UPDATED: Microsoft brings the power of virtual machines to UK data centres
Microsoft Azure is Microsoft’s very own cloud computing platform used by thousands of enterprises around the world.
It’s a public cloud service, which means data and computing power is handled off site in Microsoft’s data centres, which are situated in 26 regions across the globe.
Customers use Azure for a plethora of tools, including computing, analytics, storage and networking. Azure is also investing heavily into providing a platform for the Internet of Things.
Here is all the latest news on Microsoft’s cloud platform
Microsoft has given UK-based Azure customers the power to work with huge amounts of data and easily run graphics intensive workloads with the release of three new virtual machines in its London, Durham and Cardiff data centres.
The VMs are designed to work with multiple demanding applications and on a range of complex tasks, such as computational fluid dynamics, weather forecasting simulations and even DNA sequencing.
The services will enable businesses to unleash the potential of big data and further strengthens Microsoft’s cloud offering in the UK.
November 2016: Microsoft’s Project Bletchely brings Blockchain to Azure Marketplace
Microsoft has pushed its work on blockchain infrastructure for Azure that forms its Project Bletchely into the Azure Marketplace.
The Bletchely v1 infrastructural substrate that enables the deployment of open, modular blockchain fabric to Azure, can now be procured on Microsoft’s cloud app store.
This means users can deploy Bletchely v1 as easily as they would other Azure apps, potentially strengthening the potential for blockchain technology to be used in more businesses.
September 2016: Azure at Microsoft Ignite
Microsoft has been very busy indeed at its Ignite conference in Atlanta, revealing new Azure partnerships with car manufacturer Nissan and Adobe, which will move some of its own cloud services onto Microsoft’s cloud infrastrucutre.
New management tools for Azure have also been made available to customers as has the second technical preview of Azure Stack – which is due to be released in the middle of next year.
HPE, one of Microsoft’s partners, shared some details about its Azure Stack appliance too.
September 2016: Microsoft Brings Blockchain Infrastructure To Azure
Microsoft announced the next phase of support for blockchain on its Azure cloud platform with the release of the Bletchley v1 infrastructural substrate.
Microsoft officially launched Project Bletchely in June, with the goal of bringing an open, modular blockchain fabric to Azure, which could pave the way for businesses to make use of a cloud-based distributed database that can store the transaction history of all manner of records.
With the launch of Bletchely v1, users can setup a blockchain distributed ledger without the need to configure underlying infrastructure, which is take care of by the Azure platform.
Microsoft Azure customers can now access BlackBerry’s enterprise mobility management products via the public cloud platform.
Enterprises can now choose to install and deploy the Good Dynamics Secure Mobility Platform by BlackBerry, through Microsoft Azure, to assemble a broad range of business apps, including collaboration apps, ISV apps and custom-developed apps.
Cloud revenue helped Microsoft beat Wall Street’s expectations and close its last fiscal quarter of 2016 with £16 billion in revenues and £2.4 billion profit.
Revenue from Microsoft Azure grew more than 100 percent year over year, as the company said usage of the platform had doubled.
The results position Microsoft in its best position yet to challenge rival Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the public cloud market.
Fresh from agreeing a tie up with Apple, SAP is expanding its partnership with Microsoft, allowing customers to deploy SAP HANA on the Azure public cloud and benefit from closer integration between each company’s services.
An existing relationship between the two parties has already allowed SAP software such as ERP, Business Suite, Business All-in-One, Mobile Platform, Adaptive Server Enterprise database and the developer version of HANA to run on Azure.
But now Azure will be certified to run all types of development, test and production HANA workloads, including the S/4HANA enterprise software suite which was made available last year.
Rolls-Royce, whose engines are used in more than 50,000 flights around the world every month, offers customer airlines ‘TotalCare’ – a program that allows airlines to pay for the hours they were able to fly rather than for repairs. Because of this, Rolls-Royce benefits from collecting engine data that can help airlines improve operation.
Microsoft has released a free public preview of Azure Media Face Detector, a tool that can find and track human faces within a video.
The platform is part of Microsoft’s wider strategy to make its Azure cloud service a comprehensive Platform-as-a-Service product in the hopes of better competing against Infrastructure giants AWS and Google.
Azure’s ‘Face Detection’ can keep track of multiple faces within in a video (with the most obvious use-case being CCTV), all whilst the faces are moving. During the tracking process, the platform will try to give faces consistent IDs, even the faces are blocked or move off screen temporarily. Time and location metadata is then returned in a JSON file.