Azure File Storage Now in General Availability

Azure File Storage is now available as a production quality service.   Azure File Storage is a fully managed file share service that builds on top of Azure Table Storage and Azure Blob Storage to provide a fully encrypted, mountable and managed file share. 

Key scenarios include migrating existing applications to the cloud which are dependent on SMB file shares.  Azure file storage looks like a regular file share to an on premise application so your existing legacy applications could still run on premise while storing large files in the cloud.

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Pricing for the service is here.

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Exchange Server 2016 Now Available

Microsoft has released Exchange Server 2016.  It is now available for download here.  As with most of Microsoft’s 2016 products, Exchange Server provides better integration with Office 365 and cloud driven features that have evolved within Office 365 and are now available on premise.

Key improvements to Exchange 2013 include:

  • Support for attachments that are links to SharePoint sites or One Drive libraries instead of as mail attachments.

  • Updated Outlook web experience (largely borrowed from the Outlook experience in Office 365)

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  • Improved search and e-discovery including search suggestions, people search, refiners, etc.
  • Support for Add-ins
  • Technical improvements in the architecture to simplify management and improve availability.

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Microsoft Opens Its Doors to Machine Learning Startups

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Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Seattle is now accepting applications for its Machine Learning Accelerator program which provides a number of free benefits to successful applicants, including:

  • Access to Microsoft facilities
  • Introductions to Microsoft’s customers

  • Connections to industry mentors
  • Access to Microsoft’s Machine Learning engineering team
  • $25K no-strings attached grant
  • $500K Azure credits

About 10 to 15 organizations will be selected in December for the program.  More details can be found here.

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Recognize Your Co-Workers With New Delve Praise

Coming soon to your Office 365 tenant (currently rolling out to US First Release customers) is new functionality for recognizing your co-workers through Delve. 

With the new Praise feature in Delve, you are now able to send publicly viewable praise to your colleagues. In addition, an email is sent to their manager to make them aware of the individual’s efforts. The praise appears in Delve on the recipient’s profile, and colleagues can click Like to increase the recognition. We know users will appreciate its ease of use and companies will benefit from the power of it being used.

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Microsoft Unveils Internet of Things Suite

Microsoft this week announced a number of new details about the Internet of Things Suite.  Leveraging and bundling some existing Azure services such as Streaming Analytics, Storage, Power BI, and Azure ML, Microsoft IoT Suite combines these into some specific scenarios for managing devices and sensors through the cloud. 

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The IoT Suite bundles these services into a comprehensive IoT architecture for managing millions of messages coming from devices and sensors in the field.

IoT solution architecture

In addition, the new IoT hub provides certified connections to popular hardware partners such as Intel, Rasberry PI, Freescale, Texas Instruments, etc. who are building hardware sensors.  These partners have certified that their devices can send data through to Azure.

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The preconfigured solutions are a way for businesses to connect the myriad of Azure cloud services into specific scenarios for solving common problems.  The current list of specific scenarios are:

Remote Monitoring

Remote Monitoring preconfigured solution architecture

Predictive Maintenance

Anomaly Detection

Expect more of these scenarios to be developed over time as part of the IoT Suite offering.

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