s next chapter in Enterprise Mobility, great blog post on where Microsoft is going etc. in-enterprise-mobility.aspx …

Windows 10 Continuum – this is cool, think about docking your smartphone to your external screen, keyboard and mouse! That’s try mobility of youre device, this looks really cool and something that I’d like to try out once released!

Have a look at the feature demo at Ignite in the video below.

What’s New and Upcoming with Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager | Microsoft Ignite 2015

This session outlines the latest enhancements in enterprise mobility management using Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager. See the newest Microsoft Intune improvements for managing mobile productivity without compromising compliance, and learn about the futures of Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager, including new Windows 10 management scenarios.

Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager, including new Windows 10 management scenarios.

In the CloudEnterprise Mobility Management table of content:

Office 2016 public preview available!

Over the last 12 months, we’ve transformed Office from a suite of desktop applications to a complete, cross-platform, cross-device solution for getting work done. We’ve expanded the Office footprint to iPad and Android tablets. We’ve upgraded Office experiences on the Mac, the iPhone and on the web. We’ve even added new apps to the Office family with Sway and Office Lens. All designed to keep your work moving, everywhere. But that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten where we came from. While you’ve seen us focus on tuning Office for different platforms over the last year, make no mistake, Office on Windows desktop is central to our strategy.

In March we introduced an IT Pro and Developer Preview for the 2016 release of our Office desktop apps on Windows, and now—as a next step—we’re ready to take feedback from a broader audience. Today we’re expanding the Office 2016 Preview, making it available to Office users everywhere in preparation for general availability in Fall 2015.

Office 2016 previewers will get an early look at the next release of Office on Windows desktop, but more importantly they’ll help to shape and improve the future of Office. Visit the Office 2016 Preview site to learn more about the Preview program and if it’s right for you.

New in Office 2016

Since March, we’ve shared some glimpses of what’s to come in Office 2016. Today, we’d like to give a more holistic view of what customers at home and work can expect in the next release. In Office 2016, we’re updating the Office suite for the modern workplace, with smart tools for individuals, teams, and businesses.

Your documents, anywhere—Across the Office 2016 applications, it’s easier to use the power of feature-rich applications to create, open, edit and save files in the cloud from your desktop, so you can access them from anywhere and on any device. In addition, new modern attachments in Outlook make it easy to attach files from OneDrive and automatically configure permission for the recipients —without leaving Outlook. All making it easier to share and collaborate on your work with others.

Collaboration—Real-time co-authoring is available in the Office Online apps today and we’re bringing that experience to the Windows Desktop applications, starting with Word. When you and your team are working in Word 2016 and/or Office online, you’ll be able to see where other editors are working and what they are writing—all in real-time.

Smart Applications—Applications will learn as you work, taking advantage of subtle cues and clues to help you stay on task and get more out of Office. Tell Me, a new search tool available in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, serves up the commands you need by simply typing what you want to do. Clutter—a new Exchange feature that lights up in Outlook—uses machine learning to analyze your email patterns and de-clutter your inbox by moving lower priority messages out of your way and into a new Clutter folder. And Insights, powered by Bing, finds you contextual information from the web within the reading experience.

Continue reading here!

Next generation Office 365 Controls, Extensibility and Team Productivity (service roadmap)

With information sharing and mobility increasing in the advent of people networks and team collaboration, security threats are rising too. We need to rethink how we enable and protect the modern work environment. This means new opportunities and challenges for developers and IT to provide integrated and secure collaboration experiences with modern tools and pervasive automated controls to protect data everywhere it resides. It also means, new investments in transparency and integration with service APIs that provide unique visibility on the activity with your data, allowing for more custom solutions. Join Julia White and the Office team for an early look at the latest innovations for IT admins, developers and user/team productivity.

See the overview session here.

Office Graph and Office Groups

How can technology enable and support this agile way of working and enable friction-free collaboration anywhere, anytime? How do we make it easy for people to work as a collective, in real- time, while also building a knowledge base as they switch between projects? These are the questions driving how we think about modern collaboration. Empowering teams to work this way requires technology solutions that are seamless, allow teams to self-organize and work fluidly across locations, cultures and devices. It’s about delivering cross-platform tools that work together in concert and allow people to move seamlessly between them, even while on the go.

Across Microsoft Office 365, our cloud-based productivity suite, we offer a holistic set of modern, connected collaboration solutions that allow teams to work the way they want and need—not in the way technology dictates.

Office 365 enables a team to do things like co-author a report in real-time together, save it automatically to the cloud, discuss updates and changes from within the document itself and then easily share it with others by attaching the report as a link in email. To connect quickly for the rapid, iterative conversations that are so often at the heart of how work gets done, Office 365 enables you to automatically see colleagues’ presence and simply click a name to initiate an IM, or a voice or video call.

But empowering a team to work more effectively requires more than just new choices and application-level integration. These days, as teams rapidly form and disband, we believe that it’s critical for people to be able to “stand on the shoulders of giants”—that is, quickly discover the work of others and build upon it through a shared intelligent fabric. This belief stands in stark contrast to the approach taken by disconnected point solutions, each maintaining a separate data silo, where useful information becomes stranded in a single app or buried within countless conversations.

This belief in a common intelligent fabric is why we’ve introduced Office 365 Groups and Office Graph, two technologies that span Office 365 and beyond, helping teams self-organize, work together and build upon the expertise of others—ringing to life the inherent power of your network and powering personalized discovery experiences.

Learn more about Office Graph.

In just the last six months, Office Graph has mapped over six billion actions and interactions from across Office 365 applications. This common intelligent fabric allows us to enable new digital workspaces that span all of the Microsoft tools a team uses to get work done as well as provide a single way for IT to manage and secure corporate data and access.

Learn more about Office 365 Groups.

The official Office 365 roadmap site – explore this to see the roadmap!

Office 365 Roadmap

How to onboard onto Office365 – if you purchase more than 150 licenses then Microsoft Onboarding team will assist in the project with all experts required. The Office 365 FastTrack Onboarding Center delivers a quick and predictable way to get started and deployed in your organization. This new benefit is included at no charge to all new customers purchasing 150 seats or more of any qualified license. Microsoft’s Office 365 Onboarding Center, included as part of the service, will support in provisioning and configuration of Office 365 workloads including Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Office 365 Pro Plus, and Yammer.

Learn more about the Onboarding Center

Skype for Business

Last month, we announced that the new Skype for Business client for Windows desktop and the online service in Office 365 have begun rolling out. Continuing the momentum, today at the Microsoft Ignite conference, we talked about modern meetings, which require that participants in any location can see, hear and collaborate within the meeting as easily as if everyone is sitting in the same room. We announced today that later this year we will deliver the ability to broadcast Skype for Business meetings to up to 10,000 people at a time. We also showed two new features coming this summer to Skype for Business: pre-loaded meeting attachments, which speeds meeting start times by having meeting content automatically show up at the start of a call; and in-call co-authoring, which makes it easy to initiate a co-authoring session so multiple people can work together on a single document right from within a meeting.

Today, we’re also pleased to announce that Skype for Business Server is now generally available, and Office 365 and Skype for Business Server customers can now reach anyone in the entire Skype directory with Skype Directory Search.

IT pros will love the key improvements and new features of Skype for Business Server, such as support for SQL Server AlwaysOn; native video interoperability with Cisco Tandberg VTCs; and a call quality dashboard to provide richer reporting options. With the server release, we’re also delivering enhancements to the Skype Developer Platform, and have announced a public preview of our new Skype web SDK, which enables developers to build tailored experiences for the web that integrate communications (messaging, A/V, presence) directly in-line with their own content and activities.

Partners are already taking advantage of the extensibility in Skype for Business. Genesys, a market leader in customer care solutions, today announced that they are building on the Skype Developer Platform to deliver native integration with Skype for Business

Read more about it here: …

Also have a look at this Skype for Business Path to Success graph which is great to support you on your way to success!

Azure RMS – Document tracking and secure collaboration with Azure RMS is now gratly improved to ensure more enterprise business compliance …

OneDrive & SharePoint – Even with all the recordings available, it’s hard to find the links to all sessions for a given topic. For those interested in SharePoint Server and OneDrive,here is a list of Microsoft Ignite 2015 sessions related those topics, with links to the Channel9 page with the video recording and slides.

Office guides – Do you want to learn more on how to setup Office or Office 365 have a look at this great site that includes online labs and guides!

Administering Office 365 -Part 1

Learn how the Office 365 admin center makes it easy to manage your Office 365 settings, monitor service health, and get support when you need it.

Administering Office 365 -Part 2

In this guide, you’ll see how the Office 365 admin center makes it straightforward for you to set up and customize Office 365 for

your organization.

Administering Office 365 -Part 3

In this guide you’ll see how to seamlessly manage administration tasks for all your Office 365 applications and services.

Preparing Your Environment for Active Directory Federation Services In this guide, you’ll see how to prepare your organization to install and configure Active Directory Federation Services.

Find all the great labs and guides here:

Azure DNS – this is also really cool and I must say that this looks promissing both from a technical capability and price perspective!

  • Accelerate your apps with ultra-fast DNS queries
  • Azure DNS uses a global network of name servers to provide fast responses to DNS queries. Because we use Anycast networking, DNS queries are automatically routed to the closest name servers for the best possible performance.
  • Rely on Microsoft’s global network of DNS servers
  • Microsoft’s global network of name servers has the scale and redundancy needed to ensure ultra-high availability for your domains. With Azure DNS, you can be sure your DNS will always be available.
  • DNS updates—without the wait!

When you add a new DNS record, the Azure DNS name servers are updated in just a few seconds—so you don’t have to wait long before that DNS record can be used.

Read more about it or try it out here!

New Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA) service brings authentication anomaly reports to on-premises AD. Game changer for ADFS customers and others that want more visibilty on where and how AAA events are occuring.

Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA) is a simple and effective solution that helps you protect your enterprise on-prem resources from advanced targeted attacks by automatically analyzing, learning, and identifying normal vs. abnormal entity behavior from users, devices, and other resources.

ATA is the solution we acquired last year from a hot security startup.

For the IT teams working to keep up with the changing nature (and increasing volume) of cyber security attacks, ATA is an incredible tool because it helps you understand what’s happening within your network.

ATA provides this inside look at the potentially harmful activity within your network by identifying suspicious user and device activity with built-in intelligence, and this intelligence filters its feedback such that you see clear, relevant attack information on a simple timeline.  ATA does this by creating a graph of the relationships and interactions of users, devices and resources.

ATA also detects known malicious attacks (like Pass-the-Hash, Pass-the-Ticket, Reconnaissance, etc.) and it catches known security issues like broken trust and weak protocols.

The problems caused by compromised user credentials is the #1 issue we hear reported by organizations all over the world.

The reason for this problem is twofold:

  • First, many end users are still getting up to speed when it comes to understanding the importance of credential security.
  • Second, the existing security tools are just too cumbersome – they create way too many false positives, they take years to fine tune, and the reports they generate are nearly impossible to read and understand quickly.

Perhaps the most problematic issue of all is how traditional IT security solutions operate once a breach occurs. Getting a massive data dump when you’re trying to identify and isolate the intrusion can take far too long at a time when every second can make or break your organization. It’s counterproductive to have your security software hand you a haystack when you really need a needle.

  • You can detect advanced security threats fast via behavioral analytics that leverage Machine Learning.
  • Now you can adapt to the changing nature of cyber-security threats with a technology that is continuously learning.
  • You can narrow down the most important factors using the simple attack timeline.
  • ATA’s innovative technology reduces false positive fatigue and raises red flags only when needed.

To use ATA (currently in Preview) you’ll need to download and install it (see below).

Have a look at it and read more here: …

Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) – this is really cool and something that I thin that a lot of companies and people will like. Think of it as a SCOM cloud service! Right now the solutions that are included are mostly for Active Directory services but more “solutions” will be added and 3rd party vendors can release their own ones into this service. Think of the solutions as SCOM Management Packs.

The main scenarios in OMS, as of today, include:

  • Log Analytics: Real-time operational intelligence. Deliver unified management across your datacenters and public clouds. Collect, store and analyze log data from virtually any source and turn it into real-time operational intelligence.
  • Automation: Simplified cloud management with process automation. Create, monitor, manage and deploy resources in your hybrid cloud environments while reducing errors and boosting efficiency to help lower your operational costs.
  • Availability: Fully integrated availability solution including rapid disaster recovery. Protect your data using capabilities only possible from the cloud. Enable backup and integrated recovery for all your servers and critical applications, to prepare you in the event of a disaster.
  • Security: Centralized control of server security. Identify missing system updates and malware status. Collect security related events and perform forensic, audit and breach analysis. Glean machine data from all your servers, no matter where they are, and receive deep analytics to react fast to issues.

Read more about this cool service here!

Azure Stack – Yes, this was one of the coolest releases of the event!

Microsoft is finally taking what they have in the public Azure cloud and brings that down to your datacenter. Full integration and the same capabilities on-premise and full migration capabilties with the public Azure cloud. Now you don’t need your traditional Fabric Management architecture with VMM etc on-premise and have different API’s to work against when it comes to the Azure public cloud and your on-premise IaaS or PaaS solution, you can use the same API’s and PowerShell scripts to provision deployments and resource groups to on-premise or to the publis cloud, all based on the same JSON deployment scripts and also nice Intellisense for building them in Visual Studio etc. Really cool! And combine this with Nano Server then we have a really cool and compelling architecture!

This is a pretty good summary of what Azure Stack is from Daniels blog post.

So, here are the important links – to content and #MSIgnite sessions – for the newly announced #AzureStack!

And now for the #MSIgnite #AzureStack “Platform Vision” and related sessions:

Windows Server & System Center Futures—Bring Azure to your Datacenter (Platform Vision & Strategy)

Platform Vision & Strategy (1 of 7): Azure Consistent Service Delivery Overview

Platform Vision & Strategy (2 of 7): Server Virtualization Overview

Platform Vision & Strategy (3 of 7): Networking Overview

Platform Vision & Strategy (4 of 7): Storage Overview

Platform Vision & Strategy (5 of 7): Security and Assurance Overview

Platform Vision & Strategy (6 of 7): What’s New in System Center for Management

Platform Vision & Strategy (7 of 7): Linux on the Microsoft Cloud Platform

Windows Azure Pack Roadmap

Azure IaaS for Azure Stack

Deploying, Organizing and Securing Applications with the Azure Resource Manager

Taking a Deep Dive into Microsoft Azure IaaS Capabilities

New Networking Capabilities for a Consistent, Connected and Hybrid Cloud

ExpressRoute and ExpressRoute Premium Add-on

Last year, we launched ExpressRoute which provides direct network connectivity to Azure, bypassing the Internet and providing better network performance, predictability, and privacy. We have seen strong adoption from enterprise customers moving their critical workloads to the cloud. We have learned the challenges that you face in managing global networks. Based on these experiences, we want to help you to run truly global services in the cloud. Therefore, we today are announcing an ExpressRoute premium offering to provide global connectivity. Once your traffic enters an ExpressRoute meet-me site, you can reach ANY Azure region across the globe. This new ExpressRoute premium add-on also supports up to 10,000 routes to seamlessly connect to large global enterprise networks. Both ExpressRoute and ExpressRoute premium will support connectivity to Office 365 including Skype for Business so that you can take full advantage of private network connectivity to Microsoft. Please read the ExpressRoute documentation to learn more.

ExpressRoute for Office 365 and Skype for Business Enterprise Voice

We are expanding ExpressRoute connectivity to other Microsoft Cloud services. Last month, we announced that ExpressRoute will support Office 365 and Skype for Business Enterprise Voice. Enterprises using Office 365 and Skype for Business combined with ExpressRoute will enjoy the ExpressRoute benefits of predicable enterprise network performance, and better privacy by bypassing the Internet. We will be launching this capability with AT&T, British Telecom and Equinix in Q3 of 2015.

Next-generation storage for the software-defined datacenter

Let’s explore one of the storage categories – Private Cloud with Software Defined Storage.

What is Software Defined Storage or SDS?

The storage industry is going through interesting shifts driven by various factors – large-scale cloud services influencing design points and enabling the use of standard volume hardware by putting more intelligence into storage software. Virtualization is driving the need for mobility and density – containers will push that envelope further. Large levels of scale out ensure that “pay-as-you grow” models are seamless, elastic and fluid.

Simply put – SDS is cloud scale storage and cost economics on standard volume hardware.

Our SDS solution was initially released in Windows Server 2012, bringing our…. continue reading here!

Windows Server Containers

Applications fuel innovation in the cloud and mobile era. Containers, and the ecosystem that is developing around them, will empower software developers to create the next generation of applications experiences.

Watch a short overview: Windows-based containers: Modern app development with enterprise-grade control.

What are containers?

They are an isolated, resource controlled and portable operating environment.

Basically, a container is an isolated place where an application can run without affecting the rest of the system and without the system affecting the application. Containers are the next evolution in virtualization.

If you were inside a container, it would look very much like you were inside a physical computer or a virtual machine. And, to Docker, a Windows Server Container looks like any other container.

Containers for Developers

When you containerize an app, only the app and the components needed to run the app are combined into an “image”. Containers are then created from this image as you need them. You can also use an image as a baseline to create another image, making image creation even faster. Multiple containers can share the same image, which means containers start very quickly and use fewer resources. For example, you can use containers to spin up light-weight and portable app components – or ‘micro-services.. continue reading here!

What’s new in Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 2

Earlier today we announced the release of Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 2. We hope that in the coming weeks, you’ll take the time to try the preview and experience the new features first-hand. But to give you a snapshot of the technology innovation being delivered, we have compiled a favorites list. This list isn’t intended to be a full catalog of what’s coming. Our goal is to show off how new approaches to infrastructure are going to make a material difference in the way you approach IT challenges. Technology innovation fuels business innovation, and we’re excited to see the ways that our customers are going to use these new features to drive competitive value. So let’s take a look at what made the highlights reel.

Compute and Virtualization: Simplified upgrades, new installment options, and increased resilience, helping you ensure the stability of the infrastructure without limiting agility.

  1. Rolling upgrades for Hyper-V and scale-out file server clusters for faster adoption of new operating systems
  2. Functionality for hot add and remove memory and NIC, reducing downtime
  3. Virtual machine compute resiliency, so that virtual machines continue running even if the compute cluster fabric service fails
  4. Nano Server, a deeply refactored version of Windows Server with a small footprint and remotely managed installation, optimized for the cloud and a DevOps workflow

Networking: Continued investment to make networking as flexible and cost-effective as possible while ensuring high performance.

  1. Converged NIC across tenant and RDMA traffic to optimize costs, enabling high performance and network fault tolerance with only 2 NICs instead of 4
  2. PacketDirect on 40G to optimize performance

Storage: Expanding capabilities in software-defined storage with an emphasis on resilience, reduced cost, and increased control.

  1. Virtual Machine Storage Path resiliency, enabling virtual machines to pause and restart gracefully in response to either transient or permanent storage path failures
  2. Storage Spaces Direct to enable aggregation of Storage Spaces across multiple servers, pushing the cost of storage down while allowing for increased scale out
  3. Storage quality of service (QoS) for more control and predictable performance
  4. Storage Replica, giving you synchronous storage replication for affordable business continuity and disaster recovery strategies

Security and Assurance: Protecting against…

Read more here!

Announcing support for Windows 10 management with System Center Configuration Manager

Following Brad Anderson’s keynote today at Microsoft Ignite, we’re excited to share more details on what’s coming for System Center Configuration Manager this calendar year.

Today we are making available the System Center Configuration Manager and System Center Endpoint Protection Technical Preview. In this preview, you will get an early glimpse of the functionality that we are planning to release in Q4 of this calendar year, bringing with it full support for client deployment, upgrade, and management of Windows 10.

New features in today’s Technical Preview include:

  • Support for Windows 10 upgrade with OS deployment task sequence – In addition to providing support for existing wipe-and-load (refresh) scenarios, the ConfigMgr Technical Preview includes enhanced upgrade support with in-place upgrade to Windows 10.
  • Support for installing Configuration Manager on Azure Virtual Machines – Similar to how you can install ConfigMgr on Hyper-V today, you can now run ConfigMgr in Azure VMs. This provides flexibility to move some or all of your datacenter server workloads to the cloud with Azure.
  • Ability to manage Windows 10 mobile devices via MDM with on-premises Configuration Manager infrastructure – With this new option, you can manage Windows 10 mobile devices using ConfigMgr integrated with Microsoft Intune (hybrid) without the need to store your data in the cloud. This is especially helpful for managing devices that are unable to connect to the Internet such as Windows IoT/Embedded devices. So go ahead and try it out – you can enroll devices, set policies, and wipe/retire devices today with more functionality to be added in the future to manage all of your Windows 10 devices with MDM.

Next week, we will also be releasing service packs for Configuration Manager 2012 and 2012 R2 customers. These will deliver full compatibility with existing features for Windows 10 deployment and management as well as several other features, including:

  • App-V publishing performance – Improved performance that reduces the time required for apps to display after the first logon for non-persistent VDI environments.
  • Scalability improvements – Increased hierarchy scale to 600K and primary/standalone site scale to 150K.
  • Content distribution improvements – Improved data transfer reliability for slow and latent networks, and also improved scale and performance for pull distribution points (DP).
  • Native support for SQL Server 2014 – Added native support for SQL Server 2014 to enable site installation and recovery using SQL Server 2014.
  • Hybrid features Added a large number of hybrid features for customers using ConfigMgr integrated with Microsoft Intune (hybrid). Some of the features that you can expect to see in this release include conditional access policy, mobile application management, and support for Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP).

Finally, we also plan to deliver:

  • System Center Configuration Manager 2007 (SP2, R2, and R3) support for the management of Windows 10 is coming via a compatibility pack in Q4 2015 (Note: OS and client deployment will not be supported).
  • An update for the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) in Q3 2015…

Continue reading here!

Announcing Windows Update for Business

Microsoft created this great blog post about the Windows Update for Business:

Today at Ignite, I had the pleasure of sharing how we’ve designed Windows Update for Business to empower IT Professionals to keep the Windows devices in their organization always up to date with the latest security defenses and Windows features. Windows Update for Business will be a free service for all Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise devices – and in this blog I want to explain how this service is unique and valuable among today’s smart-device ecosystems.

Today’s announcement builds on a journey that began in September when we first introduced Windows 10 for business. Since then, we’ve shared additional chapters of our Windows 10 story for business, focusing on security, deployment, manageability, and much more. And of course, this all builds on the Windows 10 end-user experience designed to empower everyone to do great things – with a familiar Start menu, a new Action Center, Continuum, Windows Hello, and of course, Cortana (soon, you can check out this demo Joe Belfiore did today of Cortana enabling you to ask natural language questions and extrapolate the answer from Power BI! It will be located here).

Today’s Security Landscape

All that being said, a top design priority has been to prepare Windows 10 for today’s complex and high profile security threat landscape. We’ve been designing Windows 10 security at all layers of the stack:

  1. Device protection, beginning with hardware-based Secure Boot to ensure that only trusted software loads when the device is turned on. Next, Windows 10’s new Device Guard feature ensures applications from trusted sources, including the Windows Store for Business, are allowed to run. Device Guard is backed by hardware-based Hyper-V isolation making it robust against software-based threats. Finally, Windows 10 includes a new device health capability that allows enterprises and websites to ensure that users only access services from healthy, fully updated, and compliant devices.
  2. Identity protection, with Windows 10’s Microsoft Passport feature, leveraging hardware-based Hyper-V isolation to protect credentials and securely authenticate with websites and networks on your behalf—without sending up a password. With Microsoft Passport, there is no password to be phished from the user or stored on a server for hackers to potentially compromise. Microsoft Passport puts enterprises on the path to putting “pass the hash” attacks behind them for good. And of course, there’s Windows Hello which makes biometric authentication simpler than ever.
  3. Application protection, with the Windows Store for Business, certifying applications before distribution and Device Guard ensuring enterprise devices only run those certified applications.
  4. Information protection, with Windows 10’s Enterprise Data Protection functionality, which can automatically encrypt corporate apps, data, email, website content and other sensitive information, as it arrives on the device from corporate network locations.

With all these protections in place, the fact still remains, the number one thing a business can do to protect their devices is to keep them up-to-date with the latest security updates. Here at Microsoft, we take our responsibility to keep Windows secure seriously. We follow up on all reported security issues, continuously probe our software with leading edge techniques, and proactively update supported devices with necessary updates to address issues. And today, we’re announcing this continuous update process applies to all Windows 10 devices, including phones.

This level of commitment and support is far different than Android, for example, where Google refuses to take responsibility for updating their customers’ devices, leaving end-users and business increasingly exposed every day they use the device.

Today’s Updating Process

For all of our Windows consumers, we offer Windows Update as a free service. We currently manage over 850M diverse Windows devices through Windows Update, updating them regularly with security and quality improvements. With Windows 10, Windows Update will also be regularly delivering ongoing Windows innovation in addition to security updates.

For all of our Windows business customers, we support a variety of update management solutions. These solutions enable a business to select which updates to deploy to which devices on what schedule. The design point of these Windows updating solutions was to enable Windows business devices to be selectively updated like mainframes – where reliability is paramount, with a guiding philosophy of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” And still today, this capability is well utilized on many Windows mission critical devices worldwide. With Windows 10, we are improving our support of these mission critical deployments by offering “Long Term Servicing Branches” that contain ONLY security updates, without any functional updates.

However, when considering the end-user devices in business today, it’s clear this approach is not ideal. People at work expect the same Windows innovations which are being delivered to their Windows consumer devices, but selective updating introduces delays in roll outs. Selective updating at scale also creates customer-unique quality issues, since we rigorously test the platform as an integrated whole. Selective updating creates platform fragmentation for developers, which impedes innovation and creates quality problems with apps. And last but not least, selective updating is an expensive, thankless task for IT professionals. With Windows 10, we need a new approach for end-user devices at work.

Introducing Windows Update for Business

With Windows 10, we’re excited to provide you a new option – Windows Update for Business. We have been working with IT professionals all over the world to design new capabilities in Windows Update, designed for end-user devices within businesses. Windows Update for Business will provide:

  • Distribution rings, where the IT Pro can specify which devices go first in an update wave, and which ones will come later (to ensure any quality kinks are worked out).
  • Maintenance windows, where the IT Pro can specify the critical timeframes when updates should and should not occur.
  • Peer to peer delivery, which IT can enable to make delivery of updates to branch offices and remote sites with limited bandwidth very efficient.
  • Integration with your existing tools like System Center and the Enterprise Mobility Suite – so that these tools can continue to be that ‘single pane of glass’ for all of your systems management.

Windows Update for Business will reduce management costs…

Continue reading here!

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager Technical Preview – AND ON-PREMISE MDM CAPABILITIES

In addition to the capabilities found in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, the technical preview includes the following.

Read more here!

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