Azure Newsletter: May 2017
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Customer-submitted story: MyWorkDrive
MyWorkDrive.com relies on Azure to provide the infrastructure for its cloud-based file access as a service offering. MyWorkDrive provides enterprise cloud file sharing services for Windows networks. Businesses use MyWorkDrive to access, share and collaborate on work files using their lightning-fast web file manager, mapped drive client or mobile devices. Leveraging MyWorkDrive’s Azure infrastructure, companies can securely edit and share documents in real time using Office Online while keeping their files stored on Windows file servers on premises or in their own Azure subscription. MyWorkDrive’s service on Azure is growing fast and is being adopted by an increasing number of enterprises.
On demand: Microsoft Build 2017
Missed Microsoft Build 2017? Experience our premier event for the developer community on demand. Learn how Microsoft innovation across artificial intelligence (AI) and the cloud creates unlimited opportunity for every person and organisation to digitally transform. Gain insights through real-life customer scenarios into how Azure is scaling for the future of cloud development with new Azure Internet of Things (IoT) and compute features, FPGA-based configurable cloud, and serverless solutions. Discover how we’re enabling developers to create cutting edge, intelligent apps for every platform and device so that you can reach as many of your customers as possible. Watch the highlights reel, keynotes and sessions, and read Scott Guthrie’s blog post.
Get started with Azure
Haven’t tried Azure yet or need help getting started? Watch a short overview of Azure, then sign up and deploy your first Azure solution.
All new databases in Azure SQL Database will be encrypted at rest by default
Using Transparent Data Encryption (TDE), this change will be available in all regions worldwide by 1 June 2017. Anyone who wishes to leave specific databases unencrypted can still do so by turning off TDE after the database has been provisioned. Existing databases and databases created through restore, geo-replication and database copy aren’t affected by this change.
Azure SQL Database and Azure Data Warehouse Threat Detection generally available
Threat Detection leverages machine learning for an added layer of security built into Azure SQL Database and Azure Data Warehouse, so customers can protect their databases within minutes without needing to be an expert in database security. It works around the clock to alert customers of anomalous activities on their databases. Threat Detection alerts can be viewed from Azure Security Center. Alerts give details about suspicious activity and recommend ways to investigate and mitigate the threat.
More storage for Premium pools in Azure SQL Database
The amount of storage for the larger Premium pools has increased to as much as 4 TB. This extra storage is currently available in a limited number of regions with more widespread availability planned. To learn more, visit the Azure Blog.
4 TB option for P11 and P15 instances in Azure SQL Database generally available
With immediate effect, the 4 TB option for P11 and P15 databases is now generally available with a 99.99 per cent availability service-level agreement (SLA). Just like during the public preview, customers can use up to 4 TB of included storage at no additional charge. Learn more about the 4 TB storage option and regional availability.
Azure SQL Database now supports auto-failover
Azure SQL Database now supports transparent geographic failover of multiple databases featuring automatic activation. To learn more about this feature, please read the Azure Blog.
Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL in public preview
Two new services for app developers are in public preview: Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL. They provide managed MySQL and PostgreSQL database services for app developers using tools and languages that customers prefer, on the cloud they trust. Capable of deploying in minutes and scaling on the fly, these services offer automatic backups, 35-day point-in-time restores, automatic patching and 30 days of historical monitoring data. Both offer pricing models (Database for MySQL and Database for PostgreSQL) with high availability, security and recovery built in, at no extra cost.
Azure Cosmos DB: A globally distributed, multi-model database service
Azure Cosmos DB is a globally distributed, multi-model database from Microsoft. While Azure DocumentDB still remains available as an API, Cosmos DB also supports document (MongoDB) APIs, key-value (Tables), and graph (Gremlin) APIs. With the newly announced preview of the Table API, you can take advantage of premium features like indexing, low latency and global distribution using the Azure Table Storage SDKs. With the preview of Graph API, you can store massive graphs and traverse them efficiently using the open Gremlin standard. DocumentDB and MongoDB APIs are generally available.
Azure Cosmos DB: Industry-leading comprehensive SLAs, broader choice of consistency levels
Azure Cosmos DB now offers comprehensive service-level agreements (SLAs) for availability (99.99 per cent availability of your database); throughput (99.99 per cent guarantee that the provisioned throughput for your database collection is available for consumption); latency (99 per cent of your requests will have a latency below 10 milliseconds for document read or 15 milliseconds for document write operations); and consistency (99.99 per cent guarantee in accordance with the consistency levels chosen for your requests).
Azure Cosmos DB: Lower cost, improved performance with RU/m
Request units per minute (RU/m) provisioning is in public preview. You can now supplement your regular per-second throughput (RU/s) with a lower-cost throughput provisioning model with minute granularity.
Azure Search: Support for synonyms and new search analytics
We’re now offering public preview support for synonyms in Azure Search. Synonyms allow Azure Search to return results that match synonyms of the query terms, as well as the exact terms typed into the search box. We have also enhanced Azure Search Traffic Analytics with a pattern on how to structure, instrument and monitor search queries and clicks, giving you actionable insights about your search application.
Azure mobile app available in public preview
With the public preview of Azure mobile app, you can stay in touch with your Azure resources, quickly diagnose and fix issues, and even run commands. Learn more.
Container support generally available in Azure Service Fabric
Container support for Windows containers in Azure Service Fabric is now generally available. This includes Visual Studio tooling, which supports continuous integration and deployment of containerised applications to Service Fabric environments. Support for Linux containers remains in public preview. Docker compose, for deploying containerised apps to Service Fabric, is now in preview. Version 5.6 of Service Fabric has several great new features and improvements. Learn more.
Azure Application Insights integration with Azure Service Fabric
We’ve made improvements to the Azure portal, where it’s now easier to integrate with Azure Application Insights for diagnostics, and we’ve added a quick way to enable the Service Fabric Reverse Proxy when setting up a new cluster. Learn more from the Azure Blog.
Watch the pilot episode of Cloud Gal
Don’t miss the pilot episode of Cloud Gal, a new series created and hosted by Samantha Lindsey-Ahmed. Highlighting the lives and careers of women developers at Microsoft, it also offers insight into cool cloud technologies from a developer perspective. In the pilot episode, Samantha talks to Oana Platon, Principal Developer in Azure Service Fabric. Oana shares her technical background, role models, work/life balance, and more. Watch now.
Azure Functions Visual Studio tooling
Now available in preview as a Visual Studio 2017 extension, Azure Functions Visual Studio tooling creates an integrated developer experience, allowing you to integrate Azure Functions development seamlessly into development flows: leveraging third-party extensions, testing frameworks, and continuous integration systems. Learn more from the Azure Blog.
Azure Application Insights integration with Azure Functions
Now available in preview, Azure Application Insights support for Azure Functions provides better intelligence about Azure Functions code, allowing teams to measure performance, detect issues and diagnose the source of the problem with serverless apps. For more information, visit the Azure Blog.
Azure Functions Runtime
Now available as a preview, Azure Functions Runtime extends the innovations of Azure Functions to on-premises devices or anywhere outside the Azure cloud. Azure Functions Runtime provides a similar development experience to the cloud service. For more details, read the Introducing Azure Functions Runtime preview blog post.
Deploy faster with SI-built Azure Quickstarts templates
SI-built Azure Quickstarts templates are Azure Resource Manager templates created and maintained by Microsoft system integration partners. These templates can save you time by automatically stitching together multiple artefacts from several software providers to form pre-production full-stack solutions on Azure. For example, a single Quickstart template will deploy an integrated security solution comprising Trend Micro + Chef + Splunk, a container solution comprising Docker + Jenkins, or a business intelligence stack comprising Cloudera + Tableau, all usually in under an hour. Sign up for an upcoming hands-on lab or webinar to learn more.
Azure Active Directory and Microsoft personal accounts: New joint public preview libraries
Azure Active Directory B2C: New deployment option in public preview
Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) B2C, the highly available, global customer identity and access management (CIAM) service introduces new capabilities in public preview that allow organisations to choose between two different deployment options. For organisations with standard needs, the existing out-of-the-box option that requires minimum or no code continues to be available. For complex environments, Azure AD B2C will expose the power of the Azure AD core engine so that developers can customise the user experience for demanding sign-up and sign-in needs. The licensing and pricing model remains unchanged.
Azure Friday: Azure Active Directory Identity Protection
Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman learns about Azure Active Directory Identity Protection, which uses the same technologies and machine learning capabilities as Microsoft does to help protect Microsoft account identities. Watch it now.
Introducing Azure IoT Edge
Azure IoT Edge delivers cloud capabilities to the edge. It provides easy orchestration between code and services, so they flow securely between cloud and edge to distribute intelligence across IoT devices. You can easily integrate Azure and third-party services, or augment existing services to create a custom IoT application with your own business logic. You get the best of both worlds with devices that can act locally based on the data they generate, while also taking advantage of the cloud to configure, deploy and manage them securely and at scale.
Azure IoT Suite: Connected Factory available
Now available, the Connected Factory preconfigured solution from Azure IoT Suite helps accelerate your journey to Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution. Connected Factory lets you monitor physical processes within connected cyber-physical systems and create a digital twin of the physical world for decentralised decision-making. For more information, visit the Internet of Things blog.
Azure Time Series Insights in public preview
Azure Time Series Insights is a fully managed analytics, storage and visualisation service for time series data (sensor and device data) that makes it easy to explore and analyse billions of events simultaneously. Learn more from the Azure Blog.
Microsoft Cognitive Services collection of intelligent APIs expanded
Microsoft Cognitive Services lets developers augment the next generation of applications with the ability to see, hear, speak, understand and interpret needs using natural methods of communication. At Build 2017, we announced the next big wave of innovation for Cognitive Services. To learn about the breadth of changes, visit the Azure Blog.
Azure Bot Service in preview
Azure Bot Service provides an integrated environment that is purpose-built for bot development, letting you build, connect, test, deploy and manage bots, all from one place. It’s powered by Microsoft Bot Framework and Azure Functions, which means that your bot will run in a serverless environment on Azure that will scale based upon demand.
Larger capacity instances available in Azure Analysis Services
In order to provide additional data size and processing capacity options for customers with large workloads in Azure Analysis Services, we’ve added two new large capacity instances (S8 and S9) in the Standard tier. Built on the proven analytics engine in Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services, Analysis Services lets you host semantic data models in the cloud, so users in your organisation can then connect to your data models using tools like Excel, Power BI and others to create reports and perform ad hoc data analysis. Learn more from the Azure Blog.
Visual Studio Team Services Delivery Plans extension generally available
Delivery Plans, a Visual Studio Team Services extension, is now generally available and included for Team Services users at no extra charge. Delivery Plans helps you drive alignment across teams by overlaying several backlogs onto your delivery schedule. To learn more about this feature, including installation, visit the Delivery Plans web page.
Start building Azure cloud services with Visual Studio for Mac today
At Build 2017, we announced the general availability of Visual Studio for Mac. It’s a fully-featured IDE (integrated development environment) to build mobile, web and cloud apps, as well as games, designed natively for developers on macOS. Read the blog post to learn more about how you can create and publish Azure services directly from Visual Studio for Mac. Download Visual Studio for Mac today.
Azure Cloud Shell in preview
Now available in preview, Azure Cloud Shell provides an authenticated, browser-based shell experience hosted in Azure that streamlines your Azure admin experience. It includes popular command-line tools, and each Cloud Shell session provides a ready-to-use environment automatically synced to a $Home directory that is stored in Azure to enable persisting files like your favourite automation scripts. Azure Cloud Shell maximises versatility and productivity. For more information, visit the Azure Blog.
PowerApps Community Plan
The PowerApps Community Plan allows you to learn and develop your PowerApps and Microsoft Flow skills, as well as learn and create solutions with Common Data Service. For more information, visit the PowerApps Community Plan web page.
See what’s next for Azure at Microsoft Ignite
Get all your Azure questions answered by the experts who build it. This year’s schedule is still in progress, but here are some highlights from last year’s conference: Deliver more features faster with a modern development and test solution; Protect your data using Azure's encryption capabilities and key management; Build tiered cloud storage in Microsoft Azure. Register now to join us at Microsoft Ignite and access the latest Azure content.
Learn how data can transform the way you work
The Microsoft Data Insights Summit is back on 12-13 June 2017, in Seattle, Washington, US. The event is designed to help you identify deeper insights, make better sense of your data and take action to transform your business. You’ll have direct access to the engineers behind our business intelligence tools, so ask your toughest questions and learn best practices. Discover the latest trends, tools and product road maps at hands-on workshops, keynotes, speaker sessions and more. Register today.
Learn how to get the most out of your Azure trial
Deploying applications to the cloud is only part of the challenge our customers face. Learn how the Azure support team is ahead of the curve in support of third-party and open source solutions. Sign up for one of our webinars.
Cloud Cover: Deep Learning with Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit
This show starts a series of short talks introducing Deep Learning with Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK), with topics ranging from elementary to advanced techniques.
Case study: Determination sets 8-year-old on path to save Microsoft millions of dollars
Rick Ochs, a service engineering manager in Microsoft IT, turned his lifelong dream of working at Microsoft into reality at an early age, and then quickly found a way to help the company save millions of dollars. Read the blog post on IT Showcase.
Case study: Migrating a critical high-performance platform to Azure with zero downtime
Microsoft IT migrated more than 120 TB of data to Azure and reduced our server footprint from 175 to 110 physical servers – with no downtime for all 54 onboarded applications. Read more about our strategy for determining what to move and when on IT Showcase.
Case study: Azure HDInsight improves performance of big data tax system and cuts costs
The volume of complex tax data handled by the Microsoft Finance team is expected to grow from 6 terabytes to 100 terabytes within a few years. With Azure HDInsight, we’re preparing to take it on. Read more on IT Showcase.
Case study: Using Azure AD Privileged Identity Management for elevated access
Azure gives Microsoft IT just-in-time access for privileged roles while mitigating the risks of elevated access. Learn how we’re using Azure Active Directory (AD) Privileged Identity Management to improve monitoring and maintain access to data and services. Read more on IT Showcase.
Y Combinator startup LogDNA makes the switch from AWS to Azure
With billions of events and terabytes processed every day, Y Combinator startup LogDNA is making data logging easy, thanks to machine learning. Learn how they worked with Microsoft for startups to accelerate their growth and scale globally.
12 US Imagine Cup teams use Azure to show the world what they’ve got
Watch the US Imagine Cup student tech competition on demand, hosted by Sabrina from YouTube’s Nerdy & Quirky. Check out all the tips, info and pitch training that the competitors received and apply it to your projects or startups. And watch to see the winner announcement of our teams that will advance to the World Finals for the chance at USD 100,000.
*Comic source: www.cloudtweaks.com. Reprinted with permission.
Cloud-based speech recognition software helps doctors deliver best possible care
Nuance Communications provides businesses and consumers with technologies such as speech recognition, computer-assisted doctor documentation and computer-assisted clinical documentation improvement. Its solutions help more than 500,000 clinicians capture and communicate more than 300 million patient stories each year. Nuance offers its flagship Dragon Medical One health care application through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model and hosts it in Azure. Learn more
Ensuring productivity and responsiveness
Founded almost 100 years ago in Detroit, Michigan, Plante Moran is one of the largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms in the United States. Helping to keep its staff of 2,500 highly mobile professionals effective, productive and responsive to clients is the responsibility of the firm’s 66-member IT group. For mobile device management, they turned to Microsoft Intune, which has helped improve the productivity of both IT and professional staff. Learn more
Be more with Azure – security from Barracuda protects your public cloud
Companies looking to leverage Azure always consider security – and some are reluctant to migrate large workloads because of this. With the Barracuda Web Application and NextGen Firewall, security concerns are reduced and scalability to handle dozens of workloads is available. It’s simple to use, easy to afford, and helps customers unlock the power of Azure with strengthened defence against attacks and full data visibility. Begin a trial, Test Drive or Proof-of-Concept – and see how it’s just as simple to put into full production.Learn more
New: XenApp Essentials – securely deliver Windows apps from Azure
XenApp Essentials has been optimised for Azure and combines the industry-leading XenApp technology with a simple, prescriptive and easy-to-consume app delivery solution. XenApp Essentials delivers a simplified management experience that mirrors many of the existing Azure RemoteApp workflows that customers enjoy. XenApp Essentials also delivers additional security, configurations, management and user experience features.Visit Marketplace page
New: Teradata Database now available via Azure Marketplace
This release further illustrates Teradata’s strong commitment to the Teradata Everywhere strategy. The strategy gives customers a choice of utilising the same, feature-rich software across all deployment options, including a managed cloud, public cloud, private cloud and on-premises.Visit Marketplace page
The Internet of Things (IoT) is helping to accomplish some pretty cool things for homes, cars and businesses. Just one example: water heaters. Check out this blog post, How your humble household water heater just might save the planet, and find out how Azure resources are being used for this project at an apartment complex in Hawaii. Do you have any IoT projects underway?