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September update: Qualcomm’s smartphone AP revenues declined 17% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2015, Strategy Analytics estimated. Qualcomm maintained its smartphone AP market share leadership with 45% revenue share, followed by Apple with 19% revenue share and MediaTek with 18% revenue share. For the rest 18%: After a difficult 2014, Samsung LSI continued to recover and more than doubled its smartphone AP shipments in the second quarter of 2015 compared to the same period last year. Samsung LSI capitalised on its Galaxy S6 design-win in Q2 2015. In addition the company featured in multiple mid-range smartphones from Samsung Mobile. Full report: Smartphone Apps Processor Market Share Q2 2015: Samsung LSI Maintains Momentum
… The global tablet AP market declined 28% year-over-year to reach US$679 million in the second quarter of 2015, according to Strategy Analytics. Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, MediaTek and Samsung LSI captured the top-five revenue share rankings in the market during the quarter. Apple led the tablet AP market with 27% revenue share, followed by Intel with 18% revenue share. Qualcomm ranked number three, narrowly behind Intel. Full report: Tablet Apps Processor Market Share Q2 2015: Apple and Intel Maintain Top Two Spots
Digitimes Research saw global tablet shipments fall to 45.76 million units in second-quarter 2015, showing a 10% decrease on quarter and representing more than a 15% decrease on year. Full report: Global tablet market – 2Q 2015 End of September update
Investors.com comments on tablet and smartphone market trends — Q2’2015:1. Apple, Samsung lose ground in tablet market — LG and Huawei gain
2. Apple, Huawei [and Xiaomi] buck slowing smartphone sales trend
As the commenting articles by Investors.com are based on press releases of 2 market research companies I will give the web reference here for those press releases themselves, as well as 3 other press releases not commented on by Investors.com (if there are trend indications in the press releases themselves I will copy them alongside the web reference):
- July 29, 2015: Worldwide Tablet Market Continues to Decline; Vendor Landscape is Evolving, According to IDC“Longer life cycles, increased competition from other categories such as larger smartphones, combined with the fact that end users can install the latest operating systems on their older tablets has stifled the initial enthusiasm for these devices in the consumer market,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “But with newer form factors like 2-in-1s, and added productivity-enabling features like those highlighted in iOS9, vendors should be able to bring new vitality to a market that has lost its momentum.”
- July 30, 2015: Huawei Becomes World’s 3rd Largest Mobile Phone Vendor in Q2 2015 [says Strategy Analytics]
- Woody Oh, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “… Smartphones accounted for 8 in 10 of total mobile phone shipments during the quarter. The 2 percent growth rate of the overall mobile phone market is the industry’s weakest performance for two years, due to slowing demand for handsets in China, Europe and the US.”
- Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “… Samsung has stabilized volumes in the high-end, but its lower-tier mobile phones continue to face intense competition from rivals such as Huawei in Asia. … Apple outperformed as consumers in China and elsewhere upgraded to bigger-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models.”
- Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “… Huawei is rising fast in all regions of the world, particularly China where its 4G models, such as the Mate7, are proving wildly popular. Huawei has finally overtaken Microsoft to become the world’s third largest mobile phone vendor for the first time ever.”
- Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Microsoft shipped 27.8 million mobile phones and captured 6 percent marketshare worldwide in the second quarter of 2015. Microsoft’s 6 percent global mobile phone marketshare is sitting near an all-time low. Microsoft continues to lose ground in feature phones, while its Lumia smartphone portfolio is in a holding pattern awaiting the launch of new Windows 10 models later this year. Xiaomi shipped 19.8 million mobile phones and captured 5 percent marketshare worldwide in Q2 2015. Xiaomi remains a major player in the China mobile phone market, but its local and international growth is slowing and Xiaomi is facing intense competition from Huawei, Meizu and others. As a result, Xiaomi may struggle to hold on to its top-five global mobile phone ranking in the coming quarters.”
- June 17, 2015: Business smartphones shipments in Q1 up 26% from last year, now 27% of total smartphone market [says Strategy Analytics]
Android was the most dominant OS in terms of business smartphone shipments in Q1, accounting for nearly 60% of all business smartphones (corporate- and personal-liable). It was also the dominant BYOD device; 68% of personal-liable shipments in Q1 were Android. Apple iOS accounted for only 27% of BYOD shipments in Q1, but was the dominant platform in terms of corporate-liable smartphones, with 48% of Q1 CL shipments. The difference in Android/iOS shipments between the CL and IL categories reflects the continuing corporate perception that iPhones are “safer” than Android-based devices.
- Shipments of personal-liable smartphones (i.e. “bring your own device,” or BYOD, phones) drove market growth in Q1
- Strategy analytics defines personal-liable devices as devices purchased by the end-user and expensed back to the company or organization, or devices purchased outright by individual users but used primarily for business purposes linking to corporate applications and backend systems.
- While personal liable devices dominate worldwide business smartphone shipments, some regions are more resistant to the BYOD trend than others. Such regions include Western Europe and Central Europe, where corporate-liable devices are the dominant types of business smartphones. In Western Europe in Q1, 61% of the 10 million business smart phones were corporate-liable. Central and Eastern Europe had a slightly higher rate of BYOD devices shipped in Q1 — 41% — but the majority of smartphones shipped in this regions was also corporate-liable. This a sharp contrast to North America, where three-quarters of business smartphone shipments are personal-liable. The trend in Western and Eastern Europe reflects the more corporate-centric approach businesses take to mobility in these regions.
- July 29, 2015: Mobile Broadband Tablet Subscriptions to Double to 200 Million by 2021, says Strategy Analytics
- Strategy Analytics forecasts global mobile data subscriptions on tablets will more than double from 2015 to 2021, reaching over 200 million
- Around the globe, over 100 million wireless connections on cellular enabled tablets will be added through 2021. By 2021 tablets will only account for 2 percent of total mobile subscriptions, a 2.7 percent population penetration rate.
- July 29, 2015: Intel Maintains Top Spot in Non-Apple Tablet Apps Processors in Q1 2015 says Strategy Analytics
⇒The global tablet applications processor (AP) market declined -6 percent year-over-year to reach $733 million in Q1 2015
- According to Sravan Kundojjala, Associate Director, “Intel maintained its top spot in the non-Apple tablet AP market in unit terms in Q1 2015. Strategy Analytics estimate Android-based tablets accounted for over 70 percent of Intel’s total tablet AP shipments in Q1 2015. We expect Intel’s Atom X3 cellular tablet chip product line to help Intel maintain its momentum in the tablet AP market.”
- Stuart Robinson, Executive Director of the Strategy Analytics Handset Component Technologies (HCT) service added, “Strategy Analytics estimates that baseband-integrated tablet AP shipments accounted for over one-fourth of total tablet AP shipments in Q1 2015, helped by a strong push from Qualcomm, MediaTek and Spreadtrum. We expect continued momentum for integrated APs as Intel, Rockchip and others join the bandwagon.”
- July 30, 2015: Windows Tablet Shipments Nearly Double in Q2’15, says Strategy Analytics
⇒Global Tablet Shipments and Market Share in Q2 2015 (preliminary)
- Windows-branded Tablets comprised 9 percent of shipments in Q2 2015, up 4 points from Q2 2014
- Android-branded Tablet shipment market share was flat at 70 percent in Q2 2015
- Apple continued its slide in market share down to an all-time low of 21 percent in Q2 2015, 4 points lower than Q2 2014
- Vendors with strong 3G and LTE connected Tablet strategies such as Huawei, LG, and TCL-Alcatel gained market share as leaders like Apple, Samsung, and the White Box community lost ground
Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies Senior Analyst Eric Smith added, “Windows share continues to improve as more models become available from traditional PC vendors, White Label vendors, and Microsoft itself though a healthy Surface lineup and distribution expansion. The key going forward will be if the coming wave of 2-in-1 Detachable Tablets is a hit with consumers or if they go the way of the Netbook—we remain cautiously optimistic on this point.”
Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies Service Director Peter King said, “Apple’s fortunes will turn around soon as it will launch the 12.9-inch iPad Pro as well as an iPad mini 4 in Q4 2015. New features in iOS 9, which are exclusive to iPad such as multi-tasking and a more convenient soft keyboard, will also help compel upgrades by owners of older iPad models. Meanwhile, Huawei and LG have posted fantastic growth primarily due to well-executed 3G and LTE connected Tablet strategies.”
Then I will add 2 additional information pieces from Strategy Analytics:
Having experienced negative growth since 2012, global PC sales are expected to rise 5 percent in 2015 driven by replacement of an ageing installed base according to Strategy Analytics’ Connected Home Devices (CHD) service report, “Computers in the Post-PC Era: Growth Opportunities and Strategies.”
Click here for the report:
- PC sales will fall by 4 percent in 2014 before returning to modest growth in 2015 and beyond to support replacement demand.
- Strategy Analytics’ consumer research of computing device usage in developed markets indicates that PCs remain essential computing devices despite healthy Tablet sales.
- Frequent Tablet usage has grown by 22 percentage points from 2011 to Q4 2013 up to 32 percent of all households while frequent Mobile PC (excluding Tablets) usage has stayed steady through this period, as 63 percent of all households indicated they frequently used Mobile PCs.
- Frequent usage of all PCs (including Mobile and Desktop PCs and excluding Tablets) remained above the 90 percent mark of all households, falling only 3 percentage points during this period.
Eric Smith, Analyst of Connected Home Devices, said: “Multiple PC ownership is falling as Tablet sales supplant replacement demand for secondary PCs mainly used for casual tasks. Still, PCs will remain essential devices as households eventually replace their primary PCs used for productivity tasks such as spreadsheet and video editing or personal banking.”
David Watkins, Service Director, Connected Home Devices, added: “The modern Tablet user experience is quickly arriving on the PC thanks to more affordable 2-in-1 Convertible PCs and new operating systems which blend traditional PC and Tablet user experiences. We see development of these forces aligning perfectly with an older PC installed base ripe for replacement in 2015.”
May 1, 2015: Children Change Disney’s Digital Strategy: “App TV” Now Central To Content Planning by David Mercer
Multiscreen TV behaviour is at the centre of television’s stormy transformation – viewing of broadcast, linear TV on the TV screen is apparently in decline while consumption on smartphones and tablets is increasing. Making sense of the big picture is increasingly challenging, and legacy players like broadcasters and the major content owners are inevitably somewhat resistant to the idea that their traditional businesses are under serious threat.
We have monitored the early stages of this transformation for the past decade and see its results in our own research, and we continue to predict further industry disruption in our forecasts. But sometimes it is only when you hear the evidence given in person by a senior executive at a leading global player that the scale of the challenge and opportunity are finally brought home.
This happened at last week’s AppsWorld event in Berlin, where I chaired the TV and Multiscreen conference. The speaker was Andreas Peters, Head of Digital for the Walt Disney Company Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Andreas presented some of the most compelling evidence I have yet heard that television is truly a multiscreen medium for the next generation of viewers.
Disney’s challenge in Germany was to launch a television show called Violetta aimed at 8-12 year old girls. It had been introduced successfully in Argentina but had failed in the UK. As it often does, Disney had invested considerable amounts in merchandising and retailers were eagerly anticipating sales of the new product lines. The show was first broadcast on German free TV on May 1st 2014 but it achieved only very low ratings.
The question for Disney managers was whether traditional TV had stopped working. A crisis meeting was held with a view to writing off the investment. Disney had previously not made its shows available online in Germany but the Violetta situation was so serious they were persuaded to experiment. Two episodes were made available on Youtube with a link to Disney’s own website. Viewing of the content on Youtube very quickly went viral until Disney had achieved a reach of 50% of 8-12 year old girls and eight million views. Violetta went on to become a success in German-speaking markets.
The evidence was clear: for some shows at least, younger children cannot now be reached using the traditional broadcast TV/big screen model. Peters explained that the Violetta experience was transformative for the Disney organisation and led to the inclusion of online and digital media as a key element in the business case for many products. In fact it also led to the development and launch of Disney’s own Watch App, which includes live streaming and seven-day catch-up programmes from the broadcast Disney Channel.
Even after the Violetta experience Disney was sceptical that an app was needed – there was a feeling that the website would be sufficient. Nevertheless the app was launched and Disney had planned for 20,000 downloads. Instead it has passed one million downloads in its first six months. Peters noted: “This was a real shock for us. We completely underestimated the demand.” Around 500,000 viewers are now using the Disney Watch app for linear television viewing, in addition to millions of shows being downloaded for catch-up viewing. Peak app viewing hours are between 6am and 8am and then between 1pm and 9pm on school days, with a different pattern at weekends. Peters made it clear that children did not want lots of features built in to the app – just like TV, they just want to hit “play” and watch.
“Our TV colleagues of course don’t want to believe this,” said Peters. “But the world has changed and it will continue to change.” Disney has also seen a knock-on effect from its app launch with an increase in free-to-air broadcast TV viewing. But the firm is now clear that mobile is not just an add-on to TV or a promotional tool; it must be an integral part of the entire process.
There are many implications for content strategy. TV and Digital have to “understand each other”, which is a challenge when the KPIs in each world are very different. As we have often heard, the video industry is crying out for a set of common metrics which can apply and support advertisers in both TV and online worlds. Video consumption patterns vary and different content may be relevant to different platforms.
But the overall lesson is clear: “TV” is not just the big screen in the corner of the living room. It must embrace multiscreen distribution strategies in order to reach its maximum potential. TV companies are betraying their audiences and their investors if they don’t target the 6.4bn addressable screens available to them.
Versus as it was presented in The lost U.S. grip on the mobile computing market, including not only the device business, but software development and patterns of use in general [this same blog, April 14, 2014]:
The global tablet market ticked up in the second quarter of 2014, although growth is still near the market’s historical low.
- Shipments hit about 44.3 million during the period, yielding year-over-year growth of 11%.
While an improvement from the previous quarter, consider that the tablet market had year-over-year growth of nearly 80% in the same quarter just a year ago.
- Although it lead all vendors with about 27% market share, Apple’s iPad shipments declined 9% year-over-year during the period. That marks the second consecutive quarter in which iPad shipments have declined.
- Samsung’s tablet shipments grew a paltry 1% for the period to hit 8.5 million units in the second quarter. That is an enormous slowdown compared to the growth rates it was achieving just a year ago. In the second quarter of 2013, Samsung tablet shipments grew 300% year-over-year.
- Both Apple and Samsung lost market share during the quarter. Apple’s leading market share fell from 33% to 27% while Samsung’s dipped two percentage points to 17%.
- “White-box” vendors = 41% of market
Worldwide Tablet Market Grows 11% in Second Quarter on Shipments from a Wide Range of Vendors, According to IDC [IDC press release, July 24, 2014]
The worldwide tablet grew 11.0% year over year in the second quarter of 2014 (2Q14) with shipments reaching 49.3 million units according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Although shipments declined sequentially from 1Q14 by -1.5%, IDC believes the market will experience positive but slower growth in 2014 compared to the previous year.
“As we indicated last quarter, the market is still being impacted by the rise of large-screen smartphones and longer than anticipated ownership cycles,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, IDC Research Director for Tablets. “We can also attribute the market deceleration to slow commercial adoption of tablets. Despite this trend, we believe that stronger commercial demand for tablets in the second half of 2014 will help the market grow and that we will see more enterprise-specific offerings, as illustrated by the Apple and IBM partnership, come to market.”
Despite declining shipments of its iPad product line, Apple managed to maintain its lead in the worldwide tablet market, shipping 13.3 million units in the second quarter. Following a strong first quarter, Samsung struggled to maintain its momentum and saw its market share slip to 17.2% in the second quarter. Lenovo continued to climb the rankings ladder, surpassing ASUS and moving into the third spot in the tablet market, shipping 2.4 million units and grabbing 4.9% markets share. The top 5 was rounded out by ASUS and Acer, with 4.6% and 2.0% share, respectively. Share outside the top 5 grew to an all time high as more and more vendors have made inroads in the tablet space. By now most traditional PC and phone vendors have at least one tablet model in the market, and strategies to move bundled devices and promotional offerings have slowly gained momentum.
“Until recently, Apple, and to a lesser extent Samsung, have been sitting at the top of the market, minimally impacted by the progress from competitors,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. “Now we are seeing growth amongst the smaller vendors and a levelling of shares across more vendors as the market enters a new phase.”
Worldwide Tablet Shipments Miss Targets as First Quarter Experiences Single-Digit Growth, According to IDC [IDC press release, May 1, 2014]
Worldwide tablet plus 2-in-1 shipments slipped to 50.4 million units in the first calendar quarter of 2014 (1Q14) according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. The total represents a sequential decline of -35.7% from the high-volume holiday quarter and just 3.9% growth over the same period a year ago. The slowdown was felt across operating systems and screen sizes and likely points to an even more challenging year ahead for the category.
“The rise of large-screen phones and consumers who are holding on to their existing tablets for ever longer periods of time were both contributing factors to a weaker-than-anticipated quarter for tablets and 2-in-1s,” said Tom Mainelli, IDC Program Vice President, Devices and Displays. “In addition, commercial growth has not been robust enough to offset the slowing of consumer shipments.”
Apple maintained its lead in the worldwide tablet plus 2-in-1 market, shipping 16.4 million units. That’s down from 26.0 million units in the previous quarter and well below its total of 19.5 million units in the first quarter of 2013. Despite the contraction, the company saw its share of the market slip only modestly to 32.5%, down from the previous quarter’s share of 33.2%. Samsung once again grew its worldwide share, increasing from 17.2% last quarter to 22.3% this quarter. Samsung continues to work aggressively with carriers to drive tablet shipments through attractively priced smartphone bundles. Rounding out the top five were ASUS (5%), Lenovo (4.1%), and Amazon (1.9%).
“With roughly two-thirds share, Android continues to dominate the market,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. “Although its share of the market remains small, Windows devices continue to gain traction thanks to sleeper hits like the Asus T100, whose low cost and 2-in-1 form factor appeal to those looking for something that’s ‘good enough’.”
Digitimes Research: Global tablet shipments reach 55.06 million units in 2Q14 [press release, July 23, 2014]
There were 55.06 million tablets shipped globally in the second quarter of 2014, decreasing 4.5% on quarter but increasing 17.9% on year, according to Digitimes Research.
The shipments consisted of 14.1 million iPads, down 10% on quarter, and 18.96 million units launched by vendors other than Apple, down 12.7% on quarter. Additionaly, 22.3 million white-box units were shipped in the second quarter.
Shipments of small-size Wi-Fi-enabled units in particular slowed down in the second quarter and the time period was also a slow season for shipments. Supply chains also faced yield issues and Samsung saw less-than-expected shipments for its 8-inch tablets. Tablets sized 10-inch and above have seen shipment increases since fourth-quarter 2014.
Taiwan tablet makers meanwhile surpassed 20 million in shipments for brand tablets during the second quarter, which made up 60% of overall brand tablet shipments during the time period, added Digitimes Research.
Digitimes Research: Global tablet shipments drop 30% sequentially in 1Q14 [press release, April 23, 2014]
Global tablet shipments reached only 58.56 million units in the first quarter of 2014, down almost 30% sequentially, but up 4.6% on year despite Samsung Electronics trying to boost both its high-end and entry-level tablet shipments and Lenovo pushing shipments to meet its fiscal 2013 targets. Seasonality, Apple seeing weaker sales, and the tablet market growing mature were also factors that affected shipment performance, according to Digitimes Research.
Shipments of iPads suffered both on-year and sequential drops to reach 15.85 million units in the first quarter. Non-iPad tablet shipments were 22.31 million units, down 20% sequentially, but up over 30% on year thanks to strong demand for Samsung, Lenovo and Asustek’s Windows-based models. White-box tablet shipments reached only 20.4 million units due to seasonality and labor shortages during the Lunar New Year holidays.
Apple and Samsung remained the top-two vendors in the first quarter, but the two players’ market share gap was less than 6pp. Lenovo was the third-largest vendor, followed closely by Asustek Computer in fourth. Amazon and Google dropped to number seven and ten.
Taiwan ODMs shipped 22.15 million tablets together in the first quarter, accounting for less than 60% of global shipments. The largest maker, Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry), and second-largest Pegatron Technology both suffered significant shipment drops due to lower-than-expected demand for iPad. Quanta saw increased shipments in the quarter because of Asustek’s T100 tablet, and returned to being the third-largest maker in Taiwan. Compal Electronics’ shipments suffered a sharp decline because Amazon’s Kindle Fire range is approaching the end of its lifecycle, while Acer is turning to cooperate with China-based makers, Digitimes Research‘s figures showed.
Digitimes Research: Global white-box tablet shipments down in 1Q14 [press release, May 12, 2014]
There were 20.4 million white-box tablets shipped globally in the first quarter of 2014, decreasing by 27.4% on quarter and by 2.4% on year, according to Digitimes Research.
The decrease in shipments was mainly because most white-box vendors are based in China and there were fewer working days in the first quarter due to the Lunar New Year holidays, Digitimes Research pointed out.
Of the shipments, 7-inch models accounted for 70.5%, 7.85/7.9-inch ones 21.3%, 8- to 9-inch ones 4.2%, above 9- to 10-inch 2.9%, above 10-inch 1.1%.
Due to strong demand in emerging markets including India, Indonesia, Thailand, Russia and Eastern Europe, global white-box tablet shipments in the second quarter of 2014 will increase 14.2% on quarter and 45.6% on year to 23.3 million units.
Justin Rosenstein of Asana: Be happy in a project-oriented teamwork environment made free of e-mail based communication hassle
Get Organized: Using Asana in Business [PCMag YouTube channel, Febr 24, 2014]
Steven Sinofsky, former head of Microsoft Office and (later) Windows at Microsoft:
We’ve all seen examples of the collaborative process playing out poorly by using email. There’s too much email and no ability to track and manage the overall work using the tool. Despite calls to ban the process, what is really needed is a new tool. So Asana is one of many companies working to build tools that are better suited to the work than one we currently all collectively seem to complain about.
in Don’t ban email—change how you work! [Learning by Shipping, Jan 31, 2014]
Asana is a simple example of an easy-to-use and modern tool that decreases (to zero) email flow, allows for everyone to contribute and align on what needs to be done, and to have a global view of what is left to do.
in You’re doing it wrong [Learning by Shipping, April 10, 2014] and Shipping is a Feature: Some Guiding Principles for People That Build Things [Learning by Shipping, April 17, 2014]
Making e-mail communication easier [Fox Business Video]
May. 06, 2014 – 3:22 – Asana co-founder Justin Rosenstein weighs in on his new email business.
How To Collaborate Effectively With Asana [Forbes YouTube channel, Feb 26, 2013]
Dustin Moskovitz: How Asana Gets Work Done [Forbes YouTube channel, Feb 26, 2013]
Do Great Things: Keynote by Justin Rosenstein of Asana | Disrupt NY 2014 [TechCrunch YouTube channel, May 5, 2014]
Asana’s Justin Rosenstein: “I Flew Coach Here.” | Disrupt NY 2014 [TechCrunch YouTube channel, May 5, 2014]
How we use Asana [asana blog, Oct 9, 2013]
We love to push the boundaries of what Asana can do. From creating meeting agendas to tracking bugs to maintaining snacks in the refrigerator, the Asana product is (unsurprisingly) integral to everything we do at Asana. We find many customers are also pushing the boundaries of Asana to fit their teams’ needs and processes. Since Asana was created to be flexible and powerful enough for every team, nothing makes us more excited than hearing about these unique use cases.
Recently, we invited some of our Bay Area-based customers to our San Francisco HQ to share best practices with one another and hear from our cofounder Justin Rosenstein about the ways we use Asana at Asana. We’re excited to pass on this knowledge through some video highlights from the event. You can watch the entire video here: The Asana Way to Coordinate Ambitious Projects with Less Effort
Capture steps in a Project
“The first thing we always do is create a Project that names what we’re trying to accomplish. Then we’ll get together as a team and think of, ‘What is every single thing we need to accomplish between now and the completion of that Project?’ Over the course of the Project, all of the Tasks end up getting assigned.”
“Typically when I start my day, I’ll start by looking at all the things that are assigned to me. I’ll choose a few that I want to work on today. I try to be as realistic as possible, which means adding half as many things as I am tempted to add. After putting those into my ‘Today’ view, there are often a couple of other things I need to do. I just hit enter and add a few more tasks.”
Forward emails to Asana
“Because I want Asana to be the source of truth for everything I do, I want to put emails into my task list and prioritize them. I’ll just take the email and forward it to email@example.com. We chose ‘x’ so it wouldn’t conflict with anything else in your address book. Once I send that, it will show up in Asana with the attachments and everything right intact.”
Run great meetings
“We maintain one Project per meeting. If I’m looking at my Task list and see a Task I want to discuss at the meeting, I’ll just use Quick Add (tab + Q) to put the Task into the correct Project. Then when the meeting comes around, everything that everyone wants to talk about has already been constructed ahead of time.”
“Often a problem comes up and someone asks, ‘Who’s responsible for that?’ So instead, we’ve built out a list of areas of responsibility (AoRs), which is all the things that someone at the company has to be responsible for. By having AoRs, we distribute responsibility. We can allow managers to focus on things that are more specific to management and empower everyone at the company to be a leader in their own field.”
Background on https://asana.com/
How it all started and progressed?
asana demo & vision talk [Robert Marquardt YouTube channel, Feb 15, 2011]
The Asana Vision & Demo [asana blog, Feb 7, 2011]
We recently hosted an open house at our offices in San Francisco, where we showed the first public demo of Asana and deep-dived into the nuances of the product, the long-term mission that drives us, how the beta’s going, and more. We were really excited to be able to share what we’ve been working on and why we’re so passionate about it, and hope you enjoy
thisthe above video of the talk:
Asana will be available more broadly later this year. In the meantime,
Introducing Asana: The Modern Way to Work Together [asana blog, Nov 2, 2011]
Asana is a modern web application that keeps teams in sync, a shared task list where everyone can capture, organize, track, and communicate what they are working on in service of their common goal. Rather than trying to stay organized through the tedious grind of emails and meetings, teams using Asana can move faster and do more — or even take on bigger and more interesting goals.
How Asana Works:
Asana re-imagines the way we work together by putting the fundamental unit of productivity – the task – at the center. Breaking down ambitious goals into small pieces, assigning ownership of those tasks, and tracking them to completion is how things get built, from software to skyscrapers. With Asana, you can:
- capture everything your team is planning and doing in one place. When tasks and the conversations about them are collected together, instead of spread around emails, documents, whiteboards, and notebooks, they become the shared, trusted, collective memory for your organization.
- keep your team in sync on the priorities, and what everyone is working on. When you have a single shared view of a project’s priorities, along with an accurate view into what each person is working on and when, everyone on the team knows exactly what matters, and what work remains between here and the goal.
- get the right information at the right time. Follow tasks, and you’ll receive emails as their status evolves. Search, and you’ll see the full activity feed of all the discussions and changes to a task over its history. Now, it’s easy to stay on top of the details — without asking people to forward you a bunch of email threads.
Building tools for teamwork [asana blog, Nov 22, 2013]
Our co-founder, Justin, recently wrote in Wired about why we need to rethink the tools we use to work together. The article generated a lot of interesting comments, from ideas on knowledge management to fatigue with the “meeting lifestyle,” to this protest on the typical office culture:
“Isn’t the root of this problem that, within our own organizations, we fiercely guard information and our decision-making processes? Email exchanges and invite-only meetings shut out others– forcing the need for follow-up conversations, summary reports, and a trail of other status/staff meetings to relay content already covered some place/some time before.”
To reach its goals, we think a team needs clarity of purpose, plan and responsibility. Technology and tools can help us reach that kind of clarity, but only if they target the right problem. From their roles at Facebook, Asana’s founders have extensive knowledge of social networks, and the social graph technology they rely on. But Asana isn’t a social network. Why? Because, as Justin outlines, the social graph doesn’t target the problem of work:
Our personal and professional lives, even if they overlap, have two distinct goals — and they require different “graphs.”
For our personal lives, the goal is love (authentic interpersonal connection), and that requires a social graph with people at the center. For our work lives, the goal is creation (working together to realize our collective potential), and that requires a work graph, with the work at the center.
Don’t get me wrong: Human connection is valuable within a business. But it should be in service to the organizational function of getting work done, and doesn’t need to be the center of the graph.
So, how does this change the experience for you and your teammates? A work graph means having all the information you need when you need it. Instead of blasting messages at the whole team, like “Hey, has anyone started working on this yet?”, you should be able to efficiently find out exactly who’s working on that task and how much progress they’ve made. That’s the target Asana is aiming for. Read Justin’s full Wired article.
Organizations in Asana [asana blog, May 1, 2013]
Today, we’re excited to be launching a collection of new features aimed at helping companies use and support Asana across their entire enterprise. We call it Organizations.
Since we began, Asana has been on a mission to help great teams achieve more ambitious goals. We started 18 months ago with our free service, targeted at smaller teams and even individuals – helping them get and stay organized.
When we launched our first premium tiers six months later, we enabled medium sized teams and companies – think 10s to 100s of people – to go further with Asana. In the year between then and now, we’ve been continuously amazed by all the places and ways Asana is being used to organize a team: in industries as diverse as education, healthcare, finance, technology, and manufacturing; in companies from two-person partnerships to Fortune 100 enterprises; and in dozens of countries representing every continent but the frozen one. There’s a lot of important work being organized in Asana.
But we’re still just getting started – there remain teams that we haven’t been ready to support: the largest teams, those that grow from 100s to 1,000s of people. While it would be remarkable if it only took a small number of coworkers to design and manufacture electric cars, synthesize DNA, or deliver healthcare to villages across the globe – these missions are complex, and require more people to be involved in them to succeed. Many of the teams using Asana today are inside these bigger organizations, and they’ve been asking for Asana to work at enterprise-scale. So for the past several months, we’ve been working on just that.
Stories from our first year [asana blog, Nov 12, 2012]
… When we launched a year go, we had an ambitious mission: to create a shared task management platform that empowers teams of like-minded people to do great things. … In the course of our first year, tens of thousands of teams looking for a better way to work together have adopted Asana. …
… we collected three of these stories from three distinct kinds of teams:
– a tech startup [Foursquare],
– a fast-growing organic food company [Bare Fruit & Sundia] and
– a leading Pacific Coast aquarium [Aquarium of the Bay].
Foursquare Launches 5.0
Right around the time Foursquare passed 100 employees over the last year, we started building Foursquare 5.0. This update was a big deal: we were overhauling Foursquare’s core mechanics, evolving from check-ins towards the spontaneous discovery of local businesses. As we built the new app, we needed a way to gather feedback from the entire team.
We tried what felt like every collaboration tool around. Group emails were a mess. Google Docs was impossible to parse. We’d heard about Asana and decided to give it a shot.
Using Asana, we were easily able to collect product feedback and bugs from everyone in the company, then parse, discuss, distribute and prioritize the work. It became an indispensable group communication tool.
Foursquare 5.0 was a giant success, and we couldn’t have done it without Asana.
–Noah Weiss, Product Manager
Then, Of Course, There Is Us
It’s an understatement to say that we rely on Asana. We use our own product to manage every function of our business. Asana is where we plan, capture ideas, build meeting agendas, prioritize our product roadmap, document which bugs to fix and list the snacks to buy. It’s our CRM, our editorial calendar, our Applicant Tracking System, and our new-hire orientation system. Every team in the company – from product, design, and engineering to sales and marketing to recruiting and user operations – relies on the product we are building to stay in sync, connect our individual tasks to the bigger picture and accomplish our collective goals.
Q&A: Rising Realty Partners builds their business with Asana [asana blog, Feb 7, 2014]
As our business expanded, we found ourselves relying heavily on email, faxes, and even FedEx to communicate with each other and collaborate with outside parties. We needed a better way to organize, prioritize and communicate around our work, and we found the answer in Asana.
I can’t image how complex our communications would have been if we weren’t using Asana. We had dozens of people internally, and more than 50 people externally, all involved in making this deal happen. Having all of that communication in Asana significantly cut down on the craziness.
Because of Asana’s Dropbox integration, our workflow is now fast, intuitive and organized — something that was impossible to achieve over email. For the acquisition, we used Asana and Dropbox simultaneously to keep track of everything; from what each team member was doing, to the current status of each transaction, to keeping a history of all related documents. We had more than 18,000 items in Dropbox that we would link to in Asana instead of attaching them in email. We removed more than 30 gigabytes of information per recipient from our inboxes and everything was neatly organized around the work we were doing in Asana. This meant that the whole team always had the latest and most relevant information.
For this entire project, maybe one percent of our total internal communication was happening in email. With Asana, anyone in the company could look at any aspect of the project, see where it stood, and add their input. No one had to remember to cc’ or ‘reply all’.
The success of this deal was largely due to Asana and we plan to use it in future acquisitions –Asana has become essential to our team’s success.
Our iPhone App Levels Up [asana blog, Sept 6, 2012]
Until recently, we’ve focused most of our energy on the browser-based version of Asana. But, in the last few months, even as we’ve launched major new features in our web application, we’ve been putting much more time into improving the mobile experience. In June, we made several meaningful architectural improvements to pave the way for bigger and better things and hinted that these changes were in the works.
Today, we’ve taken the next step in that direction: Version 2.0 of our iPhone app is in the App Store now. We are really proud of this effort – almost everyone at Asana played a part in this release. This new version is a top-to-bottom redesign that really puts the power of the desktop web version of Asana right in your pocket.
Asana comes to Android [asana blog, Feb 28, 2013]
Five months ago, we launched our first bonafide mobile app, for the iPhone, and we’ve been steadily improving it ever since. Focusing on a single platform at first allowed us to be meticulous about our mobile experience, adding new features and honing the design until we knew it was something people loved. After strong positive feedback from our customers and a solid rating in the iTunes App Store, we knew it was time.
Today, we are happy to announce that Asana for Android is here. You can get it right now in the Google Play store
As of today (May 8, 2014) there are 70 employees and 15 open positions. The company has 4 investors: Benchmark Capital, Andreessen-Horowitz, Founders Fund and Peter Thiel. The first two put $9 million in November 2009. Then Founders Fund and Peter Thiel added to that $28 million in July 2012. Reuters reported that with Facebook alumni line up $28 million for workplace app Asana [July 23, 2012]:
Asana, a Silicon Valley start-up, has lined up $28 million in a financing round led by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and his Founders Fund, the company said.
The funding round values the workplace-collaboration company at $280 million, a person familiar with the matter said.
“This investment allows us to attract the best and brightest designers and engineers,” said Asana co-founder Justin Rosenstein, who said that in turn would help the company build on its goal of making interaction among its client-companies’ employees easier.
Asana launched the free version last year of its company management software that makes it easier to collaborate on projects. It introduced a paid, premium service earlier this year. It declined to give revenue figures, but said “hundreds” of customers had upgraded to the premium version.
Although Rosenstein and co-founder Dustin Moskovitz are alumni of social-network Facebook– Moskovitz co-founded the service with his Harvard roommate Mark Zuckerberg – they were quick to distance Asana from social networking.
Instead, they say, they view the company as an alternative to email, in-person meetings, physical whiteboards, and spreadsheets.
“That’s what we see as our competition,” said Rosenstein. “Replacing those technologies.”
With its latest funding round, Asana has now raised a total of $38 million from investors including Benchmark Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.
Thiel, who got to know Moskovitz and Rosenstein thanks to his early backing of Facebook, had already invested in Asana when it raised its “angel” round in early 2009. Now, his high-profile Founders Fund is investing and Thiel is joining Asana’s board.
Facebook has 901 million monthly users and revenue last year of $3.7 billion. But its May initial public offering disappointed many investors after it priced at $38 per share and then quickly fell. It closed on Friday at $28.76.
Many investors speculate that start-ups will have to accept lower valuations in the wake of the Facebook IPO. The Asana co-founders said the terms of their latest funding round were set before Facebook debuted on public markets.
A few of Facebook’s longtime employees have gone on to work on their own ventures.
Bret Taylor, formerly chief technology officer, said last month he was leaving to start his own company.
Dave Morin, who joined Facebook in 2008 from Apple, left in 2010 to found social network Path. Facebook alumni Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever left in 2009 to start Quora, their question-and-answer company, which is also backed by Thiel.
Another former roommate of Zuckerberg’s, Chris Hughes, also left a few years ago and coordinated online organizing for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Now, he is publisher of the New Republic magazine.
Matt Cohler, who joined Facebook from LinkedIn early in 2005, joined venture capital firm Benchmark Capital in 2008. His investments there include Asana and Quora.
Core technology used
Luna, our in-house framework for writing great web apps really quickly [asana blog, Feb 2, 2010]
At Asana, we’re building a Collaborative Information Manager that we believe will make it radically easier for groups of people to get work done. Writing a complex web application, we experienced pain all too familiar to authors of “Web 2.0″ software (and interactive software in general): there were all kinds of extremely difficult programming tasks that we were doing over and over again for every feature we wanted to write. So we’re developing Lunascript — an in-house programming language for writing rich web applications in about 10% of the time and code you can today.
Check out the
videowe made »
[rather an article about Luna as of Nov 2, 2011]
Release the Kraken! An open-source pub/sub server for the real-time web [asana blog, March 5, 2013]
Today, we are releasing Kraken, the distributed pub/sub server we wrote to handle the performance and scalability demands of real-time web apps like Asana.
Before building Kraken, we searched for an existing open-source pub/sub solution that would satisfy our needs. At the time, we discovered that most solutions in this space were designed to solve a much wider set of problems than we had, and yet none were particularly well-suited to solve the specific requirements of real-time apps like Asana. Our team had experience writing routing-based infrastructure and ultimately decided to build a custom service that did exactly what we needed – and nothing more.
The decision to build Kraken paid off. For the last three years, Kraken has been fearlessly routing messages between our servers to keep your team in sync. During this time, it has yet to crash even once. We’re excited to finally release Kraken to the community!
Issues Moving to Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancer [asana blog, June 5, 2012]
Asana’s infrastructure runs almost entirely on top of Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS provides us with the ability to launch managed production infrastructure in minutes with simple API calls. We use AWS for servers, databases, monitoring, and more. In general, we’ve been very happy with AWS. A month ago, we decided to use Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancer service to balance traffic between our own software load balancers.
Announcing the Asana API [asana blog, April 19, 2012]
Today we are excited to share that you can now add and access Asana data programmatically using our simple REST API.
The Asana API lets you build a variety of applications and scripts to integrate Asana with your business systems, show Asana data in other contexts, and create tasks from various locations.
Here are some examples of the things you can build:
- Source Control Integration to mark a Task as complete and add a link to the code submission as a comment when submitting code.
- A desktop app that shows the Tasks assigned to you
- A dashboard page that shows a visual representation of complete and incomplete Tasks in a project
Asana comes to Internet Explorer [asana blog, Oct 16, 2013]
Microsoft BUILD 2014 Day 2: “rebranding” to Microsoft Azure and moving toward a comprehensive set of fully-integrated backend services
- “Rebranding” into Microsoft Azure from the previous Windows Azure
- Microsoft Azure Momentum on the Market
- The new Azure Management Portal (preview)
- New Azure features: IaaS, web, mobile and data announcements
Microsoft Announces New Features for Cloud Computing Service [CCTV America YouTube channel, April 3, 2014]
Day two of the Microsoft Build developer conference in San Francisco wrapped up with the company announcing 44 new services. Most of those are based on Microsoft Azure – it’s cloud computing platform that manages applications across data centers. CCTV’s Mark Niu reports from San Francisco.
Watch the first 10 minutes of this presentation for a brief summary of the latest state of Microsoft Azure: #ChefConf 2014: Mark Russinovich, “Microsoft Azure Group” [Chef YouTube channel, April 16, 2014]
Then here is a fast talk and Q&A on Azure with Scott Guthrie after his keynote preseantation at BUILD 2014:
Cloud Cover Live – Ask the Gu! [jlongo62 YouTube channel, published on April 21, 2014]
The original: Cloud Cover Live – Ask the Gu! [Channel 9, April 3, 2014]
- “Rebranding” into Microsoft Azure from the previous Windows Azure
- Microsoft Azure Momentum on the Market
- The new Azure Management Portal (preview)
- New Azure features: IaaS, web, mobile and data announcements
[2:45:47] long video record of the Microsoft Build Conference 2014 Day 2 Keynote [MSFT Technology News YouTube channel, recorded on April 3, published on April 7, 2014]
1. “Rebranding” into Microsoft Azure from the previous Windows Azure
Yes, you’ve noticed right: the Windows prefix has gone, and the full name is now only Microsoft Azure! The change happened on April 3 as evidenced by change of the cover photo on the Facebook site, now also called Microsoft Azure:
And it happened without any announcement or explanation as even the last, April 1 Microsoft video carried the Windows prefix: Tuesdays with Corey //build Edition
as well as the last, March 14 video ad: Get Your Big Bad Wolf On (Extended)
2. Microsoft Azure Momentum on the Market
The day began with Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise group, touting Microsoft progress with Azure for the last 18 months when:
… we talked about our new strategy with Azure and our new approach, a strategy that enables me to use both infrastructure as a service and platform as a service capabilities together, a strategy that enables developers to use the best of the Windows ecosystem and the best of the Linux ecosystem together, and one that delivers unparalleled developer productivity and enables you to build great applications and services that work with every device …
- Last year … shipped more than 300 significant new features and releases
- … we’ve also been hard at work expanding the footprint of Azure around the world. The green circles you see on the slide here represent Azure regions, which are clusters of datacenters close together, and where you can go ahead and run your application code. Just last week, we opened two new regions, one in Shanghai and one in Beijing. Today, we’re the only global, major cloud provider that operates in mainland China. And by the end of the year, we’ll have more than 16 public regions available around the world, enabling you to run your applications closer to your customers than ever before.
- More than 57 percent of the Fortune 500 companies are now deployed on Azure.
- Customers run more than 250,000 public-facing websites on Azure, and we now host more than 1 million SQL databases on Azure.
- More than 20 trillion objects are now stored in the Azure storage system. We have more than 300 million users, many of them — most of them, actually, enterprise users, registered with Azure Active Directory, and we process now more than 13 billion authentications per week.
- We have now more than 1 million developers registered with our Visual Studio Online service, which is a new service we launched just last November.
Let’s go beyond the big numbers, though, and look at some of the great experiences that have recently launched and are using the full power of Azure and the cloud.
“Titanfall” was one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the year, and had a very successful launch a few weeks ago. “Titanfall” delivers an unparalleled multiplayer gaming experience, powered using Azure.
Let’s see a video of it in action, and hear what the developers who built it have to say.
[Titanfall and the Power of the Cloud [xbox YouTube channel, April 3, 2014]]
One of the key bets the developers of “Titanfall” made was for all game sessions on the cloud. In fact, you can’t play the game without the cloud, and that bet really paid off.
As you heard in the video, it enables much, much richer gaming experiences. Much richer AI experiences. And the ability to tune and adapt the game as more users use it.
To give you a taste of the scale, “Titanfall” had more than 100,000 virtual machines deployed and running on Azure on launch day. Which is sort of an unparalleled size in terms of a game launch experience, and the reviews of the game have been absolutely phenomenal.
Another amazing experience that recently launched and was powered using Azure was the Sochi Olympics delivered by NBC Sports.
NBC used Azure to stream all of the games both live and on demand to both Web and mobile devices. This was the first large-scale live event that was delivered entirely in the cloud with all of the streaming and encoding happening using Azure.
Traditionally, with live encoding, you typically run in an on-premises environment because it’s so latency dependent. With the Sochi Olympics, Azure enabled NBC to not only live encode in the cloud, but also do it across multiple Azure regions to deliver high-availability redundancy.
More than 100 million people watched the online experience, and more than 2.1 million viewers alone watched it concurrently during the U.S. versus Canada men’s hockey match, a new world record for online HD streaming.
RICK CORDELLA [Senior Vice President and General Manager of NBC Sports Digital]: The company bets about $1 billion on the Olympics each time it goes off. And we have 17 days to recoup that investment. Needless to say, there is no safety net when it comes to putting this content out there for America to enjoy. We need to make sure that content is out there, that it’s quality, that our advertisers and advertisements are being delivered to it. There really is no going back if something goes wrong.
The decision for that was taken more than a year ago: Windows Azure Teams Up With NBC Sports Group [Microsoft Azure YouTube channel, April 9, 2013]
3. The new Azure Management Portal (preview)
But in fact a new way of providing a comprehensive set of fully-integrated backend services had significantly bigger impact on the audience of developers. According to Microsoft announces new cloud experience and tools to deliver the cloud without complexity [The Official Microsoft Blog, April 3, 2014]
The following post is from Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Group, Microsoft.
On Thursday at Build in San Francisco, we took an important step by unveiling a first-of-its kind cloud environment within Microsoft Azure that provides a fully integrated cloud experience – bringing together cross-platform technologies, services and tools that enable developers and businesses to innovate with enterprise-grade scalability at startup speed. Announced today, our new Microsoft Azure Preview [Management]Portal is an important step forward in delivering our promise of the cloud without complexity.
When cloud computing was born, it was hailed as the solution that developers and business had been waiting for – the promise of a quick and easy way to get more from your business-critical apps without the hassle and cost of infrastructure. But as the industry transitions toward mobile-first, cloud-first business models and scenarios, the promise of “quick and easy” is now at stake. There’s no question that developing for a world that is both mobile-first and cloud-first is complicated. Developers are managing thousands of virtual machines, cobbling together management and automation solutions, and working in unfamiliar environments just to make their apps work in the cloud – driving down productivity as a result.
Many cloud vendors tout the ease and cost savings of the cloud, but they leave customers without the tools or capabilities to navigate the complex realities of cloud computing. That’s why today we are continuing down a path of rapid innovation. In addition to our groundbreaking new Microsoft Azure Preview [Management] Portal, we announced several enhancements our customers need to fully tap into the power of the cloud. These include:
- Dozens of enhancements to our Azure services across Web, mobile, data and our infrastructure services
- Further commitment to building the most open and flexible cloud with Azure support for automation software from Puppet Labs and Chef.
- We’ve removed the throttle off our Application Insights preview, making it easier for all developers to build, manage and iterate on their apps in the cloud with seamless integration into the IDE
<For details see the separate section 4. New Azure features: IaaS, web, mobile and data announcements>
Here is a brief presentation by a Brazilian specialist: Microsoft Azure [Management] Portal First Touch [Bruno Vieira YouTube channel, April 3, 2014]
From Microsoft evolves the cloud experience for customers [press release, April 3, 2014]
… Thursday at Build 2014, Microsoft Corp. announced a first-of-its-kind cloud experience that brings together cross-platform technologies, services and tools, enabling developers and businesses to innovate at startup speed via a new Microsoft Azure Preview [Management] Portal.
In addition, the company announced several new milestones in Visual Studio Online and .NET that give developers access to the most complete platform and tools for building in the cloud. Thursday’s announcements are part of Microsoft’s broader vision to erase the boundaries of cloud development and operational management for customers.
“Developing for a mobile-first, cloud-first world is complicated, and Microsoft is working to simplify this world without sacrificing speed, choice, cost or quality,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president at Microsoft. “Imagine a world where infrastructure and platform services blend together in one seamless experience, so developers and IT professionals no longer have to work in disparate environments in the cloud. Microsoft has been rapidly innovating to solve this problem, and we have taken a big step toward that vision today.”
One simplified cloud experience
The new Microsoft Azure Preview [Management] Portal provides a fully integrated experience that will enable customers to develop and manage an application in one place, using the platform and tools of their choice. The new portal combines all the components of a cloud application into a single development and management experience. New components include the following:
Simplified Resource Management. Rather than managing standalone resources such as Microsoft Azure Web Sites, Visual Studio Projects or databases, customers can now create, manage and analyze their entire application as a single resource group in a unified, customized experience, greatly reducing complexity while enabling scale. Today, the new Azure Manager is also being released through the latest Azure SDK for customers to automate their deployment and management from any client or device.
Integrated billing. A new integrated billing experience enables developers and IT pros to take control of their costs and optimize their resources for maximum business advantage.
Gallery. A rich gallery of application and services from Microsoft and the open source community, this integrated marketplace of free and paid services enables customers to leverage the ecosystem to be more agile and productive.
Visual Studio Online. Microsoft announced key enhancements through the Microsoft Azure Preview [Management] Portal, available Thursday. This includes Team Projects supporting greater agility for application lifecycle management and the lightweight editor code-named “Monaco” for modifying and committing Web project code changes without leaving Azure. Also included is Application Insights, an analytics solution that collects telemetry data such as availability, performance and usage information to track an application’s health. Visual Studio integration enables developers to surface this data from new applications with a single click.
Building an open cloud ecosystem
Showcasing Microsoft’s commitment to choice and flexibility, the company announced new open source partnerships with Chef and Puppet Labs to run configuration management technologies in Azure Virtual Machines. Using these community-driven technologies, customers will now be able to more easily deploy and configure in the cloud. In addition, today Microsoft announced the release of Java Applications to Microsoft Azure Web Sites, giving Microsoft even broader support for Web applications.
Bill Staples then came on stage to show off the new Azure [management] portal design and features. Bill walked through a number of the new innovations in the portal, such as improved UX, app insights, “blade” views [the “blade” term is used for the dropdown that allows a drilldown], etc. A screen shot of the new portal is shown below.
Bill also walked through the comprehensive analytics (such as compute and billing) that are now available on the portal. He also walked through “Application Insights,” which is a great way to instrument your code in both the portal and in your code with easy-to-use, pre-defined code snippets. He completed his demo walkthrough by showing the Azure [management] portal as a “NOC” [Network Operations Center] view on a big-screen TV.
BILL STAPLES at [1:43:39]: Now, to conclude the operations part of this demo, I wanted to show you an experience for how the new Azure Portal works on a different device. You’ve seen it on the desktop, but it works equally well on a tablet device, that is really touch friendly. Check it out on your Surface or your iPad, it works great on both devices.
But we’re thinking as well if you’ve got a big-screen TV or a projector lying around your team room, you might want to think about putting the Microsoft Azure portal as your own personal NOC.
In this case, I’ve asked the Office developer team if we could have access to their live site log. So they made me promise, do not hit the stop button or the delete button, which I promised to do.
[1:44:24] This is actually the Office developer log site. And you can see it’s got almost 10 million hits already today running on Azure Websites. So very high traffic.
They’ve customized it to show off the browser usage on their website. Imagine we’re in a team Scrum with the Office developer guys and we check out, you know, how is the website doing? We’ve got some interesting trends here.
In fact, there was a spike of sessions it looks like going on about a week ago. And page views, that’s kind of a small part. It would be nice to know which page it was that spiked a week ago. Let’s go ahead and customize that.
This screen is kind of special because it has touch screen. So I can go ahead and let’s make that automatically expand there. Now we see a bigger view. Wow, that was a really big spike last week. What page was that? We can click into it. We get the full navigation experience, same on the desktop, as well as, oh, look at that. There’s a really popular blog post that happened about a week ago. What was that? Something about announcing Office on the iPad you love. Makes sense, huh? So we can see the Azure Portal in action here as the Office developer team might imagine it. [1:45:44]
The last thing I want to show is the Azure Gallery.
We populated the gallery with all of the first-party Microsoft Azure services, as well as the [services from] great partners that we’ve worked with so far in creating this gallery.
And what you’re seeing right here is just the beginning. We’ve got the core set of DevOps experiences built out, as well as websites, SQL, and MySQL support. But over the coming months, we’ll be integrating all of the developer and IT services in Microsoft as well as the partner services into this experience.
Let me just conclude by reminding us what we’ve seen. We’ve seen a first-of-its-kind experience from Microsoft that fuses our world-class developer services together with Azure to provide an amazing dev-ops experience where you can enjoy the entire lifecycle from development, deployment, operations, gathering analytics, and iterating right here in one experience.
We’ve seen an application-centric experience that brings together all the dev platform and infrastructure services you know and love into one common shell. And we’ve seen a new application model that you can describe declaratively. And through the command line or programmatically, build out services in the cloud with tremendous ease. [1:47:12]
More information on the new Azure [Management] Portal:
- From Visual Studio Online Integration in the Azure [management] portal [by Brian Harry (MSFT) on MSDN Blogs, April 3, 2014]
Today, at Build, we unveiled a new Azure [Management] Portal experience we are building. I want to give you some insights into the work that VS Online team is doing to help with it. I’m not on the Azure team and am no expert on how they’d like to describe to the world, so please take any comments I make here about the new Azure portal as my perspective on it and not necessarily an official one.
Bill Staples first presented to me almost a year ago an idea of creating a new portal experience for Azure designed to be an optimal experience for DevOps. It would provide everything a DevOps team needs to do modern cloud based development. Capabilities to provision dev and test resources, development and collaboration capabilities, build, release and deployment capabilities, application telemetry and management capabilities and more. Pretty quickly it became clear to me that if we could do it, it would be awesome. An incredibly productive and easy way for devs to do soup to nuts app development.
What we demoed today (and made available via http://portal.azure.com”) is the first incarnation of that. My team (the VS Online Team) has worked very hard over the past many months with the Azure team to build the beginnings of the experience we hope to bring to you. It’s very early and it’s nowhere near done but it’s definitely something we’d love to start getting some feedback on.
For now, it’s limited to Azure websites, SQL databases and a subset of the VS Online capabilities. If you are a VS Online/TFS user, think of this as a companion to Visual Studio, Visual Studio Online and all of the tools you are used to. When you create a team project in the Azure portal, it’s a VS Online Team Project like any other and is accessible from the Azure portal, the VS Online web UI, Visual Studio, Eclipse and all the other ways your Visual Studio Online assets are available. For now, though, there are a few limitations – which we are working hard to address. We are in the middle of adding Azure Active Directory support to Visual Studio Online and, for a variety of reasons, chose to limit the new portal to only work with VS Online accounts linked to Azure Active Directory.
The best way to ensure this is just to create a new Team Project and a new VS Online account from within the new Azure portal. You will need to be logged in to the Azure portal with an identity known to your Azure Active Directory tenant and to add new users, rather than add them directly in Visual Studio Online, you will add them through Azure Active directory. One of the ramifications of this, for now, is that you can’t use an existing VS Online account in the new portal – you must create a new one. Clearly that’s a big limitation and one we are working hard to remove. We will enable you to link existing VS Online accounts to Active Directory we just don’t have it yet – stay tuned.
I’ll do a very simple tour. You can also watch Brian Keller’s Channel9 video.
- Enabling DevOps with Azure and Visual Studio Online [jlongo62 YouTube channel, published on April 21, 2014]
- Building your Dream DevOps Dashboard with the new Azure Preview Portal [by Brian Keller [MSFT] on MSDN Blogs, April 10, 2014]
- Azure [Management] Portal Preview and Visual Studio Online: Adding a user [by Buck Hodges (MSFT) on MSDN Blogs, April 3, 2014]
4. New Azure features: IaaS, web, mobile and data announcements
According to Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise group:
[IaaS] First up, let’s look at some of the improvements we’re making with our infrastructure features and some of the great things we’re enabling with virtual machines.
Azure enables you to run both Windows and Linux virtual machines in the cloud. You can run them as stand-alone servers, or join them together to a virtual network, including one that you can optionally bridge to an on-premises networking environment.
This week, we’re making it even easier for developers to create and manage virtual machines in Visual Studio without having to leave the VS IDE: You can now create, destroy, manage and debug any number of VMs in the cloud. (Applause.)
Prior to today, it was possible to create reusable VM image templates, but you had to write scripts and manually attach things like storage drives to them. Today, we’re releasing support that makes it super-easy to capture images that can contain any number of storage drives. Once you have this image, you can then very easily take it and create any number of VM instances from it, really fast, and really easy. (Applause.)
Starting today, you can also now easily configure VM images using popular frameworks like Puppet, Chef, and our own PowerShell and VSD tools. These tools enable you to avoid having to create and manage lots of separate VM images. Instead, you can define common settings and functionality using modules that can cut across every type of VM you use.
You can also create modules that define role-specific behavior, and all these modules can be checked into source control and they can also then be deployed to a Puppet Master or Chef server.
And one of the things we’re doing this week is making it incredibly easy within Azure to basically spin up a server farm and be able to automatically deploy, provision and manage all of these machines using these popular tools.
We’re also excited to announce the general availability of our auto-scale service, as well as a bunch of great virtual networking capabilities including point-to-site VPN support going GA, new dynamic routing, subnet migration, as well as static internal IP address. And we think the combination of this really gives you a very flexible environment, as you saw, a very open environment, and lets you run pretty much any Windows or Linux workload in the cloud.
So we think infrastructure as a service is super-flexible, and it really kind of enables you to manage your environments however you want.
We also, though, provide prebuilt services and runtime environments that you can use to assemble your applications as well, and we call these platform as a service [PaaS] capabilities.
One of the benefits of these prebuilt services is that they enable you to focus on your application and not have to worry about the infrastructure underneath it.
We handle patching, load balancing, high availability and auto scale for you. And this enables you to work faster and do more.
What I want to do is just spend a little bit of time talking through some of these platform as a service capabilities, so we’re going to start talking about our Web functionality here today.
[Web] One of the most popular PaaS services that we now have on Windows Azure is something we call the Azure Website Service. This enables you to very easily deploy Web applications written in a variety of different languages and host them in the cloud. We support .NET, NOJS, PHP, Python, and we’re excited this week to also announce that we’re adding Java language support as well.
This enables you as a developer to basically push any type of application into Azure into our runtime environment, and basically host it to any number of users in the cloud.
Couple of the great features we have with Azure include auto-scale capability. What this means is you can start off running your application, for example, in a single VM. As more load increases to it, we can then automatically scale up multiple VMs for you without you having to write any script or take any action yourself. And if you get a lot of load, we can scale up even more.
You can basically configure how many VMs you maximally want to use, as well as what the burn-down rate is. And as your traffic — and this is great because it enables you to not only handle large traffic spikes and make sure that your apps are always responsive, but the nice thing about auto scale is that when the traffic drops off, or maybe during the night when it’s a little bit less, we can automatically scale down the number of machines that you need, which means that you end up saving money and not having to pay as much.
One of the really cool features that we’ve recently introduced with websites is something we call our staging support. This solves kind of a pretty common problem with any Web app today, which is there’s always someone hitting it. And how do you stage the deployments of new code that you roll out so that you don’t ever have a site in an intermediate state and that you can actually deploy with confidence at any point in the day?
And what staging support enables inside of Azure is for you to create a new staging version of your Web app with a private URL that you can access and use to test. And this allows you to basically deploy your application to the staging environment, get it ready, test it out before you finally send users to it, and then basically you can push one button or send a single command called swap where we’ll basically rotate the incoming traffic from the old production site to the new staged version.
What’s nice is we still keep your old version around. So if you discover once you go live you still have a bug that you missed, you can always swap back to the previous state. Again, this allows you to deploy with a lot of confidence and make sure that your users are always seeing a consistent experience when they hit your app.
Another cool feature that we’ve recently introduced is a feature we call Web Jobs. And this enables you to run background tasks that are non-HTTP responsive that you can actually run in the background. So if it takes a while to run it, this is a great way you can offload that work so that you’re not stalling your actual request response thread pool.
Basically, you know, common scenario we see for a lot of people is if they want to process something in the background, when someone submits something, for example, to the website, they can go ahead and simply drop an item into a queue or into the storage account, respond back down to the user, and then with one of these Web jobs, you can very easily run background code that can pull that queue message and actually process it in an offline way.
And what’s nice about Web jobs is you can run them now in the same virtual machines that host your websites. What that means is you don’t have to spin up your own separate set of virtual machines, and again, enables you to save money and provides a really nice management experience for it.
The last cool feature that we’ve recently introduced is something we call traffic manager support. With Traffic Manager, you can take advantage of the fact that Azure runs around the world, and you can spin up multiple instances of your website in multiple different regions around the world with Azure.
What you can then do is use Traffic Manager so you can have a single DNS entry that you then map to the different instances around the world. And what Traffic Manager does is gives you a really nice way that you can actually automatically, for example, route all your North America users to one of the North American versions of your app, while people in Europe will go routed to the European version of your app. That gives you better performance, response and latency.
Traffic Manager is also smart enough so that if you ever have an issue with one of the instances of your app, it can automatically remove it from those rotations and send users to one of the other active apps within the system. So this gives you also a nice way you can fail over in the event of an outage.
And the great thing about Traffic Manager, now, is you can use it not just for virtual machines and cloud services, but we’ve also now enabled it to work fully with websites.
[From BUILD Day 2: Keynote Summary [by Steve Fox [MSFT] on MSDN Blogs, April 3, 2014]]
Scott then invited Mads Kristensen on stage to walk through a few of the features that Scott discussed at a higher level. Specifically, he walked through the new ASP.NET templates emphasizing the creation of the DB layer and then showing PowerShell integration to manage your web site. He then showed Angular integration with Azure Web sites, emphasizing easy and dynamic ways to update your site showing deep browser and Visual Studio integration (Browser Link), showing updates that are made in the browser show up in the code in Visual Studio. Very cool!!
He also showed how you can manage staging and production sites by using the “swap” functionality built into the Azure Web sites service. He also showed Web Jobs to show how you can also run background jobs and Traffic Manager functionality to ensure your customers have the best performing web site in their regions.
So as Mads showed, there are a lot of great features that we’re kind of unveiling this week. A lot of great announcements that go with it.
These include the general availability release of auto-scale support for websites, as well as the general availability release of our new Traffic Manager support for websites as well. As you saw there, we also have Web Job support, and one of the things that we didn’t get to demo which is also very cool is backup support so that automatically we can have both your content as well as your databases backed up when you run them in our Websites environment as well.
Lots of great improvements also coming in terms of from an offer perspective. One thing a lot of people have asked us for with Websites is the ability not only to use SSL, but to use SSL without having to pay for it. So one of the cool things that we’re adding with Websites and it goes live today is we’re including one IP address-based SSL certificate and five SNI-based SSL certificates at no additional cost to every Website instance. (Applause.)
Throughout the event here, you’re also going to hear a bunch of great sessions on some of the improvements we’re making to ASP.NET. In terms of from a Web framework perspective, we’ve got general availability release of ASP.NET MVC 5.1, Web API 2.1, Identity 2.0, as well as Web Pages 3.1 So a lot of great, new features to take advantage of.
As you saw Mads demo, a lot of great features inside Visual Studio including the ability every time you create an ASP.NET project now to automatically create an Azure Website as part of that flow. Remember, every Azure customer gets 10 free Azure Websites that you can use forever. So even if you’re not an MSDN customer, you can take advantage of that feature in order to set up a Web environment literally every time you create a new project. So pretty exciting stuff.
So that was one example of some of the PaaS capabilities that we have inside Azure.
[Mobile] I’m going to move now into the mobile space and talk about some of the great improvements that we’re making there as well.
One of the great things about Azure is the fact that it makes it really easy for you to build back ends for your mobile applications and devices. And one of the cool things you can do now is you can develop those back ends with both .NET as well as NOJS, and you can use Visual Studio or any other text editor on any other operating system to actually deploy those applications into Azure.
And once they’re deployed, we make it really easy for you to go ahead and connect them to any type of device out there in the world.
Now, some of the great things you can do with this is take advantage of some of the features that we have, which provide very flexible data handling. So we have built-in support for Azure storage, as well as our SQL database, which is our PaaS database offering for relational databases, as well as take advantage of things like MongoDB and other popular NoSQL solutions.
We support the ability not only to reply to messages that come to us, but also to push messages to devices as well. One of the cool features that Mobile Services can take advantage of — and it’s also available as a stand-alone feature — is something we call notification hubs. And this basically allows you to send a single message to a notification hub and then broadcast it to, in some cases, devices that might be registered to it.
We also support with Mobile Services a variety of flexible authentication options. So when we first launched mobile services, we added support for things like Facebook login, Google ID, Twitter ID, as well as Microsoft Accounts.
One of the things we’re excited to demo here today is Active Directory support as well. So this enables you to build new applications that you can target, for example, your employees or partners, to enable them to sign in using the same enterprise credentials that they use in an on-premises Active Directory environment.
What’s great is we’re using standard OAuth tokens as part of that. So once you authenticate, you can take that token, you can use it to also provide authorization access to your own custom back-end logic or data stores that you host inside Azure.
We’re also making it really easy so that you can also take that same token and you can use it to access Office 365 APIs and be able to integrate that user’s data as well as functionality inside your application as well.
The beauty about all of this is it works with any device. So whether it’s a Windows device or an iOS device or an Android device, you can go ahead and take advantage of this capability.
[From BUILD Day 2: Keynote Summary [by Steve Fox [MSFT] on MSDN Blogs, April 3, 2014]]
Yavor Georgiev then came on stage to walk through a Mobile Services demo. He showed off a new Mobile Services Visual Studio template, test pages with API docs, local and remote debugging capabilities, and a LOB app that enables Facilities departments to manage service requests—this showed off a lot of the core ASP.NET/MVC features along with a quick publish service to your Mobile Services service in Azure. Through this app, he showed how to use Active Directory to build the app—which prompts you to log into the app with your corp/AD credentials to use the app. He then showed how the app integrates with SharePoint/O365 such that the request leverages the SharePoint REST APIs to publish a doc to a Facilities doc repository. He also showed how you can re-use the core code through Xamarin to repurpose the code for iOS.
The app is shown here native in Visual Studio.
This app view is the cross-platform build using Xamarin.
Kudos to Yavor! This was an awesome demo that showcases how far Mobile Services has come in a short period of time—love the extensibility and the cross-platform capabilities. Very nice!
One of the things that kind of Yavor showed there is just sort of how easy it is now to build enterprise-grade mobile applications using Azure and Visual Studio.
And one of the key kind of lynchpins in terms of from a technology standpoint that really makes this possible is our Azure Active Directory Service. This basically provides an Active Directory in the cloud that you can use to authenticate any device. What makes it powerful is the fact that you can synchronize it with your existing on-premises Active Directory. And we support both synch options, including back to Windows Server 2003 instances, so it doesn’t even require a relatively new Windows Server, it works with anything you’ve got.
We also support a federate option as well if you want to use ADFS. Once you set that environment up, then all your users are available to be authenticated in the cloud and what’s great is we ship SDKs that work with all different types of devices, and enables you to integrate authentication into those applications. And so you don’t everyone have to have your back end hosted on Azure, you can take advantage of this capability to enable single sign-on with any enterprise credential.
And what’s great is once you get that token, that same token can then be used to program against Office 365 APIs as well as the other services across Microsoft. So this provides a really great opportunity not only for building enterprise line-of-business apps, but also for ISVs that want to be able to build SaaS solutions as well as mobile device apps that integrate and target enterprise customers as well.
[From BUILD Day 2: Keynote Summary [by Steve Fox [MSFT] on MSDN Blogs, April 3, 2014]]
Scott then invited Grant Peterson from DocuSign on stage to discuss how they are using Azure, who demoed AD integration with DocuSign’s iOS app. Nice!
This is really huge for those of you building apps that are cross-platform but have big investments in AD and also provides you as developers a way to reach enterprise audiences.
So I think one of the things that’s pretty cool about that scenario is both the opportunity it offers every developer that wants to reach an enterprise audience. The great thing is all of those 300 million users that are in Azure Active Directory today and the millions of enterprises that have already federated with it are now available for you to build both mobile and Web applications against and be able to offer to them an enterprise-grade solution to all of your ISV-based applications.
That really kind of changes one of the biggest concerns that people end up having with enterprise apps with SaaS into a real asset where you can make it super-easy for them to go ahead and integrate and be able to do it from any device.
And one of the things you might have noticed there in the code that Grant showed was that it was actually all done on the client using Objective-C, and that’s because we have a new Azure Active Directory iOS SDK as well as an Android SDK in addition to our Windows SDK. And so you can use and integrate with Azure Active Directory from any device, any language, any tool.
Here’s a quick summary of some of the great mobile announcements that we’re making today. Yavor showed we now have .NET backend support, single sign-on with Active Directory.
One of the features we didn’t get a chance to show, but you can learn more about in the breakout talk is offline data sync. So we also now have built into Mobile Services the ability to sync and handle disconnected states with data. And then, obviously, the Visual Studio and remote debugging capabilities as well.
We’ve got not only the Azure SDKs for Azure Active Directory, but we also now have Office 365 API integration. We’re also really excited to announce the general availability or our Azure AD Premium release. This provides enterprises management capabilities that they can actually also use and integrate with your applications, and enables IT to also feel like they can trust the applications and the SaaS solutions that their users are using.
And then we have a bunch of great improvements with notification hubs including Kindle support as well as Visual Studio integration.
So a lot of great features. You can learn about all of them in the breakout talks this week.
So we’ve talked about Web, we’ve talked about mobile when we talk about PaaS.
[Data] I want to switch gears now and talk a little bit about data, which is pretty fundamental and integral to building any type of application.
And with Azure, we support a variety of rich ways to handle data ranging from unstructured, semistructured, to relational. One of the most popular services you heard me talk about at the beginning of the talk is our SQL database story. We’ve got over a million SQL databases now hosted on Azure. And it’s a really easy way for you to spin up a database, and better yet, it’s a way that we then manage for you. So we do handle things like high availability and patching.
You don’t have to worry about that. Instead, you can focus on your application and really be productive.
We’ve got a whole bunch of great SQL improvements that we’re excited to announce this week. I’m going to walk through a couple of them real quickly.
One of them is we’re increasing the database size that we support with SQL databases. Previously, we only supported up to 150 gigs. We’re excited to announce that we’re increasing that to support 500 gigabytes going forward. And we’re also delivering a new 99.95 percent SLA as part of that. So this now enables you to run even bigger applications and be able to do it with high confidence in the cloud. (Applause.)
Another cool feature we’re adding is something we call Self-Service Restore. I don’t know if you ever worked on a database application where you’ve written code like this, hit go, and then suddenly had a very bad feeling because you realized you omitted the where clause and you just deleted your entire table. (Laughter.)
And sometimes you can go and hopefully you have backups. This is usually the point when you discover when you don’t have backups.
And one of the things that we built in as part of the Self-Service Restore feature is automatic backups for you. And we actually let you literally roll back the clock, and you can choose what time of the day you want to roll it back to. We save up to I think 31 days of backups. And you can basically rehydrate a new database based on whatever time of the day you wanted to actually restore from. And then, hopefully, your life ends up being a lot better than it started out.
This is just a built-in feature. You don’t have to turn it on. It’s just sort of built in, something you can take advantage of. (Applause.)
Another great feature that we’re building in is something we call active geo-replication. What this lets you do now is you can actually go ahead and run SQL databases in multiple Azure regions around the world. And you can set it up to automatically replicate your databases for you.
And this is basically an asynchronous replication. You can basically have your primary in rewrite mode, and then you can actually have your secondary and you can have multiple secondaries in read-only mode. So you can still actually be accessing the data in read-only mode elsewhere.
In the event that you have a catastrophic issue in, say, one region, say a natural disaster hits, you can go ahead and you can initiate the failover automatically to one of your secondary regions. This basically allows you to continue moving on without having to worry about data loss and gives you kind of a really nice, high-availability solution that you can take advantage of.
One of the things that’s nice about Azure’s regions is we try to make sure we have multiple regions in each geography. So, for example, we have two regions that are at least 500 miles away in Europe, and in North America, and similarly with Australia, Japan and China. And what that means is that you know if you do need to fail over, your data is never leaving the geo-political area that it’s based in. And if you’re hosted in Europe, you don’t have to worry about your data ever leaving Europe, similarly for the other geo-political entities that are out there.
So this gives you a way now with high confidence that you can store your data and know that you can fail over at any point in time.
In addition to some of these improvements with SQL databases, we also have a host of great improvements coming with HDInsight, which is our big data analytics engine. This runs standard Hadoop instance and runs it as a managed service, so we do all the patching and management for you.
We’re excited to announce the GA of Hadoop 2.2 support. We also have now .NET 4.5 installed and APIs available so you can now write your MapReduce jobs using .NET 4.5.
We’re also adding audit and operation history support, a bunch of great improvements with Hive, and we’re now Yarn-enabling the cluster so you can actually run more software on it as well.
And we’re also excited to announce a bunch of improvements in the storage space, including the general availability of our read-access geo-redundant storage option.
So we’ve kind of done a whole bunch of kind of deep dives into a whole bunch of the Azure features.
- Announcing release of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC and Azure SDK 2.3 [Windows Azure Blog, April 4, 2014]
- Deep dive: Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC and Azure SDK 2.3 [Windows Azure Blog, April 9, 2014]
- Azure Updates: Web Sites, VMs, Mobile Services, Notification Hubs, Storage, VNets, Scheduler, AutoScale and More [ScottGu’s Blog, April 14, 2014] [Data]
It has been a really busy last 10 days for the Azure team. This blog post quickly recaps a few of the significant enhancements we’ve made. These include:
- [Web] Web Sites: SSL included, Traffic Manager, Java Support, Basic Tier
- [IaaS] Virtual Machines: Support for Chef and Puppet extensions, Basic Pricing tier for Compute Instances
- [IaaS] Virtual Network: General Availability of DynamicRouting VPN Gateways and Point-to-Site VPN
- [Mobile] Mobile Services: Preview of Visual Studio support for .NET, Azure Active Directory integration and Offline support;
- [Mobile] Notification Hubs: Support for Kindle Fire devices and Visual Studio Server Explorer integration
- [IaaS] [Web] Autoscale: General Availability release
- [Data] Storage: General Availability release of Read Access Geo Redundant Storage
- [Mobile] Active Directory Premium: General Availability release
- Scheduler service: General Availability release
- Automation: Preview release of new Azure Automation service
All of these improvements are now available to use immediately (note that some features are still in preview). Below are more details about them:
- [Web] Azure Web Sites New Basic Pricing Tier [Windows Azure Blog, April 21, 2014]
… With the April updates to Microsoft Azure, Azure Web Sites offers a new pricing tier called Basic. The Basic pricing tier is designated for production sites, supporting smaller sites, as well as development and testing scenarios. … Which pricing tier is right for me? … The new pricing tier is a great benefit to many customers, offering some high-end features at a reasonable cost. We hope this new offering will enable a better deployment for all of you.
- [Web] Java on Azure Web Sites [Windows Azure Blog, April 4, 2014]
Microsoft is launching support for Java-based web sites on Azure Web Sites. This capability is intended to satisfy many common Java scenarios combined with the manageability and easy scaling options from Azure Web Sites.
The addition of Java is available immediately on all tiers for no additional cost. It offers new possibilities to host your pre-existing Java web applications. New Java web site development on Azure is easy using the Java Azure SDK which provides integration with Azure services.
- [Web] Introducing Web Hosting Plans for Azure Web Sites [Windows Azure Blog, April 4, 2014]
With the latest release of Azure Web Sites and the new Azure Portal Preview we are introducing a new concept: Web Hosting Plans. A Web Hosting Plan (WHP) allows you to group and scale sites independently within a subscription.
- Microsoft Azure Load Balancing Services [Windows Azure Blog, April 8, 2014]
Microsoft Azure offers load balancing services for [IaaS] virtual machines (IaaS) and [Web] cloud services (PaaS) hosted in the Microsoft Azure cloud. Load balancing allows your application to scale and provides resiliency to application failures among other benefits.
The load balancing services can be accessed by specifying input endpoints on your services either via the Microsoft Azure Portal or via the service model of your application. Once a hosted service with one or more input endpoints is deployed in Microsoft Azure, it automatically configures the load balancing services offered by Microsoft Azure platform. To get the benefit of resiliency / redundancy of your services, you need to have at least two virtual machines serving the same endpoint.
- [Web] What’s New for ASP.NET and Web in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 and Beyond [jlongo62 YouTube channel, published on April 22, 2014]
- [Mobile] Push Notifications Using Notification Hub and .NET Backend [Azure Mobile Services Team Blog, April 8, 2014]
When creating a Azure Mobile Service, a Notification Hub is automatically created as well enabling large scale push notifications to devices across any mobile platform (Android, iOS, Windows Store apps, and Windows Phone). For a background on Notification Hubs, see this overview as well as these tutorials and guides, and Scott Guthrie’s blog Broadcast push notifications to millions of mobile devices using Windows Azure Notification Hubs.
Let’s look at how devices register for notification and how to send notifications to registered devices using the .NET backend.
- [Mobile] How to create Universal applications with Azure Mobile Services that leverage push notifications and database insertion and data retrieval [by Bruno Terkalay on MSDN Blogs, April 13, 2014]
- Azure SQL Database introduces new service tiers [Windows Azure Blog, April 24, 2014]
New tiers improve customer experience and provide more business continuity options
To better serve your needs for more flexibility, Microsoft Azure SQL Database is adding new service tiers, Basic and Standard, to work alongside its Premium tier, which is currently in preview. Together these service tiers will help you more easily support the needs of database workloads and application patterns built on Microsoft Azure. … Previews for all three tiers are available today.
The Basic, Standard, and Premium tiers are designed to deliver more predictable performance for light-weight to heavy-weight transactional application demands. Additionally, the new tiers offer a spectrum of business continuity features, a [Data] stronger uptime SLA at 99.95%, and larger database sizes up to 500 GB for less cost. The new tiers will also help remove costly workarounds and offer an improved billing experience for you.
- SQL Database updates coming soon to the Premium preview [Windows Azure Blog, April 4, 2014]
… [Data] Active Geo-Replication: …
… [Data] Self-service Restore: …
Stay tuned to the Azure blog for more details on SQL Database later this month!
Also, if you haven’t tried Azure SQL Database yet, it’s a great time to start and try the Premium tier! Learn more today!
- What’s new in the cluster versions provided by HDInsight? [Azure article, April 3, 2014]
Azure HDInsight now supports [Data] Hadoop 2.2 with HDInsight cluster version 3.0 and takes full advantage of these platform to provide a range of significant benefits to customers. These include, most notably:
- Microsoft Avro Library: …
[Data] YARN: A new, general-purpose, distributed, application management framework that has replaced the classic Apache Hadoop MapReduce framework for processing data in Hadoop clusters. It effectively serves as the Hadoop operating system, and takes Hadoop from a single-use data platform for batch processing to a multi-use platform that enables batch, interactive, online and stream processing. This new management framework improves scalability and cluster utilization according to criteria such as capacity guarantees, fairness, and service-level agreements.
High Availability: …
[Data] Hive performance: Order of magnitude improvements to Hive query response times (up to 40x) and to data compression (up to 80%) using the Optimized Row Columnar (ORC) format.
Pig, Sqoop, Qozie, Ambari: …
Mobile Cloud Computing: proven questions and statements about the current and future state-of-the-market
- Is Android Becoming the New Windows?
- Tablets to Outsell PCs Worldwide by 2015
- Android Blows Past iOS in Global Tablet Market
- Android To Retain Big Lead In Maturing Smartphone Market
- The Price Gap Between iOS and Android Is Widening
- In Just 2 Years, Google And Facebook Have Come To Control 75% Of All Mobile Advertising
Note: In addition keep in mind at least the fact that Bloomberg (Businessweek) legitimizes Allwinner and Rockchip as challengers to Intel and Qualcomm via the tablet space, as well as Spreadtrum in the smartphone space [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, March 18, 2014]. More facts of such kind:
– Alibaba gets Tango for its push into the U.S. and the whole Western world [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, March 20, 2014]
– Chinese smartphone brands to conquer the global market? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, March 18, 2014]
– MediaTek is repositioning itself with the new MT6732 and MT6752 SoCs for the “super-mid market” just being born, plus new wearable technologies for wPANs and IoT are added for the new premium MT6595 SoC [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, March 4, 2014]
– To watch Alisher Usmanov (Алишер Усманов) [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, March 22, 2014]
– Device businesses should have a China-based independent headquarter at least for Asia/Pacific if they want to succeed [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Jan 28, 2014]
– 2014 will be the last year of making sufficient changes for Microsoft’s smartphone and tablet strategies, and those changes should be radical if the company wants to succeed with its devices and services strategy [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Jan 17, 2014]
– The tablet market in Q1-Q3’13: It was mainly shaped by white-box vendors while Samsung was quite successfully attacking both Apple and the white-box vendors with triple digit growth both worldwide and in Mainland China [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 14, 2013]
– Leading PC vendors of the past: Go enterprise or die! [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 7, 2013]
– The question mark over Wintel’s future will hang in the air for two more years [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 15, 2013]
- Is Android Becoming the New Windows?
- Tablets to Outsell PCs Worldwide by 2015
- Android Blows Past iOS in Global Tablet Market
- Android To Retain Big Lead In Maturing Smartphone Market
- The Price Gap Between iOS and Android Is Widening
- In Just 2 Years, Google And Facebook Have Come To Control 75% Of All Mobile Advertising
All supported by facts and well researched forecasts by IDC, Gartner and eMarketer.
Source: Is Android Becoming the New Windows? [Statista, Jan 9, 2014]
Source: Tablets to Outsell PCs Worldwide by 2015 [Statista, Mach 1, 2014]
Source: Android Blows Past iOS in Global Tablet Market [Statista, Mach 3, 2014]
Source: Android To Retain Big Lead In Maturing Smartphone Market [Statista, Mach 4, 2014]
Source: The Price Gap Between iOS and Android Is Widening [Statista, Feb 14, 2014]
Source: In Just 2 Years, Google And Facebook Have Come To Control 75% Of All Mobile Advertising [Business Insider India, March 21, 2014]
In the last two years, Facebook and Google have gone from a position of merely being two big, fast-growing players in mobile advertising to dominating it completely. Combined, they have cornered 75.2% of the entire mobile market in 2013, according to new data by eMarketer.
In 2014, Google alone is expected to be roughly as big as all other companies combined, as this chart of mobile ad revenues from Statista shows.
“new data by eMarketer”:
Driven by Facebook and Google, Mobile Ad Market Soars 105% in 2013 [eMarketer, March 19, 2014]
Mobile ad spending on pace to reach $31.45 billion this year
Last year, global mobile ad spending increased 105.0% to total $17.96 billion, according to new figures from eMarketer. In 2014, mobile is on pace to rise another 75.1% to $31.45 billion, accounting for nearly one-quarter of total digital ad spending worldwide.
Facebook and Google accounted for a majority of mobile ad market growth worldwide last year. Combined, the two companies saw net mobile ad revenues increase by $6.92 billion, claiming 75.2% of the additional $9.2 billion that went toward mobile in 2013. The two companies are consolidating their places at the top of the market, accounting for more than two-thirds of mobile ad spending last year—a figure that will increase slightly this year, according to eMarketer.
Facebook in particular is gaining significant market share. In 2012, the social network accounted for just 5.4% of the global advertising market. In 2013, that share increased to 17.5%, and eMarketer predicts it will rise again this year to 21.7%. Google still owns a plurality of the mobile advertising market worldwide, taking a portion of nearly 50% in 2013, but the rapid growth of Facebook will cause the search giant’s share to drop to 46.8% in 2014, eMarketer estimates.
The rapid pace at which mobile has taken over the company’s ad revenue share indicates Facebook’s mobile future. In 2012, only 11% of Facebook’s net ad revenues worldwide came from mobile, and last year, that figure jumped to 45.1%. In 2014, eMarketer estimates that mobile will account for 63.4% of Facebook’s net digital ad revenues. Mobile accounted for 23.1% of Google’s net ad revenues worldwide in 2013, and eMarketer estimates this share will increase to 33.8% this year.