Microsoft Enhances Azure for Productivity, Security

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2015-02-01 Print this article Print
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Speaking of Azure Media Services, NBC Sports announced it is working with Microsoft Azure Media Services as a technology partner to deliver a multiplatform experience of streaming 11 hours of Super Bowl Sunday coverage, including the big game, across PCs, laptops and tablets through NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Digital’s live streaming product.

“Over the past year, NBC Sports and Azure Media Services have partnered to deliver the successful and record breaking streaming of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games,” said Julianne Carroll, product marketing manager for Azure Media Services, in a blog post. “The scale and performance of our streaming solution allowed for over 100 million viewers around the globe to stream the Olympics and also set some records at the time, with roughly 2.1 million concurrent HD views during the U.S. vs. Canada hockey match.”

In a forward-looking move to help with customer planning, Microsoft announced the launch of the Cloud Platform roadmap site, a new resource that provides a comprehensive view of the improvements and developments across the company’s Cloud Platform business. The site will show what technology is currently in development, coming within the next few months, newly available, and in public preview across a number of products and services.

“The Cloud Platform roadmap spans cloud services like Microsoft Azure, Intune, Power BI, and Visual Studio Online; server offerings such as Windows Server, System Center, SQL Server and Visual Studio; and converged system appliance offerings such as Cloud Platform System, Analytics Platform System and StorSimple,” said Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Marketing Group, in a blog post on the roadmap.

“With this view, you will be able to understand and plan for what’s coming next,” Numoto said. “In addition, you will be able to easily view newly available products and services, including those in public preview, to help you take full advantage of our expanding portfolio.”

Finally, in another recent move, Microsoft said it is “mainstreaming” business intelligence with a new version of its Power BI product that is now in preview. Power BI can help every company adopt a data culture with easy-to-use, accessible tools and innovative technology that lowers the barrier to entry for all, said James Phillips, general manager of Data Experiences at Microsoft, in a blog post. Microsoft is readying a free version of Power BI to be released later this year.

Power BI is a cloud-based business analytics service for nontechnical business users. It enables users to explore their business data, through interactive visual reports, and enrich it with additional data sources.

Microsoft announced Power BI Designer, a new tool that enables business analysts to connect to, model and visually analyze their data. The company also released a preview of Power BI for iPad, now available for download from the Apple App Store. Later this year, Microsoft will also introduce client versions of Power BI versions iPhone, Android and Windows universal apps.

“When we reach general availability we will introduce a free offer, available as Power BI,” Phillips said. “We’ll also introduce Power BI Pro, available at a low monthly price, with additional data capacity and features for the enterprise. In anticipation of this move, on February 1 we are lowering the price of our in-market Power BI service to $9.99 per user a month, a 75 percent reduction in price.”



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