Azure Newsletter: April 2017

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Customer-submitted story: CryptoCompare

CryptoCompare, a company which provides data and analytics about digital currencies, relies on Azure to store and provide live cryptocurrency market data to their users and partners. They have managed to scale their business and process more than 1,000 trades per second using only the Azure infrastructure. They also provide one of the most reliable and accurate cryptocurrency pricing and historical data APIs. Their API, written in Node.js, runs on Ubuntu Azure virtual machines and can serve more than 3,000 requests per second from each load-balanced server at peak times (on average, it handles 500 requests per second).


Watch Microsoft Build 2017 live in May

Software continues to transform the world in remarkable ways and developers are at the centre of it. At Microsoft Build 2017, you can learn about the latest new technologies and exciting plans on the horizon. The 10th -12th May 2017, event is now sold out, so if you did not register to attend in person, the keynotes and select sessions will be streamed live from Seattle, Washington on the Microsoft Build 2017 website.

Download this get-started guide for Azure IT operators

This guide introduces core concepts related to the deployment and management of an Azure infrastructure. If you are new to cloud computing, or Azure itself, this guide will help. It discusses an operation, such as deploying a virtual machine and then provides a link for in-depth technical detail.

Image with Microsoft logo and text:  Get started guide for Azure IT operators

Microsoft to acquire Deis to help companies innovate with containers

We have seen explosive growth in both interest and deployment of containerised workloads on Azure and we are committed to ensuring Azure is the best place to run them. To support this vision, we have signed an agreement to acquire Deis—a company that has been at the centre of the container transformation. Deis gives developers the means to vastly improve application agility, efficiency and reliability through their Kubernetes container management technologies. Read more in Scott Guthrie’s blog post and watch this video to learn about using Helm, a Deis open source product, with Azure Container Service.

Get the most out of Azure with free hands-on classes

Attend one of our expert-led, virtual live classes on Azure. These popular hands-on sessions help you work through real-world scenarios with step-by-step instructions. Space is limited and fills up fast so reserve your virtual seat today. Register now

Upcoming Events

Be Informed

Azure resource health generally available

Azure resource health helps you diagnose and get support when an Azure issue impacts your resources. It informs you about the current and past health of your resources and helps you mitigate issues. Resource health provides technical support when you need help with Azure service issues. Launch resource health in the Azure portal now.

Image showing resource health panel in Azure Portal

Azure Advisor generally available

Azure Advisor is a personalised recommendation guide which helps you follow best practices to optimise your Azure resources. It analyses your resource configuration and usage and provides guidance to help you improve the availability, security, performance and cost-effectiveness of your Azure resources. Launch the Advisor blade in the Azure portal.

Image showing the Advisor blade in the Azure Portal

Gain visibility into the health, performance and utilisation of your Azure resources with Azure Monitor

Azure Monitor, now generally available, provides built-in monitoring and diagnostics of your Azure resources, enabling operational visibility across your cloud assets. With near real-time monitoring, detailed logging, improved alerting and notifications such as SMS, email and webhook, you can quickly detect and fix IT issues impacting your business. Learn More

Image showing Azure Monitor blade

New Azure DocumentDB features: Spark connector, Data Explorer and encryption at rest

Three new Azure DocumentDB features are now available. Spark connector enables real-time data science and exploration over globally distributed data in DocumentDB. Data Explorer (preview) provides a rich, unified developer experience for inserting, querying and managing DocumentDB data within the Azure portal and the Emulator. And, we are rolling out encryption at rest across all of our regions. All data stored in DocumentDB will be automatically encrypted at rest while maintaining the same great availability, latency, throughput and functionality customers enjoy today.

SQL Server 2017 Community Technology Preview 2.0 now available

SQL Server 2017 Community Technology Preview (CTP) 2.0 is now available on Windows, Linux and Docker. This preview introduces several new capabilities including managing and querying graph data. You can now run analytical queries written using Python natively and at scale inside the database. Customers can preview CTP 2.0 in an Azure virtual machine for development and testing today.

Azure Data Factory continues to enrich data ingest and transformation capabilities

In March 2017, the Azure Data Factory team enabled loading data from SAP HANA, SAP Business Warehouse, SFTP, and HTTP and incorporated PolyBase enhancement to directly load from Azure Data Lake Store into Azure SQL Data Warehouse. Data Management Gateway High Availability and Scalability is supported, as is data movement support for the UK South region. The team has also introduced new Spark activity for rich data transformation. Learn More

Microsoft Cognitive Services: Content Moderator, Computer Vision API and Face API generally available

Microsoft Cognitive Services is a collection of APIs which enable developers to tap into high-quality vision, speech, language, knowledge and search technologies. Face API, Computer Vision API and Content Moderator are now generally available in the Azure portal. Face API helps detect human faces and compare similar ones; Computer Vision API gives you the tools to understand the contents of any image; and Content Moderator provides machine-assisted moderation of text and images, augmented with human review tools.

Lost in translation? Find out what is new from Microsoft Translator

On 6th April 2017, Microsoft Translator released Japanese as its tenth speech translation language. All speech languages are powered by two artificial intelligence (AI) systems. The Microsoft Translator Speech API, part of Microsoft Cognitive Services, is available on Azure for developers to add to their own applications. Japanese is also available for presentations, meetings or any other multi-devices translation with the personal universal translator feature, through Microsoft Translator live as well as in Skype Translator. Learn More

Azure HDInsight available in additional regions

Azure HDInsight is now available in the West US 2 region and Azure HDInsight for Linux is now available in the UK West, UK South and Central India regions. HDInsight is a fully managed cloud Hadoop offering that provides open-source analytic clusters for Spark, Hive, MapReduce, HBase, Storm, Kafka and R Server backed by a 99.9 percent service-level agreement (SLA).

Cortana Intelligence solution templates accelerate your journey to an intelligent app

Cortana Intelligence solution templates let you use advanced analytics and big data to improve business processes and increase competitiveness. You can leverage flexible solution templates built using best-practice architecture and machine learning models, backed by our rich partner ecosystem. The first three solution templates will be used for demand forecasting for retail, personalised offers for online retail and quality assurance for retail.

L-Series instances in Azure Virtual Machines generally available

L-Series instances in Azure Virtual Machines are now generally available in the following regions: East US 2, West US, Southeast Asia, Australia East, Canada Central and Canada East.

Azure Application Gateway WAF generally available in Germany

The Web Application Firewall (WAF) capability in Azure Application Gateway is now generally available in Germany as part of a new WAF tier. Web Application Firewall helps protect web applications from common web-based exploits like SQL injection, cross-site scripting attacks and session hijacks.

Azure Service Bus: Hybrid Connections feature of Azure Relay generally available

The Azure Relay Hybrid Connections feature in Azure Service Bus is generally available. Hybrid Connections lets you use open standards like HTTPS and WebSockets to securely connect resources sitting behind a firewall on-premises to other cloud-based services or assets.

Azure Active Directory B2B collaboration generally available

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) B2B collaboration simplifies management and improves security of partner access to resources including software as a service (SaaS) apps such as Office 365, Salesforce and many more, as well as Azure services and other mobile, cloud and on-premises applications. Azure AD B2B collaboration is now generally available and you can start using it in production right away.

Azure Active Directory B2C generally available in Europe

Many organisations must maintain their data in a specific geographic location like Europe, because of industry regulation or data protection laws. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) B2C, the cloud identity service which helps you stay connected with your customers, now offers the option to connect your applications and upload your customer accounts to Azure AD B2C instances which operate and store data only in Azure datacentres in Europe. Learn More

DirSync and Azure AD Sync end of support on 13th April 2017

We previously offered two synchronisation tools for hybrid identity implementation to extend the reach of on-premises identities to cloud services: Windows Azure Active Directory Sync (DirSync) for single forest directory implementations and Microsoft Azure Active Directory Sync (Azure AD Sync) for multi-forest and other advanced capabilities. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) Connect now replaces these older tools for all scenarios. DirSync and Azure AD Sync are no longer being updated. They have been deprecated and are no longer supported as of 13th April 2017. Learn More

Deprecation of Azure Media Services Management REST API version 2011-10-01

The old Management REST API for Azure Media Services version “2011-10-01” is now deprecated and will reach end of support on 22nd May 2017. A new and improved Media Services management endpoint is now available and should be migrated to immediately. All new Azure Resource Manager templates should reference the latest management API for provisioning Media Services accounts. Learn More

Xamarin University now available in Visual Studio Marketplace

Xamarin University offers training in mobile development with live online classes, downloadable course materials, recordings, office hours, self-guided learning and guest lectures. Xamarin University is offered monthly per user and like other services sold in Visual Studio Marketplace, uses an Azure subscription for billing. Learn more about Xamarin University, including how to start a free trial.

Watch how a Xamarin mobile app is helping Syrian refugees

Cellphones are lifelines for the 600,000 urban refugees living in Syria. Urban Refuge created a Xamarin mobile app for Syrian refugees to find aid and services on a map. See the story.

Be empowered

Azure Friday: Easy push notifications with Azure App Service

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman learns about new features and demos push notifications in Azure App Service—a secured way to use Azure Mobile Apps to integrate mobile apps with Azure Notification Hubs to receive push notifications. Watch now

Devs, join us for a free, in-person AI Immersion Workshop

If you are interested in creating the next generation of intelligent apps, join us in Seattle, Washington on Tuesday, 9th May 2017, just before Build 2017. Bring your laptops and roll up your sleeves for hands-on tutorial sessions, from applied machine learning and Big AI to Microsoft Cognitive Services and intelligent software as a service (SaaS) apps. Explore the depth of Microsoft artificial intelligence (AI) offerings and connect in person with industry experts and peers. Space is limited.

Join us at the 2017 Microsoft Data Insights Summit

The Microsoft Data Insights Summit is back 12th to 13th June 2017, in Seattle, Washington. The event is designed to help you identify deeper insights, make better sense of your data and take action to transform your business. You will 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

See what is next in Azure at Microsoft Ignite

Join us at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Florida from 25th to 29th September 2017. It is the place to connect with Azure experts, get inspired and come home with new ideas. This five-day conference offers more than 700 sessions covering Azure and many other topics, plus hands-on demos and plenty of opportunities to get your questions answered. Learn More

On demand: Microsoft Data Amp

Missed Microsoft Data Amp? You can take advantage of on-demand content from this unique virtual event for data innovators. Learn how advances in data, intelligence and analytics are driving digital transformation. You will gain insights into the industry and learn about important announcements and the latest technologies. Microsoft Data Amp—where data gets to work. Watch now

On demand: Microsoft Tech Summit

Missed the Tech Summit event in person? Do not miss our on-demand content, complete with more than 50 technical sessions covering a range of topics across Azure and the hybrid platform, including security, networking, data, storage, identity, mobile, cloud infrastructure, management, DevOps, app platforms, productivity, collaboration and more. Register today

Microsoft Tech Summit banner

On-demand webinar: 5 days to make IT ops more efficient

Learn about tools to help you remediate infrastructural issues, understand application health and establish preventative security. Our hybrid experts will walk you through a 5-day guide to establishing a more efficient IT pipeline and will show you how to collect real-time insights into mission critical issues, spot problems faster and enable continuous operations through automated fixes with Azure management and security services. Register now

Cloud Cover: Azure Managed Disks

Learn about Azure Managed Disks, a greatly simplified way to manage storage accounts used with virtual machine disks. With Managed Disks, you just specify whether you want Premium or Standard storage and the size of disks you need. The service handles everything else for you. Managed Disks also offers new features such as availability set isolation, snapshots and images.

You may also be interested in Developing and Debugging Azure Mobile Apps.

Join us for the complimentary Azure Marketplace virtual lab series

Are you interested in solutions like Chef, Red Hat and Commvault but are not sure how to get started? Join us for a complimentary virtual lab where we shall show you how to deploy these apps directly to Azure in 45 minutes or less through a hands-on demo. Learn more and register.

Image with text: It is not who you know – it is what. Azure Marketplace Labs

My excellent cloud adventure: First steps, first mistakes

Brad Wright shares one of the greatest lessons Microsoft IT learned when helping Microsoft move their entire IT footprint to the cloud. Read the post on IT Showcase.

Case study: Redesigning network topology for modern app architecture

For Microsoft IT, the transition to the cloud required fundamental changes to legacy network design. Modern, cloud-based apps and services need reliable Internet connectivity to provide top-notch user experiences and high levels of productivity. We evaluated our network’s needs and set about to re-architect the infrastructure to support the cloud-first, mobile-first culture at Microsoft. Read more on IT Showcase.

Test-drive Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security for free

With this three-month free trial of Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security, you can: help guard your data from attacks; preserve the mobile and desktop experiences your team is familiar with; do more with less; and protect users, devices, apps and data with intuitive mobile management on a future-ready platform. To start your three-month trial, join IT Pro Cloud Essentials for free to get this and other trial offers.

Be entertained

Illustration showing a man standing, looking at his wristwatch; and a woman with an anxious expression on her face, standing on one leg, holding a tablet in one hand and a phone in the other and her toes seemingly typing at a computer on a nearby desk. The man looks at his watch and says to the woman, "Our technology-free long weekend starts in 5..4..3..2..".

*Comic source: Reprinted with permission.

Be inspired

Thread manufacturer spins its future in the cloud

Coats, the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer, has made the Microsoft cloud the linchpin of its strategy to transform its business for a data-driven age. Coats is moving all its datacentre assets into Azure, including its production SAP HANA systems, to gain elasticity, vastly improve performance and lower costs. The technology team supports anywhere, any-device productivity by securing applications and data with the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security suite.

Learn More

With Azure, startup unlocks the door to rapid business growth and innovation

UniKey, a provider of digital key technologies for smart locks, built a rapidly growing business on the Azure platform. Manufacturing partners can bring new smart access control products to market quickly and the "eKey" is now expanding to markets across the world. With doors which unlock with a single touch, consumers are finally seeing The Jetsons come to life.

Learn More

Be enhanced


Nasuni increases revenue with help from GTM Services

Go-to-market (GTM) activities helped Nasuni increase overall revenue 80 percent last year and have driven over 100 net new Azure wins. “We moved to Microsoft Azure from Amazon Web Services (AWS) so we could leverage Microsoft GTM Services and the results speak for themselves. Since we moved, our revenue growth has skyrocketed,” said Andres Rodriguez, Founder, President and CEO of Nasuni.

Learn More

Azure Marketplace

Featured: Hybrid cloud trends for disaster recovery in the enterprise

The hybrid cloud requires modernising disaster recovery solutions and processes. In order to build an effective approach to disaster recovery with a hybrid cloud infrastructure, there are three key steps which must be part of the process; analyse, design and test/refine to ensure that your data is protected and can be quickly recovered. This 20-minute webinar will provide best practices and approaches which are proven successful in actual company deployments. Once you register for the webinar, you can download the Seven Cost Saving Tips for Disaster Recovery e-book and the customer story.

Visit Marketplace page

Featured: Enterprise-class big data analytics on the Azure cloud for any size organisation

With HPE Vertica in the Azure cloud, you are able access high-performance, enterprise-class data analytics delivered at extreme scale without compromise. Packed with a comprehensive set of features and functionality, Vertica is able to manage large amounts of data quickly and reliably to give you fast analytical insight. Try out Vertica to see if it can help you perform faster queries without breaking your budget.

Visit Marketplace page

Editor's Note


Like so many people, I am amazed at how much technology has progressed in the last several years. Learning is more agile and dynamic and helps students think about future technologies. If you are a student or know someone who is, there is an online Hello Cloud 2017 contest where students have an opportunity to win $1000 USD every month. To compete, all students need to do is sign up for Azure (free, no credit card required) through Microsoft Imagine and then complete one or more of our Hello Cloud activities.