Cloud News

Microsoft Unveils Improvements to IT Infrastructure Offerings

Announcements from Microsoft Ignite reveal Microsoft's intentions to introduce intelligence into their cloud IT infrastructure offerings.

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Server 2016 for cloud applications at the annual Microsoft Ignite conference along with other initiatives to drive digital transformation in IT infrastructure.

Microsoft cloud announments

New product announcements and features addressed challenges faced by IT departments and signaled a need to embrace future infrastructure technology opportunities. Microsoft stated their upgrades address organizational concerns including, “security amid an increasingly complex and dynamic threat landscape, and the need to balance end-user preferences with technology investments that scale and deliver value.”

According to a recent survey of healthcare IT professionals conducted by SADA Systems, 42 percent of healthcare organizations named Microsoft as top the cloud infrastructure platform. Microsoft’s recent updates could impact cloud computing for many healthcare organizations currently deploying Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft Azure.

Windows Server 2016 becomes available this month and includes new layers of security and “Azure inspired innovation” for infrastructure and cloud applications. Windows Server is a group of operating systems designed by Microsoft that supports enterprise-level management, data storage, applications, and communications. This is the first major Windows Server upgrade since 2012.

Software containerization platform Docker is teaming up with Microsoft to make the Commercially Supported Docker Engine, which will be available to Windows Server 2016 customers. Windows Server 2016 also includes simplified cloud and datacenter management tool, System Center 2016.

Security releases include Windows Defender Application Guard, coming next year for Windows 10 enterprise and Office 365 Threat protection. Windows Defender Application Guard is powered by virtualization-based security and uses containers to protect employees from sharing malicious data.

Microsoft shared their plans to incorporate intelligent features into Office apps and other offerings to assist IT professionals and end-users in embracing digital IT infrastructures.

"Core to our mission to empower every person and organization on the planet is democratizing [artificial intelligence] for every person and organization to help solve society's most pressing challenges," said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. "To do this, we're infusing intelligence into everything we deliver — from the agent to applications, services, and infrastructure."

Microsoft plans to use their cloud technology to improve artificial intelligence capabilities for all products across all industries. Office 365 now uses Microsoft Graph for easier information sharing between documents Quickstarter for Sway provides outlines for presentation topics, including text and images, for multimedia presentation building.

Organizations wishing to embrace Microsoft’s new intelligence and cloud technology can now join the Microsoft Technical Community, a new online community of IT professionals and Microsoft experts to exchange best practice information and build connections.

Microsoft made over twenty infrastructure product and feature upgrade announcements regarding cloud, security, and intelligence at Microsoft Ignite last month. Most announcements revolved around building a versatile IT infrastructure foundation to provide enterprises with Microsoft solutions to most infrastructure technology needs.

Many infrastructure technologies are embracing compatibility with other vendors,collaborating with other vendors, or, like Microsoft, developing products and features to create a well rounded, single-vendor infrastructure deployment to improve IT infrastructure environments.

Healthcare organizations should consider Microsoft’s single-vendor infrastructure deployment mentality because new, potentially beneficial features are often included when purchasing essential solutions.

In the same vein as the Commercially Supported Docker Engine for Windows Server 2016, Microsoft made several feature upgrade announcements for products like Office 365 to be included at no extra cost to the customer.

Healthcare organizations operating on strict budgets can take advantage of intelligence features they may not have the opportunity to experience otherwise. IT departments can test out these features and determine if they benefit their organizations and are worth full deployment or future consideration.

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