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Azure Newsletter: October 2017

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New Azure advancements remove cloud barriers for enterprises at Ignite 2017

At this year’s Microsoft Ignite, Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise, talked about how cloud is no longer about who has more features—it is about how successful you can be with the cloud. With our depth of enterprise understanding and grit to do the complex technology work, Azure uniquely unlocks cloud-based success for all our customers. To do this, we have focused our innovation into four key areas: enabling IT and developer productivity, providing a consistent hybrid cloud, unlocking AI solutions and ensuring trust through security, privacy and cost controls. Read more in his blog post, watch his presentation and catch up on other on-demand content from Ignite 2017.

Be sure to also catch up on on-demand content from Microsoft Envision.


Empowering the quantum revolution

During Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s keynote at Microsoft Ignite, he announced our company’s plans to invest in quantum computing. Quantum computing takes a giant leap forward from today’s technology—one that will forever alter our economic, industrial, academic and societal landscape. In just hours or days, a quantum computer can solve complex problems which would otherwise take billions of years for classical computing to solve. This has massive implications for research in healthcare, energy, environmental systems, smart materials and more. We envision a future where customers use Azure for both classical and quantum computing. Learn more.


Make the most of your cloud investment with Azure Cost Management

Azure Cost Management, also known as Cloudyn, helps your organisation manage cloud spend across Azure, AWS and Google Cloud Platform. It provides you the tools to monitor, allocate and optimise cloud spend so you can accelerate future investment with confidence. Azure Cost Management is available for free to all Azure customers and partners to manage their Azure spend. Start to use Azure Cost Management for free.

First Microsoft Azure Stack systems are headed to your datacenters

Azure Stack is an extension of Azure, letting you uniquely meet hybrid requirements like compliance, latency and true consistency as a part of your hybrid cloud strategy. Azure Stack is now shipping through Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Lenovo. Azure Stack integrated systems from Cisco are ready to order now. Additionally, Wortmann plans to introduce terra integrated systems for Azure Stack by the end of this year. You can also buy Azure Stack as a managed service from Avanade, Rackspace and several Microsoft Supplier Programme (MSP) partners. Azure Stack certification materials for IT professionals are available now and certification exams will start early next year. Learn more.

Upcoming Events

Integrate USA
25th October 2017
Redmond, Washington
Modern Apps Live!
12th November 2017
Orlando, Florida
DevOps Enterprise Summit
13th November 2017
San Francisco, California
Microsoft Tech Summit Sydney
16th November 2017
Sydney, Australia
Joomla! World Conference
17th November 2017
Rome, Italy
Strata Data Conference
5th December 2017

Be Informed

Microsoft SQL Server 2017 generally available

As of 2nd October 2017, Microsoft SQL Server 2017 is generally available. Bring the industry-leading performance and security of SQL Server to Linux and Docker containers for production workloads, enabling developers to build intelligent apps using their preferred language and environment. Be rest assured with innovative security features, transform your business with artificial intelligence built-in and deliver insights wherever your users are with mobile BI. Now through 30th June 2018, take advantage of the SQL Server on Linux offer, providing access to SQL Server 2017 on Linux at significant savings through an annual subscription.

Extending the power of serverless computing to all developers

Serverless computing is gaining broad adoption due to the cost, agility and simplicity it provides to businesses of all sizes. At the recent Ignite conference, we announced several new capabilities to Azure serverless offerings which let developers exercise even more innovative scenarios with more productivity. Specifically, we announced native integration between Azure Functions and Azure Cosmos DB, support for easily accessing information in Office 365 and Microsoft Graph from within Azure Functions, the ability to do local development for serverless apps on Mac and Linux and mainstream support for monitoring through Azure Application Insights. Learn more.

New Azure Advisor features being rolled out

Azure Advisor—your personalised cloud guide to Azure best practices—is rolling out new features based on your feedback. Advisor analyses your resource configuration and usage and recommends solutions that can help you improve high availability, security, performance and cost effectiveness of your Azure resources. Open your Advisor recommendations to access the all-new cross-subscription dashboard, download your recommendations and much more. Review your recommendations.

Azure Availability Zones in public preview

Expanding on our commitment to reliability and customer experience, Azure Availability Zones is now in public preview. Availability Zones builds upon our existing regions and native business continuity solutions to protect your apps from service-impacting events. Each Availability Zones-enabled region features a minimum of three zones, with each zone containing one or more datacenters. Zones are physically separated and have independent network, power and cooling resources. Learn more and get started.

Announcing FastTrack for Azure Preview expansion

We are expanding the FastTrack geo presence with coverage for the United Kingdom and Western Europe in early October, along with the United States, Canada and Australia, which became available earlier in August. FastTrack for Azure provides direct assistance from Azure engineers, working hand in hand with partners, to help customers build desired solutions quickly and confidently. Focused on customer success, FastTrack guides customers from setup, configuration and development to production of Azure solutions. Learn more.

Azure Policy in limited preview

Azure Policy is a new service which allows you to assess and enforce enterprise-wide governing standards across your entire Azure environment for proper control and compliance. You can opt in to join the limited preview on our website. Learn more.

Azure Cloud Shell now with PowerShell in preview

PowerShell in Cloud Shell complements Bash to provide another authenticated, browser-based shell experience hosted in Azure which streamlines your Azure admin experience. As with Bash, PowerShell in Cloud Shell provides a ready-to-use environment with popular command-line tools and automatic file persistence via Azure File Storage, so you can run your favourite automation scripts from virtually anywhere. Additionally, the PowerShell experience provides easy navigation of all Azure resources, like file system browsing, enabling easy discovery and automation across Azure services. Watch PowerShell in Azure Cloud Shell on Azure Friday.


Take simple steps to keep your Azure environment secure and well-managed

Easily deploy built-in security and management services on Azure. Start with Azure Security Center to secure your cloud resources. Turn on Azure Backup to protect your data in the cloud against ransomware and human errors. Leverage Azure monitoring services such as Log Analytics and Application Insights to continuously monitor your cloud health. Learn more about how to keep your cloud secure and well-managed.

Azure Security Center is now available to protect hybrid cloud workloads

Azure Security Center, the existing cyberthreat protection for your Azure workloads, is now also available to safeguard workloads running on-premises, in private and via other public clouds. With this new capability, Security Center unifies security management across environments and provides intelligent threat protection using analytics and the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph. Microsoft Operations Management Suite Security and Compliance customers can leverage Security Center to protect hybrid cloud workloads at no additional cost and with no effort to migrate. Learn more and start using Security Center today.

Azure Friday: Try Azure Cosmos DB for free

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman finds out about a new way to try Azure Cosmos DB free of charge, no sign-up or credit card required. It's a perfect way to get to know Azure Cosmos DB better, without commitment. Watch now.


Azure Cosmos DB: New metrics and heatmaps

You can now easily detect and troubleshoot “hot partition” issues navigating from the throttling signal to partition heatmaps and individual records to find the problematic partition key in two clicks. Get full visibility into your per-region usage performance against throughput, availability, latency, and consistency service-level agreements (SLAs). Learn more.

Azure Cosmos DB: Database account auditing

Now generally available, Azure diagnostics logs for Azure Cosmos DB lets users see logs for all the requests made to their respective database account at the individual request level. The diagnostics logs help track how and when your databases are accessed. This feature also provides a convenient method for configuring the destination of the logs for the customer. Users can choose an Azure Storage account, Azure Event Hubs, or Microsoft Operations Management Suite Log Analytics as the destination.

Native integration between Azure Cosmos DB and Azure Functions

With the native integration between Azure Cosmos DB and Azure Functions, you can simply add a trigger function directly from your Azure Cosmos DB account. The benefit of a trigger function is that it only executes when an event happens, which triggers a function call. Using Functions and Azure Cosmos DB, you can create and deploy event-driven, planet-scale serverless apps with extremely low-latency access against very rich data for a large number of customers across the globe.

New public preview of Intelligent Insights for Azure SQL Database: Performance degradation diagnostics log

Azure SQL Database built-in intelligence continuously monitors database usage, detects disruptive events that can cause poor performance and generates an Intelligent Insights diagnostic log. The insights provided consist of a root cause description of performance degradation and improvement recommendations where possible. The feature can be coupled with Azure Log Analytics or a third-party solution for custom alerting and reporting capabilities.

Get started with native scoring in Azure SQL Database

Now available in Azure SQL Database, native scoring lets you score machine learning models generated by RevoScaleR or revoscalepy packages from Transact-SQL. In addition, the PREDICT function lets you score models as part of your transactions without calling an external language runtime.

More included storage for Azure SQL Database Premium elastic pools generally available

Enjoy more than 1 TB of storage up to a maximum of 4 TB included in the price of the largest compute size Premium pools in Azure SQL Database. These storage increases are now generally available in certain regions with wider spread regional coverage planned. To learn more, visit the Azure Blog.

Azure SQL Database: Track and remediate potential database vulnerabilities

Vulnerability Assessment is a scanning service built into the Azure SQL Database service itself. It employs a knowledge base of rules which identify security vulnerabilities and deviations from best practices, such as misconfigurations, excessive permissions and exposed sensitive data. Results of the assessment include actionable steps to resolve each issue and customised remediation scripts where applicable. The assessment report can be customised for each environment and tailored to specific requirements.

Graph support for Azure SQL Database now generally available

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.

Azure SQL Database: New performance levels and storage add-ons in public preview

New Standard performance levels S4, S6, S7, S9 and S12 are now even better suited for CPU intensive workloads that don’t require the IO performance provided by the Premium tier. New storage add-ons enable purchasing extra storage without having to increase DTUs or eDTUs. Purchase extra storage for S3–S12, P1–P6 and PRS1–PRS6 databases up to 1 TB, for Standard elastic pools up to 4 TB and for smaller eDTU Premium pools up to 1 TB. Learn more about these new performance levels and storage add-on options.

Enable virtual network service endpoints for more granular security in Azure SQL Database

Virtual network service endpoints are in public preview in Azure SQL Database. SQL Database lets you set firewall rules for specific public IPs as well as allow all Azure services’ IPs to connect to your servers. If you are looking for finer grained connectivity limitations, you would have to provision a Static Public IP, which can be hard to manage and costly when done at scale. Virtual network service endpoints let you limit connectivity to your SQL Database servers from given subnets within a virtual network.

Adaptive Query Processing support for Azure SQL Database now generally available

SQL Server 2017 and Azure SQL Database introduce a new generation of query processing improvements which will adapt optimisation strategies to your application workload’s runtime conditions. For this first version of this adaptive query processing feature family, we have three new improvements: batch mode adaptive joins, batch mode memory grant feedback and interleaved execution for multi-statement table valued functions.

New capabilities in Azure Data Factory

Azure Data Factory is a hybrid data integration service which now lets you create, schedule and orchestrate your data integration workflows at scale wherever your data lives, in the cloud or a self-hosted network. Meet security and compliance needs while taking advantage of extensive capabilities and paying only for what you use. Accelerate your data integration with multiple data source connectors natively available in-service. Now in public preview, SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) customers can easily lift their SSIS packages into the cloud and let Data Factory manage their resources for them so they can be more productive.

Azure Machine Learning updates in public preview

Azure Machine Learning is a cloud predictive analytics service which makes it possible to quickly create and deploy predictive models as analytics solutions. You can work from a ready-to-use library of algorithms, use them to create models on an Internet-connected computer and deploy your predictive solution quickly. You pay only for the cloud resources which are used. In public preview, new Machine Learning features will enable artificial intelligence (AI) developers and data scientists to build, deploy and manage AI models everywhere, at any scale, in the cloud, on-premises, or edge.

Microsoft Cognitive Services: Text Analytics API generally available

The Text Analytics API, part of Microsoft Cognitive Services, is a suite of text analytics web services used to analyse unstructured text. This API uses advanced natural language processing techniques to deliver best-in-class predictions. It includes API functions such as sentiment analysis, key phrase extraction and language detection. The Text Analytics API is now generally available in five regions: East US 2, West US, West Central US, West Europe and Southeast Asia.

Azure Data Box in public preview

In public preview in all United States regions, Azure Data Box is a secure, ruggedised appliance which helps you transfer large amounts of data into Azure Storage. You can copy data to Data Box using the SMB 3.0 protocol and encrypt it using 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption. Partners can use Data Box to help customers with large data transfer projects. Sign up for the preview and learn more about Data Box.

Azure File Sync in public preview

Azure File Sync Preview centralises your file services in a managed cloud service to reduce complexity associated with server sprawl while preserving your on-premises compatibility and performance. File Sync Preview synchronises files bi-directionally from Windows Server 2012 R2 and 2016 servers into Azure Files, providing multi-site access, cloud tiering of less frequently accessed data, integrated backup and direct cloud access without a gateway. File Sync Preview can be used on your existing servers via a downloadable agent. It is now available in the West US, West Europe, Southeast Asia and Australia East regions.

Microsoft Power BI simplified how partners and developers embed visualisations into their apps

In the same way which partners build apps on Azure infrastructure, they can also use Power BI capabilities to quickly add stunning visuals, reports and dashboards into their intelligent apps through Power BI Embedded capacity-based tiers. Partners and developers can choose between using our visuals or creating their own. They can expose insights to their customers by connecting to countless data sources and can easily manage the needs of their apps and consumption of the service based on the requirements of their business and customers. Learn more.

Be empowered

Azure Friday: Azure Site Recovery

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman learns how Azure Site Recovery can help save the day to keep apps available in the event of a disaster. Watch now.


Course: Cybersecurity Reference Architecture

Are you protecting your enterprise from cybersecurity threats? In today’s mobile IT environment, cloud and mobile devices often extend beyond your network controls. Join cybersecurity experts for a deep dive into the Microsoft Cybersecurity Reference Architecture (this link downloads a PowerPoint presentation) and explore strategies and integrated capabilities to help you solve your security challenges. Watch the course.

Microsoft Tech Summit is back—register today

Build your skills with the latest in cloud technologies at a free, technical learning event for IT pros and developers. Whether you are developing innovative apps or delivering optimised solutions, Microsoft Tech Summit can help evolve your skills, deepen your expertise and grow your career. Choose from more than 70 sessions featuring the top engineers across Azure, Office 365 and Windows 10. Find a free event near you.


Azure at Sitecore Symposium 2017

Attending Sitecore Symposium 2017 in Las Vegas from 16th to 19th October2017? Stop by Microsoft Booth #500 to see how powerful Sitecore on Azure delivers business results. Or, attend Azure architect Michael Collier's developer session, What is New in Azure: Lots!, on Tuesday, 17th October 2017, at 11:45 AM Pacific Time (UTC-7).

Experience Azure Marketplace solutions with on-demand hands-on labs

Get hands-on experience with popular Azure Marketplace solutions from Cisco, Citrix, Red Hat and others. Our self-paced, on-demand virtual labs give you the experience you need to test, deploy and compare Marketplace solutions in your organisation. Learn more and register.

Course: See IoT in Action with Microsoft

Visit our IoT in Action with Microsoft video hub and learn from our IoT experts about the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT), how to capitalise your IoT investment, how to build a world-class IoT solution with Azure and more. Choose from two immersive learning tracks with 10 courses designed for both business and technical IoT practitioners.

IoT in Action with Microsoft event in Boston

We are launching the IoT in Action series event in seven international cities. Join us at our first stop in the United States: Boston, Massachusetts on 30th October 2017. This event will provide attendees a combination of thought leadership and technical knowhow which educates, excites and enables go-to-market (GTM) development across Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem partners. Register today to see what is possible with IoT, get educated on IoT and build new partnerships which will help you succeed.

IoT Virtual Bootcamp: A Brief Journey from Device to Action

Join our virtual bootcamp for Internet of Things (IoT) to learn from the experts on how to create enterprise-grade IoT solutions. Start from a basic device and make it smarter with the power of cloud. Hear live from IoT experts from Microsoft and the rest of the industry, then roll up your sleeves and create your own IoT solution(s) with hundreds of other commercial makers in the (virtual) room. Register now.

Cloud Cover: Azure Event Grid

In this episode, learn about Azure Event Grid, a new service which enables developers to build event-based programming. Events could be anything within Azure such as blob creation in Azure Blob storage, a virtual machine starting and much more. By subscribing to events, your apps can be notified whenever these events occur. You can also create your own events available for subscriptions.

You may also enjoy watching an episode on Azure Container Instances.


Course: Developing planet-scale apps in Azure Cosmos DB

Get hands-on with planet-scale apps in Azure Cosmos DB. If you are familiar leveraging cloud native services on Azure and the platform’s big data options, take the next step with an in-depth look at Developing Planet-Scale Applications in Azure Cosmos DB. Azure Cosmos DB is the distributed, super-scalable, multi-model database from Microsoft which transparently replicates your data wherever your users are. Write code against the different APIs as you learn from the experts about this fully managed service and its broad, global-scale features and capabilities. Get started today.

Webinar: Crawl, walk and run with container-based web apps using Azure

Azure, with broad offerings from integrated development tools to a fully-managed container platform, has options for you to develop, run and manage containerised apps easily at scale. Learn how to quickly deploy, update and scale containerised web apps using Azure App Service without the hassle of managing your infrastructure at the same time. Register to attend on 4th Octobe r 2017, at 10:00 AM Pacific Time (UTC-7) or watch on demand later.

Webinar: Building AI applications with the power of the cloud

Learn how you can collaborate with your team to use cloud-enabled tools and services which manage the entire end-to-end machine learning lifecycle. We will provide an in-depth, real-world example showing you how to harness the tools and technology used by professional developers and data scientists to help take your artificial intelligence (AI) skills to the next level. Register to attend on 4th October 2017, at 1:00 PM Pacific Time (UTC-7) or watch on demand later.

Be entertained

*Comic source: Reprinted with permission.

Be inspired

At Malaysia Airlines, innovation’s up and costs are down, because the company has more than its planes in the clouds

In the increasingly competitive airline industry, Malaysia Airlines wanted to lower its costs and boost its innovation to gain strategic advantage. That is what it is done with its move to Azure, part of a digital transformation which makes its SAP environment more cost-effective and creates new opportunities to increase customer engagement.

Learn more

Global restaurant chain dishes on the benefits of cloud computing

Vapiano Restaurant, a global restaurant chain, serves up innovative dining experiences in order to differentiate itself from others in the market. Because it runs its business on the Azure platform, Vapiano takes advantage of the inherent agility and extensibility of cloud computing to expand operations and raise the bar for the “fast-casual dining” experience everywhere.

Learn more

Be Enhanced: Partners

Realise your data’s potential with Cloudera on Azure

Cloudera empowers organisations to become data-driven enterprises in the newly hyperconnected world. Through extensive collaboration with the global open source community, Cloudera has developed a leading platform for modern data management integrated to the cloud. This enables organisations to use vast amounts of data from a variety of sources to better serve their customers, design connected products and reduce risk.

Learn more

Protect, recover and mobilise apps using Azure with Zerto

Still using an on-premises environment for app and data recovery? Zerto Virtual Replication is a software solution available from Azure Marketplace which allows for continuous, bi-directional data protection utilising Azure. Protect, recover, mobilise and test business apps using Zerto with Azure and become more confident in the resilience of your infrastructure while saving capital expenditure. Attend the Zerto webinar to learn five simple steps to use Zerto with Azure to protect your data and apps.

Learn more

Azure Marketplace

Featured: Cloud-ready 90-day free firewall trial

Barracuda Networks Cloud Generation firewalls are now available as 90-day free licences. The Barracuda Web Application Firewall (WAF) is ideal for protecting web apps in Azure and secures against all manner of web attacks. These are fully-featured versions, so customers can migrate workloads, run extensive reports and monitor web app access. Speed up the journey to a safe cloud with a free 90-day trial for Cloud Generation firewalls.

New: Launch JIRA Software Data Center in Azure

JIRA Software Data Center is now supported to run in Azure. JIRA Software Data Center is Atlassian's purpose-built solution for organisations scaling JIRA Software which need high availability, disaster recovery and performance at scale. Now you can get the full power of JIRA Software Data Center on infrastructure you trust and pain-free deployment with the Atlassian template for Azure Resource Manager.

Visit Marketplace page

Editor's Note


There is been so much buzz over the last few months about Microsoft Ignite 2017—it is hard to believe that it is already over! I am sure many of you were able to go in person, but if you did not, you can still catch up with on-demand videos. Whether you were there in person or viewing it remotely, I would love to hear from you. What was your favourite moment or announcement from Ignite? Did it inspire you to try something new with your app or business?