The five most significant announcements from Microsoft Ignite – and what they mean for you
At this year’s Microsoft Ignite conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella placed the focus on consistent developer experiences in multi- and hybrid-cloud, alongside the announcements of new initiatives for “cloud-delivered quantum computing.” Nadella, in his keynote speech in Orlando, also emphasized the role of a consistent and reliable management platform across various cloud environments – including AWS and Google Cloud.
For instance, Azure Arc, which was introduced on the first day of Ignite, is “a control panel built for multi-cloud, multi-edge, and for the first time managed data services for where the edge compute is,” stated Nadella.
Before the premier Microsoft Ignite event for IT decision-makers, Microsoft had provided journalists an 87-page document that listed all news items to expect from the conference. But here are the top five announcements you should know about:
Azure Arc – manage resources anywhere
The Azure Arc control panel will let organizations leverage Azure to manage their resources across AWS and Google Cloud. The panel will also work for Linux and Windows Servers, and Kubernetes clusters as well. Furthermore, it will allow users to take limited Azure data services to these platforms. Previously, Azure Stack only worked on a limited set of hardware. Though Arc doesn’t have all Azure services, it will be a single platform for enterprises to manage their resources across a multi-cloud environment and their data centers. Owing to the complexities in hybrid environments, the control panel can be a single tool to keep enterprises in the Azure ecosystem.
Endpoint Manager – modernise device management
Per the keynote speech, Microsoft is set to combine ConfigMgr with Intune services that will allow organizations to manage laptops, PCs, tablets, and phones they issue to their employees, all under the Endpoint Manager. It’s also introducing a plethora of tools as well as recommendations to help companies modernize deployment strategies. Also, ConfigMgr users can now get a license to Intune, which will allow them to move to cloud-based management. Because security remains a significant concern in the BYOD world, managing all devices becomes a massive challenge for the IT department. With the latest offering, you can do away with multiple tools and get a single view of deployments.
Power Virtual Agents – the no-code bot builder
One of the most interesting announcements made at Microsoft Ignite has to be the introduction of Power Virtual Agents – the new ‘no-code/low-code’ tool for building chatbots. The tool uses Azure’s machine learning smarts to let users create chatbots by leveraging a visual interface. It will also allow users to integrate actual code. With the visual, anyone can build a chatbot and the creators will gain a better understanding of the user requirements than a developer who aren’t involved with business groups.
Azure Synapse – limitless analytics
Touted as the “limitless” analytics service, Microsoft introduced Azure Synapse Analytics, which is a combination of big-data analytics and data warehousing. The company said, “The service can use either serverless or provisioned resources to provide a unified experience to ingest, prepare, manage, and serve data for immediate BI and machine learning applications.” However, users can run existing data warehousing workloads with Azure Synapse. Microsoft said that it would be similar to integrating Apache Spark with SQL.
Microsoft 365 – Project Cortex
Microsoft 365 platform is also getting new additions this year. The company introduced Project Cortex, which is a new service in Microsoft 365 that leverages AI to classify all of an enterprise’s content into topics. The latest addition is set to create a network of knowledge that “improves individual productivity and organizational intelligence, helping identify experts on specific topics, and surfacing knowledge through interactive experiences across Microsoft 365.” The new service comes after Microsoft Teams and is now in private view. It is expected to be available in 2020.