Newsletter December 2014

Announcements

Connect(); Microsoft Visual Studio vNext & Azure

It’s not too late to experience Connect() and the new world of mobile-first, cloud-first development where you can build on your existing skills and unleash your creativity. Watch the on-demand keynote from the November 2014 event with Scott Guthrie.

Major update to SQL Database in new public preview with new S3 performance level

This public preview represents another major milestone for Azure SQL Database, adding SQL Server capabilities which make it easier to migrate apps to the cloud. Enhancements include easier management of large databases with online indexing and parallel queries; more T-SQL support with CLR and XML index; monitoring and troubleshooting with extended events; and in-memory columnstore to help improve performance analytics on data marts. Additionally, a new performance level, S3, is also available with this preview. Visit the SQL Database documentation webpage for more details.

Azure Active Directory Application Proxy generally available

Azure Active Directory Application Proxy is the new premium and basic module that allows publishing of on-premises web applications on Azure Active Directory. Through an easy and secured process, web applications hosted on-premises can now be published via Azure Active Directory and made available to external users in the same way as software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. Single sign-on is available, as well as user- and group-based access management, while your internal apps will appear alongside SaaS apps in end-user access panels (myapps).

Administration delegation on Azure Active Directory in public preview

Administration delegation on Azure Active Directory through administrative units is available in public preview. These logical containers can include users and groups, plus allow member-password and user-access administration to be delegated to individual users. Administrative units can be created and managed only via PowerShell during this public preview.

Azure Site Recovery enabling recovery in Azure directly with Hyper-V

Azure Site Recovery now has the ability to replicate and recover virtual machines (VMs) directly to Azure without requiring System Center Virtual Machine Manager. Site Recovery provides several deployment models, including the ability to replicate VMs to—and recover them within—Azure. This includes integration with the System Center Virtual Machine Manager component for high levels of automation and convenience, while allowing you to avoid the cost and complexity of maintaining your own secondary disaster-recovery site. If you’re protecting fewer VMs or using other management tools, you now have the option of protecting your Hyper-V VMs in Azure without using System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

High-Performance VPN gateway generally available

The high-performance gateway provides higher bandwidth and more connections than the current Virtual Network VPN gateway. For more information on choosing VPN gateways, please refer to the About VPN Devices for Virtual Network webpage.

Live Channels generally available

Now generally available, Live Channels for Azure Media Services is the same streaming solution used by ten leading international broadcasters to seamlessly deliver coverage of the 2014 World Cup. Now it’s backed by the full support of the Azure Service-Level Agreement (SLA) for all customers. For more information, please visit the Media Services webpage.

Azure RemoteApp generally available

Azure RemoteApp, now generally available through a Pay-As-You-Go subscription, delivers Windows applications from the Azure cloud to provide scale, agility, and global access for your corporate applications. Customers can purchase Azure RemoteApp through Azure direct purchase, through Enterprise Agreement (EA) monetary commitments, and Azure in Open monetary commitments. For customers interested in annual, per user commitments (similar to EMS), plans will be available for EA purchase starting February 1, 2015. Additional pricing details can be found at the Azure RemoteApp Pricing webpage.

Premium Storage in public preview

Premium Storage, a new SSD-based storage, is designed to support I/O-intensive workloads. With Premium Storage, you can add up to 32 TB of persistent storage per VM, with more than 50,000 IOPS per VM at less than one millisecond latency for read operations. For more information, please visit the Preview features and Storage webpages.

Azure HDInsight now customizable for a variety of Hadoop projects

Now you have the ability to customize your Azure HDInsight clusters with projects available from the Apache Hadoop ecosystem. By using the Script Action feature, Hadoop clusters can be modified in arbitrary ways using custom scripts. To demonstrate the power of this capability, we’ve documented the process for installing Spark and R modules.

HDInsight adds a deeper Visual Studio experience

To help developers using Visual Studio easily incorporate the benefits of big data within their applications, we’ve added a deeper tooling experience for HDInsight in the most recent version of the Azure SDK. Developers can use this extension to visualize and query their Hadoop clusters, as well as manage applications that integrate with Hadoop directly in Visual Studio. Learn more.

Change in ExpressRoute 10 Gbps (Exchange Provider) offer, availability in Brazil

Effective December 11, 2014, we’ve changed the amount of egress data included in the 10 Gbps ExpressRoute Exchange Provider offering and reduced the price. The 10 Gbps ExpressRoute Exchange Provider dual-port circuit will now include 90 TB of egress in Zone 1 or 45 TB of egress in Zone 2. Data use exceeding the included amount will be charged at existing rates. Additionally, ExpressRoute is now available in the Brazil South region. For more information, please visit the ExpressRoute webpage.

Marketplace available for EA Direct customers in four new countries

The Microsoft Azure Marketplace has expanded availability into four new countries for EA Direct customers. With the addition of Argentina, Australia, Puerto Rico, and South Africa, EA Direct customers in all 27 countries are able to easily purchase, deploy, and manage any solution listed on the Marketplace. To see a full list of countries where the Marketplace is available, please visit the Marketplace FAQs webpage.

Learning

Experience what’s next in the cloud at Microsoft Ignite

What’s the future of cloud technology? Join keynote speaker and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella along with other Microsoft experts to explore the tough questions and learn from industry leaders. It’s all happening May 4–8, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois. Register now.

VM Marketplace

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman learns all about the new VM Marketplace in Azure—and finds out what it takes for him to get published and sell his VMs. Watch the video.

Microsoft Integration: videos from Integrate 2014

Integrate 2014 brought together Microsoft leaders, partners, and customer-integration specialists in Redmond, Washington, to review strategy, roadmaps, technical drill-downs, and solution-focused spotlights December 3-5, 2014. Check out on-demand videos and presentations from the conference.

Azure Cloud Cover: StorSimple

In this episode, learn about StorSimple, a hybrid-cloud storage device. Put this storage appliance into your datacenter, and it connects to Azure Storage to extend the amount of storage available and automatically back up data in Azure. Watch now.

You may also enjoy these other Azure Cloud Cover episodes:

Event Hubs: Learn about this new feature of Service Bus.

New API Management features: Discover new features, many related to security.

Getting started with Azure Machine Learning

Learn to predict the future (or at least analyze past trends to forecast future patterns)! If you're not a data scientist, but still interested in data mining and predictive analytics, watch this on-demand Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) course. Then go beyond just reporting the numbers with Machine Learning—the inexpensive, easy-to-access, and powerful predictive analytics offering from Azure. Note: be sure to set up your Azure Machine Learning trial beforehand.

Learn more about Azure Data Factory

Azure Data Factory is a managed service that helps developers produce trusted information from raw data stored in the cloud or on-premises. Easily create, orchestrate, and schedule highly available, fault-tolerant data pipelines to move and transform your data at scale, and then deliver the results to a range of destination storage services. To get started, visit our Data Factory and Data Factory documentation webpages, and log in to the Azure Preview portal to create new factories.

Moving to hybrid cloud with Azure

For cloud solutions you can implement right away, watch this on-demand Jump Start. You'll learn to solve pressing IT issues with Azure and System Center 2012 R2. Explore how you can manage more data without more hardware, protect data with off-site backups, prepare for disaster recovery, and more. Be ready to follow the demos with the free one-month Azure trial.

Getting started with automating the hybrid cloud using PowerShell

TechNet Radio continues its Building Your Hybrid Cloud series with an episode showing how to start automating hybrid-cloud environments using PowerShell. Learn why IT pros should consider automating their processes and how they can get started with the Azure VM Agent Custom Script extensions, Azure PowerShell module, and Azure Pack.

Hybrid-cloud storage made simple

In July 2014 we announced the Azure StorSimple 8000 series hybrid storage arrays. StorSimple makes it easy to deploy hybrid-cloud storage, and the new 8000 series offers two models—StorSimple 8100 and StorSimple 8600—to better fit your capacity requirements. Additionally, the new models offer faster microprocessors, increased SSD capacity, 10GbE connectivity, and enhanced performance. We now support Tier 2 and 3 applications, as well as database application storage. Learn more about the StorSimple 8000 series from this short and to-the-point chalk talk.

On-demand webinar: Extending your datacenter with Azure

On-premises datacenters are running out of capacity and organizations have turned to the public cloud to not only address on-premises capacity issues but also leverage benefits such as agility and cost savings. Watch this on-demand webinar on extending your datacenter with the cloud, and learn how you can easily create an Azure environment that will act like a natural extension of your datacenter.

On-demand webinar: Build modern LOB mobile apps with Azure

Watch an overview of our Mobile Application Development Platform for modern Line of Business (LOB) apps. You’ll learn how you can modernize your LOB apps with Azure Mobile Services and leverage Azure Hybrid Connections to access your existing on-premises enterprise systems.

New white papers provide insights into Azure security

Azure Security and Audit Log Management
Read an introduction to generating, collecting, and analyzing security logs from services hosted in Azure, all of which can help customers gain security insights into their Azure deployments.

Security Management in Azure
Learn steps for enhancing remote-management security while administering Azure environments.

Microsoft Enterprise Cloud Red Teaming
Discover how we use an innovative Red Teaming approach to simulate real-world attacks, conduct continuous security monitoring, and practice security incident response to validate and improve cloud security.

Partners

Xerox empowers and educates global employees with cloud-based, mobile video solution

Xerox, a global leader in business processes and document management, wanted to shift its employee learning focus from a traditional approach focused on classroom-based learning to a more needs-driven approach. Recognizing both the power of video in learning and the fact that its workforce is increasingly mobile, Xerox worked with Microsoft Azure Circle partner Ravnur to implement an Azure cloud-based video content management solution that delivers learning content to mobile devices anywhere and anytime.

Learn more

Success Stories

GE Healthcare delivers core customer solutions on the Microsoft cloud

GE Healthcare, a division of General Electric, provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. The company wanted a more flexible, scalable platform for delivering applications that could be relied upon by healthcare providers worldwide. To meet these goals, the company pursued a cross-platform cloud strategy and decided to deploy multiple applications on Azure.

Read the full story

Textron to reduce IT costs by $2.5 million with hybrid-cloud storage

In response to increasing storage costs, Textron shifted to Microsoft hybrid-cloud storage based on Azure and StorSimple. By using cloud-based storage, Textron will reduce annual storage costs by US$2.5 million while gaining rapid and cost-effective storage scalability. Textron has also gained a cost-effective disaster-recovery solution that shortens data-access time from 72 hours to mere minutes.

Read the full story

Kiwi grower prunes costs, defends business from disasters by running SAP in the cloud

Zespri International is the most successful marketer of kiwifruit on the planet. After its business was disrupted by an earthquake and plant virus, Zespri decided to move business-critical SAP systems to Azure. With the move, Zespri will reduce IT costs by up to US$1 million, insulate the business against natural disasters, and gain instant IT scalability to accommodate global growth. Zespri can maintain great SAP performance by adding Azure resources in minutes.

Read the full story

Microsoft Azure Marketplace

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Featured services

“We cannot really lose any time when there is a serious issue: 200,000 government officials will be impacted if we miss an alert. With Enterprise Alert we can make sure we get the alerts.” —Bas van Genugten, Service Operations Manager, ICT Operations Benelux, BT Global Services

Derdack’s Enterprise Alert transforms critical incident communication to a reliable, automated, and mobile experience. It helps enterprises and global services organizations to communicate and respond to critical incidents and emergency situations before they can impact business continuity and customer service levels.

Visit Marketplace page

Lieberman Software’s enterprise password management platform secures privileged accounts and certificates across the datacenter, social, and cloud. It deploys on Azure and protects the enterprise in minutes.

Visit Marketplace page

New in Marketplace

This is an easy-to-use scalable task queue that gives cloud developers a simple way to offload front-end tasks, run scheduled jobs, and process tasks in the background and at scale.

Visit Marketplace page

CloudAMQP makes it easy for developers to use RabbitMQ by supplying fully managed RabbitMQ servers and clusters—ranging from vhosts on a shared cluster to dedicated high performance HA clusters.

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Raygun notifies you when errors occur in your app with intelligent grouping and the complete stack trace in real time. Whether your code is running in a data center or on a million mobile devices, Raygun gives you the data you need to fix bugs fast.

Visit Marketplace page