Archive for February, 2016

ERP 2016 – what is new?

February 29th, 2016

According to a 2015 Gartner Research report on the growth of Enterprise ERP mobility, “…the proliferation of (today’s) mobile devices represents a real opportunity to increase the penetration of ERP for all types of workers — in healthcare, manufacturing, finance, even charity organizations — and overcome some of the resistance to ERP usability. However, deploying ERP on mobile devices presents many challenges, due to the rapidly evolving mobility device and app landscape.Mobility does not come free from the ERP vendors. It requires expensive upgrades to their newest technology platforms and constant patching as the vendors deliver functionality a little bit at a time.”

So, in this social media, always connected world of smart phones where does erp fit in?. User demand will drive it as will software vendors, but be clear why you need it – mobile technicians in the field, mobile workflow approvals – or just a lot of pretty pictures. If you are going down the road of mobile operation give some thought to mobile device management – patching, security, geo-fencing, mobile support logs etc.

Agility, flexibility, simplicity, scalability, are typical buzz words but first worry about stability and security – whether on cloud or on premise. When you do that think about your own Internal IT skills and staff turn over, and those of your implementation and support partner. Moving to the cloud may offer a whole load of costs and benefits- but who is managing and supporting your end -do they have the skills? Citing research from IDC, a recent TechTarget report explained that by 2020, approximately 30 percent of tech suppliers currently in the market will have either failed, been acquired or changed dramatically. As businesses become dependent on these service providers for everything from virtualization functions to core cloud systems, they must be prepared to handle the operational disruption that will come when different vendors go out of the market.

IDC projects that the global Internet of Things (IoT) market will be worth $1.7 trillion by 2020, and enterprises from all sectors are embracing the opportunity to deliver and take advantage of the connected economy. Gartner describes a “digital mesh,” which it defines as “an expanding series of devices, services, platforms, informational networks and individuals that integrate together and provide contextual intelligence and enable greater collaboration.The connected economy is now wide open to midsize companies. Leveraging cloud technologies to connect employees, customers, partners and devices together is fast creating new ways of doing business. The changing market for products and services means businesses will move from a single SKU per product to a bundled product with affiliated services (warranty, monitoring) and subscriptions. Organizations’ existing back-office systems, including ERP, need to adapt to this new business model and support effective management and monetization of bundled and multi-modal products. An ERP that has integrated configure, price, quote (CPQ) capabilities will enable customers to easily order products, and for businesses to let the customer know when to expect delivery.

Forget the technology – there is emotional effort needed to successfully get a full-fledged ERP system adopted into a company culture. These days people even try to pay lip service to BPR and change management, or senior management ownership and leadership. Just demand the lowest costs and fastest time, oh and by the way we would like a lot of extras thrown in. Out of the box will do as long as it works exactly the way we want. Why do we need to test – it should work. Training – ‘train the trainer’ is often close to the bling leading the blind. And the consultant who comes at half price is the one eyed man in the kingdom of the blind.

Such factors have produced more ERP failures than Apple sells phones. ERP selection and implementation failures whose fault is it. If every lesson ever learned is ignored if cut price costs and unrealistic timelines are more important than success then where does Corporate leadership responsibility come in to get the ball across the goal line.

Technology and project documents alone will never ensure a successful ERP selection outcome. The enterprise culture has to commit whatever needs to be done, whenever it comes time to do it. Whether in the cloud or on premise out of the box or bespoke, mobile or at your desk does not change the need for two hands to clap. A joint team means shoulder to shoulder.

Microsoft Social Engagement 2016

February 22nd, 2016

Drive customer issues from reporting to resolution with the new Microsoft Social Engagement 2016 release. In this video you’ll see how to escalate a social media post from an unhappy customer directly to a customer service rep by linking social posts to CRM. And how posts are automatically prioritized with the new intention analysis and automation rules. You’ll also learn how author lookup, direct publishing, and Office Groups work to help you engage with your customers on many new levels.

Include pictures when replying to posts

When you reply to a post from within Social Engagement, add pictures to your replies on Facebook and Twitter. Quick and easy accessibility to your social profiles is very important in Social Engagement, as a result we’ve made the social profile page more prominent in the Settings area. Go to Settings > Social Profiles to add, share or remove social profiles

Search Setupavailable on all devices

Review or tweak your search topics while you’re on the go – dor example, update your search terms to include the latest hashtag of the conference you’re attending. If you have a Power Analyst or Administrator user role then you can create and edit search topics and search rules on your mobile device.

Improvements to user experience

When you review the organization of you search topics in the category list, the search rules in a search topic are represented with the icons of the corresponding rules. The post list in Analytics and the wide view of streams separate information about the author from the post’s content for improved readability.

Improvements to Analytics widgets
Great user experience is a key aspect of for Social Engagement. The Sources widget now comes with a full-screen view to show the entire list of sources and their number of posts. Authors by Source not only shows the five most active sources, but also summarizes how many authors posted in the other sources. Last but not least, there is improved highlighting on the Sources History widget. It’s now much easier to read the data points in the chart.

Management Reporter – Updated budget control integration for AX2012 in CU14

February 22nd, 2016

(This capability is also available for AX 2012 R2 and requires a hotfix KB 3091042 similarly there will be a hotfix for Ax 2012 RTM)

Management Reporter CU14, introduced a new method of integration for budget control related data. Previously budget control category data was integrated as book codes; for instance, FY2015 – ConfirmedEncumbrances or FY2015 – ConfirmedPreencubrances.

Management Reporter CU14, has a single budget control book code per budget model (ex. FY2015-BudgetControl) and the budget control categories (ex. Original budget, Draft Encumbrances, Encumbrances, etc) integrate as attributes allowing for greater flexibility and consistency in regards to report design.

Budget reservations for draft actual expenditures is incorporated into the new design.

Below is an example of how to create a budget funds available column definition using a single budget control related scenario (book code) and filtering columns for specific budget control categories. Notice that the Book code = FY2015BudgetControl (where FY2015 is the name of the budget model). The attribute filter is set to the budget control category to display in this column.

Addi columns for actual expenditures, encumbrances, and Pre-encumbrances in the same manner:


When using this column definition within a report definition, mark “Posted and unposted activity” in the Provisional field if to include any draft amounts for budget control categories.


Future CUs will provide a budget funds available report by default to use as a starting point for your report designs.

Dynamics CRM 2016 – The new light-weight CRM App for Outlook

February 22nd, 2016

What’s the difference between the new CRM App for Outlook and the existing CRM for Outlook Add-in?

The new CRM App for Outlook is a light-weight app directed to accomplish a limited set of specific tasks like tracking and converting emails, and reviewing selective details about the specific contacts and leads from the email.

The CRM for Outlook add-in is a full client for Dynamics CRM that gives complete access to all of Dynamics CRM’s functionality, including dashboards and full grids, and even allows you to work offline

The new app requires no installation, no configuration, and no additional log-in steps, Track your important customer emails directly within Outlook, whether on your PC or Mac running the desktop version of Outlook, or on the go through Outlook Web Access on your laptop or phone (Windows, Android, or iOS).

See relevant information from Dynamics CRM Online about who sent you the email, and pop open the full form directly from within the new CRM App for Outlook.?

Note: The CRM App for Outlook is rolling out over the next few weeks to CRM Online organizations independently following the CRM 2016 release. If you don’t see the below options, your organization hasn’t yet received the feature. This app requires Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Online and Exchange Online. Dynamics CRM Online users can easily add the app to their Outlook directly from within Dynamics CRM Online. Simply click on the gear icon and choose Apps for Dynamics CRM. Then choose Add app to Outlook under the CRM App for Outlook heading. The app will show up in the user’s Outlook interface when reading or composing emails anywhere they use Outlook.

Dynamics CRM Online administrators can push the app to user’s Outlook interfaces through the newly added CRM App for Outlook settings page.

Keep in mind that for both cases, in order for users to be eligible to get the app, they will need to have their Exchange mailbox configured with Server-Side Synchronization for incoming emails as well as have the Use CRM App for Outlook user role privilege.

Dynamics CRM 2016 Marketing Update 0.1

February 22nd, 2016

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2016 Update 0.1. As usual, the update will be applied automatically, but your local administrator can control when your organization will be updated. This is an incremental update that delivers a few new features, plus scalability and performance enhancements. The online help will be updated very soon.

Option to treat upcoming (not ready to start) tasks as active or inactive

All tasks in Dynamics Marketing include a Status field, to track a task as it travels from creation to completion. One special status is Not Ready to Start. Use this status to mark a task that is part of a series of tasks to be completed in sequence (as part of a job), and which should wait for a previous task to complete before starting. When the previous task in a sequence is marked as completed (or canceled), then the next task is automatically updated from Not Ready to Start to Not Started, which means that task’s prerequisites are complete and the task is ready to start.

By default, Not Ready to Start tasks are considered inactive, which means those are hidden in the standard list view unless you choose to view inactive tasks. When the status gets changed to Not Started, the task is then considered active and is visible by default. This makes it easy to find your most important and relevant task. Configure your site so that Not Ready to Start tasks are considered active (and thus visible by default in your task list). Your choice for this setting should be based on how your organization uses the tasks feature.

Administrators set this option in the Task Options section of the Site Settings page. ( Configure site settings, Manage tasks)

Note: This new setting also affects new-task alerts, which can be sent to users when a task assigned to them becomes active (or is created in an active state). If you set Not Ready to Start tasks as active, then users who have a new-task alert configured could receive alerts for tasks with start dates that are actually days, weeks, or even months into the future.

Customized landing page category values
For landing page fields that display as drop-down lists (categories), choose which of the available values to include for each drop-down list on the page. This lets you fine-tune each of landing pages by removing drop-down values that are not appropriate for a given context. All values are included by default.

Option to restrict permission to delete contacts
Administrators can configure Dynamics Marketing to prevent most users from deleting contacts, even when they have Edit-Contact privileges. In previous versions, and still the default setting, all users who can edit contacts can also delete. (Edit Marketing privileges enable this for marketing contacts, while Edit Site Contacts privileges enable this for site, vendor, and client contacts). Administrators can now set an option that prevents all users (other than administrators) from deleting contacts. Administrators with Edit-Contact privileges can always delete contacts. Regardless of this setting, Dynamics Marketing contacts are always soft deleted, never hard deleted. This means that deleted contacts are always kept in the database, but are marked as inactive and hidden by default.
Administrators can set this option in the Contact Options section of the Site Settings page.

New OData feeds

Dynamics Marketing now publishes even more types of data as OData feeds for use in Power BI reports, custom applications, and other OData consumers. New OData feeds available in this version include the Status field for the company and components tables, and component-related fields for several related tables.

Updated Features

Improved query logic for custom contact fields
In previous versions of Dynamics Marketing, you could not create queries (dynamic marketing lists) to find records with an empty or null value in a custom contact field. For example, if you created a custom contact field called “blood type” and created a query to find contacts where “blood type equals null”, then no results would be returned. In Dynamics Marketing 2016 Update 0.1, querying contacts where “blood type equals null” now returns all contacts that have not yet registered a blood type. This means that queries based on custom contact fields now work the same way as they do for standard contact fields.

To make sure all existing queries continue to work as expected, the new query logic will only apply to queries created after you update to Dynamics Marketing 2016 Update 0.1. Queries created in previous versions will continue to use the logic that doesn’t return results for null values.

· Custom contact fields will never be “empty”—those can only be “null”. This means you should not use the “is empty” operator to find fields without values.

· The “does not contain” operator does not return null values. When you query for contacts where “blood type does not contain ‘B’”, then you would find contacts with blood type A+, A-, O+, and O-, but you would not find contacts where the blood type is not registered. To include these, add an extra clause to create a query, such as “blood type does not contain ‘B’” or “blood type is null”. This logic is similar for the “does not equal” operator.

Azure requirements

Both the Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Connector and the SDK use Microsoft Azure to facilitate communication to and from Dynamics Marketing. Depending on your scenario, you may be able to use built-in managed queues (which are included with your Dynamics Marketing subscription), or you may need to purchase your own Azure subscription

To connect to Microsoft Dynamics CRM (on-premises), you must provide a service bus from your own Microsoft Azure subscription. The Azure subscription that you use does not necessarily need to be in the same Microsoft Office 365 tenant as Dynamics Marketing.


Dynamics Marketing is a cloud-based service that requires no special software running on users’ computers, other than an up-to-date web browser.
Pop-Ups: You must configure your browser to allow all pop-up windows from your Dynamics Marketing domain (see your browser’s documentation for instructions). Most modern web browsers block all pop-ups by default. Some browsers alert you when they block a pop-up window (for example by showing an icon in the address bar), but others do not. Some, but not all, of Dynamics Marketing print and file-upload features use a pop-up window of a type sometimes blocked by pop-up blockers.
Allow JavaScript from Dynamics Marketing; JavaScript must be enabled for your browser, at least for your Dynamics Marketing domain. Most browsers enable JavaScript by default.
·Allow cookies from Dynamics Marketing: Cookies must be enabled for your browser, at least for your Dynamics Marketing domain. Most browsers enable cookies by default.

‘Delve’ into Office 365

February 11th, 2016

At convergence in Orlando last year Delve was part of of demonstrations featuring Gigjam and Cortana Analytics but what does it do? In Microsoft Office 365, Delve is the app that tracks and stores your activity.

One of the benefits of having a Microsoft Office 365 subscription is that the suite of available apps is periodically updated with new features. Many times these updates and upgrades are l incremental changes that your employees may not even notice. However, sometimes these updates are completely new application features.On January 7, 2016,Microsoft released a new feature for Office 365 Delve to simplify organized team collaboration

The new feature for Delve is called ‘boards‘. The boards concept gives employees a new way both to organize and to share content with fellow employees and the enterprise in general.

Delve can now also be the app that lets you organize your activity. For example, when working on a specific project create a board dedicated to that project, and attach every document, video, meeting, and image your team creates. From that board, share everything with some or all of the entire enterprise and potentially let everyone in the enterprise add to the board for the project, depending on what permissions you establish. Enterprise wide collaboration and document sharing .

Is this useful? There other collaborative tools from SharePoint to to Yammer, to Skype Business.
Microsoft’s vision of a global mobile workforce, means collaboration comes in the form of sharing documents and easy Skype meetings, Delve boards shared amongst team members makes sense. But sharing that collaboration, with all its rest of the enterprise seems like more of a distraction and much less useful. Much like Facebook can be full of random junk or be a targeted focus group similarly Yammer can invite constructive feedback or just be a mass waste of time with uninformed contributors making ill informed comment or reading such comments out of context. We have all suffered the email tsunami of being copied on endless minor updates on trivial matters more driven by office politics than business sense.

From the rest of the enterprise’s point of view, do we really need or want to know what every small team from finance to marketing is working on for a particular client? Most of us have enough trouble tracking our own activity, let alone worrying about everyone else’s. Will all employees will be willing to share their work with the rest of the enterprise using Delve and the boards system – what if a project is not going well? Some policy guidelines and monitoring need to be thought about before adoption.

The new mobile, always connected, social media focused, collaborative workforce of today are looking for similar features to support their work effort. But does it really help when people who sit next to each other above to communicate by email; or sit around a dinner table communicating by text messages?

Collaboration between and amongst small groups working in teams is the backbone of any enterprise. However, vast dissemination of that small group collaboration sounds like noise. Where such a tool helos is that you can self serve to find information without it having to be pushed. Users can read what they want when they need, and not have their email boxes filled multiple attachments they don’t need to read. Its easier to mass communicate when users opt in. Security policies and controls need to be considered.

Microsoft Office 365 Delve is an interesting application. Like all tools in needs training and experience/expertise to get best use. It will be particularly helpful for those teams that are part of a mobile workforce. The addition of boards gives teams a different tool to help organize and to coordinate their collaborative activity.

So well done Microsoft for keeping Office 365 fresh with new features and just as with any other office products use it when appropriate.

New Dynamics Ax launch and Dubai Summit – March 2016 – meet Synergy Software Systems

February 10th, 2016

Envision – Middle East Dynamics Summit which will be organized by Microsoft on 23rd of March, in Dubai meet Synergy Software Systems there as a Gold Sponsor

Let us show you the new web based Dynamics Ax which will be launched in March.
If you can’t wait – then call us now for a preview – Synergy’s consultants are already hands on with the beta release.

There will be a global launch event – Synergy customers who wish to tune in please contact us and we will register you. During this exciting event, to show you the new Dynamics AX hear from early adopter customers who will share how they are using the new Dynamics AX cloud service to speed up their business.
Note the time zone is PST

Theme: Increase the Speed of Doing Business
March 8, 2016 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm PST APAC
March 9, 2016 8:00 am – 9:00 am PST ROW

Azure stack beta is released

February 9th, 2016

Azure Stack essentially is Microsoft’s better bridge to using its cloud services, both the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) kinds. It uses the same code as Azure.

Scripting tools for management, such as PowerShell and command-line interfaces, will work across Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing services as well as local datacenter implementations of Azure Stack. This allows a company to build a private cloud, and then easily migrate parts to a public cloud, allowing you to have a true hybrid cloud platform. Microsoft is the only company to have both a private and public cloud option.

Charities and Dynamics CRM – let Synergy Software Systems explain how it helps.

February 8th, 2016

– Your website and its donations are in one database.
– Your email newsletter database is in another.
– So is your beneficiary contact history.
– That spreadsheet where you record all those contracts.
– You want to send personalised emails to your regular donors, high-value donors, and people who’ve previously donated?

Then you need an easy to use CRM system with a familiar look and feel that connects your people and your processes.

Resources in the third sector are scarce, so it’s vital they make a difference. That’s where CRM technology will help. Microsoft Dynamics enables you to reduce administration and focus greater efforts on your mission critical activities.

1. Drive Down Costs
Dynamics CRM connects all your processes and data to a single interface which reduces operational expenses by removing administration, cutting processing time, improving data quality and reducing manual tasks. Develop efficient processes using a centralised, intuitive CRM system by leveraging intelligent workflows that lower the cost of your fundraising, marketing, commercial operations and other activities.
2. Delivering Outstanding Service
Use complete detail about each contact and organisation in Dynamics CRM to transform the service you provide to beneficiaries, donors, members, investors and other stakeholders. CRM unifies your data including donations, grants, email marketing, applications, cases, outreach and other activities empowering employees and volunteers to deliver amazing service experiences across all touch points. Use guided resolution features, such as call scripting and policy adherence, and a process-driven user experience, all from a centralised view to increase agent efficiency, manage service issues faster and reduce cost per case.

3. Increase Revenues & Engagement
Whether it’s your local community, members, sponsors, service users, volunteers or your social followers Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps foster increased engagement with audiences across all channels. CRM connects with marketing automation services to profile contacts and use the power of this data to send personalised emails which increase awareness of your work to support fundraising and nurture activities.

Extended integration is available with Microsoft Social Engagement to learn more about your social audience and driving positive interactions with beneficiaries and other contacts through these channels including routing new service issues to

CRM. 4. Reporting Insight
Don’t be left in the dark any longer. Leverage inbuilt CRM dashboards and reporting tools to understand what goes on inside and outside your organisation. Unlock insights from your data by easily generating reports on the total hours volunteered, projects completed, time spent on service cases, the status of grant applications, donations received and other activities for a single source of truth and actionable insight. Remove guesswork by understanding which campaigns were most effective to replicate successful appeals and achieve your fundraising goals. Report with ease to trustees, regulatory bodies, potential donors, volunteers and the media with streamlined, accurate reporting on-demand from a single interface and data hub.
• Manage members, donors and beneficiaries
• Contain costs through efficient processes
• Complete view of donors and sponsors in a single interface
• Increase fundraising & commercial activities
• Report with ease for performance insight & governance compliance
• Increase supporter engagement
• Develop positive social sentiment towards your organisation
• Event management

Many charities and nonprofit organisations are entitled to Microsoft volume discounts on licensing for Dynamics CRM, Office 365, Windows 10 and other Microsoft solutions

These are just 4 examples to demonstrate how Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps charitable and non-profit organisations cut operating costs through efficient processes, increase revenues and delight their beneficiaries.

Microsoft’s cloud ambitions expand with Azure stack – Hybrid cloud and Metanautix

February 7th, 2016

Microsoft unveiled its new Azure Stack offering at last year’s Ignite conference as a solution that would enable users to easily run Azure cloud services in their own on-premises datacenters, thus supporting the increasingly hybrid nature of organizations’ IT environments.

Microsoft Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson, speaking at the 2015 Ignite keynote, described Azure Stack this way:
“This is literally us giving you all of Azure for you to run in your datacenters. What this brings you is you get that great IaaS and PaaS environment in your datacenters. You have incredible capability like a unified application model that gives you a one-click deployment experience for even the most complex, multi-tier applications and then you get that cloud-inspired infrastructure. We’re giving you the same software controller that we built for our network, the name is the same, network controller. We’re giving you our load balancing. We’re giving you all the storage innovation.”

Azure Stack represents an evolution of Microsoft’s older Cloud OS solution, which also promised to give partners and organizations the ability to build Azure environments in their datacenters, but suffered from low uptake due to its complexity. Azure Stack shares a common architecture, application model and DevOps tool set with Azure, according to Microsoft. This minimizes the work that developers need to do to make sure their apps work on both Azure and Azure Stack, as well as lets IT pros extend on-premises apps to the cloud without having to drastically change the tools they use for automation or management. Microsoft has not given a specific date for Azure Stack’s release, but because it is linked with the company’s 2016 wave of server releases, it will likely become generally available by year’s end.

While Microsoft claims 100,000 new Azure subscriptions per month, it also recognizes that many enterprises “still have business concerns around moving fully to the public cloud, such as data sovereignty or regulatory considerations.” So they are in limbo between the public cloud and on-premise; hence the need for a hybrid cloud approach that provides consistency across private, hosted, and public clouds.

Among the capabilities:
• Azure and Azure Stack feature a standardized architecture (e.g., the same portal, a unified application model, common DevOps tools); thus, developers can offer the same end-user experience as Azure delivers.
• IT professionals can transform on-premise datacenter resources into Azure IaaS/PaaS services while maintaining oversight and corporate governance, using the same management and automation tools that Microsoft uses to operate Azure.

For heavily-regulated companies, control where data resides. Highly regulated companies (SOX, HIPAA, FDA, etc.) having their data hosted at a Microsoft Azure datacenter doesn’t typically meet all of their regulatory requirements. and there is a growing demand for enterprise cloud apps, with a hybrid cloud platform product that helps enterprises deploy Azure Services in a private cloud environment.

So, businesses have the freedom to decide where applications and workloads reside – overcoming one of the most vehement objections to the cloud.

Azure Stack and Dynamics
The new Dynamics AX, which will be launching on Azure first, apparently in March. The plans to bring the new AX to private cloud and on-premise customers hinge on the release of Azure Stack for the Windows Server 2016 wave of products.

In December Microsoft furthered its pursuit of enterprise analytics with the acquisition of Metanautix, a company that makes it possible for businesses to pull together all their data and gain insights into it. Metanautix’s product can pull information in from a variety of private and public cloud data sources including traditional data warehouses, NoSQL databases like Cassandra and business systems like Salesforce. Once it’s aggregated, businesses can use SQL to query the resulting data pipeline in order to glean insights from the information. Microsoft isn’t saying much about its plans for Metanautix’s technology, but it can be expected to roll it into products like SQL Server and the Cortana Analytics Suite.

Why Azure anyway?
Managed Web Sites
Window Azure has a special mode of use just for 2-tier web sites, called Windows Azure Web Sites. Both Microsoft’s SQL Database or MySQL databases can be used. WAWS web sites use a shared VM pool, and provisioning happens in just seconds, not minutes. Customers can promote to reserved VMs if they choose. WAWS web sites are fast, easy, and superbly managed.

Window Azure Web Sites also support common open source frameworks, including DotNetNuke, Drupal, Joomla, Orchard, and WordPress. Web developers can quickly provision web sites with their desired framework.

Web developers work in different ways, and there’s no single way to deploy. Windows Azure Web Sites support several popular methods of deployment, including Web Deploy, FTP, Git, and TFS. In addition, the deployment is conveniently always to a single “server”, even when running multiple server VMs in the cloud. WAWS takes care of distributing new and updated deployment files to the individual VM instances.

Window Azure now has Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) support, to complement the Platform-as-a-Service (Paas) support. IaaS Virtual Machines are based on VHDs which are fully portable between cloud and on-prem and those are also persistent, making Windows Azure viable at last for single-server solutions and for running server products such as AD, SQL Server, or SharePoint Server.

Non-Microsoft OS & Database support

Traditionally, Microsoft has offered platform services based on Windows Server and SQL Server. With the new platform there is support for Linux virtual machines and MySQL databases. This means a broader range of software can now run in the Microsoft cloud even SAP.

VM Image Gallery
When creating Virtual Machines, select from a gallery of pre-configured images. For example, install Windows Server 2008 plain, or with SQL Server also installed or add your own VM images to the gallery.

VM Composition

Window Azure virtual machines is easily provisioned, configured, and managed in the Windows Azure portal. Once you connect to and set up a VM, capture its disk to create a reusable image that is added to your VM image gallery.

Cloud Services

The traditional Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) mode–now known as Cloud Services–not only remains, it’s getting new and updated services. An expanded virtual networking capability can interface with enterprise VPN appliances to enable hybrid cloud scenarios where segments of your local network are joined to your cloud assets. Windows Azure Media Services, a new service in limited preview right now, will allow uploading, transcoding, and delivery of media content such as video. A new identity service is coming that will extend the identity federation we currently have in the Access Control Service with expanded capabilities.

The New Portal

Window Azure gets a huge usability boost in a cutting-edge new . HTML-based, management portal that can also be used on mobile devices such as iPads and Windows 8 slates. The new portal also provides a view of built-in metrics for WAWS, Cloud Services, and Virtual Machines.

New Data Centers

Two new data centres were added recently (West US and East US), bringing the number of Windows Azure data centers to 8 (four in the US, two in Europe, and two in Asia). In addition, there is supporting worldwide infrastructure including a 24-node edge cache CDN network.