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Posts Tagged ‘azure’

Azure: Did You Know? Upgrade Domains and Fault Domains

Microsoft AzureHave you ever wondered how Microsoft provides an SLA of 99.95% for Azure? 99.95% is quite high, it means that the Azure service is available the entire year with only 4 hrs and 23 minutes of downtime. How does Microsoft guarantee this level of service?

Fault Domains

A fault domain is a physical point of failure. Think of a computer (or a rack of servers) that is physically plugged in to a power outlet in one location. If a power outage happens, that computer goes offline. If a flood happens at the datacenter, the computer goes offline. If a missile hits the building, the computer goes offline. You get the picture. Read the rest of this post »

Morphing into a digital business with Microsoft’s help

shark

Perficient is all about helping customers with their Digital Transformation initiatives, and there’s a lot of curiosity around the topic. While most people think of digital marketing and customer experience first and foremost, just as Nigel Fenwick, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research mentioned during a webinar last week, business efficiency and optimization is really about creating value for the customer. Digital Transformation is about finding new ways to work smarter, move faster and be more effective as both an individual and a company – and that’s what Microsoft is known for.

So, with the goal being digital maturity, how exactly do you get there? As Nigel eluded to, an excellent digital customer experience is only half of the equation – digital operational excellence is the yin to your customer experience’s yang. About a year ago, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “Our industry does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation,” and I think that’s true of a the vast majority of industries today. Customers have more options than ever, and they know what they want and how to get what they need quickly.

You’ve probably invested in Microsoft platforms and products that will help you on your digital transformation journey. But do you really know how these digital technologies can change the way business is done? Digital businesses are innovating with data, adapting business through intelligent operations, becoming more agile and responsive with smart machines, using machine learning and advanced analytics to stay ahead of customer needs and market changes, and providing an engaging customer experience with digital technology.

Join us for a webinar tomorrow, “Reimagine Your Business in a Digital-First World with Microsoft,” where Rich Wood will describe how Microsoft technology can be used to create a holistic digital transformation across the enterprise, and embrace the four megatrends to increase productivity, improve customer service, expand market share, and ultimately, increase revenue. Read the rest of this post »

Azure: Did You Know? Block vs Page Blobs

storage1Azure storage service supports two types of blobs (blob, or BLOB, stand for Binary Large OBject, i.e. an unstructured binary data): block and page blobs. Blob type is selected when blob is created and then it can’t be changed. Although both blob types allow for storage of large binary objects in Azure, they are optimized for different storage scenarios.

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Introduction to Azure Search

Azure-Search-logo-bigPull out your cell phone, go to any app, and chances are that app has a search box. The same is true of most websites. Our ability to find information in a cloud-first, mobile-first world is driven by search capabilities.

Azure Search is a search-as-a-service solution that allows developers to incorporate great search experiences in applications without managing infrastructure or needing to become search experts.

Because of Google, Yahoo, and Bing; users are accustomed to a minimum level of quality with their search experience. If your application does not provide that base level of functionality, your users might get frustrated and leave, then your application could be headed for failure. Read the rest of this post »

Office 365 Deployment, Security and Management – Tips for Success

shutterstock_240543970To help companies rapidly deploy and fast-track Office 365 service consumption, we’ve been teaming up with Centrify. Centrify Identity Service (CIS) for Office 365 runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform and is a comprehensive solution for Active Directory-based SSO, user provisioning and mobility management.

Together, we recently held a webinar on the topic “Proven Practices for Office 365 Deployment, Security and Management.” Joe Palarchio, a lead technical consultant within Perficient’s Microsoft practice, kicked off the session by reviewing a few statistics that were mentioned during sessions he attended at Ignite:

Nearly 80% of the Fortune 500 have Office 365

35% of Exchange install base is on Office 365

More than 80% of Office 365 Enterprise customers have two or more workloads

He made the point – the cloud should no longer be considered bleeding edge, and companies of all sizes have adopted it with great success. Joe also noted that the second statistic, the Exchange install base on Office 365, is climbing rapidly. Joe went on to share best practices… for example, to get started, you need to acquire licensing (trial, EA), identify an appropriate pilot group, and consider workloads such as OneDrive for Business or Office 365 ProPlus.

Accept changes in terms of network, security and provisioning. Also – seek support and experience when necessary. Look for certified vendors, leverage Microsoft documentation and work with a deployment partner. Side note: We have a change management practice here at Perficient that has helped many customers move to Office 365 successfully. You can read a case study detailing change management with Partners In Health here.

Joe also reviewed common mistakes to avoid and discussed the first step to the cloud: identity and authentication. Next, Chris Webber, Director of Product Marketing at Centrify, spoke further about your security goals and deployment goals around cloud identity and authentication. He showed attendees how Centrify Identity Service enables you to secure and simplify your Office 365 deployment. Centrify Identity Service is powered by Azure and validated by Microsoft. You can request a free trial or watch this short video to learn how to centralize and automate deployment of Office 365 and other apps across data centers, Macs and mobile. Read the rest of this post »

Azure Did You Know? Management using the Cross Platform Command Line Interface

The Microsoft Azure Xplat-CLI provides a cross-platform command line interface for managing, deploying, configuring and developing Microsoft Azure applications and services. While the browser based Management Portal works great, you can’t script and automate it. Using the Xplat-CLI you can do just that! Unlike PowerShell, that only supports Windows, the Xplat-CLI supports Windows, Mac OSX and Linux!

Xplat-CLI-on-OSX

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Azure: Did You Know? Hybrid Connections as VPN Alternative

hybrid2In real life cloud deployment scenarios one of the very common cases is when only part of the application resides in the cloud. Usually, it’s when there is a legacy system which can’t be migrated to the cloud and resides on premises, or it’s not optimal to deploy entire system to the cloud. After all, cloud is not an answer to every question. In this case, these is a need to establish a connection between parts of the applications which are deployed in Azure (for example, a web site), and parts which reside on premises (for example, a mainframe).

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Microsoft Ignite 2015 Sway

If you have already played with Sway (member of Office 365) then I bet you’re in love with it, and if you have not yet then you’re going to love this. I thought of presenting a recap of the conference in the form of a Sway publicly available here. Sway is an app that lets you express and share ideas in a very new way, using any browser on a PC, Mac, or tablet.

sway

 

Are you using Sway? If so – what do you think about it?

Azure: Did You Know? No Integrated Authentication in SQL Azure

azure sqlMicrosoft Azure SQL Database is very similar to on-premises SQL Server, but there are a few key differences. One of these difference is that SQL Azure doesn’t support integrated authentication (i.e. when caller is identified by its domain account). I assume this is a technical limitation which could be explained by the lack of domain infrastructure in Azure cloud. Integrated authentication requires client and server to be in the same domain or in trusted domains, which would be complicated in the cloud scenario.

So, the only way to connect to Azure SQL is to provide a user name and password in connection string. This authentication method is traditionally considered to be less secure than integrated authentication because user name and password are exposed as a part of connection string which in most cases resides in application configuration file, unencrypted. The recommended mitigation for this security issue would be to store Azure SQL connection string in some secure place, like, for example, in Azure Web App settings. In this case, when Azure Web App (formerly – Web Site) is deployed to Azure, Azure settings taking precedence over deployed settings, so if Azure Web App have any stored connection strings then these connection strings will be used.

Azure: Did You Know? There Are Two Types of Message Queues?

azure_queuesDid you know that Azure provides two different types of message queues?  They each provide robust message queuing functionality but they have different features and capabilities.

 

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