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Be Informed

Chasing history with Microsoft Cloud

Recently, North American Eagle (NAE) redeployed landspeed.com using Azure Cloud Services and Microsoft Power BI to reduce the time it takes to get from data to insight. They also implemented Microsoft Office 365 to improve team collaboration and communication with sponsors. The next step on the historic NAE journey will be Jessi Combs’ attempt this autumn to become the fastest woman on earth. Watch the video.

Power BI generally available

With Power BI now generally available, many new features and capabilities are ready to be experienced. These include major updates to Power BI Desktop (currently known as Power BI Designer), open source visuals, the Power BI Android app and authoring enhancements. To see what other features are available, make sure you visit the Power BI blog, then sign up for free. Once you’ve done that, post your questions in the Power BI Community to get the answers you need.

Cortana Analytics Suite available later this year

Cortana Analytics Suite delivers big data and advanced analytics capabilities to help enterprises transform their data into intelligent action. It enables core analytics scenarios such as real-time recommendations, customer churn forecasting, fraud detection, predictive maintenance and much more. While Cortana Analytics Suite won’t be available until later this year, you can try many of its individual services that are already available, including Azure Machine Learning, Azure HDInsight and Azure Stream Analytics, among others. Find out more on the Azure Blog.

Apache Spark for Azure HDInsight in public preview

Apache Spark for Azure HDInsight provides a quick and easy way to run interactive data analysis on large datasets. An open-source project in the Apache ecosystem, Spark can run large-scale data analytics applications in memory. This means it can deliver queries up to 100 times faster than traditional big data solutions, along with a common execution model for various tasks such as extract-transform-load (ETL) processes, batch queries, interactive queries, real-time streaming, machine learning and graph processing on data stored in Azure Storage. The Azure cloud helps make Spark deployment easy and cost effective, with no hardware to buy and no software to configure. Plus, Spark is integrated with popular third-party business intelligence (BI) tools such as Microsoft Power BI, as well as open-source notebooks.

Azure Data Catalog in public preview

Azure Data Catalog is a fully managed service in Azure and an enterprise-wide metadata catalogue for self-service datasource discovery. Data Catalog describes, indexes, stores and helps you access any registered datasource, helping to make datasource discovery simple. It’s designed to close the gap between those who seek information and those who create it. To find out more, please visit the Azure Data Catalog documentation web page.

Azure Key Vault generally available

Generally available across all regions (except in Australia), Azure Key Vault offers cloud developers an easy, cost-effective way to help safeguard keys and other secrets using hardware security modules (HSMs). With Key Vault, you centrally manage your keys and secrets by taking them out of vulnerable locations such as source code and plain text files. You can then grant applications audited access to those keys and secrets on your terms. Key Vault lets you manage the full life-cycle of your keys and secrets, helping you achieve and maintain regulatory compliance.

Azure Active Directory Connect generally available

Azure Active Directory Connect is a simple, fast and lightweight tool for connecting Active Directory and Azure Active Directory in a few clicks. It helps you sync only the data you really need from single or multi-forest environments, plus it enables single sign-on (SSO) to Office 365 and thousands of other SaaS applications via password sync or federation with Active Directory Federation Services. Organisations already using Azure Active Directory Sync or DirSync can take advantage of the benefits of Azure Active Directory Connect with a migration or in-place upgrade from supported configurations.

Azure Application Gateway generally available

Azure Application Gateway helps you build highly scalable and highly available applications by providing application-level (HTTP/HTTPS) load balancing and delivery control. It also offers SSL offload capabilities and enables the design of custom experiences based on cookie affinity.

Azure Batch generally available

Azure Batch helps make it easy to run large-scale parallel and high-performance computing workloads in Azure. As part of this release, Batch scheduling capabilities will be available as a free tier. Users only pay for the underlying virtual machine (VM) usage, with no additional charge for using Batch. Developers can use Batch to scale out parallel workloads, manage execution of tasks in a queue and enable applications to offload compute jobs in the cloud. With Batch, users can run these applications on demand at scale without setting up and managing a cluster, VMs or a job scheduler. Batch manages VM deployment, auto-scaling and failure recovery. It can also be used as part of a workflow or to deliver self-service applications as a service.

Azure SQL Data Warehouse in limited public preview

Azure SQL Data Warehouse is a fully managed, elastic and petabyte-scale columnar data-warehouse service that’s fully compatible and integrated with the Microsoft SQL Server ecosystem. Unique to the industry, this is the first cloud data-warehouse service to enable customers to scale compute capacity up or down in seconds. SQL Data Warehouse can independently scale storage and compute power, so customers only pay for the query performance they need. Built on top of SQL Server, SQL Data Warehouse offers access to a large data-warehouse ecosystem of tools that support data loading, transformation, visualisation and analytical scenarios – including Microsoft Power BI, Azure HDInsight, Azure Machine Learning and Azure Data Factory.

P3 Premium performance level for Azure SQL Database renamed

As more customers build more powerful applications in Azure using Azure SQL Database, we see strong demand for additional options to scale both performance and database size. In the coming months, we’ll be announcing new performance levels to enable larger database sizes and more granularity in performance. To prepare for these changes and provide more flexibility going forward, we changed the name of the P3 performance level to P6 on 24 July 2015, with no impact to database cost or service. If you create or assign performance levels in code or scripts, please visit the Create Database documentation web page.

Azure SQL Database Update generally available in Australia

As of 1 July 2015, the latest server updates for Azure SQL Database are generally available in Australia. SQL Database Update provides nearly complete compatibility with the SQL Server engine. Recent enhancements help to streamline SQL Server application migrations to SQL Database and to robustly process heavier database workloads. All subscriptions and corresponding databases created in Australia during the public preview will be made available at the general availability price from 1 August 2015.

Premium Encoding for Azure Media Services generally available

With Premium Encoding for Azure Media Services, customers can leverage automated decision-making logic that adapts to a variety of inputs. Premium Encoding also supports contribution output file formats such as MXF, additional input and output codecs, including Avid DNxHD, higher output resolutions (up to 4K in AVC), as well as closed captioning and much more. For more information about additional capabilities, please read the Introducing Premium Encoding in Azure Media Services blog post.

New regions for Azure Search generally available

We’ve announced the general availability of 3 new regions for Azure Search – Brazil South, Australia East and Japan West – bringing the global availability of Azure Search to 11 regions. Azure Search is a search-as-a-service solution for web and mobile application development that makes it easy to set up and manage your own search index. Many applications use search as the primary interaction pattern for their users – and those users expect a fast experience. Now applications running in the new regions can offer experiences with even lower latency.

Azure support for Linux RDMA

We now support Linux remote direct memory access (RDMA) technology, enabling scientists and engineers to solve complex problems using simulations running on Azure. RDMA technology allows A8 and A9 Linux VMs in Azure to directly communicate through the InfiniBand network. This helps enable faster communication between VMs at low latency for parallel workloads and applications that take advantage of the Message Passing Interface (MPI) stack. With this release, Intel MPI is supported. For more information, please visit the Set up a Linux RDMA cluster to run MPI applications documentation web page.

HPC Pack support for Linux

HPC Pack 2012 R2 Update 2 is now available. With this update, HPC Pack now supports Linux VMs running on Azure. Customers running high-performance computing clusters on Linux can now use HPC Pack management, deployment and scheduling capabilities. For more information about this update, please visit the Microsoft HPC Pack (Windows HPC Server) web page.

Azure Marketplace adds additional features and functionality

Earlier this month at the 2015 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, Azure Marketplace launched Developer Services, Container Apps from Docker Hub and enhanced deployment capabilities for multi-VM offers. Developer Services and Container Apps are two new categories in Marketplace that provide additional tools and functionality beyond the Azure platform to streamline application development and help developers be more productive on Azure. We’ve also added enhanced deployment capabilities for clustered VMs in Marketplace. Now it’s easier than ever for customers to deploy high-availability offerings with just a few clicks. To learn more, please visit Marketplace.

Be Empowered

Azure Web Apps Log Streaming

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman digs into the Web Apps feature in App Service, including how you can use log streaming to listen in on what’s really happening with the web apps you’re running on Azure. Watch now.

Cloud Cover: Logic Apps

The Logic Apps feature in App Service provides a common platform for building different types of apps. In this episode, find out how you can connect different application programming interfaces (APIs) and API apps in logical flows.

 

You may also enjoy the episode on Azure API Management that walks you through the new Premium features, including the ability to deploy proxies in multiple regions, support for VPNs and integration with Azure Active Directory.

Exploring microservices in Docker and Azure

Watch this on-demand course to get a preview of the future of application architecture, and you’ll see why microservices are key for DevOps and continuous delivery. With this in-depth look at a whole new way to architect, you can learn how to update your site in milliseconds. Plus you’ll get practical guidance and learn from real-world examples, whether you’re building a site from scratch or fine-tuning one that already exists.

Debunking Azure Myths: Azure doesn’t scale out to large and complex workloads

Some people seem to think that deploying large and complex workloads on Azure can be a slow and cumbersome task. Senior Technical Evangelist Rick Claus and Azure IaaS Senior PM Mahesh Thiagarajan debunk this myth as they discuss the recent update to Azure Resource Manager, the new template model and what this means for complex workload deployment. Watch now.

Windows Azure Pack: IaaS Jump Start

Hey, IT pros: Find out how Windows Azure Pack brings the benefits of the cloud to your data centre. Watch this Jump Start to learn about self-service and the automation of VM roles, virtual networking, clouds and SQL Server, along with System Center and third-party integration.

Chef Blog: Modernising IT with Chef and Azure

An innovative developer of web-based e-discovery applications, kCura, is undergoing major IT modernisation by moving to Azure and using Chef to automate the migration and cloud infrastructure. Learn more about how they identified critical pain points and the solutions in order to transition into a high-velocity business. 

Data Exposed: Temporal in SQL Server 2016

All the way from his home in Belgrade, Borko Novakovic came to Redmond to introduce us to the new Temporal technology being introduced in SQL Server 2016. Temporal in SQL Server is designed to simplify the handling of time-varying data, providing the ability to look at data trends, types of data changes and the overall data evolution within your database. Watch now.

You may also enjoy these other Data Exposed episodes:

SQL Server 2016 AlwaysOn: Learn about the exciting enhancements to this feature.

SQL Server Stretch Database: Find out about the ability to “stretch” a table into Azure.

SQL Database Transactional Replication: Have a look at this new feature in SQL Server 2016.

Sign up for the next free enterprise mobility webinar

Enterprise mobility management is a very hot topic among IT pros. For instance, how do you provide mobile access to users and help keep IT systems secure? Our next webinar will showcase some of the new Microsoft security solutions that help IT to offer greater device choice, to protect corporate data and to provide secure access from anywhere. This webinar also demonstrates the security capabilities from Azure RemoteApp, Multi-Factor Authentication and Azure Rights Management. Have a look at this webinar and many more.

Be Entertained

*Comic source: http://cloudtweaks.com/. Reprinted with permission.

Be Inspired

Sphere 3D delivers virtual desktops to more than one million students

By hiding the complexity of virtualisation behind a very simple user interface, Sphere 3D helps individuals access their information whenever and wherever they need it. Sphere 3D recently partnered with a region of more than one million students to deliver on-demand assessment testing with the cloud. Built on Azure, their solution delivers virtual desktops to students, augmenting delivery while providing burstability from the cloud on a consumption model – all helping to make sure that kids get the technology they need to learn.

Learn more

Rediker Software helps drive student success and performance

Rediker Software offers a complete student information solution built entirely on Azure. From data management for students to auxiliary tools that offer accounting, health and canteen management, this solution can increase administrative efficiency. By scaling out on Azure, Rediker Software has quickly scaled to meet the demands of more than one million parents and students.

Learn more

Be Enhanced

Visit Marketplace

Partners

Simple, efficient disaster recovery using Azure Site Recovery and NetApp Private Storage (NPS) for Azure

Using hybrid cloud for disaster recovery, you can help reduce costs and pay for compute resources in remote locations only when you need them. Following announcements at Microsoft Ignite, NetApp and Microsoft customers can improve their disaster recovery capabilities through Azure Site Recovery with SAN replication and NPS for Azure. You can restore and resume operation of VMs in minutes by moving data and VMs between Hyper-V servers at a single site, as well as between multiple secondary sites and solutions, including your hybrid cloud with NPS for Azure. Site Recovery and NPS for Azure allow customers to automate disaster recovery with System Center, Site Recovery and NetApp; decrease replication time across sites using Site Recovery and NetApp SnapMirror replication; and reduce network usage and storage costs. Lower your recovery time objectives while achieving recovery point objectives, based on your SLAs. 

Learn more | Watch video

Azure Marketplace

Featured: Migrate to Office365 faster with the new Azure Turbo Mode in Dell Migration Suite for SharePoint

Dell Software has announced full support for the new SharePoint Online Migration API with a new feature called Azure Turbo in Dell Migration Suite for SharePoint. Azure customers can now leverage the speed of the SharePoint Online Migration API to reduce the time it takes to import large amounts of content into Office 365 and OneDrive for Business and avoid service lag for end-users. Try Migration Suite for SharePoint today by downloading it from Marketplace.

Visit Marketplace page

New: CloudBees Jenkins Platform and Azure help accelerate app delivery

The CloudBees Jenkins Platform for Azure helps DevOps teams easily adopt continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) powered by Jenkins for their Azure apps to deliver better software faster. By accessing the CloudBees Jenkins Platform via the Marketplace, DevOps teams can use the elasticity of Azure to more easily provision their CI/CD infrastructure. The CloudBees Jenkins Platform is the proven, fully featured enterprise platform for implementing CI and CD powered by Jenkins. The solution extends open-source Jenkins with key CloudBees-developed enterprise features that are required in mission-critical IT environments. These enterprise features enhance open-source Jenkins with additional security, availability, resilience, analytics, performance and the ability to create, execute and visually monitor real-world CD pipelines.

Visit Marketplace page

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