April 11, 2013 News Thursday: Microsoft Teams up with NBC for Video Delivery and more Server and Tools News…

by STB Blogger

Microsoft Teams up with NBC Sports Group

Beginning this summer, sports fans will be able to watch more than 5,000 hours of some of the biggest sporting events across NBC Sports’ digital platforms, powered by Windows Azure Media Services.

The alliance was announced at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show. As a result of this collaboration, Windows Azure Media Services will provide both live streaming and on-demand viewing to NBCSports.com, NBCOlympics.com and GolfChannel.com – whether viewers are watching on smartphones, tablets or PCs.

To learn more, you can watch a video of Rick Cordella, senior vice president and general manager of digital media at NBC Sports Group, who discusses why they chose Windows Azure. You can also read more about the announcement on the Cloud Computing Virtual Pressroom.

Windows Azure Active Directory Extends Identity to the Cloud

Windows Azure Active Directory (AD), a key component for enterprises enabling new applications and infrastructure in the cloud, has reached general availability. Today, over 2.9 million companies are already enjoying the benefits of Windows Azure AD by managing access to Office365, Dynamics CRM online, Windows Intune and Windows Azure. Over the last 90 days, Windows Azure AD has processed over 65 billion authentication requests while maintaining 99.97% or better monthly availability.

You can read more about these updates on the Windows Azure blog, including how enterprises can benefit by integrating Windows Azure into their business strategy.

Windows Azure Customers Get a Competitive Edge

Windows Azure lets customers push the boundaries of technology to create winning business solutions. Here are some examples of customers doing amazing things with Windows Azure.

Windows Azure gives Microsoft BizSpark startup elicit the power to scale and meet the demands of their clients’ high-traffic websites. Founded to help people more easily find what they are looking for within a website, elicit turned to Windows Azure to give developers a simple and powerful way to control their website searchability. By enabling human curation over algorithms, elicit provides a site-search solution that lets marketers determine the most effective keywords for their site and enables fine-tuning and control of search results. elicit chose Windows Azure SQL Database to manage the application data for its superior scalability. Windows Azure also takes care of tasks including provisioning virtual machines and load balancing for elicit, so the start-up can focus its resources on delivering the best possible application to customers. You can read more about elicit’s move to cloud on Microsoft News Center.

Online ticketing service Flavorous sells tickets for everything from small gatherings to high-volume events, and they needed a solution that could scale with the demand. Windows Azure met that need and is helping reduce costs and capital expenditure, and achieve exponential scalability, high data reliability, fast time-to-market, and a new competitive advantage. The company turned to Windows Azure to create Jetstream, an application that can handle massive online sales without crashing. You can hear more about how Flavorous is leveraging Windows Azure to handle ticket sales in the Microsoft case study video.

U.K. Government Trusting Windows Azure to Handle Sensitive Data

Windows Azure is the only public cloud with the level of security authorization that gives The U.K. Government the confidence to use the cloud to handle select sensitive data. The decision was made following a detailed assessment, which confirmed the public cloud can effectively and securely manage this level of information.

This is a key milestone in helping the U.K Government achieve their commitment to see public cloud services account for 50% of new Government information and communications technology (ICT) spending by 2015. For more information on this announcement, check out the Microsoft UK Government Blog.

Microsoft Partners Make Strong Showing to Simplify Datacenter and Device Management

Microsoft partners showcased new solutions powered by Microsoft technologies at the 2013 Microsoft Management Summit (MMS). Specific announcements included:

  • EMC extended the simplicity, efficiency and flexibility of the VSPEX Proven Infrastructure to Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle and doubled the capacity of VSPEX private cloud solutions to support larger VSPEX deployments.
  • Dell released the Dell Client Integration Pack 3.1 for Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 SP1, enabling remote deployment of the Windows 8 operating system to Dell systems.
  • Cisco announced new Cisco Unified Data Center technologies and Microsoft Fast Track architecture solutions designed to mitigate datacenter complexity.
  • Hitachi Data Systems announced that Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) Select for Microsoft Private Cloud now supports Microsoft’s Private Cloud Fast Track architecture, version 3.
  • Advanced Systems Concepts  announced the ActiveBatch Extension and Integration Pack for System Center Orchestrator 2012.
  • Iron Networks announced the release of the MNV Network Virtualization Gateway appliance, built on Windows Server 2012.

For more information on MMS, check out The Official Microsoft Blog or the Cloud Computing Virtual Pressroom.

Gartner Releases 2013 Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools

Gartner* positions Microsoft in the Leaders quadrant in the 2013 Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools. According to Gartner, the client management tool market is maturing and evolving to adapt to consumerization, desktop virtualization, and an ongoing need to improve efficiency and lower PC total cost of ownership. These tools will continue to broaden their support of client platforms and application delivery models.

For additional details, please read the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools report here.

*Disclaimer: Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.