Software Resources & News

  • How SQL Database in Azure Works for You

    Microsoft's latest version of SQL is an industry standard being adopted for its incredible new features. However, Microsoft also included SQL Database as a service in Azure which includes integrated features of both while improving cloud databases with high performance with cost efficiency in mind.

    How SQL Database Works as a Service

     SQL as an Azure service works much the same as it does as an implementation with on-premise server installations. It retains all of it relational database features using relational data, JSON, spatial and XML. The difference lies within Azure itself where the service provides dynamic scalability, automatic performance-tuning, backups, security and much more. Here's how the service works.

    Whether you have one or thousands of databases, Azure's SQL database service works constantly with the fine-tuning of the database, learning the workload demands of a database to best manage it. Built on the same SQL coding as that of server-based implementations, the Azure version goes far beyond in the cloud-based environment. Such performance reduces the overhead of management while putting incredibly fast transactions into operation for businesses of all sizes using any variety of databases and applications. This leaves clients with the best performance while they can develop their applications for the market.

    Speed is everything to a database and Azure delivers it with up-time, security, backups, scalability and cost efficiency. Intelligent optimization is the key function surrounding all these features. The Azure SQL database service constantly accounts for performance which alerts you to problems and best growth recommendations, while monitoring for any intrusions that need attention as well as backing up the data whether it's full, differential or transaction logs.

    Scalability and Resource Management with Elastic Pools

    Scalability monitors alert you to the need of growth or retraction with ease all with cost in mind. The performance drives rising or shrinking needs and, thus, cost. Single databases can move into higher service levels without waiting or downtime. Larger databases can be moved into pools for best performance. The performance pools are elastic groups of databases which allow for rising and falling demand based on the intelligent heuristics of the service. A database managed in an elastic pool can be set to minimum and maximum performance counters to ensure that no database hogs resources. Additionally, the elastic pools provide automatic adjustment to expected changes in workloads based on the intelligent optimization of Azure SQL Database services. The pool performs in balance around the learned cycles of fluctuation allowing for best operation at the most efficient cost.

    There are four basic workloads available for Azure SQL databases:  Basic, Standard, Premium and Premium RS. Each allows for growth of databases without downtime as your database needs grow. As resource needs change, even rapidly, a database can growth to meet business needs while you pay for only what you need.

    Adaptability is the measure of Azure SQL database as single instances can be blended with elastic pools to meet growing needs with cost in mind. Databases can be mixed and matched depending on workload needs, even moved into and out of elastic pools for constant cost efficiency which equals savings for businesses.

    Determination of these changes and needs are achieved with Azure SQL Database monitoring and tools. The built-in performance monitoring and alerts combine to provide timely information to make financial decisions regarding databases both large and small. Database Transaction Units (DTU) and elastic DTU provide specific information upon which to base business decisions. Additionally, performance tuning can be integrated across a variety of Azure resources such as Azure Storage, Azure Event Hub and Azure Log Analytics.

    Business Consistency Features

    Azure SQL Database service and an incredible SLA-based support system keeps all resources up at all times. Available across a wide range of datacenters, the service is patched, secured and backed up without fail. Business continuity is ensured with automatic backups, point-in-time restores, active geo-replication, and failover groups.

    Automatic backups are performed in full, differential and transaction logs while allowing for point-in-time restores over the retention of the automatic backup. Meanwhile, active geo-replication allows for up to four active replications either at the same site or in a wide range of datacenter locations. High performance and load balancing are achieved with the use of failover groups which can take advantage of geo-replication.

    Built-in Intelligence at Work

     Like having a constant watchdog over your database needs, Azure SQL Database service provides a built-in intelligence which learns database patterns. This telemetry information allows for adaptation of database resources for constant performance tuning coupled with best business decisions. Never be at a loss for information that needs your attention.

    This automatic performance tuning has quickly become a staple of database management. Tools and monitors always adjust for changes while alerting owners of necessary information that needs attention. Development resources are maximized while management of SQL resources are largely automated. The main elements of this performance tuning are automatic index management and automatic plan correction. The former element automatically adds necessary indices or removes unnecessary ones. The latter element addresses plans and fixes those that are out of scope.

    Newer batch processing features are being added such as interleaved execution, batch mode memory grant feedback and batch mode adaptive joins. Each of new features will employ both the learning and adaptive models for increased performance, with the interleaved execution improving multi-statement table-valued functions.

    Additionally, adaptive threat detection has been achieved with SQL Database service on Azure such that a new layer of security is now available to identify any harmful intrusion attempts. Suspicious activity is always identified and recommendations offered for what actions are available to mitigate any attempts to breach or exploit data within the database.

    Security and Tools

    New advanced security provides additional layers of protection including audit logs, data encryption (both at rest and in motion), data-masking to non-privileged users, row-level security and compliance certification. Security also provides higher levels of authentication with Active Directory integration.

    Azure SQL Database also includes helpful tools such as the Azure portal, SQL Server Management Studio, data tools in Visual Studio and Visual Studio code.

    Azure SQL Database provides all the latest features of the database server engine with all the flexibility of Azure mingled into a highly useful product for best performance, lowest cost, and flexible scalability. Comprehensive business consistency from backups and security coupled with development tools, alerts and monitors add incredible value. To learn more about Microsoft Azure SQL Database, contact our experts at your online source for cheap OEM, Retail & Cloud products.

  • What's the Difference? Azure Backup Vault Vs Site Recovery

    azure vault azure site recovery

    Business consistency needs vary from organization to organization. Larger IT organizations with heavier dependency on applications require more robust business consistency and disaster recovery. However, smaller, less dependent IT implementations may not need as intensive plans for data back-up and recovery as enterprise-class customers. Microsoft Azure provides two different models from which to choose with its recovery services

    · Backup Vault or the newer Azure Recovery Services Vault

    · Site Recovery Services

    The names of these two services suggest they cover the same needs, but they are different models. Backup Vault is used to perform backups that most organizations currently use. With Azure, the Backup Vault/Azure Recovery Services Vault replaces older technology with backup to the cloud. With Backup Vault more granular backup and restoration can be done down to individual files.

    Meanwhile, Site Recovery services is a different model for business recovery altogether. Site Recovery services replicates entire site data, physical servers, VMs and even network services. In this manner, an entire site has redundancy for high availability, failover and failback services. With a Site Recovery subscription, business consistency is achieved through replication either from an on-premise to cloud model or a cloud to cloud model.

    The distinction between Backup Vault and Site Recovery services is that, while both operate by storing data to the cloud for business consistency and disaster recovery, they achieve similar goals differently. Backup Vault uses the traditional method of backup but without the necessity of tape, using the Azure cloud instead. Site Recovery services achieves business consistency by site replication and failover/failback operations.

    Azure Backup Vault

    Azure Backup Vault is a backup solution most familiar to IT personnel where data is backed up so that it can be restored as necessary. The traditional method was to backup to tapes and send them off site. With Azure Backup Vault, tapes and tape drives are no longer necessary as data is backed up to the Azure cloud-based vault. Cost is reduced through the elimination of older equipment and the reduction of restoration time with backed up data always available.

    Backup Vault works as a cloud-to-cloud implementation where cloud-based VMs and data can be backed-up to the Backup Vault without disruption to services. Additionally, on-premise physical servers and VMs can be backed up to the Azure Backup Vault by installing an agent to handle the management of backup policies.

    A wide array of backup components may be used with Backup Vault to accomplish business consistency and disaster recovery goals. Azure Backup (MARS) agent is used for on-

    premise physical and VM server to backup data just like a traditional backup paradigm but without the need for a backup server. System Center DPM provides a wider variety of backup options including Linux OS backups from VMs and even options for on-premise tapes. Azure Backup Server has as many options as System Center DPM without tape support. Azure IaaS VM Backup will backup VM servers but only allows for restoration at the server level.

    Scenarios for the various components differ with some overlap. Also, Linux support among these various components differs, but all are effective ways to protect data for business consistency using a traditional backup model. For more information about Backup Vault components as well as specific OS and application backup support, contact your representative at Royal Discount.

    Azure Recovery Services Vault

    Azure Site Recovery is a new service with more advanced options for large instances and enterprises. Backup Vaults are still supported but can no longer be created since it was based on Azure Service Manager as an early version of the vaults. Recovery Services Vaults are the second version in which Azure Resource Manager model features were introduced. As such, Recovery Services Vault contains features not available in the original Backup Vault. Upgrades to Recovery Services Vault are available and retain backup data as part of the upgrade process.

    New features in Recovery Services Vault include:

    · Enhanced security features for backup that allow for data recovery even if production and backup servers are compromised

    · Central monitoring of hybrid IT environments which extends monitoring of assets from Azure IaaS VMs to on-premise assets from a central point.

    · Role-Based Access Control: there are three built-in roles to manage recovery points in Azure Recovery Services Vault so backup and restore user controls can be enforced.

    · All types of Azure VMs are protected: Premium Disks, Managed Disks and Encrypted VMs are all protected in the new Azure Resource Manager model. Upgraded vaults will retain former Service Manager recovery points while gaining the ability to configure protection policies for the upgraded Resource Manager-based VMs.

    · Instantly restore data from IaaS VMs: whereas Service Manager-based IaaS VMs in Backup Vault could only be restored to the VM level, new Resource Manager-based IaaS VMs can be restored down to the folder and file level within the VM. This new feature provides faster data restoration for both Windows and Linux OS VMs.

    Azure Site Recovery Services

    Site Recovery Services follows a more robust model for business consistency and disaster recovery by allowing full site replication for failover and failback events. With redundant sites, even down to network configurations, business consistency meets high availability standards for larger, more technically dependent organizations.

    With Site Recovery Services, a wide range of requirements can be met and managed to include even manual intervention for more specialized applications. Microsoft has tested many widely used applications and workloads for replication and site recovery. Site Recovery Services even provides burst services for high-demand operational time-frames along with a large number of tools to assess, manage and monitor assets for optimal business consistency.

    Why Choose Backup Vault/Recovery Services Vault?

    Vault-based backup and recovery deployments follow a traditional model of business consistency and disaster recovery by backing up data in a variety of policies, some even with tape systems. On-premise, hybrid implementations without the need for high availability can easily manage backups. Upgrading to Recovery Services Vault for Resource Manager-based features improves backup management and security while retaining the components to allow for flexible backup models that use either cloud or tape backup technology. Additional security features in Recovery Services Vault provide advanced restoration even for compromised systems.

    Why Choose Site Recovery Services?

    With high availability needs, an organization is able to use Site Recovery Services to meet higher demands for business consistency and disaster recovery. Sites are replicated even to the network level while a wide range of applications and workloads can be accommodated for failover/failback events, testing new applications, and increased workload demands all while retaining security through encrypted connections. Site Recovery Services meets the needs for the highest of IT environment demands at cost.

    To determine your business consistency and disaster recovery needs, consider the dynamics of your organization and the demands placed on your IT environment. If high availability for your site is a priority, then Azure Sire Recovery Services may fit your needs. If high availability is not an issue, you may find Azure's vault-based technology to be the best answer for data protection. Consider upgrading your existing Backup Vault to Recovery Services Vault to leverage new, advanced features. Have questions? Learn more at - To request more information on cloud services, speak with our Microsoft licensing experts at 1-877-292-7712.

  • Azure Site Recovery Migration & Deployment Guide

    azure site recovery migration

    Starting from the Beginning

    All the research has been completed. All the decisions have been made to use Azure Site Recovery. Now the real work begins with planning the deployment. Beyond creating an Azure Portal account and budgeting for cloud storage and other services, decisions must now be made to execute the move to the cloud and/or site recovery. Current information is needed for determining what VM servers can be migrated or replicated to the cloud.

    Fortunately, new and old customers of Azure services alike can take advantage of one tool to assist with planning and completing a Site Recovery implementation. The Site Recovery Deployment Planner for VMware and Hyper-V presents a handy set of features that easily assists with planning your Site Recovery project, so you can successfully complete the project while meeting all the requirements defined for business consistency and disaster recovery.

    How the Deployment Planner Assists

    The latest version of the planner is now available for enterprise customers and provides insights into an IT environment. The tool delivers enterprise customers with three key types of information:

    1. Customers with either VMware and/or Hyper-V VMs can determine the scope of their on-premises network requirements based on their current number of servers and application demands.

    2. The planner also assists with calculating storage requirements for satisfactory replication to Site Recovery storage.

    3. Also, the planner assesses infrastructure needs for test failover or application failovers.

    With these key data points, customers can determine their precise infrastructure requirements to estimate their total costs involved for meeting disaster recovery needs. With the tool, total cost estimates and licenses can be determined for an associated subscription with currency specified to generate a report that includes needs and pricing for compute, storage, network and Site Recovery. The tool's reporting can be completed without installing any software or creating a negative impact on the existing VM environment since it collects performance data directly from VM environment host servers (either Hyper-V or VMware hosts).

    Information Gathered by the Deployment Planner Tool

    By using the planner, the following information will be extracted to discover infrastructure topography and meet project objectives with precision:

    · Compatibility Assessment - VM servers are assessed for eligibility for use in Azure with Site Recovery

    · Network bandwidth needs versus Recovery Point Objects (RPO) - this provides estimates for required bandwidth for delta replication, expected throughput for Site Recovery between on-premises equipment to Azure, what RPO can be achieved given existing bandwidth, and any impact to RPO for choosing a lower bandwidth.

    · Required Microsoft Azure infrastructure - determine the following factors based on VMs: type of storage needed (standard or premium), the total number of accounts necessary (standard or premium) when setting up replication, storage-account placement of all VMs, how many cores will be needed for test and application failovers, and Azure VM size recommendations for on-premise VMs

    · Required on-premise infrastructure - the required free storage of volumes for Hyper-V volumes for successful replication, copy frequency maximums for Hyper-V replication and requirements for the number of process and configuration servers for VMware replication to Azure scenarios.

    · Guidance for initial replication batching - the planner determines the number of VMs that can be initially replicated.

    · Estimates for disaster recovery (DR) cost with Azure - specifics for total DR cost with detailed cost analysis for each VM

    · Determining growth estimates - future demands for on-premise workload and demand growth are assessed for future planning and budget projections.

    Deployment Planner Modes and Output

    The planner runs in three modes to generate effective reports, so enterprise customers can create the most complete picture of their IT needs and the scope of the project:

    1. Profiling mode gathers information for on-site VM equipment and existing VMs to gain an overall profile of performance by connecting to host servers for Hyper-V or VMware hosted VMs. A number of performance counters are gathered over several days up to a month for an accurate picture of site needs for storage, compute, network, and Site Recovery infrastructure as well as bandwidth discovery.

    2. The planner summary mode generates a report from the data created while in profiling mode. A generated report in the form of a spreadsheet details: current information, creates recommendations, determines storage needs, details which VMs are compatible and which are not, assesses Hyper-V requirements for storage and batching as well as provides cost estimates.

    3. Network bandwidth is determined with the Throughput Calculation mode. With this mode, bandwidth needs, and recommendations are provided even if throttling is necessary.

    With the Azure Site Recovery Deployment Planner, enterprise-class customers can achieve all expectations and requirements from Microsoft Azure for best outcomes of deployment. To learn more about Microsoft Azure Site Recovery and the Deployment Planner for VMs, contact our experts at - Your online source for cheap OEM, Retail & Cloud products.

  • Azure Portal Changes - ARM - What You Need to Know

    Microsoft Azure Portal

    Azure Classic Portal Closes

    Azure portal has been in use for some time now with all new features available. Azure Classic Portal will no longer be available as of 1/8/2018 and, while users need not be concerned with their access to resources, there are new features available in the updated version of Azure Resource Manager. Find out what you can expect from the Azure portal change.

    First, Azure Classic Portal users shouldn't be concerned with the change. All services and resources will be retained in the new portal. All functions and features are improved as the closure of the previous version allows Microsoft to streamline portal management functions.

    New Portal, New Features

    The latest version of Azure Portal, also known as Azure Resource Manager, features several new features, allowing users to take advantage of resource management improvements over Azure Classic Portal:

    · Search features improve user resource management by finding objects with greater ease. Available from the navigation bar, productivity is much easier as users can find anything from resources, to documentation to services with a quick search.

    · New browsing for resources adds additional improvements for managing Azure components and assets. Using a variety of filters, you can now browse through resources for monitoring and management information whether by subscription, location or both.

    · Users can also execute actions on multiple Azure resources for quicker, easier management. For instance, one, or several VMs can be chosen for starting with just a few clicks.

    · Additionally, Azure resources can now be better managed with tags. Resources can now be grouped using these tag annotations to find them by customizable grouping such as applications or type. Tags are even available for review of billing information and multiple resources can be annotated or removed from tags at one time.

    · The ARM interface is now consistent for ease of use. Common overviews of VMs and other resources are displayed including metrics, available actions, resource information, core platform capabilities and much more. Appearance patterns are consistent across type of resource to reduce confusion during management functions.

    · Users can now customize the portal by views, observing what's most important for resource management needs in Azure. Customizations include items in the left navigation bar, 4 available themes, support for 18 languages, browse list columns, and the following…

    · A variety of dashboards provide visual information designed to afford users with timely, helpful monitoring information and access to resource management. Dashboards can be managed by dragging and dropping tiles or with programmatic controls, then shared with other Azure portal users. For example, these fully customizable dashboards could include Azure Resource Manager tiles for Data or Actions. Add a VM instance to these tiles to respectively see information or available commands.

    · The integrated console allows both GUI and command line control, the latter via use of Cloud Shell. Shift to either Bash or PowerShell with a click and gain authenticated, browser-based command-line functions.

    · Azure Resource Manager provides many resource management templates for improved control of automation in the Azure environment. With over 600 searchable templates, users can find batch commands and edit them for specific uses. Quick-start templates can be loaded and executed from the gallery, then saved to a library of customized templates. Additionally, templates applied to any resource or grouping is displayed in resource information along with code for running automations for even an entire group whether in CLI, PowerShell, .Net or Ruby

    · Azure Advisor displays essential information for cost and planning. Available in the left navigation pane, the advisor is a valuable tool for obtaining best recommendations for cost, security and planning and more for all subscriptions in an account.

    · The new Azure portal offers improved resource monitoring. The monitor is also available in the left Navigation Bar and uses the same UX patterns as discussed earlier for ease of use.

    · Additionally, the Azure portal allows for greater ease of resource cost optimization. Users can easily understand charges in the Azure portal with a single click to analyze billing and cost effectiveness.

    · Users now have access to needed resource information via the Azure Portal Mobile App, available anytime, anywhere. Connection and control of Azure resources are just a touch away after downloading the app to a mobile device.

    · The Azure portal also provides access to preview upcoming changes to the portal so that users can provide feedback before implementation of new features and updates. Clicking the Preview stamp allows you to engage with new features and send your feedback.

    The new Azure portal offers all the necessary features plus new ones with ease of use and flexibility that user's need. Find the portal and or explore other solutions like Azure Backup. To learn more about Microsoft Azure Portal accessibility and features, contact our experts at - Your online source for cheap OEM, Retail & Cloud products.

  • Microsoft Project Pro vs Project Standard - What's the Difference?

    microsoft project 2016 comparison


    Microsoft Office offers a wide range of products, ranging from the most commonly used Word and Excel to more specialized applications like PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, Outlook and OneNote. These applications are more widely used among the various Office editions available.

    One less commonly used Office application is Project. This application, as the name suggests, is specialized to managing projects. Let's take a deeper look at Project and perhaps you'll find it needed in your functions more than you realized.

    What is Project?

    Many different fields, such as engineering and construction, require constant project management. Microsoft Project is frequently used to manage large projects by tracking progress in many ways. Scheduling and resource management are key in guiding projects and Microsoft Project is a primary application many project managers use during their daily tasks. But other industries and businesses can use Project to manage their internal projects and resources with the same functionality.

    Oversight of business costs are very important with project management and Microsoft Project packs in tools to fit the bill. As with all other Office products, Project includes templates to help get started faster but these can also be customized for even greater ease of use. Gantt charts and pulldown menus ease the workload of management while getting tasks for the project scheduled. Additionally, out-of-the-box reports of varying kinds are also available. Information is even available across a Windows, iOS and Android devices.

    If you have a project that needs organizing and scheduling. Project is just the application that keeps you making progress while tracking finances, materials, manpower and schedules. Read on and see what's new as well as which edition best suits your needs.

    What's New in Project 2016?

    Here are a few new features found in the latest version of Project:

    • Resource Engagements - requesting resources for approval has been added for improved decision-making
    • Additional Resource Manager Involvement - resource managers can respond to requests within a Project without using full versions
    • Resource Capacity Heat Maps - coupled with new, intuitive reporting, Project 2016 uses heat maps to easily see under and over-utilization within the project.
    • Tell Me - this feature allows users to speak to the application and request what they need. A button is used to take a user directly to the needed information.
    • Timelines - visualized, stacked reports allow managers to see comparative project progress across a myriad of main and sub-projects.
    • Read/Write Office Add-ins - full read-write access of Office add-ins are available from the App-store and allow integration of a variety of office features.

    Differences Between Professional and Standard Versions

    PC-based Project installations come in two versions: Professional and Standard. Each edition is built to meet needs of any size and demand.

    Standard Professional
    Fully installed, up-to-date Project desktop application Fully installed, up-to-date Project desktop application
    One license covers 1 PC per use One license covers 1 PC per use
    Manage project schedules and costs Manage project schedules and costs
    Manage tasks Manage tasks
    Manage reports and business intelligence Manage reports and business intelligence
    Collaborate with Skype for Business presence
    Manage resources
    Sync with Project Online & Project Server
    Submit timesheets to capture project and non-project time spent for payroll, invoicing, and other business purposes


    With Project Online and Project Server, additional uses can be leveraged for larger organizations such as SharePoint integration.

    Why Upgrade to the 2016 Version

    Project 2016 includes all the functionality of previous versions and can open files of previous versions back to the 2007 edition. However, this latest version adds additional features that include business intelligence management, a new heat map for spotting under and over-utilization, availability of use on a variety of devices and much more detailed above this section.

    Upgrading to the 2016 version is a clear move forward in project management for greater control of resources and costs.

    Why Upgrade to Professional

    The professional edition of Project offers many collaborative features. If you company is growing, or is already large, collaboration is likely an issue. The ability to use Skype from the office and field is integral for improved business presence. Consider an upgrade for this reason as well as leveraging timesheet management and syncing with the online and server versions for additional collaborative needs.

    To learn more about Microsoft Project 2016, contact our experts at Your online source for cheap OEM, Retail & Cloud products.

  • Visio Pro VS Standard - What's the Difference?

    microsoft visio comparison vector


    Some of the Microsoft Office suite of applications are widely used. Word, Excel and Outlook are almost synonymous with the software brand. Other applications offer more specialized functionality but are quite effective to use. Among the lesser used but highly effective applications is Visio, which is used for diagramming most anything - from information technology topographies to organizational charts and much more.

    What is Visio?

    With its wide variety of templates and shapes anything from network diagrams to flowcharts, floor plans and engineering designs can be created with Microsoft Visio. Other functions include Process Modeling and Data Visualization. The application is easy to use and creates highly effective visual diagrams that can be ported into many other applications like PowerPoint and Publisher. Visio is the handiest of tools to have showing the design or schematic of anything whether it's for internal use or business clients. Visio is another Microsoft Office application that adds productivity both easily and effectively.

    What's New in Visio 2016

    Microsoft Visio 2016 came with several new features that improve upon an already effective application. Here are five new features in Visio that can help you:

    • Microsoft Visio 2016 comes with an array of starter templates complete with prompts to get users going. Additionally, these helpful starters come with contextual tips covering the fifteen most-used types of diagrams. It's an amazing starter for inexperienced users who can leverage simple to complete diagram with initial efforts with great visual effects.
    • Like the other applications of Microsoft Office 2016, Visio comes with the Tell Me function that use hundreds of commands. Ask Visio to do something and users will get a list of ways to accomplish the task at hand and all from a displayed drop-down list.
    • With new industry compliance standards, Microsoft incorporated a vast number of shapes that meet specifications for UML 2.4, IEEE (which is new) and BPMN 2.0. Accomplishing any diagramming task leaves users with highly visual results that meet design standards.
    • With one-step data linking, Visio 2016 Quick Import capabilities bring real-life diagrams into the application for amazing data linking. Conversion to data is simple with linking to shapes and graphics made easy in Visio.
    • With Information Rights Management, Visio 2016 creates security for sensitive information while providing even individual user level document rights to preserve collaborative functionality.


    Differences Between Professional and Standard Versions

    Standard Professional
    Versatile Templates and Thousands of Shapes
    Smart Shapes
    Import DWG Files (import AutoCAD files with support up to DWG 2010)
    Support for Industry Standards
    Fast Startup with Starter Diagrams
    Easy Flowcharting
    Tell Me Intuitive Searches
    Built-in Themes & Effects
    Live Data Overlay ●v
    Data to Diagram
    Data Graphics
    One-step Data Linking
    Data Refresh
    In-app Commenting
    Co-authoring (requires Office 365 or SharePoint)
    Integration with Skype for Business (licensed separately)
    Secured Diagrams
    Easy Diagram Sharing
    Anywhere Access (web & iPad Apps)
    Full Fidelity (for use with web and iPad apps with pan & zoom)
    Operational Dashboard


    Why Upgrade to 2016?

    Based on the chart above, reasons to upgrade to the latest version of Visio 2016 abound. New features mean gaining the latest capabilities for creating and sharing vital information that's sure to impress management or clients. Improved diagram tools, intuitive searches, and Skype for business capabilities all add to existing visual output. Access via tablet and handheld devices enables remote or field users the ability to view files via web and iPad apps with intuitive pan and zoom functionality.

    Why Upgrade to Professional?

    Visio 2016 Professional adds increased functionality where needed. While the Standard edition packs newer features, business needs may dictate upgrading to the Professional edition. Collaborative features may well be necessary in larger organizations while some business requirements for secured data may further drive need for an upgrade to Professional. Likewise, users who need to import real-world data into Visio files can take advantage of the new Live Data Overlay, Data to Diagram, One-step Data Linking and Data Refresh features. Additionally, organizations using Office 365 or SharePoint can easily leverage co-authoring capabilities. Discuss your Visio needs with one of our representatives for the best fit to the dynamics of your business.

    To learn more about Microsoft Visio 2016, contact our licensing experts at Royal Discount1-877-292-7712 Certified Microsoft Experts - call in today at Monday - Friday.

  • Azure Virtual Machine Pricing & Costs - Azure VM Solutions Guide

    azure virtual machine pricing for VM instances

    Azure VM Pricing Guide

    Azure services are known for their flexibility and savings are available using the pay-as-you-go plan. However, higher cost savings can be achieved for organizations able to commit to virtual machine instances for long time-frames. With Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances impressive savings of 72% are available, while combined Azure RI and Hybrid Benefit savings can rise as high as 82%.

    Azure RI Savings & Predicting Cost

    Commitment of 1 to 3 years for reserved virtual machine instances allow Microsoft to offer much lower pricing compared to pay-as-you-go plans. Predicting the cost of a cloud deployment ahead of time is often imprecise. Azure users can lock themselves into lower costs by committing to longer-term contracts of one to three years. As a result, flexible cloud solutions become far more cost-efficient with simple pricing solutions.

    Suddenly, total cost of ownership is far more manageable with payment plans that are as flexible as Azure's cloud products. Combine your known cloud-based deployment needs with those that are variable, and costs are suddenly lower so users are less likely to be surprised with sudden billing changes. With this cost management system, businesses and organizations will find it much easier to ascertain and manage internal charges without unpredicted rises in cost.

    If organizational dynamics require changes, Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances may be exchanged or canceled with ease. Overhead just became far simpler than ever while retaining, or even improving, operational functionality. With such flexible pricing, Azure is certain to meet customer expectations while servicing all levels of business needs, even for enterprise-class users.

    How It Works - Based Around Simple Solutions

    Not only is pricing efficient, but purchasing is easily completed. By selecting the Azure region, virtual machine type, and contract terms, users can quickly relieve budgets without the worry of changing business needs. Since reserved instances for virtual machines can be exchanged or canceled at any time, changes for companies are far easier to achieve. Committing to up-front compute capacities no longer mean being stuck with capital overhead as with pay-as-you-go plans or even on-premise solutions.

    Even with the contract flexibility, solutions remain flexible as reserved instances can be exchanged between regions in any configuration based on demand, workload or changes with applications. Cancellation is never a problem and adjusted refunds are easily applied.

    Assignment of reserved instances are equally flexible. Reserved instance management can be made even down to department levels within an organization while the reserved instances are assigned either at enrollment or as a subscription for granular cost oversight. Changes are simple even after purchase making this contract plan the least headache for users.

    Available Virtual Machines Options

    Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances are available for both Windows Server and Linux operating system instances. As such, Azure remains a prime cloud product for all user demands while offering its flexible pricing. One-year rates receive the least cost benefits while three-year rates are lower. However, Hybrid benefits are available for both lengths of contract.

    Economical virtual machine instances such as Burstable V1S or compute optimized Fv2 VMs remain available only in pay-as-you-go plans. However, such virtual machine offerings as general purpose DV3s (VMs with balanced CPU and memory) or memory optimized EV3s (high memory to core ratio VMs) are available for reserved instance pricing. Even enterprise class virtual machines can be purchased with this latest pricing package. Additionally, NVIDIA Tesla P40 GPUs, useful for AI implementations with up to 24GB of memory are now available under reserved instance contract pricing. Contact Royal Discount for more server options and pricing rates.

    When added up, Azure's new pricing for Reserved Virtual Machine Instances contracts, users are sure to improve cloud-solution needs while lowering expenses with measured cost efficiencies. Finding the necessary balance of need and cost is now accomplished with less time while sensitivities for business evolution are retained.


    Q: What are the billing and purchase terms for reserved instances?

    A: Contract terms are available either in one or three years increments with one payment upfront. Contact us for more information about billing terms.


    Q: How does assignment of reserved instances between subscription and enrollment levels work?

    A: Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances can be purchased and assigned during enrollment so that all instances are assigned to the account. However, if particular departments want exclusive organizational usage, reserved instances can be assigned as a subscription, so the department can take advantage of specific savings.


    Q: Is there a price difference between Microsoft Windows Server and Linux virtual machines and is it required to choose these offerings at the time of purchase?

    A: Single prices are assigned for virtual machines within a region without any requirement to choose between Microsoft Windows Server and Linux virtual machines. However, with the selection of Windows Server the additional options for Azure Hybrid Benefits or payment for Windows Server are available. For more pricing information contact Royal Discount to discuss your specific needs and Microsoft's plan details.


    Q: What are the cancellation terms?

    A: Contact Royal Discount to discuss cancellation terms versus terms for exchanges.


    Q: What happens to expired reservations?

    A: Notifications of expiration are sent to customers 30 days in advance of the date of expiration. If a reservation expires, deployed virtual machines continue operation and billing reverts to a pay-as-you-go plan.


    To learn more about Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances, or Azure Backup Pricing contact our experts at Your online source for cheap OEM, Retail & Cloud products. Have questions? Contact us directly at 1-877-292-7712 - 8:00am-5:30pm MST.

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2017 New Features: Speed, Flexibility & More


    Microsoft's SQL Server 2017 is now on the scene with more new features which offer faster processing, flexibility of use and cost savings as a result. Version 2016 provided numerous improvements which Microsoft termed as a big leap forward. If 2016 was a big leap, 2017 promises all that and so much more of what corporate customers need at any level. Added performance from Adaptive Query Processing, new flexibility with cross-platform capability and new integrations for statistical and data science analysis, this new version adds solid technology with cost savings. As companies look for nimble hardware and operating solutions, SQL Server 2017 offers database customers just what is needed in a diversified tech climate.

    New Features

    Days of slow queries and transactions will be over with an upgrade to SQL Server 2017. Microsoft packed even their lower-end versions with basic Adaptive Query Processing while the Enterprise (and Developer) boasts Advanced Adaptive Query Processing. Organizations with less demanding database needs will see benefits from the basic services while enterprise-class clients with heavier processing demands can ramp-up their processing with SQL Server too. Adaptive Query Processing speeds queries as much as 100 times faster while transaction also gets juiced by as much as 30 times previous versions. If you have the need, SQL Server 2017 has the speed.


    Improved Statistical and Data Science Analysis

    Microsoft wasted no time and effort in this newest version of SQL Server, adding integrations for R and Python. With advanced analytics, database performance is vastly improved. With all the new information and added graph data support, this latest version leverages BI even more than the 2016 version. Basic features are available in Express and Standard while Enterprise and Developer editions flex their database muscles with the advanced version.


    Cost Reduction? You've Got It!

    With the plethora of organizational needs abounding in today's business climate, Microsoft answered the bell with sensitivity toward diverse and changing needs. Customer looking for hybrid solutions as they grow will find that License Mobility provides nimble solutions as needed. If databases need to be moved to VMs on the cloud licensing provides that ability especially with HA use of active-passive licensing. Coupled with faster processing, easier upgrading and superior security, costs are driven down - and that's just the beginning.


    Cross-Platform Flexibility

    Open-source database providers may offer flexibility but Microsoft built SQL Server 2017 for even more functionality in many environments. Now available for use on Linux and Docker platforms, SQL Server can run anywhere and requires no third-part support and development while it reduces overall risks with it's industry-recognized security. Couple all these details with Visual Studio that can be coded for Linux and Mac OS and this database version of SQL is just what companies need whether it of the available three production editions: Express, Standard or Enterprise.


    Reasons to Upgrade - It's Easy

    SQL Server 2017 includes a solid bridge to upgrade from older SQL versions as far back as 2008 with an upgrade wizard. Additionally, when organizations need to shift over to the cloud or back, databases can be moved with ease using a migration tool. In the case of migration, Mobile Licensing as part of a Software Assurance package keeps cost lower.


    New Tools for New Uses

    Microsoft listened to the needs of its customers with its two latest versions, culminating with SQL Server 2017. In 2016, mobile availability and BI were key factors. With 2017, such features are well leveraged with analytics, better processing, development flexibility and platform flexibility all coupled with licensing and security that can better trusted to meet heavy demands. Whether it's on the cloud, on-premises or a hybrid of the two. IT providers can couple with Azure services and power databases like never before. Older implementations have simplified solutions with cost efficiency to upgrade while reducing risks from intrusion to data recovery.


    To learn more about SQL Server 2017, contact our licensing experts at Royal You're online source for OEM, Retail & Cloud software for cheap prices.





  • Microsoft Sharepoint Online Offers New Features for End Users

    Microsoft SharePoint 2016 Overview

    If you're having trouble sharing documents quickly and easily, you may want to check out Sharepoint Online. Combining the best of Office 365's Active Directory Domain Services, Sharepoint online allows teams to quickly and securely share documents. Document control and retention is easier than ever before, and with a slew of new features, there are plenty of reasons to opt for the cloud version.

    New Features

    Microsoft SharePoint is a set of collaboration and document sharing tools. The software has tons of amazing features such as sync to Outlook, Facebook-style status posts as well as shared timeline and calendar. Microsoft SharePoint's core is comprised of sites for shared team and personal use as well as document libraries. Uploading a document has never been easier, as dragging and dropping a document onto any page in a web browser is all you need to do. You can even follow a document the same way you do on Facebook.

    Powerful Search Technology

    Microsoft SharePoint's powerful search technology delivers the rich results and ease of use you've been looking for. This feature will allow you to see tons of suggestions based on your past behavior. Microsoft SharePoint allows you to share documents with up to 10,000 people who don't even need to have this app installed. Type in an email or name in the Sharing option, and then pick whether they can edit or view; you can even copy any URL to be used in a blog post or sent in an email. Click on a shared document's icon to know who you're just sharing it with.

    Easy to Customize

    A Microsoft SharePoint website is very easy to customize. You can add a wide range of apps including document libraries, calendar and tasks. Adding your company's logo is very easy too, and you can also change a page's theme in no time. If you don't want multiple users to edit or view a document at the same time, you just have to check it out and in. You will be able to set up alerts, create new documents and many other things from the same interface.

    Plans & Pricing

    To learn more about SharePoint Online Plan 1, contact our licensing experts at - You're online source for cheap OEM, Retail & Cloud products.

  • Office 365 Enterprise E3 Features: Designed for the Power Executive

    office-365-enterprise-e3Enterprise Level Management for Small Businesses & Organizations

    The costs associated with the deployment of enterprise grade management software are historically high, but undeniably necessary. Over the last decade, Microsoft has implemented several new offerings to help businesses scale quickly and affordably. Tools like Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E5 are changing the enterprise landscape for the better, reducing costs and simplifying licensing. Today, Microsoft is diving head first into the cloud integration market with a slew of new offerings and features. Office 365 Enterprise E3 is the latest of these offerings, and is considered the flagship version of an already highly adaptable product.

    Office 365 Enterprise offers a wide variety of applications, from the online communication and messaging services through Skype, to the productivity tools offered by Exchange and SharePoint. Office 365 Enterprise plans reflect Microsoft’s ambitions to provide a platform from which you can run an entire company. Office 365 Enterprise E3 is their flagship version, and is designed to meet the growing & everchanging needs of a large, multi-user organization.

    Enterprise E3 Licensing, Pricing & Features

    With Office 365, pricing and licensing is relatively simple compared to standard versions of Microsoft Office. Monthly and yearly pricing allows for flexible terms and once a license is purchased, it can be easily added and assigned to a user. Active Directory allows for simplified credential and employee management. Licenses can be quickly added, revoked, reassigned and deactivated. With this feature, you can allow your employees to from home, edit documents on the go in a safe and secure manner, and meet without complications. All enterprise plans come with a variety of options including unlimited One Drive storage, desktop and mobile application functionality, meetings & document co-collaboration + much more. Lastly, you can have peace of mind knowing each license is installed with the latest patches and features and is always eligible for upgrades to the latest release at no additional cost.


    Microsoft’s Office 365 Cloud Platform promotes safe access on the go. Files, folders and applications are available from any computer, location, or device. Promote maximum information availability with OneDrive unlimited storage on a system that’s flexible to your needs. With advanced analytical tools, including Microsoft Power BI – you can let your applications work for you. Uncover deep insights into your daily operations. Discover the value, affordability and flexibility of a system designed to meet your everyday needs. Have peace of mind knowing your data is always accessible to you, and is stored geo-redundantly around the world to ensure both availability and information security.

    Learn More

    The Office 365 Enterprise E3 plan seeks to be an overall solution to the power executive, offering support to small businesses lacking a strong IT infrastructure, while providing advanced tools in communication, migration and management and even branding for companies of any size or with any number of employees. These are just a few of the benefits of shifting your business into the mindset of the cloud. To learn more, or to get a free quote on any of our Office 365 plans, contact our licensing desk at