Microsoft Accelerates Big Computing in the Cloud, Acquires Cycle Computing

Microsoft buys Cycle Computing, developer of software for orchestrating workloads in the Azure, Amazon, and Google clouds.

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Microsoft has acquired Cycle Computing, a leader in cloud computing orchestration, enabling its customers to use High-Performance Computing (HPC) and other Big Computing capabilities in the cloud easier than ever.

Azure, which already has a massive global footprint, along with powerful infrastructure, InfiniBand support for fast networking and state-of-the-art GPU capabilities—"when combined with the most specialized Big Compute infrastructure available in the public cloud with Cycle Computing's technology will help customers accelerate their movement to cloud, and make it easy to take advantage of the most performant and compliant infrastructure available in the public cloud today," says Jason Zander.

"We've already seen explosive growth on Azure in the areas of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and deep learning. As customers continue to look for faster, Cycle Computing's technology will further enhance our support of Linux HPC workloads and make it easier to extend on-premise workloads to the cloud," Zander adds.

In a post Tuesday, Microsoft highlights the needs of an Azure Stack Operator, stating that Azure Stack, allows organizations to provide Azure services from their own datacenters, that's where organizations need an Azure Stack Operator, as it help manage physical infrastructure of Azure Stack environments, says Cheng Wei.

Wei continues to outline the four information technology roles most relevant to managing and operating an Azure Stack environment:

Graphic showing Azure operating model and jobs
Various Azure operating model and jobs
  • Azure Stack Operator, responsible for operating Azure Stack infrastructure end-to-end – planning, deployment and integration, packaging and offering cloud resources and requested services on the infrastructure.
  • Azure Solution Architect, oversees cloud computing strategy, including adoption plans, multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategy, application design, and management and monitoring.
  • Azure Administrator, responsible for managing the tenant segment of the cloud (whether public, hosted, or hybrid) and providing resources and tools to meet their customers' requirements.
  • DevOps, responsible for operationalizing the development of line-of-business apps leveraging cloud resources, cloud platforms, and DevOps practices – infrastructure as code, continuous integration, continuous development, information management, etc.

Microsoft is also offering training and online courses for Azure Stack Operators, along with sessions on Azure Stack at the upcoming Microsoft Ignite 2017 conference Sept. 24-29 in Florida.

Azure Cloud Shell
Azure Cloud Shell

Additionally, in a Microsoft Mechanics episode, the company demonstrate "how within browser, BASH or PowerShell (currently in private preview) can be use to troubleshoot or automate most common management tasks."

"Azure Cloud Shell, a browser-based shell gives a new experience to manage resources in the Cloud. Once, authenticated with an Azure account, you can remotely access all Azure resources and even attache Azure File Storage, for always access to stored scripts at your fingertips." "This allows you to manage on-the-go from any browser or even the Azure Mobile App."

Today, several updates to Azure Time Series Insights API, along with Reference Data, Ingress, and Azure Portal, were announced.

"Time Series Insights is a fully-managed analytics, storage, and visualization service that makes it simple to explore and analyze billions of IoT events simultaneously. It allows you to visualize and explore time series data streaming into Azure in minutes, all without having to write a single line of code."

Also, a free demo environment is offered to experience the product for yourself.

  • Microsoft has added ingress and storage monitoring at the Time Series Insights environment level in the Azure portal, enabling smarter environment management. The company says, they will also add metric alerts to automatically inform users of critical information related to the status of their environment.
  • And, the new Reference Data API documentation now includes detailed samples showing how to configure, upload and update reference data programmatically. "By importing device metadata as reference data, these customers can tag and add dimensions to their data that make it easier to slice and filter," writes the team. The team is also working to deliver a solution built into the UX, that allow managing reference data visually to accomplish the scenario described as above.
  • With this service update, the team improving up on the search span functionality, to "now allow you to define and run repeatable queries over the most recent data with a single query template." With dynamic search spans, a new "utcNow," function added today, returns current UTC time, and "timeSpan" literals allow to define a period of time, in addition to a "sub" function that allows subtracting time from datetime values.
  • Finally, the update today also includes an ability to ingress multi-content JSON payloads, a useful JSON data format for customers who are optimizing for throughput (common in batching scenarios).
Replicated tables for Azure SQL Data Warehouse
Replicated tables

Replicated tables now in preview for Azure SQL Data Warehouse, provides the large amounts of data at a lightning fast speeds. "Replicated tables is a feature designed to speed up queries by reducing data movement."

"Data movement happens in distributed data warehouse systems when tables are joined or aggregated in a manner inconsistent with how they are spread across Compute nodes. Data movement is reduced with Replicated tables because a full copy of data is stored on each Compute node. As a result, queries that required data movement steps to complete now run faster with Replicated tables," explains the team.

Power BI begin to support a "bring your own entities" function for the Bing News solution template, allowing users to define their own list of words to be used to slice the data.

The template allows brand managers to find articles most relevant to them by filtering on sentiment, trending topics, locations, organizations and people. Now, a product manager can create a list of products or company names, for example, and use that to discover and read relevant articles.

Power BI Bing News solution template
Power BI Bing News solution template

Visio custom visual for Power BI in public preview, allowing users better visualize operational and business intelligence using Microsoft Visio diagrams from within Power BI dashboards and reports.

Users can add the new feature from the store and start using the capability immediately.

By combining Visio and Power BI, "users can illustrate and compare data both as diagrams and as traditional Power BI visuals in one place, driving operational and business intelligence to understand the overall picture," wrties the BI team.

Role Based Access Control (RBAC) is now available in Microsoft Intune, and enables you to easily define who can perform various Intune tasks within organization, and who those tasks apply to.

RBAC gives greater flexibility and control while ensuring IT administrators have necessary permissions to perform jobs. RBAC leverages four Azure AD Directory Roles that define high level administrative access to Intune workstreams and tasks:

  • Global Administrator / Company Administrator: users in this role have access to all administrative features in Azure AD, including conditional access. They can also manage all of Intune.
  • User Administrator: users in this role can manage users and groups but cannot manage all of Intune.
  • Intune Service Administrator: users in this role can manage all of Intune, including management of users and devices, as well group creation and management. This role does not allow for management of Azure AD's Conditional Access settings.
  • Conditional Access Administrator: users in this role can manage Azure AD's Conditional Access policies, but not all of Intune.
Role Based Access Control (RBAC) in Intune
RBAC in Intune

Microsoft is adding a new 'presence' feature to LinkedIn Messaging, which users can opt to turn off if they so desire.