Microsoft Announced the Technical Preview of Azure Stack

Chris Crum   January 28th, 2016

Microsoft announced the technical preview of Azure Stack, which the company calls the next phase of its hybrid cloud strategy and the only hybrid cloud platform consistent with a leading public cloud.

The offering enables companies to deliver Azure services from their own data centers.

“With Azure Stack, Microsoft is bringing proven innovation – including IaaS and higher level PaaS services – from hyper-scale datacenters to on-premises, enterprise-scale environments to meet customers’ business requirements,” says Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Enterprise Cloud Mike Neil. “Why does a consistent hybrid cloud platform really matter? Because it provides customers access to the rich Azure ecosystem, empowering developers, IT and organizations to do more.”

“Application developers can maximize their productivity using a ‘write once, deploy to Azure or Azure Stack’ approach,” says Neil. “Using APIs that are identical to Microsoft Azure, they can create applications based on open source or .NET technology that can easily run on-premises or in the public cloud. They can also leverage the rich Azure ecosystem to jumpstart their Azure Stack development efforts.”

“IT professionals can transform on-premises datacenter resources into Azure IaaS/PaaS services while maintaining oversight using the same management and automation tools that Microsoft uses to operate Azure,” he adds. “This approach to cloud enables IT professionals to have a valuable seat at the table – they are empowered to deliver services to the business quickly, while continuing to steward corporate governance needs.”

Through the technical preview, the company will continue to add services and content. It will be available on Friday, January 29. Microsoft will host a webcast about it on February 3.

More details on the preview are available here.

Important Security Update for WordPress Now Available

Chris Crum   January 13th, 2016

WordPress announced that WordPress 4.4.1 is now available. It’s described specifically as a security release for all previous versions, and they “strongly” encourage you to update your sites ASAP.

The update is a response to WordPress versions 4.4 and earlier being affected by a cross-site scripting vulnerability that could allow sites to be compromised.

In addition to the security fix, the update also includes some additional bug fixes (via WordPress.org Blog):

Emoji support has been updated to include all of the latest emoji characters, including the new diverse emoji! 👍🏿👌🏽👏🏼

Some sites with older versions of OpenSSL installed were unable to communicate with other services provided through some plugins.

If a post URL was ever re-used, the site could redirect to the wrong post.

The update fixes 52 WordPress 4.4 bugs in all.

Gmail for Google Apps Unlimited Gets Data Loss Prevention

Chris Crum   December 17th, 2015

Google just announced availability of Data Loss Prevention in Gmail for Google Apps Unlimited customers. The company plans to bring it to Google Drive in the coming year.

“Workers are constantly creating and sharing new ideas, and keeping these ideas safe needs to be simple, quick and reliable,” says Suzanne Frey, Director, Security, Trust, and Privacy for Google Apps. “Google for Work already helps admins manage information security with encryption, audit reports, sharing controls, mobile management and two-factor authentication. But sometimes mistakes happen; for example, you might hit “Reply all” when meaning to send a private message. So today, if you’re a Google Apps Unlimited customer, Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Gmail will add another layer of protection to prevent sensitive information from being revealed to those who shouldn’t have it.”

“Organizations may have a policy that the Sales department should not share customer credit card information with vendors,” she adds. “And to keep information safe, admins can easily set up a DLP policy by selecting “Credit Card Numbers” from a library of predefined content detectors. Gmail DLP will automatically check all outgoing emails from the sales department and take action based on what the admin has specified: either quarantine the email for review, tell users to modify the information, or block the email from being sent and notify the sender. These checks don’t just apply to email text, but also to content inside common attachment types―such as documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. And admins can also create custom rules with keywords and regular expressions.”

Google has a data loss prevention whitepaper available here. You can also read this post, which looks at some of the company’s efforts throughout the past year.

Google will be discussing electronic crime, security, and privacy at the Enigma conference on January 25th.

Images via Google

Microsoft Parners with Red Hat on Enterprise Linux for Azure

Chris Crum   November 12th, 2015

Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it has entered a partnership with Red Hat to include Red Hat solutions on Microsoft Azure. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is to be offered as the preferred choice for enterprise Linux workloads.

The two companies are also working together to address enterprise, ISV and developer needs for building, deploying, and managing applications on Red Hat software across private and public clouds.

Azure will soon become a Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider so customers can run their Red Hat Enterprise Linux applications and workloads on it. Red Hat Cloud Access subscribers will be able to bring their own virtual machine images to run in Azure. Azure customers will be able to utilize Red Hat’s application platform, including Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, Red Hat JBoss Web Server, Red Hat Gluster Storage, and OpenShift.

Customers will also get the benefit of cross-platform support with both companies offering support in an integrated way. According to Microsoft, this is unlike any previous partnership in the public cloud. Support teams will actually reside on the same premises.

“Red Hat CloudForms will interoperate with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, offering Red Hat CloudForms customers the ability to manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux on both Hyper-V and Microsoft Azure,” Microsoft says. “Support for managing Azure workloads from Red Hat CloudForms is expected to be added in the next few months, extending the existing System Center capabilities for managing Red Hat Enterprise Linux.”

“Expanding on the preview of .NET on Linux announced by Microsoft in April, developers will have access to .NET technologies across Red Hat offerings, including Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, jointly backed by Microsoft and Red Hat,” it adds. “Red Hat Enterprise Linux will be the primary development and reference operating system for .NET Core on Linux.”

Red Hat discusses the partnership more in a blog post, as does Microsoft. They’ll be hosting a webcast later on Wednesday to discuss it further.

Real-Time Linux Collaborative Project Was Announced

Chris Crum   October 15th, 2015

The Linux Foundation announced the new Real-Time Linux (RTL) Collaborative Project, which sees Altera, ARM, Google, Intel, IBM, National Instruments, OSADL, Texas Instruments, and others working together to work on technologies for industries including robotics, telecom, manufacturing, aviation, and medical, among others.

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Microsoft Has Announced A Release Date For Office 2016

Chris Crum   September 17th, 2015

Microsoft announced that Office 2016 will become broadly available starting on September 22, which is just around the corner. Those with volume licensing agreements in place can download it from Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Center starting October 1.

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Microsoft Has Launched A Preview Of Their New Windows Server

Chris Crum   August 27th, 2015

Microsoft announced the launch of its third Technical Preview of Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016, which includes the release of the first public preview of Windows Server Containers as well as new Nano Server functionality and software-defined datacenter enhancements.

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In Over A Decade, Email Spam is At An All-Time Low

Chris Crum   July 23rd, 2015

Email spam levels have reached a twelve-year low according to research from Symantec.

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IT Admins Should Enjoy Dropbox For Business

Chris Crum   June 11th, 2015

Dropbox announced some updates to Dropbox for Business, which should make things a little easier for IT teams in the administration, security, and integration areas.

For one, they’ve added tiered admin roles. There are three tiers: Team admin, User management admin, and support admin. The idea is that day-to-day responsibilities can be delegated by having different roles assigned to each admin.

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Tutorial For Using Google’s Cloud Storage Nearline

Chris Crum   May 14th, 2015

Google announced the launch of Google Cloud Storage Nearline, a new service for cold (or infrequently accessed) data storage. The company touts its fast performance and low cost. Data is made immediately available with about 3-second response times, and the cost is 1c per GB for data at rest.

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