Microsoft Teched 2014 Recap 2

Microsoft TechEd 2014 Recap

Arraya Insights | June 25, 2014

TechEd 2014 was a week full of announcements in the Azure platform. One might think of this as a major release – Azure 3.0? Below are some key technologies and announcements that came out of Houston last month.

Azure ExpressRoute

Enables organizations to create private connections into Microsoft cloud datacenters from on-premises or co-located infrastructures. By leveraging Azure ExpressRoute services, organizations can provide faster, more secure, cost effective connections to the cloud with using the public internet when compared to using site-to-site VPN connections. There are two connectivity options for ExpressRoute. You can select Direct Layer 3 connectivity through an Exchange Provider between your network and services hosted in Azure (compute, storage, media services, websites and other services), or Layer 3 connectivity through a network service provider between your network and services hosted in Azure (compute, storage, media services, websites and other services). Or you can choose both. The tables below outline the bandwidth options and requirements for each type of connection.

Properties Connectivity through Network Service Providers Connectivity through Exchange Providers
Supported Service Providers AT&T, Level 3 MPLS VPN Equinix, Level 3
Supported Bandwidth Options 10 Mbps, 50 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 500 Mbps, 1 Gbps 200 Mbps, 500 Mbps, 1Gbps, 10Gbps (will be added for General Availability)
Pricing Pricing Details Pricing Details
Routing Managed by the network service provider Customer managed
High Availability Network service provider offers redundant connectivity in the same location Customer must establish a pair of cross connects through the exchange provider


Azure Site Recovery

Azure Site Recovery is scheduled for General Availability in June of CY14. Customers leveraging the Microsoft Cloud OS stack have had the ability to leverage a combination of Hyper-V Replica, System Center and Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager to provide business continuity and disaster recovery services. While the solution provided the capabilities to replicate from one site to another and orchestrate a planned or unplanned failover from the Azure platform, this solution required organizations to have infrastructure in two locations providing both the primary and failover sites.  

Introducing Azure Site Recovery! Hyper-V Recovery Manager will be rebranded to Azure Site Recovery and customers running the Microsoft Cloud OS now have the ability to select the Azure platform as a new, optional target location for replication of virtual workloads.  Previous functionality will remain for organizations that only want to leverage Azure for failover orchestration.  This will make it easier for organizations that do not have the necessary hardware to stand up a disaster recovery site an option to provide the businesses with the same level of business continuity and disaster recovery. Both planned and unplanned failovers can be executed with Azure Site Recovery as a target.  The service will allow data replication to occur at a configurable replication interval of every 30 seconds, 5 or 15 minutes. It has a maximum of 15 recovery points and supports VSS snapshots for application consistency. Customers can select to encrypt data at rest. Watch out for more info and demo capabilities at Arraya on this one!

Azure RemoteApp

Access to Microsoft Windows Server RemoteApp as a cloud service? Microsoft has introduced the ability to deliver remote applications as it has done for decades using Microsoft Terminal Services via the Azure platform. Building on the focus and key pillar, People-Centric IT, Microsoft continues to innovate and provide solutions that enable employees to be more productive across any device from anywhere at any time. Azure RemoteApp is currently in preview and will enable for organizations to make corporate provide applications available to end users via two deployment methods.

  • Cloud – Resides completely in Microsoft Azure. Cloud deployment offers a standalone, turnkey way to host applications in the cloud. Provisioning is easy and fast: users can logon and use applications within minutes. The apps and the operating system are kept always up-to-date through regular updates, and Microsoft Anti-Malware endpoint protection provides continuous defense. Users use Microsoft Account or their corporate credentials to connect. As an IT administrator, you only need to think about which apps to offer and to whom. The rest is taken care of for you. Cloud option provides a quick and easy way to make standard Office applications accessible to users via a familiar RemoteApp experience. Oh and Office 2013 ProPlus licenses are included with the services!!
  • Hybrid – The hybrid deployment model offers significantly more customization: Apps, OS, and settings are under your control. You own the template image and manage it directly through the Azure Portal. The apps run in a domain-joined environment, with full access to your on-premises network and data. Through integration with Azure AD, users use their corporate credentials to logon.
    • Four key concepts play an important role in the Azure RemoteApp’s hybrid deployment model:
      • Federated Identity – Azure Active Directory Sync – brings local on-premises identities to the cloud platform
      • Hybrid Networking  – Virtual Networking extends on-premises resources to the cloud tenant for extensibility of resources
      • Hybrid Management – RDS session hosts are domain joined allowing for on-premises management options such as GPO, System Center to extend to Azure    RemoteApp services
      • Custom Template Images – Template images must be based on Windows Server 2012 R2 with RD Session Host role service, and it must be configured with the applications which you want to publish through Azure RemoteApp

Azure Active Directory – Enhancements!!

Cloud App Discovery

Have you ever wondered, “How many cloud based applications are my/your end users running today without you having visibility or control?” Cloud App Discovery helps with those answers so that IT decision makers can make informed decisions on how to secure corporate data while also giving end users the functionality they are seeking. By deploying an agent on systems in the enterprise, client logs are collected and uploaded to Azure for analysis of what applications in use and are supported via direct integration to Azure AD Premium.

Azure AD Sync Engine

The newly rebranded Azure AD Sync Engine will now provide customers with the ability to synchronize multiple forest to a single Azure AD instance. The new engine will also allow for self-service password reset write back to ensure that passwords that are reset via the cloud service are written back to local Active Directory instances. More information can be found here. http://aka.ms/Recl8c

Azure Infrastructure as a Service – Enhancements!!

New Virtual Machine IaaS Instances

New large scale virtual machine workloads are available to support high performing application such as SQL Server 2014 In-Memory OLTP workloads. Each image type is configured with two virtual network adapters providing the following:

  • 10Gbps Ethernet for connecting to Azure services such as disk, network, etc..
  • 40Gbps RDMA adapter for applications using low latency connections across VM instances in the platform contained in a single cloud service

The two new virtual machine hardware profiles are:

Image Name CPU Type # of Cores Memory
A8 Intel® Xeon® E5-2670 8 @ 2.6 GHz 56 GB
A9 Intel® Xeon® E5-2670 16 @ 2.6 GHz 112 GB


New Virtual Networking Capabilities

Azure virtual networks now have the ability to span across regions of the platform. Virtual Network now supports more than one site-to-site VPN connection allowing customers to securely connect multiple on-premises locations with a virtual network (VNET) in Azure. VNET-to-VNET connectivity enables multiple virtual networks to be directly and securely connected with one another. Microsoft will be enabling cross-region VNET-to-VNET and in-region VNET-to-VNET connectivity

Client Operating System Support for MSDN Subscriptions

Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 are now supported as client OS images when leveraging the Azure platform for development resources via an MSDN subscription.