Azure experts give insights into Microsoft Ignite 2020 announcements

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Microsoft saves its biggest and best announcements for their annual Microsoft Ignite conference. We spoke to our friends in the Microsoft community to see what the experts had to say about the Azure news and updates at this year’s event.

The fact that Microsoft Ignite 2020 was a digital event didn’t stop Microsoft from revealing hundreds of new tools, services, and updates.

Our Azure experts agreed that there weren't a ton of big, flashy announcements this year—but there were lots of smaller ones that should make our day-to-day work faster, easier, and more cost effective.

Here at ShareGate, we wanted to get their take on exactly what they liked and learned from Ignite 2020.

Want to learn how to govern your Azure environment from the experts? At Deploy, ShareGate's online event focused on Azure governance, 9 Azure experts shared their experiences and insights to help you identify best practices to increase efficiency and visibility in the cloud. Watch the sessions on demand now!

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Microsoft Ignite announcements that will have the biggest impact in the coming year

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Azure Resource Mover.

Jussi Roine, Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Regional Director (@JussiRoine)

Jussi: Azure Resource Mover, and that's in public preview. It allows you to take everything you've provisioned already in Azure, and use the Azure portal or scripting to move between different regions, between different resource groups, and also to fiddle around a bit with high availability. I think it's a core functionality that we've been missing, and I feel many will start using that without really realizing that this is something new.

takeaway box

miniature image of rik hepworthThe coolest announcement is Azure Communication Services, which is a really, really, really awesome new service from the point of view of developing the kind of apps that we need now, as we're all remote and in lockdown, and talking to people is more important.

Rik Hepworth, Microsoft Azure MVP (@rikhepworth)

miniature image of stephane lapointeThere were a lot of small announcements regarding Azure Arc, Security, Center, Azure Policy, Azure Stack—just support for Arc across the Azure ecosystem to reinforce the hybrid position for people that maybe have environments on-premise and also in other clouds.

Stephane Lapointe, Microsoft Azure MVP (@s_lapointe)

Biggest Microsoft Ignite announcement related to...

There were so many announcements to come out of this year's Microsoft Ignite (you can find the full list in the Microsoft Ignite 2020 Book of News) that the MVPs we talked to had trouble choosing just one!

So, we also asked them about the biggest Microsoft Ignite announcements across categories! Here's what the experts picked as the top Azure announcements related to....

Governance

miniature image of rik hepworthEvolution, not revolution, in governance. Being able to drop a new Azure subscription into a default management group so we can automatically inherit our policies and governance. I think that's going to be a real benefit, particularly for big organizations where managing new stuff is a big overhead.

Rik Hepworth, Microsoft Azure MVP (@rikhepworth)

Cost optimization

miniature image of stephane lapointeFor cost, it's allocation. Cost allocation allows you to distribute the costs of shared services that you might have in your environment. So you have shared services to save on cast and be more efficient. But, splitting the cost through several departments or products can be a challenge. So cost allocation does just that.

Stephane Lapointe, Microsoft Azure MVP (@s_lapointe)

miniature image of jussi roineFor cost, Azure App Service Reserved Instances—meaning that when you run your workloads in Azure App Service, now you can prepay with a reserved instance, and if you pay for one or three years, you get a hefty discount. That makes it easier for you, once you have your production workloads in Azure, to say, 'Let's commit on this one and then continue paying, but we get a a discount, so why not?'

Jussi Roine, Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Regional Director (@JussiRoine)

Favorite session of Microsoft Ignite 2020

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'Govern resources across your IT slate' by Joseph Chan.

Stephane Lapointe, Microsoft Azure MVP (@s_lapointe)

Stephane: 'Govern resources across your IT slate' by Joseph Chan. It just did a very quick recap of why it is important, what the control plane is, and how controls work when you want to govern them properly. And also it quickly goes into what's new and what's coming next.

takeaway box

miniature image of rik hepworthJoseph Chan's is a good one to go and watch. There's no one radical 'Wow!', 'lightbulb' change that they're making. But there's lots and lots of little improvements that are overall going to massively improve the effectiveness of our policy implementation, our reporting, identifying resources, grouping them together.

Rik Hepworth, Microsoft Azure MVP (@rikhepworth)

miniature image of jussi roineI'm thinking that 'Innovate with Azure Communication Services' is my favorite governance-related session.

And now, if somebody's listening or watching this later on and thinking, 'Hold on, Jussi, we're talking about governance', Azure Communication Services is really a way for you to integrate external communications to all of your solutions in Azure without relying on a third-party solution. So, it will allow me to take control on what sort of data is going here and there.

Jussi Roine, Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Regional Director (@JussiRoine)

Biggest misconceptions about Azure that you see with your clients

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Anybody that still comes to the cloud now thinking they're going to save money just in their IT costs is wrong. It's about business value.

Rik Hepworth, Microsoft Azure MVP (@rikhepworth)

Rik: Anybody that still comes to the cloud now thinking they're going to save money just in their IT costs is wrong. It's about business value. Yes, you might well save money as an organization. But you're not looking at IT savings. You're looking at efficiencies, you're looking at new capabilities.

takeaway box

miniature image of jussi roineIt often has to do with cost. One [misconception] is that it's impossible to estimate what your services or payload on Azure will cost per month. I often encourage customers and partners to go through this small exercise that lets you do an estimation. And then, when you have an estimation, we can do a forecast. Then, we can have this sort of visual presentation that this is our estimation, and let's see how it goes. And if there's a deviation, then we can actually work on something.

Jussi Roine, Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Regional Director (@JussiRoine)

Helpful tips and tricks from Microsoft Ignite 2020

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The ability to test and do 'what if' for policies.

Stephane Lapointe, Microsoft Azure MVP (@s_lapointe)

Stephane: One of the tips I discovered in Joseph Chan's session is the ability to test and do 'what if' for policies. So, in your dev environment, using Visual Studio Code, you're now able to very rapidly test the impact of a policy instead of waiting 20 or 30 minutes to roll that out in production and see the impact. You can see that in a matter of seconds, now. It's really changed how you can work and develop and deploy policies, and that's something that I'm very interested in. And I'll play with that for sure myself.

takeaway box

miniature image of rik hepworthI really enjoyed the interview with Rasmus Hald. You know, completely innocently, developers fire things up that are too big, too expensive, they forget about and they lose them. And everything Rasmus talks about is that sort of putting the arm around the shoulder—not hitting people on the back of the head—and teaching them good practices for cost optimization.

Rik Hepworth, Microsoft Azure MVP (@rikhepworth)

There are now more tools, services, and abilities than ever to help you run a lean, scalable, and cost-efficient Azure environment. But sometimes, all of these new announcements and updates can be overwhelming.

If you're looking for a more automated solution to help you manage and optimize your Azure environment, check out ShareGate Overcast through out 15-day free trial.

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