In his opening keynote, chief executive officer Satya Nadella highlighted some of the most impactful changes and new products the company will be offering over the coming months.
Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra Arm-based processors
Azure virtual machines (VMs) running on the Ampere Altra processors became generally available last month, so it isn’t brand-spanking new. Still, it was important enough to get a mention in the keynote. This is a significant product offering that provides a high price-to-performance ratio for web services, databases, microservices and more. Designed for scaled-out, cloud-native workloads, these VMs can be included in Kubernetes clusters and managed using Azure Kubernetes Service.
Azure Premium SSD v2 disk storage
As Microsoft puts it, the Azure Premium SSD v2 disk storage is designed for performance-critical workloads that consistently need sub-millisecond latency with high input-output operation throughput. It’s ideal for increasing storage performance without increasing storage capacity. Microsoft highlighted SQL Servers, Oracle and other database and analytics workloads as some of the use cases for this new service.
Azure Cosmos DB gets PostgreSQL support and added MongoDB support
Azure Cosmos DB, Microsoft’s fully managed NoSQL database, now brings support for distributed PostgreSQL, providing faster and more scalable service for open-source relational databases. Additionally, It also increases the maximum document support size to 16MB for MongoDB.
Azure Elastic SAN
Azure Elastic SAN is a storage area network that provides direct data access to the host, but is also a cloud-native service. It can connect to a variety of Azure compute services so customers can transition their SAN workloads to the cloud without changing their provisioning and management model. Being a cloud-native solution also means it’s far more scalable. It’s fully managed, too.
Azure Managed Confidential Consortium Framework
This new service allows developers to run the Confidential Consortium Framework (CCF) open-source software developer kit without the need to manage and maintain their own infrastructure to support CCF-based services. CCF lets developers run multi-party apps on secured networks.
Mesh Avatars in Teams
Mesh Avatars for Microsoft Teams has entered private preview. The feature allows users to create an interactive, personalized avatar so they choose how they want to appear in meetings. It includes “hundreds of customization options”, from physical attributes to accessories.
Windows 365 app
The Windows 365 app takes the user directly from the taskbar to Windows 365. It will be available in the Microsoft Store on Windows.
Azure Container for PyTorch
Now in preview, Azure Container for PyTorch has curated environments and custom images that will bundle Microsoft technologies to help to deploy and support optimized training for PyTorch models.
This is a big new feature coming to Microsoft Office. The new tool is an app that lets anyone, with or without an Office subscription, quickly design professional graphics and pages. During the presentation, Nadella demonstrated Designer’s ability to create unique images based on text, a feature that’s enabled by a collaboration with OpenAI’s DALLE-2 AI image generation system. One critical application for this design is advertising, especially on social media. With it, Microsoft is poking into the design market occupied by established creative software giants like Adobe. The version included in the paid Office subscription will be more robust, but a free tier will be available upon launch.
Natural language to cloud flow in Power Automate
Power Automate will be able to generate a cloud flow when users describe what they want to do using natural language. Users can then select the connectors and finalize the automation. This feature is now in preview.
Syntex is a set of apps and services that use AI to index and organize unstructured content for easy searching and analysis. Additionally, it manages and protects content, integrates it into other business apps, and offers containers for developers to store content. Syntex is beginning to roll out now.
Teams Premium is an add-on that offers even more features for all Teams meetings. New features include meeting guides to help users pick the correct meeting experience. These include guides for client calls, brainstorming meetings, or help desk support interaction. Users can brand their meetings with custom logos and backgrounds for the Teams lobby. It also features auto transcription in 40 languages and an “intelligent recap” that shows meeting highlights.
Teams Premium features will begin to roll out in December 2022 as a part of the Teams Premium preview, with general availability in February 2023. The availability of new AI capabilities, such as intelligent meetings, will begin rolling out in the first half of 2023.
Be sure to catch up on all the new Microsoft Teams features announced at Ignite 2022 as well!