******************** This is a guest blog post by Lee Mather ********************
So, after an eventful week in Orlando at Microsoft Ignite I thought I would share with you a summary of my first day! With over 26,000 attendees it was always going to be a busy event with lots going on, we would need a team here to take in all of the information being presented to us. I am hoping to have a chance to share the other days ASAP.
During the first day I attended several sessions and would like to share the following takeaways.
The mission statement from Microsoft is to “Empower every person and every organisation to achieve more”
The keynote focused on digital transformation which is aligned to the four key areas below:
· Modern Workplace
· Business Applications
· Application & Infrastructure
· Data & AI
Following on from the keynote session, I had a day packed of sessions mainly focusing on creating a modern workplace.
Session 1: Create a modern workplace with Microsoft 365
The session focused on the following key areas:
· Flexibility to work on any device, anywhere
· Improvements to Office application including PowerPoint Designer using AI.
o Microsoft Teams will be the hub for teamwork including chat, calls and meetings.
o Microsoft Teams will replace the Skype for Business client over the next year
Other worthwhile mentions from the session included Cortana Calendars. Cortana Calendars is a new feature that is currently in “Exclusive” preview but essentially this service will help intelligently schedule meetings on your behalf, simply by adding Cortana in the CC field. The service will support Office 365, Outlook.com or Google calendar. Additional information can be found here https://calendar.help/
“With the speed of artificial intelligence and the personal touch of a human assistant, Calendar.help takes care of business.”
The session also focused on the modern device management and deployment. Windows Autopilot will allow new device deployment in a few simple steps, straight from the vendor to your desk without involving IT. Working with Windows Autopilot and a device management solution such as Intune, the device will be deployed, Azure AD joined or Offline domain join to Active Directory, configured with all policies defined by IT and app deployment. More on this over the coming days.
Device Co-Management was also announced as a new feature, this is the “Hybrid” device management that will support a transition from System Centre Configuration Manager (SCCM) to Intune. Co-Management will allow a device to be managed by both SCCM and Intune allowing a gradual migration to modern management whilst supporting legacy devices and applications.
Finally, a couple of new offerings from Microsoft, Microsoft 365 Education and Microsoft 365 F1. Additional details can be found here https://products.office.com/en-gb/business/office-365-f1 and https://products.office.com/en-gb/academic/compare-office-365-education-plans
Session 2: Use MDM migration tools to accelerate move from GPO to MDM
This session focused on accelerating a move to MDM and moving away from GPO to MDM policies. GPO has been around for years with many legacy policies in the workplace that may or may not be required today. Microsoft are continually releasing new device configuration policies to Intune. To support the migration away from GPO to MDM, the following PowerShell script can be executed that will output a report. https://github.com/WindowsDeviceManagement/MMAT
The tool is being regularly updated to align with new features available in Intune.
Session 3: Cloud infrastructure: Enabling new possibilities together
The Cloud Infrastructure session focused on using Azure for all workloads, big and small.
The session explained how you can setup a SAP HANA platform in minutes using Azure instead of weeks using on-premises hardware. Microsoft are continually providing more options for scaling in Azure, currently offering up to 20TB RAM for large SAP HANA deployments.
It was also recommended to use the DevTest labs to reduce costs for non-production workloads. For more information on DevTest lab please take a look here https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/devtest-lab/
The Azure Security Centre is now Hybrid too, allowing for non-Azure machines to be onboarded to take full advantage of the security monitoring and recommendations built into Azure.
This is a great additional to Azure Security Centre for a single unified view of your servers, either on-premises or running in Azure.
Currently Azure have 42 regions with 100’s of data centres, 4500+ peering locations and 130+ edge sites making the Azure network one of the largest in the world.
Microsoft, in conjunction with Facebook, also completed the first transatlantic cable which is approx. 4000 miles long and can support 160TB/sec of data.
Other worthy mentions would include:
· Additional Express Route partners
· Azure Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) Protection has just been released to preview. Additional information on the DDos service from Microsoft can be found here https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/azure-ddos-protection-service-preview/
· Azure Data Box has been released in preview and would be used to support customer with large data imports to Azure. The device supports 100 TB and a customer can have multiple devices. Additional information can be found here https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/announcing-the-preview-for-the-azure-data-box-achievements-will-be-unlocked/
· Azure File Sync is another new preview release that allows Azure File Share to sync with on-premises file servers. Cloud tiering is implemented that allows storing a certain amount of data locally and store a larger amount of data in the cloud. Azure File Sync is also integrated into Azure Backup. Additional information can be found here https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/announcing-the-public-preview-for-azure-file-sync/
I could go on all day about updates from Ignite so will provide links to everything else announced during the session!
· Azure Policy – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/azure-policy/
· Azure Migrate – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/announcing-azure-migrate/
· FastTrack for Azure – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/programs/azure-fasttrack/
· Cloudyn – (Cost Management for Azure) https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2017/06/29/microsofts-acquisition-cloudyn-will-help-azure-customers-manage-optimize-cloud-usage/
Session 4: What’s new and upcoming in AD FS to securely sign-in your users to Office 365 and other applications
The ADFS session focused on what’s new and what’s coming in the future for ADFS for Office 365. As this was a shorter session I would highlight the key takeaways only.
· Passwords could soon be a thing of the past. Password less options for ADFS 2016
· How to get to password less authentication
· Extranet lockout for ADFS with known locations is coming soon. This feature will help user accounts from being locked out from failed external logon attempts.
· Resolve ADFS authentication issues faster using the help site – https://adfshelp.microsoft.com/
· ADFS Rapid Restore tool – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/identity/ad-fs/operations/ad-fs-rapid-restore-tool
That was enough for one day and it was time to leave the convention centre and head back to the hotel.