Microsoft has announced the release of BizTalk Server 2016. The release features Hybrid connectivity that supports connecting to cloud native applications, web and mobile back end systems as well as custom applications through the Azure Logic Apps adapter. It also provides integration with the latest Microsoft products such as Windows Server 2016, Visual Studio 2015, SQL Server 2016 and Office 2016.
Microsoft has announced the availability of Azure App Service, which integrates Azure Websites, Mobile Services and Biztalk Services into a single service with a common app hosting, runtime and extensibility model, enabling simplified integration with consumer and commercial services and on-premises systems.
May saw the launch of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 with a bigger screen and more powerful processor options while being thinner and lighter as well as having a longer battery life than its Surface Pro 2 predecessor. The device is positioned as a laptop and tablet replacer with some clever work done on delivering an excellent digital pen experience.
There were no on premise product announcements at TechEd North America 2014. The only announcements made were for cloud services. These included general availability of Azure ExpressRoute, Virtual Networking enhancements, compute-intensive A8 & A9 Virtual Machines, IP Reservation, Import/Export Service, Managed Cache Service, Traffic Manager support for external endpoints, and several other features. In addition, Microsoft announced the public preview of RemoteApp, API Management, Redis Cache, Files, BizTalk Hybrid Connections, and Internal Load balancing. Support plans from the providers of top Linux distributions were also announced.
Gartner now sees Microsoft as a leader in their Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Enterprise Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS) market Magic Quadrants. Although these quadrants are led by Amazon Web Services and Salesforce.com respectively, the reports show Microsoft’s progress towards their vision of an end-to-end service across all the cloud service models.
Microsoft’s latest cybersecurity report shows a 70 percent decline in the number of severe vulnerabilities exploited in Microsoft products between 2010 and 2013. However, the number of computers impacted as a result of deceptive tactics more than tripled in the last quarter of 2013.
Microsoft released a security update outside its normal Update Tuesday cycle to fix a critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and, surprisingly, Windows XP.
The company reported that Office for iPad has been downloaded over 27 million times. Perhaps this highlights that Satya (Microsoft new CEO) has fewer ties to old dogma and is willing to decouple Office from Windows in the same way he ensured that support for Linux on Windows Azure was delivered at a competitive price.
In a similar vein, May saw the announcement of a strategic partnership with Salesforce.com. Once again the focus is wining customers for its platforms and services rather than believing that it has to be exclusive to Microsoft products.
An interesting perspective from James Whittaker, Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft: “What made Microsoft successful wasn’t thinking about competitors, or market share, but thinking about changing the world”. He went on to say “We’re starting to think about changing the world again. It’s the one attitude that I think will get us to where we need to be, and once again make us the most relevant software company in the world.”
Microsoft has released a number of enhancements to Windows Azure, which include:
- ExpressRoute: Dedicated, private, high-throughput network connectivity with on-premises
- Web Sites: Backup and Restore Support
- Mobile Services: .NET support, Notification Hub Integration, PhoneGap support
- HDInsight: Hadoop 2.2 support
- Management: Co-admin limit increased from 10->200 users
- Monitoring: Service Outage Notifications Integrated within Management Portal
- Virtual Machines: VM Agent and Background Information Support
- Active Directory: More SaaS apps, more reports, self-service group management
- BizTalk Services: EDIFACT protocol support, Service Bus Integration, Backup and Restore
Microsoft has announced the general availability and preview of several services. These include Windows Azure Active Directory for single sign on, Biz Talk Services for integration, Traffic Manager for load balancing and a preview of Active Directory Premium for enterprise organisations.