by STB Blogger

Fujitsu announces Hybrid Cloud Services for Microsoft Windows Azure
Earlier this month, Fujitsu announced Hybrid Cloud Services for Microsoft Windows Azure, heralding an extension of its global cloud portfolio and its relationship with Microsoft. The offering enables government and enterprise customers to benefit from hybrid cloud solutions and in doing so achieve operating cost reductions of typically 30% or more.

For more information, check out the Fujitsu website.


Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2 Release Candidate Now Available
To help IT professionals address identity and access requirements, Microsoft is pleased to announce the availability of the release candidate of Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) 2010 R2. FIM empowers users with a comprehensive solution for managing identities, credentials and identity-based access policies across heterogeneous environments.  The solution changes the current state of identity management by providing powerful end user self-service capabilities, combined with increased agility, security and compliance.

Currently available from Microsoft Connect, the release candidate includes new and improved features and functionality, including:
• Historical reporting integrated with the System Center Service Manager data warehouse, with additional reports added since beta
• Web-based Self-Service Password Reset, with the RC introducing additional authentication gates
• Scale and performance improvements
• Outlook 2010 support for the FIM add-ins and extensions and SharePoint® 2010 support for the FIM Portal
• Advanced connector APIs provided through the Extensible Connectivity Management Agent 2

If customers already joined the FIM 2010 Community Evaluation Program or downloaded the beta, they can obtain FIM 2010 R2 RC from the FIM 2010 Connect website.  The download link is in the left column. To join the program and download the software, customers can go here.

For complete information on FIM, see the Forefront Identity Manager website.


Imagine Cup challenges students to use Windows Azure to solve world’s toughest problems
Monday, Microsoft announced the new Challenges for the 2012 Imagine Cup: Windows Azure and Windows Phone. Microsoft created the Imagine Cup 10 years ago with the idea that students can and will change the world. This worldwide competition brings together the best and brightest technology students from more than 100 countries to apply their creativity and imagination to solve the world's toughest problems in areas such as education, environment and health care and others.

For Imagine Cup 2012, students can choose from three team competitions—Software Design, Game Design: Xbox/Windows, and Game Design: Phone. Students already signed up to compete in of the three competitions can increase their chances to share their world-changing ideas by signing up to compete in the Windows Azure or Windows Phone Challenge.  Students can also participate one-on-one in the IT Challenge to battle it out with some of world’s top student technological brainpower. Each of the competitions asks contestants to “imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems.”  The Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finals will be hosted in Sydney, Australia.

Windows Azure has been a popular technology among Imagine Cup students in past years. 32% (36 projects) in last year’s competition used Windows Azure and the winning Software Design team, Team Hermes from Ireland, won top honors for their traffic solution built on Windows Azure.  The team designed a device that plugs into a car and monitors dangerous driving behavior and road conditions, providing instant feedback to both the driver and the car owner. The solution uses embedded technology, Windows Phone 7, Bing Maps and Windows Azure to change driving habits and reduce road deaths. With its victory, the team won $25,000.

You can read more about the Imagine Cup 2012 Challenges on the Imagine Cup website or blog. Read about other winning solutions here and in the blog post, “Team Wins Imagine Cup 2011 in Software Design For Traffic Solution Built on Windows Azure.”


The Latest on HPC and Windows Azure: Microsoft Product Updates and an HPCwire Award
Last week, Microsoft released its latest Windows Azure SDK. The purpose of the release was to provide customers with multiple updates to the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010 that simplify development, deployment, and management on Windows Azure. The full Windows Azure SDK can be downloaded via the Web Platform installer here.

Additionally, as part of the 2011 International Conference for High Performance Computing (HPC), Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC ‘11), in Seattle last week, Microsoft received an award for its achievements in HPC at the conference. As part of the annual HPCwire Readers’ and Editors’ Choice Awards, Microsoft was recognized with the Best HPC collaboration between government and industry for the TSUBAME 2.0 project in collaboration with the Tokyo Institute of Technology, DataDirect Networks, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Mellanox/Voltaire, NEC and Nvidia.

Also at SC11, Microsoft announced the release of Windows HPC Server Service Pack 3. This latest release allows customers to take advantage of all available compute resources—on premise and on Windows Azure—while maintaining full control of how and when the resources are used. The previous version of Windows HPC Server enabled customers to ‘burst out’ from their on-premise cluster to Windows Azure in response to sudden increases in demand for computing power. SP3 offers the Windows HPC Scheduler in Azure, enabling customers to run their HPC applications entirely in Windows Azure removing the need for on any on-premise computing resources.

For more information on Microsoft’s commitment to HPC and the new Windows Azure SDK, see the Windows Azure blog.


Microsoft Certified Professional program protects certification integrity, wins $13.5 million judgment
By earning a certification from Microsoft, IT Pros and developers demonstrate that they possess relevant skills that are in demand by employers today.  To find out how the Microsoft Certified Professional program stays relevant and protects integrity and rigor, Microsoft News Center (MNC) spoke with Don Field, senior director of Certification and Training. He discusses how Microsoft protects certifications and fights exam piracy and copyright infringement.

Read more about how a recent $13.5 million judgment is among efforts protecting the value of Microsoft Certifications.