While the cloud is metaphorically up high and out of reach, Microsoft is doing its best to make its Azure cloud as accessible and grounded as possible. At Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Fla., the company announced that the on-premises version of Microsoft Azure Stack is shipping now. Azure Stack is a hybrid cloud platform that delivers Azure services from within a business’s own data center. That proximity makes for improved connectivity in edge and disconnected environments, and provides flexibility for meeting specific security and compliance requirements.
Azure Stack allows organizations to build and deploy apps using the same APIs, tools and experiences available in the Azure cloud. With Azure Stack, a migration from SQL Server databases to Azure SQL comes complete with a discounted license rate that lets customers maximize existing license investments.
One of the main concerns with shifting from on-premises to cloud-based infrastructure has to do with managing costs. To help IT leaders get a better handle on how much they’re spending in the cloud — and what they’re spending it on — Azure Cost Management services by Cloudyn is here. According to Microsoft, this tool will help manage and optimize cloud spend and offer a single, unified view across multicloud environments. On the security front, Azure Security Center has been enhanced with integrated security abilities, with an eye toward decreasing vulnerabilities while strengthening threat protection, as well as extending to secure hybrid workloads.
Developers have reason to rejoice about Azure’s future as well since Microsoft revealed the integration of its Azure Cosmos DB database service and Azure Functions. The changes let developers write apps with just a few lines of code, boosting productivity by allowing them to innovate faster in response to IoT sensor traffic, database changes and more.
Maintaining a Healthy Cloud Environment Is No Sweat
Microsoft Azure also has a new planned maintenance experience that will provide businesses with more control, better communication and increased visibility. Companies will have the option to proactively redeploy virtual machines on the company’s schedule within a predetermined window, so that the maintenance takes place when the organization wants it.
Another part of the new and improved maintenance experience is the ability to create log-based alerts. With Azure Monitor Notifications, IT workers can add multiple email recipients to maintenance alerts; receive SMS messages; and configure webhooks, which integrate with third-party software to notify users about upcoming maintenance, says Ziv Rafalovich, principal program manager for Azure Compute.
“We recently introduced Azure Service Health in the Azure Portal, which provides you planned maintenance information at the VM level,” Rafalovich noted on Azure’s blog. “Additionally, we introduced Scheduled Events, which surfaces information, including upcoming planned maintenance, via REST API in the VM. You can use this capability as part of maintenance preparation. Lastly you can view upcoming maintenance information via PowerShell and CLI.”
Read more articles from BizTech coverage of Microsoft Ignite 2017 here.