Barcelona Paul Thurrott

Microsoft Launches TechEd Europe with Wave of Announcements

The mile-high view

It shouldn't be surprising that Microsoft's final TechEd Europe is heavy on news: The firm unleashed a wave of announcements that span across a variety of cloud offerings such as Azure, Intune and Office 365 to the client with Windows 10, and touch on mobile devices, developers, and partners. It's a lot to take in, so here's the mile-high view.

"Today's enterprise is always on, and IT professionals and developers are under constant pressure to keep up with the demands of the business," Microsoft corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure Jason Zander says in a prepared statement. (Mr. Zander keynoted TechEd Europe early Tuesday.) "We are using the power of our cloud platform to deliver technology solutions that empower IT professionals, developers and end users to do more."

Here's what Microsoft announced during the keynote.

Azure

Azure Operational Insights, a new suite offering that combines Azure, HDInsight and Microsoft System Center to "gather and analyze machine data across cloud environments and turn it into actionable insights that inform business decisions." It will ship in preview form next month.

Azure Batch allows customers to "deploy massive scale-out jobs, with access to thousands of cores, to solve complex problems with just a few clicks and no infrastructure investment." It is available now in preview.

Azure Automation for automating time-consuming tasks across Azure and third-party environments. This is now generally available.

Multiple NIC support in Azure Virtual Machines and Cloud Services, so customers can bring their own networking and security appliances (including load balancers and firewalls). This is now generally available.

New Network Security Groups in Azure Virtual Machines and Cloud Services so customers can create customized security boundaries for network access and provide greater control over traffic flow. This is now generally available.

Free Microsoft Anti-Malware for Virtual Machines and Cloud Services in Azure Virtual Machines and Cloud Services, for real-time threat protection. This is now generally available.

Enterprise mobility management

This term is interesting to me, as I recently noted in Microsoft Ideally Situated to Own Mobile Device Management that the general term Mobile Device Management (MDM) applies only to part of a broader device management strategy. We do need a name for this.

Enterprise Mobility Suite and Office 365 enhancements related to management, security, privacy and compliance.

Microsoft Intune updates that enable customers to manage Office mobile apps, wrap management technology around their own line-of-business applications, enable more secure mobile app viewing and provide powerful conditional access features that allow better control of corporate resources with conditional access features. This will be available "within the next few months," Microsoft says.

Built-in Mobile Device Management (MDM) for Office 365. These new, built-in MDM capabilities for Office 365 are based on Intune and will help customers manage iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices. They will provide policy-based device management and the ability to selectively wipe corporate data while preserving personal data. Available in the first quarter of 2015.

Azure Active Directory (AD) Premium updates. Generally available by the end of 2014, Azure AD Application Proxy "will make it possible to publish on-premises applications to external users via the cloud." And Azure AD Connect, expected in preview by the end of the year, will "make it easier to connect on-premises assets to the cloud and synchronize directories to Azure AD."

Extending Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technology across Office 365. DLP capabilities will be added to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business "over the next few months," providing protection for sensitive content across Office 365. Then, sometime in 2015, Office apps will support DLP notifications.

Office 365 for developers

New Open APIs for Office 365. Microsoft has created new REST-based APIs for mail, files, calendar and contacts, allowing developers to create apps for Android, iOS, Windows. This is available now.

New mobile software development kits (SDKs) for native app development. Microsoft is also supporting native mobile app creation for iOS (in preview), and Android and Windows/Phone (generally available now). These SDKs let developers target the Office 365 APIs in the tools and languages with which they're familiar.

Office 365 App Launcher. Microsoft recently overhauled the Office 365 App Launcher, and it's now customizable by users, and can be extended with third party apps and tools. That means a third party app can be pinned in the launcher alongside Outlook Online and OneDrive.

Concessions to EU regulators. Visual Studio Online customers in Europe can now use the Azure Amsterdam Region for their projects and store their data on the continent, easing data visibility worries.

Partners

Cloud OS Network has expanded, with partner support now available in over 100 countries.

New Azure Certified for Application Services program. This new part of Azure Certified covers managed APIs and data services, and currently provides customers with over 50 solutions from more than 30 partners through the Azure Marketplace.

Windows 10

In a brief demo that was mostly a rehash of September's Windows 10 launch event, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore did show off a handful of new features for the next client version of Windows, including Mac-like trackpad gestures (which require a new generation of "precision trackpads" like that found on Surface Pro 3" and evolved Snap functionality for multi-display users. Nothing major there.

I'll be writing more about the Windows 10 trackpad gestures and Microsoft's MDM revolution on the SuperSite for Windows. And of course, stay tuned to Windows IT Pro for deeper coverage of this week's TechEd news.

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