Microsoft News – 23 January 2015

If you’ve just emerged from a cave or from under a rock, then you might like to read about Windows 10 and HoloLens. It’s been amazing to see how in “90 minutes”, the image of Microsoft has done a 180 degree turnaround. The carefully orchestrated and timed announcements on Wednesday were very effective.

System Center

Windows Client

Azure

Office 365

  • New Office Visio Stencil: These stencils contain more than 300 icons to help you create visual representations of Microsoft Office or Microsoft Office 365 deployments including Microsoft Exchange Server 2013, Microsoft Lync Server 2013, and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
  • Azure RMS Migration Guidance: The Azure RMS Migration guidance contains a whitepaper with step-by-step guidance and links to cmdlets and tools to migrate on-premises Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS) server key and templates to Azure Rights Management services (Azure RMS) while preserving access to protected content.

The Windows 10 Briefing–21 January 2015

I am attempting to live blog this event. Hit refresh to see more.

It took me some time to get on the stream. Terry Myerson is talking stuff about things. Just get to the main course already. No one likes dry lettuce.

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He goes on to talk about developers, helping them find their next billion customers with Windows 10. Customers are spread across many versions. This fragmentation makes it challenging to develop for them. Microsoft has developed heavily.

And I gave up. The stream died. Twitter is all a chatter with the abject failure of this stream.

Must do much better, Microsoft. And fire whomever is responsible for this catastrophe.

After 30 more minutes, Joe “Hair” Belfiore is wasting valauable time talking about the Cortana, a feature that only works for a tiny percentage of the world’s population. It’s a waste of time, developers, and program managers.

In the meantime, I saw that Windows 10 will have free upgrades from Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. Excellent news.

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Now on to Windows Phone. It doesn’t look different to 8.1

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He shows the flow keyboard, Yawn, Then on to messaging. Third party messaging apps (IP from telecoms or Skype) can be integrated into  the OS tool.

Universal apps now. This is a critical subject to get apps running across all Windows devices of all kinds, hopefully getting devs to write more for Windows.

Touch-first Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will be included on Windows Phone and “small” tablets. You should get a full fidelity document experience with these versions of Office.

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Recent Documents will roam from device to device. Useful.  He allegedly runs a PowerPoint deck from the phone to the big screen. Hmmm … no he wasn’t doing it wirelessly (admits he used a cable).

There will be a universal app version of the Outlook app for PC, tablet, and phone. He shows this now. Editing an email uses the full Word engine.

Calendar on Windows Phone has colour!!!! Wooo! Photos needed fixing badly. New universal app there too for PC and phone (and tablet – get the message about universal apps?). The Photos app will aggregate photos from OneDrive and local device. The collection view removes duplicates from the view. Auto-enhance will be turned on by default to present the images with more colour, etc. They auto-create collections and create a hero image. You can share this album – it’s in the cloud.

In 1-2 months, you can store your music in OneDrive. Playlists will sync between all devices.

Now onto the last app. Here comes Project Spartan, a new web browser. This is not the IE of the past. There is a new rendering engine. Three new features to make you more productive:

  • How you communicate with others about the web. There is a note-taking mode, which they used when news of Spartan was leaked and on The Verge. BTW, The Verge was not the first to report on Spartan – I think it was Mary Jo Foley. You can use touch, stylus or keyboard to mark-up a page. You can clip or save a page with your mark-up, maybe to OneNote. You can also share the page.
  • Focus on the action of reading. There is a reading mode, giving you a standardised way to read content on the web. There is a reading list in the core browser. That’s a mobile experience so you can read the articles on any device …. yes, the content is saved offline so you can read on the plane, etc. There is built-in PDF support.
  • Cortana. Fuck off Cortana you Zune impersonator.

Spartan will be on PC in later builds, and phone later again. It is a universal app for all devices.

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That’s the end of the hair for now.

Phil Spencer comes to talk about entertainment and gaming on Windows 10. He’s the head of Xbox. Cool stuff!  There will be an Xbox app on Windows 10.  It’s a social networking app from what I can see.

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They show two players cooperating in a game from Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. This was never possible before. Will it really work? The hardware performances will vary quite a bit. They show streaming of a game from Xbox One to a PC. That is very cool.

Windows 10 is coming to Xbox One. This is great news for devs who want to bring their apps to the TV. But … gaming will remain the center of attention for Xbox One.

A new build of Windows 10 for the PC is coming in a week. And then to Windows Phone in February.

Now they show off the new Microsoft Surface Hub (the 4K 84” TV with integrated compute). It detected the demo person when she came in. It has cameras, NFC, and all that jazz. There’s lots of software features to get meetings working, and to share content after the meeting (think of it as automated minutes). And it’s Windows 10.

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Windows Holographic is presented via a video. It appears to be one of those concepts that will not appear. MSFT used to make these videos all the time. It’s based on some glasses that super-impose images on the real world. Great concept. Not unimaginable because there are phone apps that do this sort of thing.

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Holographic APIs are in Windows 10 on all devices.

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Project HoloLens’ key achievement—realistic holograms—works by tricking your brain into seeing light as matter. “Ultimately, you know, you perceive the world because of light,”

They do some live demos. This stuff is amazing looking. We see a person pointing at mid-air, but we also see her view of stuff that’s imposed on her view of the world by the glasses.

Satya Nadella comes out to talk about Windows 10 and HoloLens.

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They want people to move from needing Windows, to wanting Windows, to loving Windows. They’re being very realistic about the position that Ballmer has navigated the company to. Service, mobility, and cross-platform are Satya’s new mantra for 2015.

He says “Windows as a service”. Customers will get a continuous stream of innovation. There will be a focus on mobility of experiences – enabled by one OS. Windows will continue to be the best place for Microsoft experiences. But MSFT will have services everywhere.

Myerson is back out. The media will get to try NASA mars explorer, Skype and Minecraft on HoloLens. He also says “Windows as a Service”.

Here is a blog post by Terry Myerson summarizing the announcements.

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Microsoft News – 20 January 2015

I’ve let the news build up a little bit. I think the holiday lull is starting to lift.

Hyper-V

Windows Server

Windows Client

  • Windows 10: What We Know So Far: I’ll give a hoot about Cortana when it works outside of 4 or so countries. Microsoft should either fix that limitation or move the developers to something more important than a gadget feature.

System Center

Azure

Office 365

Intune

Events

  • #GlobalAzure Bootcamp 2015: The 2015 #GlobalAzure Bootcamp kicks off on April 25th and you can participate and organize a location too!

Miscellaneous

Microsoft News – 6 January 2015

A few little nuggets to get you back in the swing of things. And yes, I have completely ignored the US-only version 1.2 Azure Pricing Tool that suffers from “The Curse of Zune”.

Hyper-V

Windows Server

System Center

Windows Client

Azure

Microsoft News – 12 December 2014

It’s December, the month when Microsoft employees normally head away for a long vacation and nothing much happens. Or so we thought. Azure went wild last night, releasing loads of new features either into preview or GA. Oh yeah, loads of December updates from Microsoft have problems.

Windows Client

System Center Virtual Machine Manager

Azure

Miscellaneous

Microsoft News – 5 December 2014

It’s December, and not much happens then in the world of Microsoft. However, we do have GA of Azure RemoteApp (RDS in the cloud) on the 11th!

Windows Server

Windows Client

Azure

Intune

Microsoft News – 24 November 2014

It’s been a slow few news days in the Microsoft world. Stuff I’m not linking to: the infinitely linked webcasts on mobility management and the Reign malware infecting computers in Ireland, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.

Windows Server

Windows Client

Azure

Office 365

Miscellaneous

Microsoft News – 17 November 2014

I’ve had a crazy few weeks with TechEd Europe 2014, followed by the MVP Summit, followed by a week of events and catchup at work. Today, I’ve finally gotten to go through my news feeds. There is a LOT of Azure stuff from TEE14.

Hyper-V

Windows Server

System Center

Windows Client

  • Windows 10 – Making Deployment Easier: Using an in-place upgrade instead of the traditional wipe-and-load approach that organizations have historically used to deploy new Windows versions. This upgrade process is designed to preserve the apps, data, and configuration from the existing Windows installation, taking care to put things back the way they need to be after Windows 10 has been installed on the system. And support for traditional deployment tools.
  • Windows 10 – Manageability Choices: Ensuring that Windows works better when using Active Directory and Azure Active Directory together. When connecting the two, users can automatically be signed-in to cloud-based services like Office 365, Microsoft Intune, and the Windows Store, even when logging in to their machine using Active Directory accounts. For users, this will mean no longer needing to remember additional user IDs or passwords.

Azure

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ASR SAN replication topology

Office 365

Intune

Operational Insights

Licensing

TEE14 – Keynote

Welcome to TechEd Europe 2014, blogged live to you by me from Barcelona, Spain. It’s early, I got in to near of the front of the hall, and the crowd is streaming in as a DJ Joey Snow mixes.

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The stage is lit blue and purple, with the press sitting front and centre.

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The crowd is awaiting the show to start.

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Cameras are rolling.

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And here we go ….

Alex Zander VP of Azure comes out. He starts on the pitch about the number of devices. The number of connected devices now outnumbers the number of humans on the planet. This brings up IoT. Here comes mobile-first, cloud-first.

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What are Microsoft enabling in enterprise devices to expand your digital work and personal lives?

Here comes Joe Belfiore to talk about Windows 10 in the Enterprise.

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1) Windows 10 delivers a single platform across a wide range of devices to ensure your investment covers a wide array of devices

2) Provide users with a platform that they will love to use.

3) Provide protection against modern security threats.

4) A way to manage all devices in a way that makes sense for businesses

Breadth of Devices

This covers everything from sensors in a jet plan to PCs, to tablets, to phones, to giant computing systems.

Love to Use

Interesting topic: Windows 8 has some “mixed response”. Customer satisfaction for keyboard/mouse users of Windows 8 was lower than that for touch users. Now they are making non-touch and emphasis point.

They have focused on that large group of Windows 7 users on classic PCs. The Start Menu is shown. Search is now a part of the Start Menu and is shown – this includes web searches so they are adding value to “Windows 7 features”. Windows 8 Live Tiles are added to the familiar start menu – adding value to familiar features. So this isn’t a big disruptive change for users – it’s more evolutionary.

Live Tiles add personalisation to a work environment – to make Windows more enjoyable for users.

Now he starts on the apps and the store. Today, they are not being used as much as MSFT would like because “the apps behave so differently”. Apps of all kinds are in the start menu and launch in Windows that run on the desktop.

And then he gets a big round of applause for CTRL+V at the command prompt:

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Two more power user features coming in the next flight of Windows Insiders releases.

He has a multiple monitors display set up. Right now you cannot snap a window to the joining edge of a multi-monitor display. But Snap in Windows 10 allows you to snap a window to the “join”.

Now he moves over to the Surface Pro. Touchpads are all differently by the OEMs. MSFT are adding their own multi touch gestures on Windows 10 for the touchpad. 3 finger up/down hides/reveals all windows. Left/right does alt-tab with 3 finger swipe.

End user/consumer stuff will come in the new year. Then he shows the Continuum UI for hybrid devices (see previous posts).

Protecting Corporate Data

IT can control the PC’s apps that are used on the corporate network – allegedly.

Demo: Windows 10 PC that the user logs into. The company authorizes some apps to use company data and appear in the Start Menu. The user can also run non-authorized apps (including 3rd party). When she hits save as in Word she has Personal and Company stores that she can see. The user cannot save company data into a non-corporate store. For example, she cannot paste from Word (company app) into Twitter (non-company app). Policy allows a user override … assuming that the user enters a reason, and this goes into an audit log that IT is managing.

You’ll see this in Windows Phone too – one OS, remember?

Protecting User ID

Lots MSFT thinks they can do to protect against modern security threats. Today you can do 2 factor authentication but it’s cumbersome to deploy. They are going to enable cheaper two factor auth and fingerprint biometrics.

They user the Windows Phone as a second factor. When you log into the PC, the phone prompts you to enter a pin on the phone via Bluetooth. Do that, and now your log in on the PC is completed. No additional devices – just the company phone that you might have been buying anyway.Demo was done with Windows Phone.

Windows 10 Management for continuous Innovation

Improving the app store so you can use it to deploy your own or your licensed s/w. Hmm, SCCM? You’ll have a choice of GPO or MDM to manage all kinds of devices – “it’s your choice” – MSFT will faciliate 3rd party MDM.

Volume License support is coming via license claim and reuse in the Store. No MSA is required to use the Store infrastructure in the future. You can set up your own company store to manage your licensing.

Managed in-place upgrades are coming. They are ending the era of wipe and reload. Making OOBE more user friendly in the biz: a user gets a PC, goes through OOBE and corporate policy will be applied. There’s a “my organization owns it” option in OOBE. There’s a sign-in (looks like workplace join) dialog and policy is then applied accordingly. There will be 2 factor auth via Admin managed SMS. Now policy and pre-assigned apps are deployed. Custom data protection, authentication, security policy, etc are all deployed.

This is like a merger of SCCM and AD GPO into a cloud-based solution. I like the message. Lets see what the final product looks like.

Cloud

Back to Alex Zander again to talk cloud. Let’s watch the crowd to see what happens to them. It didn’t go well in Houston in May.

Asked to store more data and increase agility, security, and data privacy. Costs must be reduced while increasing flexibility for everyone. The pace of innovation is advancing at a dizzying rate. Businesses that adapt to this will thrive. Right now, SMEs are doing this.

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MSFT cloud is more than Azure and O365. It’s also on-premises and with partner hosting companies. Three USPs to the cloud OS:

  • Hybrid
  • Enterprise grade
  • Hyper-scale

Key investments in Windows Server vNext in software-defined everything, such as the new Network Controller. This can run your software-defined networking.

Many are coming off of W2003 and are looking for new features, etc. MSFT wants to make that seamless: www.microsoft.com/ws2003eos.

A way to get started with the cloud is to just connect and extend functionalities using hybrid solutions, such as Azure Site Recovery Services for DR in the cloud.

Announcing: Azure Operational Insights. Install an agent on existing on-premises machines and start to log information into th cloud to do deep insights on how things are running and visualize that data. There are security, capacity planning and change management insight packs. You can do a fast search and fix incidents. See System Center Advisor *cough*

Bring Azure to your on-premises data centre. This is Windows Azure Pack (WAP). You get the same skin as Azure, powered by the same hypervisor (Hyper-V) and System Center.

Jeff Woolsey comes out to talk new stuff.

Storage Replica: Storage replication, storage agnostic, built into the box. Do replication between clusters or stretch clusters between sites.  Demo: 2 notes in NY and 2 nodes in NJ. Seemless failover with no data loss thanks to synchronous replication. A cloud witness gives you quorum with a virtual witness site. Doesn’t require SANs and it woks with standalone servers. SIMPLE to set up.

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System Center Advisor has come a long way:

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Capacity planning allows you to project future usage based on empirical data and usage. Lots of information presented in a nice layout with lots of graphs. All powered by search. You can create personalized dashboards.

Manage your infrastructure using WAP to create Azure consistent clouds on premises using Windows Server and System Center.

Back to Alex Zander. He’s now going to pitch CPS. This is MSFT sold hardware running pre-packaged on-premises cloud, based on Dell h/w with lots of custom work done on drivers and firmware. Only Fortune 100’s need apply.

Half of the Microsoft hosting partners running the Cloud OS are in Europe.

On to Hyper-Scale. Over the last few decades, the industry is defined by the scarcity of resources: we are always struggling to find more, squeeze in more, etc. What if that was flipped on its head and we could use a hyper scale cloud with effectivly infinite resources.

Australia went live yesterday – now there are 19 Azure regions. The immense scale of Azure makes them cheaper and we can deploy cheaper “infrastructure” and services. Over 30 trillion storage objects in Azure. Over 1.2 million SQL DBs. Over 140m WAAD users.

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Reminder of the G series of large memory VMs – the largest available on the public market. Intended for data processing. Also announced durable SSD storage in Azume Premium Storage with 50K IOPS with <1 MS read latency. Intended for workloads that might have been on bare metal.

Azure Batch preview is a job scheduling service in the cloud at a massive scale. Rich API and simple portal. Do batch jobs more quickly with massive elastic compute scale. You might use it for batch scale our and in on a scheduled basis to reduce VM costs.

1/5 of VMs in Azure are running Linux. CoreOS is supported now – a containerized tiny Linux OS.

Mark Russinovich, CTO and Azure, comes out to demo Azure Batch. He demos an open source 3d rendering app called Blender. He has a basic model that he will ray trace to make complete. he shows it before batch and it’s like watching paint dry. Now he adds a plug in to submit work to Azure Batch. How many VM instances you want are entered ina  dialog. He uses 8 x A8 compute intensive VMs with 40 GBps Infiniband networking. submits the job and now he can track the job status via the plugin. The rendering accelerates. We get a nice picture. He compares with the non-optimized job and it’s barely got started.

He now starts to talk about Docker containers on CoreOS. Docker is normally managed from Linux We see Docker management from Windows for the first time:

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He manages containers running in a Ubuntu VM. He creates a wordpress site from Windows, via the CoreOS management host, running in a container on the Ubuntu VM. Takes about 1 second to fire up.

Now he moves on to premium storage. There are 3 VMs, one on standard storage. IOMETER running in the VM to stress test the IOPS of the VM. Hits 500-600 IOPS (min guarantee is 500). The second is a D-Series VM with premium storage. Same test gives 4082 IOPS (single premium disk). 3rd VM has 16 disks on premium storage and they’re striped. Appears as 16 TB volume. IOMETER gives 61623 IOPS.

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Microsoft are the only big 3 cloud vendor with enterprise grade, hyper scale, and hybrid cloud. Gartner has Microsoft as the leading cloud vendor in 4 key areas:

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Amazon only has 12 MPLS WAN networked locations for hybrid cloud. Google has none.

Azure Marketplace offers ahuge collection of partner provided and curated VM services. See names like Kemp, Oracle, SAP, IBM, Riverbed, Dell, Symantec, Kaspersky, Barracuda, and many more.

Enterprise Productivity

Users expect to be connected from anywhere with access to resources with no IT-created complications. Workers coming into the workforce work very differently than my generation. Touch, connectivity, collaboration, discoverability of information are their norm. BYOD .. that’s a cultural thing that affects the USA more, according to IDC.

We go back to device management, applications, and identity.

Some old info here on MDM. Sleepy time.

New Windows Intune updates arriving in the coming months. Manage Office mobile apps, MDM for Office 365 so you can manage docs and email and do selective wipe of O365 data on lost devices.

Office 365

Julia White is out to demo. She shows the new Azure AD Connect Preview tool for linking on-premises AD to WAAD. Goal is to simplify a previous complicated process.

Azure AD app proxy allows you to bring all apps into a single control plane. She has a Sharepoint on-prem app that she adds to Azure AD. Users now go to one place for authentication and authorization. Is AD MOVING (not just extending) to the cloud? User logs into the app via an iDevice.

Feedback on Office for iPad is that IT wants to manage those apps and corporate data. Intune will enable this in near future. White sets up a configuration policy. Can set up so managed apps can only copy/paste to other managed apps. Can manage deployment of managed apps. Make available the app out from the admin portal. Back to the iPad. Runs Ourlook. There’s an email with an Excel attachment and opens that. The only app possible in the selection is Excel. That’s the only managed spread sheet tool so the unmanged ones are not available. Tries to copy/paste into the Apple email tool – cannot. But can paste into Word because it is managed.

There’s a new O365 SDK for iPad apps. Devs can reach into O35 data from the Apple tablet.

MSFT is the only global provider to be approved for Article 29 pan European data privacy. O365 data is encrypted at rest. DLP is a feature of the E3 plan that allows you to protect against data leakage. Users can see it in action and understand the purpose of it – therefore no excuse for trying to work around it.

Brings up a report to see amount of overrides on opt-in DLP policy. Too high, so she decides to change the policy. There’s a credit card DLP policy that’s being overriden. Modifies it, and adds an action for overrides. Adds and RMS policy to disable forwards when the policy is overridden. If it’s overriden, a notification can be sent to auditors.

Creates a new email with an attachment. Straight away Office detects the DLP rule and notifies the user. The user overrides. The recipient gets the doc in an email – RMS prevents snipit, forward, print, etc. os the credit card details are secure.

That’s a wrap, folks!

 

Microsoft News – 23 October 2014

It’s the calm before the storm of announcements from TechEd Europe 2014.

Window Server

Desktop

Azure

Events