On Tuesday 13 February 2018, Microsoft hosted its annual Tech Summit at the Cape Town International Conference Center (CTICC). The conference saw IT professionals and developers converge as it aimed to show them the necessary skills and knowledge that they would need in order to take advantage of Microsoft’s offerings.
The second keynote of the day saw Victoria Grady, the General Manager for Microsoft Azure Marketing, unpack the advantage to leveraging the cloud product.
“All this new technology and innovation is happening at such a rapid pace it can be both exciting and overwhelming at the same time,” said Grady.
“For us at Microsoft, it’s about how we can join you on your digital transformation journey by helping you leverage a number of these technologies,” she added.
What she was referring to is Microsoft’s Azure platform which allows companies to leverage cloud technology to accelerate their digital transformation. With Microsoft announcing in 2017 that it will be bringing two data centers to South Africa, one in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town. The Microsoft Tech Summit 2018 was about educating the IT professional and developers in attendance on how the introduction of these data centers and the Azure platform that comes with it can transform an archaic business to one of the future.
At the event, Microsoft also reinforced their vision of a hybrid cloud future. “We believe that we can leverage existing legacy technologies to both save money and improve efficiency with a hybrid cloud,” said the GM for Azure marketing.
Grady highlighted the four pillars of just how Microsoft plan to aid in this digital transformation:
2) Hybrid cloud
Microsoft looks to help businesses increase their productivity through:
- Over 140 tool services in Azure, which include things such as platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service.
- Server-less technologies
- Integrated tooling for services and management
- Unified management
- Collaboration with Open Source projects
“Microsoft has a unique outlook on how we view hybrid cloud models. We see them as robust and durable and that they are likely to be around for a while. We do not see a hybrid cloud as a transition state but rather a solution on your digital transformation journey. This is really important and unique space,” said Grady.
The hybrid could outlook of Microsoft looks to provide users with:
- On-premise and cloud storage
- Azure Stack; the same coding and functionality as Microsoft’s Azure package but works on the edge where there may be no internet connectivity.
- Regulatory compliance. This is an area where Microsoft has spent billions of US dollars on, making them the most compliant cloud provider in the world, according to Grady.
- Allows you to ease into the cloud without harming productivity.
- Fluid data transition between cloud and on premise
“This is an area where clients can save a lot of money through Microsofts Azure hybrid use benefits, which provides up to a 50% saving,” added Grady.
“We are looking to democratise Artificial Intelligence. You shouldn’t need a PhD to manage these applications,” said Grady.
Microsoft is looking to do this by providing apps which have artificial intelligence built into them. This will allow for:
- Rich data and the opportunity to create API’s
- Easy management
- Integrate bots, AI and machine learning
According to Grady, “We have spent billions of dollars on security as it is at the forefront of everyone’s concerns. The threats today are well beyond what people are poised to deal with. We have hired 35 000 of the worlds top cybersecurity professionals to look after our offerings.”
Microsoft’s security focus is built on four key areas of focus:
“South Africa is at the forefront of technological advancements and that is why we decided to invest so heavily into the country through our two data centers, which will be up and running in 2018. We will be running a preview programme as well as an on-boarding programme for the customers where digital advisers will help with the transition,” concluded Grady.