Azure Newsletter: July 2016

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Be Informed

Featured customer-submitted story: Indigo Cloud

Indigo Cloud has been using Azure since 2011 and they love it. They developed a debt-recovery platform (DebtView) in the cloud so they could provide enterprise-level functionality to small businesses at a price that makes sense. By using DebtView, smaller businesses can now compete with large, established players. Thanks to the scalability of the Azure Platform, they are able to provide larger companies with the same service, for a fraction of the cost of on-premises systems. Indigo Cloud has seen companies that would traditionally outsource bad debt bring it back in-house for tremendous savings. Azure helped Indigo Cloud reach markets and customers that were previously unattainable.

Download these infographics and become an Azure master builder

Designed to help you build real-world Azure solutions faster, Azure architecture blueprints are collected in a repository of scenario-based diagrams available in 2D, 3D and video. Whether you’re interested in e-commerce, line-of-business apps, multiplayer games or cloud storage, browse the blueprints for getting stuff done with Azure.

Did you miss WPC 2016?

If you weren’t one of the more than 16,000 attendees at this year’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), you can still catch up on all the news, keynotes (including Tuesday’s keynote by Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise), photos and videos. Make sure you read the blog post by Takeshi Numoto, Corporate Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise, about new Microsoft innovations and programmes announced during WPC. And, start thinking ahead to 2017 – registration is already open!

Image WPC 2016

GE and Microsoft partner to bring Predix to Azure

Earlier this month, GE and Microsoft announced a partnership that will make GE’s Predix platform for the Industrial Internet available on the Azure cloud for industrial businesses. The move marks the first step in a broad strategic collaboration between the two companies, and will allow customers around the world to capture intelligence from their industrial assets and take advantage of our enterprise cloud applications. Learn more.

Azure announces general availability of two new US regions

Two new Azure data centres are generally available to customers in the United States and across the globe: West US 2 and West Central US. The two new cloud regions will receive the same industry-leading levels of security, privacy and control, compliance and transparency. This includes data replication in multiple locations within the US for business continuity. We’ve now announced 34 Azure regions around the world with 26 generally available – more than any other major cloud provider.

Upcoming events

Visual Studio Live!
8 August 2016
Redmond, Washington

LinuxCon North America 2016
22 August 2016
Toronto, Canada

IBC 2016
8 September 2016
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Microsoft Ignite
26 September 2016
Atlanta, Georgia

26 September 2016
Dublin, Ireland

Microsoft Developer Camps

Be Inspired

Be Enhanced




Bring your vision to ours and help shape the future of the cloud.

Editor’s note

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Microsoft Power BI Embedded generally available

Microsoft Power BI Embedded allows ISVs and developers to embed stunning, fully-interactive reports into customer-facing apps. Now the service is available with a service-level agreement (SLA) in nine data centres worldwide. We have new functionalities such as row-level security for advanced filtering, and we’ve simplified and updated the Power BI Embedded pricing model.

Cortana Intelligence Suite with Bing Predicts in public preview

Cortana Intelligence Suite with Bing Predicts helps you take advantage of our unique social and web data to gain consumer insights and interpret industry trends. Bing Predicts is a custom services program that leverages the power of proprietary and unique Microsoft data (Bing, Internet Explorer, web, Windows and more), so you can augment your Cortana Intelligence Suite solutions for more accurate answers to a wide variety of business questions.

Microsoft Cognitive Services – Bing APIs generally available

Microsoft Cognitive Services is a collection of APIs that enable developers to build intelligent apps by tapping into high-quality vision, speech, language, knowledge and search technologies developed through decades of Microsoft research. The following Bing APIs are now available: Bing Autosuggest API helps users complete queries faster by adding intelligent type-ahead capabilities to an app or website; Bing Spell Check API helps correct spelling errors, among other capabilities; and Bing Search APIs makes apps, web pages and other experiences smarter and more engaging.

Azure HDInsight exclusively available on the Azure Portal

Starting 1 August 2016, Azure HDInsight on the Azure Classic Portal will be redirected to the Azure Portal. When this takes place, customers will be redirected to the portal to create or manage their HDInsight clusters. This change won’t affect customers’ HDInsight clusters.

Microsoft IoT Hub S3 edition generally available

Microsoft IoT Hub S3 addresses enterprise scenarios where you have a large number of devices that generate large amounts of data and must transmit messages frequently. Each unit of the S3 edition lets you transmit up to 300 million messages per day. Azure IoT Hub S3 is the fourth edition in the Azure IoT Hub family; the others are Free, S1 and S2.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 available later this year

Available this autumn, Microsoft Dynamics 365 evolves our current CRM and ERP cloud solutions into one cloud service with new purpose-built apps to help manage specific business functions, including: Financials, Field Service, Sales, Operations, Marketing, Project Service Automation and Customer Service. Dynamics 365 apps are designed so they can be easily and independently deployed. That means you can start small and pay only for what you need. Yet they work together seamlessly so, as your business demands, you can grow into additional capabilities with ease. For more information, visit the Official Microsoft Blog.

Microsoft introduces AppSource for line-of-business SaaS apps

AppSource helps business users find and evaluate SaaS apps unique to their industry and line-of-business role, built by ISV partners on top of Dynamics, Office and the Azure platform. Users can also discover content packs and add-ins for Microsoft business apps such as Dynamics CRM, Power BI and Office. For more information, visit the Official Microsoft Blog.

Featured video – The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land game built on Azure DocumentDB

On 7 October 2015, AMC and Next Games released The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land, the official mobile game based on AMC’s record-breaking TV series, for iOS. Within a week, the game quickly skyrocketed to the No. 1 spot on Apple’s Top Free App chart. To handle the massive scale and performance requirements for their highly anticipated game (over 1 million downloads and 31 million minutes played during the opening weekend alone), the Next Games development team chose to implement their back-end services on Azure. Watch video and learn more about Azure DocumentDB.

Help secure data in Azure SQL Database with Always Encrypted, now generally available

Always Encrypted in Azure SQL Database helps protect sensitive data, such as credit card numbers or national identification numbers (for example, US Social Security numbers), stored in Microsoft SQL Server databases and SQL Database. Always Encrypted allows clients to encrypt sensitive data inside client applications and not reveal the encryption keys to the database. As a result, Always Encrypted distinguishes between those who own the data (and can view it) and those who manage the data (but should not have access). For more information, please visit the Azure Blog.

Azure SQL Data Warehouse generally available in select regions

Azure SQL Data Warehouse is now generally available in most regions where Azure Premium Storage is also generally available, and introduces higher compute options – 3000 DWU and 6000 DWU. SQL Data Warehouse is your go-to SQL-based view across data, offering a fast, fully managed, petabyte-scale cloud solution. SQL Data Warehouse decouples compute and storage for the freedom to scale and size your environment. We’ve also introduced general availability pricing for both compute and storage – including a shift to Premium Storage for greater performance.

SQL Server Stretch Database generally available

With SQL Server Stretch Database, you can dynamically stretch warm and cold transactional data from Microsoft SQL Server 2016 to Azure. Unlike typical cold data storage, the data is always at hand. Stretch Database lets you retain data longer and more affordably than typical enterprise storage. Depending on how often the data will be accessed, you can choose the appropriate level of service, and then scale up or down as needed. Using Stretch Database doesn’t require any application changes. Customers can also use Stretch Database with new Always Encrypted technology, which helps protect your data at rest and in motion – extending data in a more secured manner for greater peace of mind.

Microsoft R Server for Linux virtual machines generally available

Microsoft R Server is the most broadly deployable enterprise-class analytics platform for R available today. With a variety of big-data capabilities, including statistics, predictive modelling and machine learning, R Server supports the full range of analytics based on open-source R: exploration, analysis, visualisation and modelling. By using and extending open-source R, R Server is fully compatible with R scripts, functions and CRAN packages, and can analyse data at enterprise scale. We also addressed in-memory limitations of open-source R by adding parallel and chunked data processing in R Server, so users can run analytics on data much bigger than what fits in main memory.

Microsoft R Client in preview

Microsoft R Client is a free tool that lets data scientists explore production data to create models and algorithms using powerful ScaleR APIs. When you install R Client, you get access to enhanced R packages and connectivity tools provided in Microsoft R Server. On its own, R Client is throttled to three cores: One thread for reading and two for processing RevoScaleR HPA functions. R Client is in-memory bound, even with XDF files. While R Client can be used on its own, you can benefit from hybrid memory, disk scalability, performance and speed when you push the compute context to an R Server production instance. R Client is optimised to work with all R Server versions. For more information on how to install R Client, visit the Install Microsoft R Client on Windows web page and this Getting started guide.

ExpressRoute generally available in additional locations

The Azure ExpressRoute footprint is expanding to Paris, Newport (Wales) and Quebec City. For a full overview of available ExpressRoute locations, visit the ExpressRoute partners and peering locations documentation web page.

Be Empowered

Azure Data Factory – Monitoring and managing big-data pipelines

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman learns about improvements to the tools in Azure Data Factory and how it’s now even easier to monitor and manage big-data pipelines. Watch it now.

Securing your data in Azure SQL Database

For details on the security and data management features in Azure SQL Database, watch this Microsoft Virtual Academy course. Our instructors show you the foundation of data security in the cloud provided by Azure, and explore the techniques and features used to manage data access in SQL Database and to log and monitor database activity. Learn how SQL Database protects data at rest and in transit and how you can build secure applications.

Microsoft IT improves security with Azure Multi-Factor Authentication

To improve security and better support the productivity of our mobile workforce, Microsoft IT enabled Azure Multi-Factor Authentication as an additional verification method for signing in securely. Now, users can sign in from any device with a single user identity via a simple phone call or mobile app notification. As a result, we’ve improved user experience, reduced helpdesk calls and improved the performance of the service. Learn more.

What’s new in Windows Server 2016

If you’re thinking of moving to Windows Server 2016, watch this helpful course from Microsoft Virtual Academy. Get details on the new features and functionality in this version of Windows Server, along with those modified from previous versions. Our expert instructor team offers demonstrations and high-level overviews, including Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V, software-defined networking, storage and security features.

Cloud Cover: Azure Functions

In this episode, learn about how Azure Functions provides a way to host code that can respond to a variety of triggers. Azure Functions currently provides first-class support for C# and Node with additional functionality on the way (PowerShell, F#, Python and more).

Real Madrid C.F. and Microsoft unveil new app

Real Madrid C.F. is one of the most successful and widely supported sports organisations in the world. But with only three per cent of Real Madrid’s fans actually living in Madrid, it has become increasingly important for the club to find ways to directly connect with supporters worldwide. Watch the video to learn more.

Cloud Cover: Netflix Spinnaker on Azure

In this episode, learn how you can leverage Spinnaker, Netflix’s open-source, multiple-cloud, global continuous delivery platform. Spinnaker is designed to be pluggable – allowing different tasks, models and targets to be incorporated into the deployment pipeline. It supports various deployment targets such as Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine, Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry. Now with Microsoft’s contribution, Spinnaker also deploys to Azure.

Connect with us on the Azure Google+ channel

Follow our page on Google+ for the latest information, content and videos on Azure. The page is updated daily and brings together the Azure community to engage with up-to-date content and idea exchanges.

Be Entertained

*Comic source: Reprinted with permission.

Be Inspired

Improving vaccine management

Weka’s Smart-Fridge improves vaccine management so more people can be protected against diseases. While vaccines continue to save countless lives, many people never receive this simple form of protection. To inoculate more people against diseases, doctors need an easier, more effective way to safely store vaccines and manage inventory. Each dose is fragile and expensive. Standard vaccines can cost USD 100, while biologics – vaccines used to treat people with autoimmune disorders – can cost USD 10,000 per dose. To avoid spoilage, most vaccines must be stored between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.

Learn more

Enhancing banking with cross-platform mobile apps

We don’t think twice about shopping online, using our phones to find the closest petrol station, or making dinner plans through Skype. But as comfortable as we are with modern technology, there is still a conservative side to managing money. To compete, banks try to strike a balance between honouring their roots and appealing to consumers with new services. Learn more

Be Enhanced


Helping people see and understand data

Used by more than 39,000 companies and organisations worldwide, Tableau delivers fast analytics, visualisation and rapid-fire business intelligence. And with Tableau Server on Azure Marketplace, users can deploy Tableau to their organisations faster, to share and collaborate around their insights while keeping total control on the cloud stack.

Visit Marketplace page

Azure Marketplace

Featured: CloudBees delivers enterprise-scale continuous delivery via Azure Marketplace

The CloudBees Jenkins Platform for Azure enables enterprise teams to host continuous delivery processes through a preconfigured CloudBees Jenkins Platform that can be purchased and provisioned on Azure in minutes. Available direct from Azure Marketplace, it’s a proven, fully featured enterprise platform for implementing continuous integration and continuous delivery powered by Jenkins.

Visit Marketplace page

New: OutSystems Platform solution template

Recognised as a Visionary in the Gartner March 2016 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Application Platform as a Service, the OutSystems Platform is now available in Azure Marketplace as a solution template for multiple virtual machines, facilitating the deployment of a production-ready environment in just a few clicks.

Visit Marketplace page

New: Alteryx Analytics empowering analysts

Alteryx Analytics lets analysts easily prep, blend and analyse all their data using a repeatable workflow, then deploy and share analytics at scale for deeper insights in hours – not weeks. Analysts can also join data together to perform predictive, statistical and spatial analytics using an intuitive user interface, without writing any code. Thousands of companies worldwide rely on Alteryx daily.

Visit Marketplace page

Editor’s note


I know it’s not technically summer for everyone reading this July edition of the newsletter, but I hope everyone can enjoy some time off and pursue their passion outside of work. Or if your work is your passion, I can’t wait to see what you may create with Azure and to share it with the newsletter community. Here is one exciting story on how NASCAR launched a new race management app to collect multiple live video feeds and to act as a dashboard for race officials.