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Last week in Azure #23: Week of March 12

Catch up on what happened last week in Azure, including what's now in preview, generally available, and other news & updates.

Last week in Azure, we were at the Rice Oil and Gas HPC conference showing how high-performance computing in the cloud is helping companies in that industry get more done. This week, we'll be at GDC 2018 showing game developers how Azure can handle the management of their gaming platforms so that they can focus on what they do best: make games that make headlines. Week after week, we're demonstrating how Azure is the cloud for all.

Now in preview

New machine-assisted text classification on Content Moderator now in public preview – Content Moderator enables you to create a complete, configurable content moderation lifecycle by combining automated moderation with human reviews and workflows. Going beyond existing technology that flags profanity terms, the text classification feature helps detect potentially undesired content that may be deemed as inappropriate depending on context. In addition, it can recommend a human review of the content. The text classification feature is in preview and supports the English language.

Now generally available

Azure Data Lake launches in the West Europe region – Azure Data Lake Store (a hyperscale repository for big data analytics workloads) and Azure Data Lake Analytics (a distributed analytics service that makes big data easy) are now generally available in the West Europe region, in addition to the previously announced regions of East US 2, Central US, and North Europe.

Announcing backup and restore performance improvements and support for large disk backup – These improvements and large disk support is based on a new VM backup stack and are available for both managed and unmanaged disks. You can seamlessly upgrade to this new stack without any impact to your on-going backup jobs and there is no change to how you set up backup or restore.

News & updates

New isolated VM sizes now available – Two new Virtual Machine (VM) sizes, E64i_v3 and E64is_v3, which are isolated to hardware and dedicated to a single customer are now available. These VMs are best suited for workloads that require a high degree of isolation from other customers for compliance and regulatory requirements.

Microsoft and 21Vianet reinforce long-term cooperation on cloud services in China – Microsoft and 21Vianet have agreed to extend their partnership to provide world-class public cloud services to Chinese customers. Microsoft Azure and Office 365 operated by 21Vianet have achieved unprecedented, robust three-digit growth for nearly four consecutive years in China. This cooperation model pioneered by Microsoft and 21Vianet has been recognized as an effective and successful method for a legal and compliant operation of international cloud services in China.

New offers in Azure Marketplace – February 2018 – The Azure Marketplace is the premier destination for all your software needs – certified and optimized to run on Azure. Find, try, purchase, and provision applications & services from hundreds of leading software providers. In February, we published over 80 new offers.

Technical content & training

Azure cloud data and AI services training roundup – Along with Microsoft innovations in artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, and big data, take a deep dive into a variety of topics, including products like Azure Cosmos DB.

Five webinars to catch you up on hybrid cloud – If you need to get up to speed on how to work best in a hybrid environment, we’ve collected five of our most-viewed webinars from the past year for your binge-watching pleasure. These on-demand sessions cover a variety of topics essential to individuals who find themselves needing to work on their hybrid mixed on-premise and cloud strategy.

Azure Strategy and Implementation Guide – free download – While it’s clear what the potentials of cloud computing are for your organization, it may be unclear the adjustments your IT organization will need to make in transitioning to the cloud. This guide is designed to help your IT team more effectively implement and integrate cloud technologies.

Four IT skills with sky-high prospects – Cloud computing will drive changes throughout the IT profession. However, individuals in search of rapid career advancement should consider developing skills in one of these areas, and would do well to complete the extra work toward getting certified.

Heuristic DNS detections in Azure Security Center – To help provide guidance on detecting highly evasive threats, we published Windows DNS server logging for network forensics and the introduction of the Azure DNS Analytics solution. In this post, learn more about some of our more complex, heuristic techniques to detect malicious use of this vital protocol and how these detect key components of common real-world attacks.


Microsoft and Azure at the Game Developers Conference – If you're attending GDC 2018 this week in San Francisco, come to the South Hall Lower Lobby of the Moscone Center and stop by our dedicated Microsoft Azure booth to learn how you can create a gaming empire by building on the gaming cloud that has powered Xbox for years.

Azure Batch for oil and gas – Last week, Microsoft was at the Rice Oil and Gas HPC conference at Rice University in Houston, Texas to show how high performance computing (HPC) helps oil and gas companies accelerate ROI and minimize risk. In this post, you'll learn how Azure Batch enables companies to integrate their existing applications with Azure compute resources to execute applications in parallel, and at scale.

Developer spotlight

Xamarin University Guest Lecture – Mike Geig – Introduction to Unity3d – This session covers the skills you need to begin using the Unity game engine. We will look at the various components of the interface as well as how they work together to give you a rich and powerful toolset. We will also see how we can mix art and code together to create interactivity and gameplay. Topics discussed include the editor, scripting, animation, physics, and lighting.

Building Your First Intelligent App with Xamarin and Microsoft Cognitive Services – René Ruppert shows you how to easily integrate the power of three different Azure Cognitive Services into a Xamarin application. Given that nobody can decipher René's handwriting, he's going to use the power of Azure to turn it into clear text and use that as input for further processing.

Azure Mobile Apps SDK for Unity – Azure Mobile Apps contains a variety of features for building cross-platform mobile titles. This SDK currently supports working with Easy Tables. Easy Tables are a great way to read, write, and query data in a simple table format.

Build your gaming empire on Azure – Modern games are made and played differently, requiring more powerful development tools, global and flexible multiplayer support, and new revenue models. Learn how Azure can provide the management of your gaming platform so you can focus on what you do best: making games that make headlines.

Use Azure Easy Tables and the Mobile Apps SDK with Unity – Azure provides a scalable solution to storing telemetry and other game data in the cloud. With the release of Unity 2017, Unity's experimental support for .NET 4.6 makes Azure integration simpler than ever. This sample will walk through the process of using Easy Tables to save telemetry and leaderboard data in Azure using the experimental Mobile Apps SDK for Unity.

Build Better Games with Unity and Microsoft Azure – David Antognoli shows you how to take your Unity games to the next level with powerful cloud services. He'll walk through how to connect your apps to Microsoft Azure, adding compelling features that users love, like leaderboards and heatmaps, and demo how new Unity and Visual Studio 2017 features improve your development process and your users' experience.

Service updates

Azure shows

Azure Friday – Get started with the Azure SDK for Go – The Azure SDK for Go provides Go packages for managing and using Azure services using the Go language. Deploy your Go app to Azure Web Apps and take advantage of managed services, such as PostgreSQL, Storage, Identity, and more.

The Azure Podcast: Episode 220: Logic Apps Update – Logic Apps Principal PM Kevin Lam is back to give us all the latest and greatest updates on the service. It has definitely come a long way since we had him on the show last about a year and half ago and Kevin is just as excited about the possibilities using Logic Apps.