One of the things I love most about being on the Azure team is the excitement around new innovations and how our customers use them to seize new opportunities. In the last few years, we’ve all faced unexpected challenges that have changed the way we work and how we think about digital transformation. Now, more than ever, digital technology is at the core of addressing the way our customers do business. That’s one reason why I was eager to join the Azure team and why I’m so excited about this year’s Microsoft Ignite. As cloud computing becomes ubiquitous, we at Microsoft see tremendous opportunity to help our customers drive innovation across their businesses and improve their own customers’ experiences.
With the Microsoft Cloud, we strive to provide the most trusted and comprehensive cloud to make this innovation and transformation happen. That’s why organizations of all types—from small businesses, governments, and non-profits to Fortune 500 companies—trust Microsoft as their technology provider. Since joining the team earlier this year, I’m inspired every day by seeing our customers develop products and services that seemed unthinkable and out of reach even just a few years ago.
During Microsoft Ignite this week, we’ll highlight the latest features and innovations in hybrid, multicloud, and edge computing. From end-to-end data capabilities and cloud-native applications to cross-functional collaboration, Microsoft cloud technologies help our customers deliver solutions and services faster to meet their own customers’ rapidly changing needs.
Today in this blog, I have the pleasure of sharing announcements across every one of these areas. Read on to learn more about what’s new today and how Microsoft Cloud and Azure are empowering our customers to innovate—and empowering the innovation to happen exactly where they need it most.
Bring comprehensive Azure capabilities to hybrid and multicloud environments with Azure Arc
Our customers have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of servers, diverse applications, and databases in multiple locations spread across on-premises, edge, and multicloud environments. One of their key challenges is securing and managing their distributed environments consistently and building innovative applications using cloud-native technologies.
With Azure Arc, customers can take advantage of Azure’s comprehensive security, governance, and management capabilities for their Windows, Linux, SQL Server, and Kubernetes deployments in their datacenters, at the edge, or multicloud. Azure Arc also enables customers to build innovative, intelligent applications in any environment with first-party Azure application, data, and machine learning services.
I am thrilled that thousands of customers use Azure Arc today across a diverse set of scenarios. Royal Bank of Canada, the largest bank in Canada, is using Azure Arc-enabled data services to take advantage of always up-to-date cloud-native data services to modernize its large data estate. MAPFRE, a global insurance company with a presence on five continents, chose Azure Arc to secure and govern thousands of Windows and Linux servers spread across datacenters around the world.
At Microsoft Ignite, we’re announcing several new capabilities to our hybrid and multicloud products:
- Azure Arc on VMware vSphere and Azure Stack HCI: Customers with VMware vSphere and Azure Stack HCI systems can secure and govern existing virtual machines (VMs) and Kubernetes with Azure Arc. Today, we’re announcing the preview of lifecycle management of VMs on VMware vSphere and Azure Stack HCI deployments on-premises from the Azure Portal. This means customers migrating their on-premises deployment to Azure VMware Solutions can also do lifecycle management of VMs from the Azure Portal.
- Azure Arc-enabled Machine Learning capabilities update: Customers can train their machine learning models anywhere using Azure Machine Learning enabled by Azure Arc. Now, we’re adding in preview the ability to do inferencing to enable predictions using ML models anywhere.
- Azure Arc-enabled SQL Managed Instance update: We’re making directly connected mode through Azure Arc generally available to help customers deploy, manage, and secure their databases from Azure. With this, we offer customers the flexibility to run Azure Arc-enabled databases in connected and disconnected modes.
- Azure Virtual Desktop for Azure Stack HCI: For customers who want a modern cloud-based desktop and app virtualization solution on-premises for latency or regulatory reasons, we are pleased to announce the preview of Azure Virtual Desktop for Azure Stack HCI.
- Microsoft Defender for multicloud scenarios: Microsoft Defender for Cloud now extends Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) and Workload Protection capabilities to Amazon Web Services (AWS) allowing customers to secure their multicloud environments from a single place.
- Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP) to support Azure Arc scenarios: Thousands of customers have accelerated their cloud journey with AMMP, and the program now includes Azure Arc as a supported scenario.
Transform business and prepare for the future with comprehensive Azure data features
Azure provides end-to-end data capabilities to empower innovation anywhere and transform any business. We have several announcements this week to help our customers be future-ready and ensure transformational success:
- Enhanced capabilities within Azure Synapse (preview): The general availability of Azure Synapse Link for Dataverse, enabling immediate insights with high-value Microsoft Dynamics 365 data, and the preview of Azure Synapse Link for SQL Server 2022. Azure Synapse Data Explorer is now part of Azure Synapse’s unified analytics platform, so customers can easily access machine and user data to help improve business decisions.
- Azure Purview for unified data governance: To meet the increasing need for a comprehensive data governance service, Azure Purview helps organizations achieve a complete understanding of their data, wherever it’s located. Since its general availability, Azure Purview has helped customers discover over 57 billion data assets already.
- Introducing SQL Server 2022 (gated preview): SQL Server 2022, the most flexible, scalable, cloud-connected SQL Server release yet, is now available in gated preview. SQL Server 2022 offers easier cloud integration than ever before and comes with choice and flexibility across language and platform, including Linux, Windows, and Kubernetes.
Build resilient, scalable, innovative applications from the cloud to the edge
With Microsoft technology, developers can address the real-world needs of their customers and businesses, using best-in-class tools and platforms that reduce the time from idea to value. Cloud-native development facilitates distributed applications that are more resilient and dynamically scalable while enabling portability in the cloud and at the edge. Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Azure Cosmos DB, and our exciting new cloud-native Azure Container Apps service, empower you to drive innovation at scale.
For example, Walmart’s e-commerce platform generates billions of dollars in annual revenue and grew 79 percent last year. The company needed a cloud-native database that could provide millisecond latency at a petabyte-scale and handle billions of daily requests with five nines (99.999 percent) availability during their busy holiday season. Walmart.com used Azure Cosmos DB for online transactions, utilizing multi-region writes for extremely high availability and sub-10-ms latency, providing millions of customers with the items they wanted and the experience they expect.
Create fusion teams to boost cross-functional collaboration and deliver apps faster
Efficiently delivering apps and services is top of mind within IT organizations. The speed and cost of developing those apps can force trade-off decisions about what gets delivered and what doesn’t. Introducing fusion teams into an organization can solve the app gap challenge and get users the apps they want and need. Fusion teams connect IT professionals with pro developers and makers in the business to build low-code apps more quickly than traditional development.
To enable fusion teams, key new features in Microsoft Power Platform are now available to enhance collaboration between makers and developers, accelerate code through Microsoft Power Fx, distribute branded apps natively on the app stores in Power Apps, and allow customers to use Azure subscriptions to distribute Power Apps without needing to acquire pre-paid licenses.
Using Power Platform with Microsoft Teams and key Azure services—like Functions and API Management—can increase an organization’s low-code application development value with faster ROI, accelerated time to market, and a reduction in overall development costs.
Join us for the virtual Microsoft Ignite experience
I’m excited about the possibilities and future innovation this week’s updates will bring for our customers across hybrid, multicloud, and the edge.
I hope you’re already registered for Microsoft Ignite and plan to join in the virtual experience this week to connect and engage with Microsoft Cloud experts. And be sure to watch Scott Guthrie’s theme session on how to innovate anywhere from multicloud to edge where you’ll hear amazing customer stories and learn even more about these announcements. I also encourage you to visit Azure hybrid and multicloud solutions to help advance your own strategy and seamlessly build, deploy, and manage your workloads exactly where you need innovation to happen.
Have a great week of virtual sessions!
Azure. Invent with purpose.