Microsoft Azure Gains Big Data And Automation Tools

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Microsoft reveals new analytic and security tools for the Azure cloud platform

Microsoft has detailed a number new services and security features for its Azure cloud platform, allowing customers to better automate deployments and gain the most from Big Data applications.

Azure Operational Insights combines the Azure platform, the Hadoop-based HDInsights and the Microsoft System Center, which manages large-scale Windows deployments, to gather and analyse machine data across cloud environments and turn it into valuable information.

The preview should be available in November, but one preview already available is Azure Batch, which simplifies massive scale-out tasks by providing users with thousands of cores with a few clicks. Azure Automation, which unsurprisingly automates time consuming or repetitive tasks in Azure and third-party cloud environments, is already available.

Microsoft Azure updates

Microsoft Windows Azure HDInsight Hadoop 2Security enhancements to the platform include support for multiple network interface cards (NICs), which will allow customers to use their on networking and security appliances, and new network security groups that allow for custom security boundaries for network access and provide greater control over traffic flow.

Microsoft has also beefed up virus protection with the free Microsoft Anti-Malware for Virtual Machines and Cloud Services tool.

A number of new Office 365 features were also outlined at the TechEd conference, while the company also announced the Azure Active Directory (AD) Application Proxy, which makes it possible to publish on-premise applications to external users via the cloud, and the Azure AD Connect tool, which simplifies the process of connecting to physical assets in the cloud and synchronises directories to Azure AD.

Cloud growth

“Today’s enterprise is always on, and IT professionals and developers are under constant pressure to keep up with the demands of the business,” Jason Zander, corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure said at TechEd Europe in Barcelona. “We are using the power of our cloud platform — Azure, Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics — to deliver technology solutions that empower IT professionals, developers and end users to do more.”

Last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled the Cloud Platform System (CPS), dubbed ‘Azure-in-a-box’, which works on a business’s premise but connects to the Azure public cloud, with operations managed using the same tools.

Microsoft competes in cloud services with the likes of Amazon, which leads the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) public cloud market, and Google, as well as vendors such as VMware, HP and Rackspace. The firm’s cloud business division generates annual revenues of $4.4 billion (£2.7 billion) and Microsoft is investing $4.5 billion a year in its cloud infrastructure.

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