On Wednesday 17thSeptember, 2014 Universities from all over the UK joined together at the prestigious Microsoft Research Centre to celebrate the formal launch of Microsoft Azure into Academia! Microsoft Cloud Services (Azure) have been available and used by the Academic community for several years, during this period Microsoft has also been working closely with Janet, the UK's national research and education network, provided by Jisc to ensure that the value proposition for Education is in line with UK Academic strategy.
During the event Microsoft unveiled their Strategy for Cloud Services in Academia, along with its focus on hybrid Cloud solutions.
There were numerous engaging speakers, with Keynotes from the Chief Innovation Officer, Jisc Phil Richards and Tim Marshall, CEO of Janet. Their message was clear, Cloud Services need to be strategic to all Academic sites, including research with Microsoft leading with Hybrid, services and engagement
Cliff Evans, Microsoft delivered an excellent introduction to Azure. The audience were impressed by how much Azure has progressed. This was supported by Newcastle University’s presentation of their work with Azure on key research projects, demonstrating the capacity and flexibility of the Azure offering. Steve Plank, Microsoft reinforced the simplicity and power of Azure through numerous inspiring demonstrations which wowed the audience!
Guests were also given the opportunity to hear more about Microsoft's Azure for Research programme that currently supports over 300 projects worldwide for collaboration, computation, and data-intensive processing. Kenkji Takeda, Microsoft took the audience on a journey of discovery into the exciting world of Microsoft Research, Azure sponsored research projects and the huge time saving services that Azure offers research in general.
Sessions were run on how Academic sites can use Microsoft Azure and demonstrations of key services such as Machine Learning (predictive analysis), Mobile services, Virtual Machines, Storage and Hybrid services.
Mark McManus, Microsoft then shared with the audience key reasons to work with Microsoft for cloud, agreements with Jisc and just how institutions can sign up to Azure and the current offerings available. With academic (Public Sector) pricing now available, Microsoft Cloud Services (Azure) offer academic institutions flexibility, speed and agility, which can fully complement your existing IT and research environment.
The event then featured a captivating panel discussion with guest speakers on the general theme of security. Tim Marshall concluded the day with a brilliant keynote summarising the importance of the Microsoft Jisc relationship and the key benefits to the community!