At its first-ever Ignite Conference, Microsoft Corp. 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.
“No business can succeed and scale without IT innovating and transforming,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Empowering IT professionals is a key part of Microsoft’s technology agenda spanning Windows 10, Office 365, Azure and other cloud technologies.”
The announcements address multiple challenges and opportunities for IT professionals:
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- 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. The new solution will help reduce management costs, provide control over update deployment, offer faster access to security updates and critical fixes, and deliver the latest innovation from Microsoft on an ongoing basis. The Windows Store for Business offers additional manageability, enabling company decision-makers to acquire trusted software or content for entire teams and companies.
– System Center Configuration Manager for managing Windows 10 gives IT professionals expanded tools to deploy, update, manage and secure Windows 10, and will integrate with Windows Update for Business. In addition, 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.
- Office 2016 brings in-app, real-time co-authoring to the rich Office desktop applications used by over 1 billion people worldwide. Real-time presence and the ability to see changes to text and formatting as they happen will help co-workers and teams stay on the same page as they create content.
– Skype for Business broadcasting enables customers to broadcast meetings to up to 10,000 people. 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.
– Organizational analytics in Office Delve is powered by the Office Graph, expanding upon personalized insights from Office Delve to provide organizational insights to individuals and teams from Office 365 data. A rich dashboard measures, tracks and identifies key trends such as engagement, reach and work-life balance across individuals’ interactions within their organization and with external teams.
– SharePoint Server 2016, 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.
– Exchange Server 2016, also 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.
- Next-generation hybrid cloud. In preview this summer, Microsoft Azure Stack brings the Azure user experience and both infrastructure and platform-as-a-service capabilities into customers’ datacenters. With Azure Stack IT teams can easily blend enterprise applications with modern, distributed applications and services while maintaining centralized oversight. Built on the same core technology as Azure, Azure Stack extends Microsoft’s investments in secure, more flexible software-defined infrastructure. 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.
– SQL Server 2016, in preview this summer, takes a leap forward with a database and analytics platform that provides breakthrough 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. The new Stretch Database capability is an industry first that allows for cost-effective access to historical data by dynamically stretching data to Microsoft Azure.
– Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA), technology based on the recent acquisition of Aorato, is available in preview. ATA helps IT security professionals identify security breaches and threats, using behavioral analysis and machine learning to provide clear, actionable information.
– Office 365 transparency and control enhancements, highlighted at Ignite, give customers enhanced visibility and security of their data residing within Office 365, including Customer Lockbox that provides customers with explicit approval rights for Microsoft interaction with their data. Office 365 is the only productivity service to provide this level of customer control.