Microsoft Inspire

Every year Microsoft puts on many training days and events, including a few key conferences such as Microsoft Build, Ignite and Inspire. Recently they held their annual Inspire conference which is targeted to Microsoft partners like CDW. Much like previous years, there were many announcements that will impact users of Microsoft technology and CDW customers in many positive ways.

Below we’ve compiled the top five announcements that came out of Inspire that will enable CDW and Microsoft to drive more value for our clients in Microsoft investments:

Azure Sentinel Connectors

Ever since it was released for general availability at the end of last September, CDW has been doing a lot of research, development and work for clients around Microsoft Azure Sentinel. Azure Sentinel is a cloud native SIEM that provides clients with intelligent security analytics across all their environments, not just Azure. In the past there was only a small list of third-party connectors including Cisco, Check Point, Palo Alto Networks and Symantec, but now that list has more than doubled with key add-ons such as Okta Single Sign On (SSO), Proofpoint and VMware Carbon Black.

New Azure Migrate Features

Gone are the days of using Azure Site Recovery to do migrations. Back in 2017 Microsoft recognized the need for a migration focused toolset, which brought Azure Migrate into preview. Fast forward to July 2019 and version two of Azure Migrate hit general availability. With a focus on many types of moves, not just lift and shirt server migrations, Azure Migrate has come a long way. This year we saw a list of new features going into general availability, which includes:

  • Support for third-party virtual appliances in virtual wide-area network hubs
  • Shared disks for Azure disk storage
  • PowerShell training and support
  • Task automation and configuration management across platform frameworks
  • Secure importing/exporting of data over private networks

Azure Blob Storage New Features

There were a couple new announcements around Blob storage that will help many organizations make better use of their storage and cut costs. These announcements were:

  • Blob usageNow in public preview is Blob usage and access insights, which will improve the visibility of data stored and how often it gets accessed. Third parties can also access the meta data to enhance data management.
  • Network File System (NFS) 3.0 support has entered public preview. NFS is a popular connection method for NAS devices, so it will be interesting to see how the support gets used by the public.

Universal Print

This new service moves key Windows Server print functionalities to the Microsoft 365 cloud, removing the need to host a Windows print server in Azure or on-premise to manage printers for end users, and removing the need to install printer drivers on devices. When I was a field technician, I used to constantly joke that cleaning viruses and fixing print driver issues wasted so much of my time, so it is great to see print being streamlined for IT and end users.

New Teams Features

With the pandemic we’ve seen a rise in importance of online collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams. Due to the increase, Microsoft has doubled down on Teams in the last few months, providing new capabilities and features for end users. Some of these new features are:

  • A new Microsoft Dataflex built-in database to manage your apps and chatbots
  • Together mode, which takes all the video feeds from attendees on the call and makes it appear like they are all sitting at a conference table together talking to you. This one will be interesting to try out.
  • The ability to join Cisco WebEx meetings from Teams Rooms with direct guest join
  • Virtual raise hands support for attendees and controls for presenter

Microsoft Inspire provided a wealth of information and enablement. We are now hard at work making use of the great resources and new features Microsoft shared with us so that we can drive more value out of your business investments in technology.

If you’re looking to get started in the cloud, or you are already there but want to drive greater performance, cost savings and efficiencies, our team is ready to help. Visit cdw.ca/cloud for more information.

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