Azure Newsletter

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2015 Citizenship Report shows how Microsoft is making a difference

Microsoft’s corporate citizenship commitments and actions support our company mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. In our 2015 Citizenship Report, which we published last month, you’ll find information about how these commitments and actions are implemented through our company policies, practices and products, as well as through our investment in communities. During financial year 2015, Microsoft made progress on several fronts, including becoming the first major cloud provider to be independently verified for meeting the world’s first international standard for cloud privacy (called ISO/IEC 27018). Learn more on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Microsoft and Red Hat partner to deliver more flexibility and choice

Announced earlier this month, the partnership with Red Hat extends our commitment to offer unmatched choice and flexibility in an enterprise-grade cloud experience across the hybrid cloud. With more than 80 per cent of Fortune 500 companies using the Microsoft cloud, by teaming up with the leader in enterprise Linux, we can allow even more businesses to move to the cloud on their terms. By working with Red Hat, we’ll address common enterprise, ISV and developer needs for building, deploying and managing applications on Red Hat software across private and public clouds, including enabling customers to run their Red Hat Enterprise Linux applications and workloads on Azure.

Microsoft to acquire Secure Islands, a leader in data-protection technology

Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Secure Islands, an innovator in advanced information-protection solutions. This acquisition accelerates our ability to help customers secure their business data, no matter where it’s stored – across on-premises systems, Microsoft cloud services such as Azure and Office 365, third-party services and any Windows, iOS or Android device. Secure Islands provides powerful data classification, protection and loss-prevention technologies for virtually any type of file, which allows customers to apply data protection to more applications. Its technology enhances the data-protection capabilities available today with Azure Rights Management Service, Microsoft’s cloud-based information-protection solution. For more information, please visit The Official Microsoft Blog.

Azure customer success story: Dock2Dock software

Dock2Dock software helps cost-conscious third-party logistics (3PL) warehouses in Canada and the US. A powerful, distinctive warehouse-management software system that links with leading database systems, Dock2Dock manages inventory and productivity in a time- and cost-efficient manner. Dock2Dock has just gone through its third proactive cloud-architecture upgrade to be ready for future growth. In just two years, Dock2Dock quickly outgrew 1&1 Internet hosting and redeployed to SoftLayer. After five years, they moved to Azure, using four servers (cluster, backup, web application and database) across three operating systems (Windows Server 2012, Node.js and Linux), all while enjoying Azure RemoteApp benefits.

Do you have a success story you want to share with your fellow Azure Newsletter readers? Submit your story and you could see it here!

Announcing Microsoft Mechanics

The show that brought you the latest in Office from the engineers behind the tech is expanding to cover the breadth of Microsoft technologies. Last month, we launched Microsoft Mechanics, our official news show and video platform for tech enthusiasts and IT professionals. We’ll cover the latest tech from the Azure, Office, Windows and Surface teams with the same demo-packed 10-minute shows from the engineers and experts. Beyond the shows, we also have Demo Bench: 2-3 minute capability overviews from the Microsoft engineers and experts behind them. Join us on Wednesdays or as news breaks. Watch the intro video.

Role-Based Access Control generally available

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) provides fine-grained access management for Azure resources, so you can grant the exact rights that users need to perform their jobs. Download the generally available RBAC command-line management tools or use the Azure preview portal to manage access for your production workloads in Azure. RBAC is provided at no additional cost to all Azure subscribers. For more information, please visit the Active Directory Team Blog.

Azure Data Lake Analytics in public preview

Azure Data Lake Analytics is a new distributed analytics service built on Apache YARN that dynamically scales, so you can focus on your business goals and not on distributed infrastructure. Instead of deploying, configuring and tuning hardware, you can write queries to transform your data and extract valuable insights. By simply setting the dial for the amount of power you need, you can use Data Lake Analytics to instantly handle jobs of any scale. And for cost-effectiveness, you only pay for your job when the service is running. Data Lake Analytics supports Azure Active Directory, so you can integrate access and roles with your on-premises identity system. It also includes U-SQL, a language that unifies the benefits of SQL with the expressive power of user code. Scalable, distributed U-SQL runtime lets you analyse data more efficiently in the store and across SQL servers in Azure, Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Data Warehouse.

Azure Data Lake Store in public preview

Azure Data Lake Store provides a single repository where you can easily capture any amount or type of data, at any speed, without forcing changes to your application as the data scales. In the store, data can be shared for collaboration using enterprise-grade security capabilities. Data Lake Store is also designed for high-performance processing and analytics from Apache Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) applications (such as Azure HDInsight, Azure Data Lake Analytics, Hortonworks, Cloudera and MapR) as well as tools, including support for low-latency workloads. For example, data can be ingested in real time from sensors and devices for Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, or from retail websites, and then placed into the store – all without limits on account or file size.

Azure Data Lake Store and Data Lake Analytics integration with Data Factory

With the public preview releases of Azure Data Lake Store and Azure Data Lake Analytics, big-data processing and analytics is simpler, dynamically scalable and more accessible. Did you know that you can also build managed big-data pipelines with these new services using Azure Data Factory? You can use data pipelines to move data from a number of sources into Data Lake Store and vice versa, and run queries with Data Lake Analytics. All of these activities can be easily incorporated as processing steps in a Data Factory pipeline – tying your big-data workloads together in one place for scheduling, management and monitoring. If you have feature requests or want to provide feedback on Data Factory, please visit the Azure Data Factory forum.

Microsoft Operations Management Suite Linux log analytics in public preview

Whether you have Windows Server or Linux-based workloads, Microsoft Operations Management Suite can help you to deliver the service agility and protection your business demands. The Operations Management Suite agent for Linux is available in public preview – and we’ve open-sourced the code. The agent works with a VM, on bare metal or on hosts deployed in a cloud. Onboarding a Linux host into the system is accomplished in a few clicks. You can specify which logs to collect and can ingest alerts from Nagios and Zabbix. Increase your ability to derive actionable insights from your machine data and solve problems faster. Onboard your Windows Server and Linux hosts at the Operations Management Suite website. For more information, please visit the Hybrid Cloud IT Management Blog.

Azure Disk Encryption in public preview

Strengthen your data protection by encrypting the boot and data drives of your Azure VMs. Azure Disk Encryption simplifies the encryption of your Windows or Linux VM disks, as well as the management of your encryp tion keys in Azure Key Vault. Try the public preview today.

Azure SQL Database Threat Detection in public preview

Azure SQL Database Threat Detection identifies anomalous database activities that could present potential security threats. Threat Detection enables you to proactively monitor and quickly respond to alerts and details about unusual and potentially harmful database events and determine whether they result from an attempt to access, breach or exploit data in the database.

Azure Service Fabric in public preview

Azure Service Fabric helps developers to build, deploy and operate microservice architecture applications, reliably and at scale. Using its actor-based development approach, teams are able to scale their agile development practices to bring new capabilities to market faster than before. The Service Fabric public preview is available as an SDK for local development and as an Azure service. Service Fabric will become available to run on Windows Server 2012 R2 and 2016 TP3 in the next few weeks, with future plans for Linux support. Customers building on Service Fabric can be confident that their application will be able to run across a range of cloud and on-premises environments. This public preview is available at no additional cost.

Azure DevTest Labs in public preview

Azure DevTest Labs gives developers on-demand self-service for Azure-based test environments. It increases IT efficiency by controlling costs with the required governance in place. With DevTest Labs you can quickly provision development and test environments; minimise waste with quotas and policy enforcement; set automated shutdowns to minimise costs; create a VM in a few clicks with reusable templates; get going quickly using VMs from pre-created pools; build within Windows and Linux environments; and integrate directly with your preferred CI tool, IDE or automated release pipeline.

Azure Resource Health in public preview

Azure Resource Health discloses the status of each of your Azure resources (for example, VMs, web apps and SQL databases) to help you quickly identify the root cause of a problem. Based on that root cause, Resource Health helps you to resolve the issue by providing actionable guidance and tools, including the ability to submit a support ticket. Resource Health is in public preview and accessible via the Azure Preview Portal. For more information, please visit the Azure Blog.

In-memory OLTP and Real-Time Operational Analytics for Azure SQL Database in public preview

In-memory OLTP, with extended Transact-SQL (T-SQL) surface area, is now in public preview in Azure SQL Database. With In-memory OLTP, a significantly larger number of applications can gain improved transaction performance and run up to 30 times faster, as well as benefitting from increased concurrency. With Real-Time Operational Analytics, customers are able to use our in-memory columnstore on their disk-based operational data for real-time insights. Now you’ll be able to use our in-memory columnstore in conjunction with In-memory OLTP for breakthrough transactional and analytics performance in the same database . For more information, please visit the Getting started with In-memory (Preview) in SQL Database documentation web page.

Azure Premium Storage generally available in an additional region

Azure Premium Storage is a solid-state drive (SSD)-based storage solution designed to support input/output (I/O)-intensive workloads. With Premium Storage, you can add up to 64 TB of persistent storage per VM, with more than 80,000 I/O Operations Per Second (IOPS) per VM and extremely low latencies for read operations. Offering an SLA for 99.9 per cent availability, Premium Storage is now available in the East US region, as well as other regions previously announced.

Azure App Service Premium plan to become generally available

The Azure App Service Premium plan helps production apps support more scale instances and additional enterprise capabilities, while still benefitting from all the advanced capabilities found in the Standard plan. The Premium version also offers the ability to create your Azure App Service Environment, which provides full isolation and operates on your virtual network. App Service Premium can scale up to 50 instances, with more available upon request. Generally available as of 1 December 2015, App Service Premium offers a 50 per cent preview discount until 30 November 2015. Please note: when enterprise connectors and Azure BizTalk Services become generally available, plan pricing is subject to change.

Purchase custom domains for web apps using your existing subscription credit or enrolment commitment balances

Customers using the Web Apps feature in Azure App Service can now use their subscription credit or enrolment commitment balances to purchase custom domains for their web apps. Customers with Free Trial and Dream Spark subscriptions are excluded from this offer. For more information, please visit the Buying and configuring a custom domain name in Azure App Service documentation web page.

Visual Studio announcements

Visual Studio Online is now Visual Studio Team Services. The new name better conveys our commitment to serving the needs of software development teams as they build apps for any device or operating system. With this name change, we’re ushering in a new era of cloud development services, including Visual Studio cloud subscriptions (with monthly and annual options) and Visual Studio Marketplace, where you can find extensions for Visual Studio Team Services and Team Foundation Server, as well as for Visual Studio IDEs and Visual Studio Code. All Visual Studio cloud subscriptions are billed to your Azure subscription, providing the convenience of one bill for development tools and services, VMs, and other Azure resources needed for your development and testing environments. For additional developer news, please visit the Connect(); website.

Azure Compute Pre-purchase Plan availability for EA customers

The Azure Compute Pre-purchase Plan, a new offer available on 1 December 2015, allows Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers to get Azure compute more affordably. Designed for customers with steady-state, predictable workloads, Compute Pre-purchase provides discounts of up to 63 per cent in exchange for pre-purchase of a particular instance of Azure compute (instance family and size, region and operating system) for one year. For more information, contact your Microsoft account team or find a partner.

Azure Compute Option availability for SCE customers

The Microsoft Azure Compute Option (MACO) is a limited-time offer that enables you to use Azure compute resources flexibly and cost-effectively. When you purchase MACO add-ons for your on-premises Windows Server licences through a Server and Cloud Enrolment (SCE), you’ll receive up to 60 per cent off the list price for Azure Compute. After your initial add-on purchase, you can deploy whichever compute instances you need and receive significant discounts on all usage up to your entitlement, which is determined by the number of add-ons you purchase. For more information, contact your Microsoft account team or find a partner.

Be Empowered

Go deep into Azure at Microsoft Ignite

Microsoft Ignite is the place to get deep insights into the topics and products you use every day. It’s 700+ sessions, 1,000+ hours of content, 100+ Expo vendors and countless networking opportunities. In 2015, Microsoft Ignite featured 161 sessions on Azure, all currently available on demand, with keynotes, deep dives, strategic discussions, best practices, how-to sessions and more. In 2016 we’ll take it even further. Join us in Atlanta, Georgia, 26-30 September 2016, to increase your expertise, connect with top Azure experts and see first-hand what’s coming next. Pre-register now to secure your place.

Connect(); // 2015: Develop without limits

A year ago, Connect(); introduced a new Microsoft for developers – unveiling the future of an open-source .NET on Linux and Mac, and a free Visual Studio for targeting any device and any operating system. Now it’s time for the next phase of this exciting journey. Join us online to learn more from members behind Microsoft tools and technologies. Get deeper insights into our exciting announcements with 70+ on-demand sessions. Tune in to Connect(); now.

Microsoft Hyperlapse in Azure Media Services

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman finds out how you can use Azure Media Services and Azure Media Services Explorer to create a Microsoft Hyperlapse video. Watch now.

Microsoft Cloud Roadshow

Join us for two free days of technical training for IT pros and developers. You’ll learn best practices and insights directly from the experts who build and run cloud services across Microsoft Office 365, Azure, Windows 10 and more. Reserve your seat.

Build your cloud skills with the Microsoft Azure Tour

The Microsoft Azure Tour is a one-day technical training event designed to help IT pros and developers be more successful in the cloud. Choose from technical breakout sessions, hands-on labs or full-day immersions. Leave ready to apply your new skills.

Free e-book – Microsoft Azure Essentials: Azure Automation

Learn the core concepts of Azure Automation with this free e-book from Microsoft Press. In a highly scalable workflow execution environment, Automation allows you to orchestrate frequent deployments and life cycle management tasks using runbooks based on Windows PowerShell Workflow functionality. Download the e-book.

Dev-test your business apps on Azure

In this third and final instalment of our Dev-test starts with IT webinar series, you’ll learn how IT pros accustomed to on-premises VMware-based environments can move dev-test for business applications into Azure. IT pros and developers need the infrastructure to design, develop, test and deliver high-quality applications at a competitive pace. We’ll connect you with experts who can demonstrate the capabilities of Azure and answer your questions. Register for this free webinar now.

Did you miss the first two Dev-test starts with IT webinars?

Listen to experts demonstrate the capabilities of Azure, answer questions and explain how IT starts with dev-test. In the Dev-test on Azure webinar, learn to set up dev-test infrastructure, establish server infrastructure within Azure, configure a site-to-site virtual private network (VPN) and move VMs from your data centre to Azure. In our Create self-service environments with Azure DevTest Labs webinar, discover how to use Azure DevTest Labs to set policies, share reusable templates, self-provision environments for testing and integrate DevTest Labs within the DevOps pipeline.

Cloud Cover: Microsoft IoT Hub

In this episode, get an introduction to the new Microsoft IoT Hub service. Then, discover how to write both management code and on-device code leveraging the Azure IoT Hub SDK. Watch now.

You may also be interested in this episode on Azure Resource Manager or this episode on elastic databases.

Deep dive into Azure Resource Manager scenarios and patterns

Explore various Azure Resource Manager scenarios, see how Resource Manager templates are deployed from the Azure portal and learn to implement Resource Manager for more security. IT pros and architects setting up Azure deployments or working on Azure applications with lots of components should view this course. Watch an international team of experts show you how to manage your resource groups and easily spin up or down any elements of your application infrastructure. Watch this on-demand training.

Platform for Hybrid Cloud with SQL Server 2014 Jump Start

To learn about the potential cost benefits of moving your organisation to the cloud, watch this course. Our team of Microsoft experts shows how you can use Microsoft SQL Server 2014 to create a hybrid environment with greater scale and flexibility for your organisation, as well as how to move from an on-premises data centre at your own pace.

Register for the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 upgrade webinar

Learn about the risks of continuing to rely on ageing technology, along with the many benefits of migrating to Microsoft SQL Server 2014 and Azure SQL Database. In addition to the performance benefits of upgrading, this webinar details migration strategies and scenarios, a practical three-step approach to the upgrade process, and important tools and resources to get you started. Register for this free webinar today.

Tackle the top five data challenges with Microsoft SQL Server

Your data represents a competitive advantage and new market opportunities. At the same time, data growth introduces major challenges. In this webinar, you’ll learn to tackle five of the top data challenges that organisations face today – app and data performance, data security, decision support, big data and the cloud. Connect directly with experts and get answers to your questions about Microsoft SQL Server capabilities. Register for this free webinar now.

To the Cloud! Building and running servers without the hardware

TechNet radio’s To the Cloud! series continues with this overview on the benefits of using Azure to run servers without the physical hardware. Learn how companies of all sizes can rent compute, storage and networking resources by using data centre hardware to deploy VMs. Watch the video.

Querying with Transact-SQL

Watch this on-demand course to learn to think in T-SQL or to prepare for Exam 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012. In this series of self-paced modules – including lectures, demos, hands-on labs and self-assessments – our expert instructors will teach you to build a solid T-SQL foundation. They’ll also show you how to use T-SQL to retrieve, insert, update and delete data in a database.

Back by popular demand: Data science and machine learning essentials

Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of the MIT faculty-partnered edX massive open online course (MOOC), Data science and machine learning, we’re making it available again. Learn and be certified on data science essentials with experts from MIT and the industry, partnering with Microsoft and edX, a MOOC platform to help develop your career as a data scientist. By the end of this course, you’ll know how to build and derive insights from data science and machine learning models. You’ll learn key concepts in data acquisition, preparation, exploration and visualisation, along with examples on how to build a cloud data science solution using Azure Machine Learning, R and Python. Register now for this edX MOOC online course and don’t miss to get a data science certificate signed by our CEO Satya Nadella!

Unlocking the power of log analytics

Join us for a webinar on how to turn your machine data into actionable information using intelligent log analytics from Microsoft Operations Management Suite. Collect, correlate and analyse machine data across multiple platforms, clouds and workloads, all with a simplified dashboard to help you spot problems, resolve issues and improve security and compliance. Register now.

Key cloud considerations for disaster recovery

The cloud offers new capabilities for disaster recovery, but how do you know if it’s the right direction for your organisation? Join us for this webinar to learn more about Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), key considerations to evaluate and how Microsoft Operations Management Suite can help.

On-demand webinar: Four essentials for IT management in the new hybrid world

Cloud technologies are rapidly transforming our data centres. Hear about the challenges driving modern IT management, along with ways to bring more comprehensive visibility to your entire network – both what’s on premises and in the cloud. Then learn to proactively address security, performance and provisioning concerns, as well as how new Microsoft technologies can help you lead innovative operations management across your organisation. Register today.

Better together: Windows 10 + EMS

Windows 10 provides a foundation for data protection against modern threats, while also offering continuous management to help your users be more productive. To maximise your mobile security and productivity efforts, you can integrate Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) with Windows 10 to better protect users, devices, apps and data. This webinar will demonstrate how to get up and running with Windows 10 and EMS. Register to watch it on demand.

Be Entertained

*Comic source: www.cloudtweaks.com. Reprinted with permission.

Be Inspired

The UN and Microsoft aid disaster recovery and economic development in Nepal

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partnered with the Microsoft Innovation Center Nepal to create an app that helps coordinate logistics, personnel and payments to aid in rebuilding efforts. The app tracks building assessments, daily jobs and cash payments to local workers. Built using Visual Studio, the app is also pushed to Windows devices in the field, connecting on the back end with Microsoft Office 365, Power BI, SQL Server and Azure.

Learn more

Spurring global business with Azure File Storage

Talon created a file-sharing framework based on Microsoft technology. Then, to reduce costs and simplify IT even further, Talon moved their entire solution to the cloud, running software on Azure Virtual Machines and using Azure File Storage to store and serve production files.

Learn more

Be Enhanced

Visit Marketplace

Partners

Azure API Management and SmartBear Ready! API

Before you bring customers to your API, make sure that you’ve done everything you can to help ensure that it’s high quality and production-ready. With the Azure API Management plug-in for SmartBear Ready! API, you can import your API from your API Management portal and more quickly generate a complete suite of tests and virtual APIs based on your API definition. Learn more about this suite of tools for managing, testing and monitoring your APIs.

Microsoft Azure Marketplace

Featured: CommVault provides a heterogeneous data management software solution

CommVault – the Microsoft 2014 Server Platform Partner of the Year and a 2015 finalist in both the Data Platform and the Modern Data Centre: Hybrid categories – provides a heterogeneous data management software solution, built and optimised from the ground up on a single platform for hybrid Azure-integrated data. This solution includes eDiscovery, search, backup, restore, deduplication, encryption and migration from VMware to Hyper-V and/or Azure, including VMDK to VHD. All devices, servers, endpoints and applications leverage the same back-end technologies to provide users and administrators with simple, microscopic access to online, near-line (archived) and offline (deleted) data. This solution is used by the Microsoft Office Products Group, Xbox and Xbox Live, plus Azure and Microsoft Global Foundation Services – so scale and Azure integration are complete.
Visit Marketplace page

New: CA Service Virtualization On Demand uses Azure to expedite development and testing by up to 50 per cent

CA Service Virtualization On Demand for Azure gives developers and testers a cost-effective way to leverage the benefits of service virtualisation. Whenever needed, users can access CA Service Virtualization On Demand to capture and simulate the behaviour, data and performance characteristics of dependent systems, as well as to deploy a virtual service that represents the dependent system without any constraints. This allows software to be developed and delivered faster, with lower costs and higher reliability. By using CA Service Virtualization On Demand, customers can realise “Shift Left” benefits across the entire application development life cycle, typically reporting a 25-50 per cent reduction in overall application development timeline. Customers also report the detection of 60­-90 per cent more defects at least one step earlier in the systems development life cycle (SDLC), reducing the cost of defect remediation along with the risks to business and release schedules.
Visit Marketplace page