SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Analysis: How Seattle became “Cloud City”

 Seattle is a great investment! Why? Because this city consistently reinvents itself. Follow the dots: timber to gold to aerospace to tech to cloud. I’ve enjoyed living here nearly 30 years and confirm that every time I land after a trip, realizing I’m home!
 
So what is Seattle’s secret sauce in becoming Cloud City? I’d offer competition. Both AWS and Azure were invented here. Hell even competitors like Google are now moving north to drink the water. I have a question for you before we discuss
 
the Seattle Time’s analysis.  Would you like a fall collaborative, Azure Nation, where we meet in Seattle for a multi-day event and discover what Azure is and is not. Would you like to see a shoot-out between Azure and AWS? Please join the conversation on our Facebook page so I can crowd source your interest level.
 
The Seattle Time’s article is an overview of the cloud computing sector and the customers (such as Boeing) that use cloud services. One takeaway is that Jeff Bzos, CEO of Amazon, proclaims “We got a seven-year runway. That’s almost unheard of. For years, we were kind of left alone.” True that but I’d offer he shouldn’t give up his day job as Microsoft is roaring back big time. And you know how Microsoft likes to start late and dominate even later.
 
Read the article here
 
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HOT AZURE TRAINING ONLINE!

(From our friends at SQLSoft3 - Editor)

Several folks who are interested in Azure training have asked us when we will have our next Azure class scheduled.

 We have a live instructor-led Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions (20533) class which will run on August 22.

This course teaches information technology (IT) Professionals how to provision and manage services in Microsoft Azure (Azure). Students will learn how to implement infrastructure components such as virtual networks, virtual machines, web and mobile apps, and storage in Azure. Students also will learn how to plan for and manage Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), and configure Azure AD integration with the on-premises Active Directory domains.
 SQLSoft Azure

 


Learn more and sign-up for the online Azure training here.

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1h2016 Roadshow Wrap-up; 2h2016 Coming Soon!

1h2016 Roadshow Wrap-up; 2h2016 Coming Soon!

Whew! That was a long haul. We’ve just completed nine (9) cities in the first six months of 2016 for our Office 365/Windows 10 roadshow across the US. Jenny and Grant did the heavy lifting (THANK YOU!) and the technical content was universally adored. We’d offer that, in the immediate SMB partner community, we are the MOST TECHNICAL workshops in market!

By-the-numbers
We hosted more one-day workshops in 1h2016 than our two nearest friendly SMB communities combined (ASCII = 4, ChannelPro = 2). Add competitor SMB TechFest (2) and we still win the workshop delegate math LOL! A look back at where we’ve been this first part of the year is: Redmond, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington DC, Charlotte, LA, SF, Phoenix). Our approval rating consistently exceeds 90% (“awesome” shout out to Grant who is rarely stumped; “Jenny is the best”). Our content morphed over the six months to add Office 365 Security and Azure while diminishing Windows 10 (yes – we listen to your feedback). And our sponsors consistently commented that we are attracting a new crowd, not just the same old tired old guys. I’d also offer its not the same old “High School clique” where all too familiar friends can finish each other’s sentences. We cultivate new faces from new walks of life where new friendship bonds are being forged. Everyone loves a first date!

Your Input Needed
So onward and upward for another nine (9) cities in 2h2016. We want your input on where to go and what content to deliver. Please complete the survey here.

Finally - attending our workshops is a fantastic wayt to start over and reinvent yourself! 

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Microsoft’s cloud-computing efforts are paying off as it gains on Amazon

Microsoft

 

Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella says, “the enterprise cloud opportunity is massive.”

By: Therese Poletti

Microsoft Corp.’s fiscal second quarter showed that its cloud-computing efforts are paying off with major revenue growth and improved profit margins, offsetting declines in its PC businesses.


Investors cheered Microsoft’s MSFT, -0.23%  results in after-hours trading, with shares rising 3.4%, while shares of Seattle neighbor Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.31%   plunged amid disappointment with holiday season profits . The two companies are proving to be fierce rivals in the arena of public cloud, where Microsoft is gaining momentum with its Azure product line, which saw a 140% year-over-year jump in revenue in constant currency.

microsoft gaining on amazon in cloud 2016 01 28

The software giant did not break out revenue of Azure in particular, only giving the growth rate. Azure is partnered with other cloud-focused products in Microsoft’s “intelligent cloud” business, which reported $6.3 billion in total revenue, up 11% in constant currency.


“The enterprise cloud opportunity is massive, larger than any market we have ever participated in,” Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella told analysts.

Amazon and its fast-growing Amazon Web Services business is a formidable opponent in cloud computing, though. AWS reported $2.4 billion in sales for AWS on Thursday, with $687 million in operating income, for a revenue growth rate just shy of 70% — about half of Azure’s reported rise, though Amazon’s number did not use constant currency.

While Azure is growing faster than AWS, it is likely still far behind in terms of overall size. Ahead of Microsoft’s earnings, Raymond James analyst Michael Turits estimated that Microsoft’s Azure business would hit $501 million in revenue in the December quarter.

“It looks like they are slowly but surely gaining share, that’s the key,” FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives said.

Microsoft also fared well with its Office 365 cloud product, a major part of the “intelligent cloud” sector, which saw revenue growth of nearly 70% in constant currency.

 

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Breaking News – 2016 Readership Results!

Thank you for participating in our 2016 Readership Survey – it’s good for us and good for you. Here are the results:

Nearly 2/3 of you defined yourself as MSPs at 62.84%. The remaining responses included break-fix, consultant, system integrator, business consultant and ISV.

Technical content areas you are interested in, in order of strength, are: Office 365, Windows 10, and Windows Server. As you can see in the figure, AWS, Azure and Skype are less popular topics for you.

Not surprisingly, with respect to segments, you want coverage on the small and medium business (SMB) area. You are not interested in government and education. Enterprise, home and consumer were all tied for a distant second.

In terms of general areas, you were very interested in more coverage of SECURITY! Second was legacy technologies and third was cloud. Losers included Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT) with both topics tied for last.

Your interests in “styles” was won by the “How To…Business” category followed by a tie with “How To…Technical” and stories on products and services. The notion of “Best of” contests finished a distant last.

When it came to social topics, you want more coverage on Start-ups, Shutdowns and Start-overs. The good news is that we’re closely listening to you and intend to make these area(s) pillars of our coverage in 2016! Tied for second was industry hiring and firings and gossip (lawsuits, etc.). Last place goes to political coverage. I thought political coverage might be a bit higher with the 2016 election year in the US.

Finally, a couple of standout comments included desire for an improvement in our newsletter being displayed on mobile devices, Hybrid Exchange/O365 articles and more technical content. There was also a shout-out to SharePoint. One person shared that “I expect this to provide content related to my work and revenue streams.”

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Windows 10 + Office 365 & Special Topics = Immediate Knowledge Power!

Thu, Nov 19, 2015 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PST

Presented by: & Harry Brelsford CEO of SMB Nation and Grant Thompson Founding Partner MG Technology Group

Join us for Part III of our three-part webinar series focused on Windows 10.

In this installment, we direct our expertise to discussing Office 365 integrations with Windows 10 plus a host of special topics that have accumulated over the first two webinars.  Windows 10

Topics include:

  • Windows 10 with Office 365 is the Azure AD Join
  • Any special reason why you are still using Office 2013 instead of Ofiice 2016? 
  • What’s the current state of OneDrive storage with Windows 10 and Office 365? 
  • Can you have both a personal and business OneDrive? 
  • What is the difference Windows Home and Windows Business SKUs? 
  • Windows Media Center was removed form Windows 10. Does Microsoft plan to make it available in any way or is there a workaround to regain that functionality? 
  • Is there a Windows 10 Certification exam available yet?
  • What about the Microsoft "snooping" in Windows 10 and other security concerns?
  • Through Virtualization - can I control two simultaneous outgoing audio streams (two disparate audio jacks/cards) 
  • And MUCH MORE…

Also remember since your customers are attending, you can register this event with Microsoft Community Connections and receive giveaway software and materials

349 X 115 MOD REG RND2

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Microsoft announces Azure innovation at AzureCon

The intelligent cloud is powering innovation industry-wide and key to advancement of Microsoft Azure. 

Microsoft Corp. announced earlier this week Azure will be available in more places worldwide with new features designed to offer users simplicity and flexibility. microsoft logo 100029828 gallery

“We live in a connected world, and the intelligent cloud is powering it all,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud + Enterprise Division. “As data and devices continue to proliferate, there is vast opportunity for businesses to tap into their data to make their applications more intelligent. Through our offerings across applications, data and IoT, and cloud infrastructure, we are enabling companies to innovate more easily and rapidly, using the tools and platforms they know and love.”

Exciting product news include the availability of the Azure IoT Suite and the expansion of Azure Data Lake. Microsoft Azure services are now available in India, with O365 and Dynamics CRM soon to follow in the coming months. 

More product information and service announcements from AzureCon are available here.

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AvePoint updates Azure-based SaaS platform for O365

AvePoint announced yesterday immediate general availability of a new version of AvePoint Online Services, a 100 percent Azure-based Software-as-a-Service platform for Office 365 designed to simplify the transition to O365 and Azure.

AvePoint Online Services integrates with Azure Active Directory and SQL Azure Data Base, and provides IT pros simplified platform access with tools to scale storage for O365 reporting.

“One of the major benefits of the cloud is simplifying IT operations to focus more on the needs of business users,” said George Petrou, Chief Technical Officer, AvePoint. “With the latest release of AvePoint Online Services, administrators can easily access and scale the tools they need for Office 365 management while boosting user productivity and ensuring organizational governance policies are met through automated service requests and insights available within the SharePoint Online interface.”

More information, including testimonials and the link to a free trial, are available here.

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Trend Micro Deep Security Available on Azure Marketplace

Security solution provider Trend Micro Incorporated announced yesterday availability of cloud and data center platform Trend Micro Deep Security on the Azure Marketplace.

The solution is designed to extend security provided by Microsoft Azure and help organizations meet their shared security-enhanced responsibilities.

“We are pleased that Trend Micro Deep Security is now available on the Azure Marketplace,” said Nicole Herskowitz, senior director of Product Marketing, Microsoft Azure. “By making Trend Micro Deep Security available on our cloud platform, Trend Micro is providing automated cloud security for Azure workloads to customers around the world.”

Deep Security meets PCI and HIPAA requirements and defends against malware and network attacks.

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Cloud innovation drives growth and geographic expansion for Object Consulting

object-microsoft

Awards in the IT space can be plentiful, especially if you spend any time on the conference circuit: Best Solution, Best Software, Best in Show, etc. All of these awards offer a measure of value, but for some that measure is slightly more significant than others.

When Object Consulting recently won the 2014 Microsoft Cloud Partner of the Year, Small and Medium Business (SMB) Award Kevin Francis knew it was the kind of award that would bring in major revenue for the Sydney, Australia-based solution provider.

Last year the Microsoft Gold partner won Microsoft’s Cloud Partner of the Year award for the enterprise segment and found it really put the organization on the map, says Francis, Object Consulting’s National Microsoft Practice Manager. “We grew our Microsoft business more than 50 percent last year and that’s really a testament to what winning this kind of award does. It gives us instant credibility. And it’s the kind of credibility that brings customers to us. They are calling us and that’s gold. We’re looking at another year of massive growth.”

The most recent award is recognition for a project Object Consulting completed for a two-man startup called Xpreshon which delivers free and subscription-based action sports content to users on Microsoft Xbox, Windows 8 and Windows phones. The media streaming and customer management components of the solution run on Microsoft’s public cloud Windows Azure, which makes it possible for a two-man shop like Xpreshon to manage and scale its business without compromising the time they need to spend on delivering core value.

Xpreshon’s original vision was to develop an offering specifically aimed at gamers however using the Azure platform made it possible to extend feature-rich applications to multiple platforms. “Running our applications on Windows 8 devices using Windows Azure means that our users have access to Xpreshon content wherever they are,” says Jason Webb, director and co-founder of Xpreshon.

The code sets for all three applications overlapped enough to provide an efficiency of scale that made it possible for all three to be released within one year. “We thought it would be great if we could be on multiple Microsoft platforms as a single presence,” says Webb. “The strength of our brand is enhanced by having simultaneous offerings on all three devices.”

This is exactly the kind of project that Object Consulting has specialized in, carving out a narrow niche that mixes specialty media with a variety of delivery platforms. The award they won last year was for a similar project – the creation of SuperFooty Live HQ for News Limited which delivered rich media content including video, images and data visualization to Aussie Rules Football fans on their smartphones, tablets, desktops and TVs.

According to Francis Cloud and Devices are the new frontiers in media delivery. “That combo of cloud at the back end and devices at the front end, that’s our space and it’s a fast growing space.”

Object Consulting was a very early adopter of the cloud and also quickly saw the potential of mobile and the convergence of the two. Today the company is one of the only premier Xbox developers in the APAC region and has also invested heavily building out its mobility capabilities with Windows phone, iOS and Android development.

“It’s been expensive for us to set up. It was a big risk, but it has paid off. Winning awards like this is what happens if your solution is really innovative, if it pushes the envelope then you can win against the big players.”

Next up, says Francis, is geographic expansion. Object Consulting already had plans in place to drive geographic expansion, but winning the Microsoft award will help accelerate that plan.

“We’ve started a move into Southwest Asia and we are actively looking for work globally. We have a unique set of capabilities – less than five partners globally have the kind of focus we have – we’ve found a way to play in a way that few others are doing and Azure helps us go to market globally with our capabilities.”

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