This year’s Microsoft Ignite wrapped up last week, and the conference was filled with various exciting announcements around key Microsoft workloads. During the event, Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, highlighted how Microsoft Cloud is enabling organizations to “do more with less“. He went on to lay down “five key imperatives” that are essential to build “digital perseverance“. Microsoft Ignite 2022 was filled with a flurry of announcements around the imperatives: Microsoft Azure, Automation and AI, Cloud Developer Platform, Microsoft 365, and Security. Our experts have curated a list of the most impactful Microsoft Ignite 2022 announcements. Here it goes.
- Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform adds Integrated Partner Ecosystem: In May, Microsoft introduced the Microsoft Intelligent Data platform, which deeply integrates its databases, analytics, BI, and data governance products into a unified platform. This platform now allows new selection options from Partner Ecosystem. Users can choose complementary and integrated partner solutions which can help drive relevant actions based on analytical data.
- Distributed PostgreSQL Support added to Azure Cosmos DB: With the introduction of distributed PostgreSQL support built upon the Hyperscale (Citus) engine, developers can now seamlessly utilize the powers of both relational and non-relational (NoSQL) data within a single Azure service.
- Encryption at Rest with Customer-Managed Keys on Azure Database for PostgreSQL: This new feature empowers customers to secure their data further by encrypting data at rest with customer-managed keys. It also enables users to manage the encryption keys from a centralized location, address specific security and compliance requirements and control the key usage permissions.
- Azure Data Studio now supports Oracle Database assessments for migration to Azure-Managed Databases: With the help of Azure Data Studio extension for Database Migration Assessment for Oracle, users are enabled to perform migration assessment from Oracle Database to PostgreSQL support provided on Azure Database.
- New cloud-like capabilities available for Azure Arc-enabled SQL Server: Microsoft has introduced new features to Azure Arc-enabled SQL Server, which are now generally available. Leveraging these new features, customers can benefit from a cloud-like experience, including a single sign-on experience and improved security and monitoring.
- Azure Automanage is now available for Azure Arc-enabled Servers and Azure Virtual Machines: Azure Automanage released during the Ignite 2022 conference, empowers customers to leverage automation to configure and manage servers throughout the software lifecycle at scale, whether they are in Azure or hybrid environments enabled by Azure Arc.
- Azure Container for PyTorch in Preview: Presently available in preview, this new service will bring together the latest PyTorch version alongside the best optimization software for training and inferencing, and all this is tested and optimized for Azure.
- Public Preview of Azure Deployment Environments: Azure Deployment Environments is a managed service offering enabling development teams to quickly create app infrastructure with project-based templates. Such templates help establish consistency and best practices while ensuring compliance, maximizing security, and delivering cost-efficiency.
- Azure Premium SSD And Azure Elastic SAN Updates: Improvements in Azure hardware have been made by introducing Premium SSD v2 and Azure Elastic SAN during Ignite. Premium SSD v2 is a new Azure Disk Storage that enables Azure customers to improve the performance of their storage systems without the need to increase storage capacity. Additionally, Azure Elastic SAN is a new cloud-based fully managed storage area network (SAN) service that offers users a scalable, cost-effective, high-performance, and reliable storage solution.
Automation and AI
- Azure OpenAI Service with invite-only access to DALL∙E 2: This new service will offer developers access to Dall·E 2. Dall·E 2 is a model enabling users to generate custom images through text or images. Addition of Dall·E 2 model will significantly expand the use cases of Azure OpenAI Service. The service will help users generate content, images, and code to keep them more productive.
- AI-based automation capabilities introduced in Power Automate: Microsoft is bringing the power of AI to simplify workflows. Now, users can describe what they want to automate in a sentence and an AI-based copilot will build the desired workflow in seconds. The AI copilot can also be leveraged to reshape data in a manner needed. Users can provide examples of the desired output format and the AI engine will automatically generate the expression formula to use.
- Microsoft Syntex launched: Satya announced the launch of Microsoft Syntex during his keynote speech. Microsoft Syntex delivers a new range of content apps and services that leverage AI to index and organize large amounts of unstructured content so that it can be easily searched and analyzed. With Syntex, users can automate various content-based workflows (e.g., contract processing, e-signature, etc.). It is integrated with Microsoft Search capabilities making it simple for people to navigate and discover content.
- Microsoft launches Designer: This AI-based web app enables users to choose from various templates for graphics, posters, presentations, digital postcards, invitations, and more to share on social media and other channels. Prebuilt templates are available from the web, as are shapes, photos, icons, and headings that can be added to projects.
Cloud Developer Platform
- Updates to GitHub Copilot: Satya during the Microsoft Ignite 2022 keynote emphasized the use of AI-assisted coding software such as GitHub Copilot, which empowers developers with tools to write better codes with much more efficiency. This includes “Explain Code,” which enables the developers to select and comprehend a line of code by translating it into simple English. Another tool is “Translate Code,” which allows the developers to convert the code from one language to another. He also mentioned that new updates and announcements related to GitHub Copilot would be made in GitHub Universe next month.
- Intelligent Document Processing with Power Automate: Powered by AI Builder and Power Automate, this service enables end-to-end document processing without any coding. Leveraging the capabilities of AI Builder, users can reduce processing time, increase accuracy of extracted data, and concentrate on high-priority workflows.
- Managed Environments for Power Platform now in General Availability: It is a collection of features enabling the IT admins to manage their Microsoft Power Platform environments better and govern low-code solutions at scale with enhanced control, more visibility and less effort.
- Microsoft Power Pages Updates Provide Enhanced Design Studio, New Templates: Microsoft Power Pages is a low-code development and hosting platform ideal for building business-centric websites, both for low-code makers and professional developers. Power Pages was announced as a stand-alone product during Microsoft Build 2022 and is now generally available. Additionally, new enhancements and pre-defined templates have been added to Power Pages enabling users to build business-critical websites more rapidly.
- Power BI Updates enable self-service data analytics, adds connectivity to OneDrive and SharePoint: Presently in preview, the new Power BI updates will enable organizations to scale self-service analytics by further removing friction to deployment, creation, and sharing.
- Updates for Power Apps to enable better collaboration: Co-authoring will now deliver commenting options to allow developers to simultaneously edit apps in real time using a Microsoft PowerPoint-like experience. While the new Virtual Agent integration with Power Apps will surface relevant external resources to assist users with the app development process and promote greater knowledge building across an organization’s internal maker community. Microsoft also introduced cards in Power Apps. It is a new way to create and send micro-apps to share, collect and connect data and make critical business decisions – all tasks attained without leaving Microsoft Teams.
- Mesh Avatars in Microsoft Teams: Mesh avatars were introduced to Microsoft Teams meetings. This was also a part of Satya Nadella’s Microsoft Ignite keynote session, wherein he talked about how this new feature will enable members to show up in the Teams meeting in customized avatars (based on their physical features) without turning on their cameras.
- Microsoft Teams Premium Add-on in Preview: This add-on will deliver meeting guides about the right Teams settings for a specific client call, brainstorming sessions, support calls and other scenarios. Premium users will be able to brand meeting experiences with custom logos and backgrounds for the lobby and custom scenes for together mode. The add-on will also bring intelligent recap feature for personalized highlights from Teams meetings, AI-based automatic tasks generation from the meeting, and intelligent playback for navigating recorded meetings.
- Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile now Generally Available: In partnership with many known telecom operators, Microsoft is now providing Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile. It is an enterprise-grade mobile calling app that enables Teams users to enjoy business calling features and access policies on their mobile devices.
- Microsoft Teams Meetings available natively on certified Cisco meeting devices: The event also brought good news for Cisco meeting device users. From now on, Microsoft Teams meetings will be available natively across certified Cisco meeting devices, enabling customers to configure Teams as the default meeting experience.
- Microsoft introduces Microsoft Places: A new workplace app was introduced to optimize spaces for hybrid work. This will enable business decision-makers to accommodate hybrid work environments better and adjust according to the working environments: connecting virtual and physical spaces to drive increased connections, engagement, and productivity.
- Introduction of Viva Sales: It is a new capability within Microsoft Viva that empowers sales personnel by bringing their CRM data into customer interactions across Teams and Outlook to make communications more effective.
- The New Microsoft 365 App launched: The new Microsoft 365 app for web, Windows, and mobile is now available for users. This app comprises all the tools and content within the Microsoft 365 environment required by the users on a single platform. Thus, making it easier to access the resources faster and work efficiently.
- Microsoft Defender for DevOps introduced: This new solution will provide required visibility across multiple DevOps environments to centrally manage DevOps security, strengthen cloud resource configurations in code and help prioritize remediation of critical issues in code across multi-pipeline and multi-cloud environments.
- Microsoft Defender Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) available in Preview: CSPM will build on existing security capabilities to deliver integrated insights across cloud resources, including DevOps, runtime infrastructure, and external attack surfaces. It will deliver contextual risk-based information to security teams.
- Microsoft Entra is now available in Preview: It is a new identity and access management solution built to securely work across multiple cloud platforms. Microsoft Entra Identity Governance enables organizations to ensure that the right people have the right access to the right resources at the right time.
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