Servers, Server-less or Containers – The Network. Connection Lessons Learned at #MSIgnite 2018

What a week of learning it was at Microsoft Ignite 2018!

Microsoft put on a great show. There were a lot of interesting topics and focus, and I found it very insightful how the Cloud is shaping the future, and evolving at such a profoundly rapid pace.

As I sat through the sessions and talked to people around me, it was evident that the future is being shaped to have a very application-focused approach with PaaS, containers and server-less technology building the foundation for application success.

But that doesn’t mean that VMs are going away – they’re here to stay and they will dominate the infrastructure space for a long while – but their form and use will evolve. Microsoft recognizes the trends and that the one thing is foundational for any application approach – be it server-less, containers or VM – and that makes best of both worlds (hybrid), is the Network.

Microsoft continues to focus on evolving its Network stack on Azure, to ensure it is positioned to help organizations make maximum use of their application approach in the Cloud. There were a lot of enhancements and new launches in Azure’s Network stack announced at Ignite this year:

  • ExpressRoute – Continues to expand its global footprint and is now capable of offering 100Gbps connectivity.
  • Virtual WAN – Provides a simple, unified, global connectivity and security platform to allow the deployment large scale branch infrastructure. No more need to go from one office to other to get to the final workload.
  • VNet Enhancements – More capabilities added to VNets, with ability to provide container connectivity.
  • Virtual Network Gateway (GW) – Microsoft continues to strengthen high availability with Zone redundant GWs.
  • Azure DNS – Now supports Alias record feature, providing more integration between Azure DNS and Azure Traffic Manager.
  • Azure Firewall – Managed cloud-based network security service that protects Azure Virtual Network resources. No need to worry about appliances, seeing it’s available as a service.
  • Web Application Gateway – Gets WAF configurability and ability to manage exclusion lists.
  • Azure DDoS Protection – Attack mitigation reports and flow logs now available.
  • Virtual Networks – Get service endpoint policies.
  • Azure CDN – Continues to expand as add on to the other CDN provides to expand global reach.
  • Azure Front Door – Scalable and secure entry point for fast delivery of global, micro-server-based web applications. Provides once central control plan and dashboard.
  • Application Gateway – This feature got lots of new enhancements: connection draining stats, customer error pages, network watcher integration, auto scaling and performance enhancements, Static VIP and zone redundancy.
  • Azure Virtual Network TAP – Allows for continuously mirroring traffic from Virtual Network to a packet collector. The data can then be integrated into an IDS-type solution, or can be used for analyzing challenges and threats.
    • Network packet brokers – Gigamon, Bigswitch, Ixia
    • Security tools – ExtraHop, Fidelis Cybersecurity, Nubeva
    • Application and Network Performance management tool – Netscout

Microsoft Summary of Announcements

A full list of launches can be found at https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/stbnewsbytes/2018/09/24/cloud-platform-release-announcements-for-september-24-2018/

The other thing worth mentioning and appreciating is the partner ecosystem. The partners and solution developers are evolving with the Cloud as well. It was interesting to see for example how Barracuda, a leading network security provider, is working on enhancing user experience and enabling clients to have seamless management of cloud firewalls.

Barracuda provides an Azure Firewall management solution where you can manage and apply rules to all geographical Azure firewalls, from a central point of management. They demonstrated how you could apply a rule to 200 Azure firewalls, while provisioning new firewalls on VNets, where the firewalls didn’t exist.

Barracuda, Deploying 200 Firewalls on Azure

The Azure ecosystem also continues to evolve. The ways that partners and solution providers are coming together, enhances cloud usability and experience. It is interesting to see how everything and every contributor is working towards one common goal.

Cloud is here to stay, and it is becoming bigger and bigger.  There are also plenty of resources to ensure everyone can be successful in their cloud migration and adoption.  To paraphrase something that Satya Nadella’s said at Ignite, the Cloud brings flexibility and eliminates friction, when organizations embrace it and leverage the assistance available.

If you’re looking to elevate your cloud migration and adoption strategy, contact us today or give us a call at 888.298.8222, and tap in to Navisite’s 117+ Azure experts.  You can also visit our Azure solution page for information on our Azure migration expertise.