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Azure Newsletter: July 2017

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Welcome to the website version of the Azure Newsletter! We created this to help make it easier for you to view the articles you are interested in reading. If you select a category below, it will display articles only for that topic. Want to see everything again? Click All.


Microsoft joins Cloud Foundry Foundation

On 13th June 2017, we announced that Microsoft is joining the Cloud Foundry Foundation at the Gold level. Cloud Foundry is an open cloud app development platform that helps enterprises solve complex business challenges. This marks an important milestone in our vision of making Azure an open, flexible and portable platform. Read more.

Customer-submitted story: Hello Ethics

Hello Ethics is a SaaS for reporting unethical conduct, illegal actions or violations of professional company standards. The main concern companies have about ethical reporting services is keeping the information secure. Azure SQL Database was chosen to safeguard Hello Ethics’ reports and Azure ensures peace of mind. Business size does not matter—Hello Ethics lets customers collect information from small or large groups. Users manage reports in the dashboard and the data can be shown in a variety of formats, such as maps, timelines, network analysis graphs or statistics.

Customer-submitted story: Hello Ethics

Training and certification for Azure

Develop your Azure skills and advance your cloud career. Enroll in free training to quickly build practical, on-the-job skills and gain in-depth knowledge about Azure services. Or take one or more of our certification exams to become an Azure specialist. Learn more.

Training and certification for Azure

Upcoming Events

Be Informed

Power BI Embedded migration to Power BI service

Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools you can use to analyse data and share insights. As of 1st July 2017, the Power BI Embedded Azure service has converged with the core Power BI service and is part of a new capacity-based licensing model called Power BI Premium. This change means you have one API surface with access to the latest Power BI features when embedding your content, as well as enhanced scale and performance.

Microsoft R Server 9.1 now generally available within Azure HDInsight

The latest capabilities of Microsoft R Server 9.1 (on Spark 2.1)—including neural nets for deep learning, pre-trained Sentiment Analysis and Image Featuriser models and more—are now generally available within Azure HDInsight. Learn more about R Server 9.1 on the SQL Server Blog.

Azure VPN Gateway: Introducing the next generation of VPN gateways

Azure VPN Gateway lets you connect your on-premises networks and individual client computers securely to Azure over industry-standard connections such as IPSEC and SSTP. With flexible deployment choices and no regional constraints, VPN Gateway gives you high availability and secure connections from anywhere, anytime. Recently, we introduced three new VPN gateways to the VPN Gateway service (VpnGw1, VpnGw2 and VpnGw3), with significant increases to both bandwidth and service-level agreements (SLAs).

Azure Traffic Manager: Fast Failover generally available

With Azure Traffic Manager, you can control the distribution of user traffic for service endpoints in different datacenters. Service endpoints supported by Traffic Manager include Azure Virtual Machines, the Web Apps feature in Azure App Service and cloud services. You can also use Traffic Manager with external, non-Azure endpoints. Fast Failover lets you fine-tune and customise failover behaviour when using Azure Traffic Manager. With Fast Failover now generally available, you can choose to have faster redirection of your users away from an endpoint that has become unhealthy.

Azure Friday: Virtual datacenter

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman learns about the concept of virtual datacenters. This idea is at the heart of what our software-defined networking stack does with a combination of vNet peering, hybrid connectivity and centralised infrastructure in hub-and-spoke topologies. Watch now.

Azure Virtual Machines: N-Series instances for visualisation now available in Japan East

The N-Series is a family of Azure Virtual Machines with GPU (graphics processing unit) capabilities. GPUs are ideal for compute- and graphics-intensive workloads, fueling innovation through high-end remote visualisation, deep learning and predictive analytics. These instances are powered by NVIDIA GPUs and are optimised for accelerated compute jobs running CUDA, AI training jobs and remote visualisation. N-Series instances for visualistion (NV-Series), currently available in East US, South Central US, North Central US and West US 2 regions, are also now available in Japan East.

Large disk sizes now generally available for Premium and Standard disk storage

Disk storage provides persistent, highly-secured disk options which support virtual machines. Premium Storage (SSD) is best for I/O-intensive apps, where low latency and high throughput are critical. For testing, Standard Storage (HDD) can help keep costs down as you scale up and down quickly. To learn more about Premium and Standard large disks, please visit the About disks and VHDs for Azure Windows VMs documentation webpage.

Premium Managed Disks: Introducing smaller disk sizes, P4 (32 GB) and P6 (64 GB)

Azure Managed Disks is the recommended disk storage for use with Azure Virtual Machines for persistent storage of data. You can use multiple managed disks with each virtual machine. Managed Disks offer two types of durable storage options—Premium and Standard Managed Disks. For Premium Managed Disks, two smaller sizes, P4 (32 GB) and P6 (64 GB), are now available. To learn more about Premium Managed Disks, please visit the High-performance Premium Storage and managed disks for VMs documentation webpage.

Data Exposed: Loading data into Azure SQL Data Warehouse using Polybase

In this Data Exposed video on Channel 9, find out about the challenges for getting data into a data warehouse, why Polybase is a great data loading tool and then learn how to use Polybase to load data into Azure SQL Data Warehouse.

Get started with Azure SQL Data Sync in the Azure portal today

Now available in the Azure portal, Azure SQL Data Sync is a cloud-based service built on Microsoft Sync Framework technologies. It provides single-direction as well as bi-directional data synchronisation and data management, so data can be easily shared across Azure SQL Database instances in multiple datacenters or between on-premises Microsoft SQL Server databases and SQL Database instances. Learn more.

New improvements to Azure SQL Database adaptive query processing generally available

The adaptive query processing feature family now offers batch mode memory grant feedback, batch mode adaptive joins and interleaved execution. Batch mode memory grant feedback improves the performance of repeated queries that request too much or too little memory. Batch mode adaptive join is a new query operator type that allows dynamic selection of the most optimal join algorithm based on runtime row counts. Interleaved execution improves the performance of queries that reference multi-statement table-valued functions by using the true row count of the function call during query optimisation.

Graph support for Azure SQL Database in public preview

The rapid growth and complexity of data can leave users struggling to optimise schema and query design to address complex relationships between the data. Graph databases introduce simple constructs of nodes and relationships into linked structures for sophisticated modeling. Azure SQL Database now offers fully integrated graph extensions, so users can define graph schema with graph objects. T-SQL language extensions help users find patterns and use multi-hop navigation. To learn more about graph support, visit the SQL Server Blog.

Higher database eDTU limits for Standard elastic pools in Azure SQL Database

An increase in the maximum eDTU (elastic Database Transaction Unit) limit per database in Standard pools is now in public preview. This limit has increased to as much as 3,000 eDTUs with new choices starting at 200 eDTUs. These higher limits are especially well suited for databases with activity bursts demanding more CPU than previously provided by Standard pools. For IO-intensive workloads, Premium pools continue to provide the best performance experience with lower latency per IO and more IOPS per eDTU. Learn more.

Data Exposed: Azure SQL Database geographic failover at scale

In this Data Exposed video on Channel 9, learn how to do Disaster Recovery in Azure SQL Database using auto-failover groups and find out about additional disaster recovery capabilities in SQL Database.

Azure Event Hubs Capture now generally available

Azure Event Hubs is a real-time, highly scalable and fully managed data-stream ingestion service that can log millions of events per second and stream them through multiple apps. The Event Hubs Capture feature, previously in public preview as Event Hubs Archive, is now generally available. This feature offers long-term data archival and downstream micro-batch processing, accessing the data directly from Event Hubs in a specified time and size window and sending it to a specified destination. Learn more.

Visual Studio Team Services Private Pipelines now included with Visual Studio Enterprise subscriptions

All active Visual Studio Enterprise subscribers (including both standard and cloud subscribers) now have one Private Pipeline included in their Visual Studio Team Services account membership. Customers currently purchasing Private Pipelines in Team Services can now reduce the number of pipelines they buy, based on the number of Visual Studio Enterprise subscribers in their team.

Strengthen your brand with groundbreaking digital marketing solutions from Adobe and Microsoft

Microsoft and Adobe have joined forces in the cloud to help enterprises embrace digital transformation and deliver compelling, personalised experiences in every phase of customer relationships through Azure, Adobe Marketing Cloud and Dynamics 365 solutions. Adobe Campaign delivers best-in-class campaign, offer and personalisation management capabilities across all channels. Adobe Experience Manager provides a comprehensive content management solution for building websites, mobile apps and forms. Reach out to your Adobe or Microsoft account executive and visit the Dynamics 365 website for more information.

Be empowered

All the cloud essentials—all for free

Your journey to the Azure cloud starts here, with the tools you need to build cloud competency in one place. Get hands-on experience with product trials and virtual classes, solutions to help build your skills with Pluralsight courses and access to expert support. Join Cloud Essentials to help advance your cloud career.

All the cloud essentials—all for free

Free hands-on Azure classes

Get practical job skills now with our instructor-led classes. Try “Getting Hands-on with Microsoft Azure Operations Management and Security” to learn about analytics, automation, security, backup and site recovery across a hybrid environment. Classes fill up so reserve your spot. today.

Stay relevant with the information you need

Join Microsoft Tech Community—it is the one place for all things community for Office, Azure, Cloud and Data Platform, Windows Server and more. Get the latest product and event announcements and interact directly with peers, MVPs, Microsoft employees and event speakers.

Azure Virtual Machines: N-Series instances for visualisation now available in Japan East

The N-Series is a family of Azure Virtual Machines with GPU (graphics processing unit) capabilities. GPUs are ideal for compute- and graphics-intensive workloads, fueling innovation through high-end remote visualisation, deep learning and predictive analytics. These instances are powered by NVIDIA GPUs and are optimised for accelerated compute jobs running CUDA, AI training jobs and remote visualisation. N-Series instances for visualistion (NV-Series), currently available in East US, South Central US, North Central US and West US 2 regions, are also now available in Japan East.

Cloud Architecture Whiteboard Webinar Series

Overcome key development challenges by using proven cloud design patterns that enable reliable, scalable and more secure apps in the cloud. This webinar series addresses common problems that engineers and developers face when designing cloud-based solutions. Each webinar in the series focuses on a set of design patterns that address a fundamental design task. Learn more.

On-demand Azure Marketplace virtual hands-on labs

Sign up for one or more complimentary on-demand labs and get hands-on experience with popular Azure Marketplace solutions from Cisco, Citrix, Red Hat and others. It does not matter if you are new to the solutions or already an expert, these labs give you the detailed information you need to compare, test and deploy technologies in your organisation through a hands-on demo, in 45 minutes or less. Learn more and register.

On-demand Azure Marketplace virtual hands-on labs

Cloud Cover: Azure Time Series Insights

In this episode, learn about Azure Time Series Insights, a fully managed analytics, storage and visualisation service that helps make it simple to explore and analyse billions of Internet of Things (IoT) events simultaneously. Watch now.

On-demand webinar: SQL Server on Linux Engineering Town Halls

Microsoft SQL Server is bringing its world-class RDBMS to open-source enterprise ecosystems with SQL Server on Linux. Learn about recent developments and get answers to your questions in our virtual town halls, where we connect you with the team behind SQL Server on Linux. Register to view on demand.

Podcast: The Opportunity of a More Secure IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) represents a significant opportunity to enterprises as they go through digital transformation. While businesses are eager to take advantage of the efficiencies and gains promised by IoT, they must also implement greater security to protect their assets and investments. In the latest episode of the Microsoft Partner Network podcast, Rodney Clark, VP of IoT Device Experience, discusses security not only as a concern for enterprises but also as a differentiator for partners. Listen now.

On-demand webinar: How to tackle the top three challenges of IoT projects

Learn the business value that Internet of Things (IoT) technologies bring to companies of all sizes across industries by connecting people, assets, processes and systems. This webinar covers the benefits you can expect from an IoT solution; real-world use cases across several industries; best practices; how to get started; and how to navigate the stages of a solution to maximise value.

IoT and retail: Blue Dynamic bridges the gap between online and in-store

Learn how agency Blue Dynamic helps brick and mortar stores solve business problems in a hackfest with Microsoft. See how the team used Microsoft Cognitive Services and Azure Internet of Things (IoT) to create amazing in-store shopping experiences. Explore the coding behind it in the Blue Dynamic Code Story Theater at Build. Skill up with a Microsoft Virtual Academy Azure IoT overview or an in-depth Azure IoT solutions training on edX.

On-demand webinar: Accelerate your Enterprise Mobility + Security deployment with FastTrack

Take advantage of our FastTrack customer success service to facilitate your Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security deployment. Hear from FastTrack features experts who spend their days helping customers get these services up and running. See how to implement specific scenarios that contribute to deployment success. And learn how to accelerate the deployment of Azure Active Directory, Microsoft Intune and more. Register now.

On-demand webinar: Supporting your EU GDPR compliance journey with Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security

EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will impact most businesses. Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security offers approaches, recommended practices and techniques to support your compliance journey. In this on-demand webinar, hear about our committed, principled approach that ensures you can trust the digital technology we use.

On-demand webinar: Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security in action: Advanced security for Office 365 and beyond

This webinar gives you an in-depth view of how Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security extends and adds new capabilities to Office 365 so you can manage a changing threat landscape—on-premises and in the cloud—and effectively respond to shadow IT.

On-demand webinar: Incident Response: Getting the upper hand in the cybercrime fight

Compromise of IT systems is inevitable. Most survey data shows security stakeholders at organisations do not have confidence in their Incident Response (IR) capability due to skills shortage, in particular inadequate detection and response. Our IR team lead talks about what happens in the critical moments after Microsoft IR teams engage with a customer under cyberattack. Register now.

On-demand webinar: Achieving greater business productivity with Microsoft PowerApps

For customers and partners looking to achieve greater productivity in the enterprise, this webinar is for you. Learn how to fill the “last mile” gap in productivity; enable greater business user empowerment; and increase speed and ease of development. Register now.

On-demand webinar: Optimise your app data platform with Microsoft

Join us for this webinar to learn how the latest updates to Microsoft SQL Server can help build rich app experiences and maximise your revenue potential. Learn more about innovation for all SQL Server apps; cross-platform support on Windows and Linux; containerisation for DevOps and customer deployments; and graph data analysis combined with all the benefits of SQL Server—security, performance and availability.

Webinar: Accelerating digital transformation with technology

We recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to better understand how enterprises across the globe are pursuing digital strategies. This global study focuses on the outcomes they sought, challenges faced and improvements they are realising. We will highlight the role that technology (CRM, ERP, business intelligence and productivity) has played in accelerating digital transformation efforts. Register to attend on 12th July 2017 or watch on demand later.

On-demand webinar: Balance database loads with ScaleArc

Database workloads can be challenging to run in the cloud, given smaller database instance sizes and cross-region workflows. ScaleArc’s database load-balancing software makes it easier to adopt Azure for Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL or Oracle workloads. The software also improves the availability and performance of apps running on those databases. View this ScaleArc webinar to learn more.

On-demand webinar: Harness your data with Nasuni powered by Azure

How you access, manage, protect and utilise your data is a challenge. Gartner reports that data volume is set to grow 800 percent over the next five years. Nasuni offers a complete Azure-based enterprise file storage system to handle this growth. The IT goal has not changed. How to accomplish it has. The debate is not hardware versus the cloud. It is how to create an intelligent file infrastructure that utilises the cloud. View this Nasuni webinar to learn more.

Be entertained

*Comic source: Reprinted with permission.

Be inspired

Making movie magic more affordable

Major motion picture studios rely on Jellyfish Pictures to add sizzle and magic to their live-action and animated movies. Jellyfish is one of the most respected visual-effects and animation studios in the world. It uses Azure to augment its on-premises rendering farm with on-demand, high-performance computing (HPC) resources.

Learn more

Mobile game developer primed for the armies to arrive

It is critical that gaming startups make the right technology decisions early on so that when their game goes viral, their infrastructure holds. Swedish mobile game developer FunRock chose to build the back-end infrastructure for its debut title on Azure Service Fabric. With Service Fabric, FunRock has the scalability, performance and development agility needed to support tens of thousands of simultaneous players and continuously enhance the game with new features.

Learn more

Be enhanced


Microsoft and Druva better together—cloud data protection for Office 365

Organisations rely on Microsoft Office 365 to power their business and employee productivity. While the core capabilities of Office 365 are powerful, you need a purpose-built data protection solution like Druva to address requirements including legal hold, eDiscovery, data loss prevention (DLP), ransomware, advanced threat protection, encryption and business continuity.

Learn more

NeoLedge receives help with global expansion from Microsoft GTM Services

As a partner in the Microsoft Go-To-Market Services programme, NeoLedge was able to participate in the Microsoft Global Expansion programme. “The Global Expansion programme has enabled us to structure not only the way we have expanded internationally, but also our indirect strategy, our product positioning and our value offer compared to our competitors and towards our customers,” said Christian Serrure, Chief Product Officer at NeoLedge.

Learn more

Azure Marketplace

Featured: Accelerate existing app migrations to Azure without re-engineering your data services

SoftNAS Cloud NAS is a software-defined virtual NAS that runs on Azure compute and storage backends, while providing enterprise-class features like encryption, data protection and high availability. SoftNAS Cloud NAS scales to petabytes and supports major storage protocols (CIFS, NFS, AFP and iSCSI) so no re-engineering of your existing apps is needed when moving them to Azure. Use SoftNAS Cloud NAS for backup, disaster recovery and file services. Test-drive SoftNAS Cloud NAS on Azure free for 30 days or contact SoftNAS for more info.

Visit Marketplace page

New: Build a cloud-ready network with Citrix

Companies are moving apps to the Azure cloud, but their traditional WAN was not built for cloud delivery. Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN delivers apps from the cloud to users with a secured, reliable connectivity and end-to-end visibility. Microsoft customers who use NetScaler SD-WAN can deploy more apps in Azure because they can be confident they have a reliable connection and that their employees will have a superior user experience.

Visit Marketplace page

Editor's Note


Whether you have used Azure for a long time or are just getting acquainted with our products, I invite you to grab a cup of your favourite coffee or tea and then read this in-depth article, Securing the Cloud. You will discover how much company-wide effort we put into making the cloud a more secured place for your data and apps. (Did you know that we invest about $1 billion in cloud security each year?).