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Azure Newsletter: December 2017

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.

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Welcome to the website version of the Azure Newsletter! We’ve created this to help make it easier for you to view the articles you’re interested in reading. If you select a category below, it will just display the articles for that topic. Want to see everything again? Click all.


Azure. Cloud for all.

We believe that the success made possible by the #cloud must be accessible to every business and every organisation – small and large, old and new. Watch video.

Free e-book: Cloud Application Architecture Guide

This 300-page cloud computing architecture e-book focuses on architecture, design and implementation – considerations that apply no matter which cloud platform you choose. Download now to explore best practices and get access to design review checklists, reference architectures, and more.


Upcoming events

Microsoft Tech Summit Birmingham
24 January 2018
Birmingham, United Kingdom
IoT in Action with Microsoft San Francisco
13 February 2018
San Francisco, California, USA
Mobile World Congress
26 February 2018
Barcelona, Spain
try! Swift Conference
1 March 2018
Tokyo, Japan
5 March 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada, US
Gartner Data & Analytics Summit 2018
5 March 2018
Grapevine, Texas, USA

Be Informed

Azure Advisor – your personalised best practices service just got better

Azure Advisor brings an all-new dashboard to help you more easily review the overall status of your recommendations across multiple subscriptions, downloadable reports and customisation options to tune Advisor to your needs. Review your recommendations at no cost in Advisor in the Azure portal.


Windows Server system state backup to Azure with Azure Backup generally available

With this release, Azure Backup has full production support for protecting Windows File Servers, Active Directory and Internet Information Services (IIS) web servers hosted on Windows Server 2016 and all the way back to Windows Server 2008 R2. Backing up your Windows Server system state to Azure gives you simple, secure and cost-effective protection for Windows Server, as well as recovery of dynamic operating systems and app configuration from Azure in the event of an IT disaster. Sign up for your Azure free account.

Azure Database Migration Service in preview

Azure Database Migration Service, now in preview, is a seamless, end-to-end solution for moving on-premises SQL Server instances to Azure. Streamline database migrations to the cloud by signing up for the preview today.

Azure SQL Database engine functionality updates

Three new Azure SQL Database engine features are generally available. With the resumable online index rebuild feature, you can pause an operation and resume it later from where the rebuild operation was paused or failed. The database-scoped temporary tables enable the use of global temporary tables scoped to a specific database, so all user sessions can share tables within the same database. The Catalog Collation feature specifies the default collation for the metadata catalogue.

Transactional replication to Azure SQL Database generally available

The transactional replication to Azure SQL Database feature replicates your data from on-premises SQL Servers to Azure SQL databases in one direction. This feature enables you to migrate your on-premises SQL Server databases to Azure SQL databases with minimal downtime. Learn more from the Azure Blog.

Azure Cosmos DB: Storage Explorer now in preview

Azure Cosmos DB now comes with desktop data management tooling offered via Azure Storage Explorer. This is a fast, responsive, cross-platform data management experience for Azure Cosmos DB on Mac, Windows and Linux, consistent with the Azure Cosmos DB Portal. The preview helps users to manage Azure Cosmos DB entities across multiple accounts, manipulate data, and update stored procedures and triggers. Learn more from the Azure Blog.

Azure Cosmos DB Table API generally available

Azure Cosmos DB Table API is now generally available in all Azure regions. With Azure Cosmos DB Table API support, apps written for Azure Table storage can now use the premium capabilities of Azure Cosmos DB, including turnkey global distribution, low latency reads and writes, automatic secondary indexing, dedicated throughput, and much more. Azure Cosmos DB Table API support is accessible through the Azure portal.

Azure Cosmos DB Graph API: Improved support for PHP

The Azure Cosmos DB Graph API now supports the Apache Tinkerpop-recommended Gremlin framework, gremlin-php. Check out our new guide, Quickstart with Azure Cosmos DB Graph API in PHP.

Azure Cosmos DB network security: New IP firewall rule

There is now support for a new firewall rule that helps customers limit access to an Azure Cosmos DB account from services deployed in Azure. This is in addition to the IP-based firewall support Azure Cosmos DB already provides to limit database access to specific IP addresses.

Microsoft IoT Central in preview

Microsoft IoT Central is a fully managed software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that enables powerful Internet of Things (IoT) scenarios without requiring cloud solution expertise. Built on Azure, Microsoft IoT Central simplifies the development process and makes it easy and fast for customers to get started, making digital transformation more accessible to everyone. Microsoft IoT Central is available along with our existing platform as a service (PaaS) solution, Azure IoT Suite, which enables deep customisation and full control.

Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service generally available

Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service dramatically simplifies the job of provisioning Internet of Things (IoT) devices to a solution. It works in harmony with Azure IoT Hub to help solutions enable zero-touch “plug and play” provisioning of IoT devices. You can pre-register devices to centrally control which IoT hub each device should be connected to and move devices between IoT hubs. Once connected, the device can be provisioned with the correct software, firmware and configuration using the device management capabilities in IoT Hub.

Azure Functions: Azure IoT Edge, Linux and Proxies

Azure Functions has new features and functionalities. Functions on IoT Edge enables developers to run Functions even on devices that aren’t always connected to the cloud. Functions Proxies streamlines the creation of serverless API and microservices architectures using Functions. Functions on Linux gives you additional deployment options: bring your code and run it on pre-configured Linux containers or deploy your own containers, including all dependencies.

Azure Bot Service generally available

Azure Bot Service provides a scalable, integrated bot development and hosting environment for intelligent bots that can reach customers across multiple channels. Bot Service helps speed up development by providing an integrated environment purpose-built for bot development. You can get started in seconds with out-of-the-box templates. Microsoft Bot Framework is built into each template to streamline your workflow, increase your interactions, and reach more customers in multiple channels from your website or app. By adding Microsoft Cognitive Services you can also enable your bots to see, hear, interpret and interact in more human ways.

Microsoft Cognitive Services: Language Understanding (LUIS) generally available

Now generally available on the Azure portal, the Language Understanding service (LUIS) provides simple tools that enable you to build your own language models which allow any application or bot to understand your commands and act accordingly. Use a comprehensive set of APIs that will interpret your sentences and identify intents and entities that you’ve trained into your LUIS model, helping any bot or app to provide natural language-based interactions for users. Easily integrate Language Understanding with your Azure Bot Service bots and Microsoft Cognitive Services APIs, such as Bing Spell Check and Speech.

On-demand webinar: Building bots with Azure Bot Service and LUIS

Learn how new Azure Bot Service and Language Understanding service (LUIS) features enable developers to build bots and language models that allow any app to understand language commands and act accordingly. Register now.

Innovate.AI: a global startup competition

Are you working on a product that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and/or machine learning? There’s still time to enter the Innovate.AI startup competition. Three winning companies will each win a $1 million US dollar (USD) investment and USD $500000 in Azure credits from Microsoft Ventures and our partner venture capital (VC) firms. Participating companies must be located in North America, Europe or Israel and have raised less than USD $4 million.


Azure ExpressRoute monitoring in preview

Network Performance Monitor can now monitor end-to-end (E2E) connectivity and performance to your virtual networks in Azure over Azure ExpressRoute. With Network Performance Monitor you can measure packet loss and network latency, bandwidth utilisation, detect downtime of the primary and secondary circuits, and set alerts. Learn more and sign up for the preview.

Azure Archive Storage generally available

Azure Archive Storage and blob-level tiering are generally available. Archive Storage provides a very low-cost option for storing infrequently accessed data, and it’s generally available in 14 Azure regions. Learn more about Archive Storage and its availability, as well as pricing for blob-level tiering.

Be empowered

Azure Friday: Azure DDoS Protection service

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman learns about protecting apps on Azure from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks with the Azure DDoS Protection service. Azure resources now have access to the same DDoS protection technology that protects other Microsoft online services, such as Xbox Live and Office 365. Watch now.

See IoT in Action with Microsoft in Tokyo and Seoul

Whether you’re looking to create new revenue streams or identify new business opportunities, the IoT in Action event is for you. Meet and hear from Microsoft visionary Internet of Things (IoT) leaders, gain industry insights, and build partnerships with key IoT solution providers from around the world. IoT in Action is coming to Tokyo on 25 January 2018, and Seoul on 30 January 2018.


Watch on demand: Microsoft Azure OpenDev

The latest episode in our online open source community meetup is now available on demand for free. This second edition focuses on DevOps with technical talks and demos showcasing the journey of an enterprise app to the cloud. Top developers will show how to combine leading projects in a DevOps toolchain with the power of Azure. Watch now and see what’s possible with open source on the cloud.

New to Azure? Register for a live getting-started webinar with Q&A – every Tuesday and Thursday

Join us for a live overview of the Azure portal and products. See Azure in action as we demonstrate easy ways to begin deploying resources and answer your questions in real time with Azure technical experts. Register now.

On-demand webinar: How one city responded to a natural disaster

With a natural disaster such as a hurricane, a city needs to understand what they can do to keep key functions up and running. Learn how the City of Houston, Texas responded during Hurricane Harvey. Hear from Chief Information Officer Lisa Kent on how her team kept citizen services, data centres, email, voice and other essential IT services up and running despite the flooding and winds. Watch on demand now.

Rebuilding for the cloud

Rebuilding for the cloud forces engineers to break habits, try new tech, and leave their comfort zones. Watch the video.

Case study: Bringing digital transformation to the supply chain with Azure IoT Suite

At Microsoft, we’re using Azure IoT Suite and Power BI to transform our hardware manufacturing and supply chain in three phases. The first phase brings together data from disparate sources in common reports that provide people with the right data about manufacturing trends. The second phase uses data for predictive insights about our operations. Our third and final phase integrates machine learning and predictive maintenance into our supply chain process for even more efficiency and cost savings. Read more.


On-demand webinar: Get started with Azure IoT Edge

Azure IoT Edge is a service that enables cloud intelligence to run locally on your Internet of Things (IoT) devices. With Azure IoT Edge, you can deploy cloud workloads such as artificial intelligence (AI), Azure Machine Learning, Azure Stream Analytics, Azure Functions and custom code via containers directly on your IoT device to enable real-time insights. Register now.

On-demand webinar: Migrate to Azure with Windows Containers

Learn how to approach the modernisation of your existing .NET Framework web or service-oriented apps. App modernisation, commonly referred to as “lift and shift”, is the action of moving a workload to a newer or more modern environment without altering the app’s code and basic architecture. In this webinar, you’ll find out how to move your existing .NET Framework server apps directly to Azure by modernising specific areas, without re-architecting or recoding entire apps. Register now.

On-demand webinar: Repeatable deployments with Terraform on Azure

In the past, deploying and managing infrastructure has often been an error-prone, manual process. In this webinar, you’ll find out how to use Terraform and Infrastructure as Code (IaC) patterns to create reliable, repeatable and automated deployments on Azure. You’ll also learn how to create a real-world deployment example that equips a multi-tier app with networking and security requirements. Register now.

On-demand webinar: Add the power of Azure to your Windows Server workloads

In this webinar, learn about the benefits of using the Azure cloud for your Windows Server workloads. We’ll demonstrate how to use Azure to add cloud agility and efficiency to your Windows Server environment. You’ll learn how to migrate apps and workloads and integrate on-premises Windows Server environments with innovative hybrid capabilities such as backup and storage. You’ll also see how to set up powerful hybrid security for Windows and Linux apps running on Windows Server in Azure or on premises. Register now.

Case study: Managing modern mobile productivity with Enterprise Mobility + Security

With more people using personal devices for work, there’s an ever-expanding need to protect corporate resources, documents and data. At Microsoft, we manage mobile productivity for a consistent experience on work and personal devices. Find out how to manage the opportunities and challenges of mobile productivity using Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory to balance mobility with app security and identity management. Read more.


Be entertained

*Comic source: Reprinted with permission.

Be inspired

GoDaddy ports communications services to Linux in six weeks using .NET Core

From building websites to hosting productivity tools, GoDaddy provides technology that helps small businesses succeed. The company acquired FreedomVoice in 2016 to enlarge its portfolio of communication offerings. Find out how GoDaddy developers quickly and easily ported the Microsoft .NET-based technology stack from FreedomVoice to .NET Core – a step critical to creating a new end-to-end business telephony solution running on Linux.

Learn more

TD builds on its reputation for excellent service with the Microsoft Cloud

TD Bank Group is focused on building the bank of the future – a future where digital is one of the core driving forces of its transformation journey; where data provides insights into customer beliefs, needs and behaviours; and where technology will be the centrepiece of the bank’s delivery model. See how the Microsoft Cloud can help harness the data that TD will require to deliver on its promise of legendary service at every touchpoint.

Learn more

Be Enhanced: Partners

ScaleArc helps get your apps onto Azure with no code changes

The ScaleArc software works with SQL Server on Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Azure SQL Database to make database apps Azure-ready. Database workloads running on the cloud must run on smaller virtual machines (VMs). ScaleArc enables this automatically, performing read/write split so that apps can run on horizontal, scaled-out database servers with no code changes. ScaleArc also augments database failover to make it transparent to users. See how NHS Choices was able to improve uptime and performance on Azure with ScaleArc.

Learn more

BioCatch collaborates with Microsoft on global and regional levels

Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity company BioCatch has worked with Microsoft since its inception in 2011. Frances Zelazny, Vice President of Marketing, said: “BioCatch has been working very closely with Microsoft over the past year and has seen quantifiable impact on our pipeline and revenue growth prospects.” Find out how the partnership has helped BioCatch grow its solution and business capabilities.

Learn more

Azure Marketplace

New: F5 web application firewall solutions comprehensively protect Azure workloads

The F5 web application firewall (WAF) solution, named a Gartner Magic Quadrant leader in 2017, is powered by industry-proven F5 BIG-IP Application Security Manager and BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager technologies. This solution provides complete visibility into application traffic. That enables industry-leading protection against all Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) top 10 threats, layer 7 Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, malicious bot traffic, and other vulnerabilities. Download a 30-day free trial and learn more about F5’s leadership position in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Web Application Firewalls.

Learn more

New: Azure and Forcepoint team up to launch Forcepoint Next Gen Firewall

With Forcepoint Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW), you can safely and easily extend your organisation’s network into your Azure cloud environment via a secure VPN gateway. That includes remote sites, branch offices, data centres and the network edge. Our centralised management helps you create and deploy policies swiftly and consistently across all of your systems so that you can quickly zero in on what’s happening in both your Azure environment and your physical network.

Visit Marketplace page