imageThe Azure Virtual Network service enables you to securely connect Azure resources to each other with virtual networks (VNets). A VNet is a representation of your own network in the cloud and you can also connect VNets to your on-premises network.

Join Lex Thomas as he welcomes back Ryan Berry to the show as they discuss new features and updates for Azure Virtual Network in part one of this two part series.

  • [04:43] What is Azure Resource Manager and how does it affect setting up an Azure Virtual Machine?
  • [11:28] How does Azure’s Hybrid Cloud possibilities impact organizations and their willingness to adopt cloud computing?
  • [14:40] How can organizations connect to Azure? What options are available?


Learn more about  Microsoft Premier Support Services.

  • Send your comments or questions to the "Taste of Premier" Podcast show!
  • Subscribe to our podcast via iTunes, Windows Phone Podcast Marketplace or RSS

imageIn response to feedback for a more predictable feature update model, we are moving to a new twice-yearly release cadence called the Semi-Annual Channel that replaces the Current Branch (CB) and Current Branch for Business (CBB). 

As we announced in April, Windows has aligned with Office 365 ProPlus, targeting releases in March and September, to simplify IT deployment cycles.  Both feature releases will be serviced for 18 months from the date of release.  The Creators Update marks the first of our Semi-Annual Channel releases.  The first aligned feature release will come this fall with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and a corresponding Office 365 ProPlus release.

Common terminology

As part of the alignment with Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus, we are also adopting common terminology to make it as easy as possible to understand the servicing process.  The two most important terms to understand include:

  • Semi-Annual Channel: These are the twice-per-year feature update releases, targeting March and September, designed for the broad population of general-purpose PCs used throughout organizations.  Each of these releases will be serviced for 18 months from the date of release.  (The Semi-Annual Channel replaces the Current Branch [CB] and Current Branch for Business [CBB] concepts.)
  • Long-Term Servicing Channel: These are less frequent releases, expected every 2-3 years (with the next one expected in 2019), designed for special-purpose PCs, such as those used in point-of-sale systems or controlling factory or medical equipment.  Each of these releases will be serviced for 10 years from the date of release.  (The Long-Term Servicing Channel replaces the Long-Term Servicing Branch [LTSB].)

Why the new model?

The new Semi-Annual Channel update cadence and lifecycle model provides commercial customers with greater predictability and simplicity to take advantage of the latest capabilities and integrated security, as quickly as is practical for their organization.  This predictable release cycle enables enterprises to plan combined servicing of Windows and Office and create deployment plans tailored to their needs.

For more information about how to implement a servicing process for Windows, refer to the detailed TechNet article.

Read the announcement here:

Gartner has recognized Microsoft as a Leader in the new CCP Magic Quadrant Report for 2017. In addition to being positioned as a Leader, Microsoft was placed highest for Ability to Execute.

Each year, Gartner evaluates vendors in the enterprise file sync and share market (now Content Collaboration Platforms). It then looks at a variety of key features and functionality across 13 areas, including simplicity and usability, security and data protection, analytics, user productivity and other.

We feel this recognition is a further indication of our commitment to our customers by ensuring that OneDrive provides the best file sharing and collaboration capabilities, including:

  • Best with Office 365—OneDrive is included with your Office 365 subscription, and is the only solution that enables you to edit and co-author from within Office across the browser, mobile and desktop apps, along with intelligent discovery and insights powered by the Microsoft Graph.
  • Support for a broad range of file types—In addition to Office files, OneDrive now supports over 270 file types, including Adobe Photoshop (PSD), Illustrator (AI), Acrobat (PDF), as well as 3D formats and DICOM images.
  • Security and IT confidence—OneDrive leverages Microsoft security capabilities such as Data Loss Prevention (DLP), eDiscovery, Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) and Data Retention controls with consistent management across Office 365.
  • Deployment flexibility—Customers can choose their deployment model—cloud, hybrid or on-premises—and leverage no-cost, Microsoft FastTrack deployment, adoption and migration services.
  • Cloud leadership and compliance—With 100+ global datacenters and Microsoft’s global network edge—combined with compliance standards, including ISO 27001, FISMA and EU Model Clauses—we offer customers trusted enterprise-grade compliance and security.

Read the announcement on the Office blog here:

Get your own complimentary copy of the Gartner Content Collaborations Platforms Magic Quadrant report below.

imageWeb developers take heed!  Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 is no longer being invested in & Microsoft Edge will be replacing IE11 as the OS browser for all Windows versions in the future.

Get involved with the summit today!

Microsoft Edge Web Summit is a free conference presented by the engineers building Microsoft Edge.

The main track consists of 14 jam-packed technical sessions, covering everything from performance, accessibility, and test guidance, to brand-new tools and APIs for building Progressive Web Apps on Windows, adding payments and biometric authentication to your sites, and building modern layouts with new CSS features like CSS Grid.

This year, we’re introducing a new Hallway Track, where you can meet with engineers from across Microsoft to solve real problems today, and build invaluable connections for the future. Looking to reduce a troublesome performance issue? Struggling with best practices for accessibility? Eager to get started with WebVR? Curious about Bash on Windows? We’ve got you covered. The Hallway Track connects you one-to-one with Microsoft engineers throughout the day for tangible results you can take back to your site or app.

A full lunch will be served along with light breakfast and dinner options. Refreshments will be available throughout the day.

imageIt’s been a little sketchy on the details on how Workplace Analytics is licensed so I thought I’d share what our PM has said is the general costs (sans Volume Discount) of the new technology.

Workplace Analytics is available for enterprise level organizations (5,000+ seats) and costs $6/license/mo for enterprise SKUs (with the exception of E5 customers, which is $2/license/mo).

Workplace Analytics is not included in E5 because we made a strategic decision to deliver the Workplace Analytics value in a different fashion.  The pricing reflects an investment in our customers that are invested in the Microsoft innovation cycle.

We understand that this is a significant departure from the typical licensing model, but Workplace Analytics is a unique solution that will significantly enhance the value of Office 365 by augmenting the layer of intelligence surrounding Office 365 products.

– Nathan Barrett, Office Product Marketing Manager (

If you’d like instructions on how to get started with Workplace Analytics, there’s a page that goes over exactly that:

Additionally, Metrics used to measure Workplace Analytics are listed and defined at the following web site:

There is a new community site for folks interested in asking questions about Workplace Analytics specifically. 

Posted by: kurtsh | July 18, 2017

HOWTO: Fix OneDrive sync client login hangs

For the last week, the OneDrive sync client on my machine would not login.  The client’s System Tray icon just sat there and said, “Signing in” forever.


Attempting to right mouse click on the SysTray icon for OneDrive (for the OneDrive for Business connection) SysTrayIcon2-RightMouseClickMenuGreyedOutsimply revealed a mostly greyed out menu that was basically useless.  In my pursuit of trying to figure out where things had gone wrong, I learned that an end user can NOT read the logs of OneDrive’s sync client.  It’s binary & unintelligible. @#$%

I currently have the OneDrive sync client on my machine synchronizing:

  1. My personal OneDrive (consumer) files from
  2. My personal OneDrive for Business files from Office 365
  3. The SharePoint document folders for over 12 different SharePoint team sites

That last bullet is important because I rarely go directly to any of the SharePoint sites themselves via a web browser.

I usually just:

  • Sync documents to the SharePoint document libraries so that other people can access them via OneDrive sync client
  • Sync Outlook contacts to a Contacts folder in the SharePoint site via Outlook 2016
  • Sync a team site OneNote notebook  via OneNote 2016

Note that none of these activities actually require connecting to the web-front ends of these SharePoint sites via a web browser.  All login & activities are executed through the OneDrive client, Outlook 2016, and OneNote 2016.

After working on this for more than a week, I put the issue on the backburner because another issue arose:  One of my SharePoint team sites was no longer accessible.

I discovered it was locked out and couldn’t be accessed so I contacted our IT department who unlocked it.  (It’d been locked out due to not being verified for our internal compliance check.)

After that had been fixed, I looked down at the sync client and lo and behold, it’d apparently logged in and started syncing… And it was now syncing all ~300MB of data that had changed since the last time I’d been able to successfully sync to both OneDrive for Business as well as my SharePoint Team sites. Smile


The point is this:  It appears that the OneDrive sync client will NOT notify you about login failures to SharePoint document folders that you are syncing to, and because there are no logs to review, there’s no way for you to identify the reason the OneDrive sync client won’t login.  It may login to your OneDrive for Business document folder… but not to the SharePoint document libraries you’re syncing as well.

So lesson learned… be sure to check that you can access all OneDrive for Business & SharePoint document libraries independently if you are having issues with the OneDrive sync client logging into OneDrive for Business.

Because it won’t tell you where your login/authentication issues are coming from.

Posted by: kurtsh | July 13, 2017

BETA: Presentation Translator – PowerPoint Add-in

imagePresentation Translator lets you add live subtitles to your presentations in PowerPoint, as you are speaking. You can show subtitles in the same language you are speaking, or in any of the 60+ supported languages. You can also have your audience follow along with the subtitles on their own device, in the language of their choice.

In addition, Presentation Translator lets you translate the text in your presentation to 60+ supported languages. The list of supported presenter languages and subtitle languages can be found at

Get Started with Presentation Translator, a Microsoft Garage project

A note about privacy
Presentation Translator is powered by machine learning and the voice and text information you provide for translation will be used to improve Microsoft products and services. We protect your privacy by taking steps to de-identify your data and keep it secure.

Presentation Translator lets you broadcast subtitles to anyone with a 5 digit access code that is unique to your presentation. You may block this access to your information by using the "Lock conversation" setting.

By continuing to use Microsoft Translator, you agree to our Privacy Statement and Services Agreement.

Terms of Use
Presentation Translator is a free add-in to PowerPoint that lets you add subtitles to your presentations for up to 100 hours per month. Microsoft may discontinue the Presentation Translator free trial at any time.

Read about the add-in on the announcement blog here:

Download the add-in here:

Microsoft Workplace Analytics—a powerful new organizational analytics solution—is now generally available.

Workplace Analytics uses a variety of techniques to learn about a workgroup’s productivity through *anonymous* examination of emails, calendars, & potentially information pulled from HR databases.

Microsoft Workplace Analytics is available as an add-on to any Office 365 enterprise plan.  The add-on costs depend on the version of Office 365 Enterprise you have. (Net: It’s a lower cost if you own O365 E5)

From the announcement post:

imageAccording to a recent Forrester report, increasing employee productivity is the number one priority for C-level executives in the next year, with 96 percent of respondents citing it as a critical or high imperative. Workplace Analytics provides unprecedented behavioral insights that can be used to improve productivity, workforce effectiveness and employee engagement.

Workplace Analytics taps into Office 365 email and calendar metadata, including to/from data, subject lines and timestamps, to shine a light on how the organization collaborates and spends time. It turns this digital exhaust—the data that comes naturally from our everyday work—into a set of behavioral metrics that can be used to understand what’s going on in an organization.

Microsoft has enabled Workplace Analytics with built-in privacy and compliance capabilities. Customers own their Office 365 data and decide how to apply insights generated by Workplace Analytics to solve tough business challenges. Workplace Analytics only leverages metadata that is aggregated and de-identified.

The announcement post highlights some of the scenarios in which Workplace Analytics can add value:

  • Sales productivity
  • Manager effectiveness
  • Space planning
  • Customized queries

For more information, read the recent Microsoft posts on the new release: 

Posted by: kurtsh | July 11, 2017

NEWS: Microsoft Azure Stack is ready to order now

imageThroughout the Technical Previews, we’ve seen tremendous customer and partner excitement around Microsoft Azure Stack. In fact, we’re speaking with thousands of partners this week at our Microsoft Inspire event. Our partners are excited about the new business opportunities opened up by our ‘One Azure Ecosystem’ approach, which helps them extend their Azure investments to Azure Stack, to unlock new possibilities for hybrid cloud environments.

In that vein, today we are announcing:

  • Orderable Azure Stack integrated systems: We have delivered Azure Stack software to our hardware partners, enabling us to begin the certification process for their integrated systems, with the first systems to begin shipping in September. You can now order integrated systems from Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo
  • Azure Stack software pricing and availability: We have released pricing for the pay-as-you-use and capacity-based models today, you can use that information to plan your purchases.
  • Azure Stack Development Kit (ASDK) availability: ASDK, the free single-server deployment option for trial purposes, is available for web download today. You can use it to build and validate your applications for integrated systems deployments.

Here’s a quick video giving an overview of Azure Stack, it’s ability to bring the power of the Azure cloud to your datacenter & what integration exists:

Azure Stack integrated systems – how to bring Azure to your data center

Read more about what Azure Stack promises customers looking to digitally transform their company but are concerned about complexity, security, and increasing TCO:

Posted by: kurtsh | July 11, 2017

NEWS: Microsoft signs agreement to acquire Hexadite

<taken from the announcement post>

imageMicrosoft Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire Hexadite, a company delivering agentless, automatic incident investigation and remediation solutions. The terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

  • Once closed, the acquisition will build on the successful work Microsoft is already doing to help commercial Windows 10 customers detect, investigate and respond to advanced attacks on their networks with Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP). WDATP continues to prove its value in detecting high-profile security cases such as zero-day attacks, ransomware and other advanced cyberthreats. Today, Microsoft is strengthening its Advanced Threat Protection offering by adding artificial intelligence-based automatic investigation and remediation capabilities, making response and remediation faster and more effective. With Hexadite, WDATP will include endpoint security automated remediation, while continuing the incredible growth in activations of WDATP, which now protects almost 2 million devices.

I like this description of what Hexadite does:

Fighting automation with automation is the only way to level the playing field. Hexadite uses artificial intelligence to investigate every alert and remediate threats, resolving incidents in minutes and freeing up your analysts to focus on the threats that truly demand their expertise.”

Here’s an explanation of their remediation automation solution:

Read the announcement post below:

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