It’s the final day of Microsoft Ignite 2019 and a significantly quieter conference centre with many people already on travels home. The final day runs up to 2PM however it’s still packed full of 235 sessions none of which are any less important than the previous days, in fact from our own experience it contained one of the most useful sessions of the whole week.
The day started with a session from Sami Laiho on 45 life hacks for Windows OS in 45 minutes. This was perhaps one of the most entertaining sessions of the week although the 45 life hacks ended up at about 14 but still several useful tips and tricks were displayed. The most notable were for debugging in Windows and mapping out memory allocations for processes which for IT admins I would recommend looking into the use of the VM Map tool.
Next up for the day was a session on automating and managing Windows server environments which was perhaps one of the most useful sessions of the week and the one saved til last. The session started by recognising that both traditional server environments such as those on-premises and cloud deployments are both growing and will continue to co-exist for as long as can be imagined at the moment and Microsoft are working on providing more access to managing traditional workloads by attaching them to Azure tooling.
If you followed our Oracle coverage a couple of months ago this is something you may recall also being echoed by Oracle and that the line between on-premises and cloud is merging to enable you to run your workloads wherever suits you best.
The session went on to cover that cloud is no longer just about infrastructure but about services and management capabilities of which many were about to be covered. There was also talk on how IT management is shifting from being entirely controlled by IT admins to becoming more an offering of guidance and governance allowing different departments to take care of their own applications to a certain extent.
To this end Microsoft are working on creating cloud-based equivalents of on-premises tools but enhancing them in the process to take advantage of the cloud capabilities and advantages introducing what they are calling co-managed solutions. These tools and their cloud counterparts are covered on the slide below.
The most note worthy of these tools is the Azure Update Management services which allows unified patch management of Windows & Linux systems both on-premises and in any cloud environment whether it’s Microsoft Azure or another provider. The OS and cloud agnostic emphasis of this tool is great for providing a single pane of glass view of an entire organisations infrastructure and the compliance status of devices within that infrastructure. The best thing about this tool is that it’s free providing you keep your log management below 5GB however that would require quite a large infrastructure under management to exceed.
The other tool worth mentioning is change tracking which allows you to continually monitor devices within your infrastructure for changes to software, services, riles and registries and again is available for both Azure based services and other environments, a theme which was common amongst all of the tools shown. What’s great about change tracking is that it runs in real-time and reports it changes to the Azure portal so that in the event of an IT outage it’s possible to see what changed leading up to it and takes away some of the unknowns in certain outages.
The last of the tools to mention is the Azure Best Practices Analyser which although current in a closed beta will soon be available and will analyse your services connected to Azure and how they are configured to give you actionable steps on how to modify your services to confirm to best practices.
Those who have been around the Microsoft world for some time will know that best practices have always been something that can be difficult to achieve in real-world environments especially when business demands specify otherwise however this tool helps provide a path to getting as close to best practices as possible. The actionable insights help to show progress towards best practices and information on why you should change things. All the information is based off of a white paper on best practices which has been around for a while and underwent a number of months of assessment to write but now made easy to consume in this new tool.
That’s it for Microsoft Ignite 2019 as the event comes to a close and we ourselves set out on our travels back to the UK. It’s been clear that Microsoft are heavily investing in hybrid cloud as we’ve also seen from Oracle and Amazon however Microsoft appear to have a bit of the upper hand in also being cloud agnostic and allowing their tools to manage other cloud environments as well. Only a few years ago most people would have never imagined a world where both Redhat and Oracle had booths at a Microsoft conference and vice versa.
Microsoft have sent a clear message that they want to be the software vendor for all operating systems and all environments opening doors to their competitors which were once firmly closed. Unlike other cloud conferences they also don’t poke fun at their competitors and embrace them instead which we believe puts Microsoft in the front seat for cloud transformation.
Microsoft put forward a clear emphasis on cyber security and process automation as well this year which have been demonstrated to be 2 of the top concerns by businesses worldwide and both areas are where most of our action points for the next few weeks lie. We’re excited to be bringing more secure and more cost-effective solutions to our clients through protecting their data in more enhanced ways and improving performance via automation with tools such as Power Automate.
It was a great week and lots learnt by the team here which we’re excited to bring back to the UK and speak to everyone about.
By Matt Parkinson on November 11th, 2019