Jul 24

Microsoft releases File Recovery from Azure VM backups

Microsoft has announced the general availability of Instant recovery of files and folders from Azure VM backups by Azure Backup. This file recovery feature enables the recovery of files from cloud backups of Azure VMs without any additional infrastructure as well as opening application files without having to restore the entire VM.

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Apr 09

Microsoft announces new container technologies for the cloud

Microsoft has announced that it will be expanding the scenarios and workloads developers can address with containers with two key elements: Hyper-V Containers, a new container deployment option with enhanced isolation powered by Hyper-V virtualisation; and Nano Server, a minimal footprint installation of Windows Server that is highly optimised for the cloud.

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Oct 22

Microsoft announces virtual machines and storage updates for Azure

Microsoft has announced a new series of Virtual Machine sizes, called the G-series, which offer more memory and local Solid State Drive (SSD) storage. Microsoft also announced Azure Premium Storage, which is a new type of SSD-based storage, designed to support I/O intensive workloads.

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May 07

Microsoft releases Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2014

Microsoft has announced that its Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2014 is available for download. MDOP 2014 includes Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring tool (MBAM) 2.5, a substantial update to the BitLocker management solution. The company also announced the release of Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.0 SP2, which includes a number of enhancements focused on virtualised desktop scenarios.


Apr 10

Microsoft releases Virtual Machine Converter 2.0

Microsoft has released the Virtual Machine Converter (MVMC) 2.0, a supported, freely available solution for converting VMware-based virtual machines and virtual disks to Hyper-V-based virtual machines and virtual hard disks (VHDs).


Mar 03

View on Microsoft’s February activities

The really big news for February is the appointment of Satya Nadella as Microsoft’s new CEO, who wants to accelerate product delivery by transforming the organisation. The change includes Bill Gates stepping down as Microsoft’s Chairman to become Founder and Technology Advisor supporting Satya.

Microsoft released a range of Windows Azure enhancements, which included a rather subdued announcement about virtual machines. This could be a rather significant direction because it starts the process of blurring the lines between Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

The demise of Windows XP and Office 2003 support in April is gaining momentum in terms of the amount of coverage and warnings Microsoft is issuing. Partially associated is the announced 70 percent price reduction for Windows 8.1 that is specifically targeted at low cost computers and tablets to address competition from Google’s Chromebooks.

Forrester Research has positioned Microsoft as a Leader in The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Data Warehouse (Q4 2013).

Microsoft demonstrated video calling between Skype and Lync as a step towards its universal communications vision. Alongside this demonstration were a number of associated releases of Lync, Skype and Yammer targeted at a variety of platforms including Skype for Nokia’s recent Android-based mobile phone offering.

February saw some key rebranding with the rollout of Microsoft’s OneDrive and Office Online as well as the release of service pack 1 for Office 2013, Exchange 2013 and SharePoint 2013.

Microsoft Research has been publishing some items of interest that included the Lab of Things and a range of initiatives discussed at a workshop for the Swiss Joint Research Centre.

10 years ago, in February 2004, Bill Gates announced a detailed vision and proposals on how technology can be used to help put an end to spam and Microsoft launched its preview of Windows XP 64-bit OS. How is your spam count looking today?

Jan 20

Microsoft releases enhancements to Windows Azure

Microsoft has announced a range of enhancements to Windows Azure. These include Staged Publishing Support, Always On Support and improved monitoring for Web Sites; SQL Database Alerts monitoring enhancements; Hyper-V Recovery Manager released; support for SenchaTouch in Mobile Services. Microsoft also announced that Windows Azure has been validated for PCI DSS compliance.


Jan 02

View on Microsoft’s December activities

December saw Microsoft extending support for some of its key offering on non-Microsoft platforms such as iOS and Android.  This has been a trend throughout 2013 and highlights the impact that competing platforms have had on Microsoft’s traditional breadwinners.

This theme is strengthened by some competitive migration offerings such as a service to make it easier to switch from Gmail to Outlook.com and Microsoft Virtualisation Certification for VMWare experts.

Microsoft also joined in on the anti-government surveillance campaign initiated by a range of service providers that included Google, Facebook and Apple.

Unsurprisingly, the Christmas period saw significant publicity and drive for new games on the Xbox One as well as continued promotion of a range of Windows Phone apps.

During 2013 Microsoft has relentlessly been improving its Azure offerings to combat strong competition in this area.  In terms of capability and cost, Microsoft has achieved parity with its competition and, in some areas, has overtaken its rivals.

These efforts have been complimented by a drive to attract developers to build on its Azure platform supported by an array of service and development tool releases to make it easier to focus on functionality rather than plumbing.

Expect an appointment of a new CEO in the first quarter of 2014 and the implications that this will have on Microsoft’s business.  Will Microsoft continue its drive to unify the phone, tablet and PC with a shared experience, or will the new CEO have very different ideas?  2014 is certainly going to be an interesting and exciting year!

Dec 03

Microsoft releases Desktop Optimization Pack 2013 R2

Microsoft has announced the broad availability of the Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2013 R2. MDOP is a suite of virtualisation, management and security technologies available as a subscription for Software Assurance customers.

In addition to support for Windows 8.1 and virtualisation of Office 2013, the release includes the launch of Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.0 R2 and User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) 2.0, which is intended to help customers personalise, deploy and manage virtual applications across devices.