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Azure Getting Bigger in the UK: New Services for Power BI, SQL Server and Azure Functions

Posted by Augusto Alvarez on January 3, 2017
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Microsoft continues with its expansion over Europe, offering new Azure Services most precisely within their brand new UK datacenters. The new services focus on PowerBI, SQL Server and Azure Functions; all of those are currently available for European customers.

Datacenters UK map

Microsoft completed the UK datacenters in September of 2016, allowing customers to select UK from Azure regions. Even though the exact locations are undisclosed, it is presumed that are located in London (called UK South in Azure) and Cardiff (called UK West in Azure). MS announced this new region (we have to remember we use the term “region” because each conforms several datacenters in a large ground area) in 2015. The services offered in this region includes also Office 365, but for CRM is expected to become available in the first half of 2017.

Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie announced the UK region

Back in 2015 when Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie announced the UK region.

The Redmond Company also announced that soon as it became available, they had customers for its U.K. datacenters, including the Ministry of Defence, the Glasgow City Council, Marks & Spencer and Virgin Atlantic, among others. In addition, Microsoft has datacenter agreements with the South London & Maudsley NHS Trust, Aston Martin, Capita and Rosslyn Analytics, according to Microsoft’s U.K. announcement. The datacenters are expected to create opportunities for “Microsoft UK’s 25,000-plus partners”.

Getting back to the new services offered in Azure from UK region, the most relevant ones:

  • PowerBI and PowerBI Embedded: PowerBI is one of Microsoft’s gold stars from some time now, represents the business analytics suite that allows data analytics and visualizations, something that Microsoft has been talking loudly.
  • PowerBI Embedded is one of the business intelligence features they are offering to facilitate developers on using them, allowing devs to embedded fully interactive and visual reports into their apps.

azure customers geographic split

  • SQL Server Stretch Database: This feature allows Azure customers to migrate cold data to the cloud. Microsoft says Stretch Database is cost effective and allows transparent and secure migrations.
  • Azure Functions: Represents a tool for running small pieces of code in the cloud. With Functions, users do not need to worry about using a designated application for running small code.
  • Azure DevTests Lab: Offers a service that helps developers and testers quickly create environments in Azure while minimizing waste and controlling cost. The goal for this service is to solve the problems that IT and development teams have been facing: delays in getting a working environment, time-consuming environment configuration, production fidelity issues, and high maintenance costs.
  • Azure DocumentDB: Fully managed NoSQL database service built for fast and predictable performance, high availability, elastic scaling, global distribution, and ease of development. As a schema-free NoSQL database, DocumentDB provides rich and familiar SQL query capabilities with consistently low latencies on JSON data.

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Augusto Alvarez
Augusto Alvarez
Augusto is currently working as Principal Consultant in Dell EMC, originally from Argentina and now based in the US. His role currently is designing customer requirements into specific systems and processes; also performing technical briefings; leading architectural design sessions and proofs of concept. Augusto is also the author from two published App-V books: “Getting Started Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6” and “Microsoft Application Virtualization Advanced Guide”.