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Microsoft Azure Technology on Government owned Servers!

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

Microsoft and the government has long since been in a battle of the territory as the Microsoft cloud space becomes more viable and the more inexpensive solution for mobility.  The Microsoft cloud space has taken off like a rocket in terms of businesses taking advantage of the cloud offerings such as Office 365, Azure, InTune, RMS, Dynamics 365, and more. All these products by Microsoft is giving businesses which were once steadfast and locked into a certain territory due to equipment and its maintenance, now the ability to have a global presence with access to their secured data. This is what Microsoft data centers are, which is essentially the cloud. It eliminates the need for conventional equipment while cutting costs and increasing the availability of the data.

Businesses have gone from whole, full fledged data centers into single standalone data backup solutions with their primary corporate data being housed on Microsoft servers.  Microsoft has since boasted the a 99% availability for the data and its assets. To bundle up that high-availability, Microsoft has managed to make its products diverse enough to be used on any computer and innovative enough to where it can be shared, removed, administered, and manipulated with 100% sustainability. By proving this methodology and this products viability, Microsoft has taken a foot hold of the business community worldwide as the entire world is skipping to the beat of the Microsoft Cloud space.

 

 

The one entity, and typically is the last component to jump on a popular trend, is the government. Unless the government has a hand in the technology to house their own version of the product or have a secured version of the product that they manage, then they are a bit skeptical to join the band wagon with the rest of the world. For the questions about security and the ability to control or administer the data as per government standards and regulation is the reason Microsoft came up with Azure Government. This Azure space or data center space is specifically and strategically designed for the government to give them the foothold on their data that they require. Various government entities have been making moves towards Azure Government, but it has been a very slow and monotonous process due to the heavy testing and redesigning of certain aspects in order to accommodate the various government department requirements.

Microsoft announced this week to make even more concessions for the government and this is by far one of the greatest. Microsoft announced on Monday that they would allow the government to run Azure Cloud technology on their own servers. This gives the government full control over the cloud space, while being able to utilize Azure full scale with no possibility of the data being housed along with the private sector. Due to hacking possibilities and the security required at government facilities, this gives the government the ease of knowing that they can now utilize the technology without compromising the new currency, which is data!

The utilization of Microsoft Azure in the government space on their servers allows that silo capability that some of these agencies require, such as the military and embassies abroad. These sectors and segments of government will always require their own servers to manage the data being housed. This movement has been confirmed by Microsoft’s head of Global Infrastructure, which is Tom Keane.  Tom’s idea is to utilize the Azure Stack in that scenario and make it more attractive to these siloed agencies to expand the reach of Microsoft Cloud technology in the government space.

Due to this move that the cloud space is making, the cloud movement is set to move up a whopping $74.7 billion, which is a 36% increase from 2017.  These are the numbers pushed by Canalys due to their research and discovery.  Currently out of that increase, Microsoft is set to house at least 14% of that increase in global cloud presence. As the world braces for more innovation from Microsoft and its partners such as IT GURUS OF ATLANTA, Azure Government is set to rapidly grow in the government sector globally. IT GURUS OF ATLANTA will continue to present updates to the Microsoft Cloud space as we are a trusted Microsoft partner of choice.

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Microsoft Azure, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence! – LUIS

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Azure, which is Microsoft’s great platform for virtualizing an Active Directory environment, or at least that is what it started out being. Since its introduction in October of 2008 and its release into the production for masses on February 1st, 2010, Azure has grown into a lot more than just a virtual Active Directory. Azure has now become the world’s largest platform for virtual technology. This includes app development, deployments, and the introduction of PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS. These technological advancements within the Azure space allows Azure to not only be manipulated, but also enhanced to include Machine Learning.

Machine Learning is the next phase in technological revolution. Machine Learning gives the life to systems allowing them to self-correct and self-rewrite their programming to be more fundamentally correct. Machine Learning is already in most of the products that we use daily such as Amazon’s Echo which utilizes speech to determine products and services that best suite you, the consumer.  Other examples are Siri within the iPhone, Cortana with Windows, and Google Assistant. All these technologies work together with a simple purpose. That purpose is to learn the habits and functions of human beings to become better and more sufficient.

The connection flag ship with allows all these devices and machine learning products to interface is called IoT or the Internet Of Things. IoT connects devices such as your smart phone, home security, bluetooth enabled appliances, and more on to one unified management platform that they call interconnect and they are easier to manage. IoT is the next wave in technological advancement being presented by Microsoft along with other large competitors such as Amazon and Google. IoT is becoming the next big thing when it comes to full home automation. Machine learning interprets all information being gathered from analytics, bots, IoT experiences, including conversational components into a spoken dialogue called LU. LU or Language Understanding determines the intent of a sentence including the machine-enabled meaning representation.

In an effort in increase Machine Learning, Microsoft has launched LUIS which is its Language Understanding Intelligent Service. LUIS will allow Software developers to create cloud-based machine learning LU models that are designed around their specific application domains. This allows the code to be written and interpreted with very little Machine Learning experience. LUIS is now a cloud-based application which does most of the background work for Machine Learning in the background while giving users the agility and flexibility to cater the experience more towards their application and organization.  The application uses user experiences from the developer and learns how to obtain an HTTP endpoint in Azure which will then receive real-time traffic.  This is called “Active Learning”.  Through these “Active Learning” utterances, LUIS identifies the key features needed to make the experience and solution unique to that user.  These active learning sessions are done until optimum levels of requirements are met. Bear in mind that active learning is also utilizing machine learning, so the learning curve is very small, while the results are extraordinarily accurate.

LUIS runs off of three main functions and they can be categorized as Intents, Utterances, and Entities. All three aspects engage LUIS functionality and ability to learn the user habits. A more detailed overview of these functions are listed below:

 

Intents: The input done by a user to express actions with a purpose that the user wishes to perform or a goal which the user is trying to accomplish.  This could be as simple as booking flight, hotel, or pulling up a newspaper article. The name of the action can then be associated with the action.

 

Utterances: This can be a combination of text inputs that regulate an action to obtain results. Such actions in a text can be “check flight status” or “what was the score from the game?”.  Because of so many variations to an utterance, they may not always be perfectly formed sentences, but all desire a intent.

Entities: An entity is a specific detail within an utterance which governs the direction the utterance will take.  An example of this is “hotels in Jamaica”. “Jamaica” is the location. LUIS can determine the location, then using the other intents to understand the utterance, then provide a response.

 

LUIS utilizes powerful entity extractors for it to achieve learning capabilities and become more successful with its responses. LUIS allows developers to quickly build language understanding applications. The applications can then combine with customizable pre-built apps to include music, dictionaries, calendars, and devices. Through interaction with the developer and the information being constantly pulled from the internet, the learning, and solutions that LUIS provides becomes more intuitive with each use.  Once the applications are created using LUIS, the app can then be customized and tailored to the users which the app is designed for giving all of them that unique experience.

LUIS uses two ways to build a model, that is through “LUIS.ai web app” and “Authoring APIs”. Whether the user goes with the LUIS.ai web app or the Authoring APIs, they both give control over the LUIS model definition.  Another fundamental and creative method that developers have found is to combine both to build a model.  Management within the model includes models, versions, external APIs, collaborations, training, and testing.

LUIS is another segment in the Machine Learning process in the revolution of Artificial Intelligence. As machines begin to learn increasingly about human behavior and what we like, they also become aware of errors that we make including how to fix or to alleviate the errors all together.  Error free, automation, increase in productivity, and cutting cost is the motive behind AI. The Microsoft Azure cloud space is proving to be a formidable place for this technology to not only thrive but to maximize on limitless possibilities. IT GURUS OF ATLANTA will ensure that we provide updates to our supporters as we are a trusted Microsoft Partner and a certified Microsoft Cloud Partner.

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Azure Next Level! Combining Virtual Reality and Azure!

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

What is Microsoft Azure? Well many companies are trying to figure it out. Microsoft is changing the landscape for how companies do business. Companies are getting more acclimated and comfortable with terms like “Cloud”, “Migration”, and “Hybrid”.  All these terms are what is allowing companies to save money and increase productivity, while making data which was once thought static to being mobile. Quick access to critical data on almost any device and the security of knowing that the data security integrity is maintained is precisely why even government organizations are making the move to the Microsoft Azure Cloud space. This mass movement into the cloud and virtualization makes invention and innovation go hand in hand to spawn creativity.  Azure has added massive amounts of updates and features to their product line from blob storage to Identity-as-a-Service. A key feature update to Azure which has sparked waves of demand and innovation is Azure Media Services.

Besides Azure Virtual Machine (virtual server) creation, disk allocations, and blob storage, Azure Media Services stands out.  Azure Media Services give organizations the ability to “live stream” data from blob storage or virtual machine and encoding platforms. This ability to freely access stored data and stream allows users and organizations to do 360-degree virtual reality streaming. Now the question becomes what services use “live streaming”? Many of these organizations may be familiar such as Facebook, YouTube, Comcast, and GoPro.  These organizations that specialize in media broadcasting and the speed of getting the media to the masses have taken Azure Media Services to the next level of usage and automation.

Virtual reality gives the end user the feeling and ability to experience the sights and sounds of a place without being at the location. Other more practical uses are building designs.  An architect could construct a building from the ground up, test the structure, and depict issues without ever leaving their office. To take this to another level, the integration of Azure with the medical industry has insurmountable benefits such as surgery for patients to be able to view internal organs and structures within the body through the assistance of X-rays and virtual reality, reconstruct the patient’s organ or structure with 3D imagery. This in turn makes it easier for Doctors to view issues, virtually operate, and offer sound critical services during or before surgery is performed.

Combining holograms and virtual reality is only the beginning to the utilization of Azure. Microsoft Azure is rapidly becoming mainstream and is already the flagship for Microsoft. The virtual possibilities increase as Azure opens doors for technology which our generation has only dreamed of. IT GURUS OF ATLANA is a company that is proud to be a Certified and Trusted Microsoft Partner capable of bringing the best of Microsoft Azure to any organization. Our experienced engineers and architects are quantifiable and accountable to ensure that any project undertaking exceeds the client’s and Microsoft’s standard for quality.

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

“All Your Company Information Technology Needs Under One Company”

3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326

www.itgurusatl.comcustomerservice@itgurusatl.com|

(888) 511-0143 OR (706) 406-5914

“As a registered SAM.gov company, we service government entities across the entire US and Canada”

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The Cloud! What is it? – The Cloud Explained

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

The new technical term which is spreading all over the world like wild fire is the “cloud”.  Join IT GURUS OF ATLANTA, a Microsoft Partner on this journey to show how we arrived at the Cloud, its importance, and why companies are running to get their data on the cloud.  So, let’s start from the top, to figure what people think of when hearing the words “The Cloud”.  When at first hearing the term, the typical mind may go to the thoughts of cloud in the sky and a more technical mind would think virtual. Well to be honest, both answers are not too far from each other. The cloud in more technical terms is the elimination of physical equipment such as servers which are typically used on-premise such as in server rooms which a lot of companies and government agencies house their pertinent data. All traffic goes from the user, computer, over the internet or intranet, and then ends up being housed somewhere. From the websites that we all visit such as Google, Yahoo, CNN, or our favorite channels such as HBO, Showtime, and more are located on servers. These huge data storage devices can be further divvied up into other storage devices such as SAN (Storage Area Network) or NAS (Network Attached Storage). All data from the internet, a person’s computer is all stored somewhere and these serves store the data from the devices.

Another thought that people have is, what happens to the data that is stored on my computer? Well the storage on your computer is very limited. This means that even the larger computer storage that can be installed on laptop or desktop such as 1TB (1 terabyte) or 3TB (3 terabytes) of data is still not enough to house all the data that a company or a user may have. This causes for companies to seek out other means of storage. Years, ago companies went to portable storage devices such as disks, CDs, and portable storage devices. Then the industry realized that trusting users to handle the data and its security is where the trust line and ability for accidents gets blurred. A company and individual’s life’s work can be housed in the data that is being tallied by users. That’s where servers came into a big relief. Servers could be stored locally at the company’s designated location where the user data is uploaded and stored. The industry saw the benefit and it wasn’t long before the servers began to run redundancy which means that the servers had a back, and the backup had a backup. This increases the availability of the data in case of natural or unnatural disasters and data breaches. The data can be utilized even if whole data centers housing thousands of servers go down.  The data is immediately available by its counterpart data centers which already backed up the latest data upload. The user on the other end does not experience more than a second or millisecond in lag time between the data centers and accessing the needed data.

Data centers have become the wave of the future by housing servers, NAS, and SANs which have unprecedented amounts of storage. Unfortunately, due to the cost of owning a data center, companies only kept redundant systems at a data center and kept most of their key systems on premise. These key systems involved constant watch of a human eye to ensure high availability and engineers to do maintenance on the servers. Buying a server, maintaining the server, which includes applying the latest security patches, load balancing, error resolution, and hardware updating is a constant cost and struggle for companies to maintain. However, with this cost of doing business, most companies have accepted the cost to maintain data. Data is the heartbeat of any company, organization, or government agency. As everything that businesses and individuals do today become increasingly digital is where the data and the storage of this data becomes increasingly needed.

 

One of the aspects of technology which has taken a huge increase over the years is the ability to go virtual. Companies such as VMWare came out with VMWare, Microsoft with Hyper-V, and Citrix with XenServer. What were these products? Well to be frank, this is another link in the chain for the “Cloud”. These companies came up with virtual servers. These storage and computing devices could be housed on a physical server. This means that one server with enough memory, storage, and processing power could house 2-15 or more servers virtually. So many say, how is that done? Well from a high level, what Microsoft, Citrix, and VMWare did was allow servers to be created from each processor and core on a physical server and virtually partition the space on the physical server to be dedicated to each virtual server. In layman’s terms this means if a server has 4 processors, 16 gigs of RAM (Random Access Memory), and 120 Gigs of physical memory, then the virtual software could dedicate physical attributes to one or many more virtual servers.  An example of this is a virtual server using 1 processor, 2 gigs or ram, and 20 gigs of physical space for the predefined server to a spin up virtual server. This means that the physical server could house multiple virtual servers based on its physical attributes.

This breakthrough quickly became a trend for top companies to follow.  Going virtual saved tons of money on the front end for physical servers and saved money on the back end by eliminating teams of engineers to now only a few engineers that maintain the smaller number of physical servers. In the event of cutting down engineers that maintain and monitor physical servers, the industry changing also increased the need for professionals to learn about virtual technology with architecture, design, and support.  Information Technology is an ever changing and developing industry in which professionals constantly must learn because there are constant updates and inventions that quickly make every day utilized technology obsolete. To stay up-to-date and technologically advanced, professionals must constantly study and learn better ways of utilizing technology to be expert providers.

Even though virtual technology is utilizing physical equipment to maximize and expound servers, it has graduated into virtual desktops. Virtual desktops allow users to go from one computer to another computer and have access to all their data and desktop as if they never left it. They simply need to user their secure logon ID to access their data on a completely different computer. All of this is stemmed from virtual technology. Now with all these advancements in virtual technology from virtual servers to virtual desktops, where is the next unconquered avenue for virtual technology to go? Well this is where the “Cloud” has come into play. The “Cloud” is data centers which we referred to earlier in this article. The” Cloud” is where companies can now eliminate their on-premise servers and have all their data stored at data centers. The businesses don’t own the data centers, nor do they own the servers, but they pay a price to companies that do own the data centers and the physical servers. One of the dominant companies which has taken advantage of the move to the “Cloud” is Microsoft.

Microsoft has well over 42 different data centers around the world and close to a million physical servers as they expand their cloud grasp on the world. Microsoft Office 365 is their flag ship which started by allowing businesses and government agencies to get rid of their physical exchange servers, cut down on the need to keep exchange architects, and allow users to access their mail data from anywhere and on any device securely. This quickly began a wave of movement of companies rapidly signing up for Office 365. The next aspect of their “Cloud” came Azure which allows the use and accessibility of Active Directory in virtually.  The other aspects of the Microsoft Cloud came InTune for MDM (Mobile Device Management), and RMS (Rights Management Suite). It wasn’t long before Microsoft decided to bundle all these products together under EMS (Enterprise Mobility Suite). This comprehensive product currently encompasses the largest products that are completely virtual saving companies millions and billions of dollars while drastically increasing productivity. This is an easy decision which is why government agencies have been signing up by the boatload for the Microsoft Government Cloud space. The stigma of security concerns over the crowd is gradually weaning away as Microsoft has shown that their “Cloud” product not only complies with security requirements of companies and government organizations, but it surpasses it.  Microsoft allows for users to utilize both on-premise and “Cloud” technology in hybrid modes that allow companies and agencies to still utilize their current equipment while still having the ability to access their data via the Microsoft Cloud.

It’s clear the “Cloud” is not going anywhere anytime soon, but in fact is the platform for even greater advancements in virtual technology to come. IT GURUS OF ATLANTA is a trusted Microsoft Partner which is certified to service clients wishing to advance to the Microsoft Cloud space. We are also paired with most major manufacturers as a reseller to provide computer hardware solutions to companies, government agencies, and data centers. We pride ourselves as a low cost, thoroughly experienced, certified, and a quantifiable company.  IT GURUS OF ATLANTA delivers services and products that exceed the current standards while proving to be a one-stop IT service and hardware provider.

We hope you enjoyed our journey in learning about the “Cloud”, where it is headed, where it is currently, and how to get the most out of this growing technology.

 

IT GURUS OF ATLANTA LLC

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3355 Lenox Road Atlanta, GA 30326

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