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Microsoft Invest $3 Billion in European Cloud, Lower VMs Pricing, Unveils Cloud Policy Recommendations

Microsoft CEO and President Brad Smith kicks off their four-day digital transformation visit to Dublin, Paris, Berlin, and London, with showcasing digital transformation, cloud investments announcement, and cloud policy discussion.

During the first day keynote in Dublin, Nadella, shared new details about cloud investments made in Europe, saying they’ve more than doubled cloud capacity in Europe in the past year, with investing over $3 billion across Europe to date.

These new investments in cloud helping customers from all across Europe innovate in their industries and move their businesses to the cloud while “meeting European data sovereignty, security and compliance needs,” Nadella stated.

In addition, also shown intends to deliver the Microsoft Cloud offering including Microsot Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365 from multiple datacenter locations in France with initial availability starting 2017.

As of now, “a trusted global infrastructure with 30 available, out to total 36 announced datacenter regions” are now serving Microsoft Cloud.

“Our regions in Europe currently offer Azure services, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 as well as cloud suites like EMS, OMS, IoT, and additional solutions that are ready to deploy locally,” stated Tom Keane General Manager, Microsoft Azure. Adding, “Our datacenters, suites and services offer data residency and local compliance certifications including EU model clause 2010/87/EU, together with country specific certifications,” he said.

Customers in France, throughout Europe and the world, can get started with the Microsoft Cloud – and Microsoft Azure – today, from our six available regions in Europe.

Furthering its commitment to make the cloud more trusted, responsible and inclusive, Microsoft also released a new book titled “A Cloud for Global Good.” The book outlines a roadmap for working with policymakers to build a cloud that is trusted, responsible and inclusive—and it includes “78 public policy recommendations in 15 categories.”

Additionally, the book also includes topics like “next-generation skills, enhancing security and privacy in the digital age, environmental sustainability, keeping communities safe, and securing a bright future for children.”

Find out more on ‘A Cloud for Global Good’ at microsoft.com/cloudforgood.

ABB and Microsoft in a strategic partnership empowering digital transformation in customer segments such as robotics, marine and ports, electric vehicles and renewable energy.

By selecting Microsoft Azure as the cloud for its integrated connectivity platform, “ABB’s customers will now have access to an enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure,” stated Nadella.

While speaking to Irish Independent today Smith, stated the the company has no intentions of cutting off LinkedIn data to Salesforce. “It is not something that we have any intention of doing. The LinkedIn data is public today and we want to make that data useful in lots of new ways,” he said.

Additionally, he said, “Obviously if Salesforce thought that, as the largest CRM provider, it could buy LinkedIn, as it obviously did, I have to believe that as the fourth largest CRM provider, we can buy LinkedIn. So I look forward to the continuing conversation and I remain strongly of the view that it will bring more competition to the marketplace.”

Adding further on the current discussions with EU competition authorities, he said, “They ask lots of questions as they always do and as they always should. I think they have good questions. I think we have good and clear answers to their questions, so from my perspective this is an acquisition that is going to promote competition.”

Also watch in the video below, the September 13, “Data Defense: An inside look at your secure cloud,” where viewers got a VIP-access tour of a state-of-the-art Microsoft datacenter:

Also, in another announcement today, Microsoft said that effective October 1st, they’re lowering the prices of Azure virtual machines (VMs).

In addition, customers using Windows Server with Software Assurance, can run their Windows Server workloads at 41% lower cost with “Microsoft Azure Hybrid Use Benefit.”

Additionally, starting today, a set of images in the gallery making it even easier to deploy Windows Server VMs is available to deploy..

Summary of the new price incldue:

  • General Purpose Instances: Prices of Dv2 series VMs will be reduced by up to 15%. Also prices of A1 and A2 Basic VMs are cut by up to 50%.
  • Compute Optimized Instances: Prices of F series will be reduced up to 11%.
  • Av2 series: In November 2016, introducing “new A series virtual machines (Av2), with prices up to 36% lower” than the A series Standard VM prices available today, explains azure team.

You can check out here for more details.

In case you’re not familiar, “A series VMs are entry-level compute tier. While Dv2 series VMs are general-purpose tier, with more memory and local SSD storage than A series. F series VMs on the other hand provide an even higher CPU-to-memory ratio with a lower price than the Dv2 series.”

In another post, releated to Azure Active Directory certificate rollover, company notes, that continuing on the momentum of August 15, 2016 rollover, “we will be increasing the frequency with which we roll over Azure Active Directory’s global signing keys (previously referred to as ‘the Azure Active Directory certificates’).”

The next rollover, “scheduled to start on October 10, 2016,” is the “last rollover we will be announcing,” added Microsoft.

So, what does frequency increase mean for applications?

For applications that support automatic rollover, “this frequency increase will have no impact on your application,” team explained. But, apps that do not support automatic rollover “you will have to establish a process to periodically monitor the keys and perform a manual rollover,” added azure team.

With now Azure SQL Data Warehouse generall available, to help users get started, Microsoft and Redgate, throguh Redgate’s “Data Platform Studio (DPS)” providing a simple and reliable way to migrate on-premises SQL Server databases to Azure SQL Data Warehouse.

“DPS automates data upload and applies the most appropriate compatibility fixes and optimizations,” explained Microsoft. “It reduces the timeframe for a first data migration from days to hours, giving companies an easy way to explore the potential of the SQL Data Warehouse,” microsoft added.

If you’re not familiar with Azure SQL Data Warehouse, “It’s a fully managed, petabyte-scale Data Warehouse service that you can provision in minutes with just a few clicks in Azure Portal.” and, “SQL Data Warehouse offers an availability SLA of 99.9%.”

Data Platform Studio for Azure SQL Data Warehouse

Data Platform Studio is free to use for one-off migrations, and can be tried at the portal here.

In videos from Ignite 2016, you can review below “ColumnStore Index in SQL Server 2016” and “Azure SQL Database”.

“The updateable clustered columnstore in Microsoft SQL Server 2016 offers a leading solution for your data warehouse workload with order of magnitude better data compression and query performance over traditional B-Tree based schemas.”

This session describes columnstore index internals with deep insight into data compression methodology for achieving high query performance including improvements in column store investments for SQL Server 2016 and Microsoft Azure SQL Database

We used AdventureWorksDW2016CTP3 database for some of the demos.

This session covers some key customer workloads that have been successfully deployed in production both for in-memory analytics and real-time operational analytics with SQL Server 2016.

What is In-Memory OLTP? In this session title: Review In-Memory OLTP in SQL Server 2016 and Azure SQL Database:

Check out more videos here.

Finally, a new installation experience for SQL Server dubbed “SQL Server Installer Version 2” is released today.

For more information, check out this KB3192738 article. Here is the opening screen from running the installer:

SQL Server Installer Version 2 Opening Screen

Power BI’s “phone optimization for dashboards” now in preview, help you create report views that are optimized for your phone.

“With the new phone-optimized reports feature, you can specifically tailor a portrait view of your existing report on Power BI Desktop for mobile viewers. Once you publish your report to the Power BI service, it will be available to all mobile users on any screen size. All of the scaling and resizing is handled automatically,” BI team explained.

On top of the custom view, also introduced a variety of features to enhance and optimize the experience of using reports on phones.

Power BI phone omtimize for dashboards preview

In a video Microsoft points out, over half of the global population still doesn’t even baisc internet services, and in these areas having a broadband or WiFi is still just a vision for the future, and the compnay intends to make use of TV white space to over come.

As opposed to standard WiFi connections that have a range of 600 feet, TVWS is created with the use of television channels. Connections can even be made up to 10 kilometers across land, over water, and through solid structures.

Laikipia County, Kenya is in the greater Nanyuki area with a 400,000 population. Deep in the heart of the country, mobile internet is nearly unaffordable. TV white space can change that by offering connection for only $3/month. This is also made possible with the use of databases in the Azure cloud.

Since the implementation of TVWS as a reliable internet connection, 8,000 people have been connected. Another 200,000 is projected for the next three years according to IT Minister of Nanyuki John Vasco Akali.

You can learn more about Mawingu and Microsoft’s other “cloud for global good” initiatives at news.microsoft.com/cloudforgood.

Update 10/05: A new website highlights the Microsoft Ventures portfolio is launched today, where you can learn more about the technologies the company is betting on to disrupt how business is done today.

Microsoft Ventures debuted in late May, and its momentum is already underway.

“Our aim is to use this fund to place bets on innovators who align to our investment focus – cutting-edge technologies that better enable digital transformation,” writes Corporate Vice President.

Adding, “The reception we’ve received, from both the entrepreneurs who are aligned with our ambitions and the VCs who see us as a valuable partner, has blown past our expectations,” he said. “We are now providing financing and strategic relationships with Microsoft to entrepreneurs in New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Tel Aviv. We’ve seen great deal flow and have already completed 13 investments from Series A to Series C, across several B2B categories,” added cvp.

Check out Microsoft Ventures.

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