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New homepage, features, and more! – From the Myxer

We’re barely into 2020, and yet so much has happened in such a short time. We know many of you, like the Mixer team here in Redmond, are practicing “social distancing,” learning how to “flatten the curve,” and otherwise taking precautions amid the outbreak of COVID-19. We’re proud and heartened by the stories you’ve shared and the ways we’ve seen Mixer streamers and their communities using Mixer to stay in touch digitally and support each other during this challenging time. Thank you for continuing to make the Mixer community shine as a positive and welcoming place for new and existing members alike.

Over the past couple of months, we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes on a set of new features and capabilities based on feedback we’ve heard from you. These are focused on improving discoverability, empowering communities of all sizes and making it easier to find your new favorite Mixer creators. We’re rolling them out starting today.

  • New Mixer homepage – We’ve refreshed the Mixer homepage across all platforms to give more focus to featured content as well as provide smart, AI-powered recommendations. The most immediate change you’ll notice on your homepage is that we’re introducing a new layout that displays all featured creators at the same time.

    Below the “Featured,” “Top Category,” and “Partner Spotlight” sections, you’ll also find brand new content rows. These rows will highlight and recommend streams from community events, cultural moments, and more tailored content as time goes on. The rows will be a mix of AI-powered personalized recommendations and editorially programmed content, ensuring you can discover and join even more communities across Mixer.

  • Auto-Hosting for everyone – We’ve spent the last month testing Auto-Hosting with Mixer Partners and now we’re excited to share it with every streamer. With this feature, you’ll be able to create a list of specific streamers that you want to automatically host when you’re offline. We’ve added a host of customization options as well.

    You’ll be able to set your Auto-Host list to host in a priority order or to pick at random. With showcase, you’ll be able to set custom Auto-Host time durations. This means Auto-Host could switch to a new streamer from your list every hour (you determine the time) instead of when that hosted streamer goes offline.

    You can access your Auto-Hosting setting in the Broadcast dashboard.

  • Higher-Quality Emotes – This top community ask is no longer “Soon™”, it’s finally here! Starting today, we’re enhancing all emotes to 28 pixels across all platforms, introducing new prefixing requirements and completely refreshing our global emotes. New global emotes will be visible today and all partner emotes will be updated over the next few weeks.
  • Ad Break (Beta) – Our Mixer Partners have been testing advertising pre-roll for the last few months and now we’re expanding our advertising testing with an Ad-Break beta. With this, Partners can choose when they want to run ads during their stream. This was a request from the Mixer Partner community, and we’re excited to be testing it as part of the full package of monetization opportunities on Mixer.
  • Xbox Viewing Improvements – We’re continuing to add more features to the new Mixer viewing experience on Xbox. This new experience is built from the ground up to get you to your favorite streamers as fast as possible. With the April Xbox One system update that’s in some Insider rings now, you’ll see the additions of emotes and subscriber badging in chat.

    Ember messages will also get the flair they deserve to help them stand out. We’ve also made it easier to access stream settings for selecting chat layout or video quality. Outside of this latest Xbox One system update, we also expect to have Gift Subs available in the new experience in the coming weeks.

  • Partner Badging on Homepage – To make it easier to find Mixer Partner channels, we’re adding the new badging to the homepage as well.

  • Notifications UX Improvements – We’ve added a new notification bell to the pages of channels you follow, so you have better control over which channels will trigger “go live” notifications.

  • Clips Creation Improvements – Clip creation is now available for more viewers of Mixer Partners and Verified channels in the Mixer app on iOS and Android. Clip creation on mobile respects the Rank, Subscriber, and Moderator permissions that the channel owner has set.

There’s much more coming, and we’re excited to share details soon. Going forward, we will be posting more frequent community updates on this blog. They’ll cover everything from events, to community news and features! Stay tuned for more updates and please keep sharing your feedback on Twitter with us at @WatchMixer.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

For Sale – i5 7400T Lenovo M710q USFF pc

Brand new in box

if you know about these machines you know this is the best of the lot especially if your looking for an ultra small form factor

Lenovo Think Centre M710Q Intel i5 7400T Processor 2.
8GB Ram
500GB HDD
WIFI with official Lenovo aerial
Integrated Graphics
Windows 10 PRO
New Lenovo Mouse
New Lenovo KeyBoard
Display Port to HDMI cable included
Original power adaptor and cable included

boxed up ready to go

£250 ONO

delivery courier of your choice split the difference

__________________

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Microsoft Azure Peering Services Explained

In this blog post, you’ll discover everything you need to know about Microsoft Azure Peering Services, a networking service introduced during Ignite 2019.

Microsoft explains the service within their documentation as follows:

Azure Peering Service is a networking service that enhances customer connectivity to Microsoft cloud services such as Office 365, Dynamics 365, software as a service (SaaS) services, Azure, or any Microsoft services accessible via the public internet. Microsoft has partnered with internet service providers (ISPs), internet exchange partners (IXPs), and software-defined cloud interconnect (SDCI) providers worldwide to provide reliable and high-performing public connectivity with optimal routing from the customer to the Microsoft network.

To be honest, Microsoft explained the service well, but what’s behind the explanation is much more complex. To understand Azure Peering Services and its benefits, you need to understand how peering, routing, and connectivity for internet providers work.

What Are Peering And Transit?

In the internet and network provider world, peering is an interconnection of separated and independent internet networks to exchange traffic between users within their respective networks. Peering or partnering is a free agreement between two providers. Normally both providers only pay their cross-connect in the datacenter and their colocation space. Traffic is not paid by any party. Instead, there are special agreements, e.g. from smaller to larger providers.

Normally you have the following agreements:

  • between equal providers or peering partners – traffic upload and download between these two networks is free for both parties
  • a larger provider and a smaller provider – the smaller provider needs to pay a fee for the transit traffic to the larger network provider
  • providers who transit another network to reach a 3rd party network (upstream service) – the provider using the upstream needs to pay a fee for the transit traffic to the upstream provider

An agreement by two or more networks to peer is instantiated by a physical interconnection of the networks, an exchange of routing information through the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routing protocol and, in some special cases, a formalized contractual document. These documents are called peering policies and Letter of Authorization or LOA.

Fun Fact – As a peering partner for Microsoft, you can easily configure the peering through the Azure Portal as a free service.

As you can see in the screenshot, Microsoft is very restrictive with their routing and peering policies. That prevents unwanted traffic and protects Microsoft customers when Peering for Azure ExpressRoute (AS12076).

Routing and peering policies Azure express route.

Now let’s talk a bit about the different types of peering.

Public Peering

Public peering is configured over the shared platform of Internet Exchange Point. Internet Exchanges charge a port and/or member fee for using their platform for interconnect.

If you are a small cloud or network provider with less infrastructure, the peering via an Internet Exchange is a good place to start. As a big player on the market, it is a good choice because you are also reaching smaller networks on a short path. The picture below shows an example of those prices. I took my example from the Berlin Commercial Internet Exchange Pricing Page.

Berlin Commercial Internet Exchange Pricing

Hurricane Electric offers a tool that can give you a peering map and more information about how a provider is publicly peered with other providers, but you will not get a map from the private peering there. The picture below shows you some examples for Microsoft AS 8075.

Microsoft AS 8075 peering

Private Peering

Private peering is a direct physical link between two networks. Commonly the peering is done by one or more 10GBE or 100GBE links. The connection is made from only one network to another, for which any site pays a set fee to the owner of the infrastructure or colocation that is used. Those costs are usually crossconnect within the datacenter. That makes private peering a good choice when you need to send large volumes of traffic to one specific network. That’s a much cheaper option when looking on the pricing per transferred gigabyte between both networks than with public peering. When peering private with providers you may need to follow some peering policies though.

A good provider also has a looking glass where you can get more insights into peerings, but we will look at this later on.

Transit and Upstream

When someone is using Transit, the provider itself has no access to the destination network. Therefore he needs to leverage other networks or network providers to reach the destination network and destination service. Those providers who give the transit are known as transit providers, with larger networks being considered as Tier 1 networks. As a network provider for cloud customers like Microsoft, you don’t want any transit routing. In the first place, you normally have high costs for transitive routing through other networks, and what is worse, you add additional latency and uncontrollable space between your customers and the cloud services. So, the first thing when handling cloud customers, avoid transit routing and peer yourself with cloud providers either through private or public network interconnect at interconnect locations.

That is one reason why Microsoft is working with Internet Exchanges and Network and Internet Providers to enable Services like Microsoft Azure Peering. It should give customers more control over how they reach Microsoft Services incl. Azure, Microsoft 365, xBox etc. To understand the impact, you also need to know about Service Provider Routing. That’s how we will follow up in the next part of the post.

How Internet Service Providers Route your Traffic?

When you look at routing, there are mostly only two options within a carrier network. The first one is cold potato or centralized routing. With cold potato routing, a provider keeps the traffic as long as possible within his network before he sends it to another 3rd party. The other option is hot potato routing or decentralized routing. Here the provider sends the traffic as fast as possible to the 3rd party, mostly in the same metro.

The picture below illustrates the difference between hot and cold potato routing.

cold and hot potato routing differences

As you can see in the drawing, the cold potato routing takes a longer distance through the provider network and with that to your target, e.g. Microsoft.

Those routing configurations have a large impact on your cloud performance because every kilometer distance adds latency. The actual number is 1ms in latency added per every 200 kilometers of distance. As a result, you will see an impact on the likes of voice quality during Teams Meetings or synchronization issues for Backups to Azure.

Microsoft has a big agenda to address that issue for their customers and the rest of the globe. You can read more about the plans in articles from Yousef Khalidi, Cop. Vice President Microsoft Networking.

Now let’s start with Peering Services and how it can change the game.

What is Azure Peering Services and How it Solves the Issue?

When you look at how the service is designed, you can see that it leverages all of Microsoft Provider Peering with AS 8075. Together with the Microsoft Azure Peering Services Partners, Microsoft can change the default routing and transit behavior to their services when using a partner provider.

Following the picture below, you can setup a routing so that traffic from your network to Azure (or other networks) now uses the Microsoft Global Backbone instead of a transit provider without any SLA.

What is Azure Peering Services

With that service enabled, the performance to Microsoft Services will increase and the latency will be reduced depending on the provider. As you can expect, services like Office 365 or Azure AD will profit from that Azure Service but there is more. When you for example build your backbone on the Microsoft Global Transit Architecture with Azure Virtual WAN and leverage Internet Connections of these certain Providers and Internet Exchange Partners, you will directly boost your network performance and you will have a pseudo-private network. The reason for that is because you now leverage private or public peering with route restrictions. Your backbone traffic will now bypass the regular Internet and flow through the Microsoft Global Backbone from A to B.

Let me try to explain it with a drawing.

Microsoft global backbone network

in addition to better performance, you will also get an additional layer of monitoring. While the regular internet is a black box regarding dataflow, performance, etc. with Microsoft Azure Peering Services you get fully operational monitoring of your wide area network through the Microsoft Backbone.

You can find this information in the Azure Peering Services Telemetry Data.

The screenshot below shows the launch partner of Azure Peering Services.

Launch partner of Azure Peering Services

When choosing a network provider for your access to Microsoft, you should follow this guideline:

  • Choose a provider well peered with Microsoft
  • Choose a provider with hot potato routing to Microsoft
  • Don`t let the price decide the provider, a good network has costs
  • Choose Dedicated Internet Access before regular Internet Connection any time possible
  • If possible use locale providers instead of global ones
  • A good provider always has a looking glass or can provide you with default routes between a city location and other peering partners. If not, it is not a good provider to choose

So, let’s learn about the setup of the service.

How to configure Azure Peering Services?

First, you need to understand that like with Azure ExpressRoute, there are two sites to contact and configure.

You need to follow the steps below to establish a Peering Services connection.

Step 1: Customer provision the connectivity from a connectivity partner (no interaction with Microsoft). With that, you get an Internet provider who is well connected to Microsoft and meets the technical requirements for performant and reliable connectivity to Microsoft. Again you should check the Partnerlist.
Step 2: Customer registers locations into the Azure portal. A location is defined by: ISP/IXP Name, Physical location of the customer site (state level), IP Prefix given to the location by the Service Provider or the enterprise. As a service from Microsoft, you now get Telemetry data like Internet Routes monitoring and traffic prioritization from Microsoft to the user’s closest edge location.

The registration of the locations happens within the Azure Portal.

Currently, you need to register for the public beta first. That happens with some simple PowerShell commands.

Using Azure PowerShell 

Using Azure CLI

Afterward, you can configure the service using the Azure Portal, Azure PowerShell, or Azure CLI.

You can find the responsive guide here.

After the Service went General Available (GA), customers also received SLAs on the Peering and Telemetry Service. Currently, there is no SLA and no support if you use the services in production.

Peering and Telemetry service

Closing Thoughts

From reading this article you now have a better understanding of Microsoft Azure Peering Services and its use, peering between providers, and the routing and traffic behavior within the internet. When digging deeper into Microsoft Peering Services, you now should be able to develop some architectures and ideas on how to use that service.

If you have any providers which are not aware about that Service or direct Peering with Microsoft AS 8075, point them to http://peering.azurewebsites.net/ or let them drop an email to [email protected]

When using the BGP Tools from Hurricane Electric, you should get info about some providers, peering with Microsoft. One thing you need to know, most of the 3500 Network Partners of Microsoft are peering private with Microsoft. The Hurricane tools and only observe the public peering partners.

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Author: Florian Klaffenbach

For Sale – iMac 2017 – 27 5k – Not even 1 month old.

I have tried to move over from windows to mac but it just isn’t for me, I know about bootcamp but that is really not what I want.

I purchased this imac on the 09.01.2020 and it still can have applecare applied until the 09.03.2020 if you wish.

Mint condition and will be fully boxed.

Specs

i5 3.8hz
Radeon 580 pro 8gb
2tb fusion drive
40gb memory
27 5k screen

Not looking for any trades and collection only please due to size, weight & value.

I’ll take some photos in a while.

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For Sale – Alienware 15 R3 – i7-7700HQ GTX1060 6GB, 16GB DDR4, 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD – £850 Delivered

Alienware 15 R3 – £850

I never really know what to write in these as I never sell anything normally but this is too good a machine to just rot in a box in the attic, approximately 18 months old, used occasionally in excellent condition.

15.6” 120hz G-Sync display, no dead pixels or backlight bleed.
Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.8GHz up to 3.8GHz
16Gb RAM (32Gb max)
GTX 1060 6Gb graphics card
256Gb NVNe SSD Boot drive, space for 2 more.
1Tb HDD.
Windows 10.
Tobii webcam allows for Windows Hello face login
Killer WiFi with Bluetooth 4.1
Full RGB lighting.

Shipping will be with UPS to UK Mainland.

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Get 3 Months of Xbox Game Pass for PC for $1! A Plague Tale: Innocence, Children of Morta, and Gris Coming Soon – Xbox Wire

I know you’re here for the games and we have some gems on the way! They’re hauntingly beautiful, challenging, and are coming soon to Xbox Game Pass for PC (Beta).

You might need more than a few days to dig into these games, plus all the others you want to play in our library. Lucky for you, if you haven’t tried Xbox Game Pass for PC (Beta) yet, we just launched our best deal yet for PC: Get your first 3 months for just $1! Discover your next favorite game with unlimited access to over 100 high-quality PC titles. You’ll always have something new to play with games added all the time. This deal won’t last forever, so join today and tell your friends – this is an easy way to get them to jump in and play with you!

But let’s get to the part that you really want to know about: Here’s the latest info on the games coming at you for the next few weeks!

Children of Morta ([email protected])
A story-driven action RPG about an extraordinary family of heroes. Lead the Bergons, with all their flaws and virtues, against the forthcoming Corruption. With a unique mix of action-adventure, RPG, rogue-lite, and hack and slash, you’ll develop not only individual characters but also the entire family as they stand against an encroaching darkness.

Gris ([email protected])
A serene and evocative experience, free of danger, frustration or death. Explore a meticulously designed world brought to life with delicate art, detailed animation, and an elegant original score where light puzzles, platforming sequences, and optional skill-based challenges will reveal themselves as the story unfolds, allowing Gris to see her world in a different way, unlocking new paths to explore using her new abilities.

A Plague Tale: Innocence
Follow the grim tale of young Amicia and her little brother Hugo in a heartrending journey through the darkest hours of history in this acclaimed action adventure game. Hunted by Inquisition soldiers and surrounded by unstoppable swarms of rats, they will struggle to survive against overwhelming odds and fight to find purpose in this brutal, unforgiving world.

Seriously, getting 3 months of PC gaming for only $1 is a screaming deal. Take the opportunity to try a whole bunch of games with no risk (other than being that person that won’t shut up about what games they are playing). I haven’t done the calculations yet, but I’m willing to bet that the math checks out on this being the best deal right now to play all these games.

Reminder to install the mobile app so you can remotely install games to your PC from anywhere – use that time to watch speed runs, character builds, or build your perfect playlist for these haunting games. Lastly, for more news on games, memes, and whatever shower thoughts we have about games, check out our Twitter. Happy gaming!

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Author: Microsoft News Center

For Sale – DELL PowerEdge T110 Server Quad Core Xeon X3440 2.53GHz 8Gb RAM 250Gb HDD No OS

Keen to know the exact specs of this. Does it have a HBA card installed?

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For Sale – DELL PowerEdge T110 Server Quad Core Xeon X3440 2.53GHz 8Gb RAM 250Gb HDD No OS

Keen to know the exact specs of this. Does it have a HBA card installed?

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Put infrastructure automation at the heart of modern IT ops

LAS VEGAS — Successful IT leaders know how to navigate change. In 2020 and beyond, that skill will almost certainly be put to the test.

To remain relevant and competitive in the years to come, enterprises need to embrace top IT trends around infrastructure automation, hybrid management tools and DevOps — despite the growing pains they’ll inevitably face along the way. How to do just that was the subject of discussions at Gartner’s IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference here this month.

Automate, automate, automate

In search of greater agility, and faced with demands to do more with less, enterprises should increasingly lean on automation, from a business process standpoint and in IT infrastructure. 

“Automation is to modern infrastructure what blood is to the body,” said Dennis Smith, research vice president at Gartner, at the event. You simply can’t run one without the other, particularly as IT teams manage complex and heterogenous infrastructure setups.

At this point, the benefits of IT automation are well-established: a reduced risk of human error and an IT staff that has the time to work on more strategic, higher-level, involved tasks. But making the shift from manual to automated IT management practices in configuration management, capacity planning and other critical tasks can be tricky. And it won’t be easy to staff up with the requisite skill sets.

That’s a challenge for Keith Hoffman, manager of the data network at Sharp HealthCare, based in San Diego, Calif. “My team is made up of legacy network engineers, not programmers,” Hoffman said. “But we’ve talked about [the need for automation], and we see the writing on the wall.”

Hoffman’s team currently has some ad hoc instances of IT infrastructure automation via scripts, but the goal is to scale those efforts, particularly for automated configuration management. They’ve taken training courses on select automation and orchestration tools and turned to Sharp HealthCare’s internal DevOps team to learn and apply automation best practices.

To help close skill gaps, and to encourage broader IT automation efforts, enterprises should appoint a dedicated automation architect, said Ross Winser, senior director analyst at Gartner. The automation architect should help IT navigate the ways it can achieve infrastructure automation — infrastructure as code, site reliability engineering, a move away from traditional scripts in favor of AIOps practices — as well as the vast ecosystem of tools and vendors that support those efforts.

Hybrid IT management

Hybrid environments are a perennial IT trend. As these setups become even more complex, IT ops leaders need to further refine their infrastructure management practices.

Increasingly, one enterprise IT workload can span multiple infrastructure environments: dedicated data centers, managed hosting and colocation facilities, the public cloud and edge computing locations. While these hybrid environments offer deployment flexibility, they also complicate troubleshooting, incident response and other core IT operations tasks. When a failure occurs, the complex string of system connections and dependencies makes it difficult to pinpoint a cause.

“The ability to actually get to an answer is getting harder and harder,” Winser said.

Many operations teams still rely on disparate tool sets to monitor and manage resources in hybrid IT, adding to this complexity.  

“I think the challenge is having a common tool set,” said Kaushal Shah, director of infrastructure and information security at Socan, a performance rights organization for the music industry, based in Toronto. “What we do internally at the infrastructure layer is a lot of scripting and CLI-driven configurations, whereas in the cloud, every cloud provider has their own CLI.”

Shah — whose team runs IT infrastructure on premises and in AWS and Microsoft Azure — said he’s evaluating infrastructure-as-code tools like HashiCorp Terraform and Red Hat Ansible to “level the playing field” and provide a centralized way to manage resource configurations. Adoption poses a learning curve.

“[My team members] have a certain background and I think, for these tools, it’s a different mindset: You have to describe the state of the asset as opposed to how to configure it,” Shah said.

Gartner notes that many of these integrated management tool sets are still in the early days of truly centralized, end-to-end hybrid management capabilities. Infrastructure and operations teams should also use workflow visualization and dependency mapping, and create internal centers of excellence, to combat hybrid IT challenges.

Scalable DevOps

For many IT shops, DevOps implementation is a significant priority. For those that have a DevOps foundation in place, the next big challenge is to ensure it can scale.

It’s common practice for enterprises to get started with DevOps via pilot or incubation programs. And while there’s nothing wrong with this approach, it could impede IT leaders’ ability to enforce DevOps as a broad, cross-functional practice throughout the organization. A DevOps team, or even multiple DevOps teams, can sprout up and work as silos within the organization — perpetuating the very barriers DevOps sought to break down in the first place.

Shared self-service platforms are one way to ensure a DevOps practice can scale, remain responsive and span different functional groups, Winser said. Think of them as a digital toolbox from which DevOps teams, including infrastructure and operations practitioners, can access and explore tools relevant to their role. A shared tool set promotes consistency and common best practices throughout the organization.

In addition, site reliability engineers — who work with application developers to ensure highly reliable systems — can promote scalability within DevOps shops. Automation also plays a role.  

Socan’s Shah sees DevOps as an option to transition his team out of “fire-fighting mode” and into a position where they work hand in hand with developers and business stakeholders. DevOps, in combination with streamlined hybrid IT management and infrastructure automation, could bring the team out of a technology-focused mindset and onto a platform-ops approach, where developers interact with the infrastructure via API-driven interfaces as opposed to sending IT tickets to build things.

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