Microsoft Ignite - A Roundup of All the Announced Updates

Microsoft Ignite took place last week on November 14-17, 2023 in Seattle, US and online. It is one of Microsoft’s major annual conferences for developers and IT professionals.

Unsurprisingly, AI and Microsoft Copilot were the big themes of this year’s edition. Copilot is Microsoft’s latest AI-powered tool and it is being integrated into a wide selection of products, including Azure, Microsoft Fabric, M365 and more.

Microsoft Ignite has become more and more of a marketing vehicle for Microsoft to announce updates and paint their vision for the future of technology. The Book of News for this Ignite lists nearly 300 hundred product announcements.

In this blog we have summarized the major updates that we think are relevant to you.

MCA on Azure cloud

Azure updates

Azure AI Studio

Microsoft is launching a preview of Azure AI Studio, which is a one-stop shop to seamlessly explore, build, test and deploy AI solutions using state-of-the-art AI tools and machine learning models.

Mv3 Family

A new family of memory optimized VMs is being released, the Mv3 family. Mv3 delivers up to 30 percent faster SAP data load times for SAP OLAP workloads compared to the previous generation. 

Amazon S3 shortcuts

General availability of Amazon S3 shortcuts. This will allow any organization to unify their data across Amazon S3 and Microsoft OneLake to create a single virtualized datalake for their entire organization.

Azure SQL Managed Instance

Microsoft is releasing an Azure SQL Managed Instance trial offer to preview soon. This means that you can now start testing and playing with SQL Managed Instance free of charge for a period of 12 months. You will be able to get SQL Managed Instances with 4 or 8 vCores, 64 GB of storage with 64 GB of backup, and the option to start / stop instance compute on demand.

Microsoft Fabric

Microsoft Fabric is now generally available. Fabric enables persistent data governance and a single capacity pricing model that scales with growth, and it’s open at every layer with no proprietary lock-ins. Read more in our blog Microsoft Fabric – Everything you need to know.

SQL Server Monitoring

  • SQL Server Monitoring enabled by Azure Arc will help Microsoft customers gain insights into the entire SQL Server estate across on-premises datacenter and cloud, optimize performance and diagnose problems faster. Azure Arc SQL Server Extended Security Updates is now generally available, meaning you can now enroll your SQL Server 2012 machines in Arc to have them receive ESUs.

Microsoft & Nvidia collaboration

Microsoft is releasing their own silicon computer chips, called Microsoft Azure Maia and Microsoft Azure Cobalt.
  • Maia is a chip designed to run things like OpenAI models, Bing, GitHub Copilot and ChatGPT.
  • Cobalt is a cloud-native chip which will be optimized for performance, power efficiency and cost-effectiveness for general purpose workloads.

Azure Migrate

Azure Migrate, the service used to migrate to and modernize in Azure, is introducing discovery, business case analysis and assessment support for new workloads.

Oracle Database @Azure

Oracle Database @Azure will be generally available in the East US Azure region as of December 2023, with expansion to other regions following early 2024. The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is deployed in the Azure datacenters locally, and they are starting with Oracle Exadata Database Service. Read more on this in our blog Microsoft & Oracle – New partnership Oracle Database @Azure.
LicenseQ helps you optimize M365

Microsoft 365 updates

SharePoint Premium

Microsoft is introducing SharePoint Premium, which they call a new AI-powered solution to transform content management, content experiences and get content ready for Microsoft Copilot.

It is currently in preview and is set for release in early 2024. It will have existing built in products like SharePoint Syntex and Microsoft SharePoint Advanced Management. On top of that it will contain many new features and functionalities. You can read more here

Microsoft 365 E3/E5/Business

Microsoft 365 E3/E5/Business (Standard and Premium) subscribers will get access to Microsoft Clipchamp and Microsoft Designer. These are new tools to use in visual content creation, for which you don’t need any experience in video editing. Clipchamp and Designer will eventually also be integrated with Copilot.

Microsoft Loop

Microsoft Loop now generally available for commercial customers. It is also included as new functionality in Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard and Business Premium.

Loop is a collaboration tool that enables the creation of workspaces to work on a project in a group. Using flexible canvases (named Pages) you can bring together people and within those pages you can share components (portable pieces of content) that stay in sync across all the places they are shared. To me this sounds like something you never knew you needed, but it will probably  make your team so much more productive.

Bing Chat (Enterprise)

  • Bing Chat (Enterprise) rebranded to just Copilot.
  • Copilot (Bing Chat (Enterprise)) will be made available to Entra ID users and initially to be released to Frontline F3 subscriptions in December 2023.

Microsoft Planner

Microsoft To Do, Microsoft Planner and Microsoft Project for the web will be merged into a single, unified experience called Microsoft Planner

Teams Phone India

Microsoft customers with employees based in India can benefit from a new Teams Phone offer.  Microsoft is working with local operators – Airtel, Tata Communications Limited and Tata Tele Business Services – to launch Teams Phone-powered solutions in compliance with regulatory requirements in the market. These solutions aim to provide employees with greater calling flexibility and also support work-from-home scenarios.

Power Pages

Power Pages will be enhanced with payment processing functionality. This will help creators of Power Pages to easily embed payment processing into the websites.

Microsoft Defender 365

Microsoft Defender 365 will be renamed to Microsoft Defender XDR to best represent the extended detection and response capabilities.

Updates to Windows 365

New features in Windows 365:
  • Windows App the place to connect to any devices or applications across Windows 365, Azure Virtual Desktop, Remote Desktop, Remote Desktop Services, Microsoft Dev Box and more.
  • Windows 365 AI capabilities support, for instance, application AI to assess Cloud PC deployment and utilization to provide recommendations to help organizations better forecast and right-size their Cloud PC investment
  • Windows 365 Customer Lockbox will be released to make sure that Microsoft support engineers cannot access content to do service operations.
LicenseQ shares latest updates Copilot licensing

Microsoft Copilot

Copilot gets its own section as it featured so heavily at Microsoft Ignite and there is a lot of news to cover for just Copilot alone.

Microsoft Copilot for Fabric

Microsoft Fabric gets its own Copilot. This feature helps customers use conversational language to create dataflows and data pipelines, generate code and entire functions, build machine learning models or visualize results.

Microsoft Copilot for Azure

Microsoft Copilot for Azure helps customers gain new insights into their workloads, unlock untapped Azure functionality and orchestrate tasks across both cloud and edge.

Microsoft Copilot for Service

On top of Copilot for Sales, Microsoft is releasing Copilot for Service. This is a new business Copilot that helps extend existing contact centers with Generative AI to boost agent productivity. Both Sales and Service Copilots also grant the user a M365 Copilot license.

Copilot in Dynamics 365 Guides

Microsoft Copilot in Dynamics 365 Guides brings the power of mixed reality and Generative AI to real-world operations, enabling frontline workers to address issues faster with the combined power of AI, mixed reality and the Microsoft Cloud.

Updates to M365 Copilot

Microsoft already releasing updates to M365 Copilot:
  • Microsoft Copilot Dashboard is a tool that helps leadership teams gain insights into the business productivity enhancements that happen through M365 Copilot.
  • Copilot in Microsoft Outlook helps users prepare for meetings more easily, and makes it easier to schedule follow-up meetings more efficiently.
  • Microsoft Loop will get its own Copilot

Microsoft Copilot Studio

Microsoft Copilot Studio is a new product and is a Copilot for Copilots. With this tool, users can easily design, test and publish copilots that suit specific needs and preferences.

Microsoft Viva

All Viva products to receive updates to integrate with Copilot in different ways. This will be available to users with Microsoft 365 Copilot or Microsoft Viva in private preview early 2024.

Microsoft Security Copilot 

Microsoft Security Copilot to be embedded into Microsoft Purview. This move helps a user to quickly generate a comprehensive summary of alerts and information to accelerate investigation and response, upskill talent via guided responses to navigate through information efficiently and use natural language to define search queries in eDiscovery to enable faster and more accurate search iterations by eliminating the need to use keyword query language.