Posted by: kurtsh | August 12, 2016

NEWS: Updates to Silicon Support Policy for Windows

imageAs of today, we have extended the support period for Windows 7 & 8.1 on Intel Skylake/6th gen processors from the previously announced July 17, 2018 to the end of support dates for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1; and we will provide all applicable security updates.

  • Support will end for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020
  • Support for Windows 8.1 will end January 10, 2023

For more on this, visit the official announcement blog post at:


Earlier this year, Brandon Rohrer, Senior Data Scientist in the Data Group at Microsoft, published a popular blog post titled How to Do Data Science.

Brandon is one of our speakers at the upcoming Microsoft Data Science Summit, a two-day intensive event for data scientists, big data engineers, ML practitioners and technical managers.

The Summit runs on September 26-27 in Atlanta. In his talk, Brandon will provide a comprehensive overview of how to do data science from start to finish. Brandon’s talk is aimed at the brand new data scientist, and his session will require no math, programming, or previous experience. You can follow him @_brohrer_.

There will be 3 tracks:

  • Advanced Analytics
  • Big Data
  • Solutions

Here’s a list of some of the sessions:

  • CNTK and Project Philly: Microsoft’s
  • Deep Learning Platform
  • Creating a Churn Analytics Solution
  • Creating a Predictive Maintenance Solution
  • Data Science for Absolutely Everybody
  • Deploying a Predictive Maintenance Cortana Intelligence Suite Solution Template
  • Getting Started with Cognitive Services and Bot Framework to Enrich Your Business Scenarios
  • Information Management Using Cortana Intelligence Suite
  • Inside the Data Science Virtual Machine
  • Overview of Cortana Intelligence Suite
  • Patterns & Practices for Moving Data at Scale
  • Unlock Real-Time Predictive Insights from the Internet of Things
  • Unsupervised Techniques for Discovering Trends, Correlations and Anomalies in Collections of Unstructured Text
  • What Is Your Data Science Super Power? Tips and Tricks to Successful Data Science

Data scientist, big data engineer, machine learning practitioner, or IT pro who wants insights into the latest advanced analytics technologies

imageMicrosoft has posted an explanation of each of the subtle vectors & phases of a security breach in a business or organization:

  • Phase 1: The Break-In
  • Phase 2: The Inside Man
  • Phase 3: Spread Out
  • Phase 4: The Long Con

In each phase, how a criminal proceeds, what they take advantage of, and why they take action is explained – along with specific solutions from Microsoft that help mitigate these threats and explain why Microsoft’s made the investments it’s made over the last decade in security.

To read the “Anatomy of a Breach” and better understand how Microsoft is committed to helping you secure your organization, start with the link below:

For more details on Microsoft technologies that safeguard your infrastructure, visit:


Interested in learning a Microsoft technology at your own pace, online & completely FREE?

We offer hundreds of courses online at edX.  Here’s the intro taken from our section:

We live in a mobile-first and cloud-first world. Computing is ubiquitous, and experiences span devices and exhibit ambient intelligence. Billions of sensors, screens and devices – in conference rooms, living rooms, cities, cars, phones, PCs – are forming a vast network and streams of data that simply disappear into the background of our lives. This computing power will digitize nearly everything around us, and will derive insights from all of the data being generated by interactions among people and between people and machines. We are moving from a world where computing power was scarce to a place where it now is almost limitless, and where the true scarce commodity is increasingly human attention.
In this new connected world, we believe technology creates opportunity, and our edX courses are designed to provide you with the core development skills needed to be successful in the cloud-first, mobile-first world.

imageOur edX courses, taught by Microsoft experts, let you learn through hands-on experience with broad reach, cutting-edge technologies in areas including cloud services, mobile development, and data sciences. Whether you’re a student or a seasoned technologist, we can empower you to build innovative applications, services, and experiences on the Microsoft platform that will help you make a meaningful impact in today’s interconnected world.
Welcome to the world of Microsoft technology – choose a path and make your mark.

For example, if you’re interested in Azure Machine Learning & the R programming language in particular, you can take these free online courses at edX:

To see what more we offer, check out the Microsoft section of edX now!

Posted by: kurtsh | August 11, 2016

INFO: The Value of Organizational Analytics

The following video is of Ryan Fuller, former CEO of VoloMetrix & now (since acquisition) General Manager of Organizational Analytics at Microsoft.

  • Drive innovation with insights that help improve organization effectiveness (41:23)
    Ryan Fuller – Microsoft General Manager, Organizational Analytics
    Ever wonder how your organization actually works? Are you looking for proven tools to drive employee engagement and organization transformation? Not only can personal analytics drive employee empowerment but well also look at how organizational analytics can provide data-driven insights to support business initiatives like enterprise health, organization simplification and sales effectiveness. Join us to learn more!

Drive innovation with insights that help improve organization effectiveness

If this is interesting to you, you may want to read more about the value of organizational analytics and “having available interesting information to analyze and make actionable”.

Megaport One Port, Unlimited PossibilitiesMicrosoft Azure ExpressRoute availability is now live at Switch/SuperNAP in Las Vegas, Nevada via Megaport.

Megaport is the global leader in elastic interconnection, taking you from any enabled data centre, to any cloud service, on your terms.


For details about getting Azure ExpressRoute stood up for your datacenter in Switch/SuperNAP, visit:

Posted by: kurtsh | August 9, 2016

RELEASE: Office 365 Service Assurance Dashboard

From the announcement blog post:

As customers consider the transition to the cloud, we often hear that they want to ensure security, privacy and compliance requirements are met. At Microsoft, we believe that customers have the right to know how Office 365:

  • Safeguards confidentiality, integrity, availability and reliability of your data.
  • Let’s you control access to your data.
  • Helps you comply with various regulatory standards.

We want to ensure that you have access to the information that is relevant for you to perform a risk assessment on Office 365 services—on demand. Access to this information should be seamless. To achieve these goals, we have released the Service Assurance Dashboard as part of the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center, which provides you immediate access to:

  • Details on how Office 365 implements security, privacy and compliance controls including details of how third-party independent auditors perform audits to test these controls.
  • Third-party independent audit reports including: SSAE 16 / SOC 1, SOC 2 / AT 101, ISO 27001 and ISO 27018.
  • Deep insights into how we implement encryption, incident management, tenant isolation and data resiliency.
  • Information on how you can leverage Office 365 security controls and configurations to protect your data.

Read more about Office 365 Service Assurance at:

Office 365 Service Assurance is located at:

imageIn this webinar, Greg Low will describe one of the most important processes for creating analytics: obtaining and transforming data that the analytics will be based upon. He’ll show how to use Power Query in Excel, and how to use the same functionality in Power BI Desktop to import data and get it into the shape you need it to be in.

About Greg Low
Greg is one of the best known Data Platform MVPs and Microsoft Regional Directors in the world, an internationally recognized consultant, developer, author, and trainer. Greg is the CEO and Principal Consultant at SQL Down Under, a consultancy operating globally from Melbourne Australia. Greg hosts the popular SQL Down Under podcast (, and regularly speaks at events worldwide. He has a passion for data.

August 25, 2016  2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Pacific Time


Posted by: kurtsh | August 8, 2016

RELEASE: Azure Logic Apps

imageAzure Logic Apps is now generally available.

What is Azure Logic Apps?
Azure Logic Apps is a cloud service that provides customers with the ability to VISUALLY build workflows that match or meet the needs of their business processes.  It has the unique ability to:

  • Integrate with existing SaaS and enterprise applications using out-of-the-box connectors that reduce integration challenges
  • Tap the information in from both on-premises and cloud applications, allowing customers to maintain their on-prem investments
  • Automate EAI, B2B/EDI, and business processes by enabling exchanges with trading partners via Electronic Data Interchange standards including EDIFACT, X12, and AS2
  • Leverage investments in BizTalk by enabling initiation of BizTalk processing from the cloud or leverage the new adapter to allow BizTalk to invoke Logic Apps
  • Connect to other powerful cloud services through your workflows including Azure Machine Learning & Azure Cognitive Services

Taken from the announcement post:

imageToday we are announcing the general availability of Azure Logic Apps, Microsoft’s Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) offering that enables rapid, enterprise-grade, hybrid application connectivity. At the Integrate 2016 conference in London, we shared our vision to build a comprehensive hybrid integration platform that allows customers to seamlessly connect traditional on-premises systems and cloud-native applications. Logic Apps forms an integral part of this strategy, and its general availability marks an important milestone for us in delivering against Microsoft’s Enterprise Application Integration vision.

Why is Logic Apps important? Businesses are going through digital transformation. Applications, data and devices are proliferating. Agile enterprise integration forms the backbone of this journey, making it possible for companies to connect systems and optimize processes as they evolve. At Microsoft, we want to enable our customers by providing the right tools to deliver services faster and stay ahead of competition. With the launch of Logic Apps, customers can seamlessly consume SaaS and enterprise applications, unlock value from their existing on-premises systems and enhance their integration solutions to make informed business decisions.

Visit the Azure Logic Apps announcement here:

Visit the Azure Logic Apps web page here:

imageWe announced our inclusion as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for IaaS today on the Azure blog.  Here’s an excerpt from the post:

Today, Gartner has named Microsoft Azure as a leader in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for the third year in a row based on completeness of our vision and ability to execute. We are honored by this continued recognition as we are relentless about our commitment and rapid pace of innovation for infrastructure services. With the G series, Azure led with the largest VMs in the cloud and we continue to deliver market leading performance with our recent announcement supporting SAP HANA workloads up to 32 TB. And while Azure is a world class cloud platform for Windows, it’s also recognized for industry-leading support for Linux and other open source technologies. Today, nearly one in three VMs deployed on Azure are Linux. Strong momentum for Linux and open source is driven by customers using Azure for business applications and modern application architectures, including containers and big data solutions. With over sixty percent of the 3,800 solutions in Azure Marketplace built on Linux, including popular open source images by Ubuntu, CoreOS, Bitnami, Oracle, DataStax, Red Hat and others, it’s exciting that many open source vendors considered Microsoft one of the best cloud partners.

What is specifically interesting however is that only Microsoft is considered a leader by Gartner in IaaS, PaaS & SaaS solutions.  In fact, when reviewing vendors identified as leaders across the major cloud Gartner Magic Quadrants, Microsoft’s presence is dominating.

The following table summarizes vendors in the leader quadrant across Gartner MQs for IaaS, PaaS and SaaS solutions for key enterprise cloud workloads.


To read the post, go here:

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