Microsoft Ignite: Everything you need to know

Steve Sutcliffe
By Steve Sutcliffe
At this year’s Ignite expo, Microsoft treated 25,000 of its business customers to a sneak peek at its upcoming enterprise technologies.
Microsoft Ignite: Everything you need to know
The annual event is dedicated to IT professionals and developers, with opportunities to meet Microsoft technicians and engineers from around the world, as well as Microsoft partners, to find out where tech is heading.
 
The focus last year was on accelerating the digital transformation of enterprises through IT. This year, Microsoft focused on demonstrating how it was integrating AI, mixed reality and cloud technology throughout its portfolio to prepare for the ‘workplace of the future’. So, without further ado, lets delve into some of the most exciting announcements from the show, and what they’ll mean for Microsoft users.
 
Azure
 
Azure is a comprehensive set of cloud services used by developers and IT professionals to build, deploy and manage applications through Microsoft’s global network of data centres. At Ignite, a number of further enhancements were announced for Azure, including new cloud monitoring and analytics features in the Azure Monitor toolkit to will help users clearly decipher events in their logs.
After acquiring Israeli cloud startup Cloudyn in June, Microsoft also confirmed it would be making its Azure Cost Management services available for free until June 2018.
 
Skype for Business
 
One of the biggest announcements during Ignite was that Skype for Business is set to be completely replaced by Microsoft Teams. Over the next few months, Teams will be getting a raft of new features as Microsoft aims to make the service a one-stop-shop for meetings and conferences. Users will reportedly benefit from being able to make inbound and outbound calls to PSTN numbers, with additional new features including call transfers and voicemail.
 
Sharepoint
 
Microsoft claims to have created a completely revamped SharePoint Admin Centre, which is expected to be available for first-release SharePoint Online testers in early 2018.
 
Microsoft 365
 
A major expansion to Microsoft 365 was revealed, with two new tiers set to be added to the service. Microsoft 365 F1 for frontline workers and a plan for education users will allow Microsoft to offer a wider range of solutions for different businesses and institutions by creating a wider range of targeted bundles.
 
SQL Server
 
The release of ‘the biggest server product from Microsoft’, SQL Server on Linux, was met with approval from users. SQL Server 2017 is being released simultaneously for Windows and various flavours of Linux: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12, Ubuntu and Docker.
 
Surface
 
Microsoft's slick new Surface Pro LTE will be available before the end of the year, according to a number of reports from Ignite. The thin laptop, which was announced last May, will differ from the current Surface Pros thanks to its use of wireless cellular networks for connectivity.
 
Office 2019
A successor to Office 2016, the non-subscription version of the application suite, Office 2019 should arrive in the second half of 2018. The bundle will be primarily geared to corporate customers who aren't yet using the cloud.
 
Dynamics 365
 
Finally, Microsoft announced a string of new capabilities coming to Dynamics 365. Formally rolled out late last year, Dynamics 365 combines Microsoft's separate CRM and ERP business applications into a single cloud-based suite that businesses can customize according to their needs. Dynamics 365's intelligence capabilities will now be expanded with ‘Dynamics 365 AI solutions’, designed to tackle high-value, complex enterprise scenarios.
 
All in all, Microsoft fans eagerly awaiting a fresh crop of products will not have been disappointed, and we’re already looking forward to getting to grips with, and helping our clients make the most of, the new services on offer.
 

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