Showing posts with label Microsoft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Microsoft. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Microsoft Azure racks up 50% yoy growth

 Microsoft reported revenue of $41.7 billion for the quarter ended 31-March-2021, up 19% yoy. Net income was $15.5 billion GAAP and $14.8 billion non-GAAP, representing an increase of 44% and 38%, respectively. Diluted earnings per share was $2.03 GAAP and $1.95 non-GAAP, an increase of 45% and 39%,respectively.

“Over a year into the pandemic, digital adoption curves aren’t slowing down. They’re accelerating, and it’s just the beginning,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “We are building the cloud for the next decade, expanding our addressable market and innovating across every layer of the tech stack to help our customers be resilient and transform.”

“The Microsoft Cloud, with its end-to-end solutions, continues to provide compelling value to our customers generating $17.7 billion in commercial cloud revenue, up 33% year over year," said Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Microsoft.

Revenue in Productivity and Business Processes was $13.6 billion and increased 15% (up 12% in constant currency), with the following business highlights:

  • Office Commercial products and cloud services revenue increased 14% (up 10% in constant currency) driven by Office 365 Commercial revenue growth of 22% (up 19% in constant currency)
  • Office Consumer products and cloud services revenue increased 5% (up 2% in constant currency) and Microsoft 365 Consumer subscribers increased to 50.2 million
  • LinkedIn revenue increased 25% (up 23% in constant currency)
  • Dynamics products and cloud services revenue increased 26% (up 22% in constant currency) driven by Dynamics 365 revenue growth of 45% (up 40% in constant currency)

Revenue in Intelligent Cloud was $15.1 billion and increased 23% (up 20% in constant currency), with the following business highlights:

  • Server products and cloud services revenue increased 26% (up 23% in constant currency) driven by Azure revenue growth of 50% (up 46% in constant currency)

Revenue in More Personal Computing was $13.0 billion and increased 19% (up 16% in constant currency), with the following business highlights:

  • Windows OEM revenue increased 10%
  • Windows Commercial products and cloud services revenue increased 10% (up 7% in constant currency)
  • Xbox content and services revenue increased 34% (up 32% in constant currency)
  • Search advertising revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs increased 17% (up 14% in constant currency)
  • Surface revenue increased 12% (up 7% in constant currency)

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Investor/earnings/FY-21-Q3/press-release-webcast

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Microsoft to build its first datacenter region in Malaysia

Microsoft announced plans to build its data center region in Malaysia to deliver trusted cloud services locally, with world-class data security, privacy, and the ability to store data in-country.

Microsoft's “Bersama Malaysia” (Together with Malaysia) initiative represents "a significant commitment to empowering Malaysia’s inclusive digital economy and advancing the nation’s digital transformation across the private and public sectors." The company aims to deliver training to at least 1 million Malaysians by end of 2023 to help create economic opportunities for people and businesses in the digital era. Finally, Microsoft will help form the MyDigital Alliance Leadership Council to collaborate on cloud-first and digital-native policy recommendations.

YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Prime Minister of Malaysia said, “As we cement the Microsoft partnership today, I hope this is just the first green shoots of a broader meadow of investments in Malaysia, for Microsoft and other data players. This significant investment from Microsoft further fortifies Malaysia’s position as a potential regional data hub and we stand ever ready to welcome more such partners as we work with our stakeholders to continually improve Malaysia’s value proposition in this big data space.”

“Today’s announcement represents a major milestone for Microsoft in the 28 years we have been operating in Malaysia. We share the Government’s commitment that digital transformation must be inclusive and responsible. As such, we pledge to empower 1 million Malaysians with digital skills, helping them to take advantage of the opportunities this new investment will bring. Building digital infrastructure is fundamental to advancing a nation’s digital economy. The upcoming datacenter region will be a game-changer for Malaysia, enabling the government and businesses to reimagine and transform their operations, to the benefit of all citizens,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice President and President, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing and Operations.

https://news.microsoft.com/en-my/2021/04/19/microsoft-announces-plans-to-establish-its-first-datacenter-region-in-malaysia-as-part-of-bersama-malaysia-initiative-to-support-inclusive-economic-growth/

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Azure commits to Availability Zones architecture

Microsoft has committed to using Availability Zones architecture in all of its data enter regions worldwide in order to improve resiliency.

An Azure datacenter region is made up of multiple data center facilities with redundant power, cooling, and networking.

Azure Availability Zones (AZs), comprising of a minimum of three zones, allow customers to spread their infrastructure and applications across discrete and dispersed datacenters for added resiliency and high availability.


In a blog post, Pradeep Nair Vice President, Microsoft Azure, says that by the end of the 2021, every country in which the company operates a datacenter region will include at least one region with Azure Availability Zones architecture. Additionally, every new datacenter region that Microsoft launches going forward will have AZs. 

Over the last 12 months, Microsoft enabled Availability Zones in five datacenter regions, including most recently in Brazil South.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/our-commitment-to-expand-azure-availability-zones-to-more-regions/

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Microsoft plans new Azure region in China in 2022

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced plans for a new Azure Region to North China in 2022 through its local operating partner, 21Vianet. 

This expansion is expected to effectively double the capacity of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud portfolio in China in the coming years, which includes Azure, Microsoft Office 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform operated by 21Vianet.

21Vianet has served as Microsoft Azure's local partner in China since 2014.

“This unveils a big opportunity. Microsoft Cloud operated by 21Vianet was the first international public cloud compliantly launched in China through a local operating partner. Our intelligent, trustworthy, and neutral cloud platform has been empowering hundreds of thousands of developers, partners, and customers from both China and the world to achieve more with technical innovation and business transformation. The upcoming region will reinforce the capabilities to help further nurture local talents, stimulate local innovation, grow local technology ecosystems, and empower businesses in a wide range of industries to achieve more," states Alain Crozier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Greater China Region (GCR).

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/new-azure-region-coming-to-china-in-2022/


Microsoft Exchange hit by state-sponsored hackers from China

Microsoft warned enterprises using its on-premises Exchange Server platforms of multiple 0-day exploits being used in limited and targeted attacks. The exploit does not affect Microsoft 365 or Azure Cloud deployments.

Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) attributes this campaign with high confidence to HAFNIUM, a group assessed to be state-sponsored and operating out of China, based on observed victimology, tactics and procedures. HAFNIUM, which primarily targets entities in the United States across a number of industry sectors,  exfiltrates data to file sharing sites like MEGA. The group is believed to use leased virtual private servers (VPS) in the United States to launch their attacks

In the attacks observed, HAFNIUM used the newly discovered vulnerabilities to access on-premises Exchange servers which enabled access to email accounts, and allowed installation of additional malware to facilitate long-term access to victim environments. 

According to media reports, the attack potentially compromised up to 30,000 organizations.

Microsoft has released out-of-band security updates to address four vulnerabilities in Exchange Server. In addition, Microsoft has released alternative mitigation techniques for Exchange Server customers who are not able to immediately apply updates that address vulnerabilities.

Separately, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a directive requiring federal civilian departments and agencies running Microsoft Exchange on-premises products to update or disconnect the products from their networks.

In addition, the European Banking Authority confirmed that it was compromised by the attack, and that as a precautionary measure, the EBA has decided to take its email systems offline.

https://www.microsoft.com/security/blog/2021/03/02/hafnium-targeting-exchange-servers/

Monday, March 8, 2021

Microsoft previews AI-driven Azure modules

 Microsoft unveiled the public preview of Azure Percept, a platform of hardware and services that aims to simplify the ways in which customers can use Azure AI technologies on the edge – including taking advantage of Azure cloud offerings such as device management, AI model development and analytics.

The Azure Percept platform includes a development kit with an intelligent camera, Azure Percept Vision, and a microphone module called Azure Precept Audio.

Azure Percept Vision and Azure Percept Audio connect to Azure services in the cloud and come with embedded hardware-accelerated AI modules that enable speech and vision AI at the edge, or during times when the device isn’t connected to the internet. In addition, Azure Percept devices automatically connect to Azure IoT Hub, which helps enable reliable communication with security protections between Internet of Things, or IoT, devices and the cloud. 

Potential applications could include elevators that respond to voice commands, cameras that notify store managers when to restock shelves and video streams that keep tabs on everything from cash register lines to parking space availability.

https://blogs.microsoft.com/ai/with-azure-percept-microsoft-adds-new-ways-for-customers-to-bring-ai-to-the-edge/

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Microsoft Exchange hit by state-sponsored hackers from China

Microsoft warned enterprises using its on-premises Exchange Server platforms of multiple 0-day exploits being used in limited and targeted attacks. The exploit does not affect Microsoft 365 or Azure Cloud deployments.

Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) attributes this campaign with high confidence to HAFNIUM, a group assessed to be state-sponsored and operating out of China, based on observed victimology, tactics and procedures. HAFNIUM, which primarily targets entities in the United States across a number of industry sectors,  exfiltrates data to file sharing sites like MEGA. The group is believed to use leased virtual private servers (VPS) in the United States to launch their attacks

In the attacks observed, HAFNIUM used the newly discovered vulnerabilities to access on-premises Exchange servers which enabled access to email accounts, and allowed installation of additional malware to facilitate long-term access to victim environments. 

According to media reports, the attack potentially compromised up to 30,000 organizations.

Microsoft has released out-of-band security updates to address four vulnerabilities in Exchange Server. In addition, Microsoft has released alternative mitigation techniques for Exchange Server customers who are not able to immediately apply updates that address vulnerabilities.

Separately, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a directive requiring federal civilian departments and agencies running Microsoft Exchange on-premises products to update or disconnect the products from their networks.

In addition, the European Banking Authority confirmed that it was compromised by the attack, and that as a precautionary measure, the EBA has decided to take its email systems offline.

https://www.microsoft.com/security/blog/2021/03/02/hafnium-targeting-exchange-servers/



Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Microsoft Azure Arc promises single control plane for Kubernetes

 Microsoft introduced a set of technologies that extends Azure management and services to any infrastructure running Kubernetes. 

Azure Arc offers a single control plane in any Kubernetes environment, including  on-premises, multicloud, or at the edge. 

Azure Arc is built to work with any cloud native computing foundation (CNCF) conformant Kubernetes distribution. Microsoft has collaborated with popular Kubernetes distributions including VMware Tanzu and Nutanix Karbon, which join Red Hat OpenShift, Canonical’s Charmed Kubernetes, and Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE) to test and validate their implementations with Azure Arc. 

Azure Arc enabled services will include Azure Machine Learning, which is an enterprise-grade service that enables data scientists and developers to build, deploy, and manage machine learning models. By using Azure Arc to extend machine learning (ML) capabilities to hybrid and multicloud environments, customers can train ML models directly where the data lives using their existing infrastructure investments. This reduces data movement while meeting security and compliance requirements.

Customers can sign up for Azure Arc enabled Machine Learning today and deploy to any Kubernetes cluster. In one click, data scientists can now use familiar tools to build machine learning models consistently and reliably and deploy anywhere.

Microsoft released Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes in preview last fall and is now releasing it as general availability.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/innovate-across-hybrid-and-multicloud-with-new-azure-arc-capabilities/

Aruba ties its Edge Services Platform to Microsoft Azure

Aruba introduced a service that enables IoT devices connected to Aruba access points (APs) and controllers to bi-directionally communicate with Microsoft's Azure IoT Hub. 

The Aruba IoT Transport for Azure service seamlessly enables the secure, bi-directional movement of data from IoT devices connected to Aruba APs and controllers, eliminating the need for an intermediate gateway, server, or application, thus reducing processing latency.


“Edge networking and IoT have had a profoundly positive impact on businesses, however, their recent convergence has surfaced interoperability challenges across platforms, applications, and systems,” said Michael Tennefoss, vice president of IoT and Strategic Partnerships at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. “Simplifying the integration of edge IoT and cloud services using the advanced cloud capabilities of Aruba ESP with the extensibility and power of Microsoft Azure overcomes these challenges. And it does so without sacrificing security, manageability, or reliability. The ubiquity of Azure, and its 99.99 percent regional availability, makes the solution attractive to customers worldwide that want better informed decisions and continuous process improvements.”

In addition, Aruba announced the introduction of the Aruba Central cloud management platform hosted on Azure, bringing Aruba’s enterprise-grade cloud networking solution, with more than 1 million devices already under management, to Azure.


https://news.arubanetworks.com/news-release-details/2021/Aruba-Accelerates-Digital-Transformation-from-Edge-to-Cloud-on-Microsoft-Azure/default.aspx

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Microsoft outlines Azure for Operators service stack

In September 2020, Microsoft announced its Azure for Operators initiative promising to offer core infrastructure to both fixed and mobile network operators.

Microsoft Azure for Operators is built on the company's recent acquisition of Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch, as well as on its development of Azure Edge Zones, which are local extensions of Azure, deployed with carriers or as private infrastructure.

In a blog post, Yousef Khalidi Corporate Vice President, Azure Networking, describes the engagement with operators as a partnership and a journey. Microsoft endeavors to work with providers of radio access network (RAN), core, cloud-native functions (CNFs), and operations support systems (OSS) or business support systems (BSS) to integrate and innovate.

Kalidi says Azure for Operators will grow to encompass the full service stack, including global transport, edge platforms, network functions, business intelligence, and cloud solutions. However, Azure for Operators will allow elements to be selected individually, including products and solutions from Microsoft and its ecosystem partners. 


https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/futureproof-your-network-with-azure-for-operators/

Microsoft launches Azure for Operators

 Microsoft launched an initiative called "Azure for Operators" that will provide core infrastructure to network operators.The strategy aims to harness the power of the intelligent edge, connected by high-bandwidth fiber or 5G, to create new opportunities and better efficiencies for communication service providers.Microsoft Azure for Operators is built on the company's recent acquisitio of Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch, as well as on its development...

Microsoft to acquire Metaswitch, extending its reach into telco cloud

Microsoft agreed to acquire Metaswitch Networks, a long-time leader in providing high-performance software to the communications industry. Financial terms were not disclosed. Metaswitch has been a pioneer in cloud-native solutions for telecom operators. Its range of solutions include: VoIP softswitches and gateways VoLTE/VoWiFi Voice and VoLTE interconnect IMS core deployments Session Border Control Robocall blocking Converged voice and data messaging Group...


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Microsoft Azure clocks revenue growth of 50% YOY

Microsoft reported strong financial performance for the quarter ended 31-December-2020, with overall revenue of $43.1 billion, up 17%; operating income of $17.9 billion, up 29% YOY; net income of $15.5 billion, up 33% YOY; and diluted earnings per share of $2.03, up 34% YOY.

Highlights


 

Revenue in Productivity and Business Processes was $13.4 billion and increased 13% (up 11% in constant currency), with the following business highlights:

  • Office Commercial products and cloud services revenue increased 11% (up 9% in constant currency) driven by Office 365 Commercial revenue growth of 21% (up 20% in constant currency)
  • Office Consumer products and cloud services revenue increased 7% (up 6% in constant currency) and Microsoft 365 Consumer subscribers increased to 47.5 million
  • LinkedIn revenue increased 23% (up 22% in constant currency)
  • Dynamics products and cloud services revenue increased 21% (up 18% in constant currency) driven by Dynamics 365 revenue growth of 39% (up 37% in constant currency)

Revenue in Intelligent Cloud was $14.6 billion and increased 23% (up 22% in constant currency), with the following business highlights:

  • Server products and cloud services revenue increased 26% (up 24% in constant currency) driven by Azure revenue growth of 50% (up 48% in constant currency)

Revenue in More Personal Computing was $15.1 billion and increased 14% (up 13% in constant currency), with the following business highlights:

  • Windows OEM revenue increased 1%
  • Windows Commercial products and cloud services revenue increased 10% (up 8% in constant currency)
  • Xbox content and services revenue increased 40% (up 38% in constant currency)
  • Surface revenue increased 3% (up 1% in constant currency)
  • Search advertising revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs increased 2% (up 1% in constant currency)


Thursday, December 10, 2020

Deutsche Telekom aligns with Microsoft Azure

Deutsche Telekom and Microsoft announced a seven-year strategic agreement to help customers of all sizes accelerate their cloud transformation initiatives. 

"We have agreed on the framework for joint strategic growth with our long-term partner Microsoft. We are delighted," said Adel Al-Saleh, member of the Deutsche Telekom Board of Management and CEO of T-Systems. "This partnership will enable us to enhance services for our customers. We will also be supporting each other with digitalization and network build-out." 

Highlights

  • Telekom plans to migrate the majority of its internal IT workloads to the public cloud by 2025 and Azure is a central part of that strategy. Through a companywide training program, thousands of Telekom employees will learn how to maximize the benefits of Azure. 
  • Telekom will also offer its customers direct access to the Microsoft cloud through Azure ExpressRoute. 
  • Telekom will offer Microsoft 365, including Microsoft Teams. As part of this, the companies have started a project for German schools to reimagine traditional approaches to education, enabling remote learning through cloud-based IT infrastructure, modern devices and the cloud productivity and collaboration applications within Microsoft 365. 
  • Telekom will help its customers with moving their SAP environments to Azure. SAP solutions on Azure offer enterprise-grade security, and business continuity and reduce hardware expenses, making it easier for start-ups and smaller organizations to get started. 

“The case for digital transformation has never been more urgent. We know that the next decade of economic performance for every business, whether large or small, will depend on the digital investments made today," said Jean-Philippe Courtois, executive vice president and president, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing and Operations. “Through this strategic partnership, which combines the power of Deutsche Telekom’s network and Microsoft’s cloud, customers will have more opportunities to become resilient, accelerate innovation and ultimately drive success.”

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Microsoft's commercial cloud revenue up 31% YoY, Azure up 48%

Microsoft reported revenue of $37.2 billion for the quarter ended September 30, up 12% compared to a year earlier. Net income was $13.9 billion and increased 30%.

“The next decade of economic performance for every business will be defined by the speed of their digital transformation,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “We are innovating across our full modern tech stack to help our customers in every industry improve time to value, increase agility, and reduce costs." 

"Demand for our cloud offerings drove a strong start to the fiscal year with our commercial cloud revenue generating $15.2 billion, up 31% year over year,” said Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Microsoft. “We continue to invest against the significant opportunity ahead of us to drive long-term growth.”

Commercial cloud includes Office 365 commercial, Azure, the commercial portion of LinkedIn, Dynamics 365, and other cloud properties.


Highlights

  • Revenue in Productivity and Business Processes was $12.3 billion and increased 11%, with the following business highlights:
  • Office Commercial products and cloud services revenue increased 9% driven by Office 365 Commercial revenue growth of 21% (up 20% in constant currency)
  • Office Consumer products and cloud services revenue increased 13% and Microsoft 365 Consumer subscribers increased to 45.3 million
  • LinkedIn revenue increased 16%
  • Dynamics products and cloud services revenue increased 19% (up 18% in constant currency) driven by Dynamics 365 revenue growth of 38% (up 37% in constant currency)
  • Revenue in Intelligent Cloud was $13.0 billion and increased 20% (up 19% in constant currency), with the following business highlights:
  • Server products and cloud services revenue increased 22% (up 21% in constant currency) driven by Azure revenue growth of 48% (up 47% in constant currency)
  • Revenue in More Personal Computing was $11.8 billion and increased 6%, with the following business highlights:
  • Windows OEM revenue declined 5%
  • Windows Commercial products and cloud services revenue increased 13% (up 12% in constant currency)
  • Xbox content and services revenue increased 30%
  • Surface revenue increased 37% (up 36% in constant currency)
  • Search advertising revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs decreased 10% (down 11% in constant currency)
  • Microsoft returned $9.5 billion to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021, an increase of 21% compared to the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Microsoft announces Azure Modular Datacenter for remote areas

Microsoft announced Azure Modular Datacenter (MDC) for bringing cloud computing capabilities into hybrid or challenging environments, including remote areas. 

Azure MDC is a self-contained datacenter unit that can operate in a wide range of climates and harsh conditions in a ruggedized, radio frequency (RF) shielded unit. 

MDC is designed so that it can run with full network connectivity, occasionally connected or fully disconnected. Microsoft said it is partnering with satellite operators to provide an option for secure and reliable connectivity to field deployed MDC units.

In addition, Microsoft announced a partnership with SpaceX Starlink to provide low-latency satellite broadband for the new Azure MDC.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/introducing-the-microsoft-azure-modular-datacenter/

Monday, October 19, 2020

Verizon brings 5G Edge to Microsoft Azure

Verizon is integrating its on-site 5G Edge network with Microsoft's Azure edge services to enable ultra-low latency services for enterprises.

The companies said their collaboration brings a mobile edge computing platform designed to enable developers to build applications for mobile end-users and wireless edge devices with ultra-low latency.

“We have built a network that provides real-world, 5G-enabled solutions TODAY,” said Rima Qureshi, EVP and Chief Strategy Officer at Verizon. “By bringing together Verizon’s 5G network and on-site 5G Edge platform with Microsoft’s expertise in cloud services, we will enable the development of the next generation technologies everyone has been envisioning.”

“By leveraging Verizon’s 5G network integrated with Microsoft’s cloud and edge capabilities, developers and businesses can benefit from fast, secure and reliable connections to deliver seamless digital experiences from massive industrial IoT workloads to precision medicine,” said Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president Azure for Operators at Microsoft.

Verizon said it is also exploring opportunities to co-innovate with Microsoft to deliver new value to industries ranging from manufacturing to healthcare.

AWS Wavelength Zones open in Boston & San Francisco

Amazon announced that the first two AWS Wavelength Zones are now open, one in Boston and the other in San Francisco. The new zones will allow developers who want to build apps to service Verizon Wireless customers in those metropolitan areas.

AWS Wavelength Zones, which were first announced at AWS re:Invent 2019,  allow 5G operators to embed AWS hardware and software in their datacenters. The goal is to allow developers to build and deliver applications that can benefit from ultra-low latency.

Each WZ is associated with a specific AWS region known as the parent region. This is US East (N. Virginia) for the Wavelength Zone in Boston, and US West (N. California) for the AZ in San Francisco.

https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-wavelength-zones-are-now-open-in-boston-san-francisco/

Verizon to offer 5G network edge computing with AWS Wavelength

Verizon will be the first carrier to offer the new AWS Wavelength service to provide developers the ability to deploy applications that require ultra-low latency to mobile devices using 5G.  The service targets latency-sensitive use cases like machine learning inference at the edge, autonomous industrial equipment, smart cars and cities, Internet of Things (IoT), and augmented and virtual reality. The idea is to position AWS compute and storage services at the edge of Verizon’s 5G network.

The companies are currently piloting AWS Wavelength on Verizon’s edge compute platform, 5G Edge, in Chicago for a select group of customers, including video game publisher Bethesda Softworks and the National Football League (NFL). Additional deployments are planned in other locations across the U.S. in 2020.

Verizon 5G Edge provides mobile edge computing and an efficient high-volume connection between users, devices, and applications. AWS Wavelength lets customers deploy the parts of an application that require ultra-low latency to the edge of the network and then seamlessly connect back to the full range of cloud services running in AWS.

AWS also listed Vodafone Business, KDDI, and SK Telecom as partners.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Microsoft launches Azure for Operators

 Microsoft launched an initiative called "Azure for Operators" that will provide core infrastructure to network operators.

The strategy aims to harness the power of the intelligent edge, connected by high-bandwidth fiber or 5G, to create new opportunities and better efficiencies for communication service providers.

Microsoft Azure for Operators is built on the company's recent acquisitio of Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch, as well as on its development of Azure Edge Zones, which are local extensions of Azure, deployed with carriers or as private infrastructure.

Jason Zander, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Azure, states "By harnessing the power of Microsoft Azure, on their edge, or in the cloud, operators can transition to a more flexible and scalable model, drive down infrastructure cost, use AI and machine learning (ML) to automate operations and create service differentiation. Furthermore, a hybrid and hyper-scale infrastructure will provide operators with the agility they need to rapidly innovate and experiment with new 5G services on a programmable network."

In a blog posting, Zander acknowledges that operators will want to have the control and visibility necessary to manage their unique industry requirements. Microsoft's network already connects with operators at more than 170 points of presence and over 20,000 peering connections around the globe.

Azure for Operators partners include Accenture, Asco’s, AT&T, Etisalat, HPE, Intel, Mavenir, RedHat, Samsung, Tech Mahindra, Telstra, Tillman Digital Cities, Verizon and VMWare, in addition to Microsoft’s own Affirmed and Metaswitch.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/microsoft-partners-with-the-telecommunications-industry-to-roll-out-5g-and-more/

Microsoft to acquire Metaswitch, extending its reach into telco cloud

Microsoft agreed to acquire Metaswitch Networks, a long-time leader in providing high-performance software to the communications industry. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Metaswitch has been a pioneer in cloud-native solutions for telecom operators. Its range of solutions include:

  • VoIP softswitches and gateways
  • VoLTE/VoWiFi
  • Voice and VoLTE interconnect
  • IMS core deployments
  • Session Border Control
  • Robocall blocking
  • Converged voice and data messaging
  • Group Communications and Collaboration
  • Cloud contact centers
Metaswitch (formerly Data Connection Ltd) was founded in 1981 and is based in London. The company is privately held.

Microsoft to acquire Affirmed Networks for telco cloud vEPC

Microsoft agreed to acquire Affirmed Networks. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Affirmed Networks, which is based in Acton, Massachusetts, supplies virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) solutions for mobile operators. 

Affirmed’s virtualized evolved packet solution capabilities include CUPS, 5G NSA, network slicing, integrated virtual probe, virtualized DPI, GiLAN, analytics and security services, virtualized Wi-Fi, and service automation platform. The company claims 76 deployments, including announced projects with AT&T, Etisalat, and Vodafone.


Microsoft Azure Edge Zones previews with carriers

Microsoft has begun previewing Azure Edge Zones, which are 5G customer scenarios that can leverage its cloud capabilities.

Microsoft said Azure Edge Zones and Azure Private Edge Zones will enable:

  • Development of distributed applications across cloud, on-premises, and edge using the same Azure Portal, APIs, development, and security tools.
  • Local data processing for latency critical industrial IoT and media services workloads.
  • Acceleration of IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and real-time analytics by optimizing, building, and innovating for robotics, automation, and mixed reality.
  • New frontiers for developers working with high-density graphics and real-time operations in industries such as gaming.
  • An evolving platform built with customers, carriers, and industry partners to allow seamless integration and operation of a wide selection of Virtual Network Functions, including 5G software and SD-WAN and firewalls from technology partners such as Affirmed, Mavenir, Nuage Networks from Nokia, Metaswitch, Palo Alto Networks, and VeloCloud By VMware.
Microsoft, which has already announced an Azure Edge Zone partnership with AT&T, is now expanding the program to the following carriers: Etisalat, NTT Communications, Proximus, Rogers, SK Telecom, Telefonica, Telstra, SK Telecom, and Vodafone Business.

By connecting Azure services directly to 5G networks inside the carrier's data centers, applications will benefit from significantly reduced latency,




Microsoft 365 hit by outage

Microsoft 365 experienced a widespread on Monday evening across the United States.

The disruption left some users unable to access any services that leverage Azure Active Directory (AAD) including Outlook, Microsoft Teams and Teams Live Events as well as Office.com. 

While the issue was being resolved, Microsoft said it was rerouting some traffic to alternate infrastructure.

About 4 hours after reports of the outage surfaced, Microsoft tweeted that the majority of services for most users had been recovered.


https://twitter.com/MSFT365Status


 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Microsoft announces Azure Communication Services

Microsoft announced Azure Communication Services, the first fully managed communication platform offering from a major cloud provider.

Azure Communication Services is built natively on top of the Microsof Azure cloud at global scale using the same low latency global communication network as Microsoft Teams, which currently is supporting over 5 billion meeting minutes per day. 

The idea is for enterprises to build rich communications into their existing application, including mobile apps, using the Azure communications network.

Azure Communication Services will enable developers to tap into other Azure services, such as Azure Cognitive Services for translation, sentiment analysis, etc. The service over encrypted communications to meet privacy and compliance needs, such as HIPAA and GDPR.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/communication-services/

Microsoft and Telstra enter cloud + 5G partnership

Microsoft and Telstra are extending their long-standing strategic partnership to focus on accelerating cloud-based solutions combined with 5G. Telstra has named Microsoft as its preferred cloud provider for ongoing internal digital transformation.

Telstra and Microsoft also agreed to:

  • harness IoT, Edge, AI and digital twin capability to develop important new industry solutions in areas such as asset tracking, supply chain management, telematics and smart spaces;
  • leverage Azure as preferred cloud for Telstra’s ongoing internal digital transformation.
  • explore and pursue technology and data-driven solutions to advance our sustainability and climate commitments and
  • build ground-breaking, nationally important solutions that leverage the Telstra Data Hub.

The companies also agreed to partner on digital twins for Telstra customers as well as for Telstra’s own commercial buildings and selected other infrastructure – which when fully deployed will be one of the largest Azure-based digital twins in Australia. 

“We already have a longstanding relationship with Microsoft and have worked together in areas that are market-leading to create unique experiences for our customers. Over the past 18 months, we have exclusively launched Xbox All Access for Australian gamers, were the first to launch Telstra Calling for Office 365, the only native Teams voice calling plan in Australia, which we recently expanded to include Microsoft Business Voice for SMB customers; and co-collaborated on Telstra Data Hub to help industries better manage their data securely,” said Telstra CEO Andrew Penn.

“The broad adoption of cloud and 5G technology will create new opportunities for businesses worldwide, including in Australia,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “We’re expanding our partnership with Telstra and bringing together the power of Azure and Telstra’s network to build new solutions in critical areas like asset tracking, supply-chain management, and smart spaces, harnessing the latest advances in AI, digital twins, and mixed reality.”

https://news.microsoft.com/2020/09/24/telstra-microsoft-partnership-signals-new-generation-digital-foundations-for-australian-businesses/

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

SES signs on as MEO satellite partner for Microsoft Azure Orbital

 SES signed a multi-year agreement with Microsoft to be an Azure Orbital partner as well as to accelerate and expand the use of Microsoft Azure across its operations and jointly develop cloud-based video and data connectivity managed services.

Under the arrangement, SES will be co-locating and managing O3b mPOWER gateways with Microsoft Azure locations so its customers are always only “one-hop” away from their Azure cloud services anywhere in the world. More specifically, SES will be the medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite partner for Microsoft Azure Orbital. The two companies also agreed to make joint investments in Azure Orbital ground stations for the MEO and Earth Observation segments that SES will deploy and manage based on its industry expertise, with the first Earth Observation gateway being located at Quincy, Western Australia.

The Microsoft partnership is expected to bring improved network performance for SES customers as they route over Microsoft’s global network and inject value-added, cloud-based managed services such as enhanced security, SD-WAN, and other network functions into the service chain.

Additionally, to support customers migrating to the cloud, SES has established a corporate cloud cross-functional team responsible for driving cloud adoption within its own enterprise and operations, and defining, developing and launching seamless cloud, content and connectivity solutions across all of the company’s key market segments. These cloud-based solutions will enable SES customers to enjoy the agility, flexibility and cost-optimisation they require in capitalising on new revenue opportunities. Under the corporate cloud initiative, SES is also moving its IT systems and operations to cloud-based automated services and applications.

“With the breadth and scope of Azure’s global platform and capabilities, Microsoft emerges as an ideal partner in our accelerated transformation into a cloud-first enterprise delivering cloud-based video and data managed services,” said JP Hemingway, CEO of SES Networks who leads SES’s corporate cloud initiative. “We believe our customers – from dense urban areas to remote and rural locations around the world – will be best served by a ‘new space’ ecosystem that enables them to be more agile, scale flexibly and seize new revenue opportunities.”



Monday, September 7, 2020

Delta builds 12.8Tbps switch with on-board optical modules

Taiwan-based Delta worked with Microsoft and the Consortium for On Board Optics (COBO) to develop a proof of concept (POC) open networking switch featuring 12.8Tbps bandwidth capacity as well as the seamless integration of five different optical module form factors in a single 4U rack.

The design features sixteen ports based on the COBO standard, which boasts up to 800 Gbps transmission speed (16 x 50Gbps) and energy savings as high as 30% when compared to similar peer technologies. The system also includes two 400G QSFP-DD, two 400G OSFP and sixty four 100G QSFP ports. Intel's 8-core 2.0 GHz D-1548 Broadwell high-performance chip sits at the core of the Delta COBO switch.



Mr. Brad Booth, Microsoft's Principal Network Architect and COBO's President, said, "We are pleased to see Delta's expertise in high-efficiency power electronics and in networking systems. Being capable of integrating COBO and other form factors into a single platform has been an integral contribution to this POC project to enable end users to perform hands-on evaluation and testing. Cloud data centers will require the support of networking systems featuring increased transmission speeds and low carbon footprint, and COBO represents a prime opportunity to deliver on these essential requirements."

Mr. Victor Cheng, Delta's Senior Vice President and General Manager of its Information & Communications Technology Business Group, said, "With the development of this highly innovative POC COBO open networking switch, we have completed the first phase of a new chapter in the successful collaboration story with our long-time partner Microsoft. The promising energy savings offered by the COBO optical form factor standard align perfectly with Delta's long-term commitment to energy conservation and lower CO2 emissions, and therefore, we look forward to cooperating with Microsoft and COBO to accelerate the growth of the 5G megatrend with this inventive technology."

Delta is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and Azure Cloud Solution Provider.

https://www.deltaww.com/news/pressDetail.aspx?secID=3&pID=1&typeID=2&itemID=12998&tid=0&hl=en-US

https://www.onboardoptics.org/