Microsoft has announced that its first Semi-Annual Channel release cadence for Windows Server is available for Software Assurance customers to download. Version 1709 features an updated Server Core container image that has been optimised for lift-and-shift scenarios and a Nano Server container image that is nearly 80% smaller. The release also enables Windows and Linux containers to run side-by-side on the same Windows host using Linux kernels provided by major Linux vendors.
Microsoft has acquired Cycle Computing, a vendor of cloud computing orchestration. The acquisition is intended to help simplify the use of High-Performance Computing (HPC) and other Big Computing capabilities in the cloud. Cycle Computing’s technology will also be used to enhance Microsoft’s support of Linux HPC workloads and help extend on-premise workloads to the cloud.
Microsoft has announced the general availability of Network Performance Monitor (NPM), a cloud-aware network monitoring solution in Operations Management Suite Insight & Analytics, that monitors networks for performance degradation and outages. The solution continuously tests for accessibility between various points on the network across public clouds, datacentres and user locations. It enables application administrators to identify specific network segments or devices that may be causing the problem.
Microsoft has announced the release of .NET Core 1.0, ASP.NET Core 1.0 and Entity Framework Core 1.0, available on Windows, OS X and Linux. .NET Core is a cross-platform, open source and modular .NET platform for creating web apps, micro services, libraries and console applications. The release includes the .NET Core runtime, libraries and tools and the ASP.NET Core libraries.
Microsoft has announced enhanced OPC UA support for Windows, iOS, Linux and Android. The company plans to contribute a .NET Standard reference stack to the OPC Foundation GitHub open-source. The stack works on most common software platforms and allows the creation of OPC UA clients, servers and as well as “OPC Publishers” (for sending telemetry data to the cloud) on Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, iOS, Linux and Android platforms. In addition, OPC clients and servers can run directly on Azure using this stack.
In spite of selling off its entry level feature phones, along with more staff reductions planned, Microsoft has said that it will continue to support and develop the Lumia brand. Given the company’s ever shrinking mobile phone market share coupled with Satya Nadella’s focus, this is not a huge surprise. Will we see the launch of a Surface Phone at some time in the future?
Microsoft is partnering with the Jenkins community to offer both compute resources and technical expertise to build a development and delivery infrastructure on Linux and Java in the Azure cloud.
Cloud services continue to be the company’s focus as it unveils its vision and roadmap for SharePoint, which focuses on providing file sharing and collaboration on any device as well as becoming an open and extensible platform.
May’s updates to Office 365 include real-time chat integration into the web experiences, as well as new capabilities in Outlook and Visio. The Power BI Desktop May Update, features improvements to Report View, the ability to Publish to a Pyramid Server, analytics and data connectivity.
The company has announced the availability of the PowerShell module for Azure Machine Learning in public preview mode. This is a .NET based PowerShell DLL module that allows end users to manage Azure ML workspaces, experiments, datasets, web services and web service endpoints.
The latest volume of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR) has been published and includes threat data from the second half of 2015 as well as longer term trend data on industry vulnerabilities, exploits, malware and malicious websites.
Microsoft has reported that Windows 10 is now running on 300 million active devices around the world. There have been a number of Insider Build releases that include the revised Start Menu as well as a range of other refinements.
Microsoft has continued to apply its focus on iOS and Android as significant targets for its applications and services. These include Calendar Apps for Outlook on iOS and Android, which connects Wunderlist, Facebook and Evernote; content viewing for Skype for Business on Android and updates to iOS as well as Microsoft Translator capabilities for Android users.
The company also announced the availability of the Linux Data Science Virtual Machine on the Azure marketplace. This is a custom VM image built on the OpenLogic CentOS-based Linux version 7.2 and contains several popular data science tools used by data scientists, developers, educators and researchers.
Office 365 has been enhanced with email safety tips providing an added layer of protection; a new look and feel to the Office 365 welcome page that includes a range of new features for administrators and users. Microsoft has also released updates to Excel 2016’s Power Query technology, which is accessed through the Get & Transform section on the Data ribbon.
Extended support for SQL Server 2005 ended on 12 April and marks the end of security updates or hotfixes. Microsoft released their fourth and final SQL Server 2016 release candidate and announced that SQL Server 2016 will be generally available on 1 June 2016.
Microsoft released a public preview of the Azure Media Face Detector, which contains Face and Emotion Detection services. This Media Processor can be used for people counting, movement tracking and gauging audience participation and reaction via facial expressions.
Microsoft has announced that they will be releasing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update this summer. The update includes Windows Hello Biometric Security for Apps and Microsoft Edge, Window Ink enhancements, increased number of Cortana-enabled apps as well as revisions to the Start Menu.
Microsoft has announced the release of System Center 2016 Technical Preview 5, which offers new capabilities for managing highly virtualised software-defined infrastructure, improved management of Linux environments and support for new features in Windows Server 2016.
Microsoft announced its Dynamics CRM 2016 spring wave that will be available to online customers in Q2 2016. The release focuses on the integration of two recent acquisitions (FieldOne and Adxstudio), which provides capabilities for field service and portal solutions for community engagement.
For Office 365 subscribers, there have been new feature updates to Power Pivot for Excel 2016, which include the ability to save a relationship diagram view as a picture and enhancements to the relationship dialogue experience.
Microsoft announced the availability of SQL Server 2016 Release Candidate 0 and just a few days later, the availability of Release Candidate 1, which included an updated preview portal, custom branding, KPIs and mobile reports as well as paginated reports.
Microsoft plans to release the first version of the Skype Universal Windows Platform Preview app to its Windows Insiders for testing. The version includes a simplified user interface as well as a range of usability features that have been requested.
The first set of extensions for Edge are available to preview via the Windows Insider Program and include the Microsoft Translator, Mouse Gestures and the Reddit Enhancement Suite.
Microsoft has been making a range of announcements at its Build conference for developers. These include the release of HoloLens Development Edition, the introduction of support for Bash with Ubuntu user mode in Windows 10, new Skype for Business App SDK, new Skype Web SDK and a preview of Power BI Embedded.
Support for SQL Server 2005 ends on 12 April 2016. Microsoft plans to end support of the RC4 cipher with April’s cumulative security updates, which will disable the RC4 cipher by default.
Microsoft has released the Operations Management Suite (OMS) agent for Linux. OMS is Microsoft’s simplified IT management solution that combines log analytics, automation, backup, and site recovery solutions across heterogeneous datacentres and public cloud environments.
The OMS agent for Linux enables real-time analytics for operational data (such as syslog, performance, alerts and inventory) from Linux servers, Docker containers, and monitoring tools like Nagios, Zabbix, and System Center Operations Manager.