End Of Support for Dir Sync & Azure AD Sync Approaching

DirSync & Azure AD Sync will reach end of Support on April 13, 2017.

Azure AD will stop accepting connections from DirSync and Azure AD Sync after December 31, 2017. For more information about the DirSync and AAD Sync upgrade, please see the DirSync and Azure AD Sync deprecation documentation. If you have questions or feedback about this change, you can leave the team a comment on the blog linked below or reach on Twitter using the #AzureAD hashtag.

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/enterprisemobility/2017/04/10/end-of-support-for-dirsync-and-azure-ad-sync-is-rapidly-approaching-time-to-upgrade-to-aad-connect/

So now, it’s time to get cracking and move to Azure AD Connect if you’ve not done so already:

AD Connect.png

Azure AD Connect – keeping your identity synchronized in the cloud.

Free Azure Cloud Migration Assessment Tool

As more organisations, including schools and tertiary institutes, explore cloud migrations from on-premise servers, the number one question is always “how much will it cost me and how much can I save?”

Recently, Microsoft have released a free cloud migration assessment tool that you can see here:

Click here to start the free cloud migration assessment

There are three ways you can import data into this assessment tool:”

  1. Manual Import – essentially entering the RAM/CPU/OS specs of your physical/virtual servers one at a time into the online tool
  2. Bulk custom import – download an Excel template to manually update the specs and then import into the online tool
  3. Automated discovery and import – this utilises the free Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit. This can be configured to scan through all/part of your server network to automatically identify the specifications being used and then generate an import file for the online tool.

You can watch a detailed instruction on how to use these three methods in the YouTube clip below:

cloud migration toolkit

Click the above image to watch the YouTube clip

What I really like about this tool is that you get a report with calculated costs for Azure hosting compared to your on-premise infrastructure costs:

Azure Report.PNG

An example of the predicted cost savings using Azure compared to on-premise hosting.

This is, of course, based off assumptions in terms of costs to maintain on-premise services and this is where the tool is very flexible. If you have already done a TCO or ROI exercise and know the costs of on premise services you can manually update these costs in the assumptions calculator to truly match your known costs:

Azure Assumptions

This tool allows great flexibility in terms of entering your true/known costs into the assumptions tab to get accurate comparisons

Tools like this can give organisations certainty in terms of predicted costs for moving their infrastructure into the Azure cloud. I’d love to hear first hand from educational institutes out there that have used this tool – feel free to post a comment below if you have.

 

Teaching STEM? Think Imagine Academy

imagine-academy-bannerAs more schools shape courses around the acronym of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths), they are also looking for innovative ways to create curriculum that is relevant and has ‘real-world’ application for students.

One easy way this can be achieved is through using Microsoft’s Imagine Academy:

What impresses me about these courses is the diversity of options available to teachers and students, all under a single institutional license – read more on the official Imagine Academy website here.┬áThe areas of study within the Academy are laid out as follows:

Areas of Study.PNG

For more technically skilled students, or those that have already decided on a career pathway in IT, the Computer Science and IT Infrastructure courses certainly provide early access to training for industry recognized qualifications. Schools that already have effective Digital Technologies teachers can use this as an additional support resource, but for many schools that may not have any qualified teacher in this curriculum area, students can work self-paced through the online materials independently.

Additional benefits include the ability to get Microsoft Certification on the completion of courses through the Imagine Academy, along with linking into world wide initiatives like the MineCraft Hour of Code

It’s instructive that the Netherlands have added the Imagine Academy to every secondary school in the country as a way to support STEM education:

Check out the Microsoft Academy homepage to learn more.