5 Exciting Microsoft Inspire announcements from the Arinco Crew

With Microsoft Inspire 2021 wrapping up last week, a lot of new announcements are currently being discussed and evaluated by customers all across the Azure and M365 ecosystem. For those of you who haven’t yet had a chance to dive in, here are five of our favourite announcements!

Craig – Windows 365 takes away the Virtual Desktop burden

Easily the largest announcement from Microsoft Inspire, Windows 365 is a step forwards for many organisations considering virtualised desktops. Under this solution, Microsoft is offering a fully managed, accessible anywhere VDI environment. This capability comes with, Endpoint Manager Integration, Image & Profile Management, fixed cost (linear) pricing model, and hybrid capability.

Easily the biggest announcement at Microsoft Inspire was Windows 365
Windows 365 Deployment Architecture. Source:

The Windows 365 announcement is so attractive because it removes a lot of the intangibles that are present within all VDI deployments. While not as customisable as Azure Virtual Desktop, Windows 365 allows small to medium businesses to deliver a scalable and secure service, with the minimum amount of infrastructure. This reduction in effort reduces the knowledge required to operate each VDI and works to break down barriers that often exist between workplace and Infrastructure focused teams. W365 pricing is per-user, meaning that organisations shouldn’t suffer from sticker shock as the service grows.

For organisations that require a customised and managed environment, Azure Virtual Desktop is still your go-to product, but expect to see some real consideration by organisations considering VDI in the future. Overall, W365 is an elegantly packaged solution and an extremely smart positioning of capability by Microsoft.

Olaf – Microsoft furthers commitment to environment

Sometimes the best Microsoft Inspire announcements are not the technical ones. Microsoft spent a bit of time focused on their commitment to sustainability and the environment. A new sustainability cloud complements existing vertical focused solutions such as Microsoft Cloud for Retail. This offering provides key benefits such as;

  • CIOs will be able to easily report on IT carbon emissions from the cloud, devices and applications as part of their department’s environmental footprint.
  • Companies will be able to offer their customers a sustainability scorecard to track progress against their carbon emission reduction goals, inclusive of scope 1-3 emissions.
  • Customers will be able to pinpoint specific emission areas and track if they are meeting their emission reduction goals.

Most importantly, Microsoft has announced it is on track to meet the 2025 targets it set for 100% renewable energy for all services. This is being met through existing and new initiatives, one of which touches close to home – As a dutchman, I was quite excited to see the Netherlands leading the way with an offshore wind energy matching solution for Microsoft consumption.

James – Smart Kubernetes Defaults

It’s no secret that we love Kubernetes at Arinco. The unfortunate reality is, that it’s very easy to get deployments wrong. Due to the complexity of configurations, organisations often get bogged down arguing about setting X or setting Y. That’s why the smart defaults announced at Microsoft Inspire for AKS makes so much sense. Under this announcement, administrators get one-click options to configure clusters for:

DefaultUse Case
StandardBest if you’re not sure what to choose. Works well with most applications.
Dev/TestBest for experimenting with AKS or deploying a test application.
Cost-OptimizedBest for reducing costs on production workloads that can tolerate interruptions.
Batch ProcessingBest for machine learning, compute-intensive, and graphics-intensive workloads. Suited for applications requiring fast scale-up and scale-out of the cluster.
Hardened AccessBest for large enterprises that need full control of security and stability.
The new AKS smart defaults announced at Microsoft Inspire

While this announcement is definitely not the biggest, it’s one of those small lifespan improvements that allows us to focus on what we all love doing in the cloud. Building cool stuff.

Michael – Cloud App Security (MCAS) gains governance capabilities for application lifecycle

After a really busy Ignite, the security announcements at Microsoft Inspire were fewer and further between. Cloud App Security gained a new set of capabilities, however, with new features available for Application Governance. This capability focuses primarily on the management of application lifecycle, as risky or dangerous applications are becoming increasingly common.

Many apps are unintentionally over-provisioned, which can lead to greater risk exposure than expected. This new add-in feature will provide organizations with the ability to define and enforce appropriate app behaviour policies for Microsoft 365 OAuth apps that use the Microsoft Graph API with data, high-value users and other apps.”

The announcement mentions “unintentionally overprovisioned” apps, but intentionally overprovisioned OAuth app permissions remain a large threat. Attackers are commonly using consent phishing to gain access to sensitive data. In these attacks, users are tricked into granting consent to a malicious OAuth app that once registered in your tenant, can do anything the user can without the need for MFA. This feature works to address both issues, driving real impact to thought patterns and processes regarding applications in your organisation.

Emily – Microsoft expands focus on the digital marketplace

As a marketing specialist, I’m always interested in how organisations are taking their product to market. Who would have guessed? This year at Microsoft Inspire we saw quite a few announcements focused on the Digital Marketplace. For partners, reduced fees enable them to earn more from solutions and applications sold via AppSource. Importantly, however, was the announcement that ISV partners could sell applications on the Teams marketplace.

The Teams marketplace is here to stay.

With 2020 showing organisations that the online, work from anywhere user-base is here to stay, more and more organisations are considering how to leverage e-commerce in their existing product. Unsurprising really, considering that Gartner lists the Enterprise Marketplace as one of the five areas seeing the most growth post COVID.

Until Next Time!

So there you have it. Five items from Microsoft Inspire that excited the Arinco Crew! We’re all looking forward to delivering some of the world class solutions announced and reaping the benefits of the cloud journey along the way!. If you’re keen to chat all things Microsoft or Inspire, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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