Numerous announcements to cover following a very busy Microsoft Ignite. News this week includes New capabilities for Azure Automanage now in public preview, Governance and management tools for Azure Machine Learning made generally available, Assessments for migration to Azure VMware Solution, Low code tools and the enablement Power Platform can offer, March 2021 Exchange Server Security Update and the Microsoft Learn module of the week.
New Capabilities for Azure Automanage Now Public Preview
Azure Automanage helps reduce day-to-day management tasks with automated operations across the entire lifecycle of Windows Server virtual machines in Azure. IT Admins can manage their VMs with point-and-click simplicity, individually or at scale. Not only that, Azure Automanage monitors machines to ensure that it continues to comply with best practices across its entire lifecycle. New capabilities were introduced into the public preview at MS Ignite and they include:
Azure Automanage for Windows Server - helps enable rebootless security patching for new Windows Server VMs
Expansion of Azure Automanage to Linux - will now support CentOS, RHEL, Ubuntu, and SLES with more Linux distributions planned in the future
There was a lot of announcements made at MS Ignite surrounding new functionality being added to Azure Machine Learning. Biggest interest on our end however was the inclusion of governance tools being made available to system administrators to make it easier to gain a handle on data scientist resource use. These services include:
Role-based access control (RBAC) - now generally available, allows creation of custom roles to provide granular actions on workspace asset and resources. The experience for creating custom roles requires using a template to define a role definition and then assigning it to users at a specific scope.
Arc enabled machine learning - use any Kubernetes cluster and extend machine learning to run close to where the data lives. Manage all the resources through a single pane via Azure Arc.
Setup scripts (coming soon) - provides an automated way to customize and configure compute at provisioning time.
Assessments for migration to Azure VMware Solution now Generally Available
Azure Migrate assessment for Azure VMware Solution is now generally available. Analyze readiness for migrating to Azure VMware Solution, assess suitability, cost planning, performance-based rightsizing using Azure Migrate. The Azure VMware Solution assessment now supports more customizable properties to help you with better node sizing and utilization. Azure VMware Solution empowers organizations to seamlessly extend or migrate your existing on-premises VMware applications to Azure without the cost, effort, or risk of re-architecting applications or retooling operations.
Low code / No code enablement via Power Platform
"People no longer need to be coders to solve today's problems with technology" was a big theme shared at MS Ignite. Microsoft's announcements of Power Automate (formally Microsoft Flow) and Power Fx (formally Canvas Apps) aimed to address this opportunity. Here is a breakdown of the new power platform offerings:
A low-code language that makers can work with directly in an Excel-like formula bar or Visual Studio Code text window. It enables the full spectrum of development from "no-code" for those who have never programmed before to "pro code" for the seasoned professional, with no learning or rewriting cliffs in between, enabling diverse teams to collaborate.
Power Automate - helps create automated workflows between apps and services to synchronize files, get notifications, collect data, and more. Anyone from a basic business user to an IT professional can create automated processes using Power Automate's no-code/low-code platform
Exchange Server Security Updates for March 2021
Microsoft has released a set of out of band security updates for vulnerabilities for Exchange Server 2013, 2016 anfd 2019. Microsoft's recommendation is to install these updates immediately to protect against these attacks as they are aware of active exploits of related vulnerabilities in the wild. The vulnerabilities affect Microsoft Exchange Server. Exchange Online is not affected.