TLS termination, Teams toys – and holy 5G, Batman, Microsoft buys UK network software biz Metaswitch

Also: 'Twas the night before Buildmas

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Roundup Welcome to another roundup of the latest Micros~1 news, featuring Office 365 tweaks, acquisitions and... a poem.

Turfing of elderly TLS from Azure continues

Microsoft continued its slapping of Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.0 and 1.1 last week with a reminder that Azure File Sync would remove support for the outdated protocols in August and that Azure Automation TLS 1.2 enforcement would kick off from 1 September.

Things should be relatively straightforward for Azure File Sync since all supported agent versions use TLS 1.2 by default. New service regions added since 1 May also only support TLS 1.2 with existing regions stripped of 1.0 and 1.1 support in August. Automation is a little trickier, since TLS 1.0 and 1.1 are supported for reasons of backward compatibility with older clients. No more, however.

Azure Automation, which is Microsoft's take on a cloud-based automation and configuration service, will finally be dropping support from 1 September.

Nadella goes shopping

Microsoft snapped up Metaswitch last week, an outfit specialising in virtualised network software and voice and data comms.

The move follows the company's April acquisition of Affirmed Networks and the Windows giant intends to use both to extend Azure into pastures new; in this case further into the telecommunications industry. "As the industry moves to 5G," Microsoft said, "operators will have opportunities to advance the virtualization of their core networks and move forward on a path to an increasingly cloud-native future." Ideally using Microsoft's technology, natch.

While no terms for the deal were revealed, London-based Metaswitch booked $180m in revenues for 2019 (slightly up on 2018's $176m) according to a filing with the UK's Companies House.

"Our intention over time," said Microsoft, "is to create modern alternatives to network infrastructure." Metaswitch is the latest acquisition in the company's march to a more software-based solution.

Office 365 toys inbound: Teams gets improved searching and suggested replies

Microsoft made a couple of quiet updates to its Office 365 roadmap over the weekend, adding contextual search and the vaguely creepy suggested replies for Teams in June and "Q4" respectively.

Contextual Search in Teams, due next month, makes Search focused, with CTRL+F searching in a specific channel or chat. Suggested Replies, due by the end of year, will show a user three different responses to a given message, one of which can then be selected rather than going to the effort actually typing something. The feature arrived last week for Outlook web users (North America and English only), so its impending arrival in Teams is unsurprising.

Worried about Azure Kubernetes wobbles? AKS now has an optional uptime SLA. At a price

Microsoft's Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS) has lacked a formal SLA since its inception in 2017. An SLA is a handy thing to have since it means (in theory) a vendor has to pay up in one way or another when things fall over, although the sums in question rarely cover the actual cost to a business of a prolonged outage. Still, it does focus a vendor's mind.

With AKS, Microsoft has had a problem – since the Kubernetes control planes are free, the service "could not be backed by a traditional SLA." The solution? Charge for the thing, it would appear.

The free version will continue, with a 99.5 per cent service level objective (SLO). Those who want a formal SLA can pay an extra $0.10 per hour per cluster. This gets you the promise of a respective 99.9 per cent and 99.95 per cent uptime for regional and availability zone clusters.

The Uptime SLA add-on is currently only available for new clusters, but the team plans to add it to existing clusters in the coming months.

Build begins

Finally, thanks to the anonymous contributor who submitted this short, but optimistic, ditty: "A Build visit from Satya"


'Twas the night before Build, and all through Seattle,
No coders were fighting Azure's cloudy battle.
No t-shirts this time for attendees to wear;
From home came the sessions with nary a care.


But look! On my screen, on my tottering Teams!
Satya Nadella, and a keynote of dreams!
With Guthrie and Hanselman, Kumar as well,
And Windows rescued from development hell.


With cash in his pockets, he sprang to the stage,
Insisting that Cloud would be all of the rage
The talking, however, was mercifully brief;
Spared from the waffle that gives us such grief.
But I heard him exclaim, as the last session closed:
"Happy Buildmas to all, and no you can't have a free Duo."

That last line didn't really work, did it? ®

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