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Azure Newsletter: February 2018

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.


Get the new Azure developer’s guide e-book

Learn how to develop on Azure from day one using common app design scenarios. Get the free e-book, The Developer’s Guide to Microsoft Azure. In this all-new second edition, learn how to use your existing tools and skills to create apps; create intelligent apps with machine learning and artificial intelligence; protect your services and data in the cloud; and choose how and where to deploy.


Save up to 55 per cent on certification books and e-books

Microsoft Press just released updated Exam Refs for exams 70-532 and 70-533 – and they’re on sale. Shop exam preparation titles and use discount code CERTIFY at check-out to save.


Are you ready for Global Azure Bootcamp 2018?

There are now more than 136 locations around the globe where Global Azure Bootcamp will take place on 21 April 2018. For the sixth year in a row, this event brings together local user groups and anyone with an interest in Azure to learn about and work with the newest features. Take a look at the Global Azure Bootcamp website, pin your event location to the map or join with an existing event.


New web show: 5 Things

5 Things is a new show with topics on JavaScript, Node.js and all things web. Each episode features a guest interviewed by one of our hosts giving you five things about the hottest industry topics, tools and frameworks. Watch the first episode, and then make sure that you follow @John_Papa and @burkeholland on Twitter for new episodes.


Upcoming events

try! Swift 1 March 2018, Tokyo, Japan
Microsoft Government Tech Summit Washington, DC 5 March 2018, Washington, DC, USA
Strata Data Conference 5 March 2018, San Jose, California, USA
SCALE 16x 8 March 2018, Pasadena, California, USA
MobileTech Conference 12 March 2018, Munich, Germany
Microsoft Tech Summit Paris 14 March 2018, Paris, France

Be Informed

Avoid the cyber standoff: how to protect yourself from ransomware attacks

Did you know that a ransomware attack occurs every 40 seconds? Access this infographic for statistics about ransomware and key steps you can take to protect your company’s data.


New Alerts (preview) in Azure monitoring services

With Azure monitoring services, set up alerts to monitor the metrics and log data for the entire stack across your infrastructure, app and platform. Given how integral it is to the monitoring experience, we’ve launched a new user interface to create and manage alerts for any resource from a single location in the Monitor blade in the Azure portal. Learn more about the new alerts experience in our blog post.


Azure Search: Better performance and scale features

New paid Azure Search subscriptions in selected regions are powered by machines with significantly higher performance. The machines offer as much as double the performance at no additional cost. With this update, limits on document count are removed. Learn more about this offer.

Azure Search: New enterprise security features

Two new features have expanded enterprise security capabilities in Azure Search. The encryption feature automatically encrypts your data prior to persisting to storage and decrypts it prior to retrieval. The security trimming feature lets administrators configure Search with a greater level of security and use technologies such as Azure Active Directory to define groups and roles, which are then matched to user privileges to determine what content users can search and view.

Azure Cosmos DB: Azure Functions integration in Visual Studio generally available

Visual Studio has a native integration to consume Azure Cosmos DB Change Feed functionality using Azure Functions. It’s easier now to develop and debug an Azure function locally that’s consuming Azure Cosmos DB Change Feed on Azure. See an end-to-end working example and learn more in this video.

Azure Cosmos DB Graph API generally available

This release provides improved performance and reduced latency with the use of third-party Gremlin connectors, support for Python and PHP platforms and a preview of a .NET library for performant bulk import operations. Learn more from the Azure Blog.

Azure Cosmos DB: lower initial price point available for unlimited collections

In February 2017, we lowered the entry point for unlimited containers, making the cost much more efficient. Later, in December 2017, we announced that unlimited containers had an entry point that’s even more cost effective. Instead of provisioning 2,500 request units per second (RU/sec) as a minimum, you can now provision an unlimited collection at 1,000 RU/sec and scale in increments of 100 RU/sec. With unlimited containers (collections), dynamically scale your provisioning from as low as 1,000 RU/sec to millions of RU/sec with no limit on storage consumption.

Azure Cosmos DB now available in France

Currently open to all customers and partners worldwide, Azure Cosmos DB is now a part of the Azure preview in France, letting you deploy services and test workloads against Azure Cosmos DB in the latest Azure regions. Azure Cosmos DB offers the same enterprise-grade reliability and performance with the industry-leading comprehensive service-level agreements (SLAs) to support the mission-critical apps and workloads of businesses and organisations in France. Sign up for the Azure France preview.

Azure Friday: Apache Spark Connector for Azure Cosmos DB

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman learns about Azure Cosmos DB Spark Connector, which enables Azure Cosmos DB to act as an input source or output sink for Apache Spark jobs. Watch now.

Zone-redundant storage in preview in Azure Storage

Zone-redundant storage stores three replicas of data synchronously across multiple availability zones (fault-isolated groups of data centres). It’s initially available in East US 2, Central US, North Europe and France Central and will require a General Purpose v2 account. The existing offering will be renamed “zone-redundant storage classic” (or “ZRS classic”). If you’re using the classic version, you’ll be provided with an automated update path once zone-redundant storage has become available in your region. Find out more on the Azure Blog.

Azure Event Grid generally available

Azure Event Grid is a fully managed, highly scalable event routing service that simplifies the development of event-based apps. Here are a few features added in this release: richer serverless, ops automation and integration scenarios enabled through integration with more services; availability in more regions; increased reliability and service-level agreement (SLA); and better developer productivity. Read more on the Azure Blog.

Be empowered

Learn Azure infrastructure in under an hour

Watch a short video and try hands-on demos to learn how you can seamlessly manage your infrastructure in the cloud with Azure. Then take a guided learning path with free Pluralsight courses for skills you can immediately apply to your job.

Six cloud data challenges solved for app developers

You’ve told us that help on your next project is more important than coverage of a tool or platform. To that end, we’ve created a new interactive experience that dives into common data issues facing cloud devs, including ensuring app security and compliance, building multitenant software as a service (SaaS) apps, real-time personalisation at a global scale, and how to best integrate advanced analytics and artificial intelligence.


Build your cloud skills with the latest in Azure

Register today for Microsoft Tech Summit, a free technical learning event for IT professionals and developers coming to a city near you. Discover the latest trends, tools and product roadmaps at more than 80 sessions, and meet with the experts who build and run Microsoft cloud services. Get inspired, deepen your expertise and learn how to help lead your organisation through real digital transformation. Find a free event near you.


Course: Hybrid cloud workload protection with Azure Security Center

If you’re interested in enhancing security at your organisation, look to Azure Security Center for help. In this free on-demand course, expert instructors start with an overview of Security Center and how it can help detect and alert you to security incidents. They examine the differences in the threat landscape between cloud or hybrid environments versus on-premises, and they show you how to deploy the service and keep it secure. Learn about onboarding, implementing security policies and just-in-time virtual machine access. Find out about troubleshooting and explore next steps.

Course: Enabling data source discovery with Azure Data Catalog

In this free, self-paced course from edX, you’ll learn about Azure Data Catalog and how it lets enterprises achieve a focused business impact by discovering and connecting to diverse data assets and by enabling self-service data source discovery. Beginning with an overview of Data Catalog and what it can do, you’ll then explore adopting and creating a data catalog. See how Data Catalog delivers a serverless metadata repository that can empower your organisation to get more value from its existing data sources.

Course: Automating Azure Workloads

Azure Automation can help you successfully automate manual, long-running, error-prone and frequently repeated administrative tasks. This free, self-paced course shows you how. Learn how to automate operational and management tasks in Azure to save time, increase reliability and improve consistency and accuracy using technologies such as Desired State Configuration, Azure Resource Manager templates and runbooks integrated with Automation. Sign up for the course.

Course: Go serverless with Azure Functions and C# (.NET Conf 2017)

Watch this session from .NET Conf 2017 for an exploration of serverless computing. Find out how Azure Functions – the serverless compute offering from Microsoft – automatically scales up and down based on the number of incoming events. It also helps you build .NET apps faster than ever while lowering your costs. Discover how easy it is to author C# functions in Visual Studio and how to run, debug and trigger on events in Azure from Visual Studio. Much more is offered in this demo-rich session – don’t miss it!

Case study: Serverless in Supply Chain – introduction and architectural overview

See how Microsoft devs migrated their business-to-business (B2B) integration platform from on-premises servers to Azure serverless architecture using Azure API Management, Azure Functions and more. Follow along and build your own proof of concept using a step-by-step tutorial.


Case study: Using Azure API management for B2B partner integration

Learn how to use Azure API Management for business-to-business (B2B) integration with Azure products. Watch how partners are onboarded and use the Developer Portal.


Case study: Using Azure AD for authentication and authorisation

Watch the Serverless in Supply Chain series to find out how a team at Microsoft uses Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) to onboard their partners and how they’ve configured partner apps to customise roles and access levels for everyone.


Case study: Serverless in Supply Chain – business-to-business integration layer walkthrough

In this episode, find out how a message flows from external partners through the API gateway, and to the API app using Azure Active Directory, Azure Traffic Manager and the API Apps feature of Azure App Service.


Case study: Azure Data Lake connects supply chain data for advanced analytics

Our Microsoft supply chain engineering team brought disparate supply chain data into a centralised, big data architecture on Azure Data Lake for advanced analytics and data-driven decision-making. Learn more in this technical case study.


Case study: Microsoft weeds out fake marketing leads with Machine Learning Server

Learn how we eliminate fake marketing leads and prioritise good leads with Machine Learning Server to better connect potential customers.


Be entertained

*Comic source: Reprinted with permission.

Be inspired

Videoconferencing leader creates innovative interoperability bridge in the cloud

Beginning with its innovative speakerphone in 1990, Polycom has been a leading force in video, voice and content collaboration for 25 years. It recently introduced Polycom RealConnect for Office 365, which allows diverse videoconferencing endpoints to participate in Skype for Business Online calls. With Azure, Polycom slashed development time by half and can scale RealConnect instantly, deploy it globally and refresh it continuously. Learn more


Finning uses Azure to improve employee engagement, onboarding, reduce costs

Finning, one of the world’s largest dealers of Caterpillar heavy equipment, chose to deploy Azure Active Directory as part of a broader digital transformation that will help streamline IT and promote agility. Learn more


Be enhanced

Discover deeper insights from your data faster with self-service analytics

What do you get when you combine a quick-to-implement, self-service data analytics platform that breaks the barriers to data insights with the flexibility and scalability of Azure? Deeper business insights, faster. Easily discover, prepare, blend and analyse data from a multitude of sources – including Azure and SQL Server – to drive better data-driven decisions, and more insightful visualisations in Microsoft Power BI. Download your free Alteryx Starter Kit for Microsoft for more “data-ha!” moments, faster. Download Starter Kit


Healthcare Security Envelope on Azure

Project Hosts’ A6 Security Envelope on Azure has earned Certified status for Information Security by HITRUST Alliance. With this status, Project Hosts’ Security Envelope meets key healthcare regulations and requirements for securing sensitive healthcare information. Apps and workloads deployed in Project Hosts’ A6 Security Envelope inherit all of the HIPAA and HITRUST security controls implemented in the environment at the software as a service (SaaS)-level. Learn more


Azure Marketplace

Featured: Zerto: Move from backup and recovery to IT resilience

Protect your private cloud infrastructure by quickly deploying disaster recovery in Azure with enterprise-class Zerto Virtual Replication (ZVR). Zerto helps create hybrid cloud environments by integrating your on-premises infrastructure with public clouds. ZVR is hardware- and hypervisor-agnostic enabling replication and orchestration from VMware vSphere and Hyper-V environments to Azure.

Visit Marketplace

New: Accelerate time to market, save money and deliver resilient and secure infrastructure with Mesosphere

Mesosphere is a premier platform for modern apps and data services. It enables digital transformation for organisations looking to ship apps more quickly, capture value from real-time data, modernise infrastructure or run an entire IT stack in multiple clouds with a consistent operating model and low costs.

Visit Marketplace

Test Drive: Scale IT automation with Ansible Tower

Red Hat Ansible Tower helps organisations scale IT automation and manage complex deployments across physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures. Red Hat Ansible Tower includes capabilities that provide additional levels of visibility, control, security and efficiency necessary for today’s enterprises.

Test drive