Burst 4K encoding on Azure Kubernetes Service

Burst encoding in the cloud with Azure and Media Excel HERO platform.

Content creation has never been as in demand as it is today. Both professional and user-generated content has increased exponentially over the past years. This puts a lot of stress on media encoding and transcoding platforms. Add the upcoming 4K and even 8K to the mix and you need a platform that can scale with these variables. Azure Cloud compute offers a flexible way to grow with your needs. Microsoft offers various tools and products to fully support on-premises, hybrid, or native cloud workloads. Azure Stack offers support to a hybrid scenario for your computing needs and Azure ARC helps you to manage hybrid setups.

Finding a solution

Generally, 4K/UHD live encoding is done on dedicated hardware encoder units, which cannot be hosted in a public cloud like Azure. With such dedicated hardware units hosted on-premise that need to push 4K into the Azure data center the immediate problem we face is a need for high bandwidth network connection between the encoder unit on-premise and Azure data center. In general, it’s a best practice to ingest into multiple regions, increasing the load on the network connected between the encoder and the Azure Datacenter.

How do we ingest 4K content reliably into the public cloud?

Alternatively, we can encode the content in the cloud. If we can run 4K/UHD live encoding in Azure, its output can be ingested into Azure Media Services over the intra-Azure network backbone which provides sufficient bandwidth and reliability.

How can we reliably run and scale 4K/UHD live encoding on the Azure cloud as a containerized solution? Let’s explore below. 

Azure Kubernetes Service

With Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS) Microsoft offers a managed Kubernetes platform to customers. It is a hosted Kubernetes platform without having to spend a lot of time creating a cluster with all the necessary configuration burden like networking, cluster masters, and OS patching of the cluster nodes. It also comes with pre-configured monitoring seamlessly integrating with Azure Monitor and Log Analytics. Of course, it still offers flexibility to integrate your own tools. Furthermore, it is still just the plain vanilla Kubernetes and as such is fully compatible with any existing tooling you might have running on any other standard Kubernetes platform.

Media Excel encoding

Media Excel is an encoding and transcoding vendor offering physical appliance and software-based encoding solutions. Media Excel has been partnering with Microsoft for many years and engaging in Azure media customer projects. They are also listed as recommended and tested contribution encoder for Azure Media Services for fMP4. There has also work done by both Media Excel and Microsoft to integrate SCTE-35 timed metadata from Media Excel encoder to an Azure Media Services Origin supporting Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI) workflows.

Networking challenge

With increasing picture quality like 4K and 8K, the burden on both compute and networking becomes a significant architecting challenge. In a recent engagement with a customer, we needed to architect a 4K live streaming platform with a challenge of limited bandwidth capacity from the customer premises to one of our Azure Datacenters. We worked with Media Excel to build a scalable containerized encoding platform on AKS. Utilizing cloud compute and minimizing network latency between Encoder and Azure Media Services Packager. Multiple bitrates with a top bitrate up to [email protected] of the same source are generated in the cloud and ingested into the Azure Media Services platform for further processing. This includes Dynamic Encryption and Packaging. This setup enables the following benefits:

  • Instant scale to multiple AKS nodes
  • Eliminate network constraints between customer and Azure Datacenter
  • Automated workflow for containers and easy separation of concern with container technology
  • Increased level of security of high-quality generated content to distribution
  • Highly redundant capability
  • Flexibility to provide various types of Node pools for optimized media workloads

In this particular test, we proved that the intra-Azure network is extremely capable of shipping high bandwidth, latency-sensitive 4K packets from a containerized encoder instance running in West Europe to both East US and Honk Kong Datacenter Regions. This allows the customer to place origin closer to them for further content conditioning.

High-level Architecture of used Azure components for 4K encoding in the Azure cloud.

Workflow:

  1. Azure Pipeline is triggered to deploy onto the AKS cluster. In the YAML file (which you can find on Github) there is a reference to the Media Excel Container in Azure Container Registry.
  2. AKS starts deployment and pulls container from Azure Container Registry.
  3. During Container start custom PHP script is loaded and container is added to the HMS (Hero Management Service). And placed into the correct device pool and job.
  4. Encoder loads source and (in this case) push 4K Livestream into Azure Media Services.
  5. Media Services packaged Livestream into multiple formats and apply DRM (digital rights management).
  6. Azure Content Deliver Network scales livestream.

Scale through Azure Container Instances

With Azure Kubernetes Services you get the power of Azure Container Instances out of the box. Azure Container Instances are a way to instantly scale to pre-provisioned compute power at your disposal. When deploying Media Excel encoding instances to AKS you can specify where these instances will be created. This offers you the flexibility to work with variables like increased density on cheaper nodes for low-cost low priority encoding jobs or more expensive nodes for high throughput high priority jobs. With Azure Container Instances you can instantly move workloads to standby compute power without provisioning time. You only pay for the compute time offering full flexibility for customer demand and future change in platform needs. With Media Excel’s flexible Live/File based encoding roles you can easily move workloads across different compute power offered by AKS and Azure Container Instances.

Container Creating on Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS)

Media Excel Hero Management System showing all Container Instances.

Azure DevOps pipeline to bring it all together

All the general benefits that come with containerized workload apply in the following case. For this particular proof-of-concept, we created an automated deployment pipeline in Azure DevOps for easy testing and deployment. With a deployment YAML and Pipeline YAML we can easily automate deployment, provisioning and scaling of a Media Excel encoding container. Once DevOps pushes the deployment job onto AKS a container image is pulled from Azure Container Registry. Although container images can be bulky utilizing node side caching of layers any additional container pull is greatly improved down to seconds. With the help of Media Excel, we created a YAML file container pre- and post-container lifecycle logic that will add and remove a container from Media Excel’s management portal. This offers an easy single pane of glass management of multiple instances across multiple node types, clusters, and regions.

This deployment pipeline offers full flexibility to provision certain multi-tenant customers or job priority on specific node types. This unlocks the possibility of provision encoding jobs on GPU enabled nodes for maximum throughput or using cheaper generic nodes for low priority jobs.

Deployment Release Pipeline in Azure DevOps.

Azure Media Services and Azure Content Delivery Network

Finally, we push the 4K stream into Azure Media Services. Azure Media Services is a cloud-based platform that enables you to build solutions that achieve broadcast-quality video streaming, enhance accessibility and distribution, analyze content, and much more. Whether you’re an app developer, a call center, a government agency, or an entertainment company, Media Services helps you create apps that deliver media experiences of outstanding quality to large audiences on today’s most popular mobile devices and browsers.

Azure Media Services is seamlessly integrated with Azure Content Delivery Network. With Azure Content Delivery Network we offer a true multi CDN with choices of Azure Content Delivery Network from Microsoft, Azure Content Delivery Network from Verizon, and Azure Content Delivery Network from Akamai. All of this through a single Azure Content Delivery Network API for easy provisioning and management. As an added benefit, all CDN traffic between Azure Media Services Origin and CDN edge is free of charge.

With this setup, we’ve demonstrated that Cloud encoding is ready to handle real-time 4K encoding across multiple clusters. Thanks to Azure services like AKS, Container Registry, Azure DevOps, Media Services, and Azure Content Delivery Network, we demonstrated how easy it is to create an architecture that is capable of meeting high throughput time-sensitive constraints.

Connecting Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud in the UK and Canada

In June 2019, Microsoft announced a cloud interoperability collaboration with Oracle that will enable our customers to migrate and run enterprise workloads across Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud.

At Oracle OpenWorld in September, the cross-cloud collaboration was a big part of the conversation. Since then, we have fielded interest from mutual customers who want to accelerate their cloud adoption across both Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud. Customers are interested in running their Oracle database and enterprise applications on Azure and in the scenarios enabled by the industry’s first cross-cloud interconnect implementation between Azure and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. Many are also excited about our announcement to integrate Microsoft Teams with Oracle Cloud Applications. We have already enabled the integration of Azure Active Directory with Oracle Cloud Applications and continue to break new ground while engaging with customers and partners.

Interest from the partner community

Partners like Accenture are very supportive of the collaboration between Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud. Accenture recently published a white paper, articulating their own perspective and hands-on experiences while configuring the connectivity between Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Another Microsoft and Oracle partner who expressed interest early on is SYSCO. SYSCO is a European IT-company specializing in solutions for the utilities sector. They offer unique industry expertise combined with highly skilled technology experts within AI and analytics, cloud, infrastructure, and applications. SYSCO is a Microsoft Gold Cloud Platform partner and a Platinum Oracle partner.

In August 2019, we introduced the ability to interconnect Microsoft Azure (UK South) and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure in London, UK providing our joint customers access to a direct, low-latency, and highly reliable network connection between Azure and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. Prior to that, for partners like SYSCO, the ability to leverage this new collaboration between Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud was out of reach.

“The Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud Interconnect announcement is one of the best announcements in years for our customers! A direct link provides the Microsoft / Oracle cloud interconnect with a new option for all customers using proprietary business applications. With our expertise across both Microsoft and Oracle, we are thrilled to be one of the first partners to pilot this together with our customers in the utilities industry in Norway.”–Frank Vikingstad VP International – SYSCO

Azure and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure interconnect in Toronto, Canada

Today we are announcing that we have extended the Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure interconnect to include the Azure Canada Central region and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure region in Toronto, Canada.

“This unique Azure and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure solution delivers the performance, easy integration, rigorous service level agreements, and collaborative enterprise support that enterprise IT departments need to simplify their operations. We’ve been pleased by the demand for the interconnected cloud solution by our mutual customers around the world and are thrilled to extend these capabilities to our Canadian customers.” –Clive D’Souza, Sr. Director and Head of Product Management, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

What this means for you

In addition to being able to run certified Oracle databases and applications on Azure, you now have access to new migration and deployment scenarios enabled by the interconnect. For example, you can rely on tested, validated, and supported deployments of Oracle applications on Azure with Oracle databases, Real Application Clusters (RAC) and Exadata, deployed in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. You can also run custom applications on Azure backed by Oracle’s Autonomous Database on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

To learn more about the collaboration between Oracle and Microsoft and how you can run Oracle applications on Azure please refer to our website.

Azure Lighthouse: The managed service provider perspective

This blog post was co-authored by Nikhil Jethava, Senior Program Manager, Azure Lighthouse.

Azure Lighthouse became generally available in July this year and we have seen a tremendous response from Azure managed service provider communities who are excited about the scale and precision of management that the Azure platform now enables with cross tenant management. Similarly, customers are empowered with architecting precise and just enough access levels to service providers for their Azure environments. Both customers and partners can decide on the precise scope of the projection.

Azure Lighthouse enables partners to manage multiple customer tenants from within a single control plane, which is their environment. This enables consistent application of management and automation across hundreds of customers and monitoring and analytics to a degree that was unavailable before. The capability works across Azure services (that are Azure Resource Manager enabled) and across licensing motion. Context switching is a thing of the past now.

In this article, we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions:

  • How can MSPs perform daily administration tasks across different customers in their Azure tenant from a single control plane?
  • How can MSPs secure their intellectual property in the form of code?

Let us deep dive into a few scenarios from the perspective of a managed service provider.

Azure Automation

Your intellectual property is only yours. Service providers, using Azure delegated resource management, are no longer required to create Microsoft Azure Automation runbooks under customers’ subscription or keep their IP in the form of runbooks in someone else’s subscription. Using this functionality, Automation runbooks can now be stored in a service provider’s subscription while the effect of the runbooks will be reflected on the customer’s subscription. All you need to do is ensure the Automation account’s service principal has the required delegated built-in role-based access control (RBAC) role to perform the Automation tasks. Service providers can create Azure Monitor action groups in customer’s subscriptions that trigger Azure Automation runbooks residing in a service provider’s subscription.
    Runbook in MSP subscription

Azure Monitor alerts

Azure Lighthouse allows you to monitor the alerts across different tenants under the same roof. Why go through the hassle of storing the logs ingested by different customer’s resources in a centralized log analytics workspace? This helps your customers stay compliant by allowing them to keep their application logs under their own subscription while empowering you to have a helicopter view of all customers.

Azure Monitor Alerts across tenants

Azure Resource Graph Explorer

With Azure delegated resource management, you can query Azure resources from Azure Resource Graph Explorer across tenants. Imagine a scenario where your boss has asked you for a CSV file that would list the existing Azure Virtual Machines across all the customers’ tenants. The results of the Azure Resource Graph Explorer query now include the tenant ID, which makes it easier for you to identify which Virtual Machine belongs to which customer.

 

Querying Azure resources across tenants 
 

Azure Security Center

Azure Lighthouse provides you with cross-tenant visibility of your current security state. You can now monitor compliance to security policies, take actions on security recommendations, monitor the secure score, detect threats, execute file integrity monitoring (FIM), and more, across the tenants.
Detecting threats across tenants
    Exploring Resource Menu of Cross Tenant VMs

Azure Virtual Machines

Service providers can perform post-deployment tasks on different Azure Virtual Machines from different customer’s tenants using Azure Virtual Machine extensions, Azure Virtual Machine Serial Console, run PowerShell commands using Run command option, and more in the Azure Portal. Most administrative tasks on Azure Virtual Machines across the tenants can now be performed quickly since the dependency on taking remote desktop protocol (RDP) access to the Virtual Machines lessens. This also solves a big challenge since admins now do not require to log on to different Azure Subscriptions in multiple browser tabs just to get to the Virtual Machine’s resource menu.
Exploring Resource Menu of Cross Tenant VMs

Managing user access

Using Azure delegated resource management, MSPs no longer need to create administrator accounts (including contributor, security administrator, backup administrator, and more) in their customer tenants. This allows them to manage the lifecycle of delegated administrators right within their own Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AD) tenant. Moreover, MSPs can add user accounts to the user group in their Azure Active Directory (AD) tenant, while customers make sure those groups have the required access to manage their resources. To revoke access when an employee leaves the MSP’s organization, it can simply be removed from the specific group the access has been delegated to.

Added advantages for Cloud Solution Providers

Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs) can now save on administration time. Once you’ve set up the Azure delegated resource management for your users, there is absolutely no need for them to log in to the Partner Center (found by accessing Customers, Contoso, and finally All Resources) to administer customers’ Azure resources.

Also, Azure delegated resource management happens outside the boundaries of the Partner Center portal. Instead, the delegated user access is managed directly under Azure Active Directory. This means subscription and resource administrators in Cloud Solution Providers are no longer required to have the ‘admin agent’ role in the Partner Center. Therefore, Cloud Solutions Providers can now decide which users in their Azure Active Directory tenant will have access to which customer and to what extent.

More information

This is not all. There is a full feature list available for supported services and scenarios in Azure Lighthouse documentation. Check out Azure Chief Technology Officer Mark Russinovich’s blog for a deep under-the-hood view.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started with Azure Lighthouse today.

Azure Stack HCI now running on HPE Edgeline EL8000

Do you need rugged, compact-sized hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) enabled servers to run your branch office and edge workloads? Do you want to modernize your applications and IoT functions with container technology? Do you want to leverage Azure’s hybrid services such as backup, disaster recovery, update management, monitoring, and security compliance? 

Well, Microsoft and HPE have teamed up to validate the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge system for Microsoft’s Azure Stack HCI program. Designed specifically for space-constrained environments, the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge system has a unique 17-inch depth form factor that fits into limited infrastructures too small for other x86 systems. The chassis has an 8.7-inch width which brings additional flexibility for deploying at the deep edge, whether it is in a telco environment, a mobile vehicle, or a manufacturing floor. This Network Equipment-Building System (NEBs) compliant system delivers secure scalability.

HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge system gives:

  • Traditional x86 compute optimized for edge deployments, far from the traditional data center without the sacrifice of compute performance.
  • Edge-optimized remote system management with wireless capabilities based on Redfish industry standard.
  • Compact form factor, with short-depth and half-width options.
  • Rugged, modular form factor for secure scalability and serviceability in edge and hostile environments including NEBs level three and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) level three/four compliance.
  • Broad accelerator support for emerging edge artificial intelligence (AI) use cases, for field programmable gate arrays or graphics processing units.
  • Up to four independent compute nodes, which are cluster-ready with embedded networks.

Modular design providing broad configuration possibilities

The HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge system offers flexibility of choice for compute density or for input/output expansion. These compact, ruggedized systems offer high-performance capacity to support the use cases that matter most, including media streaming, IoT, AI, and video analytics. The HPE Edgeline EL8000 is a versatile platform that enables edge compute transformation so as use case requirements change, the system’s flexible and modular architecture can scale to meet them.

Seamless management and security features with HPE Edgeline Chassis Manager

The HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge system features the HPE Edgeline Chassis Manager which limits downtime by providing system-level health monitoring and alerts. Increase efficiency and reliability by managing the chassis fan speeds for each server blade installed in addition to monitoring the health and status of the power supply. It simplifies firmware upgrade management and implementation with HPE Edgeline Chassis Manager.

Microsoft Azure Stack HCI:

Azure Stack HCI solutions bring together highly virtualized compute, storage, and networking on industry-standard x86 servers and components. Combining resources in the same cluster makes it easier for you to deploy, manage, and scale. Manage with your choice of command-line automation or Windows Admin Center.

Achieve industry-leading virtual machine performance for your server applications with Hyper-V, the foundational hypervisor technology of the Microsoft cloud, and Storage Spaces Direct technology with built-in support for non-volatile memory express (NVMe), persistent memory, and remote-direct memory access (RDMA) networking.

Help keep apps and data secure with shielded virtual machines, network microsegmentation, and native encryption.

You can take advantage of cloud and on-premises working together with a hyperconverged infrastructure platform in the public cloud. Your team can start building cloud skills with built-in integration to Azure infrastructure management services, including:

  • Azure Site Recovery for high availability and disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS).

  • Azure Monitor, a centralized hub to track what’s happening across your applications, network, and infrastructure – with advanced analytics powered by AI.

  • Cloud Witness, to use Azure as the lightweight tie breaker for cluster quorum.

  • Azure Backup for offsite data protection and to protect against ransomware.

  • Azure Update Management for update assessment and update deployments for Windows virtual machines (VMs) running in Azure and on-premises.

  • Azure Network Adapter to connect resources on-premises with your VMs in Azure via a point-to-site virtual private network (VPN.)

  • Sync your file server with the cloud, using Azure File Sync.

  • Azure Arc for Servers to manage role-based access control, governance, and compliance policy from Azure Portal.

By deploying the Microsoft and HPE HCI solution, you can quickly solve your branch office and edge needs with high performance and resiliency while protecting your business assets by enabling the Azure hybrid services built into the Azure Stack HCI Branch office and edge solution.  

Microsoft has validated the Lenovo ThinkSystem SE350 edge server for Azure Stack HCI

Do you need rugged, compact-sized hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) enabled servers to run your branch office and edge workloads? Do you want to modernize your applications and IoT functions with container technology? Do you want to leverage Azure’s hybrid services such as backup, disaster recovery, update managment, monitoring, and security compliance?  

Microsoft and Lenovo have teamed up to validate the Lenovo ThinkSystem SE350 for Microsoft’s Azure Stack HCI program. The ThinkSystem SE350 was designed and built with the unique requirements of edge servers in mind. It is versatile enough to stretch the limitations of server locations, providing a variety of connectivity and security options and can be easily managed with Lenovo XClarity Controller. The ThinkSystem SE350 solution has a focus on smart connectivity, business security, and manageability for the harsh environment. To see all Lenovo servers validated for Azure Stack HCI, see the Azure Stack HCI catalog to learn more.

Lenovo ThinkSystem SE350:

The ThinkSystem SE350 is the latest workhorse for the edge. Designed and built with the unique requirements for edge servers in mind, it is versatile enough to stretch the limitations of server locations, providing a variety of connectivity and security options and is easily managed with Lenovo XClarity Controller. The ThinkSystem SE350 is a rugged compact-sized edge solution with a focus on smart connectivity, business security, and manageability for the harsh environment.

The ThinkSystem SE350 is an Intel® Xeon® D processor-based server, with a 1U height, half-width and short depth case that can go anywhere. Mount it on a wall, stack it on a shelf, or install it in a rack. This rugged edge server can handle anything from 0-55°C as well as full performance in high dust and vibration environments.

Information availability is another challenging issue for users at the edge, who require insight into their operations at all times to ensure they are making the right decisions. The ThinkSystem SE350 is designed to provide several connectivity options with wired and secure wireless Wi-Fi and LTE connection ability. This purpose-built compact server is reliable for a wide variety of edge and IoT workloads.

Microsoft Azure Stack HCI:

Azure Stack HCI solutions bring together highly virtualized compute, storage, and networking on industry-standard x86 servers and components. Combining resources in the same cluster makes it easier for you to deploy, manage, and scale. Manage with your choice of command-line automation or Windows Admin Center.

Achieve industry-leading virtual machine (VM) performance for your server applications with Hyper-V, the foundational hypervisor technology of the Microsoft cloud, and Storage Spaces Direct technology with built-in support for non-volatile memory express (NVMe), persistent memory, and remote direct memory access (RDMA) networking.

Help keep apps and data secure with shielded virtual machines, network micro-segmentation, and native encryption.

You can take advantage of cloud and on-premises working together with a hyper-converged infrastructure platform in the public cloud. Your team can start building cloud skills with built-in integration to Azure infrastructure management services:

  • Azure Site Recovery for high availability and disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS).

  • Azure Monitor, a centralized hub to track what’s happening across your applications, network, and infrastructure, with advanced analytics powered by artificial intelligence.

  • Cloud Witness, to use Azure as the lightweight tie-breaker for cluster quorum.

  • Azure Backup for offsite data protection and to protect against ransomware.

  • Azure Update Management for update assessment and update deployments for Windows Virtual Machines running in Azure and on-premises.

  • Azure Network Adapter to connect resources on-premises with your VMs in Azure via a point-to-site VPN.

  • Sync your file server with the cloud, using Azure File Sync.

  • Azure Arc for Servers to manage role-based access control, governance, and compliance policy from Azure Portal.

By deploying the Microsoft + Lenovo HCI solution, you can quickly solve your branch office and edge needs with high performance and resiliency while protecting your business assets by enabling the Azure hybrid services built into the Azure Stack HCI Branch office and edge solution.  

A year of bringing AI to the edge

This post is co-authored by Anny Dow, Product Marketing Manager, Azure Cognitive Services.

In an age where low-latency and data security can be the lifeblood of an organization, containers make it possible for enterprises to meet these needs when harnessing artificial intelligence (AI).

Since introducing Azure Cognitive Services in containers this time last year, businesses across industries have unlocked new productivity gains and insights. The combination of both the most comprehensive set of domain-specific AI services in the market and containers enables enterprises to apply AI to more scenarios with Azure than with any other major cloud provider. Organizations ranging from healthcare to financial services have transformed their processes and customer experiences as a result.

 

These are some of the highlights from the past year:

Employing anomaly detection for predictive maintenance

Airbus Defense and Space, one of the world’s largest aerospace and defense companies, has tested Azure Cognitive Services in containers for developing a proof of concept in predictive maintenance. The company runs Anomaly Detector for immediately spotting unusual behavior in voltage levels to mitigate unexpected downtime. By employing advanced anomaly detection in containers without further burdening the data scientist team, Airbus can scale this critical capability across the business globally.

“Innovation has always been a driving force at Airbus. Using Anomaly Detector, an Azure Cognitive Service, we can solve some aircraft predictive maintenance use cases more easily.”  —Peter Weckesser, Digital Transformation Officer, Airbus

Automating data extraction for highly-regulated businesses

As enterprises grow, they begin to acquire thousands of hours of repetitive but critically important work every week. High-value domain specialists spend too much of their time on this. Today, innovative organizations use robotic process automation (RPA) to help manage, scale, and accelerate processes, and in doing so free people to create more value.

Automation Anywhere, a leader in robotic process automation, partners with these companies eager to streamline operations by applying AI. IQ Bot, their unique RPA software, automates data extraction from documents of various types. By deploying Cognitive Services in containers, Automation Anywhere can now handle documents on-premises and at the edge for highly regulated industries:

“Azure Cognitive Services in containers gives us the headroom to scale, both on-premises and in the cloud, especially for verticals such as insurance, finance, and health care where there are millions of documents to process.” —Prince Kohli, Chief Technology Officer for Products and Engineering, Automation Anywhere

For more about Automation Anywhere’s partnership with Microsoft to democratize AI for organizations, check out this blog post.

Delighting customers and employees with an intelligent virtual agent

Lowell, one of the largest credit management services in Europe, wants credit to work better for everybody. So, it works hard to make every consumer interaction as painless as possible with the AI. Partnering with Crayon, a global leader in cloud services and solutions, Lowell set out to solve the outdated processes that kept the company’s highly trained credit counselors too busy with routine inquiries and created friction in the customer experience. Lowell turned to Cognitive Services to create an AI-enabled virtual agent that now handles 40 percent of all inquiries—making it easier for service agents to deliver greater value to consumers and better outcomes for Lowell clients.

With GDPR requirements, chatbots weren’t an option for many businesses before containers became available. Now companies like Lowell can ensure the data handling meets stringent compliance standards while running Cognitive Services in containers. As Carl Udvang, Product Manager at Lowell explains:

“By taking advantage of container support in Cognitive Services, we built a bot that safeguards consumer information, analyzes it, and compares it to case studies about defaulted payments to find the solutions that work for each individual.”

One-to-one customer care at scale in data-sensitive environments has become easier to achieve.

Empowering disaster relief organizations on the ground

A few years ago, there was a major Ebola outbreak in Liberia. A team from USAID was sent to help mitigate the crisis. Their first task on the ground was to find and categorize the information such as the state of healthcare facilities, wifi networks, and population density centers.  They tracked this information manually and had to extract insights based on a complex corpus of data to determine the best course of action.

With the rugged versions of Azure Stack Edge, teams responding to such crises can carry a device running Cognitive Services in their backpack. They can upload unstructured data like maps, images, pictures of documents and then extract content, translate, draw relationships among entities, and apply a search layer. With these cloud AI capabilities available offline, at their fingertips, response teams can find the information they need in a matter of moments. In Satya’s Ignite 2019 keynote, Dean Paron, Partner Director of Azure Storage and Edge, walks us through how Cognitive Services in Azure Stack Edge can be applied in such disaster relief scenarios (starting at 27:07): 

Transforming customer support with call center analytics

Call centers are a critical customer touchpoint for many businesses, and being able to derive insights from customer calls is key to improving customer support. With Cognitive Services, businesses can transcribe calls with Speech to Text, analyze sentiment in real-time with Text Analytics, and develop a virtual agent to respond to questions with Text to Speech. However, in highly regulated industries, businesses are typically prohibited from running AI services in the cloud due to policies against uploading, processing, and storing any data in public cloud environments. This is especially true for financial institutions.

A leading bank in Europe addressed regulatory requirements and brought the latest transcription technology to their own on-premises environment by deploying Cognitive Services in containers. Through transcribing calls, customer service agents could not only get real-time feedback on customer sentiment and call effectiveness, but also batch process data to identify broad themes and unlock deeper insights on millions of hours of audio. Using containers also gave them flexibility to integrate with their own custom workflows and scale throughput at low latency.

What’s next?

These stories touch on just a handful of the organizations leading innovation by bringing AI to where data lives. As running AI anywhere becomes more mainstream, the opportunities for empowering people and organizations will only be limited by the imagination.

Visit the container support page to get started with containers today.

For a deeper dive into these stories, visit the following

How to build globally distributed applications with Azure Cosmos DB and Pulumi

This post was co-authored by Mikhail Shilkov, Software Engineer, Pulumi.

Pulumi is reinventing how people build modern cloud applications, with a unique platform that combines deep systems and infrastructure innovation with elegant programming models and developer tools.

We live in amazing times when people and businesses on different continents can interact at the speed of light. Numerous industries and applications target users around the globe: e-commerce websites, multiplayer online games, connected IoT devices, collaborative work and leisure experiences, and many more. All of these applications demand computing and data infrastructure in proximity to the end-customers to minimize latency and keep the user experience engaging. The modern cloud makes these scenarios possible. 

Azure infrastructure

Azure Cosmos DB provides a turn-key data distribution to any number of regions, meaning that locations can be added or removed along the way while running production workloads. Azure takes care of data replication, resiliency, and efficiency while providing APIs for read and write operations with a latency of less than 10 milliseconds.

In contrast, compute services—virtual machines, container instances, Azure App Services, Azure Functions, and managed Azure Kubernetes Service—are located in a single Azure region. To make good use of the geographic redundancy of the database, users should deploy their application to each of the target regions.

 

An image showing globally distributed applications.

Globally distributed application

Application regions must stay in sync with Azure Cosmos DB regions to enjoy low-latency benefits. Operational teams must manage the pool of applications and services to provide the correct locality in addition to auto-scaling configuration, efficient networking, security, and maintainability.

To help manage the complexity, the approach of infrastructure as code comes to the rescue.

Infrastructure as code

While the Azure portal is an excellent pane-of-glass for all Azure services, it shouldn’t be used directly to provision production applications. Instead, we should strive to describe the infrastructure in terms of a program which can be executed to create all the required cloud resources.

Traditionally, this could be achieved with an automation script, e.g., a PowerShell Cmdlet or a bash script calling the Azure CLI. However, this approach is laborious and error prone. Bringing an environment from its current state to the desired is often non-trivial. A failure in the middle of the script often requires manual intervention to repair environments, leading to downtime.

Desired state configuration is another style of infrastructure definition. A user describes the desired final state of infrastructure in a declarative manner, and the tooling takes care of bringing an environment from its current state to the parity with the desired state. Such a program is more natural to evolve and track changes.

Azure Resource Manager Templates is the bespoke desired-state-configuration tool in the world of Azure. The state is described as a JSON template, listing all the resources and properties. However, large JSON templates can be quite hard to write manually. They have a high learning curve and quickly become large, complex, verbose, and repetitive. Developers find themselves missing simple programming language possibilities like iterations or custom functions.

Pulumi solves this problem by using general-purpose programming languages to describe the desired state of cloud infrastructure. Using JavaScript, TypeScript, or Python reduces the amount of code many-fold, while bringing constructs like functions and components to the DevOps toolbox.

Global applications with Pulumi

To illustrate the point, we developed a TypeScript program to provision a distributed application in Azure.

The target scenario requires quite a few resources to distribute the application across multiple Azure regions, including:

  • Provision an Azure Cosmos DB account in multiple regions
  • Deploy a copy of the application layer to each of those regions
  • Connect each application to the Azure Cosmos DB local replica
  • Add a Traffic Manager to route user requests to the nearest application endpoint

A diagram showing the flow of global application with Azure and Pulumi.

Global application with Azure and Pulumi

 

However, instead of coding this manually, we can rely on Pulumi’s CosmosApp component as described in How To Build Globally Distributed Applications with Azure Cosmos DB and Pulumi. The component creates distributed Azure Cosmos DB resources, as well as the front-end routing component while allowing pluggable compute layer implementation.

You can find the sample code in Reusable Component to Create Globally-distributed Applications with Azure Cosmos DB.

Pulumi CLI executes the code, translate it to the tree of resources to create, and deploys all of them to Azure:

A screenshot showing Pulumi's CLI executing the code.

After the command succeeds, the application is up and running in three regions of my choice.

Next steps

Infrastructure as code is instrumental in enabling modern DevOps practices in the universe of global and scalable cloud applications.

Pulumi lets you use a general-purpose programming language to define infrastructure. It brings the best tools and practices from the software development world to the domain of infrastructure management.

Try the CosmosApp (available on GitHub—TypeScript, C#) with serverless functions, containers, or virtual machines to get started with Pulumi and Azure.

Disaster recovery for SAP HANA Systems on Azure

This blog will cover the design, technology, and recommendations for setting up disaster recovery (DR) for an enterprise customer, to achieve best in class recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) with an SAP S/4HANA landscape. This post was co-authored by Sivakumar Varadananjayan, Global Head of Cognizant’s SAP Cloud Practice.

Microsoft Azure provides a trusted path to enterprise-ready innovation with SAP solutions in the cloud. Mission critical applications such as SAP run reliably on Azure, which is an enterprise proven platform offering hyperscale, agility, and cost savings for running a customer’s SAP landscape.

System availability and disaster recovery are crucial for customers who run mission-critical SAP applications on Azure.

RTO and RPO are two key metrics that organizations consider in order to develop an appropriate disaster recovery plan that can maintain business continuity due to an unexpected event.  Recovery point objective refers to the amount of data at risk in terms of “Time” whereas Recovery Time Objective refers to the amount of time or the maximum tolerable time that system can be down after disaster occurs.

The below diagram gives a view of RPO and RTO on a timeline view in a business as usual (BAU) scenario.

A timeline of RPO and RTO on a BAU secnario.

Orica is the world’s largest provider of commercial explosives and innovative blasting systems to the mining, quarrying, oil and gas, and construction markets. They are also a leading supplier of sodium cyanide for gold extraction and a specialist provider of ground support services in mining and tunneling.

As part of Orica’s digital transformation journey, Cognizant has been chosen as a trusted technology advisor and managed cloud platform provider to build highly available, scalable, disaster proof IT platforms for SAP S/4HANA and other SAP applications in Microsoft Azure.

This blog describes how Cognizant took up the challenge of building a disaster recovery solution for Orica as a part of the Digital Transformation Program with SAP S/4HANA as a digital core. This blog contains the SAP on Azure architectural design considerations, by Cognizant and Orica, over the last two years, leading to a reduction in RTO to 4 hours. This is achieved by deploying the latest technology features available on Azure, coupled with automation. Along with reduction in RTO, there’s also reduction in RPO to less than 5 minutes with the use of database specific technologies such as SAP HANA system replication and Azure Site Recovery.

Design principles for disaster recovery systems

  • Selection of DR Region based on SAP Certified VMs for SAP HANA – It is important to verify the availability of SAP Certified VMs types in DR Region.
  • RPO and RTO Values – Businesses need to lay out clear expectations in RPO and RTO values which greatly affect the architecture for Disaster Recovery and requirements of tools and automation required to implement Disaster Recovery
  • Cost of Implementing DR, Maintenance and DR Drills
    • Criticality of systems – It is possible to establish Trade-off between Cost of DR implementation and Business Requirements. While most critical systems can utilize state of the art DR architecture, medium and less critical systems may afford higher RPO/RTO values.
    • On Demand Resizing of DR instances – It is preferable to use small size VMs for DR instances and upsize those during active DR scenario. It is also possible to reserve the required capacity of VMs at DR region so that there is no “waiting” time to upscale the VMs. Microsoft offers Reserved Instances with which one can reserve virtual machines in advance and save up to 80 percent. According to required RTO value a tradeoff needs to be worked out between running smaller VMs vs. Azure RI.
    • Additional considerations for cloud infrastructure costs, efforts in setting up environment for Non-disruptive DR Tests. Non-disruptive DR Tests refers to executing DR Tests without performing failover of actual productive systems to DR systems thereby avoiding any business downtimes. This involves additional costs for setting up temporary infrastructure which is in completely isolated vNet during the DR Tests.
    • Certain components in SAP systems architecture such as clustered network file system (NFS) which are not recommended to be replicated using Azure Site Recovery, hence there is a need for additional tools with license costs such as SUSE Geo-cluster or SIOS Data keeper for NFS Layer DR.
  • Selection of specific technology and tools – While Azure offers “Azure Site Recovery (ASR)” which replicates the virtual machines across the region, this technology is used at non-database components or layers of the system while database specific methods such as SAP HANA system replication (HSR) are used at database layer to ensure consistency of databases.

Disaster recovery architecture for SAP systems running on SAP HANA Database

At a very high level, the below diagram depicts the architecture of SAP systems based on SAP HANA and which systems will be available in case of local or regional failures.

An architecture diagram of SAP systems based on SAP HANA and which systems will be available in case of local or regional failures.

The diagram below gives next level details of SAP HANA systems components and corresponding technology used for achieving disaster recovery.

A more detailed diagram of SAP HANA systems components and corresponding technology used for achieving disaster recovery.

Database layer

At the database layer, database specific method of replications such as SAP HANA system replication (HSR) is used. Use of database specific replication method allows better control over RPO values by configuring various replication specific parameters and offers consistency of database at DR site. The alternative methods of achieving disaster recovery at the database (DB) layer such as backup and restore, and recovery or storage base replications are available however, they result in higher RTO values.

RPO Values for SAP HANA database depend on factors including replication methodology (Synchronous in case of high availability or Asynchronous in case of DR replication), backup frequency, backup data retention policies, savepoint, and replication configuration parameters.

SAP Solution Manager can be used to monitor the replication status, such that an e-mail alert is triggered if the replication is impacted.

A diagram showing disaster recovery architecture at the HANA database level, HANA system replication (HSR) is used for local availability as well as disaster recovery.

Even though multi-node replication is available as of SAP HANA 2.0 SP 3, revision 33, at the time or writing this article, this scenario is not tested in conjunction with high availability cluster. With successful implementation of multi-target replications, the DR maintenance process will become simpler and will not need manual interventions due to fail-over scenarios at primary site.

Application layer – (A)SCS, APP, iSCSI

Azure Site Recovery is used for replication of non-database components of SAP systems architecture including (A)SCS, application servers, and Linux cluster fencing agents such as iSCSI (with an exception of NFS layer which is discussed below.) Azure Site Recovery replicates workloads running on a virtual machines (VMs) from a primary site to a secondary location at storage layer and it does not require VM to be in a running state, and VMs can be started during actual disaster scenarios or DR drills.

There are two options to set up a pacemaker cluster in Azure. You can either use a fencing agent, which takes care of restarting a failed node via the Azure APIs or you can use a storage based death (SBD) device. The SBD device requires at least one additional virtual machine that acts as an iSCSI target server and provides an SBD device. These iSCSI target servers can however be shared with other pacemaker clusters. The advantage of using an SBD device is a faster failover time.

Below diagram describes disaster recovery at the application layer, (A)SCS, App servers, and iSCSI servers use the same architecture to replicate the data across DR region using Azure Site Recovery. 

A diagram showing disaster recovery at the application layer, (A)SCS, App servers, and iSCSI servers use the same architecture to replicate the data across DR region using Azure Site Recovery.

NFS layer – NFS layer at primary site uses a cluster with distributed replicated block device (DRBD) for high availability replication purposes. We evaluated multiple technologies for the implementation of DR at NFS layer. Since DRBD and Site Recovery configurations are not compatible, solutions such as SUSE geo cluster, SIOS data keeper, or simple VM snapshot backups and restore are available for achieving NFS layer DR. Since DRBD enables high availability at NFS layer using disk replication, Site Recovery replication is not supported. In case where DRBD is enabled, the cost-effective solution to achieve DR for NFS layer is by using simple backup/restore using VM snapshot backups.

Steps for invoking DR or a DR drill

Microsoft Azure Site Recovery technology helps in faster replication of data at the DR region. In a DR implementation where Site Recovery is not used or configured, it would take more than 24 hours to recover about five systems, and eventually RTO will result in 24 or more hours. However, when Site Recovery is used at the application layer with database specific method of replication at DB Layer being leveraged, it is possible to reduce the RTO value to well below four hours for same number of systems. Below diagram describes timeline view with the steps to activate disaster recovery with four hours RTO Value.

Steps for Invoking DR or a DR drill:

  • DNS Changes for VMs to use new IP addresses
  • Bring up iSCSI – single VM from ASR Replicated data
  • Recover Databases and Resize the VMs to required capacity
  • Manually provision NFS – Single VM using snapshot backups
  • Build Application layer VMs from ASR Replicated data
  • Perform cluster changes
  • Bring up applications
  • Validate Applications
  • Release systems

A screenshot of an example DR drill plan.

Recommendations on non-disruptive DR drills

Some businesses cannot afford down-time during DR drills. Non-disruptive DR drills are suggested in case where it is not possible to arrange downtimes to perform DR. A non-disruptive DR procedure can be achieved by creating an additional DR VNet, isolating it from the network, and carrying out DR Drill with below steps.

As a prerequisite, build SAP HANA database servers in the isolated VNet and configure SAP HANA system replication.

  1. Disconnect express route circuit to DR region, as express route gets disconnected it simulates abrupt unavailability of systems in primary region
  2. As a prerequisite, backup domain controller is required to be active and in replication mode with primary domain controller until the time of express route disconnection
  3. DNS server needs to be configured in isolated DR VNet (additional DR VNet Created for non-disruptive DR drill) and kept in standby mode until the time of express route disconnection
  4. Establish point to site VPN tunnel for administrators and key users for DR test
  5. Manually update the NSGs so that DR VNet is isolated from the entire network
  6. Bring up applications using DR enable procedure in DR region
  7. Once test is concluded, reconfigure NSGs, express route, and DR replications

Involvement of relevant infrastructure and SAP subject matter experts is highly recommended during DR tests.

Note that the non-disruptive DR procedure need to be executed with extreme caution with prior validation and testing with non-production systems. Database VMs capacity at DR region should be decided with a tradeoff between reserving full capacity vs. Microsoft’s timeline to allocate required capacity to resize the database VMs.

Next steps

To learn more about architecting a optimal Azure infrastructure for SAP see the following resources:

Microsoft’s connected vehicle platform presence at IAA, the Frankfurt Auto Show

This post was co-authored by the extended Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform (MCVP) team. 

A connected vehicle solution must enable a fleet of potentially millions of vehicles, distributed around the world, to deliver intuitive experiences including infotainment, entertainment, productivity, driver safety, driver assistance. In addition to these services in the vehicle, a connected vehicle solution is critical for fleet solutions like ride and car sharing as well as phone apps that incorporate the context of the user and the journey.

Imagine you are driving to your vacation destination and you start your conference call from home while you are packing. When you transition to the shared vehicle, the route planning takes into account the best route for connectivity and easy driving and adjusts the microphone sensitivity during the call in the back seat. These experiences today are constrained to either the center-stack screen, known as the in-vehicle infotainment device (IVI), or other specific hardware and software that is determined when the car is being built. Instead, these experiences should evolve over the lifetime of ridership. The opportunity is for new, modern experiences in vehicles that span the entire interior and systems of a vehicle, plus experiences outside the vehicle, to create deeper and longer-lasting relationships between car makers and their customers throughout the transportation journey.

To realize this opportunity, car manufacturers and mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) providers need a connected vehicle platform to complete the digital feedback loop by incorporating the seamless deployment of new functionality that is composed from multiple independently updatable services that reflect new understanding, at scale, and with dependable and consistent management of data and these services from Azure to and from three different edges: the vehicle, the phone, and the many enterprise applications that support the journey.

The Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform (MCVP) is the digital chassis upon which automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can deliver value-add services to their customers. These services areas include:

  • In-vehicle experiences
  • Autonomous driving
  • Advanced navigation
  • Customer engagement and insights
  • Telematics and prediction services
  • Connectivity and over the air updates (OTA)

MCVP is a platform composed from about 40 different Azure services and tailored for automotive scenarios. To ensure continuous over-the-air (OTA) updates of new functionality, MCVP also includes different Azure edge technologies such as Automotive IoT Edge that runs in the vehicle, and Azure Maps for intelligent location services.

With MCVP, and an ecosystem of partners across the industry, Microsoft offers a consistent platform across all digital services. This includes vehicle provisioning, two-way network connectivity, continuous over-the-air updates of containerized functionality, support for command-and-control, hot, warm, or cold path for telematics, and extension hooks for customer or third-party differentiation. Being built on Azure, MCVP includes the hyperscale, global availability, and regulatory compliance that comes as part of the Azure cloud. OEMs and fleet operators leverage MCVP as a way to “move up the stack” and focus on their customers rather than spend resources on non-differentiating infrastructure.

Automotive OEMs already taking advantage of MCVP, along with many of our ecosystem partners, including the Volkswagen Group, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, and Iconiq.

In this blog post, we are delighted to recap many of the MCVP ecosystem partners that accelerate our common customers’ ability to develop and deploy completed connected vehicle solutions.

An image showing the aspects of the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform.

Focus areas and supporting partnerships

Microsoft’s ecosystem of partners include independent software vendors (ISVs), automotive suppliers, and systems integrators (SIs) to complete the overall value proposition of MCVP. We have pursued partnerships in these areas:

In-vehicle experiences

Cheaply available screens, increasingly autonomous vehicles, the emergence of pervasive voice assistants, and users’ increased expectation of the connectedness of their things have all combined to create an opportunity for OEMs to differentiate through the digital experiences they offer to the occupants, both the driver and the passengers, of their vehicles.

LG Electronics’ webOS Autoplatform offers an in-vehicle, container-capable OS that brings the third party application ecosystem created for premium TVs to In-vehicle experiences. webOSAuto supports the container-based runtime environment of MCVP and can be an important part of modern experiences in the vehicle.

Faurecia leverages MCVP to create disruptive, connected, and personalized services inside the Cockpit of the Future to reinvent the on-board experience for all occupants.

Autonomous driving

The continuous development of autonomous driving systems requires input from both test fleets and production vehicles that are integrated by a common connected vehicle platform. This is because the underlying machine learning (ML) models that either drive the car or provide assistance to the driver will be updated over time as they are improved based on feedback across those fleets, and those updates will be deployed over the air in incremental rings of deployment by way of their connection to the cloud.

Teraki creates and deploys containerized functionality to vehicles to efficiently extract and manage selected sensor data such as telemetry, video, and 3D information. Teraki’s product continuously trains and updates the sensor data to extract relevant, condensed information that enables customers’ models to achieve highest accuracy rates, both in the vehicle (edge) as well in Azure (cloud.)

TomTom is integrating their navigation intelligence services such as HD Maps and Traffic as containerized services for use in MCVP so that other services in the vehicles, including autonomous driving, can take advantage of the additional location context.

Advanced navigation

TomTom’s navigation application has been integrated with the MCVP in-vehicle compute architecture to enable navigation usage and diagnostics data to be sent from vehicles to the Azure cloud where the data can be used by automakers to generate data-driven insights to deliver tailored services, and to make better informed design and engineering decisions. The benefit of this integration includes the immediate insights created from comparing the intended route with the actual route with road metadata. If you are attending IAA, be sure to check out the demo at the Microsoft booth.

Telenav is a leading provider of connected car and location-based services and is working with Microsoft to integrate its intelligent connected-car solution suite, including infotainment, in-car commerce, and navigation, with MCVP.

Customer engagement and insights

Otonomo securely ingests automotive data from OEMs, fleet operators, etc., then reshapes and enriches the data so application and service providers can use it to develop a host of new and innovative offerings that deliver value to drivers. The data services platform has built it privacy by design solutions for both person and aggregate use cases. Through the collaboration with Microsoft, car manufacturers adopting the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform can easily plug their connected car data into Otonomo’s existing ecosystem to quickly roll out new connected car services to drivers.

Telematics and prediction services

DSA is a leading software and solutions provider for quality assurance, diagnostics, and maintenance of the entire vehicle electrics and electronics in the automotive industry. Together, DSA and Microsoft target to close the digital feedback loops between automotive production facilities and field cars by providing an advanced Vehicle Lifecycle Management, based on the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform.

WirelessCar is a leading managed service provider within the connected vehicle eco-system and empowers car makers to provide mobility services with Microsoft Azure and the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform that supports and accelerates their customers’ high market ambitions in a world of rapid changing business models.

Connectivity and OTA

Cubic Telecom is a leading connectivity management software provider to the automotive and IoT industries globally. They are one of the first partners to bring seamless connectivity as a core service offering to MCVP for a global market. The deep integration with MCVP allows for a single data lake and an integrated services monitoring path. In addition, Cubic Telecom provides connected car capabilities that let drivers use infotainment apps in real-time, connect their devices to the Wi-Fi hotspot, and top-up on data plans to access high-speed LTE connectivity, optionally on a separate APN.

Excelfore is an innovator in automotive over-the-air (OTA) updating and data aggregation technologies. They provide a full implementation of the eSync bi-directional data pipeline, which has been ported to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform and integrated as the first solution for MCVP OTA updating.

Tata Communications is a leading global digital infrastructure provider. We are working with them to help speed the development of new innovative connected car applications. By combining the IoT connectivity capabilities of Tata Communications MOVE™ with MCVP, the two companies will enable automotive manufacturers to offer consumers worldwide more seamless and secure driving experiences.

Microsoft is incredibly excited to be a part of the connected vehicle space. With the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform, our ecosystem partners, and our partnerships with leading automotive players – both vehicle OEMs and automotive technology suppliers – we believe we have a uniquely capable offering enabling at global scale the next wave of innovation in the automotive industry as well as related verticals such as smart cities, smart infrastructure, insurance, transportation, and beyond.

Explore the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform today and visit us at IAA.

Azure Marketplace new offers – Volume 43

We continue to expand the Azure Marketplace ecosystem. For this volume, 94 new offers successfully met the onboarding criteria and went live. See details of the new offers below:

Applications

AZULINK

AZULINK: Get your application fully managed on Azure with a one-stop-shop partner committed to results and centralizing governance and scalability of your Azure services on IaaS and PaaS.

BI for Dynamics 365FO

BI for Dynamics 365FO: Enable your organization to do more with company data. With Hillstar’s standard BI connector for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, users can easily slice and dice through reports and drill down to deeper levels to see more detail.

Blender with Flamenco worker on Windows - ATLG

Blender with Flamenco worker on Windows – ATLG: Blender with Flamenco on Azure provides an easy-to-deploy Flamenco manager/worker environment that can be plugged into Blender Cloud. This marketplace image serves the “render vm” role in the worker pool.

Build Agent PRO for Azure DevOps

Build Agent PRO for Azure DevOps: This template offers a Linux-based build agent for Azure DevOps that can build and deploy .NET CORE, Angular, Node.JS, Java, C/C++, and Container projects by default. An emulation for ARM devices is also included.

Cisco Firepower Management Center Virtual (FMCv)

Cisco Firepower Management Center Virtual (FMCv): Control access to your network, control application use, and defend against known attacks. Use AMP and sandboxing technologies to address unknown attacks and track malware infections throughout your network.

Cobra - Commercial Broker Assistant

Cobra – Commercial Broker Assistant: Cobra includes everything brokers need for business, including Office 365 integration for easy communication with clients and intuitive storage for client data, contracts, and damages.

DataOne

Data One: Data One can host, design, build, and manage existing and new reports for organizations that don’t have the capacity to manage their BI demands. The Data One platform simplifies reporting through Northern Data’s dynamic BI portal.

DataRoad Reflect

DataRoad Reflect: DataRoad Reflect is a rapid data movement solution that lets you focus on delivering advanced analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence instead of spending hours programming data migrations.

desknets NEO

desknets NEO: desknets NEO reduces the burden of operation management with extensive administrative functions, such as user and organization registration information management and flexible access rights management. This application is available only in Japanese.

Docker Community Edition With Ubuntu 1804 Lts

Docker Community Edition with Ubuntu 18.04 Lts: Docker Community Edition (CE) is ideal for individual developers and small teams looking to get started with Docker and experimenting with container-based apps.

EVE - cloud-based live captions for your event

EVE – cloud-based live captions for your event: EVE not only helps organizations comply with accessibility standards, it is also an additional medium, capturing every spoken word and sharing a transcript after a speech for further actions, including subtitles and SEO.

FM Converge on Azure

FM Converge on Azure: FM Converge on Azure is a highly responsive, cross-asset front-office/middle-office/operations/risk platform for pre-trade pricing, structuring, book valuation, and managing enterprise risk for a wide variety of financial instruments.

Get Azure Ops Data into Splunk - in 3 minutes

Get Azure Ops Data into Splunk – in 3 minutes: StreamWeaver offers a systematic, automated approach to distributing valuable operations data, including event, metric, topology, and log information, from all domains and clouds to the appropriate applications and teams.

Go timesheets, expense and leave software

Go timesheets, expense and leave software: Go is a scalable, web-based and mobile app for managing timesheets, expenses, and leave. Users can connect from anywhere – in the office or in the field – to submit time, leave, and expenses with attached receipts.

Hyper-Q Express Edition for Teradata to SQL DW

Hyper-Q Express Edition for Teradata to SQL DW: Hyper-Q takes SQL extensions and scripts written for Teradata and makes them interoperable with Azure SQL Data Warehouse while requiring little to no change to the business logic your company relies on.

Imredi Audit

Imredi Audit: The Imredi Audit solution is designed to audit stores, collect and analyze data from retail outlets, and help manage field employees. This application is available only in Russian.

iNAS

iNAS: Unissoft is pleased to provide its iNAS cloud-based record-keeping solution for Azure and Office 365 users. iNAS protects records from inadvertent or unauthorized alteration, deletion, access, and retrieval while monitoring the integrity of records through an audit trail.

Indoorway InSite 40

Indoorway InSite 4.0: Indoorway provides accurate data and useful analytics about the movement of assets in industrial sites. Locate in real time any moving resources relevant to key production and intralogistics processes.

IoT Core Services

IoT Core Services: IoT Core Services by conplement AG provides a fast and secure end-to-end solution for device/machine connections in the Internet of Things and digital value-added services. This application is available only in German.

Jenkins With CentOS 76

Jenkins with CentOS 7.6: Jenkins is an open source automation server written in Java. Jenkins helps automate the non-human part of the software development process, with continuous integration and facilitating technical aspects of continuous delivery.

Lamp With CentOS 76

Lamp with CentOS 7.6: LAMP is an archetypal model of web service stacks, named as an acronym of its original components: Linux operating system, Apache HTTP server, MySQL relational database management system, and PHP programming language.

Lamp With Ubuntu Server 1804 Lts

Lamp with Ubuntu Server 18.04 Lts: LAMP is an archetypal model of web service stacks, named as an acronym of its original components: Linux operating system, Apache HTTP server, MySQL relational database management system, and PHP programming language.

LANCOM vRouter

LANCOM vRouter: The LANCOM vRouter is a software-based router for operation in virtualized environments. With its comprehensive range of functions and numerous security features based on the operating system LCOS, it offers a leading basis for modern infrastructures.

Mediant CE Session Border Controller (SBC)

Mediant CE Session Border Controller (SBC): AudioCodes’ Mediant Session Border Controllers deliver seamless connectivity, enhanced security, and quality assurance for enterprise and service provider VoIP networks.

MinIO Helm Chart

MinIO Helm Chart: MinIO is an object storage server mainly used for storing unstructured data such as photos, videos, and log files.

Mojro Technologies Private Limited

Mojro Technologies Private Limited: Mojro’s proprietary algorithms are deployed to perform space and route optimization together at scale and enable your organization to automate the planning and execution of logistics.

Movie Viewer

Movie Viewer: Movie Viewer is a virtual editing tool that enables you to create clips from multiple videos and combine them into playlists. This application is available only in Japanese.

NGINX Plus Developer Edition

NGINX Plus Developer Edition: NGINX Plus brings enterprise-ready features such as application load balancing, monitoring, and advanced management to your Microsoft Azure application stack.

Nginx With Ubuntu Server 1804 Lts

Nginx with Ubuntu Server 18.04 Lts: NGINX is open source software for web serving, reverse proxying, caching, load balancing, media streaming, and more. NGINX started as a web server designed for maximum performance and stability.

Objectivity Metadata Connect

Objectivity Metadata Connect: Metadata Connect allows you to define information about data from any external source and form connections within it. You can then understand how data interacts as it is changed and perform powerful navigational and pathfinding queries.

On-Net Integration Business Series

On-Net Integration Business Series: On-Net Integration Business Series on Microsoft Azure boosts operational efficiency with a wide range of functions. This application is available only in Japanese.

Opus Suite

Opus Suite: Opus Suite gives you fast, accurate analyses, optimization, simulation, and answers throughout your system’s lifecycle, helping you take control over performance and lifecycle cost.

Orange HRM

OrangeHRM: OrangeHRM is a free, comprehensive human resource management system that captures the essential functionalities required for any enterprise.

ProScheduler WFM

ProScheduler WFM: ProScheduler is an enterprise-class workforce management system offering cutting-edge optimization and real-time features. ProScheduler is quick to implement, easy to learn, and typically offers a return on investment within six months.

PyTorch from NVIDIA

PyTorch from NVIDIA: PyTorch is a GPU-accelerated tensor computation framework with a Python front end. This image bundles NVIDIA’s container for PyTorch into the NGC base image for Microsoft Azure.

PyTorch Helm Chart

PyTorch Helm Chart: PyTorch is a deep learning platform that accelerates the transition from research prototyping to production deployment. This Bitnami image includes Torchvision for specific computer vision support.

Remote Desktop Services 2019 RDS Farm

Remote Desktop Services 2019 RDS Farm: Set up a basic remote desktop services (RDS) IaaS farm on Azure for testing or a production environment. Scale from 1 RDS host to 50 RDS hosts and allow users to connect to published desktops and applications from any device or OS.

SecureBox

SecureBox: SecureBox is a secure cloud file sharing platform. Access your data anywhere and back up, view, sync, and share your data on Microsoft Azure.

SFTP Gateway

SFTP Gateway: Built on the base Ubuntu 18.04 image from Canonical, SFTP Gateway is a secure-by-default, pre-configured SFTP server that saves files to Azure Blob Storage. Use SFTP Gateway as a traditional SFTP server or to upload files to Azure storage.

SmartGov for Administration

SmartGov for Administration: Proven in over 30 government departments and SOEs, SmartGov for Administration is a tried and tested solution for the digitization of some of the most problematic processes in the South African public sector back office.

Speech to Text

Speech to Text: Zoom Media offers its highly accurate Speech to Text service in 10 languages (Arabic, Danish, Dutch, English US, Filipino, Finnish, Flemish, Italian, Norwegian, and Swedish). All models can be used in batch or real time and are customizable upon request.

TensorFlow from NVIDIA

TensorFlow from NVIDIA: TensorFlow is an open source software library for numerical computation using data flow graphs. This image bundles NVIDIA’s GPU-optimized TensorFlow container along with the base NGC Image.

Theobald Software Xtract IS for Azure

Theobald Software Xtract IS for Azure: With Xtract IS for Azure you can either develop new SSIS packages from scratch or use your existing SSIS packages developed with Xtract IS Ultimate/Enterprise. Develop on-premises and run in the cloud.

Tidal Migrations - Premium Insights for Database

Tidal Migrations – Premium Insights for Database: Tidal Migrations provides your team with a simple, fast, and cost-effective cloud migration management solution. This add-on empowers your team with actionable insights on the databases you plan to migrate to Azure.

Total Access Control

Total Access Control: Total Access Control from PortSys offers a Zero Trust approach to secure access to valuable resources wherever they may reside, locally or in the cloud. This single, scalable solution manages access across the enterprise.

Wanos Wan Optimization (SD-WAN)

Wanos WAN Optimization (SD-WAN): Reduce bandwidth and boost remote network access to Azure resources through TCP acceleration, compression, deduplication, object caching, packet loss recovery, forward error correction, QoS, and related WAN acceleration techniques.

WISE-PaaS-RMM 33

WISE-PaaS/RMM 3.3: WISE-PaaS/RMM IoT by Advantech is a reliable, scalable, and extensible IoT device management platform that bridges layers in Advantech IoT platform architecture, including IoT device, system, and cloud layers.

Wordpress With Ubuntu Server 1604 Lts

WordPress with Ubuntu Server 16.04 Lts: WordPress is a free and open source content management system based on PHP and MySQL. Features include a plugin architecture and a template system.

Consulting Services

AI Roadmap - 1 Day Brief

AI Roadmap – 1 Day Brief: This one-day briefing from StrategyWise will illustrate why you should use Azure AI tools with industry-specific case studies showing the value you can expect from digital transformation, prescriptive modeling, and AI applications built on Azure.

AI Roadmap - 3 Week Assessment

AI Roadmap – 3 Week Assessment: StrategyWise’s three-week assessment will provide you with a comprehensive blueprint for executing successful AI projects on the Azure stack, helping you to drive organizational change and process improvements.

AI Roadmap - 5 Day Workshop

AI Roadmap – 5 Day Workshop: This five-day workshop from StrategyWise will help you identify prime opportunities in your organization to drive organizational change and process improvements through artificial intelligence powered by Azure.

Analytics Roadmap - 1 Day Brief

Analytics Roadmap – 1 Day Brief: StrategyWise will illustrate why you should democratize analytics with industry-specific case studies showing the value you can expect from digital transformation, prescriptive modeling, and AI applications built on Azure.

Analytics Roadmap - 3 Week Assessment

Analytics Roadmap – 3 Week Assessment: Looking to launch an advanced analytics initiative on Azure? This three-week assessment will provide a blueprint for executing successful analytics projects on Azure, helping you to drive organizational change and process improvements.

Analytics Roadmap - 5 Day Workshop

Analytics Roadmap – 5 Day Workshop: This five-day workshop from StrategyWise will help you identify prime opportunities in your organization to drive organizational change and process improvements through analytics democratization powered by Azure.

App Modernization using App service 10 Weeks Imp

App Modernization using App service 10 Weeks Imp.: Build, deploy, and scale modern web, mobile, and API apps using Azure App Service. This service includes architecture design, engineering, and deploying applications in the Azure environment.

Application Portfolio Assessment 6 Weeks

Application Portfolio Assessment: 6 Weeks: Cloudreach’s six-week Application Portfolio Assessment with Cloudamize provides enterprises who want to migrate to Azure with a comprehensive migration strategy and a high-level estimate of run and build costs.

Assessment for Modern DataCenter - 4 weeks

Assessment for Modern Datacenter – 4 weeks: Sonata’s four-week assessment service advises customers and recommends a roadmap to build a datacenter in the Azure cloud. This service includes analyzing the feasibility of moving existing datacenter infrastructure to Azure.

Azure application Modernization Assessment - 2 weeks

Azure Application Modernization Assessment – 2 weeks: Sonata’s two-week assessment service advises customers on application modernization options and recommends a roadmap to modernize legacy applications in the Azure cloud.

Azure datacenter Modernization 8 weeks Imp

Azure Datacenter Modernization 8 weeks Imp: Sonata’s eight-week implementation will migrate and establish a modern datacenter in the Azure cloud. The service will provision datacenter resources and migrate data, databases, and applications to Azure.

Azure IoT 3-Day Proof of Concept

Azure IoT: 3-Day Proof of Concept: This three-day engagement from Tallan will educate your team on what is possible in Azure IoT Hub and build out your POC utilizing Azure IoT services and Power BI.

Azure IoT 3-Day Workshop

Azure IoT: 3-Day Workshop: Tallan’s three-day workshop includes presentations, stakeholder interviews, analysis, demos, and hands-on learning to help you create a technical strategy for your IoT solution.

Azure Managed Services 8 Week Implementation

Azure Managed Services: 8 Week Implementation: Cloudreach Cloud Core delivers service management of your cloud platform through monitoring, configuration, troubleshooting, security services, delivery management, and continual service improvement.

Azure Migration 1-day Assessment

Azure Migration: 1-day Assessment: Atmosera’s cloud assessment delivers a clear roadmap with options to evaluate workloads and performance data, prioritize business needs, and understand trade-offs when migrating to Azure.

Azure MSP Powered by CLIP 6-Wk Assessment

Azure MSP Powered by CLIP: 6-Wk Assessment: Brillio Azure Managed Services Provider (MSP) Powered by CLIP offers 360-degree coverage to enterprises throughout their cloud journey – from assessment to managing the cloud environment.

Big Data Roadmap - 1 Day Briefing

Big Data Roadmap – 1 Day Briefing: This StrategyWise briefing will illustrate why you should leverage big data with industry-specific case studies showing the value you can expect from digital transformation, prescriptive modeling, and AI applications in the Azure environment.

Big Data Roadmap - 5 Day Workshop

Big Data Roadmap – 5 Day Workshop: Looking to ramp up on big data powered by Azure? This five-day workshop will help you identify prime opportunities in your organization to drive organizational change and process improvements through big data on Azure.

Business Continuity Disaster recovery 2 Weeks Imp

Business Continuity Disaster Recovery 2 Weeks Imp.: This two-week implementation helps customers set up business continuity planning and disaster recovery on Azure. The service includes setting up BCP/DR environments in Azure and configuring apps and databases.

Connected Factory by APEx

Connected Factory by APEx: Cognizant APEx is an Industry 4.0 solution accelerator that enables the integration of devices, systems, and processes powered by the Azure IoT cloud platform to build a connected factory for optimized and enhanced operations.

Data and Analytics Strategy 1-day Workshop

Data and Analytics Strategy: 1-day Workshop: RevGen Partners’ one-day interactive workshop introduces success with Azure for data and analytics, a review of current capabilities, and a high-level strategy and roadmap toward maturity.

Data Estate Modernisation 1 Day Workshop

Data Estate Modernisation: 1 Day Workshop: Northdoor’s initial one-day workshop for technical and business leaders will assess your existing data estate and provide a roadmap to modernize your data platform (hybrid or full Azure) and licensing model.

DevOps Assessment 1-Week Assessment

DevOps Assessment: 1-Week Assessment: Create DevOps pipeline best practices for Azure DevOps, walk through current DevOps environments and action items needed to move to Azure DevOps, and create and use test workloads as a POC in this assessment from Tallan.

DevOps Implementation 3-Week Implementation

DevOps Implementation: 3-Week Implementation: Tallan will work with you to get all your applications using the same build automation mechanisms for Azure DevOps and ultimately help you build your DevOps pipeline strategy.

Discovery Free 2 hours Workshop

Discovery Free 2 hours Workshop: In this free workshop, Cloocus will investigate your current IT operation system, gather requirements, introduce methodology and references, and propose a fitting cloud roadmap.

Employee Experience Work Teams Jumpstart

Employee Experience @Work: Teams Jumpstart: The Cognizant Jumpstart for Microsoft Teams helps you successfully deploy and get immediate business value from this powerful platform using Azure bots, functions, and other services.

Free 1-2 Day Cloud Economic Assessment

Free 1/2 Day Cloud Economic Assessment: Blue Silver Shift will deliver a half-day workshop with your leadership team to go through digital transformation and the cloud, understanding your business, and building business goals and outcomes.

Free Azure Cost Optimization 1-day Assessment

Free Azure Cost Optimization: 1-day Assessment: ProArch’s one-day assessment will analyze all workloads you are using and provide a recommendation report detailing how you can reduce your cloud cost by 30–60 percent or more by moving to Microsoft Azure.

Health Content Manage & Localize - 4-hr Assessment

Health Content: Manage & Localize – 4-hr Assessment: Lionbridge will review your content creation and localization process, content types, linguistic needs, regulatory requirements, current pain points, and volumes to develop a custom end-to-end solution.

IBM Domino Migration to MS Azure 2-Day Assessment

IBM Domino Migration to MS Azure 2-Day Assessment: The Point Alliance methodology, industry-standard migration tools, unique intellectual property, onsite and remote consultants, and proven track record combine to mitigate risk and ensure a successful Azure migration.

Launch IT Lifecycle Mgmt 10-Week Implementation

Launch IT Lifecycle Mgmt: 10-Week Implementation: Launch is a collection of IT lifecycle management services designed to make IT organizations more efficient through a unique combination of people, processes, tools, and automation.

Legislative Management Consulting Svcs 10-Wk Imp

Legislative Management Consulting Svcs: 10-Wk Imp: This service is a great way to migrate from legacy systems to solutions on Azure. Tallan will work with IT and business users to enable disaster recovery and insightful data visualizations while reducing manual effort.

Machine Learning Discovery Study 4-wk Assessment

Machine Learning Discovery Study: 4-wk Assessment: The Data Analysis Bureau will guide you on your data and analytics journey through its Discovery Study, bringing industry and domain best practice and insight to your business.

Managed Services

Managed Services: Capgemini’s Enterprise Portfolio Modernization initiative is a suite of services that aligns application lifecycle and modernization capabilities with Microsoft Azure to offer an end-to-end approach to digital transformation with enterprise capabilities.

Microsoft Azure Cloud Migration 1-Hour Briefing

Microsoft Azure Cloud Migration: 1-Hour Briefing: Are you considering a cloud migration or just want a better understanding of Microsoft Azure? Utilize Plc will help you understand the capabilities of Azure, including Azure Backup, Azure Site Recovery, and security features.

Modernization Blueprint (Small) 3 Week Assessment

Modernization Blueprint (Small): 3 Week Assessment: The Modernization Blueprint provides expert analysis and Azure-specific recommendations across the modernization journey. Deliverables include an implementation plan, strategic vision, and a comprehensive proposal and playbook.

OneMigrate

OneMigrate: Sogeti can reduce cloud migration efforts by 40 percent with OneMigrate, an automated platform plugged in with Azure Site Recovery for server migration and CloudBoost library for environment provisioning.

People Analytics Data Platform 2-Wk Implementation

People Analytics Data Platform: 2-Wk Implementation: This People Analytics solution from Tallan offers insight into the information you likely already have about your employees so that you can identify trends in attrition, helping you retain your top talent.

Predictive Analytics, ML, AI POC 1 week

Predictive Analytics, ML, AI: POC 1 week+: Quadbase Systems offers this one-week proof of concept to demonstrate use cases for predictive analytics and machine learning on Azure ML. You will learn how to apply techniques to improve your business performance.

SQL Server Migration 3-Day Assessment

SQL Server Migration: 3-Day Assessment: CSW offers this migration assessment to help you move your on-premises SQL Server workloads to Azure SQL Database. You will receive an assessment document, suggested cloud architecture, and migration plan.

SQL Server Migration 4-Week Implementation

SQL Server Migration: 4-Week Implementation: After your migration assessment, CSW can carry out the plan to move your on-premises database to Azure SQL Database. CSW engineers will ensure your SQL workload runs flawlessly in Microsoft’s cloud environment.

Telstra Cloud Sight

Telstra Cloud Sight: Telstra Cloud Sight is an automated orchestration platform that enables you to configure your cloud accounts easily and keep them compliant, secure, and optimized – all aligned to your chosen best practice blueprints and with minimal human intervention.

Telstra Managed Public Cloud

Telstra Managed Public Cloud: Readify will install its cloud management layer atop your cloud infrastructure, enabling its expert team to effectively perform day-to-day management, monitoring, and essential security-related activities.

Website Migration - IaaS 4-Week Implementation

Website Migration – IaaS: 4-Week Implementation: CSW will migrate your website to Microsoft Azure, allowing you to capitalize on reliable cloud hosting services and scalability. This implementation includes moving all assets, SSL certificates, domains, databases, and more.

Website Migration - PaaS 2-Week Implementation

Website Migration – PaaS: 2-Week Implementation: CSW will migrate your website to Microsoft Azure, allowing you to capitalize on reliable cloud hosting services and scalability. This implementation includes moving all assets, SSL certificates, domains, databases, and more.

Website Migration 2-Day Assessment

Website Migration: 2-Day Assessment: This assessment from CSW will help you review your website architecture, platform, infrastructure, performance, security, backup, and recovery and then establish the necessary Microsoft Azure services for a cloud implementation.

Azure Marketplace new offers – Volume 42

We continue to expand the Azure Marketplace ecosystem. For this volume, 86 new offers successfully met the onboarding criteria and went live. See details of the new offers below:

Applications

360 VR Museum

360°VR Museum: The 360°VR Museum is a virtual exhibition platform that allows users to view HD 360-degree re-creations of local and international exhibitions where visitors can move around freely using a mouse or touch screen input. This application is available only in Korean.

Apache Airflow Helm Chart

Apache Airflow Helm Chart: Apache Airflow is a tool to express and execute workflows as directed acyclic graphs. It includes utilities to schedule tasks, monitor task progress, and handle task dependencies.

Apache Superset (Ubuntu)

Apache Superset (Ubuntu): Websoft9 Superset stack is a preconfigured, ready-to-run image for running the Apache Superset data exploration and visualization web application on Azure.

Ataccama ONE Data Quality Management

Ataccama ONE: Data Quality Management: Employ smart, automated metadata discovery algorithms to know the state of your data quality; empower data users to make smarter, more informed decisions; and prevent costly mistakes with Ataccama ONE.

Avid Media Composer Azure Test Drive

Avid Media Composer Azure Test Drive: Experience editing in the cloud with Avid Media Composer on Azure. This Test Drive includes one NV12 virtual machine with Avid Media Composer 2018.12, sample media, and Teradici Cloud Access software installed.

CallidusCloud WorkFlow

CallidusCloud Workflow: CallidusCloud Workflow includes everything you need to organize, automate, execute, and analyze business processes to connect people, data, and daily activities.

CentOS 6.10

CentOS 6.10: This secure, cost-efficient, and quick to deploy distribution of Linux is based on CentOS and provided by Northbridge Secure. Enjoy the power of Microsoft Azure from any device in a matter of hours.

Citrix ADC 13

Citrix ADC 13.0: Providing operational consistency and a smooth user experience, Citrix ADC is an enterprise-grade application delivery controller that delivers your applications quickly, reliably, and securely – with deployment and pricing flexibility to meet your unique needs.

Citynet

Citynet: Citynet is a monthly subscription-based SaaS application that enables cities to upload their unstructured city council data to Azure, where it’s automatically and semantically indexed and made available for natural language querying.

cleverEAI by Sunato

cleverEAI by Sunato: cleverEAI monitors all BizTalk integration processes. View your workflows in real time, analyze, and reprocess failed instances immediately. This VM image contains a complete BizTalk environment, configured automatically by the cleverEAI installation package.

CMFlex Cloud ERP

CMFlex: The CMFlex SaaS solution can be operated in different browsers and devices via the web, allowing you to manage your business from anywhere with accurate, real-time information. This application is available only in Portuguese.

Compliant FileVision

Compliant FileVision: Compliant FileVision is a policy management solution that empowers you to implement consistent, efficient, and sustainable processes for managing the lifecycle of corporate policies and standards, incidents, service improvement requests, and procedures.

Data Protector

Data Protector: Micro Focus Data Protector is an enterprise-grade backup and DR solution for large, complex, heterogeneous IT environments. Built on a scalable architecture that combines security and analytics, it enables users to meet continuity needs reliably and cost-effectively.

FileMage Gateway

FileMage Gateway: FileMage Gateway is a secure cloud file transfer solution that seamlessly connects legacy SFTP, FTPS, and FTP protocols to Azure Blob Storage.

Forms Connect

Forms Connect: Forms Connect enables you to digitize paper processes by capturing images and data and storing them in Office 365. This solution is ideal for HR and finance teams looking to solve the challenges of capturing information from the field and moving it to Azure.

Global Product Authentication Service

Global Product Authentication Service: Global Product Authentication Service is an innovative cloud‐based brand protection, track-and-trace, and consumer engagement service that drives business value by addressing challenges organizations face when operating in global markets.

Graylog (Ubuntu)

Graylog (Ubuntu): Websoft9 Graylog stack is a preconfigured, ready-to-run image for running log systems on Azure. Graylog captures, stores, and enables real-time analysis of terabytes of machine data.

HealthCloud

HealthCloud: The HealthCloud platform enables organizations and partners to easily develop highly interoperable solutions across the healthcare value chain. Its API-driven methodology delivers consolidated health data and patient-centric records from a wide range of sources.

Hibun Information leakage Prevention

Hibun Information Leak Prevention Solution: Protect confidential data from various information leaks, including theft, loss of device, insider fraud, and information theft by targeted cyberattacks.

Hyperlex

Hyperlex: Hyperlex is a Software-as-a-Service solution for contract management and analysis with AI that identifies legal documents and their important information for retrieval, saving your organization considerable time and resources. This application is available only in French.

Hysolate for Privileged User Devices

Hysolate for Privileged User Devices: Privileged Access Workstations (PAWs) provide a dedicated operating system for sensitive tasks that is protected from attacks and threat vectors. Hysolate makes PAWs practical to adopt at scale without degrading productivity.

Hystax Backup and Disaster Recovery to Azure

Hystax Backup and Disaster Recovery to Azure: Hystax Backup and Disaster Recovery to Azure delivers consistent replication, storage-agnostic snapshots, and orchestration functionality with enterprise-grade recovery point objective and recovery time objective.

Imago-ai Intelligent Chatbot

Imago.ai Intelligent Chatbot: Intelligent Chatbot on Microsoft Azure includes an interactive chatbot interface allowing clients to plug into any digital media as well as a dashboard that combines user behaviors and history to provide business insights.

InnGage Citypoints

InnGage Citypoints: InnoWave’s InnGage Citypoints gamification application on Microsoft Azure recognizes and rewards citizens who adopt good citizenship practices.

Intellicus BI Server V18.1 (25 Users - Linux)

Intellicus BI Server V18.1 (25 Users – Linux): Intellicus BI Server on Microsoft Azure is an end-to-end self-service business intelligence platform that offers advanced reporting and analytics capabilities, a semantic layer, and integrated ETL capabilities.

Intellicus BI Server V18.1 (50 Users - Linux)

Intellicus BI Server V18.1 (50 Users – Linux): Intellicus BI Server on Microsoft Azure is an end-to-end self-service business intelligence platform that offers advanced reporting and analytics capabilities, a semantic layer, and integrated ETL capabilities.

Intellicus BI Server V18.1 (100 Users - Linux)

Intellicus BI Server V18.1 (100 Users – Linux): Intellicus BI Server on Microsoft Azure is an end-to-end self-service business intelligence platform that offers advanced reporting and analytics capabilities, a semantic layer, and integrated ETL capabilities.

Jamcracker CSB Service Provider Version 7.0.3

Jamcracker CSB Service Provider Version 7.0.3: This solution automates order management, provisioning, and billing and can be easily integrated to support enterprise ITSM, billing, ERP, and identity systems including Active Directory and Active Directory Federation Services.

Jenkins (Ubuntu)

Jenkins (Ubuntu): Jenkins is an automation server with a broad plugin ecosystem for supporting practically every tool as a part of the delivery pipeline. Websoft9 Jenkins stack is a preconfigured, ready-to-run image for running Jenkins on Azure.

Jenkins on Windows Server 2016

Jenkins on Windows Server 2016: Jenkins is a leading open source CI/CD server that enables the automation of building, testing, and shipping software projects. Jenkins on Windows Server 2016 includes all plugins needed to deploy any service to Azure.

KNIME Server Small

KNIME Server Small: KNIME Server, KNIME’s flagship collaboration product, offers shared repositories, advanced access management, flexible execution, web enablement, and commercial support. Share data, nodes, metanodes, and workflows throughout your company.

Knowage Community Edition (Ubuntu)

Knowage Community Edition (Ubuntu): Websoft9 Knowage is a preconfigured, ready-to-run image for deployment Knowage on Azure. Knowage Community Edition includes all analytical capabilities and guarantees a full end user experience.

Lustre on Azure

Lustre on Azure: Lustre on Azure is a scalable, parallel file system built for high performance computing (HPC). It is ideally suited for dynamic, pay-as-you-go applications from rapid simulation and prototyping to peak HPC workloads.

Machine Translation

Machine Translation: Tilde Machine Translation offers custom systems to fit each client’s needs, delivering human-like translations that help save time and money, facilitate processes, and maximize sales.

NGINX Plus Enterprise Edition

NGINX Plus Enterprise Edition: NGINX Plus brings enterprise-ready features such as application load balancing, monitoring, and advanced management to your Azure application stack, helping you deliver applications with the performance, security, and scale of Azure.

Odoo Community Edition (Ubuntu)

Odoo Community Edition (Ubuntu): Websoft9 Odoo stack is a preconfigured, ready-to-run image for Odoo on Azure. The Odoo suite of web-based, open source business apps includes CRM, website builder, e-commerce, warehouse management, project management, and more.

OMNIA Low-code Platform

OMNIA Low-code Platform: Model your applications using a business language based on economic theory, greatly reducing your product’s development cycles from conception to deployment.

Omnia Retail

Omnia Retail: Omnia is a leading SaaS solution for integrated dynamic pricing and online marketing automation. It helps retailers regain control, save time, and drive profitable growth.

OXID eShop e-commerce platform

OXID eShop e-commerce platform: ESYON’s OXID SaaS solution on Azure offers powerful, modern shop software with many out-of-the-box functions for B2B, B2C, and internationalization.

Package Be Cloud RGDP Azure - PIA

Package Be Cloud RGDP Azure – PIA: Designed to facilitate your compliance process, Be Cloud’s tool can be adapted to your specific needs or to your business sector. This application is available only in French.

POINTR - Customer & Marketing Analytics

POINTR – Customer & Marketing Analytics: POINTR is a customer and marketing analytics application built using Microsoft Azure and Power BI. It delivers customer intelligence and actionable insights from personalized marketing campaigns via an intuitive interface.

Population Health Management Solution

Population Health Management Solution: BroadReach creates simple solutions to complex health challenges. By combining expert consulting and powered Vantage technologies, BroadReach gives clients the innovative edge to transform health outcomes.

Portability

Portability: Onecub is a personal data portability tool for the GDPR right to portability (article 20), providing companies with an all-in-one service to offer controlled, innovative portability to their clients.

Postgres Pro Enterprise Database 11

Postgres Pro Enterprise Database 11: Postgres Pro Standard Database comes with SQL and NoSQL support. Postgres Pro Enterprise Database contains more features on top of Postgres Pro Standard Database to work with large databases and process lots of transactions.

Power BI voor Exact Online

Power BI voor Exact Online: Power BI for Exact Online is a powerful business analysis application configured and optimized for Exact Online’s business administration and accounting environment. This application is available only in the Netherlands.

Power BI voor Twinfield

Power BI voor Twinfield: Power BI for Twinfield is a powerful business analysis application configured and optimized for Twinfield’s business administration and accounting environment. This application is available only in the Netherlands.

Realtime Sales Radar

Realtime Sales Radar: Track developments and sales figures of your online platforms in real time with the help of this HMS consulting service and data collection in the Azure cloud.

ReportServer on Ubuntu

ReportServer on Ubuntu: Websoft9 offers a preconfigured and ready-to-run image for ReportServer, a modern and versatile business intelligence (OSBI) platform, on Azure.

SentryOne Test

SentryOne Test: SentryOne Test (formerly LegiTest) is a comprehensive, automated data testing framework that allows you to test all your data-centric applications in an easy-to-use platform.

Service Management Automation X

Service Management Automation X: Micro Focus SMAX is an application suite for service and asset management, built from the ground up to include machine learning and analytics.

Snyk Cloud Security Platform

Snyk Cloud Security Platform: This Snyk solution lets developers securely use open source software while accelerating migration to Azure of micro-services and containerized and serverless workloads.

Social Intranet Analytics - with Netmind Core

Social Intranet Analytics – with Netmind Core: Get a detailed overview of the use, acceptance, multilocation collaboration, and interactions on your social intranet with Netmind Core from Mindlab.

sospes

sospes: Sospes allows staff to report workplace incidents (injuries, property damage, environmental hazards, security threats) and generates management and regulatory reports.

StoreHippo

StoreHippo: StoreHippo is a SaaS e-commerce platform used by customers across more than 15 countries and 35 business verticals. StoreHippo offers scalability and flexibility for next-gen businesses.

SyAudit for Medical Record Audits

SyAudit for Medical Record Audits: This solution from SyTrue scans medical records and highlights key data by record type to let auditors quickly validate findings through a modernized workflow.

Tidal Migrations -Premium Insights for Database

Tidal Migrations – Premium Insights for Database: Analyze your databases and uncover roadblocks to Azure cloud migration with this add-on to your Tidal Migrations subscription.

Trac - Issue Tracking System (Ubuntu)

Trac – Issue Tracking System (Ubuntu): This stack from Websoft9 is a preconfigured image for Trac on Azure. Trac is an enhanced wiki and issue tracking system for software development projects.

Unsupervised Anomaly Detection Module

Unsupervised Anomaly Detection Module: This IoT Edge Module (with Python) from BRFRame automatically categorizes dataset anomalies, eliminating manual work that can take time and lead to inaccuracies.

Video Inteligencia para Seguridad y Prevencion

Video Inteligencia para Seguridad y Prevención: This video analytics solution acts as the brain of a security system, enabling decision-making in real time. This application is available only in Spanish.

VM Explorer

VM Explorer: Micro Focus VM Explorer is an easy-to-use and reliable backup solution, offering fast VM and granular restore, replication, and verification of VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V environments.

winsafe

winsafe: Winsafe from Nextronic is an IoT dashboard platform that can locate static or mobile end-devices positioned in outdoor or indoor areas without a dedicated infrastructure.

Consulting Services

Advanced DevOps Automation with CI-CD 10-Day Imp

Advanced DevOps Automation with CI/CD: 10-Day Imp.: Leveraging InCycle’s Azure DevOps Accelerators, InCycle cloud architects will ensure customers realize modern CI/CD pipelines, IT governance, and minimum time to production.

App Modernization Implementation - 3-Week Imp

App Modernization Implementation – 3-Week Imp.: Based on InCycle’s proprietary Modern App Factory approach and Accelerators, InCycle’s Azure architects will analyze your environment, co-define your goals, and develop a cloud adoption strategy and roadmap.

Application Portfolio Assessment - Briefing 1-day

Application Portfolio Assessment – Briefing: 1-day: HCL Technologies’ free one-day briefing ensures customers understand HCL’s Cloud Assessment Framework and how it performs assessment in a proven methodology for migration to Microsoft Azure.

Azure AI & Bots  2-Hr Assessment

Azure AI & Bots: 2-Hr Assessment: This Neudesic assessment will provide a recommendation on how Microsoft Azure can be used to meet a key business need with an AI-powered bot using Neudesic’s agile, repeatable approach to accelerate delivery time and value.

Azure Architecture Assessment - 2-day workshop

Azure Architecture Assessment – 2-day workshop: In this assessment, Cloud Valley’s cloud architects gather functional and operational requirements, see how they align with your current business goals, and propose a technological solution.

Azure back-up and DR workshop - 2.5 days

Azure back-up and DR workshop – 2.5 days: Acora’s team will review your on-premises or cloud environment to provide a recommended approach for migrating to Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery.

Azure Cloud Readiness 2-Week Assessment

Azure Cloud Readiness: 2-Week Assessment: Emtec evaluates business processes and technology infrastructure to assess current investments and identify potential areas that are ripe for successful cloud migration and adoption.

Azure Management Services 10-Wk Implementation

Azure Management Services: 10-Wk Implementation: Catapult Systems’ Azure Management Services allow users to continuously optimize their cloud environment. In this assessment, Catapult helps you pick the option that best fits the objectives for your cloud environment.

Azure Migration - 2 Day Assessment

Azure Migration – 2 Day Assessment: This Third I assessment is driven by an in-depth review of your existing solution architecture to help identify a suitable modern data warehouse to match your solution needs.

Azure Migration 2.5 day Workshop

Azure Migration: 2.5 day Workshop: Acora will review your technical capability and readiness for a migration to Azure and provide recommendations on the cost, resources, and time needed to move with minimal downtime.

Citrix Workspace on Azure 5 Day Proof of Concept

Citrix Workspace on Azure: 5 Day Proof of Concept: Get a custom proof of concept of Citrix Cloud Workspace Integrated with Microsoft Azure along with design and cost estimates to enable your organization to move forward with the solution.

Cloud Foundation Assessment 6 Wk Assessment

Cloud Foundation Assessment: 6 Wk Assessment: This Anglepoint assessment will help you optimize your environment before you migrate to the cloud to ensure the most cost-effective solution that maximizes throughput and availability.

Cloud Journey Assessment- 4 Weeks

Cloud Journey Assessment – 4 Weeks: In this four-week assessment, Dedalus will determine the Azure dependencies for each of your applications to prioritize which applications and systems are the best candidates for migration.

Cloud Migration -8 week implementation

Cloud Migration – 8 week implementation: CloudOps will help develop an Azure migration and cloud-native strategy that meets your current workload and security requirements while enabling you to scale to the future needs of your business.

Cloud Optimized WAN Engagement 4-day Assessment

Cloud Optimized WAN Engagement: 4-day Assessment: Equinix will help develop a customized WAN strategy focusing on improved latency, performance, security, and flexibility while providing clear insights into your expected return on investment or total cost of ownership.

DataDebut Cloud Analytics 5-Day Proof of Concept

DataDebut Cloud Analytics: 5-Day Proof of Concept: This POC engagement helps boost your understanding of cloud concepts and offerings so that you can identify potential future value of enhancing your data platform, define your path to cloud-native data analytics, and more.

DataGuide Cloud Analytics Intro 1-Day Assessment

DataGuide Cloud Analytics Intro: 1-Day Assessment: Intended for solution architects, project and program managers, and key stakeholders, this free engagement gives your organization an overview of Azure data analytics and how they can greatly enhance your data estate.

DataVision Project Discovery 5-Day Assessment

DataVision Project Discovery: 5-Day Assessment: This Azure data project discovery provides in-depth analysis, design, and planning, enabling you to employ future-proof architectures, identify the best approach for the rationalization of existing data assets, and more.

Equinix Cloud Exchange 2-day Implementation

Equinix Cloud Exchange: 2-day Implementation: Equinix’s Cloud Enablement services make it easy to complete the setup and configuration necessary to activate your connection to the Azure cloud.

ExpressRoute Connectivity Strategy 3-day Workshop

ExpressRoute Connectivity Strategy: 3-day Workshop: This Equinix workshop empowers customers to implement an Azure ExpressRoute connectivity strategy tailored for their specific needs and is a fast-track path to optimized Azure consumption.

Onboarding Services - USA 4 weeks implementation

Onboarding Services – USA: 4 weeks implementation: Anunta’s Onboarding Services on Azure ensure end-to-end management of virtual desktop workload transition to the cloud, including implementation, Active Directory configuration, image creation, app configuration, and more.

Palo Alto Test Drive on Azure 1-2 Day Workshop

Palo Alto Test Drive on Azure: 1/2 Day Workshop: See how easy it is to securely extend your corporate datacenter to Azure using Palo Alto Networks Next Generation VM-Series firewalls with security features to protect applications and data from threats.

Predica Azure Migration 5-Day Proof of Concept

Predica Azure Migration 5-Day Proof of Concept: In this cloud migration proof of concept, Predica will guide you through the process of workload migration, ensuring you get the most from your Microsoft Azure implementation.

Security & Compliance Assessment - 4 Wk Assessment

Security & Compliance Assessment – 4 Wk Assessment: This Logicworks offering will help you assess your Azure environment against compliance frameworks and receive automated reporting, vulnerability scanning, and a remediation roadmap to help you improve security.

Spyglass-Azure Security- 10 Wk Implementation

Spyglass/Azure Security – 10 Wk. Implementation: Catapult’s Spyglass service jump-starts your cloud security by deploying Microsoft’s security tools and leveraging security experts, best practices, and centralized security dashboards.

Better together, synergistic results from digital transformation

Intelligent manufacturing transformation can bring great changes, such as connecting the sales organization with field services. Moving to the cloud also provides benefits such as an intelligent supply chain and innovations enabled by connected products. As such, digital transformation is the goal of many, as it can mean finding a competitive advantage.

The Azure platform offers a wealth of services for partners to enhance, extend, and build industry solutions. Here we describe how one Microsoft partner uses Azure to solve a unique problem.

Leverage through Azure services

One company, PTC, is well-known for ThingWorx, a market-leading, end-to-end Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solution platform, built for industrial environments. PTC has moved its platform to Azure, and in doing so, leverages the resources and technical advantages of Microsoft. Together, the two create a synergy that can help any manufacturer make a successful move to the digital world.

An image showing how PTC leverages Microsoft technology to enhance digital factories, monetize connected products, and create intelligent value chains.

Why things matter

The ThingWorx by PTC platform includes a number of components that can kickstart any effort to digitally transform a manufacturing floor. The platform consists of two notable components:

  • ThingWorx analytics
  • ThingWorx industrial connectivity

By implementing the platform, developers can create comprehensive, feature-rich IoT solutions and deliver faster time-to-insights, critical to the success of industrial implementations. Because the platform is customized for industrial environments and all aspects of manufacturing, as outlined below, it streamlines the digital transformation with capabilities unique to manufacturing. Add to that, PTC’s partnership with Microsoft and you get capabilities such as integrating HoloLens devices into mixed reality experiences.

Azure IoT Hub integration

Azure IoT Hub has a central role on the platform. The service is accessed through the ThingWorx Azure IoT Connector. Features include:

  • Ingress processing: Devices that are running Azure IoT Hub SDK applications send messages to the Azure IoT Hub. These messages arrive through an Azure Event Hub endpoint that is provided by the IoT Hub. Communication with the ThingWorx platform is asynchronous to allow for optimal message throughput.
  • Egress processing: Egress messages arrive from the ThingWorx platform and are pushed to the Azure IoT Hub through its service client.
  • Device methods as remote services: The Azure IoT Hub enables you to invoke device (direct) methods on edge devices from the cloud.
  • Azure IoT Blob Storage: allows integration with Azure Blob Storage accounts.
  • File transfers: The Azure IoT Hub Connector supports transferring files between edge devices and an Azure Storage container.

Next steps