Newsletter October 2014


Watch the TechEd Europe 2014 keynote

Visit Channel 9 to watch the TechEd opening keynote with Microsoft’s Jason Zander, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Azure and Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President of PC, Tablet and Phone, Operating Systems Group.

Azure Automation and Runbook Gallery generally available

Automation enables the creation, deployment, monitoring, and maintenance of resources in an Azure environment using a highly scalable and reliable workflow-execution engine. The service can be used to orchestrate time-consuming and frequently repeated tasks across Azure and third-party systems, decreasing cloud operational expenses. The Runbook Gallery is a new feature that puts existing Automation sample, utility, and scenario runbooks right at your fingertips, helping you get your automation tasks up and running quickly.

Hyper-scale event ingestion with Azure Event Hubs now available

Event Hubs is a real-time, highly scalable, and fully managed data-stream ingestion service. As the onramp for stream processing in the cloud, Event Hubs enables publish-subscribe data distribution in a flexible platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model that can scale with your needs and provide a durable buffer between event publishers and event consumers.

Microsoft Antimalware for Cloud Services and VMs generally available

Microsoft Antimalware for Cloud Services and Virtual Machines (VMs) helps identify and remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It’s designed to provide real-time protection from the latest threats, on-demand scanning, and monitoring—all at no additional charge. More information is available in the Microsoft Antimalware white paper.

Instance-Level Public IPs generally available

This feature lets you assign public IP addresses to VMs and web or worker roles, making them directly addressable without the need to map an endpoint for access. With Instance-Level Public IPs, you can enable scenarios such as running FTP servers in Azure and monitoring VMs directly using their IPs. When this feature became generally available, the limit of two IP addresses per subscription was removed.

Elastic Scale for SQL Database in public preview

Elastic Scale simplifies the process of scaling out (and in) a cloud application’s data tier by streamlining development and management. Based on industry-standard sharding practices, Elastic Scale offers functionality to help you build and maintain applications that can span a few databases or thousands. Learn more about Elastic Scale today!

SQL Database business-continuity now with new visualizations in Azure Preview portal

Now available to try in the Azure Preview portal, existing SQL Database business-continuity features can be managed with greater ease and a highly visual graphic interface. Features include Active and Standard Geo-Replication, plus Point-in-Time Restore. Additionally, Active Geo-Replication offers map-based configuration options with “click-to-add” secondaries for breakthrough disaster-recovery administration. Customers can also more easily manage database alerts and events within the portal.

Azure Batch in public preview

Azure Batch is a new platform service that enables you to run large-scale parallel and HPC applications in the cloud. It makes it easy to cloud-enable your applications and run jobs without setting up and managing a cluster or job scheduler. Use the SDK to integrate client applications with Azure Batch through a variety of languages, stage data to Azure, and build job-execution pipelines. You can use it as part of your workflows, and to deliver self-service applications as a service. It is available in the Azure Management Portal and, during public preview, offered at a discount.

Stream Analytics in public preview for real-time event processing

Stream Analytics is an event-processing engine that helps uncover insights from devices, sensors, cloud infrastructure, and existing data properties in real time. Thanks to out-of-the-box integration with Event Hubs, this combined solution can ingest millions of events, as well as produce analytics to help you better understand patterns or trigger an action during real-time data streaming.

Data Factory in public preview

Data Factory lets you manage the production of trusted information by offering an easy way to create, orchestrate, and monitor data pipelines over the Hadoop ecosystem using structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data sources. You can connect to your on-premises SQL Server, Azure database, tables, or blobs and create data pipelines that will process the data with Apache Hive and Pig scripting, or custom C# processing. Data Factory offers a holistic monitoring and management experience over these pipelines, including a view of their data production and data lineage down to the source systems.

Microsoft Azure Marketplace in public preview

Scott Guthrie recently announced the new Azure Marketplace, an online store that connects our growing startup and ISV partner ecosystem with Azure customers. Within a single, unified platform, you can easily discover, purchase, and deploy a vast range of high-end solutions that help extend the Azure platform of cloud services. Available to web direct and Enterprise Agreement Direct customers, the Azure Marketplace is in public preview in the Azure Management Portal and the Azure Preview portal

Hortonworks and Cloudera images in public preview in Azure Marketplace

You can now run your Big Data Hadoop workloads as a preconfigured Azure VM using your choice of Cloudera Enterprise or Hortonworks HDP running on Linux. Both Cloudera and Hortonworks are available options in the Azure Marketplace, allowing you to spin up a full distribution of your preferred Hadoop offering. All Azure Marketplace offerings are Microsoft Azure Certified and have been tested to ensure capability with the Microsoft cloud platform.

Azure Site Recovery replication to Azure

Site Recovery 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, avoiding the expense and complexity of building and managing your own secondary location.

Updates to Service Bus pricing

In July 2014, we announced changes to Service Bus Queues and Topics, with messaging now offered in Basic and Standard tiers. These new tiers provide price flexibility to better accommodate different use cases. Updated pricing for these changes begins November 1, 2014. For more information, visit the Azure Service Bus webpage.

Azure HDInsight can process real-time events

With the public preview of Apache Storm clusters, Azure HDInsight can now process real-time events. Apache Storm gives users access to an analytics platform that can reliably process millions of events. So now users of Hadoop can gain insights as events happen, in addition to insights from past events.

Azure HDInsight adds hybrid capabilities

We’ve teamed up with Hortonworks to deliver hybrid data connectors between on-premises and cloud deployments. On-premises Hadoop customers using Hortonworks Data Platform 2.2 can move data from on-premises Hadoop into Azure HDInsight. This gives every on-premises Hadoop customer elastic cloud access for backup, burst capacity, and test/dev.

Azure Websites WebJobs and WebJobs SDK now generally available

The WebJobs feature provides an easy way for you to run programs such as services or background tasks in a website. You can upload almost any form of executable or a script as a WebJob to your site. A WebJob can be triggered on a predefined schedule or on demand, or a WebJob can run continuously. The WebJobs SDK provides a framework that lets you write a minimum amount of code to get common tasks done. This feature has a binding and trigger system that works with Azure Storage Blobs, Queues, and Tables, as well as Service Bus. The binding system makes it easy to write code that reads or writes Azure Storage objects, and the trigger system calls a function in your code whenever any new data is received in a queue or blob.

Azure Websites Virtual Network integration

You can now integrate your Azure Websites with Azure Virtual Networks. The Virtual Network feature enables your websites to access resources attached to your virtual networks. For example, your website can now connect directly to a database hosted in a non-public VM on a virtual network. If your virtual network is connected to your on-premises network (using a Site-to-Site software VPN or ExpressRoute dedicated fiber VPN), your website can now connect to resources in your on-premises network, too.

Update on new Azure Active Directory Application Proxy preview features

Azure Active Directory Application Proxy applications have been integrated into the Access Panel, just as software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications are. Before users can access your private network application, they must be authenticated with your Azure Active Directory. Only authorized users with an Azure Active Directory Premium license will be granted access to your private network application.

Microsoft Azure Australia Geo generally available to customers in Australia and New Zealand

Earlier this week we announced the general availability of the Microsoft Azure Australia Geo, including the Australia East Region in New South Wales and the Australia Southeast Region in Victoria. Azure customers in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) can now host their services in these regions, and will experience improved performance in the form of lower latency and the ability to keep their data in-country with the benefits of Geo Redundant Storage. We’re very excited customers and partners throughout ANZ will be able to explore new ways to transform their business models, deliver amazing digital experiences and services, and put innovation at the center of everything they do. Learn more about the new region in The Official Microsoft Blog.

Is Microsoft Azure speaking your language?

Do your words get lost in the cloud? It’s simple to find out! Take part in the Microsoft Terminology Forum for Azure terminology. Just sign in with your Microsoft account and tell us what you think with your terminology suggestions and by voting for the best terms. The forum is now open for these languages: Chinese-Simplified, Chinese-Traditional, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese-Brazilian, and Russian. Get started!


Live webcast: a cloud-first, mobile-first, developer-first virtual event

Don’t miss Connect(); Microsoft Visual Studio vNext & Azure, a Microsoft virtual event for developers this November 12 and 13, 2014. Scott Guthrie will take the stage to show the upcoming innovation in Microsoft products, services, and technologies for developers. Dive deeper into the technical details behind the announcements with over 40 on-demand technical sessions, and interact with the Microsoft engineering teams in live sessions to share feedback and participate in the future development of these technologies. The webcast will begin at 10:00 Eastern Time (UTC+5) on November 12, 2014. Learn more!

Understand your customer better with Machine Learning

Learn how a company like Pier 1 takes advantage of Azure Machine Learning, and then get started doing the same for your organization today. Machine Learning helps overcome the challenges most businesses have in deploying and using machine learning. How? By offering a connected experience that allows customers and partners to build data-driven applications to predict, forecast, and change future outcomes in a few hours—a process that previously took weeks or months. We invite you to test drive Machine Learning if you haven’t already; it’s available for a limited time at a preview discount.

One enterprise event, infinite possibilities

For the first time in our history, we’re bringing together our best and brightest for a single, remarkable conference—Microsoft Ignite. Be among the first to learn about tech innovations and how to maximize them for your business advantage at this 2015 event in Chicago, Illinois. Claim your spot today.

Azure DocumentDB 101

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman talks to Ryan CrawCour about the new managed Azure document database, Azure DocumentDB. Watch the video.

Azure Cloud Cover: Machine Learning

In this episode of the Azure Cloud Cover show, learn how you can create experiments to detect patterns in data using the Cloud Machine Learning service. Watch the video to learn more.

Azure Cloud Cover: Azure Search

In this episode of the Azure Cloud Cover show, learn how to generate an index using Fiddler to send web requests to a search service. Watch the video to learn more.

DASH live streaming with Azure Media Services

This article focuses on the live-streaming DASH features enabled by Azure Media Services. Learn how these features can be used to deliver live streaming and video on demand (VOD) adaptive streaming to web browsers—and new devices of all types—as support for the DASH standard grows. DASH live streaming is now available for public preview and will be generally available with normal service level agreements after the preview period.

Azure SQL Database geo-restore

This post continues our series on the Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery capabilities of Azure SQL Database. It focuses on geo-restore, which provides the ability to restore a database from a geo-redundant backup to create a new database.

Live webcast for Professional Direct and Premier Support customers on November 18

Professional Direct and Premier Support customers are invited to join a live virtual webcast about cloud load testing with Charles Sterling on November 18, 2014, at 09:00 Pacific Time (UTC+8). This one-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.

Scalable CMS with WordPress for Azure Websites

Scalable CMS with WordPress provides a fast way to build an optimized and hassle-free WordPress website. It’s architected so that your WordPress site loads quickly and can support millions of page views each month. Plus, you can easily scale up or scale out as your traffic increases.

Enabling CDN for Azure Websites

CDNs are commonly used to serve images and scripts for websites, and now Azure Websites supports direct integration with CDN to improve website performance and help provide a superior user experience. Learn more about how to enable CDN for Azure Websites.

Connect with Azure on social media

Want official Azure news, updates, and information? Like developer tips and tricks? Love sharks with freakin’ lasers? Follow Azure on Facebook and Twitter!

Getting started with Azure management libraries for Java

In this post we’ll introduce you to the management libraries for Java, plus walk you through the process of getting an Eclipse project up and running—one that you can then extend for creating and managing your own Azure subscription and resources.

Azure Automation: controlling runbook streams for testing and troubleshooting

Learn more about the key tasks involved in creating runbooks, including testing runbooks during authoring and troubleshooting runbook jobs in production.

Building your hybrid cloud with Service Management Automation

Learn how to manage many resources in an automated and standardized way. TechNet Radio showcases Service Management Automation and Azure Automation, discussing how to automate the creation, monitoring, deployment, and management of cloud resources in your Azure subscription.

Hybrid cloud management and automation

Learn ways you can manage and automate your hybrid cloud environment. Watch this demo-intensive TechNet Radio session that showcases System Center, Azure, and the Windows Azure Pack, as well as PowerShell for Azure, PowerShell DSC for configuration management, and Azure Automation for automated runbooks.

Step-by-step guide: monitoring hybrid cloud with System Center 2012 R2

Technical Evangelist Dan Stolts walks through the configuration of System Center 2012 R2 for monitoring workloads cross-premises in the hybrid cloud. For more details, you can also see the Modernizing Your Infrastructure with Hybrid Cloud series.

Step-by-step guide: building virtual networks in the cloud with Azure

Technical Evangelist Matt Hester shares his expertise on building Azure virtual networks. In his accompanying video tutorial, you’ll learn how to build a virtual network and define subnets via the Azure Management Portal. He also walks through the process of testing, assigning, and displaying reserved IP addresses on a virtual network. Read more on the IT Pro Blog.

Windows Azure Pack and the Virtual Machine Role Gallery

TechNet Radio covers a common customer scenario, explaining how organizations can scale a multi-VM environment in the Windows Azure Pack. Watch this demo-intensive session to learn how it all works with the help of Virtual Machine Role Gallery in Windows Azure Pack.

On-demand webinar: Rethinking the Business Benefits of the Cloud

Cloud computing is an exciting technology and operations model that can reduce costs and increase business agility. Find out how, plus hear about other cloud business benefits—such as growing revenues and profits, accelerating time to market, enhancing user experience, and enabling new markets and business models. Register to view GigaOm Research Analyst Joe Weinman, author of Cloudonomics, as he addresses these topics and more.


The British & Irish Lions top global rugby team wins with cloud apps that motivate fans, monitor player health

The British & Irish Lions, the world-renowned touring rugby team, wanted to do something it had never done in 125 years of international competition: find a way to take along 100 million fans when the team toured to Hong Kong and Australia. It succeeded, virtually, with an app for Windows, Apple, and Android devices hosted on Azure. For the first time in 16 years, the Lions won the Tour. Coincidence? You decide.

Learn more about how partners Sequence and EliteEdge helped The British & Irish Lions win with cloud apps.

Success Stories

Healthcare firm uses the cloud to speed compliance, go global, and boost revenues by 50 percent

“The most startling thing to me is that we can get our customers up on Microsoft Azure—tested, compliant, and running—in a week or less. That’s unheard-of in this industry. It makes our service extremely attractive to our customers. Small and medium clients can purchase fully automated systems that meet the eSubmission standards at a fraction of the traditional cost.” —Ramon Dempers, Chief Executive Officer, UMBRA Global

Read the full story

Design-automation software company launches modern schematics app in the cloud

“One reason that we chose Microsoft Azure was that we can focus on the value that we add to the process, not on the infrastructure.” —Darrell Teegarden, Business Unit Director, Mentor Graphics

Read the full story

Digital product development agency delivers powerful, scalable web and mobile solutions using Microsoft Azure

“Our clients' needs led us to look at Microsoft Azure Websites, Notification Hubs, and Mobile Services. Multi-device, multi-technology delivery has really grown massively, and we wanted to address that need quickly and efficiently with our services.” —Luke Ballantine, Technical Director, Marker Studio

Read the full story

Microsoft Azure Marketplace

Visit Marketplace

Featured services

“Reputation and capacity were important reasons for choosing Blitz also offers a free trial, which makes it well known among system admins and network engineers.” —aiScaler

Blitz allows developers and website managers to load test their website, app, or API against as many as 200,000 concurrent users. Its unique, multi-region testing feature can vary the source of traffic to test scalability in different countries. Blitz’s pricing plans make it easy to determine the number of credits you need to buy each month, and users get a no-obligation free trial.

Visit Marketplace page

New in Marketplace

Cloudant is a NoSQL database as a service that’s built from the ground up to scale globally and handle a wide variety of data types, including geospatial. Cloudant on Azure is optimized to handle concurrent reads and writes, provide high availability, and support data durability.

Visit Marketplace page

PDF as a Service from Noxum is a web API that uses state-of-the-art PDF technology. Easily generate PDF documents from HTML, create large, complex PDFs with XSL-FO, and benefit from other capabilities.

Visit Marketplace page