Azure World Newsletter – Issue 3.17

September 8, 2022

Welcome to the seventeenth edition of the Azure World Newsletter in 2022.

As I write this week’s newsletter, I can hear the kids in the school down the street playing in the schoolyard. Monday was the first day back to school here in Portugal.

Microsoft Ignite will be from October 12 to 14 this fall. There is a limited in-person element, so it’s nice to see conferences returning to being in-person. And, of course, it will be available entirely online as well. But as of now, there is no registration link and no ability to buy tickets for the in-person conference. I will keep you posted on that.

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ONE.

The EU competition regulators are always watching. In the past ten years, Microsoft has paid over 1.6 billion Euros in fines to EU anti-trust regulators. Perhaps they are getting tired of paying these fees because Microsoft announced some Azure licensing changes that affect their competitors.

The changes affect licensing worldwide, not just in Europe.

The changes have to do with how expensive it is to run Windows, Office, or SQL Server with competing cloud vendors compared to how cheap it is to run those products with Azure. Microsoft is generally trying to give customers more options beyond the traditional large cloud platforms by including smaller cloud and hosting providers in the licensing benefits.

One of the responses to this complaint was that Microsoft is now allowing “per virtual core” licensing instead of forcing you to pay for licenses for all the physical cores on a server. This makes it cheaper to run Windows Server in a virtualized environment. Cheaper to run Windows sounds like a win.

Another proposed change is in licensing virtualized Windows 10 or Windows 11 environments. You no longer need a Windows license for the virtual environment if you have a Microsoft 365 F3/E3/E5 license. Also sounds like a win.

And lastly, Microsoft is making bringing your existing EA software licenses to smaller cloud platforms and third-party hosts easier. It appears to work similarly to Azure’s “Hybrid Benefit” option. So if you have those Windows or SQL Server licenses, you can use them with other hosting providers. This option excludes AWS, Alibaba, Google Cloud, and other big providers since you acquire your Windows licenses directly from those vendors.

There’s quite clearly a delicate game being played here between EU Anti-Competitive Regulators and their actual large competitors. They appear to be making it easier for all other hosting environments to compete (with Windows and Microsoft licensed solutions) with any other cloud environment. I don’t think the competitors were too happy with that. I guess they wanted it to be easier for them to compete with Azure and not more accessible for others to compete with them…

I have always found licensing stuff complicated (because it is), so instead of relying on my summary of the changes, check out the official Microsoft sources below.

For more:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/licensing/news/options-for-hosted-cloud
https://blogs.partner.microsoft.com/mpn/new-licensing-benefits-make-bringing-workloads-and-licenses-to-partners-clouds-easier/
https://www.thurrott.com/cloud/271491/microsoft-finalizes-plans-to-fix-unfair-licensing-in-eu


TWO.

Many companies are moving to a more virtualized environment. With Azure Virtual Desktop, the traditional “workstation” can now live in the cloud, and employees can access their office anywhere. Not only from home but also on their mobile device on the go.

This also helps with the old problem of employees accidentally leaving their laptops in a taxi or train, as no essential company data would be on those hard drives. If everything lives in the cloud and security is configured correctly, all the finder gets is a laptop that contains personal information, not company information. Far less valuable.

Microsoft recently released a new article in the Architecture Center on “Virtual Desktop Architecture Design.”

This article introduces the topic, a path to production, and a list of security and other best practices for using Azure Virtual Desktop.

It also touches on using FSLogix to manage the roaming profiles in remote computing environments.

I think it’s a good idea to check the Architecture Center from time to time because Microsoft summarizes its Azure design tips and best practices there.

For more:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/architecture/guide/virtual-desktop/start-here


AZURE PLATFORM UPDATES.

The following announcements were made in the last two weeks:

  • Azure Data Explorer supports native ingestion from Amazon S3
  • ExpressRoute IPv6 Support for Global Reach
  • Prevent a lifecycle management policy from archiving recently rehydrated blobs
  • Live resize for Premium SSD and Standard SSD Disk Storage
  • Enterprise-grade edge for Azure Static Web Apps
  • Azure Functions extension for Event Grid blob trigger
  • App Configuration references for App Service and Azure Functions
  • Azure Cosmos DB integrated cache
  • Encrypt storage account with cross-tenant customer-managed keys, in preview
  • Up to 45% performance gains in Stream Analytics stream processing
  • Resource instance rules for access to Azure Storage

Check out the Azure Updates page if any of these affect you.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/


COMING UP FOR ME.

I watched some of my courses this past week to ensure they’re completely up-to-date.

I first checked the SC-900 Azure Security Fundamentals course. The exam requirements had recently changed, so I removed some topics from the course that is no longer required by the exam. As well, I added videos to cover the new topics. And updated almost every video to ensure it’s relevant to the latest exam requirements. Feel free to check out the new SC-900 Azure Security Fundamentals course if this interests you. http://sjd.ca/sc900

And then, I checked the AI-900 Azure AI Fundamentals course. A few things have recently changed regarding Azure Cognitive Services, such as some restrictions on computer vision and voice services for privacy and safety concerns. Also, throughout 2022, Azure has renamed a few of the services and folded them into other services. This course didn’t need as many updates as SC-900 did, but I can say it’s completely up-to-date too. http://sjd.ca/ai900

Students in my TOGAF courses also might notice some changes. TOGAF is an enterprise architect standard that doesn’t change too frequently, but The Open Group recently came out with TOGAF Standard, 10th Edition. There is no certification yet, but I updated the TOGAF 9.2 Part 1 and Part 2 courses to mention this new standard and discuss the lack of a certification path. I also made some other changes to freshen up the courses for 2022. You can see those courses here if you’re interested. https://sjd.ca/togaf92pt1 and https://sjd.ca/togaf92pt2


WHERE TO FIND ME.

And that’s it for issue 3.17. Thanks for reading this far. Talk to you again in two weeks.

What is your favorite platform to be on? Perhaps we can connect there.

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