Tag Archives: controls

AWS Outposts brings hybrid cloud support — but only for Amazon

LAS VEGAS — AWS controls nearly half of the public IaaS market today, and based on the company’s rules against use of the term ‘multi-cloud,’ would be happy to have it all, even as rivals Microsoft and Google make incremental gains and more customers adopt multi-cloud strategies.

That’s the key takeaway from the start of this year’s massive re:Invent conference here this week, which was marked by the release of AWS Outposts for hybrid clouds and a lengthy keynote from AWS CEO Andy Jassy that began with a tongue-in-cheek invite to AWS’ big tent in the cloud.

“You have to decide what you’re going to bring,” Jassy said of customers who want to move workloads into the public cloud. “It’s a little bit like moving from a home,” he added, as a projected slide comically depicted moving boxes affixed with logos for rival vendors such as Oracle and IBM sitting on a driveway.

“It turns out when companies are making this big transformation, what we see is that all bets are off,” Jassy said. “They reconsider everything.”

For several years now, AWS has used re:Invent as a showcase for large customers in highly regulated industries that have made substantial, if not complete, migrations to its platform. One such company is Goldman Sachs, which has worked with AWS on several projects, including Marcus, a digital banking service for consumers. A transaction banking service that helps companies manage their cash in a cloud-native stack on AWS is coming next year, said Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, who appeared during Jassy’s talk. Goldman is also moving its Marquee market intelligence platform into production on AWS.

Along with showcasing enthusiastic customers like Goldman Sachs, Jassy took a series of shots at the competition, some veiled and others overt.

“Every industry has lots of companies with mainframes, but everyone wants to move off of them,” he claimed. The same goes for databases, he added. Customers are trying to move away from Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server due to factors such as expense and lock-in, he said. Jassy didn’t mention that similar accusations have been lodged at AWS’ native database services.

Jassy repeatedly took aim at Microsoft, which has the second most popular cloud platform after AWS, albeit with a significant lag. “People don’t want to pay the tax anymore for Windows,” he said.

But it isn’t as if AWS would actually shun Microsoft technology, since it has long been a host for many Windows Server workloads. In fact, it wants as much as it can get. This week, AWS introduced a new bring-your-own-license program for Windows Server and SQL Server designed to make it easier for customers to run those licenses on AWS, versus Azure.

AWS pushes hybrid cloud, but rejects multi-cloud

One of the more prominent, although long-expected, updates this week is the general availability of AWS Outposts. These specialized server racks provided by AWS reside in customers’ own data centers, in order to comply with regulations or meet low-latency needs. They are loaded with a range of AWS software, are fully managed by AWS and maintain continuous connections to local AWS regions.

The company is taking the AWS Outposts idea a bit further with the release of new AWS Local Zones. These will consist of Outpost machines placed in facilities very close to large cities, giving customers who don’t want or have their own data centers, but still have low-latency requirements, another option. Local Zones, the first of which is in the Los Angeles area, provide this capability and tie back to AWS’ larger regional zones, the company said.

Outposts, AWS Local Zones and the previously launched VMware Cloud on AWS constitute a hybrid cloud computing portfolio for AWS — but you won’t hear Jassy or other executives say the phrase multi-cloud, at least not in public.

In fact, partners who want to co-brand with AWS are forbidden from using that phrase and similar verbiage in marketing materials, according to an AWS co-branding document provided to SearchAWS.com.

“AWS does not allow or approve use of the terms ‘multi-cloud,’ ‘cross cloud,’ ‘any cloud, ‘every cloud,’ or any other language that implies designing or supporting more than one cloud provider,” the co-branding guidelines, released in August, state. “In this same vein, AWS will also not approve references to multiple cloud providers (by name, logo, or generically).”

An AWS spokesperson didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

The statement may not be surprising in context of AWS’s market lead, but does stand in contrast to recent approaches by Google, with the Anthos multi-cloud container management platform, and Microsoft’s Azure Arc, which uses native Azure tools, but has multi-cloud management aspects.

AWS customers may certainly want multi-cloud capabilities, but can protect themselves by using portable products and technologies, such as Kubernetes at the lowest level with a tradeoff being the manual labor involved, said Holger Mueller, an analyst with Constellation Research in Cupertino, Calif.

“To be fair, Azure and Google are only at the beginning of [multi-cloud],” he said.

Meanwhile, many AWS customers have apparently grown quite comfortable moving their IT estates onto the platform. One example is Cox Automotive, known for its digital properties such as Autotrader.com and Kelley Blue Book.

In total, Cox has more than 200 software applications, many of which it accrued through a series of acquisitions, and the company expects to move it all onto AWS, said Chris Dillon, VP of architecture, during a re:Invent presentation.

Cox is using AWS Well-Architected Framework, a best practices tool for deployments on AWS, to manage the transition.

“When you start something new and do it quickly you always run the risk of not doing it well,” said Gene Mahon, director of engineering operations. “We made a decision early on that everything would go through a Well-Architected review.”

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New telephony controls coming to Microsoft Teams admin center

Microsoft will add several telephony controls to the Microsoft Teams admin center in the coming months, a significant move in the vendor’s campaign to retire Skype for Business Online by mid-2021.

Admins will be able to build, test and manage custom dial plans through the Teams portal. Additionally, organizations that use Microsoft Calling Plan will be able to create and assign phone numbers and designate emergency addresses for users.

Currently, admins can only perform those tasks in Teams through the legacy admin center for Skype for Business Online. Microsoft has been gradually moving controls to the Teams admin center, with telephony controls among the last to switch over.

Microsoft plans to begin adding the new telephony controls to the Teams admin center in November, according to the vendor’s Office 365 Roadmap webpage. The company will also introduce some advanced features it didn’t support in Skype for Business Online, a cloud-based app within Office 365.

The update will let admins configure what’s known as dynamic emergency calling. The feature — supported only in the on-premises version of Skype for Business — automatically detects a user’s location when they place a 911 call. It then transmits that information to emergency officials.

The admin center for Skype for Business Online is “fairly rudimentary,” said Tom Arbuthnot, principal solutions architect at Modality Systems, a Microsoft-focused systems integrator. The new console for Teams provides advancements like the ability to sort and filter users and phone numbers.

“All of these little features add up to making a more friendly voice platform for an administrator,” Arbuthnot said. “They are getting closer and closer to everything being administered in the Teams admin center.”

Microsoft Teams still missing advanced calling controls, features

The superior design of the admin center notwithstanding, Teams still lacks crucial tools for organizations too large to use the management console.

For those enterprises, Teams PowerShell is the go-to tool for auto-configuring settings on a large scale using code-based commands. However, PowerShell cannot do everything that the Teams admin center can do. Microsoft has also yet to release APIs that would allow a third-party consultant to help manage a Fortune 500 company’s transition to Teams calling.

“When you’re up to hundreds of thousands of seats, you don’t really want to be going to an admin center and manually administrating,” Arbuthnot said. “The PowerShell and APIs tend to lag a little bit.”

A lack of parity between the telephony features of Skype for Business and Teams had been one of the biggest roadblocks preventing organizations from fully transitioning from the old to the new platform.

But at this point, Teams should be suitable for everyone except those with the most complex needs, such as receptionists, Arbuthnot said.

Other features that Microsoft is planning include compliance call recording, virtual desktop infrastructure support and contact center integrations.

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Security, management updates made to LogMeIn Bold360

The LogMeIn Bold360 suite has been updated to include new security controls and management tools and an updated workload organization feature. According to LogMeIn, the updates are meant to enable customer service teams to work faster and improve overall performance.

The full list of updates includes the following:

  • Knowledge management tools: The latest version of Bold360’s search optimizer has search and filter features on customer intents, the capability to create articles for unresolved intents within the search optimizer, and can add phrasings to an article from an unresolved intent. It also has a task-driven interface so users can manage unanswered, answered, channeled and muted intents.
  • Monitor view: Administrators can now see the content of live chats, chatbot engagements, emails, SMS texts and messaging channels such as Facebook Messenger.
  • Workload organization: There is a new chat flagging feature that will let agents mark an engagement in case they need to refer back to it for any reason. Supervisors can also filter the monitor view by agent flags to keep track of open engagements.
  • Security updates: Bold360 received ISO 27001 certification, meaning it met requirements for managing sensitive company information so that it remains secure. Additionally, LogMeIn added IP Whitelisting for Agent Logins, which enables admins to restrict which networks agents can log into the Bold360 web workspace from.

This is the latest in a series of updates to LogMeIn Bold360, including improvements to the chatbot in April and the addition of AI features for bots and agents in June. LogMeIn also has a portfolio of unified communication products, including GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, Grasshopper, Grasshopper Connect and Jive.

LogMeIn Bold360 competes in a crowded costumer experience market, going head-to-head with tech giants such as Salesforce, which will release CRM platform Salesforce Customer 360 in November.

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Expanding Xbox Voice Commands to Hundreds of Millions of Smart Devices: Xbox Now Connects with Cortana and Alexa-Enabled Devices – Xbox Wire

Here at Team Xbox, we’ve had a long history in offering voice controls as a way to interact with your Xbox console through Kinect and headsets. Today, starting with select Xbox U.S. Insiders, we’re expanding voice support by introducing the Xbox Skill, which enables you to navigate and interact with Xbox One using voice commands through your Cortana and Alexa-enabled devices.

With the Xbox Skill, you can use voice commands to power your Xbox One console, adjust volume, launch games and apps, start and stop broadcasts on Mixer, capture screenshots, and more. It’s the fastest way to get into your games and one of the easiest ways to interact with your console for everyday tasks. For example, if you have the skill enabled on your Echo and you’re a part of the Insider preview, just say “Alexa, start Rocket League.” and this command will automatically turn on your console, sign you in, and launch your game.

The Xbox Skill integrates with your Cortana and Alexa-enabled device such as a Windows 10 PC, Amazon Echo, Harman Kardon Invoke, Sonos One, or Cortana and Alexa apps on iOS and Android, enabling voice commands to control your Xbox One console.

For Xbox Insiders* in the U.S. who want to try the Xbox Skill with Cortana or Alexa, here’s how to get started:

If you use Cortana:

  1. Sign into the Xbox you want to control.
  2. On your Windows 10 PC, click here and sign in with your Microsoft account to link the skill.
  3. Try your first command! “Hey Cortana, tell Xbox to open Netflix.”

If you use Alexa:

  1. Sign into the Xbox you want to control.
  2. Click here, sign in with your Amazon Account, and click Enable.
  3. Sign in with your Microsoft account to link the skill.
  4. Let Alexa discover your console, then follow the instructions to pair your console with Alexa.
  5. Try your first command! “Alexa, start Rocket League.”

Wondering what else the Xbox Skill can do? Just say “Ask Xbox what can I say?” to discover more commands for your console. For a full list of commands, troubleshooting assistance, and to give the team feedback and ideas, you can visit the Xbox Insider Subreddit.

As always, your feedback is important to us and our partners as we continue to evolve this experience and grow our voice integration across devices, digital assistants and voice services.

*Note to Xbox Insiders: We will be rolling the Xbox Skill out to Xbox Insider rings gradually. If the Digital Assistant setting is visible on your console in Settings -> Devices, then you are currently eligible to test the Xbox Skill. If it doesn’t appear, then please be patient as we are working quickly to add more Insider rings to the beta.

For Sale – Antec P50 Case

Antec P50 case

Fan controls at top of case currently not connected would need to be rewired.

£30 including carriage
£25 for collection

Price and currency: £30
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer or PPG
Location: Hove, East Sussex
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

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By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Announcing UWP Community Toolkit 1.3

The UWP Community Toolkit continues to grow at a rapid speed thanks to the ideas and contributions from the community. Over the last period, over 82 percent of the contributions came from the developer community (59 contributors). Thank you!

Today, we are happy to announce the largest update to the toolkit since the launch a few months ago!

You can get started following these steps, or preview the latest features by installing the UWP Community Toolkit Sample App from the Windows Store.

As a reminder, the toolkit can be used in any app (across PC, Xbox One, Mobile, HoloLens and Surface Hub devices) targeting Windows 10 November Update (10.0.10586) or above. The few features that rely on newer OS updates are clearly marked in the documentation and in the Sample App.

Here’s just a summary of what’s new in Version 1.3:

  1. Controls. Several new controls were added in this release, including some very popular requests from the community:
    • WrapPanel. Positions child elements in sequential position from left to right or top to bottom, breaking content to the next line.
    • TextboxMask and TextBoxRegex (attached properties). Allows setting common or custom masks (like telephone numbers) for input.
    • SurfaceDialTextboxHelper (attached property). Extends any Textbox control to be controlled directly from a Surface Dial.
    • MarkdownTextBlock. Embeds and renders in real-time markdown syntax.
    • TileControl. Enables repeatable tile content.
    • ScrollHeader. Builds upon FadeHeader and enables Quick Return, Sticky and Fade behaviors.
    • Expander. Provides an extendable container to show/hide any content by clicking the header.
    • AdvancedCollectionView: Builds upon CollectionView and easily sorts and filters collections before displaying them.
    • Loading control. Shows an animation with some content when the user should wait in some tasks of the app.
  2. Services
    • OneDrive service. Roam user files through the new OneDrive service with a simplified API model (similar to StorageFolder). The new service makes it easy to authenticate OneDrive users and more in the same consistent way you have come to expect from the toolkit services.
    • Microsoft Translator Service. Translate text in 60 languages supported by Microsoft Translator Services. The free tier supports up to 2 million requests per month.
    • We’ve added support for geographical metadata to tweets.
  3. Animations
    • Light. Add light effects to your page or controls to draw user attention.
    • Reorder grid animations (attached property). Add smooth animations when resizing a grid view.
    • ParallaxService. Allows to create a parallax effect for items contained within an element that scrolls like a ScrollViewer or ListView.
  4. Notifications
    • New toast features. Allows group toasts notifications (only available on Creator Update).
  5. Accessibility. With the support of the community, we started the journey to add accessibility capabilities to all the controls in the toolkit. You can track progress here.
  6. Sample App
    • The Sample App now has embedded documentation (using the new Markdown control).
    • The Sample App provide pointers to a few external OSS resources, for example, the newly released Windows SDK for Google Analytics.
    • It is now available for preview on Xbox One.
  7. UserVoice
    • The community can now submit and vote for new features on UserVoice.

If you are interested in contributing, please join us on Github!