Newsletter November 2014


Did you miss AzureConf 2014?

On October 21, 2014, the Azure team hosted AzureConf, a free and virtual event. If you missed the live sessions, you can still watch the recorded videos, starting with Scott Guthrie’s keynote.

Whether you’re just learning Azure or you’ve already achieved success on the platform, you’ll discover how developers like you are using it to create robust and scalable applications.

Auditing for Azure SQL Database generally available

Auditing for Azure SQL Database tracks and logs all events that occur on your database, such as updates and queries against data. Previously available only through the Azure Preview portal, Auditing can now be managed from the Azure Management Portal or via Windows PowerShell commands. Dashboard views and reports in the Azure Management Portal provide at-a-glance insight into database events, while Auditing events are written to an audit log stored in the Azure Storage account you designate (Azure Storage rates apply).

Azure Websites Migration Assistant now generally available

Migrate to Azure now using the Azure Websites Migration Assistant, and you’ll never have to migrate your sites again. Migration Assistant will analyze your Internet Information Services (IIS) installation and identify which sites can be migrated to the cloud, highlighting any elements that cannot be migrated or are unsupported on the platform. Migration Assistant will also create the websites and databases required to support your sites, then migrate your configuration and content over to the newly created websites and databases in Azure.

Virtual Network integration on Azure Websites

Azure Websites Virtual Network (VNET) integration allows customers to connect to on-premises resources or Azure-hosted virtual machines (VMs) using a VPN connection. This makes Azure Websites an ideal solution for running both internal- and external-facing applications. VNET integration is available as part of the Standard SKU. Paired with the Hybrid Connections feature, Azure Websites now provides customers with the flexibility to choose the right connectivity option to suit their application and enterprise network topology.

CDN support for Azure Websites

With the Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN), enterprises can save on compute costs while increasing site performance for their end users. This is especially critical for media-heavy corporate presence and marketing campaign sites. With the new CDN integration, users will now be able to seamlessly integrate their site content with the Azure CDN using the Azure Management Portal. Learn how to integrate a CDN endpoint into your site.

Azure Backup is generally available in Australia

Azure Backup is now available in Australia with the same service level agreement (SLA) as the rest of the global regions. Azure Backup is a simple and reliable data protection solution that enables customers to back up their on-premises data to Azure. It’s easy to use and seamlessly protects Windows Server, Windows Server Essentials, and System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) data. Create your Backup vault in Australia and start backing up your data to Azure.

Azure Site Recovery is generally available in Australia

Just like Azure Backup, Azure Site Recovery is also now available in Australia with the same SLA coverage available in other regions worldwide. This service can help you protect important applications by coordinating the replication and recovery of private clouds across sites, whether you’re protecting dozens or hundreds of VMs. You can protect your applications to your own second site, a hoster’s site, or even use Azure as your disaster recovery site to avoid the expense and complexity of building and managing your own secondary location.

Azure Operational Insights in public preview

As a service designed to optimize IT operations, Azure Operational Insights uses the power of Azure HDInsight to gather machine data across datacenter and cloud environments and turn that data into real-time operational intelligence. Operational Insights enables better-informed business decisions through ready-made Intelligence Packs, so you can gain actionable insights faster and perform searches to explore, investigate, and fix incidents quickly.

Scalable CMS with WordPress

To help enterprises set up robust CMS-backed sites, we’ve introduced a scalable WordPress offering, now available in the application gallery. With Scalable WordPress of Azure capabilities, such as Azure Storage for media assets. Plus you can optimize performance with curated WordPress plug-ins and implement a scalable backend with Standard Websites instances and higher-end MySQL SKUs.

Visual Studio Community 2013 released

Visual Studio Community 2013 is the newest addition to the Visual Studio product lineup. This edition is a free yet full-featured development environment designed for students, open source contributors, small companies, startups, and individual developers. It includes all the capabilities you need to create compelling non-enterprise applications across desktops, devices, the cloud, the web, and services—including coding productivity features; cross-platform mobile development tools for Windows, iOS, and Android; and full extensibility with access to thousands of extensions. Download Visual Studio Community 2013 and start creating apps today.

Get a glimpse into the future of application development

Earlier this month saw the release of Visual Studio Ultimate 2015 Preview and the .NET 2015 Preview. These previews provide enterprise application developers a first glimpse of Microsoft’s investment in an innovative set of tools and technologies designed to efficiently build powerful, versatile applications across the spectrum of user platforms—from Windows and the web to iOS and Android. Features include a connected services experience that makes it easier to integrate services with apps including Office 365, Salesforce, and Azure Platform Services. You can download and try out the next versions of Visual Studio 2015 and .NET 2015 today.

Windows Azure Media Packager and Windows Azure Media Encryptor to reach end of life

On November 1, 2015, Windows Azure Media Packager and Windows Azure Media Encryptor will reach end of life. At that time, these components—used to convert file packaging formats and apply encryption—will become fully deactivated and no longer available. The conversion and encryption capabilities will be transitioned to the dynamic packaging component of Azure Media Services.

Protecting against the SSL 3.0 vulnerability

Microsoft has released Security Advisory 3009008 to provide guidance related to a vulnerability in Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) 3.0 that could allow information disclosure. This is an industry-wide vulnerability affecting the protocol itself and is not specific to Microsoft’s implementation. We recently revised this Security Advisory to include an easy, one-click Fix it for customers to download and use to disable SSL 3.0 in all supported versions of Internet Explorer. Starting on December 1, 2014, Azure and Office 365 will begin disabling support for SSL 3.0. For additional details, please visit the Azure Blog.

Protect against VM downtime—use availability sets

Azure periodically performs worldwide updates in order to improve the reliability, performance, and security of the host infrastructure underlying VMs. Many of these updates are performed without any impact to Cloud or Virtual Machines Services. However, some of these updates require a reboot of your VM for the necessary infrastructure updates to be applied. The VM will be shut down while we patch the infrastructure, and then the VM will be restarted. In order to preserve the availability of your application throughout this maintenance, we recommend that you use availability sets. In addition, take a look at our multiple-instances SLA commitment for VMs.

Microsoft Azure Agreement updates

Beginning in November 2014, the terms of the Microsoft Azure Agreement will be consolidated into the Microsoft Online Subscription Agreement (MOSA). This will result in a consistent contract for customers who purchase subscriptions to Microsoft Online Services—such as Azure, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics Online, or Microsoft Intune—directly from a Microsoft website. The updated MOSA will also incorporate Microsoft Online Services Terms, providing you with the same commitments to privacy, security, and EU Standard Contractual Clauses offered to Microsoft Enterprise customers.


Microsoft Ignite: inspiring ideas, igniting innovation

Take part in this one-of-a-kind experience designed to fuel your business, your connections, and your future. Get inspired by our vision of where technology is headed, and learn about the upcoming wave of products and services. Thoughts will be sparked. Questions will be answered. All the top names will be there, and you’ll be sitting next to them—May 4–8, 2015, in Chicago. Register today.

Azure IaaS for IT Pros online event

Join Mark Russinovich, CTO of Azure, as he kicks off a week of Azure training for IT professionals. Over the course of four days—December 1–4, 2014—members of Azure Engineering dive deep into the technologies to help you better understand and build your foundational cloud skills. Register now and, following the event, you’ll receive a 50-percent discount on Certification Exam 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions.

Azure Automation 101 with PowerShell

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman digs into PowerShell and the Azure Automation service with Eamon O'Reilly. If you currently use PowerShell or local scripts, but run them locally from your office, why not move them to the Automation service? Watch the video.

Azure Cloud Cover: offline sync

In this episode, listen to a quick review describing Mobile Services. Then learn about the offline data storage capabilities available as part of client SDKs for Mobile Services.

You may also enjoy these other Azure Cloud Cover episodes:

The Java SDK for Azure Management: Learn about the Azure Management Libraries for Java.

Virtual Networks: Learn about Azure VNETs, hybrid connections, and load-balancing capabilities.

Azure WebJobs: Learn how to provide a way to run background processes.

Azure Media Services and content protection: Discover AES Clear Key and DRM.

Edge Show: Azure Resource Manager

Azure Resource Manager is important for anyone who uses Azure, and is also an enabler of a key DevOps practice using infrastructure and configuration as code. Watch this demo-heavy interview to learn more about Azure Resource Manager and the newly released Role Based Access Control (RBAC) feature inside of Azure.

On-demand training: Cloud development

Devs, are you moving your applications to the cloud or creating new apps to be hosted in the cloud? Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) on-demand courses explore the concepts and essential information you need to deploy applications in a private, hybrid, or public cloud environment. Using Azure as the base for cloud concepts, these classes compare local installations to cloud deployments. Take a class today!

On-demand training: Hybrid cloud

IT pros, learn how to optimize your organization's IT infrastructure with Microsoft hybrid cloud technologies. MVA offers courses to help you explore the advantages and flexibility of the hybrid cloud, so you can keep your critical data on-premises while getting greater scale for your day-to-day operations. Take these courses to learn best practices, get implementation guidance, and hear about the latest cloud capabilities.

On-demand training: Developing Azure and Web Services

Web developers, watch this on-demand Jump Start from MVA to learn how to build Azure-hosted Web API or WCF services that can access data. If you’ve been looking for ways to increase your reach while reducing your effort, 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.

On-demand training: Site-to-Site VPN

Are you planning to expand your datacenter into the cloud or exploring the possibility? Want to learn what it would take? Get the information you need in this course as you walk through an overview and explore key scenarios in Azure and Windows Server. You'll also see practical demos that explore how to create a site-to-site (S2S) virtual private network (VPN) connection and how to connect an S2S VPN.

On-demand webinar: Operationalizing R as a web service

R is the most widely used language today for machine learning, but its power is sometimes limited by gaps in the technology meant to bring it to life. In this on-demand webinar, learn how you can use your existing skills in R in new ways, including deploying models as web services with a few clicks.

Microsoft Cloud DevCamps

Learn how to use new Azure features and services like Azure Virtual Machines, Websites, and Visual Studio 2013 to build and move a variety of apps to the cloud, including websites, mobile applications, and enterprise-class applications. Join us for a free hands-on day of Azure demos and labs in a city near you!

Live webcast for Professional Direct and Premier Support customers on December 9

Professional Direct and Premier Support customers are invited to join a live virtual webcast about StorSimple on December 9, 2014, at 09:00 Pacific Time (UTC-8). This 1-hour session will include audience questions and answers. For more details, reach out to your Premier and Professional Direct Support contacts or send us an email.

Docker + Azure

Docker has quickly become one of the most important Linux container platforms. The following new articles describe containers and their optimal scenarios, plus show how to get started with Docker on Azure: The Docker VM Extension for Linux on Azure; How to Use the Docker VM Extension from the Azure Cross-Platform Interface (xplat-cli); and How to use the Docker VM Extension with the Azure Management Portal.

Quick reference: Azure limits and constraints

Need to verify the number of cloud services supported per subscription or check on the maximum number of machines allowed in a virtual network? The Azure subscriptions and service limits, quotas, and constraints webpage lists common limits for Azure subscriptions and services. It's regularly updated as limits change and new services are added to the platform, so bookmark the page and check back whenever you have questions.

Everything you need to know about what's new in Azure

Keeping track of all the announcements about Azure can be challenging. Check out this post where Rick Claus summarizes the most important Azure updates and new features from the past year.


Open Source Java on Azure

Learn how Zulu from Azul Systems empowers companies to create with Open Source Java on Azure. If you love Java, then you'll love Zulu from Azul Systems—a commercialized, fully supported, 100% open-source (and Java SE-compliant) OpenJDK that you can run on Azure.

Perfect for companies running applications on multiple Java versions or in the cloud, Zulu provides the flexibility, code base, and support you really need. Learn more about how Zulu can benefit you and empower your team to create.

Learn more

Success Stories

Core banking software provider moves flagship offering to the cloud and opens new markets

“Azure gives us the agility you don’t find in on-premises applications in terms of deployment. Azure is simple to deploy. With T24 on Azure, any bank can run it out of the box in just a few months.” —John Schlesinger, Chief Enterprise Architect, Temenos

Read the full story or watch the video

3M speeds mobile-app development with Azure Mobile Services, Visual Studio, and Xamarin

“The number-one benefit to the sales teams is ease of use. With apps powered by Azure Mobile Services, they can immediately see where we have equipment installed without having to call a home office.” —Jason Fox, Mobile App Architect, 3M

Read the full story

Taiwanese e-content provider fuels exponential growth using Azure

“Azure is great for small companies like us, not just large enterprises. We are developer-focused, and our developers need to work as fast as they can. Azure makes it possible.” —Scofield Yeh, CTO, MagV

Read the full story

WordPress on Azure: The “awesome” choice saves Microsoft 75 percent of hosting costs

“It turns out that Azure Websites is an awesome platform for WordPress. We've used it to solve our hosting problems and get back to creating great content.” —Brian Costea, Microsoft Office Blogs Site Manager

Read the full story

Xbox improves services and delivery speed by playing games and music in the cloud

“With the Azure team focused on making storage fast and efficient, we can spend more time figuring out how to make amazing games.” —Michael Alyn Miller, Principle Software Architect, XBOX

Read the full story

Microsoft Azure Marketplace

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Featured services

"KEMP’s reverse proxy and load-balancing functionality is proving to be a crucial component of our offerings, as it maintains session persistence for load-balanced connections and adds an additional layer of security that our customers have come to expect." —Jared Mendenhall, Cloud Product Manager, Accello

KEMP’s LoadMaster provides advanced L7 load-balancing including SSL Offloading, WAF, and application-aware session persistence—with built-in multi-datacenter traffic distribution to support the Azure hybrid cloud model, and without re-architecting your application.

Visit Marketplace page

ScaleArc is database traffic management software that inserts transparently between applications and databases to provide instant database scalability. The software enables the functionality of scale up and scale out, but without any changes to applications or databases. Auto failover enables zero-downtime maintenance, and real-time analytics help you pinpoint troublesome queries immediately and identify queries that are suitable for caching as well.

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New in Marketplace

The Cloud Live service, powered by Aventus, combines iStreamPlanet’s content acquisition, ingest, live-encoding services, and professional support with Azure Media Services' multi-format packaging and highly-available streaming services.

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The Identity Hub allows your users to sign in to your iOS, Android, Windows, Web, and SharePoint apps using Facebook, ADFS, Office 365, Twitter, and more. The Identity Hub supports OAuth and WS-Federation and provides a rich API to access aggregated user information.

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