Next-generation of enterprise computing underway as Microsoft empowers IT professionals

“No business can succeed and scale without IT innovating and transforming.”

Microsoft has announced a range of new products and services that help IT professionals lead their companies in the new era of enterprise computing, including the next generation of Windows management, Microsoft Office, hybrid cloud infrastructure and SQL Server.

Speaking to more than 23,000 conference attendees at the company’s first-ever Ignite Conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella showcased how Redmond is attempting to fuel IT innovation and success among organisations.

“No business can succeed and scale without IT innovating and transforming,” Nadella says.

“Empowering IT professionals is a key part of Microsoft’s technology agenda spanning Windows 10, Office 365, Azure and other cloud technologies.”

During the event, Nadella addressed multiple challenges and opportunities for IT professionals around three key areas; more personal computing, reinventing productivity and intelligent cloud.

More personal computing

As announced by Nadella, Windows Update for Business is a new management option for Windows 10 to always keep devices up to date with the latest security updates and Windows features.

Furthermore, System Center Configuration Manager for managing Windows 10, now available in technical preview, is designed to provide IT professionals with expanded tools to deploy, update, manage and secure Windows 10, and will integrate with Windows Update for Business.

In addition, next week, Microsoft will release service packs for existing Configuration Manager 2012 and 2012 R2 customers, as well as an update to Microsoft Intune for Windows 10 support.

Reinventing productivity

Office 2016, now available in broad public preview, brings in-app, real-time co-authoring to the Office desktop applications used by over one billion people worldwide.

Meanwhile, Skype for Business broadcasting, also introduced at Ignite, enables customers to broadcast meetings to up to 10,000 people.

According to Nadella, the service uses Azure Media Services for streaming audio, video and PowerPoint presentations, and offers built-in interoperability with Bing Pulse for sentiment tracking and Yammer for audience conversations.

Extensibility enables third parties to add audience polling, formal Q&A and other functionality.

Delving deeper, organisational analytics in Office Delve, also introduced and demonstrated at Ignite, is powered by the Office Graph, expanding upon personalised insights from Office Delve to provide organisational insights to individuals and teams from Office 365 data.

Also, Nadella says SharePoint Server 2016, which will be available in preview later this year, will deliver “enhancements and new capabilities” across new user experiences, compliance and reporting.

The new version gives on-premises SharePoint customers access to new capabilities in the cloud through hybrid deployments with Office 365.

In addition, Exchange Server 2016, also demonstrated at Ignite and in preview later this year, delivers new features first delivered in Office 365, such as a new approach to document collaboration, faster and more intelligent search, improved eDiscovery, and developer extensibility for mail, calendar and contacts.

Intelligent cloud

Introduced at Ignite and in preview in the coming months, Microsoft’s next-generation hybrid cloud sees Microsoft Azure Stack bring the Azure user experience and both infrastructure and platform-as-a-service capabilities into customers’ data centres.

With Azure Stack Nadella says IT teams can now “blend enterprise applications with modern, distributed applications and services” while maintaining centralised oversight.

Built on the same core technology as Azure, Azure Stack extends Microsoft’s investments in secure, more flexible software-defined infrastructure.

The next preview of Windows Server 2016 is also now available, with technologies such as Nano Server, a lightweight installation option.

Available today, Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) is a cloud-based solution that extends System Center capabilities for management across almost any hybrid cloud, including Azure, third-party clouds such as Amazon Web Services, Windows Server, Linux, VMware or OpenStack. OMS extends System Center 2016, which is also available in preview this week.

Finally, Nadella says SQL Server 2016, takes a “major leap forward” with a database and analytics platform that provides improved performance for mission-critical applications and deeper insights on any data across on-premises and cloud.

Key capabilities include enhanced in-memory technologies with real-time operational analytics, new security and encryption technologies, built-in advanced analytics with the R language, and mobile BI for on-premises data.

Redmond claims the new Stretch Database capability is an industry first that allows for cost-effective access to historical data by stretching data to Microsoft Azure.

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