New Hybrid Cloud Computing: Windows Server & System Center 2012 R2, SQL 2014, Visual Studio 2013

2013 TechEd North America: Announcing a new wave of Windows Azure services, significant update to server line-up (Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, Windows Intune)--new Visual Studio 2013, SQL Server 2014 tools "all built for the cloud."

TechEd 2013 North America in New Orleans, today begin with the Brad Anderson, CVP at Microsoft Server and Tools (STB) opening keynote, demonstrating company's new portfolio of cloud computing and connected devices solutions to help businesses.

Here is the highlight of today's announcements:

Microsoft introduced the upcoming releases of enterprise solutions for hybrid cloud computing including: Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, Windows Intune and SQL Server 2014.

Windows Server & System Center 2012 R2 and the update to Windows Intune bring cloud-inspired innovation to the enterprise, and true hybrid cloud capabilities. Using them, "enterprises can make IT services and applications available across clouds and scale them up or down according to business needs," Anderson stated.

evolution of sql server

"SQL Sever 2014" is designed and developed with the cloud-first principles in mind, and delivers built-in in-memory capabilities, new hybrid cloud scenarios and enables even faster data insights.

  • "Hekaton's in-memory OLTP in the box with SQL Server 2014. "in the box" means customers don't need to buy specialized hardware or software and can migrate existing applications to benefit from performance gains.
  • Simplified cloud backup, cloud disaster recovery and easy migration to Windows Azure Virtual Machines are empowering new, easy to use, out of the box "hybrid capabilities."
  • Also, SQL Server 2014 includes comprehensive, high-availability technologies that now extend seamlessly into Windows Azure to make the highest level of service level agreements for every possible app while also reducing CAPEX and OPEX for mission-critical apps.
  • And, the improved "AlwaysOn" features of the RDBMS now support new scenarios, scale of deployment and ease of adoption.
  • SQL Server 2014 unlocks the real-time insights with "Real-time data integration, new and large data sets, data signals from outside LOB systems, evolving analytics techniques and more fluid visualization and collaboration experiences are significant components of that change."
  • Another foundational component of this is embracing cloud computing: nearly infinite scale, dramatically lowered cost for compute and storage and data exchange between businesses," explains Microsoft.

SQL Server 2014 helps organizations by delivering:

  • "Mission Critical Performance across all database workloads with In-Memory for online transaction processing (OLTP), data warehousing and business intelligence built-in as well as greater scale and availability
  • Platform for Hybrid Cloud enabling organizations to more easily build, deploy and manage database solutions that span on-premises and cloud
  • Faster Insights from Any Data with a complete BI solution using familiar tools like Excel."

Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 are slated to release by the end of calendar year 2013, with SQL Server 2014 slated for release shortly thereafter.

By itself, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager can:

  • Deploy and manage Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Provision certificates, Wi-Fi and VPN profiles
  • Deploy links to web applications
  • Provide role-based access to reports

When used in conjunction with the next release of Windows Intune, organizations can benefit from greater depth in device management in several areas, including:

  • Giving people a consistent experience in discovering and installing corporate applications that IT has made available to them, across all of their managed devices
  • Publishing corporate apps and services across device types, regardless of whether they're corporate-connected or cloud-based
  • Granting more granular control over device settings available to configure Windows, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, iOS, and Android devices to make them compliant with corporate policies
  • Wiping corporate applications, data, and policies from devices selectively when they are no longer managed by the organization

Windows Server 2012 R2 provides a number of new capabilities to help our customers embrace BYOD and enable their users to work on the device of their choice, and have IT provide access to resources while maintaining compliance. These new capabilities include:

  • Windows Server Work Folders to allow users to synchronize files to their devices
  • Web Application Proxy, a feature of the Remote Access role, provides administrators with the ability to selectively publish corporate resources to remote users for secure conditional access
  • Enhancements to Active Directory Federation Services to enable a seamless single sign-on experience for end users, including device registration

New capabilities for Windows Azure introduced today include:

  • public preview of Windows Azure BizTalk Services for enterprise integration solutions both "on-premises" and "in the cloud." "BizTalk Services" is a cloud-based B2B integration platform service that provides easy connectivity to on-premises LOB apps and is available exclusively on Windows Azure.
  • In addition, Windows Azure now offers industry-leading, per-minute billing for virtual machines rather than by the hourly basis. Which means, "you will now pay only for what you use."
  • Web roles and worker roles that improves cloud economics for customers.
  • Further, Microsoft said that VPN devices from F5, Citrix and WatchGuard are now "supported for point-to-site networking," in addition to already supported devices from Cisco and Juniper.
  • Microsoft also preview the availability of SSL for sites hosted on Windows Azure Web Sites in reserved instances, a key security feature for websites hosted in cloud environments.
  • And, benefits for Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers announced today, give developers more felexibility for developing and and test apps with Windows Azure.

    "you now have a choice as to how you use your Windows Azure credits for development and test, whether you apply them for Virtual Machines, Web Sites, Cloud Services, Mobile Services, Media Services, HDInsight, or beyond."

    New enhancements include:

  • "up to $150 worth of Windows Azure platform services per month at no additional cost for Visual Studio Professional, Premium or Ultimate MSDN subscribers" and "new use rights to run select MSDN software in the cloud."
  • "You can select from a number of preconfigured virtual machines from Microsoft available in the Azure Virtual Machine Image Gallery, images provided by the open source community, or you can upload your own virtual machines with the software included in your MSDN Subscription, except for Windows Client," Microsoft informs.
  • Additionally, when you run MSDN software using Azure virtual machines, "there is no additional cost."
  • And, Visual Studio Professional, Premium and Ultimate with MSDN subscribers who activate and use their Windows Azure MSDN benefit before September 30th, 2013 are "also automatically entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win an Aston Martin V8 Vantage sports car!
  • As of June 1st, MSDN subscribers now have use rights to run in Windows Azure VMs selected software they get through MSDN."

Microsort also introduced today, Visual Studio 2013 and new collaboration capabilities for development teams in Team Foundation Service and Visual Studio 2013.

"Visual Studio 2013 Preview" is slated for release in the "coming weeks" include the following capabilities coming in this release and in the cloud, including new features focused on business agility, quality enablement, and DevOps:

  • Agile portfolio management, which enables you to plan your agile projects "at scale" by showing the hierarchical relationship between work being done in multiple teams across your organization.
  • Cloud-based load testing, a new capability of Team Foundation Service that takes advantage of the elastic scalability of Windows Azure to generate traffic, simulating thousands of simultaneous virtual users so as to help you understand how your web applications and services operate under load.
  • Code information indicators that provide information about unit tests, work items, code references, and more, all directly within the code editor in Visual Studio, increasing developer productivity by enabling project-related contextual information to be viewed and consumed without leaving the editor.
  • A team room integrated into TFS, improving the collaboration amongst team members via a real-time and persistent chat room that integrates with data and interactions elsewhere in TFS.
  • Identity integrated into Visual Studio, such that the IDE is connected to backend services that support, for example, roaming the developer's settings as the developer moves from installation to installation.
  • Support in TFS for integrated code comments that facilitate code reviews with increased transparency and traceability.
  • A .NET memory dump analyzer, which enables developers to easily explore .NET objects in a memory dump and to compare two memory dumps in pursuit of finding and fixing memory leaks.
  • Git support built into Visual Studio 2013, both on the client and on the server, including in the on-premises Team Foundation Server 2013.
  • DevOps is an increasingly important part of application lifecycle management and is a growing area of interest as businesses need to develop and deploy quality applications at a faster pace.

Microsoft also announced of acquiring InCycle Software Inc.'s In Release Business Unit, a leading release management solution for Microsoft .NET and Windows Server applications.

Also, Aston Martin, the British luxury car manufacturer discussed how Microsoft cloud technology has helped the company drive strategy and innovation.

Aston Martin has deployed a number of Microsoft solutions, including Windows Server 2012, Windows Azure, System Center 2012 and Windows InTune, to manage its IT operations.

Simon Cowell, head of IT at Aston Martin, summed up the value so far: "What I want to do with Azure, what I want to do with Office 365, what I want to do with Intune, is to enable the decision makers to make the decisions and to make them quickly, and make them with the right information in their pockets."

Finally, Microsoft also showcased new features in Windows 8.1 Enterprise, that improve mobile productivity, while security enhancements such as fingerprint-based biometrics and multi-factor authentication on tablets protect corporate data and applications. Check here for more details.