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Azure Newsletter: June 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.


Introducing Azure Files

As Azure continues to grow, we want to keep you informed so that we can plan for the future together. This product roadmap is the place to find out what is new and what is coming next. You can let us know what you think by providing feedback and voting on items, and you can also subscribe to notifications so that you will always be in the know.

Customer-submitted story: IBHS

IBHS is an independent, non-profit, scientific research, and communications organisation. Their Fortified program evaluates homes for hurricane and high wind readiness and provides recommendations for strengthening homes and businesses. The entire process, including automated analysis of home-building standards, is now done entirely on Azure after moving from an on-premises implementation plagued with outages and poor performance. Without this move to Azure, this product would have been abandoned.

Join us on 21 June 2017, at Microsoft Azure OpenDev

On 21 June 2017, at 9:00 AM Pacific Time (UTC-7), learn how to build containerised microservices and improve your DevOps pipeline during this new, free virtual conference, showcasing open-source technologies on Azure with customer and partner demonstrations and examples. Plus, get hands-on experience and use community best practices for open source application development on Azure. Save the date and sign up for updates.

Save up to 40 percent on Windows Server virtual machines with Azure Hybrid Benefit

Save up to 40 percent on Windows Server virtual machines with Azure Hybrid Benefit Use your on-premises Windows Server licenses to save big on Azure. Whether you are deploying new virtual machines, moving a few workloads or migrating your datacenter to the cloud, the Azure Hybrid Benefit lets you save on cloud computing while maximising value from your current investments. With this benefit, we cover the cost of operating systems (on up to two virtual machines per license). You pay for base compute only. Start saving today by activating this benefit directly from the Azure portal. Learn more.

Upcoming Events

Be Informed

New capabilities for Azure App Service: Web Apps and containers on Linux

Our differentiated PaaS capabilities are now available to developers building apps on Linux or bringing their apps already packaged as containers. You can now be more productive with continuous integration, testing and staging environments, testing in production, performance testing, SSH (Secure Shell) support, and more. Web Apps on Linux is now also available in the Australia East region, in addition to West US, West Europe, and Southeast Asia. Learn more about App Service offerings for Web Apps and containers on Linux.

Azure Batch low-priority virtual machines in public preview

The public preview of a new reduced-cost compute offering is now available for Azure Batch. Low-priority virtual machines can be specified for Batch pools to significantly lower costs compared to regular on-demand virtual machines. Low-priority virtual machines have different characteristics and are most suited for batch and asynchronous workloads where completion time is flexible. To learn more about this service, visit the Batch Documentation webpage.

Autodesk and Azure to enable large-scale rendering

In collaboration with Autodesk, Azure Batch Rendering is in preview. Now you can run Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max apps, and Autodesk’s Arnold renderer in Azure in a pay-per-use model. This collaboration lets artists, engineers, and designers submit rendering jobs seamlessly via client apps or our SDKs and quickly get results. To learn more and sign up for the preview, visit the Azure Batch Rendering webpage.)

How-to video: Create an Azure SQL Database instance from Azure CLI 2.0

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman learns how to create an Azure SQL Database instance in Azure from the command line using Azure CLI 2.0. Azure CLI 2.0 is the cross-platform command-line tool for managing Azure resources that is written in Python, updated every two weeks, and available as open source on GitHub (Azure/azure-cli). Watch now.

Azure Cosmos DB: CLI support extended

Azure Cosmos DB has new command-line interface (CLI) commands for create, read, update, and delete operations on databases and collections, as well as for scaling container throughput. To learn more about the sample scripts available, visit the Azure CLI samples for Azure Cosmos DB webpage.

Azure Network Watcher now available in all public Azure regions

We recently made Azure Network Watcher available in all public Azure regions. Azure Network Watcher is a tool that allows customers to monitor and diagnose their network connectivity through automated packet captures and network flow logs.

Azure SQL Analytics in public preview

Azure SQL Analytics, a solution based on Azure Log Analytics, can help manage and monitor your Azure SQL Database instances. Look at health, performance, and utilisation of your SQL databases using dashboard views with built-in, detailed reports and alerts. Collect and store related metrics, search and query the stored telemetry, and correlate and visualise the query results—to detect, triage, and respond to issues before they impact your users. This is available as part of Insight and Analytics in Microsoft Operations Management Suite.

Azure Data Lake Tools for Visual Studio Code generally available

Azure Data Lake Tools for Visual Studio Code provides users a lightweight, keyboard-focused, and cross-platform integrated development environment (IDE) that runs smoothly in Windows, Linux, and Mac. It supports U-SQL language authoring, scripting, and extensibility, with C# to process different types of data and efficiently scale to any amount of data. U-SQL extensibility is enabled through custom code, either by using registered custom code assemblies or code-behind capabilities. The new tooling also integrates with Azure Data Lake Analytics for U-SQL job submissions, with job output to Azure Data Lake Store or Azure Blob storage.

Visual Studio Team Services: Delivery Plans extension generally available

Visual Studio Team Services lets your development teams collaborate using Git, Agile tools, and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery. Delivery Plans is generally available and is now included for Team Services users at no additional cost. Delivery Plans helps you drive alignment across teams by overlaying several backlogs onto your delivery schedule. Learn more about Delivery Plans, including how to install it.

New features to help you optimise your apps with Azure Application Insights

Live debug and profile your apps using the new Snapshot Debugger and Profiler. Get insights into your app’s user behaviour with usage analysis tools. Quickly find and fix issues using custom metrics and events in Live Metrics Stream as well as Azure resource health information in Application Map. And you can now use an Azure Application Insights metric as the source for an Autoscale setting so your apps perform well even when demands change. Learn more about these new features, and watch the Microsoft Mechanics video.

Microsoft Cloud in Africa: Coming in 2018

Recognising the enormous opportunity for digital transformation in Africa and the growing demand for locally delivered cloud services, we’ve announced plans to launch datacenters in Johannesburg and Cape Town in 2018. The two new Azure regions will offer enterprise-grade reliability and performance combined with data residency to increase access to cloud and internet services and empower organisations and people across the African continent to achieve more.

Be empowered

Cloud Cover: Building games with Azure Service Fabric

In this episode, watch demos and see real-world examples and architectures for running new and legacy games using Azure Service Fabric.

Join us for the complimentary Azure Marketplace virtual lab series

If you are interested in solutions like Veeam or Red Hat but are not sure how to get started, join us for a complimentary virtual lab. The Azure Marketplace virtual lab series will show you how to deploy these apps directly to Azure in 45 minutes or less through a hands-on demo. Learn more and register.

Course: Introduction to Azure IoT

Developers, learn the basics of Azure Internet of Things (IoT) and Azure IoT Hub. Watch Introduction to Azure IoT on Microsoft Virtual Academy for an overview of IoT. For more in-depth IoT solutions training, watch Developing IoT Solutions with Azure IoT on edX. Learn how to connect, monitor, and manage IoT assets with more than 12 hours of hands-on labs and 3 hours of insights recorded by the Azure IoT engineering team.

On-demand webinar: Are my IoT deployments secure?

Check out key Internet of Things (IoT) vulnerabilities hackers exploit today and learn how to design, develop, deploy, and operate an IoT infrastructure you can trust using Azure IoT. Get strategies for keeping your IoT infrastructure secure, and find out why Azure IoT is considered one of the most secure options today. Register now.

Case study: Startup Switch Automation uses Azure to scale their IoT building management solution

Switch Automation is much more than a traditional building management solution. They engineered their solution from the ground up: Connected buildings. Smarter operations. Better business. Learn how they worked with the Microsoft for Startups team to bring their global ambitions to life. Learn more.

Case study: Azure IoT in action

Check out this technical case study—complete with code snippets and technical architecture diagrams—that details how a team leveraged DevOps and Azure Internet of Things (IoT) to deliver a large-scale remote monitoring solution. Learn from developers’ real-world experiences and put them to work in your own organisation.

Course: Hands-on with Azure Machine Learning

If you are interested in machine learning and predictive analysis, you will want to watch this free, self-paced Azure Machine Learning course. A cloud-based service for building machine learning models using a drag-and-drop user interface, Machine Learning helps you perform sophisticated predictive analytics from small or large datasets. Get a fast start on Machine Learning with this hands-on introduction. Watch now.

Case study: Predictive analytics in Azure Machine Learning optimises credit collections

About 99 percent of financial transactions between customers and Microsoft involve some form of credit. For a company that collects more than $100 billion USD in revenue yearly, even small improvements in collection efficiency translate to big payoffs. See how we use Azure Machine Learning to save millions while improving customer satisfaction. Read more on IT Showcase.

Course: Databases in Azure

In this self-paced course, learn about the different types of database services available in Azure, as well as the tools to provision, manage, and monitor those services. Primarily focused on Azure SQL Database, the course also addresses other database service offerings and gives you an introduction to Azure SQL Data Warehouse, a cloud-based database management system for working with big data. Get started.

On-demand webinar: OpenShift and DevOps in SQL Server on Linux Microsoft engineering town hall

Microsoft SQL Server is bringing its world-class RDBMS to open-source enterprise ecosystems with SQL Server on Linux. Engage with the SQL Server on Linux engineering team to learn how containers simplify dev/test and CI/CD and automate build pipelines. Find out about integration with Red Hat OpenShift, and watch a live demo. Register now.

On-demand webinar: Driving business transformation with intelligent apps

Check out these unmatched innovations in security and ensure your data is protected. With Microsoft SQL Server 2016, Azure data services, and a portfolio of cognitive and bot capabilities, software creators can transform how their apps perform, predict, and interact with customers, partners, and employees. Register now.

Case study: Creating a user-centric mobile hub with Xamarin and Azure App Service

Microsoft campuses offer services like shuttles, shopping kiosks, and online food menus. But these amenities were often underutilised because there was not a simple, streamlined mechanism for employees to keep up with the latest. Our new Xamarin mobile app changed that. Read more on IT Showcase.

Course: Cloud Security from the field

Watch this on-demand course to get a detailed look at issues that come with cloud integration and how to address them. See where to focus as you manage and verify robust security at the physical, network, host, app, and data layers. And learn best practices for security-aware deployment, operational management, and threat mitigation to help protect all your data and make services resistant to attack.

On-demand webinar: Take your cloud security to the next level

Safeguarding cloud resources against advanced cyberthreats is now a top priority. Sophisticated attack vectors require a new approach. See how to strengthen and protect your cloud security; detect and respond to threats; and learn about the anatomy of common cloud attacks. Register now.

On-demand webinar: Microsoft Cybersecurity Reference Architecture

We have built a significant portfolio of integrated capabilities to help you solve security challenges, and we continue to invest in making protection easier. Find out how to build an identity security perimeter around your assets, including the common challenges and recommended approaches for identity, apps, data, and device security. Learn how to establish threat detection along the kill chain and leverage critical security capabilities built into Azure and Windows Server platforms. Register now.

On-demand webinar: Risk-based identity and access management processes by Forrester and Microsoft

Identity and access management (IAM) is essential for digital transformation. Identity is at the center of your threat-detection ecosystem. Learn why you should infuse IAM process with risk notions; how to prioritise your riskiest apps; how to move from signatures and rules to behavioural profiles; how the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph gathers data and calculates risk; and how to enable risk-based conditional access policies with Azure Active Directory. Register now.

On-demand webinar: Trust, privacy, and the GDPR

We have long been champions of individuals’ privacy rights and view the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as a critical step forward in clarifying and enabling individual data privacy rights. Join Brad Smith, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer, and Brendon Lynch, Microsoft Chief Privacy Officer, as they discuss data privacy rights and how Microsoft can help align your organisation’s privacy practices with significant privacy regulations such as the GDPR. Register now.

Case study: Microsoft IT operations evolve with Azure

Moving to Azure radically simplified IT operations at Microsoft, driving measurable results in innovation, business agility, and productivity. With a cloud-based, customer-centric operations model, Microsoft IT can now deploy services faster—with about 60 percent less manual work—at a reduced cost. Read more on IT Showcase.

Case study: Managing the enterprise cloud with Microsoft Operations Management Suite

We currently have more than 25,000 systems reporting into our enterprise implementation using the Microsoft Operations Management Suite agent. See how we are laying the groundwork for enterprise-wide implementation to better support the largest public cloud-based corporate IT infrastructure in the world. Read more on IT Showcase.

Case study: Redesigning our revenue reporting system for cloud architecture

How would you approach the cloud transition of a business-critical environment with more than 30,000 users, more than 1,500 data sources, 21 years of sales data, and an average of 2.6 million transactions daily? Here is how Microsoft IT is reimagining and redesigning the way MS Sales functions. Read more on IT Showcase.

On-demand webinar: Moving beyond QuickBooks: Make ordering, selling, invoicing, and reporting easier and faster with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Check out how Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials can help you connect people and processes efficiently and productively. Turn your multiple disconnected systems into one. Boost efficiency with automated tasks and workflows—all from within familiar Office tools like Outlook, Word, and Excel. Get a complete picture of your business and make better decisions with built-in intelligence. Register now.

On-demand webinar: Why Office 365 customers need to consider Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security

Office 365 is a critical step in your organisation’s digital transformation. As you deploy Office 365, you can extend its robust management and security capabilities to your broader digital ecosystem for a comprehensive and holistic security strategy. Register now.

On-demand webinar: Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security: Securing access to Office 365 and beyond

Check out new Office 365 capabilities to help enable more secure, simplified access to your Office mobile apps and other resources. Learn about secured single sign-on to Office 365; risk-based conditional access; Azure Active Directory B2B; secured collaboration capabilities via cross-organisational identity and access; identity protection; advanced monitoring; and Privileged Identity Management. Register now.

Be entertained

*Comic source: Reprinted with permission.

Be inspired

Top online retailer bets on Azure to provide a stellar experience for 13 million customers worldwide

ASOS, a leading online fashion retailer, transformed its platform from a monolithic, on-premises e-commerce system to a microservices platform running on Azure. Used by more than 13 million customers worldwide, the new platform handled more than double the volume of Black Friday orders over the previous year. The rapidly growing company has also accelerated development of mobile apps and features to target new markets and stay on top of trends.

Learn more

GEICO turbocharges insurance innovation in the cloud

By adopting a DevOps development strategy and transitioning development to Azure, GEICO is working to engage customers more personally and dynamically. With the help of partner Applied Information Sciences, GEICO is moving to the cloud with a focus on increased efficiency, greater app availability, and lower costs.

Learn more

Connecting vehicles for the long haul

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) manufactures some of the most recognisable commercial vehicles on the road today, including Freightliner and Western Star heavy- and medium-duty trucks and Thomas Built school buses. To help fleet managers increase reliability and reduce costs, DTNA built Detroit Connect, a data capture and analysis program that supports its state-of-the-art vehicles and helps build long-lasting relationships with its customers.

Learn more

Be enhanced


Why the Web Apps feature in Azure App Service and Sitecore are a match made in heaven

Sitecore has re-architected many core elements of the Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) to natively leverage Azure. Key changes include: replacing their session state provider to leverage Azure Redis Cache; adding Azure Search to their repertoire of search providers; including Azure Application Insights; and offering native support for the Web Apps feature in Azure App Service and full support for Azure SQL Database in Sitecore XP.

Visit Marketplace page

OpenShift Container Platform Reference Architecture for Azure is now available

In collaboration with Microsoft, Red Hat has now published the new Reference Architecture for OpenShift Container Platform 3 running in Azure. This document provides guidelines that will help you drive a proof of concept and prepare for your production deployments in Azure.

Learn more


Featured: Benefits of Bitnami's Azure-optimised solutions on Azure

With more than 150 free, open-source, Azure-optimised apps and development environments, Bitnami makes it easier than ever to run your apps as ready-to-run packages for all major platforms including cloud images, virtual machines, and containers on the Azure cloud. Bitnami packages every app and development environment so that it can be used to create repeatable, turnkey solution templates. For example, build your own DevOps toolchain or big data and analytics solution all with Bitnami's free, Azure-optimised apps.

Visit Marketplace page

Featured: Deploy Elasticsearch and Kibana on Azure in a few clicks

The search, analytics, and visualisation power of Elasticsearch, Kibana, and X-Pack is available on Azure. WIth pre-configured templates, it is easy to deploy an Elasticsearch cluster on Azure, visualise data with Kibana, and secure and monitor your deployment with X-Pack. And if you want to integrate deployments into your build automation pipeline of choice, check out the Elastic Azure Resource Manager template.

Visit Marketplace page

New: Dynatrace helps with end-to-end, full-stack monitoring for Azure workloads

Dynatrace provides customers an all-in-one performance monitoring solution that includes user experience management, app performance, and infrastructure monitoring with SaaS and managed deployment options. Dynatrace supports out-of-the-box integrations to the Azure platform and third-party technologies such as Docker, Mesosphere, and Pivotal, and automatically detects anomalies based on machine learning algorithms.

Visit Marketplace page

Editor's Note


I had every intention to go to Build since it was in Seattle, but I have to be honest—I could not find the time in my busy work day. ☹ I missed meeting some of you in person to hear your thoughts on how we’re doing, but I do hope to still connect with you by email. Thanks to our digital world, though, we can now watch the sessions online and we covered many of the Build announcements in the May newsletter. If you have not already, I recommend going to Scott Guthrie’s blog post to get the latest from his point of view.