imageArtificial Intelligence (AI) is proving to be a massively disruptive force, one that is leading to the digital transformation of businesses at a faster pace than most of us would have imagined. At Microsoft, our mission is to bring AI to every developer and every organization on the planet, and to provide the best platform and tools to make them successful. You can read more Microsoft’s approach to AI here.

In keeping with our mission, we are currently running a series of popular AI boot camps around the world. This post shares more information about these boot camps and provides links for you to access these materials and start building your own AI apps in a self-paced way.

Our bootcamps have two target audience profiles, the emerging AI developer and the professional AI developer, and our curriculum is primarily oriented towards these two personas. The first two days of the bootcamp are aimed at the emerging AI developer. The target profile here is an IT developer who is yet to use Microsoft AI tools and APIs to infuse intelligence into their business applications. Days three and four of the bootcamp are aimed at professional AI developers. This profile relates to developers and data scientists who currently build AI and machine learning solutions and want to know how to do this with Microsoft’s tools, framework and processes, such as the Azure Machine Learning Workbench and the Team Data Science Process.

In the two-day bootcamp for emerging AI developers, we split an end-to-end solution into two sections: Cognitive Services and Azure Bot Services. We spend time looking at many of the Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services, and then deep dive into our Vision APIs, specifically, Computer Vision and Custom Vision. With Computer Vision, we store descriptions and tags from various images in Cosmos DB, Microsoft’s globally distributed, multi-model database, We then build an Azure Search index on top of it, and create a bot with NLP capabilities using LUIS (our language understanding service) to greet, query, and share images. We also set up logging for our bot and explore different techniques for testing our application.

In the two-day bootcamp for professional AI developers, we help attendees use the Azure Machine Learning Workbench to develop, test and deploy ML solutions using an agile and team-oriented framework. The Workbench uses Python with Conda environments to handle package dependencies, and Docker to create, test and deploy ML solutions which can then be served as applications using Azure Container Services. We also cover how the Workbench syncs with Azure Machine Learning Services to store and manage our ML models and related assets, as well as the services created by them.

You can now build these applications yourself in a self-paced way – bootcamp materials are available on GitHub at the links below.

imageOffice 365 is not immune to the basic laws of economics. If the technology does not help increase company revenue, improve employee productivity or cut expenses, few executives will commit time and resources to deploying it or invest in improving adoption and usage.

While many can agree that measuring ROI is important, little consensus exists on just how to gauge the effectiveness of Office 365 and its solutions.

This whitepaper is designed to provide practical advice for leaders who want to put Office 365 to work but wrestle with the challenges of justifying its value after deployment. Some of the metrics discussed in this whitepaper may vary based on how you use Office 365, but the economic principles remain the same.

Download this whitepaper now to help you identify the business value generated by Office 365 deployments and measure it against the costs of implementing these technologies or improving their usage.

In this whitepaper, we’ll give you guidance and recommendations to successfully measure and share the business impact and value of Office 365 as well as:

  • How to measure and improve business impact.
  • What goes into defining a good business objective and how to align and prioritize them.
  • 9 detailed and comprehensive examples of Office 365 driving business impact.
  • Advice and a comprehensive outline of all the reporting options available in Office 365.
  • And more!

Download the paper from 2toLead.

imageDistributed systems enable different areas of a business to build specific applications to support their needs and drive insight and innovation.

While great for the business, this new normal can result in development inefficiencies when the same systems are reimplemented multiple times.

This free e-book provides repeatable, generic patterns, and reusable components to make developing reliable systems easier and more efficient—so you can free your time to focus on core development of your app.

In this 160–page e-book, you’ll find:

  • An introduction to distributed system concepts.
  • Reusable patterns and practices for building distributed systems.
  • Exploration of a platform for integrating applications, data sources, business partners, clients, mobile apps, social networks, and Internet of Things devices.
  • Event-driven architectures for processing and reacting to events in real time.
  • Additional resources for learning more about containers and container orchestration systems.

image“There are more distributed systems that need to be built then there are people who know how to build them. The development and sharing of patterns for building distributed systems (especially in container orchestration technology like Kubernetes) enables both novice and veteran system builders to rapidly build and deploy reliable distributed systems.”

—Brendan Burns

About the author: Brendan Burns, Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft, works on Azure and is cofounder of the Kubernetes project.

imageNo matter how far along your government organization has moved toward adopting cloud technology, it’s helpful for you to be able to measure how far you’ve come—and learn what you can do to move further along the path.

A 2017 report, the IDC MaturityScape Benchmark: Cloud in Federal Defense and Intel Agencies in the United States, describes five stages agencies go through before their investments in cloud technology really pay off. You’ll read about:

  • The difference between agencies that struggle with cloud adoption and those that have undergone a digital transformation 
  • How organizations successfully give their internal customers cloud-based delivery models 
  • The gaps in organizations’ cloud management capabilities 

Download the report to read about high-performing agencies’ vision, their technology, how they invested in their employees’ skills and training, and the processes they have in place.

In this comprehensive overview of the Microsoft 365 Security offering, Brad Anderson (CVP, Enterprise Mobility) shares how he talks to customers about the unique and powerful M365 Security story.

Brad offers an in-depth look at identity-driven security, information protection, threat protection, and security management.

imageSpend more time building great apps and less time managing server infrastructure. Get your solutions to market faster using Azure Functions, a fully managed compute platform for processing data, integrating systems, and building simple APIs and microservices. In this e-book you’ll find use cases, hands-on steps, and tutorials for quickly configuring your own serverless environments. Explore best practices for Functions, and learn how to:

  • Develop event-based handlers on a serverless architecture.
  • Test, troubleshoot, and monitor Azure functions.
  • Automate administrative tasks from development through to deployment and maintenance.
  • Integrate Functions with other Azure services.
  • Build stateful serverless apps and self-healing jobs using Durable Functions.

Download the 325-page serverless computing e-book and get access to dozens of step-by-step recipes for quickly building serverless apps.

imageBuilding on the cloud helps you tap into massive compute, scalable data storage and advanced tools, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. With the cloud, you can build revolutionary apps that transform your business and improve people’s lives.

Join us at the Azure Developer Tour 2018 and learn how to build incredible cloud apps. This isn’t slideware. It’s live coding demos from our team of cloud developer experts that will teach you the skills you need to take full advantage of the cloud.

What you’ll learn:

Free + lunch provided!


  • 8:45AM Check-in
  • 9:15AM – 12:30PM Keynotes | Two 90 minute Sessions + Breaks
  • 12:30PM – 1:30PM Lunch! (provided)
  • 1:30PM – 2:45PM Live Coding | Azure Tips & Tricks – AI/ML
  • 2:45PM The End
April 9th – 9:00AM-2:45PM
CTRL Collective
12575 Beatrice St
Los Angeles, California 90066


This event is also being run on different dates in:

  • Toronto
  • Vancouver
  • Washington DC
  • San Francisco
  • Austin
  • Seattle

Register for these cities at this site:

Posted by: kurtsh | March 14, 2018

INFO: Azure Security Best Practices and Patterns

imageInterested in security guidance when it comes to using Azure?  Here’s a page that Azure Security is maintaining to keep people updated on various elements of security that should be considered when using Azure.

Original page here:

imageThe 2017 study, The Total Economic Impact™ of Microsoft Azure IaaS, gives insight into both the costs and benefits of large-scale Azure infrastructure as a service (IaaS) implementation.

This commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting analyzes the return on investment and business impact that several enterprises experienced when moving from a primarily on-premises environment to Azure. The companies interviewed come from a variety of industries and locations (global/multinational, North American, and European).

In addition to a 435 percent overall return on an Azure IaaS investment*, the businesses also experienced:

  • Reduced data center and outsourcing costs.
  • Website scale and performance improvements.
  • Ease of experimentation through virtualized environments.
  • Developer and tester improvements. 

Download the study to learn about the potential ROI that could be realized by shifting some or all of your management and operations to Azure.

* Result is over five years for a composite organization based on the interviewed customers

imageIn case you missed it, the Microsoft Planner “Ask Microsoft Anything” online event took place this morning from 9-10AM and the record of all questions asked and answered are available online for folks to review.

Here’s a summary of some of the questions:

  • Do you guys have an updated roadmap?
  • Is there is anyway (or on Roadmap) to restore a “plan” from specific time like a snapshot?
  • Why is there no option to search for tasks?  Priorities for tasks?
  • Great to see the Planner web part in SharePoint. What enhancements does the Planner team have lined up?
  • Will Planner be implementing a ‘copy plan’, or ‘template plan’ feature soon, as discussed in the boards?
  • Is there a way to receive notifications when a task is complete via email if I’m the one who created it?

View the AMA written record here:

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