Microsoft buys LinkedIn for $26 Billion

Microsoft has just announced that they are buying LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion.  Jeff Weiner will remain as CEO, reporting to Satya Nadella.

Why is LinkedIn attractive to Microsoft – it has 400+ million professionals as members worldwide, the perfect audience for marketing Office 365, Dynamics, and Azure.

“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Nadella said. “Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet.”

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Microsoft’s Cloud Investments are Paying Off in Massive Customer Growth

Microsoft’s latest financial results were published for the second fiscal quarter and they show their investments in the cloud are paying off with massive growth numbers for Azure and Office 365.

Microsoft’s cloud business is growing at 140% year over year growth and while they are a clear #2 to Amazon AWS, they are catching up (AWS is only growing at a rate of 69%).  Office 365 revenue grew by 70% and Dynamics CRM Online doubled the number of seats year over year.

Microsoft is now projecting an annualized run rate of $9.4 billion for cloud revenue, up from just last quarter’s projection of $8.2 billion.

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Informatica Taken Private with Microsoft and SalesForce as Strategic Investors

Informatica has been taken private in a $5.3 billion deal with two key strategic investors: Microsoft and SalesForce.

Informatica has been a partner with Microsoft for some time now, positioning itself as the agnostic cloud integration tool that can support ETL and integration processes from a variety of on premise and cloud based data repositories.

The Informatica Cloud Secure Agent is a lightweight program running on premises or on Azure enabling secure integration between Azure and your on- premises applications and databases, cloud applications and other data sources. Data is not staged in Informatica Cloud. Instead, a direct connection is established between the Secure Agent and Azure. Informatica Cloud can also be used for bi-directional data integration between on-premises source and target end points.

SalesForce and Microsoft also have partnerships on multiple fronts including integration of SalesForce and Outlook, Power BI and Excel Integration with SalesForce, and SSO integration through Azure AD Premium.

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New Microsoft Surface Hub Announced–Interactive White Board Powered by Windows 10

Microsoft has just announced the Microsoft Surface Hub, a new device designed to replace your white board with a fully interactive and touch enabled screen.  Powered by Windows 10, the device will be an 84 inch 4K display with built in touch support and a high performance screen. 

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The Surface Hub leverages Microsoft’s investments in collaboration technology with built in OneNote, Skype, and connectivity driven through WiFi.  Offices have had video conferencing and interactive white boards for many years, but have typically required expensive proprietary networks and hardware to make them work effectively. 

It will be interesting to see the performance of the video in particular.  Lync running over Internet is somewhat variable performance running as a postage stamp video on my laptop – I wonder how an 84 inch 4K video stream will perform without dedicated networks between locations. 

The coolest part of the device is that it is developer friendly – Microsoft has created a new surface to build applications.  These applications could be specifically designed for the Surface Hub or be universal apps that scale up and down from deployment on your cell phone all the way up to a Surface Hub screen size. 

For those of us building SharePoint sites, applications and apps this also creates some new possibilities for deploying team collaboration portals that can be leveraged in a team collaboration context.

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Migrating WordPress to Azure SQL from MySQL

As www.microsoftTrends.com traffic grows, we have been making some changes to the underlying infrastructure in Microsoft Azure and doing some performance tests against the environment.  The goal in all cases is to run this blog as cheaply as possible by limiting the footprint while allowing for lots of increased traffic.

One of the key changes we have decided was to migrate the database from MySQL to Azure SQL.  The primary reason for this is that the bundled free version of MySQL is limited to 4 connections.  As my blog was increasing traffic, I was finding that the connection limit was being overwhelmed and then the blog was generating errors connecting to the database.

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There is also a limitation on how many MySQL databases you can have – with Azure Web Sites you are limited to a single free database. 

If you can run using Azure SQL, you can have a free 20 MB database with any Azure Web Sites.  This option is technically a “retired” plan (e.g. it will be unavailable in September, 2015) but at that time I can upgrade to Basic which provides me a 2 GB database for $6 / month or go crazy and get a 250 GB standard database starting at $16 / month.

In comparison, ClearDB’s “Bronze” package only gives me a 1 GB database and maxes out at 15 connections.  SQL Server in comparison has no limitations on connections.

Migration of the site was pretty simple – I created a new WordPress site using the Brandoo WordPress plugin.  The Brandoo WordPress plugin allows you to run WordPress through an adapter that translates the calls to a standard SQL database instead of MySQL. 

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Once created, I had a standard WordPress site.  I reinstalled all the plugins, themes, and settings from the existing site manually and then did an import of all the content from the existing site.  I then ran some performance tests against the site to see how the site would perform under load (the results are posted here).

Once up and running, I simply switched my domain to the new site and we were up and running!

So far, I haven’t seen any issues other than the web site seems to consume more memory than the old WordPress site.

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This means that I cannot run the site under a single shared instance – I need at least two just to have enough memory quota to keep the site running.  I had moved to two shared instances with the previous site because it was just under the quota limit and occasionally would go over the 512 MB instance quota and kill the site.  So far, the site performs well and runs comfortably within two shared instances using the 1024 MB memory usage limit.

Tweet me your feedback at @microsoftrend – let me know what your experience is as a consumer of the web site!

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If You Are Running WordPress on Azure, Turn on Photon!

Automattic, the company that maintains WordPress, also maintains a widely used plugin called Jetpack.  Within Jetpack, there is a feature called Photon that you can activate that automatically migrates all of your images to WordPress.com’s content delivery network.

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With that one click, all of your images are now served from a free CDN that will speed up performance world wide and offload traffic from your Azure Web Site subscription.
  For those of you running large scale or “premium” WordPress sites on Azure, this may be one way to avoid having to scale up your hosting plan in order to maintain performance around the world. 

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Live Media Streaming Now Available through Azure Media Services

Microsoft has announced the general availability of Live Media Streaming services through its Azure Media Services platform.  This is the same service used to stream professional broadcast streams such as NBC Sports, the Olympics and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

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For detailed pricing, check out the updated Media Services pricing page.

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