Eric Kraus


SkyDrive Pro Increases Storage

Another perfect example of the value of Microsoft’s SaaS (Software As A Service) and Cloud Services: continuous innovation.  Microsoft recently announced that SkyDrive Pro (on Office 365) will increase the default amount of storage for users as well as add a few other valuable features.

Each user will now get 25 GB of SkyDrive Pro storage space (up from 7 GB). Additionally, administrators can increase users’ storage beyond the default 50 GB and 100 GB limits.  The team also added a new “Shared with Me” view to  easily find documents others have shared with you.

Read more here:


Azure Announcements


Two significant announcements were made last week that are worthy of a call out. They are a clear sign of the commitment and investment Microsoft is making in the cloud.


Microsoft Cloud Solutions Demonstrate Ability to Support Qualified GxP Applications

Microsoft becomes the only major combined IaaS, PaaS and SaaS public cloud provider to enable life sciences organizations to meet GxP qualification requirements, Helping Life Sciences Organizations Achieve and Maintain Compliance in the Cloud

Press Release:



Microsoft/Oracle Enterprise Partnership

Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. today announced a partnership that will enable customers to run Oracle software on Windows Server Hyper-V and in Windows Azure. Customers will be able to deploy Oracle software — including Java, Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic Server — on Windows Server Hyper-V or in Windows Azure and receive full
support from Oracle.

Press Release:

Oracle Blog:


Exciting Updates for Office

Wanted to share a couple exciting updates related to Office and Office 365.


Office Mobile for iPhone


Outlook 2013 is coming to Windows RT

As part of the Windows 8.1 update, Outlook 2013 will be coming to Windows RT (joining Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote).

more information:

SharePoint Yammer Roadmap

Microsoft recently published a blog detailing some SharePoint, Yammer, Office 365 roadmap disclosures.  I won’t repost the entire link, you can read it for yourself, but wanted to highlight a few key items that are important.


Enhancement Schedule
As we move into 2014, we’ll continue updating Office 365 with new social enhancements roughly every 90 days. We’ll start by simply deepening the connections between Yammer and Office 365 services, but over time these incremental enhancements will combine social, collaboration, email, instant messaging, voice, video, and line of business applications in innovative new ways.

Another reason why cloud services are perfect for delivering constant innovation to your organization

Newsfeed or Yammer?  Which should we use?
This summer, Office 365 customers will be able to replace the SharePoint Newsfeed with Yammer if they choose.  Is that the right choice?  In my opinion, yes…Yammer all the way.  Because Yammer is a service, it gives Microsoft an easy way to innovate quicker.  Also, Microsoft is making huge investments to integrate Yammer in as many products as possible.  SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics, etc.  Yammer’s cross-platform mobile apps and external communities make it prime for instant social collaboration.

What about on-premises deployments? “When it comes to the cloud, we’re “all in,” but we’re also realistic.  We have a large on-premises installed base that’s important to us, and we’re committed to future releases of the server.” 

However, on-prem deployments will be subject to similar historical release schedules (every 3 years) with some service pack updates along the way.  For organizations that need to provide modern capabilities as markets (and employees) demand, cloud services are still the best way to go.


Windows 8 Developer Hackathon

As a follow up to Day 1: Windows 8 Developer Bootcamp  Microsoft is hosting a second FREE developer focused training event

Combining the broad reach of Windows, best-in-class developer tools, a re-imagined user experience, support for new chipsets, and a built-in store with industry-leading business terms, Windows 8 is the largest developer opportunity – ever. Also re-imagined, with new support for IaaS, FREE web sites, industrial strength caching and a powerful, comprehensive API, Windows Azure is ready for your application – today.

Our Hackathon is an open Windows 8 and Windows Azure code fest, where you’ll put what you know into practice and be eligible to win some great prizes! Code to your heart’s content, with Microsoft experts available to guide you through every step of the process. It’s the perfect opportunity to get your dream application underway, or to finish that app you’ve already started.

This full-day event will be filled with coding, sharing, plenty of food, and perhaps the occasional Lightning Talk on topics determined by your apps and questions.

Windows 8 Developer Bootcamp

Here’s a great opportunity to get some FREE hands-on experience developing Windows 8 applications.

Training Overview:

Combining the broad reach of Windows, best-in-class developer tools, a re-imagined user experience, support for new chipsets, and a built-in store with industry-leading business terms, Windows 8 is the largest developer opportunity – ever.

Our DevCamp covers Windows 8 RTM from top to bottom, featuring sessions that run from introductory to intermediate as the day unfolds.Bring your PCs installed with Windows 8 RTM,Visual Studio 2012, your apps and your cool ideas and get ready to create!

Also, stick around for Day 2: Windows 8 Developer Hackathon

Bing Search API moves to Azure

As of today, the Bing Search API is now being offered on the Windows Azure Marketplace.

For up to 5,000 queries per day, developers can use the API for free to query Bing for web, image, news and video search results as well as related searches and spelling suggestions.  For queries over 5,000 developers can subscribe to various tiers of queries per month.  For instance, 10,000 queries is $20/mo and 20,000 queries is $40/mo (all the way up to 2.5 million queries per month).

The new Bing Search API supports both XML and JSON formats.

Bing Search API

It is also worth noting the features that are included in the Microsoft Translator API which is treated separately than Bing Search API.

Microsoft Translator allows for the automatic machine translation of text into specific languages via web service API.  For up to 2 million characters per month, developers can translate text for free.  Moving up to 4 million characters costs only $40/mo.

Microsoft Translator API


Transition your application to the Windows Azure Marketplace:

1. Sign up for the Marketplace.

2. Read the migration guide on transitioning your application. You can expect the transition to involve targeting a new API end point, moderate changes to the request and response schemas, and a new security requirement to authenticate your application key.

3. Subscribe to the Bing Search API and create an application key. You will not be charged for API usage until the trial period expires.

Important note…the Bing Search API 2.0 will be decommissioned on August 1, 2012 so existing developers are encourage to migrate their applications as soon as possible.

Microsoft’s Private Cloud

On a frequent basis, I am asked by customers to explain “How Microsoft does….” with a wide variety of fill-in-the-blank technologies and scenarios.  I encourage similar request to first check out: “How Microsoft Does IT”.  However, I wanted to answer a popular request now with a current trend around “the cloud.”  Specifically, the Private and Hybrid Clouds.

Let’s first take a stab at defining these concepts.  Private means using resources that are dedicated to your organization, almost always on-premise.  Hybrid, as you may guess, combines on-premise infrastructure with shared infrastructure hosted by a provider.  There are definite trade-offs between these models – including: cost, control and capability.

The definition of “cloud” is more difficult because it depends on the company and the given pain points within IT.  However, most implementations share similar characteristics.  Most private clouds utilize resource pooling, self-service capabilities, elasticity and pay-by-use services that traditional infrastructure can not provide.

The general benefits of a private cloud include increased agility and responsiveness, reduced TCO, and increased business alignment and focus.  In addition, private clouds are more cost effective because of their ability to maintain higher workload densities and resource utilization.


Microsoft’s Private Cloud offers four specific benefits.  They are All About The App, Cross-Platform Support, Best-in-Class Performance, Cloud on Your Terms.

All About the App

To an business user, it’s all about the App.  Most business users don’t care whether or not their application uses a “cloud” or a “rainbow” to access their data.  Just as long as it works, works well and works always.

Microsoft allows you to manage applications across the entire application lifecycle from design to deployment to upgrades and decommissioning.  System Center 2012 includes a new technology called Server Application Virtualization which allows organizations to simplify their deployment and management of server applications.

Cross-Platform Support

Microsoft understands that customer needs will vary.  Interoperability and cross-platform support from the metal on up is a core value of Microsoft’s Private Cloud.  Technologies supported include:

Hypervisor – Hyper-V, XenServer, VMware ESX/ESXi
Operating System – Windows, Linux: RedHat, SUSE, CentOS)
Application Development Framework – .NET, Java, PHP, Ruby, Python


Best-in-Class Performance

Virtualize applications like SharePoint, SQL Server, and Exchange on Hyper-V for best-in-class performance and scalability.  Test lab results show the scale of Microsoft’s Private Cloud solutions:

  • 450,000 concurrent SharePoint 2010 users on 1 physical host (5 virtual guests)
  • 80,000 OLTP users on 1 physical host (4 virtual SQL Server 2008 R2 guests)
  • 20,000 Exchange 2010 mailboxes on 1 physical host (4 virtual guests)

Microsoft is recognized by Gartner as a top-right Magic Quadrant leader in x86 virtualization.

Cloud on Your Terms

Microsoft recognizes that many organizations have investments across on-premise infrastructure, private/hybrid and public clouds.  Microsoft’s Private Cloud offering includes the following common tools that work across all three infrastructure scenarios:

  • management – System Center
  • identity – Active Directory
  • virtualization – Hyper-V
  • development tools – Visual Studio / .NET

These common tools allow customers to move to the cloud as needed by the organization.  Whether the end goal is to move services to the public cloud or to simply become more mature with on-premise services, Microsoft’s Private Cloud offering enables customers to meet the needs of the business today with the option to adapt when the needs of the business change.




Microsoft’s Private Cloud solution is a cost effective solution for gaining maturity within your IT service offering.  In order to deliver the same level of cloud capability, VMware costs 4.8x as much as Microsoft.



Facts on Microsoft’s Private Cloud Infrastructure.

3,000 host servers (2500 clustered)
15,000 virtual guests

64 blade servers
128 processor sockets, 768 processor cores, 1536 logical processors
12 TB RAM, 16 x 10Gbps Ethernet, 32 x 8Gbps Fibre Channel

MSIT builds 300-400 VMs per month

Migration: MSIT migrated 200,000 configuration manager 2007 clients to 2012 in less than 90 days




Microsoft Private Cloud White Paper

System Center 2012 Capabilities and Feature

How Microsoft IT Uses System Center Virtual Machine Manager to Manage the Private Cloud

How Microsoft IT Developed a Private Cloud Infrastructure