Newsletter July 2014


Machine Learning preview now available

We’re excited to announce the public preview of Azure Machine Learning, which allows you to easily design, test, operationalize, and manage predictive analytics solutions in the cloud. Learn more at the Machine Learning webpage and get started today with a free trial.

Event Hubs in public preview

Azure Event Hubs helps solve data flow challenges when you want to ingest and process millions of events per second. With updated Service Bus Queues and Topics messaging tiers, customers will now be able to utilize Queues and Topics for large-scale IoT Command & Control scenarios along with Event Hubs. For more information, visit the Event Hubs webpage.

Additional sizes and regions for Azure Redis Cache

We are announcing the availability of additional sizes and regions for the Azure Redis Cache that previewed in May 2014. This cache service gives customers the ability to use a secured, dedicated Redis cache managed by Microsoft. With this offer, you can take advantage of the rich feature set provided by Redis and the reliable hosting and monitoring from Microsoft. To get started using the cache, visit the How to Use Azure Redis Cache webpage.

SQL Database now available in the Azure Preview portal

From the Preview portal, customers can now manage their Azure SQL Database subscription using the new look and feel of Azure. This includes provisioning databases across Web and Business (currently in general availability) as well as Basic, Standard, and Premium (currently in preview) tiers.

Azure StorSimple 8000 Series Solution is expected to reach GA on August 1

One of the biggest challenges facing enterprise storage customers is massive data growth and the amount of storage management work required to keep up with it, which includes data protection. StorSimple 8000 series hybrid storage arrays excel at managing data growth and stopping the endless cycle of buying additional storage. Enterprise customers are saving up to 60 percent on overall storage costs while seamlessly scaling storage infrastructure, reducing complexity of data protection, and increasing IT agility to better focus on business needs. To learn more, visit the StorSimple Hybrid Cloud Storage webpage, or e-mail Available for Enterprise Agreement customers only.

New Azure US Central and US East 2 regions generally available

Earlier this month we announced the general availability of two new Azure regions – US Central in Iowa and US East 2 in Virginia. The Azure website has been updated to provide detailed information on service availability and pricing for the new regions. While prices for most services are the same across regions, pricing for Virtual Machines is region specific.

Announcing preview of the 0.3.0 beta of Microsoft Azure WebJobs SDK

We are releasing another preview of the Azure WebJobs SDK, introduced in this blog post by Scott Hanselman. This release has several new features in addition to the general feature set in the alpha 2 release. For more information, also read the blog post by Pranav Rastogi.

Worldwide Partner Conference post-event resources

The Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2014, an annual, global convergence of Microsoft’s top partners, just wrapped up a few days ago in Washington, DC. For partners who attended, some content is now available in the Connect section of the WPC 2014 website, including PowerPoint presentations, videos, and related resources. In August 2014, additional content will be available, also in the Connect section, for those who didn’t attend the conference.


Virtual private networks in depth

Going beyond the basics, Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman hears from Ashwin Palekar about how to lock down an Azure installation with multiple layers of firewalls and other layers of defense. Watch the video.

Where hot tubs meet cloud computing

Have cloud questions? Dear Azure is here to help!

Azure Websites extensions

Did you know that each Azure Website provides an extensible management endpoint? This allows you to leverage a powerful set of tools deployed as site extensions, from source code editors (like Visual Studio Online) to management tools. Learn all about it from this article by Azure Websites PM Daria Grigoriu.

Enterprise-grade WordPress with Azure Websites

Azure Websites’ enterprise-class scaling, deployment, and monitoring features allow you to run WordPress at a very large scale. This article by Sunitha Muthukrishna from the Azure Websites team will guide you through making the best of these high-end features.

Web Deploy as a site extension

In the latest version of Azure Websites, we have enabled a new Web Deploy endpoint that lives as a site extension on each customer’s site. Site extensions are plugins that allow website owners to enhance the manageability of their site, and with Web Deploy each site can host its own instance of the service. Learn more about it from this blog post by Elliott Hamai.

Getting started with Azure Automation: Runbook management

Learn some of the fundamentals for runbook management inside of Azure Automation, a new service in Azure that allows you to automate your Azure management tasks and to orchestrate actions across external systems from right within Azure. Beth Cooper’s blog post walks through the steps to enable you to quickly create an Automation account, create or import a runbook, test and publish the runbook, manage logging for that runbook, and set up a schedule for starting the runbook.

Blog miniseries on VNet-to-VNet: Connecting virtual networks in Azure across different regions

At TechEd 2014, we released Multi-Site VPNs, in-region VNet-to-VNet, and cross-region VNet-to-VNet features. This blog is the first of a miniseries to walk you through the configuration steps and examples of how you can connect your virtual networks together using the VNet-to-VNet feature. Read the blog post by Yu-Shun Wang to learn more.

ExpressRoute or Virtual Network (VPN): What’s right for me?

We recently announced the general availability of ExpressRoute at TechEd North America. Since then, we have created additional content to provide a brief overview of the service and give you pointers to relevant documentation and presentations. Read the blog post by Ganesh Srinivasan to learn more.

Delivering results: Developing cloud-based automation for Azure VM migrations and self-service infrastructure

How do you approach infrastructure management in the cloud? Tune in as Tommy Patterson welcomes Justin Pirtle to TechNet Radio. They discuss how Microsoft IT has developed and implemented automation tools to enable self-service cloud provisioning that has resulted in lightning-fast IaaS provisioning times (down from 5 days to 20 minutes!) while still maintaining operating system standards and compliance. Watch here.

Accelerate DevOps with the cloud: Monitoring, measuring, and learning for continuous improvement

Concluding the special “Accelerate DevOps with the Cloud” series on TechNet Radio, Keith Mayer welcomes back Jeff Fattic to the show to discuss how Visual Studio Online can help DevOps organizations optimize the performance of their applications. Watch here.

On-demand training: Developing Azure and Web Services Jump Start

Web developers, watch this on-demand Jump Start to find out how to build Web API or WCF services that can access data and are hosted on Azure. Have you been looking for ways to increase your reach while reducing your work? This is your chance to find out how to store components independently and target multiple platforms. You’ll get the end-to-end scenario for building the entire application. View the course here.

On-demand training: Moving to the hybrid cloud with Azure

Get the best of both worlds! With Azure and System Center 2012 R2, IT professionals who manage infrastructure can easily extend on-premises networks to seamlessly embrace the power and scale of the cloud. Watch this on-demand course from Microsoft Virtual Academy and learn to solve pressing IT issues with hybrid cloud solutions. View the course here.

Designing a PaaS/IaaS/SaaS solution with sufficient data to monitor security incidents: Live webcast on August 19

Professional Direct and Premier Support customers are invited to join a live virtual webcast on “Designing a PaaS/IaaS/SaaS solution with sufficient data to monitor security incidents” by Neil Carpenter on August 19, 2014, at 10:00 A.M. Pacific Time. This one-hour session includes audience questions and answers. For further details, get in touch with your contacts for Premier and ProDirect Service contracts or send us an email. Learn more about Professional Direct and Premier Support offerings.

TechEd Europe: Professional development starts here

TechEd Europe, October 28–31, 2014, in Barcelona, is the place for developers and IT professionals who are serious about expanding their knowledge of Microsoft technologies and solutions. From cloud computing to the consumerization of IT, TechEd Europe is your connection to the latest innovations transforming the future of tech.

Register now.



“BlueMetal's Accountable Care solution for Steward Healthcare increased care quality and patient safety and reduced health care costs by creating a single source system to coordinate care and meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 regulatory requirements. The solution, based on Azure, SQL, and SharePoint, creates a cloud-based patient portal and repository for Big Data mining. It has enabled Steward Healthcare to achieve and surpass their Meaningful Use Stage 2 Attestation targets—becoming only the second Accountable Care Organization (ACO) hospital in the country to meet these requirements. This has grown BlueMetal’s cloud business, showcased all five of our service areas, and elevated our visibility and expertise as a leading innovator of modern healthcare and life sciences solutions.”
—David Le Penske, Vice President of Health & Life Sciences

BlueMetal Architects’ Accountable Care Accelerator has been selected as the winning solution for the Winning with Azure contest. Stay tuned to for a video and case study.

Learn more

Honorable mention

“Our home healthcare management company realized seven-figure savings while modernizing ERP platforms from I-Series to Azure. By focusing on a cloud approach in a consumption-based model for service delivery, along with the support that our Managed Services team provides, we're able to provide end-to-end solutions for clients needing to modernize their legacy systems.”
—Tom Brauch, Senior Director, Marketing, Oakwood

Learn more

Success Stories

Leading ERP provider cuts deployment time, gains more flexibility by migrating to the Microsoft Cloud

“Simplicity and cost control are two major advantages of running our mission-critical software on Microsoft Azure. Now it’s about cloud activation, not server installation.”
—André Brunetiere, Alliance Manager and Chief Technology Officer, Sage France

Sage, a leading global supplier of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and business solutions, wanted a new, flexible delivery model that could be easily customized for individual customers and markets, while ensuring high levels of performance. By implementing Microsoft’s cloud-based services, the company has cut deployment time from months to minutes and reduced IT costs.

Read the full story

Virtualization provider offers hybrid cloud solutions with private, high-speed link

“Our goal is to provide maximum flexibility and cloud performance for our customers, and Equinix with Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute provides these capabilities.”
—Terrill Andrews, Executive Vice President, Accelera Solutions

Accelera Solutions wanted to give customers a simple way to connect their own datacenters to Azure datacenters in support of a hybrid cloud model. Accelera is using Equinix datacenters and Azure ExpressRoute to provide this private, high-speed link and offer custom, hybrid cloud solutions that customers can deploy and scale rapidly.

Read the full story

Azure Store

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Partner updates

"Aspera On Demand for Microsoft Azure is a very cost-effective way for us to support high-speed Aspera FASP file transfers to and from our customers. It’s a breeze to set up, and utilizing it as a service gives us all the latest improvements from Aspera without the requirements of provisioning, hosting, and managing our own server. The speed and ease of transfers directly to and from Azure Blob Storage allows us near-infinite scalability. It is exactly what we needed to maximize the performance of our cloud-based architecture."
—Ron Peters, President, Red Folder

Aspera On Demand is a high-speed transport solution powered by Aspera’s FASP transfer software, to move terabytes of data directly in and out of Azure blob storage efficiently and securely.

Visit Store page

New in Store

Facetflow offers highly available Elasticsearch clusters featuring real-time search and analytics for developers on Azure, with automated backups, auto-scaling, 24/7 monitoring, and expert support.

Learn more