Azure Updates: Running updates; Connected Vehicles; Cost Management; Azure AD; Power BI

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The 2020s are now underway, but for the Microsoft Azure world, it’s been a slow start. As 2019 drew to a close, both of the big holidays this season fell in the middle of the week, meaning a nearly two week lull with few announcements from Microsoft or its partners and ISVs. With January now firmly underway, users are getting back to work on their Azure projects and eager to see what comes next—especially with major conferences like CES and NRF going on this month.

Azure CTO Mark Russinovich kicked off 2020 with a new blog in the reliability series he has put out since July. Over the past five years, Microsoft has done significant work to ensure that customers no long need to shutdown VMs and fully reboot an entire host to do updates, with the introduction of new hot patching approaches. Russinovich outlined four different update approaches. Hot patching makes targeted changes to code while the system remains running, while memory-preserving maintenance pauses the guest VMs, preserving memory in RAM. Self-service maintenance opens a typically one month time window for customers and partners to make changes before scheduled maintenance overrides and kicks in. Lastly, live migration runs a VM from a source host to a destination host, shifting the local state while it’s still running. Going forward, he indicated that Microsoft is focusing on AI and machine learning to improve reliability.

According to FedScoop, one of the big stories of 2019 came to an end this month when US government attorneys replied to Oracle’s complaint in a federal appeals court about the handling of the JEDI contract, pointing out Oracle’s lack of technical qualifications to even apply for the contract. Mike Robuck, writing on FierceTelecom drew on research from Synergy Research Group, noting an average annual spending growth on data centers of only four percent throughout the 2010s, even with a bump in 2018 factored in. By contrast, cloud spending is closing in on $100 billion and grew 40 percent in 2019 alone, boding well for Azure—as well as its competitors—in the 2020s.

Luxoft, a spinoff of DXC Technology, joined Microsoft’s Connected Vehicle Platform. “Our collaboration with Microsoft gives automakers control and flexibility for creating highly differentiated, intelligent and beneficial connected mobility experiences for their customers,” stated Dmitry Loschinin, CEO of Luxoft. “Luxoft’s unique ability to combine innovation and execution with its global delivery network will allow us to accelerate the deployment of connected vehicle centric solutions and services based on the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform and Azure Maps,” added Tara Prakriya, general manager for Azure IoT Mobility, Connected Vehicles and Azure Maps at Microsoft, in a statement.