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Azure Newsletter: January 2018

Stay informed on the latest Azure features, events and community activities. Browse through past newsletters or subscribe and get the latest Azure news delivered to your Inbox.

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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.


Customer-submitted story: GabrielsVault

Launched last year on Azure, GabrielsVault was created as a new generational message platform. The grief that follows someone’s death can be a lonely time for a spouse, child or others left behind. GabrielsVault helps users remind family and friends of humor, shared stories or offer guidance and direction into the future. Users can create unique messages, store them securely on Azure and automatically deliver messages into the future either on a specific date and time or following their death using the automated Legacy Delivery process built on Azure. With GabrielsVault, a legacy of stories can last for generations.

Download e-book: Azure Virtual Datacenter

Make the most of Azure capabilities while respecting your existing security and networking policies with the Azure Virtual Datacenter approach. As IT organisations and business units deploy enterprise workloads to the cloud, they must balance governance with developer agility. The Azure Virtual Datacenter model helps you achieve this balance with an emphasis on governance. Download now.

Download guide: Azure Stack: Building an end-to-end validation environment

This guide helps you plan for an end-to-end Azure Stack validation environment using the Azure Stack Development Kit. It covers many of the core concepts required to build a functional Azure Stack environment, including subscriptions, services, quotas, plans and offers. You will learn about the constructs and configurable options available in Azure Stack and how to tackle the key considerations of planning a successful implementation. Download now.

Azure Application Architecture Guide

This guide shows you how to design scalable, resilient and highly available apps, based on proven practices from successful customer engagements. Read the guide on the Azure Architecture Center and use the following diagram to understand the structure of the guide.

Upcoming Events

IoT In Action
13th February 2018
San Francisco, California
Microsoft Tech Summit Cape Town
13th February 2018
Cape Town, South Africa
Microsoft Tech Summit Frankfurt
21st February 2018
Frankfurt, Germany
Mobile World Congress
26th February 2018
Barcelona, Spain
try! Swift
1st March 2018
Tokyo, Japan
Strata Data Conference
5th March 2018
San Jose, California

Be Informed

Azure Friday: Azure free account

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman finds out about the new Azure free account, which gives new Azure customers a USD200 credit for the first 30 days to experiment with a combination of services. Now it also includes 12 months of popular free services and more than 25 always-free services to explore Azure further. Watch now.

2018 is your year to get certified

Pick the New Year’s resolution that will help take your career to the next level with this Microsoft Certified Professional exams offer. The Microsoft Azure Exam Pack includes a practice test, exam voucher and an exam retake for the Azure exam of your choice. The offer is only valid until 30th March 2018, so plan now to get the skills you want.

Elastic Database tools for Azure SQL Database

The Elastic Database client library for Azure SQL Database is now generally available for Java. The client library provides tools to help developers scale out the data tier of their apps using sharding technology, including support for multi-tenancy patterns for software as a service (SaaS) apps. Like the existing C# version, the Java version is open source and we welcome contributions from the community. Read Building scalable cloud databases to learn more.

Azure SQL Database: automatic tuning improvements now available

There are two new improvements for automatic tuning in Azure SQL Database. The first is an automatic plan correction feature, which includes the tuning option “Force Last Good Plan.” The second feature enables you to configure automatic tuning through T-SQL, providing more flexibility in utilising scripts to create and manage databases. Visit the Azure Blog to learn more.

Automatically build, test and release your apps with Visual Studio App Center

Ship better apps faster by connecting your app’s repository and automating the rest. After pushing new code, Visual Studio App Center can build your app in the cloud, test it on thousands of real iOS devices using XCUITest, release to beta testers or the App Store and monitor production with crash reports and analytics. Sign up now.

Distribute apps faster with Azure Functions and Visual Studio App Center

Distribute your iOS, Android and Windows apps to your users and app stores faster by combining the power of Azure Functions with the latest Visual Studio App Center APIs. Put apps in the hands of your beta testers and users on multiple device platforms. Send different builds to different groups of testers so you can spend less time managing your app lifecycle and more time coding. Read more.

Be empowered

Help organise Global Azure Bootcamp 2018

21st April 2018, is the sixth annual Global Azure Bootcamp event. Hundreds of local user groups join and more than 10,000 attendees learn about Azure together for one day. This is a testament to the power of community coming together. Join with your user group and organise a location with your friends.

Fast-track Azure learning

Learn new Azure technologies in under an hour with Azure Essentials. First, watch a short video, then apply what you learned in a live, guided lab. When you are ready, start a free product trial in a live environment. If you are an AWS professional who wants to know how to get started with Azure or if you want to learn infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Relational Database options or DevOps with Azure, then Azure Essentials is the quickest way to get started.

Build your cloud skills with the latest in Azure

Microsoft Tech Summit, a free technical learning event for IT professionals and developers, is coming to a city near you. Discover the latest trends, tools and product roadmaps and meet with the experts who build and run Microsoft cloud services. Whether you are developing innovative apps or delivering optimised solutions, Microsoft Tech Summit gives you two days of learning, networking and skill-building. Find a free event near you.

Try Azure Functions and Visual Studio in a hands-on lab

The Azure Functions and Visual Studio lab provides a zero-friction environment for building serverless apps using Azure Functions and Visual Studio. The environment comes pre-installed with Visual Studio and the required tools. You don’t have to install anything and can simply dive into the productive developer experience. Try it on the Microsoft hands-on lab platform.

Bring your app to the cloud with serverless Azure Functions

At the recent Microsoft Connect(); conference, cloud developer advocate Jeremy Likness provided a great overview of bringing your existing apps to the cloud by using serverless Azure Functions. Watch the training video.

Stop/Start VMs during off-hours

Take advantage of a cost-saving tool originally developed for Microsoft internal use and now made available on the Azure Marketplace. With the Start/Stop VMs during off-hours solution, you can save money by making sure your virtual machines (VMs) are off when not being used. Leveraging this low-cost, serverless service helps optimise your Azure costs, while automating time-consuming tasks.

Course: Building an IT Certification Study Lab

If you have already watched the Mastering Microsoft Certification Exam Prep course, take the next step and explore the theory and practice of how to build an IT certification test lab environment as part of the preparation for Microsoft Certification exams. Learn to build the practice lab and assemble its building blocks, including host computer and evaluation software. The course takes you through the steps to make it easy to reuse the lab environment and you will find out how to build the entire practice lab in the cloud or in a hybrid environment. View the course.

Case study: Cloud security at Microsoft

Security in a virtual environment is significantly different than in an on-premises datacenter. See how Microsoft handled the transition to the cloud and some DevOps best practices we have adopted for cloud security. Watch now.

Course: Mastering Microsoft Cognitive Services, Part 6: Translation APIs

Part 6 of the Microsoft Cognitive Services course series explores Translation APIs, which are included in Cognitive Services and backed by machine learning. They can help translate text and speech into other languages—often required for collaboration in today’s business world. Watch this course to learn how to use Cognitive Services to build apps which bridge the language barrier and enable users to communicate in real time. Find all the courses in the series.

Optimise the planet: That means PaaS, too!

Read why service engineering manager Rick Ochs encourages companies to not overlook platform as a service (PaaS) when moving to the cloud. “No matter what technology decisions you make, how your application utilises resources is now a major factor in your design,” says Ochs.

Case study: Refactoring for the cloud

See how Microsoft transformed operations using data analytics, Power BI and the connective power of cloud computing, making processing more than a terabyte of data each day far more manageable. Watch now.

Be entertained

*Comic source: Reprinted with permission.

Be inspired

Petroleum company runs SAP on Azure, trims costs by 40 percent

GRISARD-Gruppe is a leading Swiss petroleum company, bitumen and asphalt manufacturer and real estate management firm. The company made a strategic decision to migrate all its business apps to Azure. By moving SAP apps to Azure, GRISARD has reduced costs by 40 percent and dramatically improved SAP performance.

Learn more

Office supplier moves SAP Hybris to Azure, expects 50 percent lower datacenter costs

ADVEO distributes office supplies to resellers in nine countries across western Europe. Manual processes are common in the industry, and resellers could take up to 48 hours to confirm delivery of inventory and testing IT business process changes required advance capacity planning. In response, ADVEO migrated its SAP Hybris Commerce solution to run on Azure to support a dynamic supply chain and a testing cycle of hours, not weeks.

Learn more

Be Enhanced: Partners

Genetec Clearance: Helping you collaborate throughout an investigation

Genetec Clearance, built on Azure, simplifies investigations by facilitating collaboration between multiple internal and external stakeholders throughout an investigation. It helps users collect digital evidence from disparate sources and securely store and manage it in a centralised location. Genetec Clearance can also eliminate delays and costs associated with manual processes and facilitate sharing of evidence while maintaining chain of custody.

Learn more

Cohesity and Azure: Hybrid cloud data fabric for secondary storage

Enterprises are struggling to take control of their secondary data in an increasingly hybrid cloud world. Cohesity and Azure have teamed up to deliver a hybrid cloud data fabric which can help you take control of your secondary storage. The joint solution lets you use Cohesity and Azure for data protection, long-term archival, dev/test and disaster recovery.

Learn more

Azure Marketplace

Featured: Monitor Azure services and apps using Grafana

Grafana, the leading open source software for visualising time series data, is now available on the Azure Marketplace. By deploying Grafana from the Marketplace you will get a virtual machine with pre-installed Grafana dashboard and the official Azure metrics data source built by the team at Grafana Labs.

Visit Marketplace

New: Couchbase scales on Azure to build a foundation for digital innovation

With the Couchbase Data Platform on Azure, you get the best of both worlds—unmatched agility, competitive performance at scale and the ease of management in a single platform combined with an enterprise-grade, infinitely scalable cloud. Couchbase and Azure empower organisations to create bigger and better experiences for web, mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) apps.

Visit Marketplace

Editor's Note


After several years of managing the Azure Newsletter, this will be my last editor’s note to you. It has been an honor to help deliver the latest developments about Azure to you each month as well as incorporate changes to the newsletter that originated with your feedback. I have also enjoyed including human interest stories showing the positive impact which customers have had using Azure services—I have heard from many of you that you enjoyed these stories too. I will still be at Microsoft and I am excited to see what new and innovative tools Azure provides in the future. But don’t worry—the Azure Newsletter will continue, so keep an eye out for upcoming editions.