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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. http://blogs.technet.com/b/enterprisemobility/archive/2015/05/04/ignite-microsofts-next-chapter- 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.

https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/BRK3861/player

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.

Read more…

#Cisco acquiring #Nutanix?

Well this is an interesting rumor… I’ve just waited until someone “big” would come and eat Nutanix which has set the scene around web-scale solutions!

Interesting article by Jared Rinderer, CFA, senior research analyst, Equity Capital Research Group.

Datacenter Wars: Cisco Prepares to Fire

Chambers’ Last Salvo. Cisco is actively surveying the battle landscape in the hyperconverged datacenter market. Mr. John Chambers, Cisco’s soon-to-be-retired CEO, will fire one last major barrage in the Datacenter Wars saga before retiring to be Cisco’s executive chairman and thus a battlefield overseer. Cisco’s interest in the hyperconverged market is fall out from VMware’s recent pressure on its parent company, EMC, to cease pushing Cisco’s software-defined networking (SDN) solution (Application Centric Infrastructure, ACI) inside of VCE for EMC and VMware-labeled customer accounts, EMC’s February 2015 launch of a midmarket converged system (VSPEX BLUE) that utilizes competitive x86 server (Foxconn) and networking (Brocade) products at the expense of Cisco’s gear, and EMC’s July 2013 acquisition of privately-held ScaleIO, a scale-out server-side storage software provider, for $250 million.

  • The Weapon. Analyzing the hyperconverged systems market, Cisco would gain the most strategic value and long-term accretive revenue contribution with the acquisition of privately-held Nutanix, which is the clear market leader thus far. With a private company valuation exceeding $2 billion as of August 2014, Cisco’s purchase will come at a cost, but Mr. Chambers has always shown a willingness to pay to attain strategic datacenter infrastructure assets (enterprise value-to-trailing 12-month revenue multiple of 9.9x or $2.45 billion for Sourcefire in July 2013 and EV/Trevenue multiple of 12.0x or $1.2 billion for Meraki in November 2012). With only $3.2 billion of U.S.-based cash as of January 2015, Cisco will issue debt to complete the Nutanix purchase, which may be announced during Nutanix’s user/partner conference in Miami from June 8-10th.

From Allies to Enemies. VMware and Cisco were key allies enabling x86 server virtualization adoption, with VMware bringing its vSphere virtualization software platform and Cisco providing its UCS x86 servers and Nexus networking gear; however, this strong front began to erode when VMware outbid Cisco in its $1.25 billion acquisition of Nicira in July 2012. Nicira brought a viable software-defined networking platform (NSX) under VMware’s banner and which has now grown to be a formidable competitor in Cisco’s core networking market. Today, VMware and Cisco openly label each other as foes.

  • Confederates. By acquiring Nutanix, Cisco gains a conspirator with a mutual adversary, VMware. For more-than a year now, VMware and Nutanix have been in numerous, highly-heated, public skirmishes. VMware is threatened by Nutanix’s one-stop shop for datacenter infrastructure and its potential to disrupt VMware’s objective of the complete automation of the datacenter. Nutanix dislikes VMware’s strategy tax (known as the “vTax”) and vendor lock-in agenda.

The Frontline. The integrated infrastructure software management and compute/server, storage, and networking systems market is bifurcated into two segments, converged and hyperconverged. The converged systems market was first to market and was trumpeted by Red Hat and VMware with various enterprise systems partners, including Cisco, Dell, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, IBM, NetApp, and Nimble Storage, for high-performance, large-scale datacenter workloads. Finding great interest and revenue generation…

Contiune reading here!

//Richard

Microsoft Infrastructure as a Service Foundations – #IaaS, #Cloud, #PaaS, #Microsoft, #Azure

January 11, 2015 Leave a comment

This series of blog posts by Thomas W Shinder – MSFT and contributors is really great and do cover the best practises and principles behind building Microsoft based private or hybrid IaaS services. Have a look at their great work!

The goal of the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Foundations series is to help enterprise IT departments and cloud service providers understand, develop, and implement IaaS infrastructures. This series provides comprehensive conceptual background that combines Microsoft software, consolidated guidance, and validated configurations with partner technologies such as compute, network, and storage architectures, in addition to value-added software features.

The IaaS Foundations Series utilizes the core capabilities of the Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system, Hyper-V, System Center 2012 R2, Windows Azure Pack and Microsoft Azure to deliver on-premises and hybrid cloud Infrastructure as a Service.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Microsoft Infrastructure as a Service Foundations (this article)

Chapter 2: Microsoft Infrastructure as a Service Compute Foundations

Chapter 3: Microsoft Infrastructure as a Service Network Foundations

Chapter 4: Microsoft Infrastructure as a Service Storage Foundations

Chapter 5: Microsoft Infrastructure as a Service Virtualization Platform Foundations

Chapter 6: Microsoft Infrastructure as a Service Design Patterns–Overview

Chapter 7: Microsoft Infrastructure as a Service Foundations—Converged Architecture Pattern

Chapter 8: Microsoft Infrastructure as a Service Foundations-Software Defined Architecture Pattern

Chapter 9: Microsoft Infrastructure as a Service Foundations-Multi-Tenant Designs


Microsoft Infrastructure as a Service Foundations is written and presented in a way that enables architects, designers, implementers and operators to view the content that is most relevant to them. Some readers will choose the read the entire “book”, while others will focus on areas that are most interesting and relevant to them.

At this time, the Microsoft IaaS Foundations “book” is available in web format only. In the coming days, individual files (one for each chapter) and a single file that represents a compilation of all the chapters, will be made available for download. A link to these files will be included in this article, and in each of the articles included in this “book”.

The world of cloud computing moves quickly and the underlying technologies supporting the infrastructure that powers the cloud change and improve just as fast. For this reason, each of the chapters includes a published date and the versions of the software that are discussed in the text. For non-versioned software and services (such as Microsoft Azure), a note of “feature set and capabilities as of…” date is included.

Your feedback is crucial

A lot of time, energy and expense goes…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

Which #DaaS architecture is right? – #Azure, #RemoteApp, #Microsoft, #Citrix, #Workspace

December 22, 2014 Leave a comment

I really feel for you Solution Architects out there that have to struggle with how to revamp your companies or customers Hosted Desktop/App services. They may be provided by a service provider today, or you do it yourself on-premise and manage them, or you’ve already taken the step to purchase it as a true DaaS/SaaS service from a public cloud provider. Today the options are many, and too many if you add all the hosting models and the technology options you have. From a business perspective you’re getting the heat to deliver something with the word “cloud” in it just because it’s hot, and management then expect that TCO is sooooo low and that you have now problems in delivering at all within a couple of weeks and you can scale up and down without any issues at all from a financial or technical perspective… 😉

Often you also don’t even have the business, security, functional or technical requirements either so you’re supposed to come with the magic solution that fits all needs! 😉

My personal view is also that some of our vendors/partners out there don’t seem to have one (1) clear strategy either (at least not officially).

Some are building and providing their own “cloud architecture” models for DaaS for partners to build on (VMware, Citrix, Microsoft etc.), and then they also are providing specific models for certain partners as well that run on top of other cloud solutions, like Citrix Service Provider (CSP) offerings on Azure or on-premise. As a partner to these companies you also are in a tough spot, are you to partner with them and deliver their technology on your infrastructure, or shall you wait until they deliver a fully working public cloud offering (like WorkSpace Services) and then add your added value on top of that? Options are many and I don’t think that Citrix has given their whole story yet, I still think that they business wise need to go where Microsoft is going by providing a DaaS service by themselves directly to customers and thereby also “cut” the partner network out because once the technology and self-service becomes to easy then what shall they add as value then? There will always be customers that wants help to onboard, operate etc. of course but this will be another type of service and many Citrix and Microsoft partners need to be become more solution focused and get away from the SME space and deliver integration and more IT management consulting skill sets instead.

But let’s get back to more technology…

I’ve been kind of waiting to get some time over to test the RemoteApp service in Azure. I personally think that this is the future and they way that many small to medium size business fairly short shall start to look at. Not all of these companies have the skill set or financials to look at building a good Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings of Windows applications internally. I’m a bit annoyed though that out of the box there isn’t any Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) offering and that it’s still just the RDS/Hosted Shared Desktop model that is provided. A real Hosted Virtual Desktop or VDI offering would be nice and a license model that goes with it from Microsoft.

There are today so many different options that companies that want to provide or consume a DaaS service can leverage today, Citrix Service Providers have all of their options in terms of technology stacks (CloudStack, CloudPlatform, CSP for Azure, App Orchestration 2.5, Microsoft System Center, Azure Pack and all options that are out there)… but which one shall/can you select? And what if you’re NOT a Citrix service provider and have a huge datacenter and haven’t already done your CAPEX investments around compute, network and storage etc..? Where do you then turn?

I think that here is where RemoteApp and a future Workplace Services offerings with Citrix on top would be great! You as a customer can turn to a partner/consultant company to get guidance and assess all your requirements and then easily be provisioned an environment that is of the “standard cloud offering” or get a customised one tailored specifically for your needs.

Like in my little demo scenario here I provisioned a fully functional RemoteApp environment that hosted all of the Microsoft Office 2013 apps that I use and also got a lot of storage at the same time… in almost no time at all!

Azure RemoteApp helps employees stay productive anywhere, and on a variety of devices – Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, or Android. Your company’s applications run on Windows Server in the Azure cloud, where they’re easier to scale and update. Users can access their applications remotely from their Internet-connected laptop, tablet, or phone. While appearing to run on the users’ local device, the applications are centralized on Azure’s protected, reliable platform.

Azure RemoteApp combines Windows application experiences with the powerful capabilities of Remote Desktop Services on Microsoft Azure – the cloud for modern business.

I also like the licensing model:

  • Azure RemoteApp is priced per user and is billed on a monthly basis.
  • The service is offered in two tiers: Basic and Standard. Basic is designed for lighter weight applications (e.g. for task workers). Standard is designed for information workers to run productivity applications.
  • Pricing: Each service has a starting price per user that includes 40 hours of service per user. Thereafter, a per hour charge is applied for each user hour up to a capped price per user. You will not pay for any additional usage beyond the capped price in a given month.
This means that you’ll get Office 2013 managed for standard information workers of a max price of 23 USD/month including management of the RDS Image and Office etc. and it also includes user data storage. Then you could of course also upload your own image with your apps as well and publish. Pretty good price model and will be interesting to see if this is what we will deliver in the future for all small/medium size companies instead.
As a comparison you can compare RemoteApp pricing then with the example if you would build your own RDS environment in Azure according to the following good guidelines: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/azure/dn451351.aspx
A little follow up TCO example below. This Azure hosted RDS example would give the 25 user company a dedicated RDS solution in Azure for 27 USD/month from a CAPEX perspective (HW + SW/licensing), I know that this is not a CAPEX investment if you go for it but you should compare it to your CAPEX investment you need to do if you would purchase compute, network, storage, licenses etc. The main point also is that  this does not include any OPEX costs needed to support and operate it. This would be great for providing a Hosted Desktop/Software service for a line of business app… but here you’re already at 27 USD/user/month, and RemoteApp is at 23 including user storage of 50Gb (where Microsoft also manage the “image and software” from a life-cycle management point of view.
image

RDS on Azure example quote:

More Azure solution pricing examples: http://blogs.technet.com/b/uspartner_ts2team/archive/2014/10/14/more-azure-solution-pricing-examples.aspx

What if you then also shall put Citrix on top of that… cost increases of course and still you’re kind of limited of being a SPLA or CSP in order to build this, or you go and ask a SPLA/CSP to provide it for you if you’re an end-customer.

But back *again* to the test-drive that I did of RemoteApp…

Read more…

Official GA of Dell with Nutanix!! – #Dell, #Nutanix, #IaaS, #Web-Scale

November 6, 2014 Leave a comment

It’s official! Finally! 😀

WEB-SCALE CONVERGED APPLIANCE

This disruptive solution integrates Dell PowerEdge servers, storage, and Nutanix software to create a scalable, simple, and easy-to-deploy, Web-scale appliance.

WHAT IS WEB-SCALE?

Web-scale is a transformative approach to buying, deploying and managing infrastructure. Pioneered by Internet companies, now available to enterprises. Benefits include:

  • Predictable scale: Scale with the needs of your business, one node at a time
  • Business agility: Deploy within an hour, update latest software within minutes, and shorten business processes
  • Low total cost of ownership: Reduce upfront and ongoing costs by automating processes and spending less time trouble shooting

Dell XC Series Overview

DELL XC SERIES

Meet the Dell XC Web-scale Converged Appliance – With Software by Nutanix.

Forrester Report

FORRESTER REPORT

Forrester Research Evaluates the Web-scale Converged Appliance from Dell and Nutanix.

Read more here!

Gartner Report

GARTNER REPORT

Why Your Legacy Storage Vendor Doesn’t Want You to Adopt Web-scale IT Infrastructure.

//Richard

Metro Availability – Nutanix site-to-site cluster! Sooo cool! – #Nutanix, #EnvokeIT

October 10, 2014 Leave a comment

This is a really cool feature, I know many companies right now that are thinking about refreshing their platform (computer, network and storage) solution(s) and datacenter strategy. Most have dual datacenters today and would like to simplify the setup and ensure that they don’t have to handle two private clouds and manually create disaster recovery processes and technical solutions for ensuring that they can ensure high availability of their applications running on top of the IaaS solution.

This is where this new feature from Nutanix comes into play, now you can get data protection and mirroring of your data across two or more sites built into the product. Think about it, you can ensure your application availability in the event of downtime (planned or unplanned). Really cool!! 🙂

Introducing Metro Availability

Business-critical applications demand continuous data availability. This means that access to applications and data must be preserved even during a datacenter outage or planned maintenance event. Many IT teams use metro area networks to maintain connectivity between datacenters so that if one site goes down the other location can run all applications and services with minimal disruption. To keep the applications running, however, requires immediate access to all data. 

Nutanix is the first hyper-converged infrastructure vendor to deliver continuous data protection across multiple datacenters. Using synchronous mirroring, Metro Availability stretches datastores for virtual machine clusters across two or more sites located up to 400km apart. All functionality is natively integrated into Nutanix software, and supported across all Nutanix platforms with no hardware changes. Enterprise IT teams benefit from improved business operations by maintaining application availability during planned and unplanned site downtime. 

Virtualization teams can now non-disruptively migrate virtual machines between sites during planned maintenance events, providing continuous data protection with zero recovery point objective (RPO) and a near zero recovery time objective (RTO). Metro Availability is deployed within minutes and managed directly from Nutanix Prism UI, eliminating any need for additional management consoles. 

  • More Flexibility – Only Nutanix enables customers to deploy different configurations for primary and secondary sites, and support one-to-many and many-to-one topologies. Customers are no longer forced to have identical platforms and hardware configurations at each site
  • VM Awareness  – Individual VMs can be mirrored across sites using Metro Availability, giving administrators unparalleled flexibility in configuring multi-site deployments and improving overall system efficiency
  • 2X Greater Distances Between Sites – Nutanix Metro Availability supports single datastores stretched up to 400km – twice what current systems support today

Metro Availability enhances and extends the already rich set of integrated data protection and high availability capabilities in the Nutanix solution, catering to the diverse needs of enterprise customers.

Official release not you can find here!

And contact EnvokeIT if you want more information on how this can provide value to you!

//Richard

 

Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015 – #Nutanix, #WebScale, #Dell, #EnvokeIT, #Gartner

October 10, 2014 Leave a comment

As usual it’s very interesting when Gartner takes a look at the trends for the coming year. I must say that I agree with many of them, one of the trends is very close to my heart and what I think should have been on the agenda of most CIO’s prior to 2015, and this is: Web-Scale IT.

Why haven’t more enterprise and solution architects been looking earlier at how to simplify the delivery of the “commodity” service that IaaS should be in todays IT world. Yes I know that most enterprises have a “legacy” environment that is hard to just transform, they have a service delivery organisation with certain competences and are being bombarded by salesmen from the older legacy providers that this new way is scary (up until they themselves come up with a story on web-scale of course). But it’s time to wake up and look at how you can change your Compute, Network and Storage components to reduce complexity, increase flexibility/agility, focus on core business (apps and services on top) and also reduce your TCO.

One way is of course to move to the cloud and let someone else bother about this, but I yet don’t see that the larger enterprises are looking at this and there is a hesitation though most haven’t gotten to the point of understanding the TCO model and how to compare their As-Is costs to the cost that they get from the costing tools of Azure, Amazon etc. Why is this? My view is that most don’t have a clear understanding of their own As-Is TCO, they understand how much a server costs, and storage costs, but not the TCO when it comes to facility/datacenter costs, power & cooling, HW costs, support and operational costs, license costs and the overview of that in a TCO model they can understand or compare with “the cloud”.

Ok, as usual I’m getting a bit sidetracked but I love this topic and I must encourage you to contact EnvokeIT if you need help to understand the Web-Scale IT concept and how it can add value to you and your business. We work with Nutanix and Dell and can assist in assessing your existing As-Is solution and forming the To-Be target architecture and the strategy to get there based on your requirements and needs. Of course we’re not locked into Dell or Nutanix and have experience within Azure and other public cloud providers as well as other hardware vendor solutions like HP, NetApp etc.

If you like to see a really cool solution that is coming then have a look at my previous post including a short and cool video: Dell + Nutanix = awesome!

Here we have the top 10 trends for 2015 that Gartner have identified:

Analysts Examine Top Industry Trends at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2014, October 5-9 in Orlando

Gartner, Inc. today highlighted the top 10 technology trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2015. Analysts presented their findings during the sold out Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, which is taking place here through Thursday.

Gartner defines a strategic technology trend as one with the potential for significant impact on the organization in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to the business, end users or IT, the need for a major investment, or the risk of being late to adopt. These technologies impact the organization’s long-term plans, programs and initiatives.
Read more…

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