Azure Newsletter

Stay informed about the latest Azure features, events and community activities. Browse through past newsletters or subscribe and get the latest Azure news delivered to your inbox.


Missed AzureCon?

No need to worry, all the keynotes and sessions are available on demand on the Azure website. Start with Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie’s opening keynote speech, then make your way through the remaining three keynotes, plus all the sessions on new and updated product offerings from Azure. Watch now.

Enjoy our Azure Samples gallery

The Azure Samples gallery brings together all the Azure code samples in a single location. Browse by Azure service or by your favourite programming language or platform, and learn how to interact with Azure services through code. These samples can help you quickly ramp up on new services or get deeper into ones you already know.

Help secure data within Azure SQL Database with features now generally available or in public preview

Azure SQL Database offers a set of built-in features so you can secure that data from malicious and unauthorised users. You can choose from a portfolio of easy-to-use features designed to help you quickly protect your data and confidently build secure applications within Azure. Key features include Microsoft Azure Active Directory authentication for SQL Database (in public preview), row-level security (generally available) and transparent data encryption (generally available). Soon, dynamic data masking will also be generally available, while Always Encrypted will be in public preview. Get started on helping secure your SQL Database today.

Full-text Search for Azure SQL Database generally available

For applications that manage and store character-based data in Azure SQL Database, Full-text Search provides fast, rich search functionality integrated with the database platform. In addition to preview capabilities, we enhanced the support for XML doc types and self-service diagnostic experience through extended events (XEvents). Users can now easily troubleshoot and gain visibility into issues such as indexing errors and unsupported doc types. This helps optimise the search experience, bringing it closer to on-premises Microsoft SQL Server capabilities. Full-text Search is available in all Azure SQL Database Update service tiers through familiar Transact-SQL (T-SQL) syntax and SQL Server tools.

Azure Site Recovery integration with SQL Server AlwaysOn in public preview

Azure Site Recovery now provides native support for SQL Server AlwaysOn. SQL Server Availability Groups can be added to a recovery plan along with virtual machines (VMs). All the capabilities of your recovery plan (including sequencing, scripting and manual actions) can be leveraged to orchestrate the failover of a multi-tier application using an SQL database configured with AlwaysOn replication. Site Recovery is now available through Microsoft Operations Management Suite, the all-in-one IT management solution for Windows or Linux, across on-premises or cloud environments.

Introducing Microsoft Azure IoT Suite

The Internet of Things (IoT) is here today and begins with the things that matter most to your company: the Internet of Your Things. Microsoft Azure IoT Suite, now available to purchase, enables you to connect your devices, so you can capture and analyse untapped data across your business. With pre-configured solutions designed to address common IoT scenarios, you can get started on your IoT projects quickly and confidently, then scale them broadly. Learn how Azure IoT Suite can help you get started with IoT today.

Microsoft IoT Hub in public preview

Microsoft IoT Hub provides capabilities for securely connecting, provisioning, updating and sending commands to devices. Companies can jump-start their IoT projects using Azure IoT Hub to control millions of IoT assets running on a broad set of operating systems and protocols. For more information, please visit the Azure IoT Hub web page.

Azure HDInsight makes Apache Hadoop on Linux generally available

Now generally available, the capability to select Linux clusters is available to customers deploying Apache Hadoop workloads in Azure HDInsight. Customers can more easily move existing Hadoop workloads into the cloud with an expanded set of open-source, big data components running managed Hadoop in Azure. This also unlocks independent software vendors (ISVs) with value-added apps for integrating Hadoop on-premises with Linux – including applications such as Datameer and Trifacta, which prepare data for analysis; Dataguise and BlueTalon, which help make Hadoop more secure and governed; and AtScale and Zoomdata, which let business users visualise and analyse Hadoop in compelling ways. Built on Ubuntu and Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP), Linux clusters running HDInsight can be deployed today.

Cortana Analytics Suite now available to purchase

Cortana Analytics Suite is a fully managed, big data solution for advanced analytics that helps you transform your data into intelligent action. This comprehensive suite brings together technologies across Microsoft for fast and flexible deployment, with a simple monthly subscription to reduce time and cost. It also includes cloud services for information management, data storage, analytics and visualisation. Instead of looking in the rearview mirror, Cortana Analytics Suite predicts what’s next, so you can race ahead of your competitors. Enhance your business applications with machine intelligence and evolve from simple descriptive analytics to prescriptive recommendations.

Azure Mobile Engagement generally available

Azure Mobile Engagement is a user-engagement platform that enables real-time, fine-grain user segmentation, app user analytics and context-aware push notifications across all connected devices. You’ll be able to maximise app usage, retention and monetisation with this powerful platform to get directly in touch with users in a personal and non-intrusive way – exactly when it makes the most sense for both parties.

Introducing Azure Security Center

Azure Security Center helps you prevent, detect and respond to threats through increased visibility and control over the security of all your Azure resources. It provides a central view of security and enables you to set policies and monitor security configurations. Policy-driven recommendations guide resource owners through the process of implementing security controls for rapid deployment of integrated Microsoft and partner security solutions. Security-related events from across your Azure deployments are automatically collected and analysed using Microsoft global threat intelligence and expertise to help identify actual threats and reduce false alarms. Next, real-time alerts offer insights into attack campaigns, including suggested ways to remediate and recover quickly.

Document tracking for Azure Rights Management generally available

Document tracking, a feature of Azure Rights Management (RMS), enables document owners to track activities on the sensitive files they share with others. You can track when recipients open files, when unauthorised users are denied access, the latest file state and more, all on the web. You can also view the geographical locations where files were accessed and, with a single click, revoke access to a shared file. This feature is available with Azure RMS Premium, Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite and Microsoft Enterprise Cloud Suite. For more information, please visit the Azure RMS document tracking blog post.

Generally available: Azure Backup supports application workloads

Now Azure Backup can back up on-premises application workloads, including Microsoft SQL Server, Hyper-V VMs, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange. You can back up your applications to a local disk or to Azure, eliminating local tape libraries and leveraging the unlimited storage capability of Azure. And you can manage all your on-premises backups from a single user interface. Backup also continues to support backups of production IaaS VMs in Azure and to help protect Windows client data, along with shared files and folders. Backup is now available for on-premises or cloud environments through Microsoft Operations Management Suite, the all-in-one IT management solution for Windows or Linux.

New generation of D-Series instances for VMs and Azure Cloud Services

We’ve announced a new generation of D-Series instances that can be used as VMs or Azure Cloud Services. These new DV2 instances carry the same CPU, memory, and disk configurations as the current D-Series, but they also offer more powerful CPUs and can run at about 35 per cent faster. Both D-Series and DV2 instances are ideal for applications that demand fast CPUs, better local disk performance, or more memory, offering a powerful combination for many enterprise-grade applications. DV2 instances are available in the Central US, North Central US, West US and East US 2 regions.

Azure Premium Storage generally available in additional regions

Azure Premium Storage is a solid-state drive (SSD)-based storage solution designed to support input/output (I/O)-intensive workloads. With Premium Storage, customers 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 Central US and North Europe regions, as well as other regions previously announced.

Azure File Storage generally available

Azure File Storage, based on industry-standard SMB 3.0 protocol, is a managed file-share Azure product that’s highly available, geo-replicated and offered at a very low cost. Customers can now lift and shift existing file-share and corresponding applications to Azure, with zero code changes and an overall file-sharing cost that’s lower than on-premises costs. Customers can also use Azure File Storage to share server data (such as log files and event data) that can be accessed both on-premises and in the cloud. Finally developers can use rich, RESTful APIs inside their modern applications to access file data and the management layer.

Azure DocumentDB now supports Order By and online index updates

Azure DocumentDB now makes it even easier to store and query JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) data in Azure. You can sort query results using any string, numeric or Boolean property in your JSON documents. Designed to work with minimal index storage overhead, Order By can be used to serve low-latency queries against large collections of documents. Additionally, indexing policies can now be modified on existing collections online and in place. These policies control aspects of index management, including index storage overhead, write and query throughput, and query consistency.

Azure Redis Cache Premium tier in public preview

Azure Redis Cache is a distributed, managed cache that helps you to build highly scalable and responsive applications by providing faster access to your data. The new Premium tier includes all Standard-tier features, plus better performance, bigger workloads, disaster recovery and enhanced security. Additional features include Redis persistence, which allows you to persist data stored in Redis; Redis Cluster, which automatically shards data across multiple Redis nodes, so you can create workloads using increased memory (more than 53 GB) for better performance; and Azure Virtual Network deployment, which provides enhanced security and isolation for your Azure Redis Cache, as well as subnets, access control policies and other features to help you further restrict access.

Azure Active Directory Domain Services now in public preview

Azure Active Directory Domain Services provides scalable and high-performance managed domain services, such as domain join, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), Kerberos, Integrated Windows Authentication and Group Policy support as a service. With the click of a button, administrators can enable managed domain services for VMs and directory-aware applications deployed in Azure infrastructure services. By maintaining compatibility with Windows Server Active Directory, Azure Active Directory Domain Services provides an easy way to migrate traditional on-premises applications to the cloud.

Azure Active Directory Application Proxy enhancements

Azure Active Directory Application Proxy provides remote access and single sign-on (SSO) for many types of on-premises web applications, along with the thousands of SaaS applications already supported. Now this Azure AD feature is expanding its capabilities even further by providing SSO for additional types of web applications, including Remote Desktop and non-Windows apps, as well as applications hosted on IaaS platforms.

Visual Studio Online pricing changes

Visual Studio Online provides services for teams needing to share code, track work and ship software – for any language, all in a single package. It’s the perfect complement to your integrated development environment (IDE). And with pricing reduced up to 90 per cent, now it’s even easier for your development teams to improve collaboration, tracking and shipping on great software. Get started now.

New Build and Deployment service for Visual Studio Online

We’ve made a lot of improvements in Visual Studio Online, including recently making the Build and Deployment service generally available. This service will run in parallel with the existing Build service, which is set to be retired on 1 September 2016. For more information, please visit the Build and Deployment Pricing Announcement web page.

Be Empowered

Performance-testing web apps

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman finds out about a great new feature that lets you run performance tests on your Azure web apps directly from the Azure portal. Watch now.

Microsoft Cloud Roadshow

Join us for a free two-day technical training event for IT professionals and developers that provides best practices and insight directly from the experts who build and run the cloud services across Microsoft Office 365, Azure and Windows 10. Find a city near you.

Build your cloud skills with the Azure Tour

Sign up for a free one-day technical training event for IT professionals and developers to help you be more successful in using the cloud. Content and learning experiences will cover the breadth of the Azure platform and the wealth of developer features between traditional sessions and unique hands-on opportunities.

Register for the Dev-Test Starts with IT webinar series

Scalable, on-demand Azure infrastructure puts you at the helm of your own dev-test process, so more seamless transitions between the data centre and cloud can happen on your terms. In our webinar series, our experts will provide demos and answer your questions about how Azure can help you meet the needs of your dev teams faster and provide you with the tools to manage dev-test environments with more visibility and control. Register for the webinar series now.

Dev-Test Starts with IT – Why Dev-Test on Azure?

TechNet Radio kicks off a new multi-part series entitled Dev-Test Starts with IT. Tune in as they discuss how development and IT organisations can take advantage of a cloud platform such as Azure to improve their agility and overall quality when it comes to supporting a fully dynamic and robust development life-cycle. Watch now.

Building Linux-based solutions on Azure

If you’re running open-source infrastructure and exploring public cloud solutions, you’ll want to watch as Technical Evangelist Rick Claus and four engineers from the Azure Compute team show you just how easy and efficient it is to build, deploy and manage your Linux infrastructure on Azure. View the course.

Deploying Linux Containers in the cloud with Docker and Azure

In part 5 of the TechNet Radio Open Source + Azure series, learn how you can deploy Linux Containers in the cloud using Docker and Azure. After finding out what Docker is and what its main components are, you’ll also be able to watch demos on provisioning.

Cloud Cover: DocumentDB updates

In this episode, find out what Azure DocumentDB is, why it’s important and what new features have been released since the service became generally available in April 2015. Watch now.

You may also be interested in this episode on the updated Enterprise Portal and the new Azure Enterprise Portal Billing API.

Sign up for our webinar, Better Together: O365 and EMS

Enable your employees to unlock the full potential of Microsoft Office 365, the professional standard for cloud-based productivity software. This webinar demonstrates how Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) and Office 365 work together to help you create a secure and productive environment for your workforce. Learn to enhance the basic functionality of Office 365 by pairing it with the capabilities of EMS to support new productivity models. Register for the webinar which is taking place at 10:00 Pacific Time (UTC-7) on 27 October 2015.

Managing devices in the cloud with Microsoft Intune

In part 5 of the To the Cloud! series, find out how Microsoft Intune helps organisations provide their employees with access to corporate software, data and resources from virtually anywhere, on almost any device.

Getting Started with Azure Security for the IT Professional

IT pros interested in cloud security options will want to watch this course. Rick Claus joins a team of security experts and Azure engineers to take you beyond the basic certifications and explore what’s possible inside Azure. Find out how to ensure your cloud solution meets (and exceeds) the bar for security – both your organisation’s and your own – including industry standards, attestations and ISO certifications. Watch this free on-demand course.

Register for the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 upgrade webinar

Extended support for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 ends in April 2016. In this webinar, learn about the risks of continuing to rely on ageing technology, along with the many benefits of migrating to SQL Server 2014 and Azure SQL Database. In addition to detailing the performance benefits of the upgrade, this webinar offers migration strategies/scenarios, a practical three-step approach to the upgrade process and important tools and resources to get you started. Register for the webinar today.

Tackle the top five data challenges with Microsoft SQL Server

Data represents a competitive advantage, provides insights into organisational performance and unlocks breakthroughs and new market opportunities. Data growth also creates a number of concerns. In this webinar, held on 29 October 2015 at 10:00 Pacific Time (UTC-7), you’ll learn to tackle the top five data challenges with a unified approach that improves security, reduces complexity and lowers the costs normally associated with data platforms.Register for the webinar now.

Be Entertained

*Comic source: Reprinted with permission.

Be Inspired

Data-driven bid for world’s fastest land speed record

North American Eagle teamed with Microsoft to design a cloud solution that includes advanced computational fluid dynamics software running on Azure, Azure Blob Storage, Azure Machine Learning, Microsoft Office 365 and Power BI. Data is ingested from 24 car sensors, analysed and published to Power BI dashboards in near real time. The team will use Machine Learning to aggregate and analyse data from prior and current runs to create predictive models for safely increasing speed.

Learn more

Dartmouth-Hitchcock ushers in a new age of proactive, personalised healthcare using Cortana Analytics Suite

It’s called ImagineCare, and it’s built on Microsoft’s leading technology for machine learning, big data storage and processing, and perceptual intelligence – including Cortana Analytics Suite. Dartmouth’s goal is to provide this technology platform to health organisations across the country, changing the way people interact with the healthcare system by putting them at the centre of it – and ultimately helping change the way we all think about our health.

Learn more

Be Enhanced

Visit Marketplace


Register for the Open Source IoT Solutions on Azure event with Canonical, DataArt and Microsoft

You’re invited to join Canonical, DataArt, and Microsoft in New York City on November 12, 2015, for an event about open source IoT solutions on Azure. DataArt and Canonical will demonstrate industrial preventive maintenance and home IoT scenarios for prototyping, scaling, and deploying. Available on Azure Marketplace, DataArt DeviceHive running on Canonical Ubuntu VMs, provides an accessible, flexible IoT platform. We’ll also discuss and demonstrate new bundled IoT solutions and examples, DeviceHive on Snappy (RPii), Data Analytics stack deployed by Juju, and Azure services.

SnapCLOUD, an enterprise-class virtual NAS solution

SnapCLOUD provides better collaboration, performance and security for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives, with global data access sync and share capabilities that work up to 16 times faster than Dropbox. It reduces CAPEX requirements for managing data growth by converting to an OPEX-based pay-per-use model. SnapCLOUD also drastically lowers operational costs with central management for all storage infrastructure, from central data centres and remote offices to the public cloud. For more information on SnapCLOUD, register for our webinar, held on 18 November 2015.

Learn more

Azure Marketplace

Featured: KEMP LoadMaster helps extend on-premises deployments to the cloud

For Azure deployments of Microsoft applications that require Layer 4-7 load balancing, perimeter security and the protection of a web application firewall, the KEMP LoadMaster provides a powerful, feature-rich, enterprise-class solution. Customers who wish to extend their on-premises deployments into the cloud can use an Internet Protocol Security (IPSEC)-based VPN tunnel to seamlessly leverage cloud-based resources at times of peak demand. LoadMaster web-based access and programmability via Azure PowerShell ensure the KEMP solution can easily integrate with and extend to existing infrastructures, while providing the highest levels of performance and security for a variety of workloads in Azure, including Microsoft SharePoint, Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS).
Visit Marketplace page

New: Profisee delivers enterprise-grade master data management to Azure Marketplace

For organizations interested in the fastest ROI for an evaluation, proof-of-concept, pilot, or any master data management (MDM) application focused on immediate improvement to an existing Microsoft Master Data Services application, Profisee offers an all-in-one VM—everything needed to run Master Data Maestro base server—via Azure Marketplace. Customers worldwide use Maestro to securely manage and maintain a single, authoritative view of their critical business data (for example, a 360-degree view of customer information, single product view, and master employee directories). Now companies can take advantage of the Maestro real-time operational MDM to deploy comprehensive multidomain MDM solutions based in the Azure cloud, on-premises, or hybrid implementations. Read the Master Data Maestro for Azure solution brief and visit the Profisee website for more information.

New: ArcGIS for Server helps customers create web and native apps for any device

ArcGIS for Server is now easily deployed on Azure. ArcGIS for Server images on Azure include a powerful geographic information system (GIS) server; a web GIS portal; ready-to-use apps like Esri Maps for Office and Esri Maps for Microsoft SharePoint, the widest selection of authoritative base maps available; and much more. Customers can immediately take advantage of all the capabilities that web GIS has to offer, including smart mapping, 2D and 3D visualisations, spatial analysis and the ability to create web and native apps for any device without writing any code.
Visit Marketplace page

New: Corent SurPaas analyses your application for effective Cloud migration

Corent Technology’s award-winning SurPaaS platform for migrating and managing applications on Azure can transform applications, no matter whether your application was born in the cloud or has been migrated there. SurPaaS automatically analyses and optimises it for the Azure cloud, and optionally transforms it into a fully instrumented multi-tenant SaaS application. SurPaaS on Azure enables ISVs, enterprises and managed service providers/systems integrators to easily, efficiently and automatically Analyse, Optimise, Migrate and Manage (AOMM) any application to the cloud, whether they are being used internally or marketed as SaaS offerings.
Visit Marketplace page