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Nutanix Objects 2.0 lays groundwork for hybrid cloud

Nutanix pitched its latest Objects update as scale-out object storage workloads, but experts said the hyper-converged infrastructure specialist is likely preparing for a push into the cloud.

Nutanix Objects 2.0 introduced features aimed at big data workloads. The new multicluster support consolidates Nutanix clusters to a single namespace, allowing for simpler, single-console management. Nutanix Objects 2.0 also added a 240 TB node that is larger than any other Nutanix HCI node, allowing more capacity per cluster. The update also added WORM support and Splunk certification.

Nutanix Objects, which launched in August 2019, provides software-defined object storage and is a stand-alone product from Nutanix HCI. Greg Smith, vice president of product marketing at Nutanix, said typical use cases included unstructured data archiving, big data and analytics. He also noticed an uptick in cloud-native application development in AWS S3 environments. Nutanix HCI software uses an S3 interface.

“We see increasing demand for object storage, particularly for big data,” Smith said.

Supporting cloud-native development is the real endgame of Nutanix Objects 2.0, said Eric Slack, senior analyst at Evaluator Group. The new features and capabilities aren’t to capture customers with traditional object storage use cases, because it’s not cost-effective to put multiple petabytes on HCI. He said no one is waiting for an S3 interface before buying into HCI.

However, that S3 interface is important because, according to Slack, “S3 is what cloud storage talks.”

Slack believes the enhancements to Nutanix Objects will lay the groundwork for Nutanix Clusters, which is currently in beta. Nutanix Clusters allows Nutanix HCI to run in the cloud and communicate with Nutanix HCI running in the data center. This means organizations can develop applications on-site and run them in the cloud, or vice versa.

“I think that’s why they’re doing this — they’re getting ready for Nutanix Clusters,” Slack said. “This really plays into their cloud design, which is a good idea.”

Organizations want that level of flexibility right now because they do not know which workloads are more cost-efficient to run on premises or in the cloud. Having that same, consistent S3 interface is ideal for IT, Slack said, because it means their applications will run wherever it’s cheaper.

Some organizations have been burned during cloud’s initial hype and moved many of their workloads there, only to find their costs have gone up. Slack said that has led to repatriation back into data centers as businesses do the cost analysis.

“Cloud wasn’t everything we thought it was,” Slack said.

Scott Sinclair, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), came to a similar conclusion about the importance of Nutanix Objects. HCI is about consolidating and simplifying server, network and storage, and Objects expands Nutanix HCI into covering object storage’s traditional use cases: archive and active archive. However, there are growing use cases centered around developing in S3.

“We’re seeing the development of apps that write to an S3 API that may not be what we classify as traditional archive,” Sinclair said.

Screenshot of Nutanix Objects 2.0
Nutanix’s S3 interface streamlines interaction between on premises and cloud.

Citing ESG’s 2020 Technology Spending Intentions survey, Sinclair said 64% of IT decision-makers said their IT environments are more complex than they were years ago. Coupled with other data pointing to skills shortages in IT, Sinclair said organizations are currently looking for ways to simplify their data centers, resulting in interest in HCI.

That same survey also found 24% of respondents said they needed to go hybrid, with the perception that using the cloud is easier. Sinclair said this will logically lead to an increase in the use of S3 protocols, and why Nutanix Objects is uniquely well-positioned. Right now, IT administrators know they need to be using both on-premises and cloud resources, but they don’t know to what extent they should be using either. That’s why businesses are taking the most flexible approach.

“Knowing that you don’t know is a smart position to take,” Sinclair said.

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Oracle ships Java 14 with new preview, productivity features

Oracle’s latest release of the Java language and platform, Java 14 — also known as Oracle JDK14 — brings a series of features focused on helping developers code faster and more efficiently.

The latest Java Development Kit (JDK) provides new developer-focused features including Java language support for switch expressions, new APIs for continuous monitoring of JDK Flight Recorder data, and extended availability of the low-latency Z Garbage Collector to macOS and Windows.

In addition, Java 14 includes three preview features that come out of the JDK Enhancement Proposals (JEP) process. These are Pattern Matching, or JEP 305; Records, or JEP 359; and Text Blocks, also known as JEP 368.

Java 12 introduced switch expressions in preview, and it is now standard in Java 14. This feature extends the Java switch statement so it can be used as either a statement or an expression. “Basically, we converted the switch statement into an expression and made it much simpler and more concise,” said Aurelio Garcia-Ribeyro, Oracle’s Sr. Director of Product Management, Java Platform.

 Oracle will give developers a way to spot errors by continuously monitoring the JDK Flight Recorder, a tool integrated into the Java Virtual Machine for collecting diagnostic and profiling data about a running Java application.

Finally, the z Garbage Collector, also known as ZGC, is a scalable, low-latency garbage collector. Garbage collection is a form of automatic memory management that frees up memory that is no longer in use or needed by the application. Prior to the Windows and MacOS support introduced with Java 14, the z Garbage collector was available only on Linux/x64 platforms.

As for the preview features, Oracle has developed pattern matching for the Java “instanceof” operator. The instanceof operator is used to test if an object is of a given type. In turn, the introduction of Java Records cuts down on the verbosity of Java and provides a compact syntax for declaring classes.

“Records will eliminate a lot of the boilerplate that has historically been needed to create a class,” Garcia-Ribeyro said.

Text Blocks, initially introduced in Java 13 as a preview, returns as an enhanced preview in Java 14. Text Blocks make it easy to express strings that span several lines of source code. It enhances the readability of strings in Java programs that denote code written in non-Java languages, Garcia-Ribeyro said.

Oracle needs to give Java developers the types of tools they need to evolve with the marketplace, said Bradley Shimmin, an analyst at Omdia in Longmeadow, Mass.

“When I look at what they’re doing with Java 14, they’re adding features that make the language more resilient, more performant and that make developers more productive in using the language,” he said.

Oracle takes iterative approach to Java updates

Java 14 also includes a new Packaging Tool, introduced as an incubator feature, that provides a way for developers to package Java applications for distribution in platform-specific formats. This tool is introduced as an incubator module to get developer feedback as the tool nears finalization.

Among the more obscure features in this release are Non-Volatile Mapped Byte Buffers, which add a file mapping mode for the JDK when using non-volatile memory. Also, Helpful NullPointerExceptions improves the usability of NullPointerExceptions by describing precisely which variable was null. NullPointerExceptions are exceptions that occur when you try to use a reference that points to no location in memory as though it were referencing an object. And the Foreign-Memory Access API allows Java programs to safely access foreign memory outside of the Java heap. The Java heap is the amount of memory allocated to applications running in the JVM.

Java 14 is another new release of the language under the six-month cadence Oracle instituted more than two years ago. The purpose of the quicker cadence of releases is to get “more bite-size pieces that are easier to deploy and manage and that get the features to app developers in the enterprise to benefit from these new capabilities,” said Manish Gupta, Oracle’s Vice President of Marketing for Java and GraalVM.

Overall, Oracle wants to advance the Java language and platform to make it work well for new cloud computing applications as well as platforms such as mobile and IoT. In 2017, Oracle spun out enterprise Java, known as Java Enterprise Edition or JavaEE, to the Eclipse Foundation. Eclipse has since created a new enterprise Java specification called Jakarta EE.

“When I think about Java 14, what I’m seeing is that Oracle is not only staying true to what they promised back when they acquired Sun Microsystems, which was to do no harm to Java, but that they are trying to now evolve Java in such a way that it can remain relevant into the future,” Shimmin said.

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COVID-19 depresses 5G smartphone shipments

Technology research firm Omdia lowered by 20% its forecast for global shipments of 5G smartphones. The latest estimate reflects the disruption to component manufacturing caused by the Chinese government’s efforts to contain COVID-19, the disease caused by a new strain of the coronavirus.

Production delays for smartphone screens and, to a lesser extent, 5G antenna modules, will likely push back the availability of some new phones to the first quarter of 2021, Omdia reported. As a result, the research firm revised its forecast for 5G phone shipments in 2020 from 250 million to 200 million.

COVID-19 has spread to at least 86 countries since government health officials first identified the potentially deadly coronavirus strain in Wuhan, China, in late December. At its peak in China, the virus was infecting more than 3,000 people a day.

China’s aggressive tactics for containment has reduced the number of daily infections to 200. However, shutting down factories, imposing strict quarantines, and isolating areas of the disease has halted the production of active-matrix OLED (AMOLED) smartphone displays. A significant portion of display assembly takes place in the Wuhan area.

Display production dropped by 40% to 50% in the first quarter and will likely be down in the second quarter, Omdia senior analyst Kevin Anderson said. “And, it remains to be seen how quickly they can ramp back up going into Q3, which is a major production quarter.”

Impact on 5G antenna production

Slowing the spread of COVID-19 has also led to lower inventories of 5G antennas. However, the production drop in China was offset somewhat by manufacturers in Taiwan, where factories remained open, according to Omdia.

The component shortages could delay new 5G models from Chinese smartphone makers Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi, Anderson said.

“They were rolling out 5G quite aggressively,” he said. “They have quite aggressive plans for the year.”

Samsung, which has the largest share of the global smartphone market, was not affected by the problems in China because most of the production of its phones is in Vietnam.

Whether manufacturing slowdowns in China will affect Apple remains to be seen, Anderson said. Analysts expect the company to release a 5G iPhone this year, but Apple has not made an official announcement. Apple makes most of its iPhones in China.

Typically, smartphone manufacturers introduce models late in the third quarter, which drives the highest sales of the year in the fourth quarter. If they delay the unveiling of new phones, the sales cycle will likely extend into the first quarter of 2021.

Omdia, a unit of Informa Tech, is the latest market research firm to revise 5G smartphone predictions because of COVID-19. In late February, Strategy Analytics lowered its 2020 forecast to 199 million phones.

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Kurt DelBene’s March 4 guidance to King County employees – Stories

Hi everyone,

I wanted to update you on the latest public guidance changes for King County, the region where the Redmond area campuses are located.  The specific recommendations from King County may be found here. We are adjusting our guidance in response to these new recommendations.

These updates will go into effect at the end of day today, Pacific Standard Time, and will remain in effect through March 25th, but we will be continuously monitoring the situation and adjusting guidance as appropriate.

As always, for full list of our guidance to employees, please visit the Global Security website.

Puget Sound and Bay Area work from home updates:

  • Consistent with King County guidance, we are recommending all employees who are in a job that can be done from home should do so through March 25th. Taking these measures will ensure your safety and also make the workplace safer for those that need to be onsite. Please let your manager know that you will be working from home, so all our teams remain well coordinated.
  • If in your role it is essential to be in the office or other work environments (e.g., data center, retail, etc.), plan to continue to go to your location. We will continue to implement the CDC guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing the locations. If you are not sure whether you are in a role that requires you to be onsite, you should speak to your manager.
    • The exceptions to this new guidance are the following groups who are being advised by health authorities to avoid interaction in large groups or public settings:
      • If you are over 60
      • If you have an underlying health condition (heart disease, diabetes, etc.)
      • If you are immune system compromised
      • If you are pregnant
    • In these cases, you should work with your manager to determine leave options or other accommodations available to you.
    • If you are a caregiver of someone that is immune system compromised, please contact your health provider for input.
  • If you will be in the office or other work environments, we recommend limiting prolonged close interactions with people. Specific recommendations are below, but your manager can help implement plans that work well in your particular situation.
    • Limit prolonged interactions and try to stay more than 6 feet/1.8 meters away from others.
    • Keep in-person meetings as short as possible.
    • If you are in open office space and located 6 feet/1.8 meters away from others, you meet the current guidance for appropriate distance from others.
  • Most importantly do not come to work if you are sick. This will be clearly posted on all building entrances.

Updated Global Travel Guidance:

  • We recommend that people postpone travel to Puget Sound or Bay Area campuses unless essential for the continuity of Microsoft.
  • All non-essential business travel should be canceled in regions with active COVID-19
    • “Essential” is defined as work related to operations, sales, customer services (e.g., customer support and customer success).
    • You should discuss travel felt to be essential with your manager and get their approval.
  • You are not required to travel if you have concerns about doing so.

 If your region was not mentioned in this email or my email yesterday, it is because there are no additional updates to the current guidelines, but we will continue to keep you informed. Please look for updates from Global Security if the situation changes in your area.

If you have any questions on how the above guidance applies to your particular circumstances, please discuss with your manager.  You can also send questions to HR.

 What to do if you’re feeling symptoms or believe you’ve been exposed:

In King County, if you believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, contact the novel coronavirus call center: 206-477-3977 or your health care provider. For other locations, please contact your local health department hotline.

If you believe you may have symptoms, please contact your health care provider immediately.

Note for all employees globally:  If you are receiving testing or have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, please confidentially inform HR – we will assist in informing your manager and taking measures that protect others.

 As a reminder, we are following the below precautionary measures from the WHO:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • If you are sick (e.g., flu, cold), do not come to work.
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illness.
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider.

We will continue to assess the situation and update you as our recommendations change. I really appreciate your patience.

Thanks,

Kurt

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Live from Bett: What’s new in EDU– Change within the Microsoft Educator Center and fostering future-ready skills in students | | Microsoft EDU

It’s Day 2 of Bett and we’re back, ready to share the latest innovations in education technology and helping you get you started using the new tools and resources we announced last week. You can tune in live to watch special episodes of “What’s new in EDU” each day of Bett at 5:00PM Local London time or noon EST and 9 am PT. Here’s where you go on Thursday  and Friday. In our episode yesterday, we talked about choosing and managing devices and various ways educators can help students strengthen their communication and collaboration skills while using free tools like Office 365 Education and Microsoft Teams. If you missed that episode, you can check it out here

Today we want to show you how to create learning experiences that inspire creativity, deepen student engagement and develop high-level cognitive skills. And we’ll tell you about free resources you can use to ensure your students are developing the future-ready skills they need to be prepared for success in college and careers.   

In this episode we’ll show you how:  

  • You can help teachers adopt new technology with free teacher training online in the improved Microsoft Educator Center and from Microsoft Stores
  • You can access STEM Lessons from Discovery Education directly from within Teams using the new Discovery Education app for Teams 
  • You can inspire creativity and professional skills for the Windows Video Editor 
  • Coming soon: You can teach students how to code using Python with Minecraft: Education Edition and Microsoft MakeCode 
  • You can use Minecraft to develop social-emotional skills like digital citizenship and mindfulness

 

Microsoft Educator Center 

We’re introducing an updated and improved MEC. The Microsoft Educator Center is a platform designed to address the needs of educators. It’s a digital hub where you can find free content, training and support to help you use technology effectively and drive improved student outcomes. 

The MEC is home to innovative courses and resources built by teachers for teachers. You can earn badges, go deep on topics through learning paths, build your transcript and grow your expertise. It’s a resource to help you gain new skills related to bringing technology into the classroom, fostering student-center learning, developing future ready skills, creating inclusive and accessible environments and more. Check out the new MEC experience here

STEM and CS 

We’re excited to announce that Discovery Education– the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms– is releasing a new app for Microsoft Teams, the digital hub for bringing classroom content, conversations, assignments and apps together. If you’re using Discovery Education’s high-quality, digital resources for instruction, we know you’ll be thrilled to see those materials available within Microsoft Teams. This integration will save you time, help keep your classes organized, and provide greater opportunities to collaborate with your students and colleagues. 

You’ll be able to access Discovery Education’s rich, standards-aligned STEM, Science, Math, Social Studies content and more from within Teams from your device and, connect to the largest educator community of its kind, the Discovery Educator Network (DEN), and very soon, share content with students as an assignment within Teams. We’ll have more to come on that, so keep an eye on our Microsoft Educator Center for training opportunities. And check out the steps below for how to get started. 


MakeCode News 

We’re excited to announce the release of Microsoft MakeCode Arcade for general availability. Microsoft MakeCode Arcade is a new online game development environment for simple, visually appealing 2D sprite-based games. Students use drag-and-drop blocks or JavaScript to design and build games and collaborate with friends. Microsoft MakeCode is an open source, free platform for creating inclusive computer science learning experiences that support a progression from blocks to real-world text-based programming. Educators around the world have been using MakeCode for the micro:bit or MakeCode with Minecraft to introduce computing concepts into their classrooms.  


We are thrilled to have this new member of the Microsoft MakeCode family in MakeCode Arcade. It’s a great next step up from MakeCode for micro:bit, a development environment that’s popular with educators and students just starting off with coding. The early feedback from MakeCode Arcade Beta users has been positive. Educators say they’re finding MakeCode Arcade to be a draw for diverse learners, and that students love designing their own characters and bringing special effects and music into their games. For those ready to give MakeCode Arcade a try, you can find the latest updates on free curriculum resources here. And you and your students can get started now with this free tutorial here. No login needed! 

And in another exciting MakeCode development, we are thrilled to announce that MakeCode will support the Python programming language alongside support for JavaScript and Blocks. Python is a widely used programming language in education and data science, and we heard from many computer science teachers around the world, that they would like to see MakeCode support for Python.  


Minecraft: Education Edition 

Computational thinking is a vital skill to develop in students as we prepare them for the workplace, especially since the vast majority of future jobs will require digital skills. Teachers can introduce computer science to students of all ages with Minecraft: Education Editionwhich also now supports the Python programming language for MakeCode alongside JavaScript and block-based coding.

From easy Hour of Code tutorials to Computer Science curriculum based on CSTA standards, Minecraft offers all you need to teach coding across the STEM curriculum. Download a free coding demo lesson here for all Windows, Mac, and iPad users—no login required.

In addition to developing STEM skills, students are building social-emotional competencies with Minecraft: Education Edition. A new set of SEL lessons for Minecraft: Education Edition offers special lessons and immersive Minecraft worlds to help educators teach these skills and create inclusive classrooms. Discover the Mindful Knight—an interactive world that introduces mindfulness and self-regulation—and lessons on digital citizenship and empathy.

Curious what else Minecraft offers? Now you can access more than 200 lessons and 50 build challenges with the new and improved in-game Library. Whether you teach history, math, language arts, technology, or biology, Minecraft is an effective tool for engaging students in immersive project-based learning across the curriculum. Check out this story from educators in Ireland and learn how to get started with Minecraft: Education Edition in your school here.

STEM Lesson Plans

Microsoft Hacking STEM is a collection of free, standards-aligned lesson plans that bring project-based learning to the classroom using inexpensive, everyday materials.    

In November 2019, the world celebrated the 20-year anniversary of humans living aboard the International Space Station. To inspire and engage students, Microsoft Education and NASA have partnered and developed eight new lesson plans focused around the complex issues to think about when living in space. The collection of middle and high school materials connects core academic concepts with hands-on experiences. Students are challenged to design in 3D, analyze data, build sensors, and use virtual reality and work with machine learning and AI while engaging in discussions about living in space. 

We are also excited to share that  Carolina Biological Supply Company is launching three new classroom kits to support projects from the NASA collection. These projects include:  

  • Designing Astro Socks to protect astronauts’ feet in microgravity: This project has students investigating solutions to reduce the impact of working in microgravity on the astronauts’ feet.  
  • What is the electromagnetic spectrum: This asks students to measure radiation in our environment and examine the light waves and frequencies within the electromagnetic spectrum. Students use sensors to capture live data and relate their observations about life in space to their own on Earth.  
  • Using materials science engineering to determine heat resistance: This asksstudents to explore the properties of different heat shield construction materials to protect crew and cargo returning from the International Space Station from the heat generated during the capsule’s descent.   

These kits will be available on the Carolinawebsite soon. We hope you leverage these resources to inspire, educate and engage your students.    

Data Streamer

The Excel Data Streamer provides students with a simple way to bring data from the physical world in and out of Excel’s powerful digital canvas. With a sensor connected to a microcontroller that is attached to Excel, you can introduce students to the emerging worlds of data science and the internet of things.  

We are continuing to add key STEM Partners that support streaming of real time data in Excel using the Data Streamer Add-in. At Bett, Vernier, Pasco and Sphero are showcasing new applications integrated with Excel. This will enable educators to use their existing professional sensors and probes with Excel and modernize their classrooms with live data to transform how students model modern scientific and engineering practices.  

An innovation story 

We love hearing stories about educators who use new tech tools in innovative ways to inform instruction and improve teaching and learning. One such story is that of Assistant Principal Lauren Taylor of Manitou Park Elementary School in Tacoma, Washington. She used Microsoft PowerApps, which allows you to build your own mobile apps using templates, to create an app for her school that helps teachers input and evaluate student reading assessment data. Read more about Lauren’s inspiring story here.  

New and immersive tools 

HoloLens 2 is now available and bringing immersive mixed-reality experiences to colleges, universities, and K-12 classrooms. Educators are turning to this new tool to enhance key experiences in areas such as life sciences and career and technical education. Some of the upgrades to the new HoloLens include an increased field of view and an enhanced ability to see intricate details on 3D images.  

Some examples of HoloLens in use in educational settings include Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio, where students use it in anatomy classes. You can learn more about that here. And we’ve seen exciting examples of the HoloLens bringing lessons to life with younger students as well. Ewout Warringa recently offered insights into how he uses it to teach construction and technology coursework to 13- to 17-year-old students in the Netherlands in this inspiring blog post

And if you want to read up on various ways to bring immersive experiences to education and the potential benefits, please check out this white paper we previously released on the subject. 

New 3D Models in Windows and Office 

We are excited to announce we now have more than 600 new 3D education models available in Office 365 Education and Paint3D, a built-in creative app that comes with Windows 10. You read that right—more than 600!  

To learn more about how you can insert 3D models directly into Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook on Windows and macOS, please check out this post. It’s relatively easy. You insert 3D models much like you insert other images.  

3D models can enhance lessons in biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, the humanities and more. Research has shown that providing 3D visualization for students can lead to greater understanding around shapes and spatial relationships. 

Inspiring Creativity and offering new ways for students to share what they know 


Video Editor 
 

We have updates to Video Editor that we know you and your students will enjoy. Video Editor for Windows 10 is our full-featured set of video creation and editing tools for digital storytelling, and it’s free with every Windows 10 device. Students love to use it to create films with background music, text effects, 3D models and special effects. Now with Video Editor you can: 

  • Split video clips into two or more segments for easier editing 
  • Back up projects to share with peers and teachers, create templates, and import projects in progress to create a more efficient workflow 
  • Add content to your video project directly from Bing image search with Creative Commons licenses as captions  
  • Speed up and slow down video clips to create slow motion or time lapse content  
  • Rotate photos and videos between landscape and portrait for easier use in your projects
  • Have card thumbnails for a video project that reflect edits a user has done to that specific card  

If you haven’t tried Video Editor yet, look for it in your Start Menu or search for “Video.” And check out this guide for more details on how to get started using this creative tool. 

Up Next… 

Thanks for checking out our latest episode of What’s New in EDU, live from Bett. We hope you got some useful information about teacher training, bringing STEM resources into your classroom and ideas for boosting future-ready skills in your students. Please join us tomorrow live from Bett when we’ll look closely at specific ways to foster inclusion and accessibility in the classroom with the help of new ed tech resources. As always, share your feedback with us on Twitter by tagging @MicrosoftEDU! And be sure to sign up for the Microsoft Educator Newsletter here. 

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Microsoft misconfiguration exposed 250M customer service records

Microsoft became the latest organization to accidentally expose private data on the web.

The software giant Wednesday admitted it had exposed 250 million customer support records on five Elasticsearch servers, which were inadvertently made publicly accessible on the web for nearly a month.

According to Comparitech, which discovered the exposure, most personally identifiable information (PII) such as payment information was redacted. However, exposed information included customer email addresses, IP addresses, locations, descriptions of customer service and support claims and cases, Microsoft support agent emails, case numbers, resolutions, remarks, and internal notes marked as confidential.

“I was immediately stunned by the size and by the structure of data there, and even when I saw that most of the data there was automatically redacted, still there were some records with personal data in plain text,” Bob Diachenko, leader of Comparitech’s security research team, told SearchSecurity.

Microsoft, which corrected the misconfiguration last month, issued a statement that said it found no malicious use of the exposed data. The company said its investigation found that misconfigured Azure security rules were applied to the databases in early December.

On Dec. 28, according to Comparitech, the databases were first indexed by BinaryEdge, a search engine. One day later, Diachenko discovered the exposed databases and immediately contacted Microsoft. Within two days, the servers and data were secured.

“They acted really quickly and professionally,” Diachenko said. “In general, Microsoft’s response was exemplary. I wish every company would have such a brilliant internet response protocol in place.”

“We have solutions to help prevent this kind of mistake, but unfortunately, they were not enabled for this database,” Microsoft said in its statement. It is unknown what these solutions are and why they weren’t in place; when SearchSecurity contacted Microsoft, the company declined to comment beyond the public statement.

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Windows 10 issues continue with Autopilot update

Although the latest issue with a Windows 10 update does not appear to have caused damage, users spoke of the need for further testing and oversight as Microsoft rolls out new versions of its OS.

Last week, Microsoft issued an update intended solely for Windows Autopilot-configured computers to the general public. Autopilot is a way for enterprises to automatically set up and configure new devices.

In its notes about the release, Microsoft indicated that the update should have no effect on users who don’t use Autopilot. Still, users offered mixed reactions to the news — especially given that past updates have caused Windows 10 issues such as data deletion, device freezing and the re-lettering of a computer’s drives.

William Warren, the owner of Brunswick, Maryland-based IT services company Emmanuel Technology Consulting, said he was concerned about continuing issues with Windows updates.

“They just can’t seem to get it right,” he said. “When you’re talking about an install base as diverse as [the one] Windows has to deal with, I don’t expect things to be totally problem-free but, with something like this, it’s like, ‘C’mon guys, pay attention.'”

William WarrenWilliam Warren

Warren said he had been keeping his clients on an older version of Windows 10 and would likely have them stay there until required to update.

“At least with this one, it didn’t become a huge data destruction debacle,” he said, referring to an October 2018 patch that deleted files of users who work with Known Folder redirection.

How software is currently developed is the real culprit, according to Warren said. He referred to across-the-board issues with software, including the flawed Boeing 737 Max software that led to plane crashes.

“What people need to do is stop fast iteration,” he said. “They need a second, third or fourth pair of eyes looking at code before it’s out the door. The mindset now is to fix bugs after release.”

With such a model, Warren said, companies treat customers as beta testers — or, in some cases, alpha testers.

“The file deletion debacle never should’ve gotten past QA,” he said, adding that he believed Microsoft had curtailed its use of testers in favor of having insiders find problems. “It’s Microsoft being tone-deaf.”

He did note that the latest problem did not seem to cause major issues.

“With this one, I see it as someone who didn’t tick a box they should have, or did tick a box they shouldn’t have,” he said. “It could have been a lot worse.”

Daniel BeatoDaniel Beato

Daniel Beato, director of technology at New Jersey IT consulting firm TNTMAX, said he hadn’t used Windows Autopilot and hadn’t been affected by the recent update. Still, he noted a lack of consistency with Microsoft’s rollouts.

“I think there needs to be more testing,” he said.

Beato said there seemed to be fewer Windows 10 issues with updates over time, although minor snags, like losing Google Chrome extensions after updating, remained.

“There were not a lot of big problems, and not a lot of problems with applications,” he said. “They have done a little better.”

Beato said, although the latest problem seems to be an oversight, it’s important to recognize that everyone can make mistakes.

“There’s a human part of things that, I think, sometimes we forget,” he said.

Automation tech continues to mature

Mark BowkerMark Bowker

Mark Bowker, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said the tension between updating software and maintaining stability was an old one, although one that has heightened in recent years.

“Updates have always been a thorn in the side of IT pros, given their responsibility for deploying and maintaining them,” he said. “Five years ago, the cadence was much further apart. Now, it’s coming at a much faster pace, and it has some IT pros thrown.”

Updates, Bowker said, can bring two things: broken applications or an improved user experience.

Andrew HewittAndrew Hewitt

As far as Autopilot goes, Forrester Research analyst Andrew Hewitt said he believed users would still have confidence in that service.

“There’s widespread belief that these new deployment automation technologies are still fairly new. They are going to have their bugs and issues and still require a fair amount of work to get them up and running,” he said. “I expect this space to mature rapidly over the next one to two years as customers find ways to optimize the service and Microsoft continues to mature [it].”

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Join us live or virtually at Bett as we bring you the latest updates on ed tech tools that can drive innovation and success in the classroom | | Microsoft EDU

A new year brings new opportunities to learn about all the latest and greatest from Microsoft Education. Join Microsoft at Bett 2020 in London on January 22-25, either online or right there with us at the event, being held at London’s ExCeL venue.

Bett is an annual event that explores how technology can empower educators and students to reach their full potential. Microsoft, as a worldwide partner of Bett, will be hosting a wide array of sessions and hands-on demonstrations on the show floor, along with inspirational talks to support educators looking for new ways to engage and empower their students.

To kick off a whole week of Bett, we’re releasing a special episode of What’s New in EDU, our show that gets you caught up on the new tools and updates coming from Microsoft Education this year. This Bett episode will be available on January 22 – watch it to learn more about all the new and exciting Microsoft classroom technology that will be available. And don’t forget to stay tuned to the Education Blog for more as it comes in!

We’ll also have special edition What’s New in EDU live events streaming daily from Bett in London. You can register to catch the livestream events each day with the following links:

Whether you’re looking for the latest in mixed reality for education, some grounded advice on how to transform your classroom digitally, or want a peek at what’s next for Minecraft: Education Edition, the schedule below is a good place to start, learn and participate. Make sure to stop by Booth NF40 to see all the new experiences we have relating to STEM, Virtual Reality and new tools for the classroom.

If you’re joining us at Bett in person, we hope to see you at one of the following highlights:

Microsoft keynote | Bett Arena | Wednesday, 22 January, 13:35 – 14:15

Hybrid Intelligences: Amplifying Human Potential

Young people are leveraging emerging technologies such as AI to raise their voices and build solutions to the most pressing issues they face. Emotional intelligence is converging with artificial intelligence as researchers merge psychology and computer science. And educators are adapting and innovating in a profession that will look significantly different by 2030.

Join Microsoft’s Anthony Salcito and Barbara Holzapfel,  Affective Computing researcher Dr. Daniel McDuff, and NetHope Emerging Technologies Initiative Lead Leila Toplic as we explore the technology that will empower educators to navigate the changing needs of the staffroom and the classroom, and enable students to accelerate their impact and transform the world.

Microsoft Sessions
In addition to joining for our keynote in the Bett Arena, be sure to visit us across the Bett show at our own Learn Live Theatre, Microsoft Training Academy, the Bett PD Theatre, Bett Schools Theatre and the Bett Higher and Further Education Theatre!

Learn Live Theatre

This is the perfect place to go if you are looking to see and hear about the latest product releases, see demonstrations, and discover ways you can unlock learning in your students. Each session is held on Microsoft stand NF40 and lasts 25 minutes.

 Time Title
Wed – Sat
10:15-10:30
What’s new in EDU?
Wed – Fri
10:30-11:00
Meet the New Microsoft Edge & Learn How to Deploy it Today
Sat
10:30-11:00
Immersive Reader is Everywhere and other Apps to support your inclusive classroom including: Translator, Presenter Coach, and Seeing AI
Wed – Fri
11:00-11:30
Engage and amplify every scholar with Flipgrid
Sat
11:00-11:30
Unleash Creativity with Windows 10
Wed – Fri
11:30-12:00
Make your classroom more inclusive with built-in, free, and non-stigmatizing learning tools
Sat
11:30-12:00
Intelligent Forms features to transform your data collection and analysis
Wed – Sat
12:00-12:30
Greenwood Academies: Empowering students with Dell Affordable Devices and M365
Wed – Fri
12:30-13:00
Immersive Reader is Everywhere and other Apps to support your inclusive classroom including: Translator, Presenter Coach, and Seeing AI
Sat
12:30-13:00
Build confidence and improve your communication skills with Presenter Coach in PowerPoint
Wed – Sat
13:00-13:30
Empower individual teachers and your entire school system with Microsoft’s free and adaptable professional development resources
Wed – Fri
13:30-14:00
How Office can help your students develop into great writers
Wed – Fri
14:00-14:30
Going for full 1:1 with Surface Pro – journey of infrastructure, CPD and teacher involvement
Wed – Fri
14:30-15:00
Using Microsoft Teams to enable effective professional development
Wed – Fri
15:00-15:30
Develop a Teaching and Learning Video Culture with Teams and Stream | Connect with meetings and live events, teach with web-based screen recording and create on mobile using the Flipgrid Camera
Wed – Fri
15:30-16:00
How Microsoft Sparks Learning: Classroom stories
Wed – Fri
16:00-16:30
Make your Own Arcade Games with MakeCode
Wed – Fri
16:30-17:00
Create inclusive live presentations with PowerPoint
Wed – Fri
17:00-17:30
Deliver Student Centered Learning with Education Devices
Wed – Fri
17:30-18:00
Drive greater faculty engagement and professional development with your faculty using Teams


Microsoft Training Academy

If you are looking for a hands-on opportunity to try, test and experiment with Microsoft products and devices, this is the perfect stage for you. Get tips and tricks and learn about the best way to use a Microsoft solution in the classroom, from and with our own teachers, trainers, and Microsoft Learning Consultants. Each session is held in the Platinum Suite Level 2 foyer and lasts 25 minutes.

Time Title
Wed – Sat
10:30-11:00
How we empower teaching and learning by getting teachers to learn and students to teach
Wed – Sat
11:00-11:30
Grow your practice with free professional learning and resources with the Microsoft Educator Center
Wed – Sat
11:30-12:00
How you can build an Inclusive classroom with Microsoft Learning Tools
Wed – Sat
12:00- 12:30
Helping students grow and improve with Teams Assignments
Wed – Sat
12:30-13:00
The impact that OneNote Class Notebook is driving for teachers, students, and classrooms everywhere
Wed – Sat
13:00-13:30
Enabling your school with Office’s free and easy-to-use web apps!
Wed – Sat
13:30-14:00
Utilizing smart assistance and intelligence across Office apps
Wed – Sat
14:00-14:30
Transformative Teaching with Minecraft: Education Edition
Wed – Fri
14:30-15:00
 Build an app in 25 mins or less to free up teacher time
Wed – Fri
15:00-15:30
App Smashing in Teams
Wed – Fri
15:30-16:00
Maximizing Teams for your education institution
Wed – Fri
16:00-16:30
Foster an inclusive classroom with Flipgrid
Wed – Fri
16:30-17:00
Grow your practice with free professional learning and resources with the Microsoft Educator Center
Wed – Fri
17:00-17:30
The impact that OneNote Class Notebook is driving for teachers, students, and classrooms everywhere
Wed – Fri
17:30-18:00
How you can build an Inclusive classroom with Microsoft Learning Tools


Microsoft on the Stage (PD Theatre)

Time Title
Wed
13:00 – 13:30
(South Hall)
Empower students with the Immersive Reader in the inclusive classroom
Wed
15:00 – 15:30
(South Hall)
Whole school professional learning with the Microsoft Educator Center
Fri
15:00 – 15:30
(North Hall)
Saving time through authentic assessment using Microsoft Forms


Microsoft on the Stage (Schools Theatre)

Time Title
Wed
11:50 – 12:20
Digital transformation of teaching and learning to support all
Wed
15:10 – 15:40
Innovation Driven By Community
Thurs
11:45 – 12:15
Improving outcomes through the use of technology in the classroom
Thurs
14:45 – 15:10
Implementing digital transformation – Wimbledon High’s Journey
Fri
11:50 – 12:20
Enriching and engaging learning in a challenging environment
Fri
15:10 – 15:40
Learning Tool in Action:  Helping Students of all Abilities thrive at Louis Riel


Microsoft on the Stage (Higher and Further Education Theatre)

Time Title
Wed
11:50 – 12:20
DigiLearn: Empowering transformational change in education
Wed
15:30 – 16:00
Working better together: Using Microsoft Teams to embed digital skills at Newcastle University
Thurs
11:35 – 12:05
Strategic Digital Transformation: A blueprint for adoption
Thurs
15:00 – 15:30
A digital University by ethos and design – how the university of Bath is putting digital at its core
Fri
11:35 – 12:05
Establishing a digital learning platform that works for all
Fri
15:00 – 15:30
Transforming Teaching, Learning and Assessment using technology: empowering all learners to achieve more

Community Learning Center | Booth SM45 |Wednesday, 22 January – Saturday, 25 January

jp.ik and Microsoft have been partnering together for the last decade and gathered the necessary expertise in this vertical by implementing several large-scale sustainable projects around the world and impacting over 16 million students and 1 million teachers in over 70 countries. Throughout our journey we have been facing the lack of basic structures (schools), the lack of basic utilities (electricity and sanitation) and the lack of telecommunication network. This is why jp.ik, Microsoft and their partners have come together to create a Community Learning Center to empower rural areas and connect them throughout the entire globe.

We look forward to welcoming you in Booth SM45, located next to the Bett arena in the South Hall to discover our solar-powered, digitally connected Community Learning Center.

Microsoft Certifications Testing Lab | Platinum Suite 5 |Wednesday, 22 January – Saturday, 25 January

In partnership with Microsoft, Prodigy Learning is offering Bett 2020 attendees the opportunity to complete a Microsoft Certification Exam for FREE. We are delighted to announce the Microsoft Technical Certifications (MTC) in Azure Fundamentals, M365 Fundamentals & Dynamics Fundamentals. Learn more.

Microsoft Partner Adventure |Wednesday, 22 January – Saturday, 25 January

Take part in the Microsoft Partner Adventure and for a chance to WIN a Surface Pro, a Surface Go, or a 3rd party partner Windows device daily! Discover Microsoft’s unique off-campus partners and answer a question to reveal a code, scanned using the Bett app!  Participants will have to visit all 15 partner booths to answer all the questions, scan the QR codes.  Competition closes at 15:00 and winner drawn at 16:00 daily (Wed to Fri) and closes at 13:00 and winners drawn at 14:00 on Saturday in front of the Learn Live Theater on the Microsoft stand NF40. Winners must be present to collect their prizes.

Solutions Showcase | Platinum Suite 7 |Wednesday, 22 January & Thursday, 23 January, 10:30 – 16:15

Digital transformation is an indisputable force revolutionizing industries and reshaping the workplace. Education leaders around the globe are faced with the need to prepare students for this new world. These sessions are your opportunity to meet fellow practitioners and hear first-hand global experiences and trends and how these might help support you.  Learn more.

Microsoft Education Developer Platform and Data Solutions | Gallery Suite 8 |Wednesday, 22 January – Friday, 24 January

This free event features sessions in two tracks for technical audiences:

CIOs and IT Pros –

Come learn how Microsoft can integrate with your IT system and learning apps to save time and data management costs, protect student data privacy, and accelerate learning in the Classroom.

Application Developers and Microsoft Partners –

Come learn how Microsoft can help you create and deliver applications that empower learners and educators to achieve more.  Whether you are enhancing an existing application or building a new solution from scratch, Microsoft’s Education platform can help you facilitate deployment, maximize inclusion, increase engagement and improve outcomes.

Secure your seat and register for the sessions that you would like to attend. Learn more.

Transformation Leaders’ Summit | Platinum Suite 6 | Thursday, January 23, 10:30 – 13:00

Driving successful change is challenging whether in an individual school or system-wide. Across the world, leaders are discovering the most effective ways to improve student experience and outcomes, using technology to support learning, teaching and school administration. This Microsoft event aims to explore innovative, impactful journeys that leaders are taking to support their students, bringing together hands-on experience, networking opportunities and strategic insight for leaders at school and system-level. Learn more.

Privacy & Security Summit | Platinum Suite 6 | Friday, January 24, 10:30 – 14:00

Microsoft Worldwide EDU will be launching VIP invitation only CEO / CIO / CSO Privacy and Security Summit at the BETT conference. Subject matter experts from Microsoft product teams will be listening to customer feedback and discussing AI, Privacy and Security in K-12. Agenda will encompass discussions around student security on campus, trends for privacy in schools worldwide as well as how AI can drive positive impact. Learn more.

Become a Microsoft Global Training Partner | Platinum Suite 6 | Thursday, January 23, 13:30 – 15:30

Join this session to learn about the Microsoft Global Training Partner Program, explore how it fits your existing Professional Development training model and what are the partnership models possible with Microsoft. Learn more.

MakeCode Saturday | Platinum Suite 6 & 7 | Saturday, 25 January, 10:00 – 15:00

Microsoft MakeCode Saturday is a fun, hands-on workshop at BETT that is free and open to teachers, parents and students.  Microsoft MakeCode is an open source platform for creating engaging computer science learning experiences that support a progression path from Blocks into real-world programming. Learn more about MakeCode Saturday.

Explore tools for Future Ready SkillsExplore tools for Future Ready Skills

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Author: Microsoft News Center

S/4HANA Cloud integrates Qualtrics for continuous improvement

SAP is focused on better understanding what’s on the minds of their customers with the latest release of S/4HANA Cloud.

SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1911, which is now available, has SAP Qualtrics experience management (XM) embedded into the user interface, creating a feedback loop for the product management team about the application. This is one of the first integrations of Qualtrics XM into SAP products since SAP acquired the company a year ago for $8 billion.

“Users can give direct feedback on the application,” said Oliver Betz, global head of product management for S/4HANA Cloud at SAP. “It’s context-sensitive, so if you’re on a homescreen, it asks you, ‘How do you like the homescreen on a scale of one to five?’ And then the user can provide more detailed feedback from there.”

The customer data is consolidated and anonymized and sent to the S/4HANA Cloud product management team, Betz said.

“We’ll regularly screen the feedback to find hot spots,” he said. “In particular we’re interested in the outliers to the good and the bad, areas where obviously there’s something we specifically need to take care of, or also some areas where users are happy about the new features.”

Oliver BetzOliver Betz

Because S/4HANA Cloud is a cloud product that sends out new releases every quarter, the customer feedback loop that Qualtrics provides will inform developers on how to continually improve the product, Betz said.

“This is the first phase in the next iteration [of S/4HANA Cloud], which will add more granular features,” he said. “From a product management perspective, you can potentially have a new application and have some questions around the application to better understand the usage, what customers like and what they don’t like, and then to take it in a feedback loop to iterate over the next quarterly shipments so we can always provide new enhancements.”

Qualtrics integration may take time to provide value

It has taken a while, but it’s a good thing that SAP has now begun a real Qualtrics integration story, said Jon Reed, analyst and co-founder of Diginomica.com, an analysis and news site that focuses on enterprise applications. Still, SAP faces a few obstacles before the integration into S/4HANA Cloud can be a real differentiator.

Jon ReedJon Reed

“This isn’t a plug-and-play thing where customers are immediately able to use this the way you would a new app on your phone, like a new GPS app. This is useful experiential data which you must then analyze, manage and apply,” Reed said. “Eventually, you could build useful apps and dashboards with it, but you still have to apply the insights to get the value. However, if SAP has made those strides already on integrating Qualtrics with S/4HANA Cloud 1911, that’s a positive for them and we’ll see if it’s an advantage they can use to win sales.”

The Qualtrics products are impressive, but it’s still too early in the game to judge how the SAP S/4HANA integration will work out, said Vinnie Mirchandani, analyst and founder of Deal Architect, an enterprise applications focused blog.

“SAP will see more traction with Qualtrics in the employee and customer experience feedback area,” Mirchandani said. “Experiential tools have more impact where there are more human touchpoints — employees, customer service, customer feedback on product features — so I think the blend with SuccessFactors and C/4HANA is more obvious. This doesn’t mean that S/4 won’t see benefits, but the traction may be higher in other parts of the SAP portfolio.”

Vinnie MirchandaniVinnie Mirchandani

SAP SuccessFactors is also beginning to integrate Qualtrics into its employee experience management functions.

It’s a good thing that SAP is attempting to become a more customer-centric company, but it will need to follow through on the promise and make it a part of the company culture, said Faith Adams, senior analyst who focuses on customer experience at Forrester Research.

Many companies are making efforts to appear to be customer-centric, but aren’t following through with the best practices that are required to become truly customer-centric, like taking actions on the feedback they get, Adams said.

“It’s sometimes more of a ‘check the box’ activity rather than something that is embedded into the DNA or a way of life,” Adams said. “I hope that SAP does follow through on the best practices, but that’s to be determined.”

Bringing analytics to business users

SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1911 also now has SAP Analytics Cloud directly embedded. This will enable business users to take advantage of analytics capabilities without going to separate applications, according to SAP’s Betz.

It comes fully integrated out of the box and doesn’t require configuration, Betz said. Users can take advantage of included dashboards or create their own.

“The majority usage at the moment is in the finance application where you can directly access your [key performance indicators] there and have it all visualized, but also create and run your own dashboards,” he said. “This is about making data more available to business users instead of waiting for a report or something to be sent; everybody can have this information on hand already without having some business analyst putting [it] together.”

Dana GardnerDana Gardner

The embedded analytics capability could be an important differentiator for SAP in making data analytics more democratic across organizations, said Dana Gardner, president of IT consultancy Interarbor Solutions LLC. He believes companies need to break data out of “ivory towers” now as machine learning and AI grow in popularity and sophistication.

“The more people that use more analytics in your organization, the better off the company is,” Gardner said. “It’s really important that SAP gets aggressive on this, because it’s big and we’re going to see much more with machine learning and AI, so you’re going to need to have interfaces with the means to bring the more advanced types of analytics to more people as well.”

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