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14 Top Azure Announcements From Microsoft Ignite 2020

New solutions and updates include enhanced Azure Arc and Azure Stack capabilities, the Azure Certified Device Program, the public preview of Azure Communication Services, the general availability of the next-generation Azure VMware Solution and Azure’s first industry-specific cloud.

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Azure Arc Updates

As part of its hybrid cloud portfolio, Microsoft Azure unveiled updates to Azure Arc, which allows for the deployment of Azure services anywhere and extends Azure management to any infrastructure.

Introduced in November in public preview for Windows Server, Linux and Kubernetes clusters, Azure Arc has attracted interest and adoption across all industries with customers including Africa’s Talking, Avanade, DexMach, Ferguson, Fujitsu, KPMG and Siemens Healthineers, according to White.

“They use Azure Arc to manage and govern their resources more efficiently in distributed environments, and they use Azure Arc to bring Azure data services on-premises,” White said.

Azure Arc-enabled data services is now in public preview with open access to Azure SQL Managed Instance and Azure Database for PostgreSQL Hyperscale that can run on any infrastructure.

“Customers can now take advantage of the latest Azure managed database innovation, such as staying always current with evergreen SQL, elastic scale and a unified data management experience, regardless of whether it’s running in Azure, running in their data center or running in a different public cloud,” White said. “And these data services work in both connected and disconnected modes.”

Azure Arc-enabled servers are now generally available for Windows and Linux servers for production workloads including inventory, organization and governance. Customers can tag servers, organize in hierarchies, search from a single location and set guardrails on server configurations through Azure Policy.

“Customers can seamlessly organize and govern Windows and Linux servers—both physical and virtual machines—across their multi-cloud, multi-edge environment, all from the Azure Portal,” White said. “Customers can now use Azure management services to monitor, secure and update servers, and audit them with the same Azure Policy across multi-cloud and multi-edge deployments. In addition, customers can implement standardized role-based access control across all their servers to meet important compliance requirements.”

Azure Arc-Enabled SQL Server is now in public preview. Microsoft released it in private preview in July, allowing customers to use the Azure Portal to register and track the inventory of their SQL Server instances across on-premises, edge sites and multi-cloud environments in a single view; use Azure Security Center to produce reports of vulnerabilities in SQL Servers and receive real-time security alerts for threats to SQL Servers and operating systems; and use Azure Sentinel to investigate threats in SQL servers.

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