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Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform helps automakers transform cars

Earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft announced the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform, a set of services built on the Azure cloud and designed to empower auto manufacturers to create custom connected driving experiences. This is not an in-car operating system or a “finished product”, it’s a living, agile platform that starts with the cloud as the foundation and aims to address five core scenarios that our partners have told us are key priorities: predictive maintenance, improved in-car productivity, advanced navigation, customer insights and help with building autonomous driving capabilities. Read more about the partnerships with Renault-Nissan Alliance, BMW and Volvo.

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Microsoft Translator live feature preview now available

The Microsoft Translator live feature preview is now available in Translator apps and on the Microsoft Translator website. This feature enables many in-person, real-time translation scenarios – from translated meetings to presenting to multilingual audiences – in these supported languages. Try the Translator API free subscription under Microsoft Cognitive Services. Private beta for this Translator API live feature will start in the first part of 2017. Contact us if you’re interested in participating.

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Azure IoT Hub message routing simplifies IoT solution development

Imagine millions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices sending billions of messages to the Azure IoT cloud. Some of those messages must be processed immediately, like an alarm indicating a serious problem; some messages are analysed for anomalies; and some messages are sent to long-term storage. In each case, customers must build routing logic to decide where to send the IoT message. To help make this easier, we launched Azure IoT Hub message routing, which lets customers set up automatic routes for IoT messages without having to write a single line of code.

Azure Logic Apps Enterprise Integration Pack generally available

The Enterprise Integration Pack (EIP), a feature of Azure Logic Apps, is generally available as of December 2016. Customers can now create and manage B2B-related artefacts including XML schemas, maps, trading partner agreements and certificates. Customers can also leverage tracking and management capabilities using Microsoft Operations Management Suite. With general availability, you can also leverage additional enterprise connectors such as SAP ECC and MQ Series, with many more to come soon. Learn more from the Azure Blog.

Azure Media Services Standard Streaming Endpoint in public preview

Standard Streaming Endpoint for Azure Media Services is in public preview. Streaming Endpoints are components that deliver content directly to a media player application or to Azure Content Delivery Network for further distribution. Moving forwards, all new Media Services accounts will be created with Standard Streaming Endpoint in stopped state by default. All new Media Services accounts come with a 15-day free trial. Existing Streaming Endpoint won’t be automatically migrated to Standard Streaming Endpoint, but will have the option to migrate manually. For more information, visit the Azure Blog.

Streaming Endpoint integration with Azure Content Delivery Network

Azure Media Services customers can enable Azure Content Delivery Network from either Akamai or Verizon for their streaming endpoints. All Content Delivery Network pricing tiers are supported. When Content Delivery Network is enabled for a streaming endpoint, network transfer charges from Streaming Endpoint to the CDN are waived. Please note that data transfer charges from Content Delivery Network still apply. For more information about pricing, visit the Media Services Pricing, Bandwidth Pricing Details and Content Delivery Network (CDN) pricing web pages. For more information, visit the Azure Blog.

Apache Kafka for Azure HDInsight in public preview

Now in public preview, Apache Kafka for Azure HDInsight is an open-source stream ingestion broker that can handle a large number of real-time reads and writes per second from thousands of clients. Learn more in this video.

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Azure SQL Database announces performance upgrades

Effective immediately and with no price change, per-database read and log-write resources across all Premium performance levels for Azure SQL Database are now increased by 100 per cent. Log-write resources in the Basic and Standard performance levels are also increased by 100 per cent. This performance increase allows for price optimisation and onboarding of workloads with even higher performance requirements. Learn more from the Azure Blog.

Azure DocumentDB now generally available in more regions

Azure DocumentDB is now generally available in United Kingdom regions. DocumentDB is a fast, global-scale NoSQL service for building highly available, globally distributed apps. Take advantage of SQL and JavaScript over document and key-value data without the hassles of on-premises or virtual machine-based cloud database options.

Introducing Azure DocumentDB Change Feed

Available immediately, the Azure DocumentDB Change Feed functionality can be used to listen for modifications to data within DocumentDB collections. It can also be used to perform actions such as triggering a call to an API when a document is inserted or modified; performing real-time processing on updates; and synchronising data in DocumentDB with a cache, search engine or data warehouse. To learn more, read the Introducing Change Feed support in Azure DocumentDB blog post.

Av2-Series now generally available for Azure Cloud Services

Av2-Series instances for Azure Cloud Services are now available in all regions where Av2 virtual machines are currently offered. Av2-Series Cloud Services cost up to 36 per cent less than the current A-Series Standard Cloud Services. Av2-Series are available in standard memory options in 1, 2, 4 and 8 cores with memory ranging from 2 GB to 16 GB, and in higher memory options in 2, 4 and 8 cores with memory ranging from 16 GB to 64 GB.

G-Series instances for Azure Virtual Machines available in Japan East

Azure Virtual Machines customers can take advantage of the G-Series instances now available in Japan East. They feature the Intel Xeon processor E5 v3 family and provide unparalleled computational performance, as well as more memory and more local solid-state drive (SSD) storage than almost any current virtual machine size in the public cloud, making it ideal for your most demanding applications.

StorSimple as a backup target

Backup-to-disk workloads are supported on StorSimple 8000 Series devices running Update 3 or later. Deployment guides are available to help configure backup applications that use StorSimple as a disk-based backup target. StorSimple combines the performance and compatibility of local storage with the scale, resiliency and availability of cloud object storage, providing the best of both worlds. Learn more via the Deploy and manage a StorSimple virtual device in Azure documentation web page. Note that StorSimple is only available to Enterprise Agreement customers.

Azure regions in Australia now available to Azure customers worldwide

Azure regions in Australia – Australia East and Australia Southeast – reached general availability in October 2014, with restrictions on which customers could access the regions. Effective immediately, Azure customers worldwide can access these regions through the Azure Portal and APIs as part of their existing subscriptions. For information on service availability for these two regions, visit the Products available by region web page.

Global companies can apply for the Azure Sponsorship Programme in South Korea

You are invited to apply for participation in the Azure Sponsorship Programme from our new South Korea Azure regions that are currently in preview: Korea Central and Korea South. Key customers can gain access to the new data centre locations in Korea to test workloads with the benefit of an Azure Sponsorship. If you are selected, you’ll be contacted with next steps. Please contact the Azure Preview Programme with questions.

Be empowered

Logic Apps management and tooling

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman learns about the powerful management and tooling capabilities that help you develop and debug Azure Logic Apps either by using the Azure portal or from within Visual Studio using a Logic App Azure Resource Manager template. Watch now.

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Case study: Azure Logic Apps streamline marketing data integration

To support Microsoft marketing efforts, Microsoft IT manages data orchestration from more than 120 data sources, many hosted in Azure. Integrating data from disparate sources into custom data analysis solutions can be costly and inefficient. But with Azure Logic Apps, we have created data access solutions built from modular, reusable, configurable tasks. Read the case study.

See how Microsoft deploys production workloads with Azure Resource Manager

In this video, learn how Microsoft IT adopted Azure Resource Manager to enable new levels of self-service and infrastructure as code through streamlined resource provisioning. And see how we are using shared repositories to distribute templates in Azure.

Microsoft Tech Summit is coming to you – register today

Attend a free, two-day technical training event to build your cloud and infrastructure skills. Discover how our enterprise solutions can help you be more successful and productive – and add value to your organisation – through more than 70 training sessions, hands-on labs and expert access with top Microsoft engineers. Don’t miss out! Find an event near you, or save the date to watch a keynote livestream.

Cloud Cover: Azure CLI

In this episode, learn about the new cross-platform Azure Command Line Interface 2.0, which was built to work well with the tools many people already use.

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You may also be interested in API Management Updates and Visual Studio Mobile Center.

Internet of Things class: Containers using Azure and Docker

Build your first container using Docker on Hyper V. In this 30-minute, hands-on virtual lab, you will be guided through the basics of installing, deploying and managing a Docker container, as well as the fundamentals on incorporating Docker on Hyper V into your current development plans. Get started.

Service Fabric patterns and practices

Watch this course to learn about Azure Service Fabric from the pros who designed and built this platform as a service (PaaS). Find out how to design, develop and operate your microservices on Service Fabric using best practices and proven, reusable patterns. Get your questions answered as you explore the blueprint to design your first cloud app.

Web and Data Application Development with Visual Studio 2017 and Azure

Experienced developers – take a look at the latest and greatest features announced during Connect(); // 2016 to learn what’s new in Visual Studio 2017. In this comprehensive journey through the entire Microsoft stack, you’ll get hands-on details from experts and work with more than 20 different products involved in the Microsoft stack and beyond to create an end-to-end solution. From .NET Core to Docker and even Linux, see how the pieces fit together. Watch now.

Case study: Managing Azure ExpressRoute in a global enterprise

When migrating to Azure, Microsoft IT knows it’s important to ensure network connectivity between on-premises and virtual resources across our environment. Microsoft IT uses Azure ExpressRoute circuits as part of our network topology. See how we moved to a shared circuit model – reducing overhead and optimising bandwidth. Read the case study.

Join us for the complimentary Azure Marketplace virtual lab series

If you’re interested in solutions like Barracuda, Nasuni, Commvault or Citrix but aren’t sure how to get started, join us for a complimentary virtual lab. The Azure Marketplace virtual lab series will show you how to deploy these apps directly to Azure in 45 minutes or less through a hands-on demo. Learn more and register.

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Free resources to build your cloud career skills

We’re helping IT professionals who want to build and advance their careers in cloud technology with the IT Pro Career Center and the IT Pro Cloud Essentials programmes. Now available in 25 languages, these free programmes offer cloud services, support, career mapping, industry expert advice and more. Join now.

Case study: Elevate business platforms to a higher level

Read this new case study to learn how IT pros use Azure Cloud Services to save time and money. This case study is hosted by the IT Pro Cloud Essentials programme – you can join for free for access to cloud services, offers and support. Join IT Pro Cloud Essentials to read the case study.

Case study: Reducing IT costs with Azure and Windows 10

Computer issues can affect employee productivity, significantly degrade the user experience and reduce an organisation’s bottom line. To address these issues, Microsoft IT created a solution to automate troubleshooting and technical repair issues. Based on Azure, the Windows 10 app has been extended to iOS and Android devices – helping to reduce the cost of Helpdesk and other IT resources. Read more on IT Showcase.

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On demand: Cloud at Microsoft webinar

IT Showcase brought together subject-matter experts from our Cloud at Microsoft course to answer questions about how Microsoft IT designs, develops, implements and monitors cloud solutions. In this session, they discuss cloud security, choosing between software as a service and platform as a service, Azure, the Internet of Things and trends in cloud adoption. Watch the webinar now.

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Case study: Improving the commuter experience with Azure

Drawing on data from regional transportation providers, our Transportation Hub app helps employees plan their commute and schedule transportation between campuses. It also provides insight into commuter behaviour, so we can improve services and help reduce single-occupancy trips. Read the case study.

IoT and Azure Machine Learning help predict the early onset of brain disease

Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis have something in common – they all have a thermodynamic pattern. Microsoft worked with med-tech company BTT to deliver an Internet of Things (IoT) and Azure Machine Learning proof of concept that will help diagnose the early onset of brain disease.

Be entertained

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

Be inspired

The Dallas Zoo now knows what its elephants are really doing at night. You can too.

Zoos worldwide have been working overtime to provide larger, more natural and more varied environments for perhaps the most intelligent species they exhibit: elephants. The Dallas Zoo has gone a step further, using a combination of RFID ankle bracelets and the Microsoft cloud to gather more data, and more accurate data, than was previously possible. It analyses that data to better understand how elephants behave and how the zoo can better care for them.

Learn more

Hosting firm cuts storage costs up to 50 per cent with Windows Server 2016

A growing segment of the technology marketplace, managed hosting services enable organisations to focus on running their business instead of IT infrastructure. Hosters, an innovative provider of hosting and cloud solutions, is using software-defined data centre technologies in Windows Server 2016 to optimise efficiency and transform its services.

Learn more

Be enhanced

Partners

Docker

Modernise your applications with Docker for Windows

Microsoft and Docker have partnered to provide a modern platform for developers and IT pros to build, ship and run distributed applications on-premises or in the cloud across both Windows and Linux operating systems. The Docker platform allows businesses to benefit from an agile container environment and standardise the enterprise application workflows with a single journey for all their applications, for a modern application environment. In this webinar, learn how to build and run your first Docker Windows Server container today.

Azure Marketplace

Featured: Use the Nexpose Scan Engine to scan your Azure assets

Rapid7’s vulnerability management solution, Nexpose, reduces risk by dynamically collecting data and analysing risk across vulnerabilities, configurations and controls, from the endpoint to the cloud. Nexpose is engineered to enable IT security teams to identify, assess and respond to critical change as it happens with Adaptive Security.

Visit Marketplace page.

Featured: Do and achieve more in Azure with intelligent file infrastructure

How are you dealing with file data deluge? Nasuni helps alleviate the burden of managing all your data with their Azure-based enterprise file services solution, providing distributed organisations with file storage, protection and access. Nasuni offers local performance at cloud economics – saving up to 65 per cent on total cost of ownership of your file storage. Nasuni File Storage system can be deployed as a virtual machine or physical appliance.

Visit Marketplace page.

Featured: Commvault and Azure co-author HarperCollins’ cloud story

In addition to following News Corp’s “cloud first” strategy, moving to Azure cloud services enabled HarperCollins to consolidate its IT and switch to a more manageable OPEX commitment. Though Azure represented a learning curve for many in the organisation, HarperCollins realised that the Commvault platform it had bought five years previously would work in the same way in the cloud as it had on-premises. Learn more.

Visit Marketplace page.

New: Zerto builds and manages hybrid cloud platforms with Azure support

Zerto Virtual Replication 5.0 enables organisations to implement their hybrid cloud strategy. One-to-many replication protects and recovers virtual machines in most environments, from on-premises data centres to multiple targets simultaneously – including Azure – all with different service-level agreements (SLAs) and retention policies. 30-day journal “rollback” reduces backup constraints and storage costs. Learn more.

Visit Marketplace page.

Editor’s note

Hi, and happy 2017!

We hope that you have been able to recharge over the holidays. All of us at Azure are back to work and looking forward to the possibilities for all of 2017. Last month, I came across this post on the Official Microsoft Blog: 17 for ’17: Microsoft researchers on what to expect in 2017 and 2027. Researchers predict some interesting things for this year, including more robust algorithms for machine learning, as well as the potential for collaborative AI. What innovative projects do you have planned in Azure for 2017?

Miwa