Need to Know Podcast – Episode 172

Automatically Start/Stop virtual machines, the Azure Reboot and more on this episode of the Need to Know podcast.

Start/Stop VMs during off-hours solution in Azure Automation

The Start/Stop VMs during off-hours solution starts and stops your Azure virtual machines on user-defined schedules, provides insights through Log Analytics, and sends optional emails by leveraging SendGrid. It supports both Azure Resource Manager and classic VMs for most scenarios.

This solution provides a decentralised automation capability for customers who want to reduce their costs leveraging serverless, low cost resources.

Features include:

  • Schedule VMs to start/stop
  • Schedule VMs to start/stop in ascending order using Azure Tags (not supported for classic VMs)
  • Auto stop VMs based on low CPU usage

More Info.

Bring your own vocabulary to Microsoft Video Indexer

Video Indexer (VI) now supports industry and business specific customisation for Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) through integration with the Microsoft Custom Speech Service.

ASR is an important audio analysis feature in Video Indexer. Speech recognition is artificial intelligence at its best, mimicking the human cognitive ability to extract words from audio.

ASR systems are great, but when it comes to recognizing a specialised vocabulary, ASR systems are just like humans. They need to adapt.

Video Indexer now supports a customisation layer for speech recognition, which allows you to teach the ASR engine new words, acronyms, and how they are used in your business context.

As an example, a video on Azure Containers is uploaded to video indexer without adaptation. After a few minutes, the video on Kubernetes will be indexed, the word ‘Kubernetes’ is a word that the system does not know, and is recognised as “communities”.

To solve these issues, you just need to apply language adaptation – upload an adaptation file.

More Info.

GDPR How-to

Achieving compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the new data privacy law from the European Union (EU), this is not a one-time activity but is an ongoing process. When the GDPR goes into effect on May 25, 2018, individuals will have greater control over their personal data. Additionally, the GDPR imposes new obligations on organisations that collect, handle, or analyse personal data.

Implementing the right processes and organisational changes to comply with the GDPR will not be an easy task, but Microsoft is here to help. With 10 chapters, 99 articles, and 160 requirements the GDPR is a complex law, and implementing all this will be a challenge, so Microsoft has created a highly detailed guide.

Microsoft France recently published a detailed implementation guideGDPR – Get organised and implement the right processes.

More Info.

Azure Planned Maintenance

Performance, security, and quality are always top priorities for Microsoft. This is advanced notice about an upcoming planned maintenance of the Azure host OS. The vast majority of updates are performed without impacting VMs running on Azure, but for this specific update, a clean reboot of your VMs may be necessary. The VMs associated with your Azure subscription may be scheduled to be rebooted as part of the next Azure host maintenance event starting January 9th, 2018. The best way to receive notifications of the time your VM will undergo maintenance is to setup Scheduled Events.

If your VMs are maintained, they will experience a clean reboot and will be unavailable while the updates are applied to the underlying host. This is usually completed within a few minutes. For any VM in an availability set or a VM scale set, Azure will update the VMs one update domain at a time to limit the impact to your environments. Additionally, operating system and data disks as well as the temporary disk on your VM will be retained during this maintenance.

Between January 2nd and 9th 2018, you will be able to proactively initiate the maintenance to control the exact time of impact on some of your VMs. Choosing this option will result in the loss of your temporary disk. You may not be able to proactively initiate maintenance on some VMs, but they could still be subject to scheduled maintenance from January 9th 2018. The best way to receive notifications of the time your VM will undergo maintenance is to setup Scheduled Events.

I have put together a list of resources that should be useful to you.

More Info.

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