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Here’s a quick round-up of some of the major news coming out of Microsoft in recent days including public previews of Azure Container Instances and the Microsoft 365 Business package, together with further commitment on the open source front.

First to the public preview of the Azure Container Instances (ACI) which is initially available in public preview for Linux containers, with Windows container support to be added in the coming weeks.

This new Azure service is intended to make it even easier to deploy containers. ACI will deliver containers with great simplicity and speed and without any Virtual Machine infrastructure to manage.

Corey Sanders, Microsoft’s Director of Computer for Azure confirmed that an ACI starts up in just seconds which is also how the service is billed for Azure users. The ACI features flexible sizing options that include determining how much memory and vCPUs are used so that you can tailor the container to your needs and not pay for excess services you don’t require.

And whilst on the subject of public previews, the company also has its new licencing package for small businesses, called Microsoft 365 Business, now available for testing.

Aimed at businesses with a maximum of 300 users. Microsoft 365 Business bundles together Office 365 Business Premium, some pieces of Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility + Security offering and upgrade rights to Windows 10. Users need to be running Windows 7 or 8.1 or Windows 10 Pro (Creators Update) on their desktops in order to use Microsoft 365 Business.

For now, the preview is free, although Microsoft recommends that customers hire a partner to deploy the solution. A fully supported version is planned to be available by the end of the year.

As mentioned in a previous blog, Microsoft 365 Business is one of two new subscription bundles – the other being Microsoft 365 Enterprise, which is reported to be generally available this quarter.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has increased its commitment to open source by joining the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as a Platinum member. CNCF is a Collaborative Project of the Linux Foundation (that Microsoft joined last year) which hosts and provides governance for a wide range of projects including Kubernetes, Prometheus, OpenTracing and other open source tools.

Other CNCF Platinum members include Cisco, Dell Technologies, Docker, Google, IBM, Intel, Joyent and RedHat.

Dan Kohn, Executive Director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation said of Microsoft joining: “Their membership, along with other global cloud providers that also belong to CNCF, is a testament to the importance and growth of cloud native technologies. We believe Microsoft’s increasing commitment to open source infrastructure will be a significant asset to the CNCF.”

And finally, new research shows that whilst Windows 10 is inching closer to a 30% market share, Windows 7 still boasts 49% of the desktop operating system market.

However, Microsoft is expecting to see Windows 10 grow faster once large organisations start moving to the new operating system. With more than 85% businesses expected to migrate to Windows 10 by the end of this year and Microsoft’s new Microsoft 365 bundle (mentioned above) soon to be available, it may not be too long before Windows 10 is top dog in the operating system world!

Global Knowledge

The Microsoft certification programme, reinvented for the cloud, reflects and validates the changing role of IT Professionals as they develop cloud and hybrid computing expertise. Learn more here.

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