All around the world, lockdowns and closures continued as the toll of the Covid-19 coronavirus continued to rise. Microsoft turned its attention to edge capabilities, security, new disk sizes and additional AI capabilities, arming customers to take on the complicated new reality.
On the security front, workflow automation is generally available for Security Center, triggering Logic Apps based on security alerts. Simultaneously, the Azure security team launched a Security Center integration with Windows Admin Center. Microsoft has maintained a steady focus on network and edge capabilities over the last few months, which as continued recently. For example, users are able to deploy accelerated AI workloads on Azure Stack HCI using GPUs with IoT Edge. Azure Networking vice president Yousef Khalidi announced partnerships with major telcos like AT&T, Vodafone Business, Telefonica and Rogers is enabling 5G scenarios for Azure Edge Zones. This partnership expansion also encompasses SD-WAN providers such as Palo Alto, Nuage Networks and others, with the goal of supporting distributed applications, IoT, remote medicine and logistics.
A parallel partner extension of partner organizations to support Archive Storage is also going on. Microsoft has integrated the offering with IBM Spectrum Protect Plus, Veritas Backup, NetApp StorageGRID Rubrik, together with Igneous, NetApp, Tiger Technology, Cohesity and others.
Program manager Yuemin Lu announced the general availability of 4, 8 and 16 GiB Premium and Standard SSD disks, as well as bursting support for Premium SSDs. As a result, even the smallest Premium SSDs can reach up to 3500 input/output operations per second. Microsoft is offering disk bursting on a credit-based system, wherein customers accumulate credits when they use less than provisioned capacity. Disk bursting is set to be enabled by default on all Premium SSDs.
Among geographic updates, FastTrack is expanding to Central and Eastern Europe and IPv6 for Azure Virtual Network is GA, providing connectivity for dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6 networks. In other updates, Backup is available for SAP HANA databases, Ultra Disks provides shared disk capabilities in-preview, DevTest discounts are available, and Advisor data is available for Resource Graph. Additionally, Monitor for containers supports GPU monitoring on AKS GPU-enabled node pools, Data Explorer added new geospatial functionalities,
JG Chirapauth, general manager for Azure Data & AI detailed how to extend Azure AI to Microsoft 365. He shared that 85 percent of Fortune 100 companies used Azure AI in the last 12 months for tasks like developing machine learning models or adding vision and language understanding capabilities into bots. Increasingly, these capabilities are integrated with PowerPoint for design layouts or the Editor intelligent writing assistant.
Microsoft team member Mayunk Jain shared recommendations on provisioning PCs from home during the Covid-19 crisis. Customers are able to send computers directly to employees with Windows Autopilot, leveraging the user-driven Autopilot mode with Intune, synced with Azure Active Directory. Alternatively, the white glove service may be an option for Hybrid Azure AD joined devices.
In the partner channel, AI-based data analytics provider ThetaRay announced that is has joined the One Commercial Partner program, making its Anti-Money Laundering for Correspondent Banking solution available through Azure Marketplace. In response to the Covid-19 crisis, Yonghe Cardinal Tien Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan has installed devices to check the body temperature of new hospital arrivals and whether they are wearing masks, based on Cognitive Services. Similarly, in the US Jvion has released its COVID Community Vulnerability Map, drawing on Azure to assess social determinants of health and map areas most at risk during the outbreak.