Mining for digital gold with Amir Netz

Editor’s note: The following is a post from Geoff Carter, a writer for microsoft.com/stories.


When you watch the video, you think, wow, the man is cool. Amir Netz is cool.

The video in question, which is easily found on YouTube, shows Netz introducing Power BI for Office 365 to an audience of thousands at the 2013 World Partner Conference. Watch it and you’ll see a TED-quality speaker who pretty much owns the room. He’s effusive, upbeat and genuinely funny, even giving a sort of stand-up routine: Using Power BI’s data visualization features, Netz analyzes some 50-plus years of number-one pop songs, from Elvis Presley to Rihanna, with a breathless, dizzying flair. With rapid-fire delivery, he describes Mariah Carey’s 1990s run of number one hits as if she were a soccer player advancing on goal (“she faking to the left!”), offhandedly dismisses Paula Abdul (“what’s she doing here?”) and sums up Nelly’s music as “songs my kids love but I cannot stand.”

It’s a tour-de-force presentation, one worthy of a concert stage. And when it ends with a shouted, “Thank you, Rihanna! Thank you, Power BI! Thank you all!”, the audience erupts in well-deserved, deafening cheers for Amir Netz.

I half-expect the rock star when I interview Netz, but what I get is a soft-spoken, thoroughly modest fellow. He politely shrugs off the rock star comparisons—“I don’t have any groupies,” he says, grinning—and immediately begins talking to the thing that put him in front of that crowd in the first place: his work with Microsoft’s Business Intelligence team.

Netz is quietly proud of his work on BI, which has touched a number of products that include Power Pivot and Power View for Excel. He loves doing design work (“It’s a great passion of mine, a passion I discovered fairly late”) but you can tell that the real fire driving his engine is data. He loves taking hard data—like, say, that of Mariah Carey’s 1990s record sales—and making it into a tune you can hum along with.

Read the full profile at microsoft.com/stories.

Hyper-V Replica to Azure

Late last week we announced “Azure Site Recovery”.   This is a new offering that allows you to have Hyper-V virtual machines in your environment replicating to Azure.  This gives you the ultimate protection from site failure.

You can read more about this on Brad Anderson’s “In the Cloud” blog: http://blogs.technet.com/b/in_the_cloud/archive/2014/06/19/announcing-the-preview-of-disaster-recovery-to-azure-using-azure-site-recovery.aspx

You can also read about it on the virtualization team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/b/virtualization/archive/2014/06/21/disaster-recovery-to-microsoft-azure-part-2.aspx

Personally, I am very happy that we have been able to announce this – as many of you have been asking me when it would be possible to replicate virtual machines to Azure.  That said, one key feature of Azure Site Recovery that I would like to point out is the ability to encrypt your stored data.  When you setup Azure Site Recovery there is a simple option provided:

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This option ensures that your data is encrypted before it leaves your server, and remains encrypted until such a time when you decide that the replicate virtual machine needs to be unencrypted in order to run in Azure.  This gives you complete control over the security of your data.  Something that many customers have been quite vocal about as we have been looking into developing these kinds of solutions.

So, I would encourage you to read the information on the links above – and then setup a trial account to try it out for yourself!

Cheers,
Ben

Disaster Recovery to Microsoft Azure – Part 2

 

Continuing from the previous blog – check out the recent TechEd NA 2014 talk @ https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2014/DCIM-B322 which includes a cool demo of this product.

Love it??? Talk about it, try it and share your comments.

Let’s retrace the journey – in Jan 2014, we announced the General Availability of Hyper-V Recovery Manager (HRM). HRM  enabled customers to co-ordinate protection and recovery of virtualized workloads between SCVMM managed clouds. Using this Azure service, customers could setup, monitor and orchestrate protection and recovery of their Virtual Machines on top of Windows Server 2012, WS2012 R2 Hyper-V Replica.

Like Hyper-V Replica, the solution works great when our customers had a secondary location. But what if it isn’t the case. After all, the CAPEX and OPEX cost of building and maintaining multiple datacenters is high. One of the common questions/suggestions/feedback to our team was around using Azure as a secondary data center. Azure provides a world class, reliable, resilient platform – at a fraction of a cost compared to running your workloads or in this case, maintaining a secondary datacenter.

The rebranded HRM service – Azure Site Recovery (ASR) – delivers this capability. On 6/19, we announced the availability of the preview version of ASR which orchestrates, manages and replicates VMs to Azure.

When a disaster strikes the customer’s on-premises, ASR can “failover” the replicated VMs in Azure.

And once the customer recovers the on-premises site, ASR can “failback” the Azure IaaS VMs to the customer’s private cloud. We want you to decide which VM runs where and when!

There is some exciting technology built on top of Azure which enables the scenario and in the coming weeks we will dive deep into the workflows and the technology.

Top of my head, the key features in the product are:

  • Replication from a System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager cloud to Azure – From a SCVMM 2012 R2 managed private cloud, any VM (we will cover some caveats in subsequent blogs) running on Windows Server 2012 R2 hypervisor can be replicated to Azure.

  • Replication frequency of 30seconds, 5mins or 15mins – just like the on-premises product, you can replicate to Azure at 30seconds.

  • Additional 24 additional recovery points to choose during failover – You can configure upto 24 additional recovery points at an hourly granularity.

 

  • Encryption @ Rest: You got to love this – we encrypt the data *before* it leaves your on-premises server. We never decrypt the payload till you initiate a failover. You own the encryption key and it’s safe with you.

  • Self-service DR with Planned, Unplanned and Test Failover – Need I say more – everything is in your hands and at your convenience.

  • One click app-level failover using Recovery Plans
  • Audit and compliance reporting
  • .…and many more!

The documentation explaining the end to end workflows is available @ http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/hyper-v-recovery-manager-azure/ to help you get started.

The landing page for this service is @ http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/site-recovery/

If you have questions when using the product, post them @ http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsazure/en-US/home?forum=hypervrecovmgr or in this blog.

Keep watching this blog space for more information on this capability.

Launch day: Surface Pro 3 is now available in the US and Canada

The Surface Pro 3 is now available at retail stores, online and through authorized resellers in the U.S. and Canada.

“Many of you have placed pre-orders for the new Surface, and those who ordered the Intel Core i5 versions will be receiving them directly,” writes Panos Panay, corporate vice president, Microsoft Surface, in a blog post. Also, it was previously announced that the Core i3 and Core i7 versions would ship sometime in August. But Panay says the date is now Aug. 1 for those versions to be in stores and at commercial resellers in the U.S. and Canada.

The Docking Station for Surface Pro 3 will be available starting Aug. 15 in the U.S. and Canada, and you can pre-order it starting immediately through Microsoft Stores and other select retailers.

To read Panay’s entire post, head over to the Surface Blog.

You might also be interested in:

· OneNote and Surface Pro 3: You’ll never need a paper notebook again
· Big businesses are already choosing Surface Pro 3
· Slideshow: Sleek Surface Pro 3 is the “tablet that can replace your laptop”

Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

Weekend Reading: June 20th Edition—LA County moves 100,000 employees to Office 365

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the impact of Office 365 on the L.A. County Fire Department and the city of Chicago, Microsoft Azure Machine Learning and news coming from the Cannes Lion Festival of Creativity 2014.

Los Angeles County, the largest in the nation, is migrating more than 100,000 employees in more than 30 departments to Office 365. The fire department, which responded to more than 300,000 incidents, is included, as well as the county’s social workers, district attorneys, assessors, field investigators, animal control and coroners. Half a country away, the city of Chicago and The Walsh Group used Office 365 to handle the details and the coordination of transforming Logan Square into an open recreational space – while still keeping the rail line intact.

Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, a fully managed cloud service for building predictive analytics solutions, was announced Monday by Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president for Machine Learning. The service helps overcome the challenges most businesses have in deploying and using machine learning. It delivers a comprehensive machine learning service that has all the benefits of the cloud. With Azure ML, customers and partners can build data-driven applications to predict, forecast and change future outcomes in hours – a process that previously took weeks and months.

At the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2014, Microsoft Advertising introduced a series of videos built for Activision, Emirates Airline, Ford, Lexus and O2 Telefonica that show off multi-screen storytelling. Microsoft also brought Dan Lin, “The Lego Movie” producer, to Cannes for a discussion on how technology and the creative process and recorded a chat with him about it. Also at Cannes, infographics shed light on social media use, factors in buying a new phone and using other devices while watching TV.

For some lucky fans, the Xbox Media Briefing at E3 2014 felt like Christmas morning, as it revealed events and the games that capped off a busy E3. Xbox’s first-ever live Q-and-A after the briefing was also a treat for those fans. The new interactive series, “Every Street United,” debuted Sunday and now you can catch all the action on Xbox Video and through the app on Xbox One and Xbox 360. From now until the end of July, show your national pride and compete in “Kinect Sports Rivals: Summer of Sport,” where it’s the number of fans you earn, not points, that counts. More sports-related news included the availability of “EA SPORTS UFC” for Xbox One and the release Wednesday of the MLG app for Xbox One, just in time for the MLG Championship, to be broadcast live from Anaheim, California from June 20-22.

Using inductive charging, a British designer has created the first ever pair of wireless charging trousers for Lumia smartphones. Talk about smarty pants! No mention of when the women’s version would be available, but here’s hoping that’s coming next.

Apps for Windows Phone, PCs and tablets gave us updates to Facebook Beta and “Angry Birds” and the introduction of “Words With Friends.” You can now upload videos directly from Facebook Beta for Windows Phone, while the App of the Week: “Angry Birds: Epic” is an all-new outing with pig-popping friends. “Words With Friends” arrived in the Windows Phone Store, and addicted wordsmiths everywhere rejoiced. Also new in the Store: Expedia and Moovit.

You can also check out the latest Staff App Picks: SponsorHub, Orbitz and Simple.TV.

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In this week’s installment of Snaps, Microsoft Stories’ digital photo album, we catch the beginning of the day with dawn at Two Brothers Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with a photo taken by National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez using a Nokia Lumia 1020.

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For a lot of folks, a cuppa joe starts the day off right. On the Microsoft Facebook page, you can see how it’s a great way to start the week.

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Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. Hope you’re enjoying your summer. See you next week!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Disaster Recovery to Microsoft Azure – Part 1

Drum roll please!

We are super excited to announce the availability of the preview bits of Azure Site Recovery (ASR) which enables you to replicate Hyper-V VMs to Microsoft Azure for business continuity and disaster recovery purposes.

You can now protect, replicate, and failover VMs directly to Microsoft Azure – our guarantee remains that whether you enable Disaster Recovery across On-Premise Enterprise Private Clouds or directly to Azure, your virtualized workloads will be recovered accurately, consistently, with minimal downtime and with minimal data loss.

ASR supports Automated Protection and Replication of VMs, customizable Recovery Plans that enable One-Click Recovery, No-Impact Recovery Plan Testing (ensures that you meet your Audit and Compliance requirements), and best-in-class Security and Privacy features that offer maximum resilience to your business critical applications. All this with minimal cost and without the need to invest in a recovery datacenter. To know more about this announcement and what we have enabled in the Preview, check out Brad Anderson’s In the Cloud blog.

We will cover this feature in detail in the coming weeks – stay tuned and try out the feature. We love to hear your feedback!

How to get the best disk performance with Linux on Hyper-V

I was recently reading our documented Best Practices for running Linux on Hyper-V and noticed this section:

Use I/O scheduler NOOP for better disk I/O performance.


The Linux kernel has four different I/O schedulers to reorder requests with different algorithms. NOOP is a first-in first-out queue that passes the schedule decision to be made by the hypervisor. It is recommended to use NOOP as the scheduler when running Linux virtual machine on Hyper-V. To change the scheduler for a specific device, in the boot loader’s configuration (/etc/grub.conf, for example), add elevator=noop to the kernel parameters, and then restart.

This is interesting – as I often get asked by people about what they can do to ensure the best performance when running Linux on Hyper-V.

For a bit of background here – Linux utilizes a number of techniques to try and get the best performance out of your storage (you can read all about this if you do a search on “Linux IO elevator”).  Unfortunately, all of this logic is completely undone inside of a virtual machine – as we are then responsible for mapping virtual storage to physical storage in a way that is hidden from the guest operating system.  Turning effect of turning on the NOOP I/O scheduler is that Linux stops trying to be clever about storage activity – and instead relies on the underlying hardware (virtual hardware in this case) to do the right thing.

In our testing this has always yielded the best results.

Cheers,
Ben

LA County brings its 100,000 employees together with Office 365

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On Wednesday, Microsoft announced that Los Angeles County is moving more than 100,000 employees working in more than 30 departments to Office 365. The county is the largest in the nation, and it’s decided to go with Office 365 to get all employees on the same platform and “on an even playing field,” said Richard Sanchez, Los Angeles County’s chief information officer.

This move gives L.A. County workers access to the tools that come standard in Office 365, such as email; productivity apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint; voice and video conferencing and other collaboration tools; the ability to work from anywhere and virtually any device; and built-in security and privacy compliance. It also allows the county to simplify and unify all of its employees.

Microsoft spoke with three business decision makers at the county: Richard Sanchez, CIO; Peter Loo, chief deputy CIO; and Captain Paul Drake of the Sheriff’s Department. Each emphasized the fact that the county is made up of more than 30 federated departments, each of which had to agree to adopt Office 365 on its own.

All departments – even the ones that couldn’t afford upgrades – are now getting the same access to the tools. Offices with tight budgets, such as the Department of Children and Family Services, will now spend less time worrying about technology and more time working on cases and directly with families; saving even just five minutes per case can exponentially increases the agency’s capacity to take on and resolve more cases and ultimately serve more county constituents. The technology will also create opportunities for each department to develop solutions specific to their own needs and leverage solutions created by other departments.

The county is thrilled to see what employees generate. “We’re going to set them free, and see what they come up with,” said Sanchez.

Here’s a look at Los Angeles County departments and team.

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Rich Sanchez: “This is an investment in our future. That’s the beauty of the technology and of Microsoft, we know the tool won’t go away and we will continually get updates as the software develops. That’s huge for our departments, nobody will have to invest in technology that may be out-of-date within a year.”
Rich Sanchez in the Office of the CIO, World Trade Center in Los Angeles.
Rich Sanchez: “This is an investment in our future. That’s the beauty of the technology and of Microsoft, we know the tool won’t go away and we will continually get updates as the software develops. That’s huge for our departments, nobody will have to invest in technology that may be out-of-date within a year.”

Rich Sanchez: “The mission of the Los Angeles County Fire Department is to protect lives, the environment and property by providing prompt, skillful and cost-effective fire protection and life safety services. This new technology solution will give the department access to the most up-to-date software, so firefighters can focus their energy on serving their mission and protecting our county constituents.”
Los Angeles County Fire Department trucks. In 2013, the L.A. County Fire Department responded to a total of 329,119 incidents.
Rich Sanchez: “The mission of the Los Angeles County Fire Department is to protect lives, the environment and property by providing prompt, skillful and cost-effective fire protection and life safety services. This new technology solution will give the department access to the most up-to-date software, so firefighters can focus their energy on serving their mission and protecting our county constituents.”

Peter Loo: “Office 365 will allow our mobile workforce, like our social workers, district attorneys, assessors, field investigators, animal control and coroners to be more mobile. Office 365 will enable our law enforcement officers, public health inspectors, social workers and others to securely access information on multiple devices anytime, anywhere. This flexibility will dramatically increase productivity for the county and provide a technically secure environment for our employees to collaborate and share information.”
Peter Loo outside the County of Los Angeles Office of the CIO, World Trade Center in Los Angeles.
June 17, 2014
Peter Loo: “Office 365 will allow our mobile workforce, like our social workers, district attorneys, assessors, field investigators, animal control and coroners to be more mobile. Office 365 will enable our law enforcement officers, public health inspectors, social workers and others to securely access information on multiple devices anytime, anywhere. This flexibility will dramatically increase productivity for the county and provide a technically secure environment for our employees to collaborate and share information.”

Peter Loo: “We’re now giving all employees the appropriate tools to do their jobs. Increasingly, professionals coming into the county workforce expect to use the types of tools and resources that Office 365 provides to improve employee productivity and collaboration. Providing these tools will also help with employee retention for the long term.”
USC Medical Center and Teaching Hospital, Los Angeles. L.A. County is the second-largest municipal health system in the nation. In 2013, more than 820,000 residents received healthcare in L.A. County hospitals and clinics.
Peter Loo: “We’re now giving all employees the appropriate tools to do their jobs. Increasingly, professionals coming into the county workforce expect to use the types of tools and resources that Office 365 provides to improve employee productivity and collaboration. Providing these tools will also help with employee retention for the long term.”

Captain Drake: “Cost savings was huge in our decision-making process. At the time of the decision, we were in the process of evaluating hardware solutions to upgrade our own servers, but with Office 365 we can cut out that capital expense cost completely and have the most up-to-date software. Once Microsoft established CJIS compliance, this was really a no brainer.”
Captain Drake working at his office in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Captain Drake: “Cost savings was huge in our decision-making process. At the time of the decision, we were in the process of evaluating hardware solutions to upgrade our own servers, but with Office 365 we can cut out that capital expense cost completely and have the most up-to-date software. Once Microsoft established CJIS compliance, this was really a no brainer.”

Captain Drake: “The Sheriff’s department is the hub of all law enforcement here at L.A. County. Out of all the departments, we need to be the most secure with our data. With this secure software, our employees can easily share important documents with one another and outside the agency knowing that information is secure.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s vehicle. In 2013, 9,500 sheriff deputies and 4,000 civilian volunteers patrolled L.A. County.
Captain Drake: “The Sheriff’s department is the hub of all law enforcement here at L.A. County. Out of all the departments, we need to be the most secure with our data. With this secure software, our employees can easily share important documents with one another and outside the agency knowing that information is secure.”


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For more, check out the press release.

Microsoft News Center Staff

Hyper-V and Networking – Part 3: IP Routing

In the previous post, we dug into VLANs, which are a layer 2 concept in the ISO model. In this piece, we’re going to step up into layer 3 and look at IP address and routing and how they work with Hyper-V. Part 1 – Mapping the OSI Model Part 2 – VLANs Part 3 – IP Routing…

Original post link: Hyper-V and Networking – Part 3: IP Routing

The post Hyper-V and Networking – Part 3: IP Routing appeared first on Hyper-V Hub – Altaro’s Microsoft Hyper-V blog.