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Microsoft Ignite Fires Up Fresh Enthusiasm for Workplace and Infrastructure Advances
Windows AutoPilot, Azure Stack and more: WWT previews Microsoft's latest products and technologies
After experiencing an amazing week of demos, deep dives, keynotes and engagements, WWT returned from Microsoft Ignite with renewed excitement for the array of new offerings that will benefit our many customers.
As expected at this annual conference, Ignite was Microsoft's opportunity to roll out its next generation of enterprise-ready products and services. There were so many fresh opportunities to talk about, but to name just a few:
- Microsoft Teams becoming the new hub for modern collaboration in the enterprise
- The rollout of Microsoft 365 for first line workers in the modern workplace
- Windows AutoPilot dramatically simplifying device configuration
- The promise of artificial intelligence is coming to pass
- The release of Azure Stack, Microsoft's new hybrid cloud solution
Every one of these new products and features is exciting and important, but for the moment let's focus on the last three.
WINDOWS AUTOPILOT ACCELERATES DEVICE IMAGING
Customers already have plenty of compelling reasons to migrate to Windows 10 devices on Intel® architecture: built-in security, multifactor authentication, remote manageability across form factors, and powerful performance. But now Microsoft has introduced one more advantage: dramatically increased ease of deployment with Windows AutoPilot. One of the most significant announcements from Ignite was the release of this new suite of capabilities designed to simplify configuration and management of new Windows 10 devices.
Before Windows AutoPilot, a company undertaking a device refresh might have to pay an OEM to image its new devices or else perform the process itself in-house, requiring costly IT staff time. Now, this cloud-based deployment solution enables customers to work with OEMs to have their machines pre-configured. Once their new systems arrive, end-users simply need to login with their credentials and their devices will actually self-configure in minutes – no need for IT staff to meet with each person and configure the computer for them.
The benefit: rapid deployment right out of the box that saves time, money and resources while improving the user experience – one more compelling reason for businesses to begin their migration to Windows 10 right now.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE COMES OF AGE
Ignite provided a thrilling glimpse at emerging market opportunities in AI and deep learning – opportunities that will enable businesses to make smarter decisions, and transform how people engage with their world.
For its new accelerated deep learning platform, code-named Project Brainwave, Microsoft has chosen Intel® Stratix® 10 FPGAs as a key hardware accelerator. The platform can deliver real-time AI that enables a cloud infrastructure to process and transmit data as fast as it comes in, with ultralow latency. In fact, this rapidly evolving technology is capable of handling extremely challenging deep learning models at unprecedented levels of performance and flexibility.
Using Intel Stratix 10 FPGAs, Microsoft was able to accelerate deep neural networks that replicate "thinking" in a way that is conceptually akin to that of the human brain. Wow.
COMING SOON: A NEW CHOICE FOR ON-PREM HYBRID CLOUDS
One of the major headlines to emerge from Ignite was Microsoft's announcement that it would begin shipping Azure Stack to manufacturers in early October. The on-prem version of Azure helps clients derive its benefits in an offline mode where no data leaves the network, so that older servers can transition to Azure without the worry associated with moving data off-site. When they're ready, customers can easily connect to the Microsoft cloud.
"The evolution of Enterprise IT services is happening at an impressive pace," said Robert Looney, Intel's Americas Enterprise Data center Sales and Marketing Manager. "No longer is IT bound by or limited in scope to its infrastructure. The launch of Microsoft Azure Stack, supported by a proven solution provider like WWT, is a pinnacle moment for enterprise clouds."
The Azure Stack announcement noted that Cisco, one of WWT's principal OEM partners, has its own "flavor" of Azure Stack available to order, as do our other OEM partners Dell and HPE. WWT is currently working with Microsoft on ways to better support our customers around Azure Stack. In fact, we're excited to be one of the first Microsoft partners in the U.S. and globally to have placed an order for Azure Stack; we're looking forward to showcasing our partners' products in our Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in just a few months.
WWT is well-positioned to put these and other new Microsoft solutions to work for our customers. We invite you to visit our ATC for hands-on experience with the latest technologies that can ignite your own business productivity. Contact us to schedule a tour.