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Microsoft extends Azure on-premises with new product launches

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Microsoft Malaysia launched Azure Stack, Microsoft 365 and SQL Server 2017 that extends its Azure public cloud services into hybrid clouds. With these, enterprises can host Azure-type services on-premises and run them alongside Azure in the cloud seamlessly.

In a recent Microsoft survey of 1200 IT leaders across Asia, 50% of cloud usage in Malaysia is hybrid, 31% is on private cloud and 19% is on public cloud.

“For Malaysian businesses today, hybrid cloud is a natural progression to reach their digital ambitions, regardless of their size and budget,” said K. Raman, managing director, Microsoft Malaysia. “Many in the industry who adopted these solutions include UEM Edgenta, Genting Plantations, Malaysia Airlines and Nando’s Doctor2U, among others.”

Azure Stack extends the Azure ecosystem to on-premises environments and enables an Azure hybrid cloud configuration. This is ideal for environments where connectivity may be limited, such as onboard ships, or where regulators require data to reside within the country, said Nigel Cain, chief technology officer, Microsoft enterprise services, applications and infrastructure domain, Asia Pacific, Greater China, Japan and India.

“Azure Stack offers a consistent cloud platform and runs like an Azure service appliance. Organisations do not need to build applications in a different way,” he said.

Microsoft 365 brings together Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security to deliver a complete, intelligent and secure solution to empower employees. It is tailored to address commercial needs from the largest enterprise to the smallest business, in the form of Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Microsoft 365 Business, respectively.

“Empowering employees is one of the four pillars of digital transformation promoted by Microsoft,” said Raman. “Employees need to be given access to all the information they need to serve the customer better.”

With Microsoft 365, companies can better connect employees, customers, and suppliers; protect company data across devices with always-on security; and, simplify the set-up and management of employee devices and services with a single IT console. Employees are also empowered to get work done from anywhere on any device.

SQL Server 2017 provides intelligence on a long-trusted secure data platform and enables innovation for all the data of a company. “Microsoft is baking in analytics and intelligence into all its products,” said Cain.

With SQL Server 2017, companies can run Advanced Analytics, Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing and online transaction processing (OLTP). Due to the computing limitations of on-premise hardware, SQL Server 2017 does not have the full range and power of SQL services on Azure, but both can share the workload. SQL Server is touted as the most intelligence, fastest and more secure database, and the most intelligent data warehouse that enterprise can rely on for operational analytics, said Microsoft.

Present at the launch was Wan Murdani Mohamad, director, enabling ecosystem, MDEC. “As cloud is one of the digital ecosystem focus areas for MDEC, we work very closely with all related service providers and relevant stakeholders to advocate and facilitate the delivery of competitive and sustainable ecosystems, and to promote and accelerate the adoption of such services.

“Services launched by Microsoft today engages all three pillars of innovation: infrastructure and apps; data and artificial intelligence; and modern workspaces. These ongoing efforts are crucial in enabling digital transformation and proper migration to the cloud,” he said.

Peering One is the first Azure Stack service provider in Malaysia. Customers who have hybrid cloud requirements can now extend their Azure services to Peering One data centres.

As part of the launch, Microsoft is offering a host of offers. Users who sign up for Azure would receive US$200 worth of credit to explore services for 30 days, 12 months of popular free services and 25-plus services free of cost.

Microsoft 365’s Fast Track customer service is available as part of the subscription. Microsoft engineers will help users migrate email and content, set up Microsoft 365 services for new users, and deploy and manage devices.

There is also up to 30% of discounts of up to 30% to run SQL Server on Linux. Additionally, businesses migrating to SQL Server will be entitled to free licences, free training and subsidised assessment and support services until June 2018.

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