Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

Microsoft organisational changes from 1 February 2017.

January 11th, 2017

Microsoft is combining its Small and Mid-Market Solutions & Partners (SMS&P) and Enterprise Partner Group (EPG) business units in an attempt to streamline business processes. The changes, which will take effect from February 1, will affect its sales, partner, and services teams, and will see both units come together as one under its Worldwide Commercial Business, led by executive vice-president, Judson Althoff. Corporate vice-president of mid-market solutions and partners, Chris Weber, will lead the combined business.

This seems to echo former CEO Steve Ballmer’s 2013 One Microsoft plan. No layoffs are expected

In Australia, Mark Leigh runs the SMS&P business after David Gage resigned from the role. As for its local EPG business, the head of the unit is yet to be filled as Steven Worrall was given the managing director title after Pip Marlow left the company. However, how these changes will affect Microsoft Australia and New Zealand are yet to be determined.

This move follows the recent departure of then Microsoft chief operating officer, Kevin Turner, whose role was not replaced and was split amongst five senior executives including Althof. As part of that restructure, Althoff was handed the Worldwide Commercial Business, focusing on the Enterprise and Partner Group, Public Sector, Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners, the Developer Experience team, and services.

The company restructure also sees the creation of a new One Commercial Partner business, which combines various partner teams within Microsoft; a unit called Microsoft Digital, which is expected to grow Microsoft’s cloud division; and the merger of its Worldwide Public Sector and Industry businesses. it will be led by former Salesforce vice president and Microsoft’s current Corporate Vice President of Enterprise Partner Ecosystem, Ron Huddleston. The new group called Microsoft Digital will push Microsoft’s current customers and partners to use the company’s cloud programs. Anand Eswaran, corporate vice president of Microsoft Services, will lead that group.

Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Public Sector Toni Townes-Whitley will lead a combined group comprising Microsoft’s Worldwide Public Sector and Industry Businesses

Jeff Teper, who was Microsoft’s corporate vice president of corporate strategy, announced on Twitter last week he now leads the company’s OneDrive and SharePoint teams. It’s a familiar role, as Teper led the group that first built SharePoint for its 2001 launch. The move seems to be the latest to make room for Kurt DelBene, who was brought back to the executive team after retiring in 2013 to help the U.S. government fix the healthcare.gov website. DelBene assumed a new title as executive vice president of corporate strategy and planning in April. (Soon after, Eric Rudder, executive vice president of advanced strategy, and Mark Penn, executive vice president of advertising and strategy, announced they would be leaving Microsoft.)

David Treadwell, a longtime Microsoft executive who oversaw the Windows engineering team, is also on the move. He’s taking an unidentified role in the Cloud and Enterprise group. Treadwell told staff he was reluctant to leave the Windows team, but “when the CEO calls, well, you take that call.”

According to Microsoft’s announcement, Kim Akers and the ISV team, Victor Morales and the Enterprise Partner team, and Gavriella Schuster and the WPG team will all be moving into One Commercial Partner.

Ransomware was on the rise throughout 2016.

January 10th, 2017

49% of businesses fell victim to cyber ransom attacks in 2016

Ransom is the top motivation behind cyberattacks, – Radware’s Global Application and Network Security Report 2016-2017
The report listed five cybersecurity predictions for 2017:
1. IoT will become an even larger risk. The Mirai IoT Botnet code is available to the public, making it more likely that cyber criminals of all experience levels are already strengthening their capabilities. In 2017, exponentially more devices are expected to become targeted and enslaved into IoT botnets. IoT device manufacturers will have to face the issue of securing their devices before they are brought to market, as botnet attacks from these devices can generate large-scale attacks that easily exceed 1 Tbps.
2. Ransomware attacks will continue to grow. These attacks will target phones, laptops, and company computers, and will likely take aim at healthcare devices such as defibrillators in the future, the press release stated.
3. Permanent Denial of Service (PDoS) attacks on data centers and IoT operations will rise. PDoS attacks, sometimes called “phlashing,” damage a system to the degree that it requires hardware replacement or reinstallation. These attacks are not new, but Radware predicts they are likely to become more pervasive in 2017 with the plethora of personal devices on the market.
4. Telephony DoS (TDoS) will become more sophisticated. These attacks, which cut off communications in a crisis, could impede first responders’ situational awareness, exacerbate suffering and pain, and potentially increase loss of life.
5. Public transportation system attacks will rise. As cars, trains, and planes become more automated, they also become more vulnerable to hackers, Radware stated.

To avoid ransomware attacks and other cyber threats: keep software up to date, back up all information every day to a secure, offsite location (e.g. Azure cloud back up), segment your network, performing penetration testing, train staff on cyber security practices.
Ensure passwords are strong and are regularly updated
Ensure you have deployed appropriate anti virus / anti-malware tools.
Test your back up and restore periodically.
Ensure your support contracts are up to date.
Don’t forget your hardware e.g. out of date protocols on routers may be targets for hackers.
If you have large complex networks and critical data and up-time requirements, then consider ethical-hacking penetration testing.
Managed services solutions can monitor your networks and services to ensure critical hardware and services are functioning.

Azure – what is it exactly?

January 8th, 2017

You may have recently seen a television commercial for “The Microsoft Cloud,” which featured Healthcare, Cancer Research, and Cybercrime. So, what does this have to do with Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft Azure is the Microsoft product name for the Microsoft Cloud. The names are used synonymously in the technical industry.

The Cloud digital transformational shift, question remains, “What is Azure, and for whom is it meant?”

Azure was announced in October 2008 and released on February 2010 as Windows Azure, and was then renamed to Microsoft Azure in March 2014.

Azure is a cloud computing platform plus, the underlying infrastructure and management services created by Microsoft to build, deploy, and manage applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers.

What Microsoft Azure Data Centers?

There are 34 interconnected Microsoft Data Regions around the world with more planned.

Microsoft describes Azure as a “growing collection of integrated cloud services, including analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage, and web.” Azure’s integrated tools, pre-built templates and managed services simplify the task of building and managing enterprise applications (apps).

Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella calls Azure, “the industry’s most complete cloud — for every business, every industry and every geography.”

The Complete Cloud

For many businesses, their first foray into leveraging cloud software as a service (SaaS) is with Microsoft Office 365, Exchange online for hosted email, or CRM online for managing business and customer relationships. However, the Azure platform is much more than just an online business software delivery platform.

Here are just a few of the things that you can do with Azure:
• Build and deploy modern, cross platform web and mobile applications.
• Store, backup and recover your data in the cloud with Azure-based disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS).
• Run your Line of Business applications on Azure.
• Run large scale compute jobs and perform powerful predictive analytics.
• Encode, store and stream audio and video at scale.
• Build intelligent products and services leveraging Internet of Things services.

Use Azure, and your partner, to rapidly build, deploy, and host solutions across a worldwide network and to create hybrid solutions which seamlessly integrate on premise existing IT with Azure.

Many leverage Azure to protect data and meet privacy standards like the new international cloud privacy standard, ISO 27018, or HIPAA.

Azure customers can quickly scale up infrastructure, just importantly, scale it down, while only paying for what they use.

Azure also supports a broad selection of operating systems, programming languages, frameworks, tools, databases and devices.

Contrary to the perception that Azure is for Windows only, nearly 1 in three Azure virtual machines are Linux.3

Widespread Adoption

More than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies rely on Azure, which offers enterprise grade SLAs on services. In addition, Microsoft is the only vendor positioned as a Leader across Gartner’s Magic Quadrants for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Application Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Cloud Storage Services for the second consecutive year.1

What is Microsoft Azure IOT

Microsoft’s powerful Azure Internet of Things Hub and tool suite has also been widely adopted for use in commercial and scientific applications to securely connect and manage Internet of Things (IoT) assets. The service processes more than two trillion IoT messages weekly.4

From broadcasting the Olympics to building massively multiplayer online games, Azure customers are doing some amazing things, and in increasing numbers. Microsoft recently revealed that the rate of Azure customer growth has accelerated to more than 120k new Azure customer subscriptions per month.4 In line with the accelerated adoption, the company is projecting an annualized commercial cloud revenue run rate of $20 Billion in 2018.3

Cloud Leadership

With Azure, Microsoft has made a huge commitment to cloud computing. Since opening its first datacenter, Microsoft has invested more than $15 billion in building its global cloud infrastructure.5 In addition, the company recently announced it would build its first Azure data center in France this year as part of a $3 billion investment to build its cloud services in Europe.6

Microsoft is quickly closing the gap in market share with IaaS provider Amazon Web Services, (AWS). While 37.1% of IT professionals surveyed indicated that Amazon AWS is their primary IaaS platform, Microsoft Azure is a close second at 28.4%, followed by Google Cloud Platform at 16.5%.7

and hot off the press…….
Microsoft isn’t building its own connected car — but it is launching a new Azure-based cloud platform for car manufacturers to use the cloud to power their own connected-car services.

The new Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform will go live as a public preview later this year.
“This is not an in-car operating system or a ‘finished product’,” Microsoft’s EVP for business development Peggy Johnson writes in this week’s announcement. “It’s a living, agile platform that starts with the cloud as the foundation and aims to address five core scenarios that our partners have told us are key priorities: predictive maintenance, improved in-car productivity, advanced navigation, customer insights and help building autonomous driving capabilities.”

Microsoft also announced that it is partnering with the Renault-Nissan Alliance to bring the new connected-car services to Renault-Nissan’s next-gen connected vehicles. The two companies were already working together on other projects before this, so it’s maybe no surprise that Renault-Nissan is Microsoft’s first partner.
Microsoft is also working with BMW to develop that company’s BMW Connected platform on top of Azure. BMW and Nissan also showed in-car integrations with Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant at CES this year, so your future car could potentially use Cortana to power its voice-enabled services. For the time being, though, it looks like these are still experiments.

Microsoft has talked about its aim to bring “intelligence” to as many of its services as possible. It has also recently opened up Cortana to third-party developers, so bringing it to its connected car platform is a logical next step (and we’re also seeing Amazon doing the same thing with Alexa, ).

Johnson also used today’s announcement to take a thinly veiled swipe at Google/Alphabet, which spun out its self-driving car unit a few weeks ago. “As you may have gathered, Microsoft is not building its own connected car,” she writes. “Instead, we want to help automakers create connected car solutions that fit seamlessly with their brands, address their customers’ unique needs, competitively differentiate their products and generate new and sustainable revenue streams.”

Year end close for your Windows operating system

December 30th, 2016

1: Upgrade applications

Update of applications should be part of a regular maintenance cycle, but its a task that sometimes falls through the cracks. Ensure that applications are always current, so as to maximize compatibility with newer hardware and to support the overall security posture of a system. Don’t head into 2017 with out-of-date software.

2: Back up data

This critical task should be performed on a regular basis to ensure that data is recoverable in the event of loss, theft, or catastrophe. If you don’t have a properly configured, automated backup scheme, then manually perform a full backup of all your data. All versions of Windows since Vista include a modern backup application built into the OS which allows backup to an external drive or to a shared folder on a network drive. Although not as robust a backup solution as some third-party offerings, it works as advertised and even allows for backups to run on a schedule.

3: Update Windows

Windows XP featured the ability to integrate systems updates automatically. Such a simple feature has continued to be streamlined into current Windows versions to assist in keeping machines patched against malware and security threats. Even so, millions of devices worldwide do not regularly receive system updates. I can’t think of a better time than the new year to develop the habit of performing system updates to protect your devices and keep them stable.

4: Clean temporary files/cache folders

With large amounts of data going back and forth online and increased reliance on web-based applications, the temporary folders and cache folders, including the cookies, that store all of this data can grow to unbelievable sizes in a short amount of time. To free up storage space—and to prevent this type of data from being used to compromise your system and/or accounts—it’s important to delete these temporary files to clean your system.

Among the many applications available that offer system cleaning utilities, CCleaner stands out as powerful and easy to use. Even the freeware version has enough capabilities to clean out all temporary folders and caches, and it can make storage space available with its handy scripts. You can set it to run upon startup, so that your system is always clean and functioning properly.

5: Update anti-malware and run a full-system scan

The popularity of Windows, makes it a magnet for security threats. An up to date malware detection system is often the only thing standing between keeping and losing your data.

Additional security protections, such as a firewall and web and email filtering should also be used. Free apps, such as Avira, Windows Defender, and Avast also rate highly, though they have a slight impact on system resources while offering excellent performance. For business look at a tool like Kapserksy.

6: Use System File Checker (SFC)

Windows files get modified both when system updates occur, and when applications get installed and upgraded. Those files can also be corrupted by malicious software or incomplete updates.

When system files aren’t as they should be, weird things will occur to your Windows installation.

To prevent Windows from acting erratically or failing to load the system and/or applications correctly, regularly run SFC—the built-in Microsoft utility to check and fix system file issues. Here’s how:
1.Launch CMD with elevated privileges.
2.Type sfc /scannow to begin the verification process for all system files. As the scan progresses, any corrupt files will automatically be corrected from the cache stored locally in the Windows directory.

7: Uninstall unused applications

We all use a variety of apps to get work accomplished. Some are small, while other are large suites. Over time some of these apps lose their viability and no longer serve their function, which presents several problems Unnecessary apps can use up resources and present security issues. If the apps are no longer being used and re also no longer supported by the developer, then there could be an even greater security risk. Close out the year by ridding yourself of these unused apps before data loss occurs.

8: Transfer Windows data from one PC to another

If you’re upgrading to a new PC or swapping out your gear, then transfer your account profile, including files & folders and settings, from your old PC to the new one. Sadly, Microsoft’s Windows Easy Transfer does not support Windows 10. However, Microsoft has a partnership with LapLink to officially provide Windows 10 support for its PCMover Express software ($14.99-29.99) to migrate data to a new Windows 10-enabled PC. The application also includes regular and enterprise editions that may be used over corporate networks and provides zero-touch support.

9: Perform a PC reset if your pc is constantly playing up/not working

From Windows 8 on, Microsoft has included recovery options to fix non-working computers, as well as adding the option to factory-reset an installation. This essentially deletes all user data, including apps, and reloads the Windows OS back to its defaults. Depending on the speed of the computer, the process will typically take two hours or so to complete.

To accomplish this, follow the steps below:
1.Go to Settings | Update & Security | Reset This PC | Get Started.
2.Choose the option Remove Everything, as the best option to fully clean the internal drive, settings, and all user data.

10: Reboot Windows to clear sleep/hibernation data

Most of us are guilty of this one on the PC We use the PC for work and when done, put it to sleep. Hardly ever do we reboot, and never shut down unless the system has become unstable or the battery runs out of power.

Each time the PC goes to sleep it stores copies of the working environment into RAM and hibernation files so that when the user wakes the system, they can resume where they left off. The problem is that the files never get flushed properly until a reboot, or shutdown. So they just sit there taking up space and potentially leaving a security vulnerability, since some system updates require a machine restart to complete properly.

11: Upgrade hardware

For those working on non-2016 Windows PCs, it may be a good time to to upgrade it by adding more RAM or swapping out a mechanical HDD for a solid-state drive. Or you consider upgrading to a larger external drive or adding some accessories, like a docking station, to boost performance.

If you choose to go the total system upgrade path, performing the tasks listed above will prepare your current PC for its new owner by ensuring that your data completely backed up and ready to be transferred to its new home and that the older equipment is in primo condition for the next user.

12. Clean up your desktop
Files on the desktop typically go into cache and eat up your memory.
consider storing all shortcuts in a folder and then put one shortcut to that on the desktop.

Learn to use all the feature

The taskbar calendar which now integrates with Windows 10’s core Calendar. Click the date and time in the right-hand side of your taskbar, the calendar that pops up includes a full look at your schedule for the day.

If you’d like to be able to just bark commands at your PC, open Cortana by clicking the search field in the taskbar and select the Notebook icon in the left-side options pane. Select Settings from the list, then simply enable the Let Cortana respond when you say “Hey Cortana” option. You’ll need an active microphone for this to work
Short cut keys

• Windows Logo Key + Ctrl + D: Use this combination to switch to a new virtual desktop. Why do you need this? Let’s say you’ve launched too many applications at the same time that you actually lose track of everything! What could be better than switching to a clean and slick desktop?
• Windows Logo Key + L: Use this combination to switch between accounts.
• Windows Logo Key + C: Use this combination to wake Cortana up in listening mode.
• Windows Logo Key + I: Use this combination to open settings panel or the co-called Control Panel.
• Win+Tab – Activates Task View (more on that later)
• Win+Q or Win+S – open up Search/Cortana in typing mode, perfect for Queries and Searches
• Win+Left or Win+Right – snap the current window to the left or right, talking up half of the screen space
• Win+Up – maximize a window
• Ctrl+Win+Left or Ctrl+Win+Right – switch to the next virtual desktop
• Ctrl+Win+D – create a new virtual desktop

Task View, is a fancier and more visual way to view all the open windows that you have. It presents windows in a grid-like arrangement versus the horizontal strip of Alt+Tab. You can group together windows for a certain topic or task. The advantage to this is that you can have, say, 10 windows open but only 4 or 5 are really visible at a time. The rest are hidden away on another virtual desktop and won’t show up on your taskbar or when you Alt+Tab. Of course, you can change that default behavior, too. Virtual Desktops are a great way to compartmentalize your activities so that you don’t get overloaded with unnecessary windows and just focus on the task at hand. Virtual Desktops don’t work in Tablet Mode. Task View, however, works as normal and is in fact the default way of switching windows (you can’t really Alt+Tab on a touchscreen).

Here’s a fun little easter egg. Create a new folder on the desktop and name it exactly as below (noting the period after “GodMode”):

GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

Once you hit Enter, the folder will change its icon and you will be presented with a folder that has a smorgasbord of settings all laid out in a single list. These are practically the entire contents of Control Panel and then some, but not the new Settings app. It might be handy to get an overview of everything there is to find as far as settings go, but you might still be better off using Search.

Offline Maps – you can now download certain maps for use even when you’re not connected to the Internet. Very handy for traveling. Just be sure to mind your storage space, as they can eat up quite a lot.

Customize the Start Menu using the “Ctrl” and “Arrow” keys to customize the size of the Menu

for many more tips look here

http://www.thewindowsclub.com/windows-10-settings

http://allbestposts.com/windows-10-tips-and-tricks/

Powershell – why?

December 19th, 2016

What is the point of PowerShell?

It handles any task that requires scripting and gives power back to the user, developer, or administrator. Power Shell is a tool that is at a very high level of abstraction, and thus can quickly provide a means of getting a task done by creating a chain of software tools without resorting to writing a compiled application.

PowerShell is an: extensible, open-source, cross-platform object-oriented scripting language that uses .NET.

It can use: COM, WMI, WS-Management and CIM to communicate with, and interact with, any Windows-based process.
It can execute scripts on either a local workstation or remotely.

It is ideal for automating all sorts of processes, and is simple enough to manage your workstation, and yet robust enough to manage SQL Azure.

It will evolve to become the built-in batch processing system in future versions of Windows.

It is important as a configuration management tool and task automation tool, and is versatile enough to be used as a general-purpose programming language.

How did PowerShell come about?

Unix inherited from its mainframe ancestors the use of the batch and its script.
The use of the script allowed UNIX to develop a group of specialized applications that did one job and did it well.
Data could be passed into an application through its standard input, and the results passed to the standard output which meant that data could be streamed like items on a conveyor belt.

It was like building repeatable processes out of Lego like blocks of code.

Scripting did more than encourage piped streams of data. It also encouraged batches and command-line configuration of machines and services. This made it easy to use Unix for servers, because all administration tasks could be scripted.

Scaling up to large groups of servers was smooth since everything was in place to allow it to happen.

Scripting also made the management of servers more precise and error-free. After the script was developed, no further work was needed. The script would do the same thing in the same order with the same result. It made operations work a lot easier.

Think tKorn Shell, with ideas from Bash shell.

Why didn’t Windows have a powerful scripting language like Korn?

Unlike the contemporary UNIX workstations, The first PCs had no pretensions to host server processes. Those were low-specification affordable personal computers and initially conquered the market previously occupied by dedicated word processors, before becoming ubiquitous with the invention of the spreadsheet.
They had the ability to run batches, but this was intended merely to ease the task of installing software. Scripting just seemed old-fashioned or best left to dos.

Microsoft DOS could and did run batches from the command processor, and autoexec.bat is still there in Windows (called AUTOEXEC.NT and located in the %SystemRoot%\system32 directory).

After MSDOS borrowed from the UNIX clone Xenix, this command processor took on some of the features of UNIX shells such as the pipe, but with limited functionality when compared to the UNIX shells.

Microsoft Windows was originally booted from the command processor, and , in later editions, it took over the tasks of the operating system and incorporated the old MSDOS command-line interface tool (shell).

The features of the batch were sufficient to allow it to do a lot of configuration, installation and software maintenance tasks. The system wasn’t encouraged or enhanced after Xenix was abandoned, but remained a powerful tool. Xenix’s replacement, Windows NT or WNT (add a letter to DEC’s VMS to guess its parent.) did not have anything new for the command processor, and inherited MSDOS’s enhanced version from MSDOS 3.3.

This Batch language still exists in the latest versions of Windows, though it is due to be deprecated. It has had quite a few enhancements over the years but essentially what came into MSDOS is still the basis of what is currently shipped. It has a major failing within a Windows environment that it cannot be used to automate all facets of GUI functionality, since this demanded at least COM automation, and some way of representing data other than text.

There have been attempts to replace the DOS batch file technology, including VBS and Windows Script Host (1998), but PowerShell is by far the most effective replacement.

Why did it take so long to get PowerShell?

Maybe because Microsoft under Bill Gates retained the vision that BASIC should remain the core language for Windows scripting and administration …

Basic scripting driving COM automation

Today the office applications still have, underlying BASIC scripting that can be controlled via COM automation. To keep batches consistent with this, the tasks done by batch scripting were to be done by Visual Basic for Applications: VBA. This was supplied with the operating system to drive all automation tasks. Wang’s Office system, similarly, was automated and scripted via Cobol!

Language -driven development and divergence

Over time each office application developed a slightly different incompatible dialect and could not be kept in sync. Visual Basic was inadequate for the task and evolved into vb.net, a somewhat comical dialect of Java. It proved to be unpopular.. VBA was never quite consistent with the Visual Basic used for building applications.

Windows Script Host

Windows Script Host was introduced as an automation and administration tool to provide automation technology, primarily for Visual Basic and JavaScript. it supported several interpretive languages such BASIC, Perl, Ruby, Tcl, JavaScript, Delphi and Python. Initially, it had security loopholes finally solved with digital signing in Windows XP. It is still installed with MS Windows and still provides a number of useful COM interfaces that can be accessed in PowerShell and any other application that can interact with COM.

Windows Script Host was, designed before .NET so it is not able to directly use the .NET library. It also does use WMI, WS-Management and CIM for administration and monitoring. It focused on manage the platform by using very low level abstractions such as complex object models, schema, and APIs. Although it was useful for systems programming it was almost unusable for the typical small, simple and incremental task that is at the heart of administration, which needs very high levels of abstraction.

Microsoft competes in the server market

Microsoft was focused on the desktop market for a long time, so maybe did not realize the scale of the problem to compete in the server market. The GUI-centric Microsoft culture and ecosystem, idea was that all configuration was a point-and-click affair. OK for one or two servers, but not so easy or error free for a server-room.

PowerShell

Due to the determination and persuasive powers of Jeffrey Snover, Microsoft belatedly woke up to the fact that it hadn’t a viable solution for the administration of a number of servers in a medium sized company.
The GUI didn’t scale, and the batch system of the command line, though useful, was stuck in mid-eighties time-warp.

Microsoft had to replace the command line; so it needed all the things it and other interactive shells had, such as aliases, wildcard matching, running groups of commands, conditional running of groups of commands and editing previous commands.
It also had to replace VBA, and to integrate easily with Windows Management Objects.
It had to take over the role of VBA embedded in applications to make automation easier.

Microsoft needed something that looked both backwards and forwards, i.e an industry standard shell backward compatible with the command Line.

PowerShell started with the POSIX standard shell of IEEE Specification 1003.2, the Korn Shell, which is also available in Windows. However, this dealt only with strings, so it had to be altered to also deal with objects so that it could access WMI, WS-Management, CIM and COM. Because it needed so much connectivity and data interchange, it had to be able to use the .NET library to process NET objects and datatypes.

So a new system also needed to understand .NET to utilize the man-years of work of providing a common object model able to describe itself, and that can be manipulated without converting either to or from text. The new scripting system had to be resolutely object-oriented.

So the new PowerShell needed the ability to use any .NET object or value.

PowerShell, was given an intuitive naming convention based on the verb-noun pair, with simple conventions such as ‘Get’ to get an object and a noun describing the object.

To replace the command line Powershell had to be better. The whole point of a command shell is that it must be convenient to type short commands into it e.g. like ‘REPL’ in Python. Powershell also needs to work with existing terse DOS command-line commands so that an expert can type in very truncated commands.

PowerShell was also to be used in scripts stored on disk and repeatedly invoked, with just a change in parameters. This also meant that it had to be easy to read, with intuitive commands and obvious program flow.

It wasn’t an easy compromise, but it was done by means of aliases. Aliases also helped to ‘transition’ users from the other shells they were using to PowerShell (For CMD.EXE it is dir, type, copy etc, for UNIX ls, cat, cp etc.) You can even define your own in Power Shall!

Powershell took an idea from.NET everything should be learnable by discovery, without needing documentation. All the objects and Cmdlets in Powershell are self-documenting in that you can use PowerShell to find out what they do, what functions can be called, and parameters.

Why is the PowerShell Pipeline Important?
The pipeline in PowerShell inherited the concept of a pipe from UNIX. The PowerShell team had to solve the problem of dealing with Windows Management Objects and Instrumentation by passing objects rather than text down the pipe.

Having done so, it found itself in possession of a radical and extraordinarily useful system. It had the means of processing objects as though they were on a conveyor belt, with the means of selecting and manipulating each one as it passed down the pipeline.

This made the code easier to understand and also helped with memory management. A long file could be passed down a pipeline, line-by line, for example, searching for text, instead of having to read the entire file into memory (you can do that too if you want, and if you have no fear of the large object stack; you have to do it if you want, for example, to order the lines). . It also meant you needed only one cmdlets for selecting things, one for sorting, one for grouping , and only one for listing things out in a table. PowerShell could do a lot in a line of code, far, far, more than C# could.

Suddenly, the task of tackling the huge range of data on the average server that one might need to know about was less frightening. It was already there, and was now easy to get at and filter.

Why is PowerShell useful?
Scripts don’t require special components.

PowerShell now has all the power of a compiled .NET language. Automating processes using the windows command line needed many existing command files to determine settings and to configure. This meant that, the developer often had to write components in a compiled language. In developing scripts, part of the time was spent making small commands. This isn’t necessary in PowerShell thanks to .NET.

PowerShell simplifies the management of hierarchical data stores. Through its provider model, PowerShell lets you manage data stores such as the registry, or a group of SQL Servers using the same techniques of specifying and navigating paths that you already use to manage files and folders.

This doesn’t turn PowerShell into a rival to C#, VB-Net, ActionScript or F#.

It is not for developing applications but for automating administrative tasks.

It is theoretically possible to write a webserver in PowerShell, or an interactive GUI using Windows Presentation Foundation but that is not its purpose.

What is PowerShell’s main use?

Traditionally, the command line was used for complex deployments. BPowerShell can work remotely on any computer in the domain, and give far more information about the computer. It quickly became the default means of deployment for Windows.

This is great for the developer. He develops his package in NuGet and can use Chocolatey to deploy it. Linux allows you to install a package with just one simple command. Chocolatey does the same, but also allows you to update and uninstall the package just as easily. A simple script can grab the latest source from Git, compile it, install it and any dependencies, and do any special configuration tasks. There are 4,511 packages you can install from the Chocolatey site. PowerShell now has its own package manager but the current incarnation isn’t as versatile as Chocolatey.

Server Administration.

The release of PowerShell was most welcomed by the server teams.
The Microsoft Exchange Server team were early adopters and used PowerShell to allow the administration of Exchange.
The Microsoft SQL Server team, and Active Directory team also followed suit.
These teams provided specialized Applets that covered all aspects of the administration of the server.

Windows Server now has the capabilities of using Hyper-V to provide a ‘private cloud’ which allows companies to allow a degree of ‘self-service’ for server resources – all driven and maintained by PowerShell

Provisioning.

Provisioning is one of the areas where PowerShell excels.

PowerShell’s DSC package allows a PowerShell script to specify the configuration of the machine being provisioned, using a declarative model in a simple standard way that is easy to maintain and to understand.

It can either ‘push’ the configuration to the machine being provisioned, or get the machine to ‘pull’ the configuration.

Chocolatey, a PowerShell script, can not only install a large range of software, but also update it or remove it.

PowerShell has a built-in system called ‘PackageManagement’ that isn’t so versatile, but which allows you to install packages from a wider variety of sources.

Use PowerShell within an application or website
As well as providing a scripting environment, PowerShell can be embedded into an application by using System.Management,Automation , so that the user of the application can extend it via scripts. You can even do this in ASP.NET

Parallelism and workflow
Although PowerShell is an interpreted dynamic language (using .NET’s DLR) , its performance is enhanced by its ability to run parallel processes and to be able to run asynchronously. It is also designed to be able to run securely on other machines, remotely, and pass data between them. All this is possible without Workflow.

Scripted processes that have complex interdependencies, need to be interruptable and robust, and that is supported by PowerShell workflow.

Workflow can be complicated, and will always be a niche technique for scripting. . it is now able to run complex workflows within a domain thereby making it possible to script even the most difficult of business processes that contain long-running tasks that require persistence and need to survive restarts and interruptions.

PowerShell uses the Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) engine. A PowerShell workflow involves the PowerShell runtime compiling the script into Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) and submitting this XAML document to the local computer’s Workflow Foundation engine for processing.

PowerShell Workflow scripting is particularly useful in high availability environments for processes such as ETL (data Extraction, Transform and Load), that potentially requiring throttling and connection pooling, and it is ideal where data must come from a number of sources and be load in a certain order.

SQL 2016 Sp1- this is a big deal – Synergy Software Systems

November 19th, 2016

In addition to a consistent programmability experience across all editions.

SQL Server 2016 SP1 also introduces all the supportability and diagnostics improvements first introduced in SQL 2014 SP2, as well as new improvements and fixes centered around performance, supportability, programmability and diagnostics based on the learnings and feedback from customers and SQL community.

SQL Server 2016 SP1 also includes all the fixes up to SQL Server 2016 RTM CU3 including Security Update MS16–136.

SQL editions have traditionally been differentiated by features- this meant that essential features for day to day database use were not present in express or standard versions. Our view is that this is not desirable and that ther is core set of features needed in all editions, and that differentiation should be more about hardware size and resource supported.

Well Sql 2016 sp1 now brings us close to that wish so its a really big deal for the SMB and mid market customer.

Once you have an application using SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition, you can just do an Edition Upgrade to Enterprise Edition to get even more scalability and performance, and take advantage of the higher license limits in Enterprise Edition. You will also get the intrinsic performance benefits that are present in Enterprise Edition.

The table compares the list of features which were only available in Enterprise edition, which are now enabled in Standard, Web, Express, and LocalDB editions with SQL Server 2016 SP1. This consistent programmatically surface area allows developers and ISVs to develop and build applications leveraging the following features which can be deployed against any edition of SQL Server installed in the customer environmen

This is a bold move by Microsoft, and should increase Standard sales, and customer satisfaction, without cannibalizing Enterprise sales. Standard Edition customers can use these features both to consolidate their codebases and, in many scenarios, build solutions that offer better performance.

There are many of new features available across all editions of SP1.
There still differences in Enterprise:

Availability features like: online operations, piecemeal restore, and fully functional Availability Groups (e.g. read-only replicas) are still Enterprise only.

Performance features like parallelism still don’t work in Express Edition (or LocalDB).

Automatic indexed view usage without NOEXPAND hints, and high-end features like hot-add memory/CPU, will continue to be available only in Enterprise.

Operational features like: Resource Governor, Extensible Key Management (EKM), and Transparent Data Encryption will remain Enterprise Edition only.

Others, like Backup Encryption, Backup Compression, and Buffer Pool Extension, will continue to work in Standard, but will still not function in Express.

SQL Server Agent is still unavailable in Express and LocalDB. As a result, , Change Data Capture will not work. Cross-server Service Broker also remains unavailable in these editions.

In-Memory OLTP and PolyBase are supported in Express, but ere unavailable in LocalDB.

Virtualization Rights haven’t changed and are still much more valuable in Enterprise Edition with Software Assurance.

Resource limits on the lower level editions remain the same. The upper memory limit in Standard Edition, is still 128 GB (while Enterprise Edition is now 24 TB).

I feel that Standard Edition is expensive enough that its memory limits should never be so dangerously close to the upper bound of a well-equipped laptop and maybe we should expect the limit to increase at least with each new version. If you when you are on Standard Edition and scale is required, then you can now use many Enterprise features across multiple Standard Edition boxes or instances, instead of trying to scale up.

All the newly introduced Trace flags with SQL Server 2016 SP1 are documented and can be found at http://aka.ms/traceflags.

SP1 contains a roll-up of solutions provided in SQL Server 2016 cumulative updates up to and including the latest Cumulative Update – CU3 and Security Update MS16–136 released on November 8th, 2016. Therefore, there is no reason to wait for SP1 CU1 to ‘catch–up‘ with SQL Server 2016 CU3 content.

The SQL Server 2016 SP1 installation may require reboot post installation

Microsoft Dynamics 365 now available in the U.A.E. – ask Synergy Software Systems

November 1st, 2016

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a suite of cloud services to help companies to accelerate their digital transformation with purpose-built apps to address specific business needs.

Dynamics 365 unifies CRM and ERP functions into applications that work smoothly together across all divisions: sales, customer service, field service, operations, financials, marketing, and project service automation. These apps can be easily and independently deployed and scaled on demand.

Start with what you need the most.

All apps are delivered through easy-to-use, mobile experiences and feature offline capabilities.  

Users can rely on Power BI, Cortana Intelligence and Azure IoT functions which are natively embedded.

In addition to that, Dynamics 365 and Office 365 are deeply integrated.  Since Dynamics 365 uses a new common data servicel, customers can extend functionality and build custom apps using PowerApps, Microsoft Flow (News: PowerApps and Flow available) as well as professional developer solutions.

To find out more call us now on 00971 43365589.

Apps Source, Power Apps, and Flow, and the release of Dynamics 365 -tomorrow!

October 31st, 2016

AppSource already has a number of apps from developers and Microsoft Partners – with many more to follow. Microsoft confirmed it was likely that even rivals like SAP would have apps on the marketplace.

Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow will reach general availability on November 1.

Corporate vice president James Phillips announced this morning via a blog post that both services will be available “around the world and in 42 languages” and will gain new integrations, more administrative tools and controls, and native use of what Microsoft is calling its Common Data Service, previously known as the common data model and related connectors and gateways. The releases coincide with the official release of the first round of Dynamics 365 apps, including the new SMB Financials package (formerly known as Project Madeira), as well as the Operations package (formerly known as AX 7) and the customer experience apps, formerly grouped together as Dynamics CRM Online.

PowerApps and Flow will be included in Dynamics 365 plans and Office 365 Enterprise, Business Premium, and Essential packages.

In addition to connectors for Dynamics 365 and Office 365, Microsoft says connectors are available or in the works for hundreds of popular business applications and database systems. And the tools will support on-premise connectors through an on-premise data gateway.

Some of the newest capabilities for PowerApps and Flow have added a level of enterprise-grade management tools that IT teams are more likely embrace, including “environments” and new AppSource tie-ins.

PowerApps introduced environments into preview last week. They are “spaces to store, manage, and share your organization’s business data, apps, and flows and help manage scale out across the enterprise.” Environments are bound to an Azure AD tenant and are bound to a datacenter’s geographic location.

There will also be an administration center for managing security, life cycle of resources, and data loss prevention policies.

Flow will also add connectors for a dozen new services in November including Bit.ly, Campfire, Cognitive Services Text Analytics, Instapaper and Pinterest, according to a Microsoft spokesperson.

PowerApps can be published as apps to the new organization gallery on Microsoft AppSource, Microsoft’s market place for line-of-business SaaS apps. With this new capability, an organization can easily share apps across all it users.

The changeover to Common Data Service will bring “improved entity modeling, better security, integration with Microsoft Office, and support for PowerApps environments,” according to Microsoft group program manager Jono Luk in a blog post last week. The changeover from CDM to CDS also required Microsoft to freeze the ability for customers to create new databases for a few days. Presumably, this freeze will lift with the general availability milestone.

In his blog post announcing the general availability of PowerApps and Flow, Phillips had this to say about the Common Data Service:
The Common Data Service stores your key business data in a secure Microsoft Azure-hosted database, organizing it in a standardized but extensible form – customer, lead, opportunity, employee, invoice, inventory item, product, task, contact, calendar and so on. This standardization makes it easy to create new applications and workflows that derive value from your data. And PowerApps, Flow and Power BI are natively aware of this common data model, making it that much easier.”

Over 160,000 users from 71,000 organizations in 145 countries have tried PowerApps and Flow since its public preview, writes Phillips.

Dynamics CRM App for Outlook was first introduced in CRM 2016. The next generation of the app—Dynamics 365 App for Outlook, which will also be available in the l release of Microsoft Dynamics 365. With the new app, you can view Dynamics 365 information about all your email recipients, link an email message to a Dynamics 365 record with one click, and quickly view your most recently used Dynamics 365 records. All this without leaving your Outlook inbox. Use the Outlook user interface you already know and do it faster than ever!
Composing the same type of email message over and over is a waste of time. Now you can take advantage of Dynamics 365 email templates so you don’t have to enter the same information over and over. When you’re composing an email message, you can also attach knowledge articles or sales literature from Dynamics 365.

It’s not just about email. Now you can also track Outlook meetings and appointments, and create Dynamics 365 activities, such as phone calls and tasks—all without leaving your inbox. Track your Outlook contacts, link them to Dynamics 365 accounts, and keep these contacts completely in sync. Do all this through the new Office add-in—you don’t have to use the old Outlook COM add-in anymore

The next generation of Dynamics 365 App for Outlook is integrated with Dynamics 365 online, as well as on-premises, whether you use Exchange online or Exchange on premises. It’s supported on Outlook for the desktop, Outlook for Mac, Outlook Web Application, and soon on the Outlook app for iPhone.

Watch this video to learn about the exciting capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 App for Outlook.
- See your Dynamics 365 data in the familiar Outlook app. Set regarding records with one click.
- Add Outlook tasks, phone calls, and appointments directly to Dynamics 365.
– Use Dynamics 365 email templates for emails that you send often.
- Brand new in the December 2016 Update for Dynamics 365—track your Outlook contacts and link them to Dynamics 365 accounts.

Financials for Office 365 – ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

October 31st, 2016

Last week, Microsoft announced AppSource – an application store for business, and the Financials for Office 365 app is one of the first to be feature. Users can log on and evaluate a whole range of apps designed for Microsoft Dynamics, Office 365, Cortana Inteligence and the Azure platform, as well as add-ons, extensions and content packages for existing apps. You can search for product type, industry, or catergory. The apps cover a diverse range of uses, from Finance and Accounting (Financials), to Sales (Linkedin Sales Navigator) and Payments (Paypal).

Financials is designed to seamlessly work with applications you use everyday, from Office 365, Dynamics CRM, Skype for Business, Power BI and more. Track exactly how your business is performing and where your funds are going with powerful real-time reporting.

Inventory Management : Know your real-time stock availabilities and movements. From single items to multiple warehouses ,it has your supply chain covered
Sales: a complete solution for sales that is flexible in a world of negotiations, discounts and credits
Purchasing:Stay ahead with purchasing strategies that help keep your business lean and agile to meet the demands of the market.
Manufacturing: Keep your processes lean while managing the fine details by accounting for multiple levels of Bill of Materials and the use of items and resources.
Fixed Assets: Know the value of your company’s fixed assets. From purchasing and selling the fixed asset, to having multiple depreciation books as well as disposal, you are able to see the changes in value of what you own.

Available subscriptions from tomorrow for ‘lite’. ‘standard’ and ‘performance editions’. For pricing plans and feature details see http://www.o365financials.com/for-business/pricing

Azure Analysis Services now in Preview

October 30th, 2016

This past week Microsoft announced Azure Analysis Services at the PASS Summit. This is the evolution of SSAS on the SQL Server platform, with the ability to now move your tabular models into Azure and run those on an as needed basis. This means that you don’t need to administer your own SSAS instance, and can connect to cloud and on-premise data sources for your data analysis needs.

Since SQL Server has moved its codebase to primary development in Azure and a periodic release on-premise, this is a good sign that Analysis Services will continue to receive investment in the future. There are restrictions e.g. no multidimensional models so to test out SSAS in Azure, understand that limitation and that this is still in preview. Expect this platform to evolve and update at least quarterly, with new features and fewer restrictions over time. You can get started quickly.

As with other services in Azure, I both like and dislike some things. It’s great that the platform evolves and changes quickly, but I’d like to know which release of Azure Analysis Services I’m using. Not every evolution is helpful to all, and some will break systems, so knowing there has been a change or a new release can dramatically speed up troubleshooting. When the version of the Azure system changes, we know then to look at Azure release notes rather than our own code.

SSAS has still not become as popular than we might have expected 17 years ago, . SSAS is still alive and well, moving into the cloud and receiving development resources. . There are problem domains that are addressed well by SSAS and the ability to use the technology as an on-demand platform, without adding additional administrative and hardware resources is welcome.

A fundamental conceptual understanding of SSAS and MDX still escapes most people. Nowadays we have many e tools that can read data from SSAS instances and help users query data. That means we need fewer people and less time to design and to maintain SSAS instances, and also that we can easily create and destroy those as needed on Azure.

Insights and AI with Dynamics 365

October 13th, 2016

Microsoft is the only major CRM provider to embed external customer data, millions of key contacts, and timely, actionable insights within CRM at no additional cost. Relationship Insights, which as the name suggests gives sales people information about the status of their customer relationships at any given moment is built on the on the Cortana Intelligence Suite, which Microsoft introduced in 2015 and uses tools like sentiment analysis to check on the likelihood of the deal closing and the next best action to take.

Insights 4.0 by Insideview is included at no additional charge in all Professional and Enterprise subscriptions of Microsoft Dynamics. It offers a more streamlined, seamless user experience within the new Microsoft Dynamics 365, as well as the current version Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015.

In addition to Insights’ already robust access to more than 30 million contacts, and the intuitive new interface, Insights 4.0 adds the following features:
– New filtering capabilities to easily find and import the right contacts into CRM
Discovery Center, where users can search InsideView’s database of 12 million+ companies and add them to CRM
– Custom field mapping to allow Insights data to easily update company and contact records in Microsoft Dynamics 365.
- Social feed suppression to enable/disable social media integration.
- Social media stream customization to tailor the individual user experience.

Dynamics 365 refers to the Azure-based combination of customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) services. At the core of this solution is what Microsoft simply calls as Intelligence, which is actually constituted by advanced analytics and machine learning technologies. It powers the apps within Microsoft’s cloud service that provides a range of functions for business such as sales automation, operations and customer service.

Companies can integrate all of this data with internal metrics (KPIs) to drive automated actions based on the data. The solution includes partner data from the likes of Facebook and Trip Advisor (proving you don’t need to own an external data source to take advantage of it).

It’s been designed as a stand-alone service that can work with any of the Dynamics 365 CRM components — sales, customer service or field service — and can also work with any external CRM tool with open APIs. This last point is particularly telling because it’s giving customers who might not be using Dynamics 365 (but are using other Microsoft tools like Outlook) access to this feature.

Versium, a predictive analytics company, today announced their partnership with Microsoft to bring Versium Predict, their automated predictive analytics solution to Microsoft Dynamics 365

This integration will allow Dynamics 365 for Sales users to quickly build customized predictive models that score and prioritize leads, enabling sales and marketing to know in advance which consumers and businesses are most likely to purchase their products or services. The integration will also generate new, highly targeted prospect lists from the predictive model to drive campaigns, including email, phone, direct mail and display audiences, with increased customer conversion.

Versium Predict is designed to be seamlessly integrated into Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, allowing businesses to:
◾Quickly build powerful predictive models through an automated, on demand interface
◾Prioritize leads with the highest propensity to purchase or engage
◾Create new highly targeted prospect lists and customized audiences to support email, direct mail and online display advertising campaigns

Dynamics 365 – 1 November 16 ask Synergy Software Systems

October 12th, 2016

Microsoft is offering a first look at its new Azure-hosted Dynamics 365 service and plans to start rolling out a number of its components as of November .
This is the product that goes head-to-head with Salesforce, as well as Oracle and SAP.

Dynamics 365 is cloud software that has combined what’s known as CRM or customer relationship management software – used by salespeople to track prospects and customers (a market Salesforce leads) – with ERP or enterprise resource management software. ERP is financial, manufacturing, and supply chain management software, a market where SAP is the biggest player, followed by Oracle.

This new product is one of the main reasons that Microsoft bought LinkedIn for more than $26 billion. Dynamics 365 includes new applications that sift through data stored in Microsoft documents, the CRM/ERP system, and social media like LinkedIn to provide sales leads and business insights for marketing campaigns.

Microsoft had previously said that it plans to start a price war with the main CRM players, particularly Salesforce. Microsoft’s new subscription plans for Dynamics 365 will bundle together many popular options, rather than making a company pay for each one per user, separately


November 1, the first seven discrete Dynamics 365 applications would be on the company’s price list. Those apps will be rolling out in 135 markets and 40 languages starting on that date. Microsoft will make a preview of a new Dynamics 365 Customer Insights app that is built on top of the Cortana Intelligence Suite, available at the beginning of November, as well, officials said.

There will be two different editions of Dynamics 365: Business and Enterprise. (Unlike Office 365 andWindows 10 Microsoft will not be using the E1, E3, E5 designations with Dynamics 365, to distinguish between different offerings.)


The Business edition of Dynamics 365, aimed at companies with between 10 and 250 employees, will include Financials, Sales, and Marketing modules.

The Enterprise edition, targeted at companies with 250-plus employees, will consist of Operations, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Field Service, and Project Service Automation modules.

” …….when you add up the functionality, Microsoft is putting a lot of firepower in the hands of individual users that is based on a relatively well-known user experience: that has to be a net positive against any competitor, but particularly Salesforce, which struggles to fulfill the needs of the full enterprise, or Oracle, which is mired in older products or user experiences, or SAP, which is still transitioning from a very heavy-weight on-premise offering to a less heavyweight set of cloud offerings”
Josh Greenbaum, Principal, Enterprise Applications Consulting,

Listen to Sathya Nadella’s vision for cross platform analytics

Dynamics 365 includes built-in intelligence capabilities to help improve manufacturing and supply chain execution, make field service operations more efficient, sell more effectively and ultimately deliver exceptional customer experiences. Sentiment and intent analysis, preemptive service, relationship insights, lead and opportunity scoring, product recommendations and up-sell/cross-sell, etc, are some of the built-in intelligence capabilities included.

Microsoft has highlighted that customers can extend these built-in intelligence capabilities with independent apps that provide targeted and domain-specific intelligence. For example, Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights is a new analytics app from Microsoft that connects and analyzes data from Microsoft – and other widely used CRM, ERP, web, social and IoT sources – and applies intelligence to it to give you a 360-degree customer view with automatic suggestions to improve engagement.

Built to take full advantage of the capabilities in Power BI, Office 365, Microsoft Azure and Cortana Intelligence, with Dynamics 365 you can start small and scale on demand to deal with your biggest business challenges.

The company has also launched Relationship Insights. The service is also capably of analyzing things like sentiments, using a variety of complex data analysis and machine learning techniques. This analysis is way more important than it looks at first glance — as any well entrenched businessman can tell you — and can give you stats like the probability of closing the deal, the next best steps to take and so on.

Microsoft’s Azure and Office 365 cloud services have recently achieved Tier 3 of the Singapore cloud security standard . This improves on a Tier 1 certification awarded in late 2014 for Azure and Office 365, and makes Microsoft the first global cloud service provider to have obtained the MTCS certification across its infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings.

MTCS SS is a cloud security standard developed by the Information Technology Standards Committee (ITSC) in Singapore and published in November 2013. The objective was to help businesses understand the different cloud service providers’ (CSPs) offerings better, and as a means to drive cloud adoption by certifying the security that they offer. Tier 3 was designed for regulated organizations with specific requirements and more stringent security requirements. Industry specific regulations may be applied in addition to the baseline controls in order to supplement and address security risks and threats in high impact information systems.
Aside from MTCS, Microsoft also recently received the United States Defence Information System Agency (DISA) Level 2, Japan Financial Industry Information Systems (FISC), and New Zealand Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO).

Microsoft’s cloud portfolio is now the most trusted with 22 certifications, self-attestations and guidance framework adoptions from around the world, more than any other hyper-scale cloud platform provider.

Azure comes of age and its a lot cheaper.

October 8th, 2016

There a few high level messages that came out of the Ignite – to paraphrase Satya Nadella : We have gazillions of bytes of data now e need to make sense of it.
The second clear message is that Microsoft is bringing its technology stack together on azure
Analytics and IoT are going to be embedded everywhere with increasing options to mobilise systems
So the recent aggressive price cuts announced from 1 October are timely as are the announcmetns of new Micorsft azure centres

The Microsoft cloud is expanding further in Europe, with the company announcing plans to host Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365 in new datacenters in France, expected in 2017. The announcement adds to Microsoft’s European investment, which tops $3 billion, according to the company. The investment in France is aimed to reach companies that need to meet European data sovereignty, security, and compliance needs.

Microsoft has recently announced other additions to its cloud services in western Europe, including in the UK and Germany, where Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365 are all eventually expected to reside. The German mode announced alst month , Microsoft explained in an announcement , will be set up so that “access to customer data is controlled by a data trustee, T-Systems International, an independent German company and subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom.”
With customer data remaining in Germany under the control of a data trustee, Microsoft Cloud Germany provides a differentiated option to the Microsoft Cloud services already available across Europe, creating increased opportunities for innovation and economic growth for highly regulated partners and customers in Germany, the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The new datacenters provide infrastructure and platform services enabling a broad range of solutions from the Internet of Things to Machine Learning via locally deployed German datacenters in Magdeburg and Frankfurt.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and president Brad Smith revealed at Reading last week that the company has invested over $3 billion across Europe to date – in effect, doubling its cloud capacity in Europe in the past year. The Microsoft Cloud is now supporting European customers such as the UK Ministry of Defence, the Renault-Nissan Alliance and ZF from Germany to innovate in their industries and move their businesses to the cloud while meeting European data sovereignty, security and compliance needs.

The French datacenters will put the count of total announced datacenter regions at 36, with 30 already available.

The company also released a new book on “the importance of ensuring that the cloud is a cloud for global good,” titled, A Cloud for Global Good.

Microsoft Ventures made its official debut in late May and the fund is already building momentum with cutting-edge tech startups that enable digital transformation.

At the GeekWire Summit in Seattle, Peggy Johnson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of business development, publicly announced the list of the startups the company has backed including security technology company Team8 of Israel; machine learning company CognitiveScale of Austin, Texas; and the San Francisco-based Layer messaging technology company.

Space and environmental exploration became a reality for hundreds of youth who attended AzureCraft, a two-day community tech event held at Microsoft’s U.K. headquarters. The event brought developers and students together for a hands-on experience with a variety of technologies, including tiny, low-cost satellites called nano satellites, powered by the Internet of Things (IoT).

Effective 1st October 2016, Microsoft has lowered prices on many of it’s most popular virtual machines (VMs).
• General Purpose Instances: Prices of Dv2 series VMs will be reduced by up to 15% and new lower prices for A1 and A2 Basic VMs by up to 50%.
• Compute Optimised Instances: Prices of F series will be reduced up to 11%.
• Av2 series: In November 2016, Microsoft will introduce new A series virtual machines (Av2), with prices up to 36% lower than the A series Standard VM prices available today.

the A series VMs arean entry-level compute tier. The Dv2 series VMs are general-purpose tier, with more memory and local SSD storage than A series. F series VMs provide an even higher CPU-to-memory ratio with a lower price than the Dv2 series.

In addition to these reduced prices, for customers using Windows Server with Software Assurance, the recently announced Microsoft Azure Hybrid Use Benefit can help you run Windows Server workloads at 41% lower cost.

There is a price war when it comes to cloud services. First, Google lowered their prices, quickly followed by Amazon, then Microsoft. While Microsoft hopes to save consumers money, general manager for Azure, Steven Martin stressed that providing high-quality, innovative compute and storage solutions was their primary goal. Below are a few of the price change highlights:
•35% decrease in compute services
•65% decrease in storage solutions
•27% cost savings with “basic” service tier
•27% – 35% decrease in Memory-Intensive Instances (depends on Linux or Windows)
•44% – 65% reduction in Block Blob storage

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/new-lower-azure-pricing/

With Facebook signed up to Office 365 and the acquisition of linked -and the imminent release of Dynamics 365, as well as the Azure IoT stack , even SAP Hana on azure, and with a wider geographic base of data centres – the azure proposition is rapidly changing and the price cuts will address a lot of the customer feedback about price concerns to move to azure. This rolling stone is beginning to look more like a roller coaster.

Data, data everywhere and no time to think.

October 4th, 2016

The world of data is changing. Size is increasing. We’ve moved from bits to bytes, to kilobytes to megabytes to gigabytes to terabytes, just in our hands. We can’t even really conceive of what this amount of storage means in a physical sense. Our large systems have grown to petabytes, perhaps exabytes and zettabytes one day and eventually to yottabytes and beyond.
We transfer data quicker. No longer a 300 baud modem. watching the text crawl across the screen.
Our mobile data moved from SMS to GPRS to Edge to 4G and LTE, which are amazing speeds, faster than many of the early networks and now 5G and 6G and maybe we’ll keep going to subspace radio? Who knows.
Some of you may still remember tape storage. What a move forward to floppy disks. get a floppy disk drive, to hard disks to solid state disks to 3D drives It looks like 3D SSD technology is going to fundamentally change the world, with latencies that will require our software to be very, very efficient.
Interfaces have also improved, to allow us to move more data, quicker. From SMD to ESDI to ATA to IDE to SATA to SCSI to Wide SCSI to Fast SCISI to Fast Wide SCSI to Ultra SCSI to Ultra Wide SCSI. SCSI 2 to SCSI 3 to Fibrechannel, infiniband and beyond. USB to Firewire 400 to USB 2 to Firewire 800 to USB 3, 3.1, eSata, Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 2, Thunderbolt 3, and who knows what’s next?
Our computers used to be room,size with another room full of punch clerks. Then we moved to minis, with the computer in the room. Then we got desktops and portable luggable machines, moving to laptops that we can carry one handed to handhelds computers in our pockets. We even went to tiny devices that we found were too small. So we’ve gone the other way with smartphones and phablets and iPads and tablets and smart watches Now the world around us is being enhanced with virtual reality and Hololens.
We used to have amps and road sings now we have GPS. We used to key data data now we use rfid. and QRS codes
Our world is using all this technology to monitor, mark, chip, tag, record, watch, measure, and gather data. We get to work with that data. We get to gather, store, manage, index, backup, transfer, clean, and care for all that data. We need to work with it. We’ve got to move it with text files, CSVs, Excel, Word, PDF, MP3, MP4 and more.
We send data over TCP, FTP, SMB, AirDrop, VPN, Web services, REST, jQuery, and more.
We share data with files, messages, texts, clicks, likes, tweets, pings, drops, shares, snaps, hangouts, and once in a while, we communicate with phones.
We have many things to learn in order to reach our potential in working with data. We have the chance and potential to build amazing visualizations. We can analyze our business progress, producing tables, charts, graphs, animations, and of course, reports. We can map our own activities and events, tracking how we interact with the world, experience it, perhaps even using the data to relive, remember, or reinvent the world around us.
IoT is starting connect almost every kind of device.
What do we do with all that data? Almost anything.!
We have PowerPivot, Power query, Power View, Power map, and Power BI. It seems Microsoft really believes data has power. Predictive analytics and Big data are turning data into action.

MCSE and MSCD recent changes

September 29th, 2016

Recently, Microsoft decided to change its certification requirements, effectively eliminating the need to retake certain exams for some Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) and Developer (MCSD) certifications.
Microsoft Learning GM Alsion Cunard is looking to make earning more certifications easier for MCSE and MCSD certified professionals. She also wants to make sure the certifications are more in tune with the Centers of Excellence guidelines that are used by the Microsoft Partner Network.

In addition, Microsoft announced five new MCSE and MCSD certifications are now available:
◾MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure – focusing on skills validation for Windows Server and Microsoft Azure
◾MCSE: Mobility – focusing on skills validation for Windows Client and Enterprise Mobility Suite
◾MCSE: Data Management and Analysis – focusing on skills validation for both on-premises and cloud-based Microsoft data products and services
◾MCSE: Productivity – focusing on skills validation for Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, and Skype for Business
◾MCSD: App Builder – focusing on skills validation for Web and Mobile app development

To be eligible to receive any of these certifications, you must first earn a prerequisite Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification as well as pass an additional exam as required by the corresponding Center of Excellence.

The resulting MCSE or MCSD certification will be added to your transcript and will never expire. Instead, the achievement date will signify your investment in continuing education on the technology. Every year, you will have the opportunity to re-earn the certification by passing an additional exam from the list of electives, demonstrating your investment in broadening or deepening your skills in a given Center of Excellence. Each time you earn the certification, a new certification entry will be added to your transcript.”

The certification changes apply only to MCSE and MCSD certifications; the changes do not affect MCSA certifications.