Microsoft continued its push to get companies on the hybrid cloud train on Monday, with the launch of several products all tailored at helping bridge on-premises datacenters and the public cloud. The company announced that Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 will be available for purchase on October 1, and generally available in mid-October. On top of that, it unveiled new Azure functionality that makes it easier to monitor both public cloud infrastructure and on-premises datacenters in one control plane. The second technical preview of Azure Stack is now also broadly available, after Microsoft launched it in private beta last month. All told, these announcements are aimed at making it easier for companies with on-premises datacenters to connect those environments with Microsoft's public cloud and gain benefits from that.
The cloud is disrupting traditional operating models for IT departments and entire organizations. At Red Hat Summit in San Francisco, Red Hat and Microsoft announced they were bringing Red Hat OpenShift, Red Hat's Kubernetes container orchestration platform, to Microsoft's Azure, Microsoft's public cloud. The two software powers proclaimed that was the first jointly managed OpenShift offering on the public cloud. This is a fully managed service. You need not learn how to crack the whip over containers with Kubernetes.
Video: These are the top business tech stories from Microsoft's Ignite Microsoft is getting really serious about giving customers choices. That much was clear at this week's combined Microsoft Ignite and Envision events in Orlando and, in particular, in announcements around databases, data-integration, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI). Several announcements at Ignite were entirely about choice. On the hybrid front, for example, there was the general availability of Azure Stack, which lets customers put a slice of the Azure Cloud on premises -- on a choice of hardware-partner racks. My focus was on what Microsoft described as creating "systems of intelligence."
Microsoft is using its Ignite conference this week as the launch pad for Windows Server 2016, System Center 2016, and Technical Preview 2 of its Azure Stack hybrid system. An evaluation edition of the release to manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows Server 2016 is available for download today. Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 will be on the October 1 price list, and the product should be generally available by mid-2016, officials said. Microsoft is building new container technologies into the next Windows Server release, enabling Dockerized applications to run on Windows Server on-premises or on Azure. All Windows Server 2016 customers will get the commercially available Docker engine for no additional cost, Microsoft officials announced today, which is a good fit, given built-in containers are a key new feature of Windows Server 2016.
Mark Zuckerberg is one step closer to bringing internet connectivity to every corner of the planet. Facebook's internet drone, called Aquila, recently made its first full-scale test flight, the company announced Thursday. On June 28, the unmanned aircraft flew for as long as 90 minutes at low altitudes across the skies of Yuma, Arizona. "The design ended up being even more efficient than we'd guessed, and it used even less power to stay up than we thought," Zuckerberg told the Verge. "We did pick up a lot of telemetry and data, and there were some things that we want to tweak.