As a Microsoft partner, we get the latest updates on Azure news, products and features. Some of these will help you meet your cloud investment needs. That’s why our team provides this snapshot of highlights for you. So that you can quickly digest the most important product updates from the Azure platform. And make cloud investment decisions faster.. So, check out the most interesting and important product announcements from Azure in late 2022 and early 2023.
Azure News: Azure Recognized As An Industry Leader
As a technology titan, Microsoft is often recognized as a leader in many areas of tech. But, if you’ve been around long enough, you also know that Microsoft has also had some duds. That’s why having external entities recognize the technological advancements that have been made increases the credibility of that technology. In late 2022 and early 2023, Azure was named as a leader in many different areas by Forrester, Gartner, and IDC. That’s why we’ve summarized a few of them below.
Microsoft named a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Public Cloud Development and Infrastructure Platforms, 2022
Firstly, in December 2022, Forrester published its report, The Forrester Wave™: Public Cloud Development and Infrastructure Platforms, Global, Q4 2022. Within this report, Forrester placed Microsoft in the “Leaders” category. Microsoft notated several advancements in 2022 that helped them attain this leader status from Forrester. These advancements included:
- New deployment options using Azure Kubernetes Services enabled by Azure Arc. This allows customers to run containerized apps.
- The Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform. This fully integrates databases, analytics, and governance for a unified data estate.
The newly introduced Microsoft Dev Box. Dev Box is a managed service for developers to create on-demand, high-performance, secure, ready-to-code, project-specific workstations in the cloud. Meaning they can work, and innovate, anywhere.
Microsoft named a Leader in 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Insight Engines
Additionally, Gartner named Microsoft as a leader in the Insight Engines area. If you’re not familiar with the term, insight engines apply relevancy methods to:
- Describe data.
- Discover data.
- Organize data.
- Analyze data.
This allows existing data to be delivered proactively or interactively, and in the context of those looking for the information. Think of the best search engine you can imagine across almost any technology platform. Microsoft offers two integrated solutions in this space:
- Microsoft Search: Available with Microsoft 365.
- Azure Cognitive Search: Available as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) with Microsoft Azure.
And as noted in this article, these solutions are designed to help professionals and developers:
- Build impactful AI-powered search solutions that can solve complex problems.
- Enhance the customer experience by enabling information
Why This Azure News Is Important
This recognition is interesting for a few reasons. Firstly, nearly anybody that has ever used a computer knows what to do in a search box. But, the real question is “do the search results give you what you need?”.
Humans and computers look at information differently. So, this is a huge step in bridging the fundamental gap of the way they work. Secondly, many different industries can be positively impacted by applying these technologies. Essentially, everything from manufacturing to financial services, healthcare, medical devices and retail needs the ability to find and prioritize information quickly and efficiently. Lastly, this is an important practice area. Why? Because many companies are collecting terabytes of unstructured data. And, if it’s unorganized, it can lead to delays in finding, retrieving and acting upon that information. So, the ability to organize unstructured data natively enables a new way of working for digital workers.
Microsoft named a Leader in the 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Global Industrial IoT Platforms
The internet of things (IoT) is changing the way manufacturers do business. And manufacturers who aren’t considering adopting this evolution, they will be left behind. At SPK, we support our clients to advance their manufacturing operations. So one of the ways we do this is by helping them implement best of breed technologies for IoT that bring tangible business value. And we have used the Azure IoT platform in the past with our clients, and can confirm it definitely does provide those tangible benefits.
In the Azure News December 2022 blog post, Joe Biron GM, Azure Strategic Missions Marketing said “The Microsoft Azure IoT platform can help industries improve their operations to become more efficient, agile, and sustainable, And industrial-focused IoT technologies from Microsoft are especially important for enterprises looking to do more with less in the current macroeconomic environment.”
Microsoft is continuing to invest in key industrial IoT supporting areas too. These include:
- IT/OT convergence (where information technology and operational technology merge).
- Hybrid cloud solutions.
- Digital twin and metaverse technologies.
- Better collaboration with Azure partners like SPK.
Microsoft named a Leader in 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Integration Platform as a Service, Worldwide
Next up in the latest is Azure news is another accolade for Microsoft. For the 5th consecutive year, Gartner named Microsoft in the Leader quadrant in the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service report. At SPK, we’re continually asked to help clients integrate cloud with different parts of their technologies and operations. So, we have first hand experience here. And we agree Microsoft is a leader in this space. Why? Because Microsoft’s enterprise integration offering, Azure Integration Services, is well positioned to connect developers to a breadth of systems (Microsoft and non-Microsoft alike). “With support for Azure Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code extensions, Azure DevOps, GitHub Actions, App Insights, and Azure Monitor, we bring an intuitive user experience to professional developers on the platform of their choice,” notes Naga Surendran Director, Product Marketing, Azure in their January blog post. And, “when used in conjunction with Microsoft Power Platform, citizen developers can also build a breadth of integration solutions for low-code application development.”
Does Microsoft Have The Right Approach To Modernizing Workflow?
Microsoft has it right with their approach to modernizing the workflow with low or no code solutions for integrations. This “gives the power to the people”. In turn, this can help streamline business processes and business outcomes without technology being a limiting factor. At SPK, I’ve seen this repeatedly with clients. So, if we, as an Azure partner, are able to provide guidance, and the right Azure services that can be implemented by business professionals, not technologists, it creates the best business outcomes.
Microsoft named a Leader in 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Full Life Cycle API Management
Additionally, Gartner also named Microsoft as a leader in the 2022 Magic Quadrant™ for Full Life Cycle API Management. APIs drive the world of integrations and connections between systems. So, Microsoft’s involvement in this area is no surprise. Azure API Management has over 1 million APIs published on its platform. And they are continuing to double down on investments in this area. New capabilities that were released in 2022 included:
- Support for new API types like WebSocket and GraphQL.
- Support for hybrid and multi cloud APIs.
- Enhanced security features and geographic expansion into four more regions across Europe and China.
The goal of this investment is to help companies accelerate their digital transformation journeys.
Microsoft named a Leader in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide General-Purpose Computer Vision AI Software Platform 2022 Vendor Assessment
Lastly, in the Leader recognition for Azure news is in January, John Montgomery Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Azure announced Microsoft were selected by IDC as a leader in the area of Worldwide General-purpose Computer Vision AI Software Platforms. And this is one of the most competitive landscapes in the technology industry today. Leaders in this area include Microsoft competitors like Google and AWS, among others.
This January blog post does highlight the areas Microsoft has excelled within including:
- Enabling customers with cutting edge technologies.
- Introducing some responsible AI standards for ethics.
- Safeguarding potential negative outcomes.
- Its strong customer/partner ecosystem.
Comparatively to Amazon and Google, the article does fall short of showing some of Microsoft’s shortcomings in the AI space. But IDC’s research shows Microsoft is keeping pace, or ahead, of its competitors in a few of the critical areas of Artificial Intelligence.
Azure News: Government, Microsoft & Red Hat
The Microsoft Azure Government partnership with Red Hat for OpenShift means that OpenShift is now available for key IT security and regulatory requirements. These include:
- FedRAMP High Authorization.
- International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
- Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS).
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 1075 forms.
- Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS).
As a managed service, Azure Red Hat OpenShift also offers several benefits for agencies looking to innovate too. These include:
- Enterprise-grade management.
- World class support from Microsoft, Red Hat, and Azure partners like SPK and Associates.
Azure News: Extraordinary Return on Investment with Azure
Next up for Azure news is in a published study from Forrester, Jotun, a multinational chemical supplier, found a 228% return on investment when modernizing their applications with Azure. So, the company decided to embrace application modernization. In parallel, they also ended investments in on-premises equipment and migrated their applications to Microsoft Azure with Azure App Service. “In addition to eliminating routine maintenance tasks and increasing uptime, the new approach enabled them to scale developer expertise, deliver high application performance from anywhere in the world, and begin the transition to a modern development, security, and operations (DevSecOps) approach—all while lowering costs and accelerating time to market,” notes Ashmi Chokshi General Manager, Azure Digital and Application Innovation. Learn more about the Jotun case study here.
Azure Updates 2023: Azure OpenAI Service Expansion
AI is an ongoing battle between Microsoft and competitors like Google and Amazon. But in January, Microsoft announced general availability of the Azure OpenAI service that expands access to large, advanced AI models with added enterprise benefits. And through Azure’s ongoing partnership with OpenAI, Microsoft has become aligned with some of the best AI available as a mass consumption. The past six or so years are extremely interesting as you can see in the short history diagram below.
The Azure OpenAI service leverages large-scale, generative AI models with deep understandings of language and code. This enables new reasoning and comprehension capabilities for building cutting-edge applications. With Azure OpenAI, companies have AI safeguards that can detect and mitigate harmful use with built-in responsible AI and access enterprise-grade Azure security.
Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform is continuing to evolve and expand offerings. Both SMB’s and large enterprises can benefit from the technology expansion Azure brings. But because of all the noise, working with a knowledgeable partner like SPK and Associates may bring the most important technology and financial changes to light. If you’re interested in working with SPK on your Azure projects, contact our experts. Our project engagements and managed services are popular offerings for those looking for Azure assistance. If you want to stay up to date on all Azure updates, you can also subscribe to the Azure updates 2023 here.