Microsoft has signed a 10-year deal with the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) that calls for the software giant to buy a 4% stake in the exchange in order to jointly develop new products and services for data and analytics.

Microsoft will buy the stake from a Blackstone and Thomson Reuters consortium, which previously sold the financial data company Refinitiv to LSEG for £22bn (US$26.9 billion) in 2021. As a result of the new agreement, LSEG now has a contractual agreement over the 10-year period to spend a minimum of $2.8 billion on cloud-related products with Microsoft.

While the financial terms of the deal have not been fully disclosed, under the arrangement, LSEG’s Workspace data and analytics application—acquired as part of the Refinitiv deal—will become integrated into Microsoft Teams, to provide users with a wider variety of in-app experiences than are currently available, including more detailed trend analysis and risk-building scenarios.

Microsoft said its initial focus would be on delivering interoperability between Workspace and Microsoft Teams, Excel and PowerPoint, with other Microsoft applications and a new version of LSEG’s Workspace, accessed entirely within the Microsoft 365 suite, to be added in the future.

“This strategic partnership is a significant milestone on LSEG’s journey towards becoming the leading global financial markets infrastructure and data business, and will transform the experience for our customers,” said David Schwimmer, CEO of London Stock Exchange Group, in comments published alongside a Microsoft blog post announcing the news.

“Bringing together our leading data sets, analytics, and global customer base with Microsoft’s comprehensive and trusted cloud services and global reach creates attractive revenue growth opportunities for both companies,” he said.

Since the news was announced, in early trading on Monday, LSEG’s share price rose by 4%.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also welcomed the announcement, saying in a press release that “advances in the cloud and AI will fundamentally transform how financial institutions research, interact, and transact across asset classes, and adapt to changing market conditions.

“Our partnership will bring together the industry leadership of the London Stock Exchange Group with the trust and breadth of the Microsoft Cloud — spanning Azure, AI, and Teams — to build next-generation services that will empower our customers to generate business insights, automate complex and time-consuming processes, and ultimately, do more with less,” he said.

The deal with the London Stock Exchange was not the only acquisition news announced by Microsoft in recent days. Last week, the company also bought Southampton, UK-based fiber-optic company Lumenisity for an undisclosed amount.

Lumenisity was spun out from the University of Southampton in 2017, as part of a hollow core fiber-optic research project. Hollow core fiber allows light to travel at a lower latency and speeds up to 47% quicker compared to traditional fiber, with Microsoft saying it plans to use the company’s technology for cloud platform users that require strict latency and security requirements.

“The technology can provide benefits across a broad range of industries including healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, retail and government,” said Girish Bablani, corporate vice president for Azure Core, in a blog post.

Cloud Computing, Financial Services Industry, Technology Industry

Citing currency fluctuations, Microsoft is all set to increase prices of its on-premises software, online services and Windows licenses in India by up to 11%.

The new prices that are expected to take effect from February 1, 2023, are meant to “harmonize” prices for Microsoft software and services between India and the Asian region, the company said, adding that it “periodically assesses the impact of its local pricing for software products and online services to ensure there is reasonable alignment across regions.”

The change will see India prices for commercial on-premises software rise by 4.5%, Microsoft said in a blog post. Prices for online services are set to increase by 9%, bringing these services close to prevailing dollar prices in the Asian region.

Come February, Windows licences, whose prices are set to increase by 11%, will be the most impacted.

Further, the company said that pricing for select services such as Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 for “direct customers” in India will start reflecting from February.

The price rise will not affect existing product orders for business users that are under price protection licensing agreements, Microsoft said.

“However, prices for new product additions under such licensing agreements and purchases under new contracts will be as defined by the pricelist at the time of order,” the company said.

This means that if an enterprise adds new services before February under the Microsoft price protection program, they would not have to pay the increased prices.

Microsoft claims that despite the increase in prices, its customers in India “buying online services in Indian rupee will continue to find Microsoft cloud offerings highly competitive.”

The change in pricing does not cover Microsoft’s hardware products, such as Surface devices, or Office and Windows consumer products, the company said, adding that the price changes will also not affect resellers prices direct as they continue to be determined by resellers themselves.

Microsoft, like its competitors, such as AWS, Google and Oracle, continues to face revenue slowdown in the wake of the pandemic, uncertain macroeconomic conditions, and geopolitical issues. The company recently reported its slowest growth in five years for the first quarter of its fiscal 2023 despite seeing revenue increase across business segments such as cloud, Dynamics 365 and Office 365.

Microsoft, Pricing

Changes Microsoft made to its cloud licensing of Windows and application software to “make bringing workloads and licenses to partners’ clouds easier,” the company says, have drawn the ire of those cloud partners, some of whom have jointly filed an antitrust complaint in the European Union.

They’re concerned that Microsoft is using software licensing to limit European businesses’ choice of cloud service provider for services including desktop virtualization and application hosting.

Microsoft’s licensing changes came into effect on October 1, 2022.

Microsoft chief partner officer Nicole Dezen described the changes as making it easier for enterprises to bring software they had licensed to a partner’s cloud — for example running applications on Windows 11 on multi-tenant servers — and for service providers to build and sell solutions more easily in their preferred cloud.

However, changes also include some notable restrictions. Enterprises can’t move their existing licensed software to the clouds of Alibaba, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure or any outsourcer relying on their infrastructure, and they would instead have to acquire new licenses from the relevant hosting service.

That’s great news for small regional cloud hosts — unless their services, like those of Netherlands-based Leaseweb, include the creation of hybrid clouds involving their own infrastructure and that of Microsoft Azure, or one of the other hyperscalers on Microsoft’s exclusion list.

It was those restrictions that annoyed Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers in Europe (CISPE), a Belgian non-profit whose members include Amazon Web Services, a raft of French web and application hosting companies (of which the best-known is OVH), Leaseweb in the Netherlands, and other domestic and multinational hosting companies based in Finland, Italy, and Spain.

Formal complaint

On November 9, 2022, CISPE filed a formal complaint with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition (DG Comp), the top antitrust authority for the European Union’s 27 member states. It said, “Microsoft uses its dominance in productivity software to direct European customers to its own Azure cloud infrastructure to the detriment of European cloud infrastructure providers and users of IT services.”

CISPE declined to provide full details of its complaint, citing the need to give the European Commission’s case team time to read it first, but has released an executive summary.

A European Commission spokeswoman said that CISPE had informed the Commission it would submit a complaint against Microsoft, and that the Commission would assess it based on its standard procedure.

The first step in that procedure is to determine whether Microsoft holds a dominant position in the market the complaint concerns. Then, it may choose to open an investigation into whether that dominance is being abused. At the end of that investigation, it may issue a statement of objections, to which the parties to the case may respond before the Commission reaches a formal decision, which may result in enforcing action or a fine.

Three in a row

It’s not the first such complaint the Commission has received from Microsoft rivals, though. In early 2021, German online storage service provider NextCloud filed a complaint with DG Comp regarding Microsoft bundling Onedrive with its Microsoft365 software suite. Its complaint later won the support of a host of European online service providers, different from CISPE’s membership.

OVH, along with fellow CISPE member Aruba.it and a consortium of Danish cloud service providers, then followed, filing a joint complaint about Microsoft’s practices in early 2022, an OVH spokeswoman said.

After those two complaints became public, Microsoft president Brad Smith acknowledged on the company’s blog in May the validity of some claims and announced plans to support European cloud providers through changes to licensing — the changes that came into effect on October 1, 2022.

Whether the third complaint, CISPE’s, will prompt further changes in Microsoft’s stance remains to be seen. But this is perhaps the best hope for enterprises and service providers affected by the licensing rules. While European Union antitrust cases can result in big fines, they proceed extremely slowly.

Previous European antitrust actions against Microsoft over the bundling of one its products with another have dragged on for years. In 2004 the company paid a $611 million fine after the Commission found it guilty of illegally bundling media player software with Windows XP (launched in 2001), and then $357 million in 2006 and another $1.3 billion in 2008 for failing to comply with the 2004 ruling.

In 2013, it was also fined $731 million for bundling its Internet Explorer browser with Windows 7, a case that began in 2011 against an operating system launched in 2009.

Cloud Computing, Cloud Management, Cloud Storage, Microsoft, Software Licensing

With companies increasingly moving their data to cloud, there is an extensive need for more professionals with sound understanding and expertise of cloud technology.

Microsoft’s cloud offering, Azure, ranks among the top in the industry. Enterprises find Azure’s hybrid feature appealing, as well as the wide range of tools offered on the platform. As per data from Statista, the Azure market share has been on an upsurge and now accounts for 21% of the worldwide cloud market, making earning an Azure certification a strong career move.

Here are 16 role-based Azure certifications that will give you an in-depth understanding of the skills and knowledge required to elevate your IT career using Microsoft’s cloud.

Top Microsoft Azure certifications

Azure Administrator AssociateAzure AI Engineer AssociateAzure Database Administrator AssociateAzure Data Engineer AssociateAzure Data Scientist AssociateAzure Developer AssociateAzure Enterprise Data Analyst AssociateAzure Network Engineer AssociateAzure Security Engineer AssociateAzure Solutions Architect ExpertAzure Stack Hub Operator AssociateCybersecurity Architect ExpertDevOps Engineer ExpertIdentity and Access Administrator AssociateSecurity Operations Analyst AssociateWindows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate

Azure Administrator Associate

The certification is designed for professionals with expertise in implementing, managing, and monitoring identity, storage, governance, compute, and virtual networks in a cloud environment. Many a times, this role operates as a part of a bigger team devoted to implement an organization’s cloud infrastructure.

To earn this certification, you should have a minimum of six months of hands-on experience managing Azure. In addition, you would also require a good understanding of core Azure services, Azure workloads, security, and governance. It will also test your skills of deploying and managing Azure compute resources, as well as your ability to configure, monitor, and maintain Azure resources.

Job role: Administrator

Required exam: Microsoft Azure Administrator

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD

India: ₹4800 INR

Azure AI Engineer Associate

This certification validates your ability to develop AI solutions in collaobration with data engineers, data scientists, AI developers, and IoT specialists.

To earn this certification, you need to have a strong understanding of C# or Python and should have hands-on knowledge of REST-based APIs and SDKs to develop conversational AI solutions, natural language processing, computer vision, and knowledge mining on Azure. You should also be proficient enough to apply responsible AI principles and be able to plan and mange Azure Cognitive Services solution.

Job role: AI engineer

Required exam: Designing and Implementing a Microsoft Azure AI Solution

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD

India: ₹4800 INR

Azure Database Administrator Associate

This certification demonstrates your ability to implement and manage the operational side of hybrid data platforms and cloud-native solutions developed with SQL Server and Azure data services. This exam verifies your proficiency in using varied methods and tools to execute regular operations, including know-how of using T-SQL for administrative management purposes.

The skill sets that the exam measures include the ability to: plan and implement data platform resources; implement a secure environment; examine, configure, and improve database resources; configure and manage task automation; and plan and configure a high availability and disaster recovery environment.

Job role: Database administrator

Required exam: Administering Microsoft Azure SQL Solutions

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD

India: ₹4800 INR

Azure Data Engineer Associate

This certification is a stamp of your expertise in integrating, consolidating, and transforming data pouring in from numerous structured and unstructured data systems and in providing structure to build analytics solutions on that data. An Azure data engineer ensures data pipelines and data stores are well-functioning, effective, structured, and reliable based on business requirements and limitations. You also need to navigate unexpected issues and reduce data loss.

To earn this certification, you need to have an in-depth knowledge of data processing languages, including Scala, SQL, or Python, and have an understanding of parallel processing and data architecture patterns. You should be able to design, implement, and optimize data storage, data processing, and data security.

Job role: Data engineer

Required exam: Data Engineering on Microsoft Azure

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD

India: ₹4800 INR

Azure Data Scientist Associate

This certification focuses on your expertise in leveraging data science and machine learning to implement and run machine learning workloads on Azure.

Candidates for this role should be able to conduct data experiments, train predictive models, and manage Azure resources for machine learning.

Job role: Data scientist

Required exam: Designing and Implementing a Data Science Solution on Azure

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD

India: ₹4800 INR

Azure Developer Associate

The Azure Developer Associate certification is designed for professionals with one to two years of professional experience with Azure. It validates that a candidate is a cloud developer who takes part in all stages of development, deployment, and maintenance. And that the candidate works with cloud database administrators and clients to implement solutions.

The skills measured in the exam include the ability to develop Azure compute solutions; develop for Azure storage; implement Azure security; monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize Azure solutions; and connect to and use Azure services and third-party services.

Job role: Developer

Required exam: Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD

India: ₹4800 INR

Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate

The certification proves your standing to appropriately deal in areas of designing, creating, and deploying enterprise-scale data analytics solutions.

To achieve this certification, you should have advanced Power BI skills. You should have the expertise to implement and manage a data analytics environment; query and transform data, implement and manage data models; and explore and visualize data.

Job role: Data analyst

Required exam: Designing and Implementing Enterprise-Scale Analytics Solution Using Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Power BI

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD

India: ₹4800 INR

Azure Network Engineer Associate

The Azure Network Engineer Associate certification validates your prowess of deploying networking solutions by using the Azure portal and other methods such as PowerShell, Azure Command-Line Interface, and Azure Resources Manager templates. The certification demonstrates your aptitude to work with solution architects, security engineers, cloud administrators, and DevOps engineers to deliver Azure solutions.

The exam measures thorough expertise in planning, implementing, and maintaining Azure networking solutions comprising connectivity, routing, hybrid networking, security, and private access to Azure services.

Job role: Network engineer

Required exam: Designing and Implementing Microsoft Azure Networking Solutions

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD

India: ₹4800 INR

Azure Security Engineer Associate

This certification focuses on your expertise in implementing Azure Security Controls that secure identity, access, data, applications, and networks in cloud and hybrid environments. It proves your ability to execute responsibilities such as managing the security posture of the organization, responding to security incident escalation, conducting threat modeling, identifying and neutralizing detected flaws, and implementing threat protection.

To earn this certification, you need to have moderate to robust knowledge of most Azure offerings and an understanding of basic IT security principals. This exam tests your knowledge in four different subject areas: managing identity and access; implementing platform protection; managing security operations; and securing data and application.

Job role: Security engineer

Required exam: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD

India: ₹4800 INR

Azure Solutions Architect Expert

The certification validates your subject matter expertise in designing cloud and hybrid solutions on Azure, including network, compute, monitoring, storage, and security. It requires you to have advanced experience and deep knowledge of IT operations comprising networking, governance, disaster recovery, data platforms, virtualization, business continuity, identity, and security.

To earn it, you must have Azure Administrator Associate certification (see above), which tests your skills to implement, monitor, and manage an organization’s Microsoft Azure environment.

Job role: Solution architect

Required exam: Designing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD

India: ₹4800 INR

Azure Stack Hub Operator Associate

This certification focuses on your ability to plan, deploy, update, and maintain the Azure Stack Hub infrastructure. It evaluates your aptitude to work with teams that support datacenter infrastructure; teams that manage identity; and teams that use Azure Stack Hub resources such as DevOps engineers, developers, and virtual infrastructure administrators.

The certification requires you to possess strong experience in operating and managing Azure Stack Hub environments, and to do so by using PowerShell. It will also test the depth of your understanding of Azure, as well as your knowledge of networking, virtualization, and identity management as the certification is for administrator-level role.

Job role: Administrator

Required exam: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack Hub

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD

India: ₹4800 INR                     

Cybersecurity Architect Expert

Cybersecurity Architect Expert is an enhanced certification that establishes your subject matter expertise in securing an organization’s digital assets by deploying cybersecurity strategy. It also focuses on your ability to design a Zero Trust strategy and architecture, which comprises applications, security strategies for data, identity and access management, and infrastructure. This exam also evaluates Governance Risk Compliance (GRC) technical strategies; security operations strategies; and experience of hybrid and cloud implementation.

To earn this certification, you must have at least one of the following certifications: Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate; Microsoft Certified: Identity and Access Administrator Associate; Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate; or Microsoft Certified: Security Operations Analyst Associate.

Job role: Security engineer, administrator, solution architect, security operations analyst

Required exam: Microsoft Cybersecurity Architect

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD

India: ₹4800 INR

DevOps Engineer Expert

The DevOps Engineer Expert certification proves your ability to plan and implement strategies for collaboration, code, source control, infrastructure, compliance, monitoring, delivery, testing, constant integration, monitoring, and feedback. It requires you to possess experience with administering and developing in Azure, with solid skills in at least one of these domains. You need to be acquainted with both Azure DevOps and GitHub.

The exam evaluates your ability to develop an instrumentation strategy; oversee source control; design a security and compliance strategy; plan and implement constant integration; plan and implement a continuous delivery and release management approach; enable communication and collaboration; and build a site reliability engineering strategy.

To earn this certification, you must have either the Azure Administrator Associate or Azure Developer Associate certification.

Job role: DevOps engineer

Required exam: Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps Solutions

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD

India: ₹4800 INR

Identity and Access Administrator Associate

The certification verifies your ability to design, implement, and operate an organization’s identity and access management systems by putting into use the Azure Active Directory. It also validates your expertise to configure and manage authentication and authorization of identities for Azure resources, users, devices, and applications.

Job role: Administrator, identity and access administrator, security engineer

Required exam: Microsoft Identity and Access Administrator

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD

India: ₹4800 INR

Security Operations Analyst Associate

This certification validates your skills in collaborating with stakeholders to secure IT systems from cyberattacks. It demonstrates that you are capable of reducing organizational risk by promptly emending active attacks in the systems, recommending improvements to threat protection practices, and stating breaches of organizational policies to applicable stakeholders.

The certification establishes that you are efficient for the role that predominantly investigates, responds to, and tracks attacks applying Microsoft Sentinel, Microsoft Defender for Cloud, Microsoft 365 Defender, and third-party security products.

Job role: Security engineer, security operations analyst

Required exams: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD

India: ₹4800 INR

Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate

This certification proves your expertise in configuring and managing windows server workloads using on-premises, hybrid, and infrastructure-as-a-service technologies. It also demonstrates your ability to execute tasks in line with security, monitoring, migration, troubleshooting, and disaster recovery. It also covers Azure Automation update management, Microsoft Defender for identity, Azure Security Center, Azure Migrate, and Azure Monitor.

This certification tests your ability to deploy and manage active directory domain services in on-premises and cloud environments; manage windows servers and workloads in a hybrid environment; implement and manage an on-premises and hybrid networking infrastructure; manage virtual machines and containers; manage storage and file services; and implement disaster recovery. You should have vast experience working with Windows Server operating systems.

Job role: Administrator,identity and access administrator,support engineer, network engineer, information protection administrator, technology manager, security engineer

Required exams: Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure and Configuring Windows Server Hybrid Advanced Services

Cost: Depends on the country or region in which it is taken. Does not include applicable taxes.

United States: $165 USD + $165 USD = $330 USD

India: ₹4800 INR + ₹4800 INR = ₹9600 INR

Certifications

Whenever CIOs talk about using low-code tools to enable citizen development, a recurring theme is how to ensure appropriate governance of the applications produced.

Microsoft has heard them loud and clear, and at its Ignite 2022 show in Seattle this week, it introduced a range of new governance capabilities and other enhancements for its Power automation platform.

It also previewed new management capabilities for automated workloads in its Entra Identity governance tool, new compliance reporting tools for monitoring the roll-out of Windows updates on enterprise desktops, and a host of updates to its Azure cloud platform.

Power to the people

Even low-code may seem like a foreign language to some workers, so Microsoft has been experimenting with ways to enable them to generate workflows with Power Automate, describing in natural language what they want to achieve and leaving an AI to build the corresponding flow. The feature, now in preview, will still require workers to set up connectors for the inputs to and outputs from the automated workflow, and to tweak it to ensure it behaves as intended.

Given the scope for ambiguity in natural language, CIOs may want to reinforce governance of applications created in this way — and with the new Managed Environments for Power Platform, Microsoft will help them do just that. First previewed in July, it’s now generally available.

Checks and balances

A new Weekly Digest feature enables admins to see how much use each Power app is getting, directing attention to the most used and reclaiming resources from unused ones.

There are also new tools to limit sharing of apps by security group or number of users, so apps don’t go viral across the enterprise until they’ve been thoroughly tested and channels are set up to communicate changes to them.

Those features will be important to CIOs, according to Kyle Davis, a VP and analyst at Garner covering low-code adoption.

“When it comes to citizen development and low code, governance is front and center,” he said.

Managed Environments is more of an evolution than a revolution, he added, saying, “There really isn’t anything there that someone couldn’t build for themselves if they wanted to.”

Indeed, Managed Environments has its origins in Microsoft’s Automation Center of Excellence starter kit, which enables enterprises to define their own best practices for Power app governance. But as the company itself acknowledges, customers found that this required a lot of manual work and expertise.

Davis said that CIOs looking for the simplicity of low-code development are often also looking for similar simplicity in its management. Managed Environments’ ability to deploy controls in a few clicks will be appealing. “It makes it easier to do things at scale,” he said.

The option to limit usage of an app to a few cubicle neighbors makes sense too, he said, because, “You can just yell across the hallway, ‘Hey, I’m going to make a change,’ and everyone’s aware,” while a change departmental app would need to go through a proper process. “What Microsoft offers with Managed Environments is something that you don’t really get from other low-code vendors in a similar space,” he said.

Environmental awareness

Not all the news at Ignite concerned Power Platform, however. Microsoft also had plenty to say about updates to its Azure cloud infrastructure offering, and an update of Syntex, its AI content management tool. Computerworld has the low-down on Syntex, but CIOs will want to be aware of other innovations that may help them trim management budgets or redeploy staff away from routine tasks.

There are new features for Microsoft Sustainability Manager, an environmental reporting tool for enterprises, including an extended data model to assist them estimating so-called Scope 3 emissions of greenhouse gases by their entire supply chain, and an Emissions Impact Dashboard for Microsoft 365 showing greenhouse gas emissions resulting from their use of Microsoft’s SaaS productivity suite.

Azure Deployment Environments, previewed at the show, offer enterprises a way to apply project-based templates to each development environment they spin up. Much like the managed environments Microsoft is introducing for low-code applications, these new templates will help development teams consistently maintain best practices across projects with minimum effort, the company said.

Cost cutting

Another management feature, Azure Automanage, is now generally available for Azure VMs and has new capabilities including the ability to patch VMs without rebooting, reducing downtime costs.

For variable computing workloads in the Azure cloud, Microsoft is introducing the ability to mix Standard and Spot Virtual Machines in the same scale set, enabling CIOs to profit from the deep discounts available for Spot VMs as their computing needs vary.

But Microsoft also wants customers to see Azure as an economical solution for base workloads. Azure savings plan for compute, available later this month, offers a discount to customers who commit to spending a minimum hourly amount on computing resources for one to three years; consumption above the minimum commitment will be charged at regular rates.

Staying Intune

Microsoft is reshuffling its branding around endpoint management: Intune, previously a component of its enterprise mobility management offering, is now the umbrella brand for its whole range of endpoint management products such as Configuration Manager — with the promise of more to come. At Ignite, the company is previewing new endpoint privilege management capabilities such as the ability to temporarily grant users limited admin permissions, and automated app patching by combining Intune with Microsoft Defender. In January 2023, it will add Microsoft Tunnel so employees can securely access company resources from their own devices without having to enroll them first. And then in March 2023, a new bundle of premium endpoint management services called Advanced Management Suite will be introduced.

Innovation

Fueled by enterprise demand for data analytics, machine learning, data center consolidation and cloud-native app development, spending on cloud infrastructure services jumped 33% year on year to $62.3 billion in the second quarter, according to Canalys.

The Singapore-based market research firm said its latest cloud spending research, released Tuesday, shows that demand for cloud services remains strong despite a global economy suffering from inflation, rising interest rates and recession.

Google, Microsoft and Amazon collectively made up almost two in three dollars spent on cloud infrastructure around the world last quarter, Canalys noted. The firm defines cloud infrastructure services as those that provide IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) and PaaS (platform-as-a-service), either via private or public hosting environments. It excludes direct sales for SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications, but includes revenue from the infrastructure services  used to host and operate them.

According to Canalys’ figures, AWS alone accounted for about 1/3rd of global cloud infrastructure revenue in the second quarter of 2022, or $19.3 billion out of $62.3 billion overall, representing a 33% year-on-year increase in Amazon’s figures. Azure was in second place, with 24% of the market after 40% annual growth, and Google Cloud took third, with 45% growth accounting for 8% of total market share.

Azure’s growth rate means that Microsoft has continued to close in on Amazon for primacy in this market, according to Canalys. A vice president at the research firm, Alex Smith, said that Microsoft’s record number of major deals in the $100 million and $1 billion ranges is the product of a wide product portfolio and tight integration with software partners.

“While opportunities abound for providers large and small, the interesting battle remains right at the top between AWS and Microsoft,” he said in a statement announcing Canalys’ results. “The race to invest in infrastructure to keep pace with demand will be intense and test the nerves of the companies’ CFOs as both inflation and rising interest rates create cost headwinds.”

Cloud providers build out infrastructure

Despite those headwinds, however, both Amazon and Microsoft have continued to aggressively build out capacity, according to the researchers—the latter company has announced 10 new cloud regions, to become available in the next year, and the former has announced eight, divided into 24 new availability zones in the same time frame.

According to Canalys research analyst Yi Zhang, demand is likely to continue to increase, as companies move more and more core parts of their infrastructure into it. “Most companies have gone beyond the initial step of moving a portion of their workloads to the cloud and are looking at migrating key services,” he said in a statement. “The top cloud vendors are accelerating their partnerships with a variety of software companies to demonstrate a differentiated value proposition. Recently, Microsoft pointed to expanded services to migrate more Oracle workloads to Azure, which in turn are connected to databases running in Oracle Cloud

Cloud Computing, Technology Industry