Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop available

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Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop is now available. Windows Virtual Desktop is a comprehensive desktop and app virtualization service running in the cloud. It’s the only virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that delivers simplified management, multi-session Windows 10, optimizations for Office 365 ProPlus, and support for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments. Deploy and scale your Windows desktops and apps on Azure in minutes and get built-in security and compliance features.

For more information on Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop, please visit: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/virtual-desktop/.

For the official Microsoft announcement and future plans, please visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2019/09/30/windows-virtual-desktop-generally-available-worldwide/.

Microsoft Planner available in Microsoft 365 F1 & Office 365 F1

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Microsoft Planner has been added to Microsoft 365 F1 and Office 365 F1 commercial and government plans starting at the beginning of October 2019. The Planner functionality is the same as in higher level plans, and there’s no action for a customer to take.

For the full Microsoft announcement, please visit: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Planner-Blog/Planner-is-coming-to-all-F1-commercial-plans-and-government/ba-p/835468.

For more information about Microsoft Planner in general, please visit: https://products.office.com/en-us/business/task-management-software.

Microsoft Windows 7 Extended Security Updates available in Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Program

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Microsoft announced that they will extend the availability of paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) to businesses of all sizes. Previously, Windows 7 ESU was only available to Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise customers in Volume Licensing. The Windows 7 ESU will be sold on a per-device basis with the price increasing each year. Starting on December 1, 2019, businesses of any size can purchase ESU through the cloud solution provider (CSP) program.

For the official Microsoft announcement, please visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2019/10/01/windows-small-midsize-businesses-stay-secure-current/.

Here’s also a general FAQ about the Windows 7 End of Support: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4057281/windows-7-support-will-end-on-january-14-2020.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform 2019 Release Wave 2

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With the 2019 Release Wave 2, Microsoft announced innovations in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform starting October 2019. The 2019 Release Wave 2 includes the release of new products and the expanding of the availability of Dynamics 365 products, as well as announcing new offerings for November 1, 2019. For more information and a release overview with guides and videos, please visit: https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-us/business-applications/product-updates/#overview-guides-and-videos.

Microsoft Software Assurance Benefits (SAB) Updates

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Microsoft is retiring two Software Assurance benefits that have similar offerings outside of Software Assurance and changing the eligibility criteria for a third benefit. Specifically, this means:

  1. Microsoft retires the Deployment Planning Services benefit and will fulfill your implementation needs through Microsoft’s premier cloud migration and deployment program Microsoft FastTrack.
  2. Microsoft is investing in new, modern skilling programs. Training vouchers will be phased out as a Software Assurance benefit and will no longer be used to convert to planning services.
  3. Microsoft is adjusting the eligibility criteria of 24×7 support and changing support allocations to align Software Assurance support with Microsoft’s new Unified Support offering.

Continue reading Microsoft Software Assurance Benefits (SAB) Updates

Microsoft Office Online name change

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Microsoft announced that they will remove the branding “Online” for the web version of Office and introduce new terminology for the apps on the web. Apps like Word Online are now called “Word for the web” or “Word in a browser”. This new terminology is already reflected in the product terms. It is important to note that this brand change only applies to Office applications. There is no change to the branding for Microsoft “Online” server products – especially Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Project Online, and Office Online Server. For the official Microsoft announcement, please visit: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Office-Apps-Blog/Why-Office-Online-is-Now-Simply-Office/ba-p/760207.

Microsoft FastTrack for Windows 10 deployment available

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Microsoft announced that Microsoft FastTrack is now available to support customers upgrading to Microsoft Windows 10. The Microsoft FastTrack for Windows 10 deployment guidance is free to customers who have or buy at least 150 Microsoft Windows 10 E3 or E5 licenses, or Windows 10 Enterprise with Software Assurance (SA). Experts will help a customer envision a technical plan, determine how to onboard, and deploy new services and/or users, and work with them as they deploy.

For the official Microsoft announcement and further details, please visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2019/08/12/speed-up-windows-10-development-new-fasttrack-guidance/.

Microsoft Azure Reservations

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Microsoft announced some updates to the Microsoft Azure Reservations. Firstly, there are new Reservations available for Azure Databricks (1 and 3-year) and Azure App Service (3-year) which both give around 40% savings compared to Pay-As-You-Go pricing. And there are some new features: Microsoft Azure Reservations now support the ability to automatically renew Reservations. Also, customers can now choose to assign Reservations to a Resource Group within a Subscription rather than to the whole Subscription. Reservations can now be purchased using REST APIs. Organizations rely on their Enterprise Agreement (EA) usage data to reconcile invoices, track usage, and charge back internally. Microsoft now added more details to the EA usage data to make the reservation reporting easier.

For the official Microsoft announcement with further details, please visit: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/6-ways-were-making-azure-reservations-even-more-powerful/#usagedata.

Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host preview available

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Microsoft announced the preview of Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host, a new Azure service that enables customers to run Linux and Windows virtual machines on single-tenant physical servers. Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host provides physical servers that host one or more Azure virtual machines. Your server is dedicated to your organization and workloads – capacity is not shared with other customers. This host-level isolation helps address compliance requirements. As you provision the host, you gain visibility into and control over the server infrastructure, and you determine the host’s maintenance policies.

Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host is charged at the host level regardless of the number of Azure Virtual Machines (VM) you run on the host. Software licenses are billed separately from compute resources at a VM level based on usage. If you’re eligible, you can use Azure Hybrid Benefit for additional savings.

For further information on the Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host, please find the official announcement here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/introducing-azure-dedicated-host/ and more information on the pricing here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/virtual-machines/dedicated-host/.

Microsoft Azure Hybrid Benefit for Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host

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According to the August 2019 Microsoft Product Terms, Microsoft Azure Hybrid Benefit now includes options for the Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host. The main aspects of Microsoft Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server and SQL Server remain unchanged. Here’s a summary of the rules for both Windows Server and SQL Server.

What does this benefit offer for Windows Server on Azure Dedicated Host?

Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server on Azure Dedicated Host can be used in three ways:

  • Standard edition: Customers with Windows Server Standard edition are entitled to 2 instances, similar to how Azure Hybrid Benefit applies to Windows Server on Azure Virtual Machines (VM) on shared servers. Each 2-processor license or each set of 16-core licenses are entitled to two instances of up to 8 cores, or one instance of up to 16 cores. The Azure Hybrid Benefit for Standard Edition licenses must be used either on-premises or in Azure although customers get 180 days of concurrent use rights while they are migrating their servers. Continue reading Microsoft Azure Hybrid Benefit for Microsoft Azure Dedicated Host