Azure Newsletter: November 2016
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Featured customer-submitted story: GovPermit
“When we built GovPermit, a brand-new cutting-edge public government permit and licensing portal, we knew the processing and resource needs of local governments would be high and mission critical in nature. After we weighed our infrastructure options, we chose the Azure platform. Since then, we have not encountered a single limitation a traditional infrastructure would have brought. Without Azure, the Visual Studio integrations and Azure Friday videos helping us find creative ways to apply Azure technology and services, we would not be where we are today. Thanks for the amazing services and raw power we have at our fingertips.” –Matt Scachette, President, GovPermit
Free e-book: Enterprise Cloud Strategy
What if you were able to achieve both efficiency and innovation in your business domains and applications across your entire portfolio? What if you could take advantage of the cloud and all its resources and features? With a good road map and strategy, you can. Download the free e-book, Enterprise Cloud Strategy and find ways to build your own road map to success.
Gartner Data Center, Infrastructure and Operations Management Summit
28th November 2016
London, United Kingdom
Modern Apps Live!
5th December 2016
Strata + Hadoop World
5th December 2016
Microsoft Tech Summit
7th December 2016
Livestream from Tel Aviv, Israel
Advancing our ambition to democratise artificial intelligence
Microsoft recently announced a new partnership with OpenAI, a nonprofit AI research organization co-founded by Elon Musk, Sam Altman, Greg Brockman and Ilya Sutskever. Together we hope to make significant contributions to advance the field of AI and make it more accessible to every developer and every organization. Read more about the partnership and why OpenAI chose Azure as the primary cloud platform from Harry Shum, Microsoft Executive Vice President of AI and Research and Sam Altman, co-founder, OpenAI (and be sure to watch the video about why they chose Azure). Also, visit the Azure Blog for more information.
Connect(); // 2016: Keynotes and technical sessions available on demand
Missed the Microsoft Connect(); developer event? Catch up on all the news and keynotes or dive right into any of the technical sessions on Visual Studio, .NET, Xamarin, DevOps, Azure, Data with Intelligent Apps, UWP, developing for Office and more! Browse the on-demand content.
G-Series instances now available for Azure Cloud Services
G-Series instances are available in Azure Cloud Services in all regions where G-Series instances for Azure Virtual Machines are currently offered. They feature the latest Intel Xeon processor E5 v3 family and provide unparalleled computational performance, substantial memory and robust local solid-state drive (SSD) storage.
VMware backup now available in Azure Backup
VMware backup in Azure Backup helps protect virtual machines running on the VMware platform, on-premises or in the cloud. If you run backups on-premises, this new capability helps you meet requirements for operational recovery. If you back up your information to the cloud, you can meet long-term compliance rules and have an offsite copy of your data. For more information, visit the Operations Management Suite | Protection and Recovery webpage.
In-Memory OLTP for Azure SQL Database generally available
You can use In-Memory OLTP, a feature of Azure SQL Database, to achieve incredible performance gains (up to 30 times) for transaction processing and data ingestion in Premium databases, with no or minimal changes to the application. Memory-optimised tables, memory-optimised table types and natively compiled T-SQL modules are now available in all Premium databases, including databases in Premium elastic pools. For more information, read the Microsoft Azure SQL Database provides unparalleled performance with In-Memory technologies blog post.
Azure SQL Database Long-Term Retention in public preview
For applications with compliance or operational requirements to retain data, Azure SQL Database now offers Long-Term Retention (LTR). With just a few clicks, you can easily enable your databases to create weekly backups stored in your own Azure Backup vault and extend the retention period built into SQL Database from 35 days to up to 10 years. The backups in the vault are restorable and are automatically deleted after your configured retention period. For more information, visit the Azure Blog.
Azure Content Delivery Network adds new features for better performance, real-time management and mobile users
Azure Content Delivery Network is a multi-CDN platform that offers massively scalable, secure delivery of content with accelerated performance. New capabilities include the ability to set up real-time alerts about delivery anomalies, such as bandwidth and cache status and a mobile rules engine where you can customise rules and features targeted to mobile devices, such as device model and operating system. Visit the Azure Blog for more information.
Azure Active Directory Domain Services generally available
Azure Active Directory Domain Services offers scalable, high-performance, managed services such as domain join, LDAP, Kerberos, Windows Integrated Authentication and Group Policy support. With the click of a button, administrators can enable managed domain services for Linux and Windows virtual machines and directory-aware applications deployed in Azure infrastructure services. By maintaining compatibility with Windows Server Active Directory, Azure Active Directory Domain Services gives you an easy way to migrate traditional on-premises applications to the cloud.
Azure HDInsight introduces advanced security capabilities in public preview
Azure HDInsight has several new key security capabilities. It integrates with Azure Active Directory and Azure Active Directory Domain Services for enterprise-grade authentication and identity management. HDInsight also integrates with Apache Ranger for a central policy and management portal where administrators can maintain fine-grained control policies over Hadoop data access, components and services. Data processed by HDInsight is stored in Azure Data Lake Store or Azure Storage. Both offer server-side encryption to secure data at rest.
Azure Data Factory adds more connectors and achieves higher speeds
Azure Data Factory allows you to bring data from a rich variety of locations into Azure for advanced analytics and predictive modeling. We recently added support for FTP/S, Amazon S3, Amazon Redshift and Parquet file format. Load speeds have also been greatly enhanced: you can now load into Azure SQL Data Warehouse at 1.2 GBps and load into Azure Data Lake Store and Azure Blob Storage at over 1.0 GBps.
Azure Analysis Services in public preview
Built on the proven analytics engine in Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services, Azure Analysis Services delivers enterprise-grade Business Intelligence semantic modeling capabilities with the scale, flexibility and management benefits of the cloud. For more information, visit the Azure Blog.
Microsoft Cognitive Services: Microsoft Translator generally available
Microsoft Translator, part of Microsoft Cognitive Services, is now generally available as a service in the Azure portal. Microsoft Translator is a cloud-based automatic translation service, available in more than 50 supported languages for text and 9 languages for speech.
Microsoft Cognitive Services: New feature, Face API Person Group, in public preview
Microsoft Cognitive Services is a collection of APIs that enables developers to build intelligent apps by tapping into high-quality vision, speech, language, knowledge and search technologies developed with decades of Microsoft research. An update to the Face API lets developers store up to 1 million Persons by purchasing additional Person Faces. The quota for stored Person Groups is now 1,000, with up to 1,000 Persons per Person Group.
Microsoft Cognitive Services: Content Moderator in public preview
Microsoft Content Moderator, part of Microsoft Cognitive Services, is now available as a public preview service in the Azure portal. Powered by intelligent machine learning, Microsoft Content Moderator automatically filters out offensive content in text, image and video across platforms and includes human review tools for more nuanced cases. Content Moderator also offers video moderation to proactively detect offensive and unwanted content in videos through Azure Media Services.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights now in public preview
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights is a new SaaS solution that helps you engage customers by empowering your employees with actionable insights. Customer Insights merges all customer data to create a dynamic 360-degree view of each customer’s interaction, engagement and purchase history. You can then give specific, role-based insights to your employees so they can delight customers. Customer Insights is built on top of our industry-leading Cortana Intelligence platform and leverages our investments in artificial intelligence.
Azure Media Redactor in public preview
Azure Media Redactor, a new Azure Media Analytics service, is a media processor that automatically blurs faces from video. Some key applications are: automatically finding and removing sensitive data; protecting intellectual property or personal information from unintentional disclosure, theft or other misuse; and meeting regulatory requirements for privacy and disclosure. Two service tiers, Basic and Standard, support a variety of resolutions and frame rates.
New Azure Search tiers and regions available
With Azure Search S3, S3 High Density, Standard S3 and Standard S3 High Density tiers now available, you have more pricing options when using Azure Search. Azure Search is now available in the West Central US, Canada East and Canada Central regions.
Visual Studio Team Services: Code Search and Test & Feedback extensions now free
The Code Search and Test and Feedback extensions for Visual Studio Team Services are now generally available. Basic access level Team Services users can use all features of Code Search and Test and Feedback. Users at the Stakeholder access level may only use the feedback functionality of the Test and Feedback extension. Both extensions have been available as a free preview through the Visual Studio Marketplace. An updated version of the Test and Feedback extension will be available for download from the Chrome store (currently supported for Google Chrome only).
Hybrid Connections feature of Azure Service Bus in public preview
Hybrid Connections, a feature of Azure Service Bus, lets you securely access existing assets wherever they are, without a complex firewall, network or VPN configuration. It provides enhanced authentication and connectivity through the cloud with the added benefits of visibility and monitoring. With the new Hybrid Connections API, you can keep your data where it is, while allowing secure access from anywhere.
Azure for Nonprofits available now
We are now offering a $5,000 (USD) Azure credit renewable annually to eligible nonprofits. Microsoft has a comprehensive and industry-leading donations program to provide cloud services to nonprofits to transform their organisations and transform the world. Organisations like Partners In Health and KEXP are already driving deeper impact with Azure and other cloud services. This offer is part of our $1 billion (USD) commitment to donate cloud services for public good. Learn more.
Azure App Service Companion
Build your cloud and infrastructure skills at Microsoft Tech Summit
Attend a free, two-day technical training event with top Microsoft engineers. Dive deep into the latest innovations across Azure and the hybrid platform with more than 70 training sessions, hands-on labs and expert access. Don’t miss out! Find an event near you or register to watch a livestream remotely.
Join us for the complimentary Azure Marketplace virtual lab series
If you are interested in solutions like Chef, Red Hat, DataStax or Hortonworks, but are not sure how to get started, join us for a new complimentary virtual lab series. We will cover how to deploy these apps directly to Azure in 30 minutes or less through a hands-on demo. The labs will be offered every Thursday up to December 2016. Learn more and register.
Register for in-person US event to go from good to great with DevOps
In support of your pursuit towards digital transformation and harnessing digital technology for organisational success, we invite you to learn how Microsoft’s platforms and tools can enable DevOps practices that provide you efficiencies at scale. We hope you will register and attend this exclusive in-person event with Gene Kim at the Microsoft Technology Center in Reston, Virginia on 8th December 2016.
Available on demand now: Azure sessions from Microsoft Ignite
If you were at Microsoft Ignite in Atlanta, catch the sessions you missed or want to see again. Could not make it in person this year? Block out some time and watch sessions on the topics that matter most to you. Everything is available, from Satya Nadella’s innovation keynote, to the eight general sessions, to deep dives and demos. Watch now.
Case study: Building an IT partnership through agile development
Microsoft IT partnered with Microsoft Real Estate and Facilities to develop a cloud-first, mobile-first data warehouse and reporting solution. We created a data model to effectively represent their business needs and used agile methods to implement the solution. The result is a Business Intelligence app that provides a complete view of the business, how it is trending and where improvements can be made to meet future business needs. Read more on IT Showcase.
Cloud Cover: HockeyApp and Application Insights
In this episode, learn about the basics of HockeyApp and the features it provides including: beta app distribution, crash reporting, user feedback, user tracking and application metrics.
Building microservices applications on Azure Service Fabric
Discover Azure Service Fabric, explore its developer tools and core concepts and learn to create, deploy, scale, upgrade and delete an application. Watch this course and explore the free Windows component that works with any cloud, including Azure, Amazon, on-premises and more.
Building distributed applications and microservices-based apps on Azure Container Service
Watch this course for an in-depth look at distributed and microservices-based apps on Azure Container Service. Get an overview, then learn to build an app to run on Container Service—including how to handle service registry and service discovery, as well as load balancing for your application. Don't miss this exploration of a simple, open and flexible way to run your container applications in the cloud.
Deliver apps using microservice architectures on Azure
In this on-demand webinar, learn how delivering microservice applications on Azure can give you the scale, power and high availability you need as your business grows. Find out what other customers are doing with microservices on Azure. And watch a demo of Service Fabric to see how easy it is to package, deploy and manage microservices-based apps.
Case study: Migrating business-critical Microsoft Treasury apps to Azure
Microsoft IT is continually moving company technologies and business processes to the cloud. Recently, we moved Microsoft Treasury’s portfolio of finance apps to Azure. Microsoft IT, Microsoft Treasury and Azure Engineering used IaaS and PaaS functionality in Azure to move applications from on-premises datacenters to the cloud, providing a unified, scalable and resilient platform. Read more on IT Showcase.
Case study: Understanding our business with app telemetry
Microsoft IT supports a variety of apps for Global Sales, Marketing and Operations (GSMO). To make the organisation’s app portfolio more efficient, we worked with GSMO to create a telemetry-based solution in Azure that helps them understand the end-to-end sales process. The solution uses Azure Application Insights, Azure Data Factory and Azure Data Lake to collect data across the app portfolio, centralise and analyse it and give new insights into the sales business. Read more on IT Showcase.
Case study: Azure Key Vault helps protect keys, secrets and certificates
Microsoft IT uses Azure Key Vault to store and protect encryption keys, secrets (like authentication keys and passwords) and certificates. Using the vault improves the security of the infrastructure, apps and services that we build and operate. And it simplifies the protection process for developers, since they can easily locate and manage vault contents across their apps. Read more on IT Showcase.
See what is next in mobility with Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security
Enterprise mobility is a hot topic for companies these days. It is all about security and productivity: providing an end-to-end solution and simplifying the management of identity, device, application and data. This webinar demonstrates how to keep your employees productive on their favourite apps and devices and ensure your company data is protected from today’s advanced threats. It includes a high-level overview, demo and question and answer session. Register to view on demand.
Did you miss part 1 or 2 of “The security hero’s tool belt: Identity-driven security” webinar?
The transition to mobility and the cloud has further complicated the threat landscape, creating new challenges for our security heroes. Sophisticated attack vectors require a new approach to security. How can you arm yourself with a security strategy that uncovers blind spots, identifies anomalies and stops risky behavior? Learn how you can protect your organisation with innovative and intelligent security tools in a cloud-first, mobile-first world. Register to watch part 1 or part 2 on demand.
One secure identity at the core of your business
A strong identity at the core of your organisation helps users be productive and secure. Built for ease of use, Azure Active Directory enables enterprise mobility and collaboration and delivers single sign-on to thousands of cloud (SaaS) apps and web apps you run on-premises. It enables advanced identity protection through Azure Multi-Factor Authentication. And it provides security reports, audits, alerts and adaptive conditional access policies based on device health, user location and risk level. Learn more in this on-demand webinar.
Protecting against ransomware threats
As ransomware attacks continue to mature in frequency, intensity and sophistication, their impact is growing. To successfully prevent ransomware attacks against your organisation, you need to understand their nature, how they work and how to protect against them. Join us and learn how ransomware enters and propagates within an enterprise; how it targets your end users and infiltrates your network; what to do to protect against it; how to prepare for these attacks; and the best ways to recover. Join our industry experts as they share their insights. Register to view this webinar on demand.
The road to data-driven decision making
In the face of today’s data explosion, businesses need better strategies to use data more intentionally and effectively. The four data strategies outlined in this webinar show you how to enhance intelligence and existing resources with advanced analytics; support a data warehouse with modern data marts; leverage the cloud to complement existing data warehouses; and transform your data warehouse. Register to view on demand.
Build modern e-commerce solutions on Azure
No matter what your business sells, as a developer you need to build secure and scalable e-commerce solutions that meet the demands of your customers. Learn about our recommended architectures and see how you can start building innovative digital retail experiences. Discover how to quickly launch and easily update solutions using Azure Marketplace, learn how Azure supports mobile e-commerce solutions and experience Azure architectures in action through a demo. Register to view on demand.
Understanding advanced analytics to build a stronger retail customer experience
In this on-demand webinar, learn how advanced analytics can unlock new value and give your organisation a competitive edge. Better understand lead generation, targeting and innovation; discover the power of breaking down silos in capturing, analysing and executing on data-driven decisions throughout your organisation; learn best practices and tools you can use to capitalise on advanced analytics; and see how other companies use advanced analytics to optimise their operations.
DevOps: A Forrester Total Economic Impact study special with the experts
Forrester interviewed eight organisations that deployed our DevOps solution in their enterprise to reduce release cycle time and improve their speed to market to get value to the customer quicker. Please join us for this on-demand webinar where Richard Campbell from .NET Rocks! interviews Michelle Bishop from Forrester Consulting to better understand the benefits, costs and risks associated with a Microsoft DevOps solution implementation.
*Comic source: www.cloudtweaks.com. Reprinted with permission.
First Tech Federal Credit Union: Migrating to the cloud as fast as it can
First Tech Federal Credit Union is used to going where no credit union has gone before. That is what makes it a pioneer and an example to its industry. Its latest move is to the cloud. And not just any cloud—Azure. First Tech expects that hosting most of its operations in Azure will reduce future costs, scale to support rapid growth, enhance security and increase availability—helping achieve its “zero failed interactions” vision for member service.
Why Azure? Adcorp did it for advanced analytics and infrastructure that will scale for years
Over the past few years, Adcorp grew quickly through acquisition—and found itself with a motley assortment of data systems in its subsidiaries that could not talk to each other, making it difficult and time-consuming to get enterprise-wide views and an analysis of the company. That all changed for the international provider of workforce management solutions when they built a comprehensive system with Azure data technologies.
Rule the cloud with Chef and Azure
Chef has a long history of collaborating with Microsoft to help customers migrate to and automate the cloud. From PowerShell and Windows Server 2016 integration, to availability on Azure Marketplace, the Chef Automate platform delivers full-stack automation for getting the most from your Azure investment. You can use Chef Automate to manage all aspects of your Azure cloud, for greater IT speed and safety.
Featured: Powering the future of data for the data-defined enterprise
Apache Hadoop helps businesses quickly gain insight from massive amounts of structured and unstructured data. Modern enterprises run on data. Open and Connected Data Platforms from Hortonworks enable an organisation to manage all data, data in motion and data at rest, to empower actionable intelligence for your organisation—whether the data is in the datacenter or in the cloud.
Featured: Save time and solve problems with SQL Sentry by SentryOne
SQL Sentry by SentryOne provides DBAs and IT professionals easy-to-use tools that solve problems while saving time. The software provides deep insight, fast root-cause troubleshooting, comprehensive monitoring and flexible alerting. See for yourself by using their evaluation image to monitor your Azure resources like SQL Database, SQL Data Warehouse or SQL Server hosted in Azure.
Featured: Cybersecurity solutions from Sophos
Sophos Group is a leading global provider of cloud-enabled end-user and network security solutions, offering end-to-end protection against known and unknown IT security threats through products that are easy to install, configure, update and maintain. Sophos has more than 30 years of experience in enterprise security and has built a portfolio of products that protect 220,000 organisations and more than 100 million end users in 150 countries across industries.
If you noticed that the newsletter looks different, you are right! Besides deciding that it was time for a refreshed look and feel, we also wanted to find subtle ways to make it easier for you to read and enjoy the newsletter no matter what device you are using. We wanted to ensure accessibility and readability across multiple devices. To help you know what section you are in as you are scrolling, we added vertical colour bars to the left of the newsletter that match the top navigation. Send us your comments and feedback to let us know if you miss something from the old design or if there is something in particular that you like about the new design.