Azure Newsletter

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.


Be Informed

Visual Studio Online is now Visual Studio Team Services

We've supercharged our developer services and given them a new name, Visual Studio Team Services. Share code with unlimited private repositories, track work with Kanban boards and tools for agile planning, and ship software with build and release services—for any language and any platform. New features we recently announced include Package Management, web-based Release Management, Code Search, and more. We also launched the new Visual Studio Marketplace, where you can find free/paid extensions and purchase Visual Studio subscriptions using your Azure account. Just connect your integrated development environment (Visual Studio, Eclipse, IntelliJ, and so on) or a code editor to Team Services, and then bring your team together to do great things. Check out all the features and get started for free.

Azure Security Center in public preview

Azure Security Center helps you prevent, detect, and respond to security threats with increased visibility and control over the security of your deployments. With analytics-driven detection and machine learning, Security Center helps you detect advanced threats by comparing information from the global threat landscape to activity within your Azure deployments.

Azure SQL Database Threat Detection in public preview

Azure SQL Database Threat Detection identifies anomalous database activities that could present threats to security. Threat Detection lets you proactively monitor and quickly respond to alerts about unusual and potentially harmful database events, and it helps you determine whether those events result from an attempt to access, breach, or exploit the database. Read this blog post for more information.

Azure customer success story: TechTrend, Inc.

With Azure helping to provide the security, reliability, and scalability that enables superior customer satisfaction, TechTrend’s order fulfillment process was enhanced and enabled them to provide an exceptional overall order fulfillment experience. Azure services and features helped make it possible for TechTrend to build a next generation Order Management System (OMS) that enabled automating and tracking the entire customer lifecycle. A top 25 8(a)-certified small value added world-wide reseller, TechTrend has constructed a revolutionary ordering system that provides a 360-degree view to customers across the order fulfillment process. To learn more and register for a free OMS account today, visit the TechTrend website or send an email.

Do you have a success story to share with your fellow Azure Newsletter readers? Submit your story and you could see it here.

Azure portal now available with improved performance and productivity enhancements

Numerous enhancements to the Azure portal make it easier and faster than ever to discover, create, and manage Azure resources. For a personalized experience, you can add, resize, move, remove, duplicate, and configure tiles in the dashboard and resource blades. All Azure services are now listed in the portal and, with improved search functionality, you can easily find the resources you need. An enhanced integrated support experience makes the portal a truly unified hub for all Azure services. Now the primary portal, it also loses the “preview” tag. The Azure management portal will continue to be available to users as the Azure classic portal. You’ll also find deep links for easy navigation between the classic portal and the portal. To learn more, please read the Azure Blog.

Flexible Azure support options

Finding the right support resources can save money and make you more productive. Azure provides flexible support options to help everyone—from individual developers to multinational enterprises—get the most out of their Azure subscriptions, with break/fix technical support and Azure know-how, resources, and best practices. Visit the Azure support plans webpage to learn more and select the right plan for you.

Azure Content Delivery Network Premium generally available

Azure Content Delivery Network Premium is an expansion of the existing service, offering a new set of premium features. The Advanced Content Analytics feature gives you deeper insight into Content Delivery Network activity, while the Rules Engine provides highly granular control over the way requests are processed. Your cloud users get all of the new features with a single price point and simplified bill rather than multiple line items.

Mobile Apps feature in Azure App Service generally available

The Mobile Apps feature in Azure App Service is now fully supported with a 99.95-percent service-level agreement (SLA). Migrate your existing Node.js and .NET Mobile Services to Mobile Apps or build new production apps using App Service Mobile, including the new Mobile Apps .NET SDK. The new Mobile Apps Node.js SDK remains in preview.

Azure Media Services now offers Google Widevine Modular License Delivery

With a single H.264 encoded multi-bitrate MP4, now you can apply common encryption (CENC) with either Widevine or Microsoft PlayReady to help protect your premium content. Configure an easy, pay-as-you-go Widevine license service in Azure Media Services. With Azure Media Player, you can play Widevine-protected content using Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) on Chrome and Android devices using HTML5 video. Read this blog post for more information.

Visual Studio Online is now Visual Studio Team Services

We've supercharged our developer services and given them a new name, Visual Studio Team Services. Share code with unlimited private repositories, track work with Kanban boards and tools for agile planning, and ship software with build and release services—for any language and any platform. New features we recently announced include Package Management, web-based Release Management, Code Search, and more. We also launched the new Visual Studio Marketplace, where you can find free/paid extensions and purchase Visual Studio subscriptions using your Azure account. Just connect your integrated development environment (Visual Studio, Eclipse, IntelliJ, and so on) or a code editor to Team Services, and then bring your team together to do great things. Check out all the features and get started for free.

Visual Studio Online transitions

We’ve begun to retire Visual Studio Online Advanced and Professional plans. All Advanced customers have already been transitioned to Visual Studio Team Services users (formerly Visual Studio Online Basic), including the Test Manager extension. By February 2016, customers using Visual Studio Online Professional will be automatically transitioned to Visual Studio Professional monthly subscriptions, which also provide the ability to join multiple Visual Studio Team Services accounts at the same price. Learn more about this transition.

Introducing predictive maintenance preconfigured solution for Microsoft Azure IoT Suite

Microsoft Azure IoT Suite helps you capture and analyze untapped device data to improve results across your business. With preconfigured solutions, including those now available for remote monitoring and predictive maintenance, you can quickly and confidently get started with a solution tailored to meet your needs, then scale your Internet of Things (IoT) projects across your company. For more information about how Azure IoT Suite helps you anticipate maintenance needs and avoid unscheduled downtime, please visit our Internet of Things website.

DV2 VMs now available in more Azure regions

In the last few weeks, we’ve made DV2-Series virtual machines (VMs) available in more Azure regions: Australia East, Australia Southeast, North Europe, West Europe, East US, South Central US, Southeast Asia, Japan East, and East Asia. DV2-Series VMs, a follow-on to the original D-Series VMs, feature similar memory and hard disk configurations, but more powerful CPUs. Based on the latest generation 2.4 GHz Intel Xeon E5-2673 v3 (Haswell) processors, DV2 VMs are designed to offer an optimal configuration for running workloads that require increased processing power and fast local disk input/output (I/O).

Azure DocumentDB now available in additional regions

Azure DocumentDB is available in the South Central US, Central US, Japan East, and Japan West regions, so customers running apps in these regions can now enjoy more options and lower latencies. DocumentDB is the fully managed NoSQL document database that lets you store/query JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) data and accelerate application development. Many companies use DocumentDB to enable a variety of scenarios, from user-profile customizations to gaming and IoT projects.

On-premises StorSimple Virtual Array in public preview

The StorSimple Virtual Array is a version of StorSimple in a VM form installed in a customer’s remote or branch office. This provides a cost-effective, lightweight solution for remote and branch office environments while still delivering the fundamental value of the StorSimple Hybrid Cloud Storage, including seamless cloud integration with automated tiering to manage data growth, simplified data protection with cloud-based snapshots, and location independent recovery of data from the cloud. The StorSimple Virtual Array can be downloaded from the StorSimple Manager in the Azure portal, and installed on a VM configured on a Hyper-V or VMware hypervisor.

StorSimple 8000 Series Update 2 generally available

StorSimple 8000 Series Update 2 is a software-only update that is available via Microsoft Update and on shipping units. The update will be rolled out across geographies in stages. It includes multiple new features for the StorSimple Hybrid Cloud Storage solution, as well as incremental software improvements. Update 2 includes two key enhancements that expand the use cases and workloads that can be addressed by StorSimple: local volumes and the StorSimple Cloud Appliance 8020 (based on Azure Premium Storage). For more information, please visit the Server & Cloud Blog.

Be Empowered

Missed Microsoft Convergence EMEA 2015?

Even if you didn’t attend Microsoft Convergence EMEA 2015, you can still gain insights from thought-leading business experts and hear from industry leaders who are driving change. Discover solutions and business applications that help give your company an edge. You’ll be inspired, confident, and positioned to drive your organization to even greater success through the now on-demand videos (available through a registered account). Be sure to watch the keynote, Achieving business transformation through the power of the cloud, that includes participation by Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise. Also read the Azure Blog for a summary of day two by Takeshi Numoto, Corporate Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise.

Exploring the open source Field Engineer app with the Mobile Apps feature in Azure App Service

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman learns how to use the open source Field Engineer sample app. Watch now.

Did you miss all three webinars in the Dev-Test Starts with IT webinar series?

this on-demand series, listen to experts demonstrate the capabilities of Azure and learn about how IT starts with dev-test. Find out how to set up dev-test infrastructure, establish server infrastructure within Azure, configure a site-to-site virtual private network (VPN), and move VMs from datacenters to Azure. See how to use Azure DevTest Labs to self-provision environments for testing, set policies, and share reusable templates, and how to integrate DevTest Labs into your DevOps pipeline. Register for any of these on-demand webinars.

Monitor your Azure API Management services using Azure Event Hubs

You can now use Azure Event Hubs to connect your Azure API Management service to an event hub, and then log the events you want using the Log to Event Hub policy. For more information and instructions, check out these resources: how to log events to Azure Event Hubs in API Management; monitor your APIs with Azure API Management, Event Hubs, and Runscope; Azure API Management REST API Logger entity for managing loggers; and API Management advanced policies, where you can view more on the Log to Event Hub policy. Be sure to also watch the how-to video.

Data Science and Machine Learning Essentials

With the demand for data scientists exploding, you'll want to watch this course to learn the essentials. Our expert instructors from MIT and the industry share the insights and concepts you'll need to know and show you how to build a cloud data science solution using Azure Machine Learning, R, and Python.

Free Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure e-book

This free Microsoft Press e-book introduces the wide range of capabilities in Azure. The authors—both Microsoft MVPs in Azure—present conceptual and how-to content for seven key areas, in addition to detailing management tools and business cases. Discover the fundamentals of Azure and download the e-book.

Unleashing the power of log analytics

In this interactive webinar, learn how to use Microsoft Operations Management Suite to gain actionable insights into your IT operations by correlating machine data from various sources. Find out how to stay ahead of security threats through powerful log search and investigation capabilities, and discover how to speed up time to resolution with ready-made solutions and your own custom dashboards. Register for this on-demand webinar.

Cloud Cover: Azure Mobile Engagement

In this episode, learn how Azure Mobile Engagement helps you collect analytics on user behavior, measure those analytics, and then respond using marketing campaigns and push notifications.

You may also be interested in this episode on virtual machine Scale Sets.

Key cloud considerations for disaster recovery

Cloud based disaster recovery can provide faster deployment times, reduce capital and operational costs, offer non-disruptive testing, and allow for more applications to be protected. In this on-demand webinar, learn the questions to ask when considering a disaster recovery cloud provider, the benefits of using the cloud for disaster recovery, and new offerings from Microsoft Operations Management Suite, including Azure Site Recovery and customer stories on their cloud disaster recovery deployment. Register now.

Three things you need to know about comprehensive Info Protection

Do you want to protect your data, need to be compliant, and ensure your employees are as productive as possible? With the expansion of the attack surface, IT has to help ensure corporate data is protected, regardless of where it’s stored or with whom it’s shared. Learn how Microsoft Enterprise Management Suite helps protect your data with data separation at multiple levels, discover conditional access and Multi-Factor Authentication document tracking and access policies; and find out about threat detection and prevention. Join us for a comprehensive look into mobile information security and compliance.

Register for the SQL Server 2005 Upgrade webinar

Extended support for SQL Server 2005 ends in April 2016. Learn about the benefits of upgrading your database technology and get your migration plan in place. Our SQL Server 2005 Upgrade webinar is a great place to start. Learn about the risks of continuing to rely on aging technology and the many benefits of migrating to SQL Server 2014 and Azure SQL Database. In addition to detailing the performance benefits of upgrading, this webinar offers migration strategies and scenarios, a practical three-step approach to the upgrade process, and important tools and resources to get you started. Register now.

Tackle the top five data challenges with Microsoft SQL Server

Data represents a competitive advantage and provides new market opportunities. At the same time, data growth introduces major challenges. In this webinar, you’ll learn how to tackle five of the top data challenges organizations are facing today: app and data performance, data security, decision support, big data, and the cloud. Connect directly with experts who will answer your questions about the SQL Server capabilities. Register now.

Better Together: Windows 10 + EMS

Now available on demand, our webinar demonstrates how to get up and running with Windows 10 and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) to keep your users productive and help keep your corporate data safe. Windows 10 is the best Windows ever and provides a foundation for helping protect against modern threats and continuous management while enabling your users to be more productive. To get the most out of your mobile security and productivity strategy, integrate EMS with Windows 10 for greater protection of users, devices, apps, and data. Watch now.

Do you develop applications or manage infrastructure?

IT pros, DevOps folks, and OSS developers: try guided hands-on labs for two of the hottest DevOps technologies in the Azure Marketplace, and you could receive a drone or an Azure Pass. We’ve partnered with Chef, which supports infrastructure automation, and Docker, an application development management solution, to offer two step-by-step, hands-on labs. Complete both and you'll be eligible to receive your choice of a Crazyflie 2.0 drone or a free Azure Pass. Register now.

Be Entertained

*Comic source: Reprinted with permission.

Be Inspired

Next Games uses Azure DocumentDB for their #1 game

Next Games—a fast-growing gaming company based in Helsinki, Finland—chose Azure DocumentDB for their data layer when they started building their Walking Dead mobile game. On October 7, 2015, AMC and Next Games released the iOS version of The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land, the official mobile game based on AMC’s record-breaking television series. Within a week, the game skyrocketed to the #1 spot on Apple’s list of top free apps. To handle the massive scale and performance requirements for such a highly anticipated game (over 1 million downloads and 31 million minutes played during opening weekend alone), the Next Games development team chose to implement their backend services on Azure.

Learn more

Global trading transformed with the Microsoft cloud

The company eToro was the first in Europe to adopt Azure ExpressRoute, the service used to create high-speed, private connections between datacenters and the cloud. The openness of Azure cloud architecture helps foster a dev-centric environment and shorten their time to market. The flexible, hybrid-cloud architecture also enables eToro to keep sensitive financial data on-premises, while running customer-facing apps in the cloud.

Learn more

Be Enhanced


Simple, efficient disaster recovery using Azure Site Recovery and NetApp Private Storage (NPS) for Azure

Using hybrid cloud for disaster recovery, you can help reduce costs and pay for compute resources in remote locations only when you need them. Following announcements at Microsoft Ignite, NetApp and Microsoft customers can improve their disaster recovery capabilities through Azure Site Recovery with SAN replication and NPS for Azure. You can restore and resume operation of VMs in minutes by moving data and VMs between Hyper-V servers at a single site, as well as between multiple secondary sites and solutions, including your hybrid cloud with NPS for Azure. Site Recovery and NPS for Azure allows customers to automate disaster recovery with System Center, Site Recovery, and NetApp; decrease replication time across sites using Site Recovery and NetApp SnapMirror replication; and reduce network usage and storage costs. Lower your recovery time objectives while achieving recovery point objectives, based on your SLAs.

Learn more | Watch video

Microsoft Azure Marketplace

Featured: Providing powerful security solutions that work with Azure

Known as the “go-to guys” for security in Azure by customers and partners alike, Barracuda provides powerful security solutions designed to work seamlessly with Azure. The Barracuda Web Application Firewall inspects web traffic and blocks SQL injections, cross-site scripting (XSS), application distributed denial of service (DDoS) and other targeted attacks, as well as provides data leak prevention, authentication, and access control. Barracuda was the first Microsoft Azure Certified Security Solution Provider, and the Barracuda WAF recently was highlighted in Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s keynote (demo at 35 min mark) as one of the first WAFs available in the Azure Security Center. To learn more, visit

Visit Marketplace page

New: Firewall technology delivers complete content and network protection

Fortinet FortiGate-VM firewall technology delivers content and network protection by combining stateful inspection with a comprehensive suite of powerful security features. These include application control, antivirus, IPS, web filtering, and VPN, along with advanced features such as an extreme threat database, vulnerability management, and flow-based inspection work in concert to help identify and mitigate the latest complex security threats.

Visit Marketplace page

Editor’s Note


Happy holidays from all of us here at Microsoft! This season is a bustling time of year—and business events are no exception. Did you know we’re currently planning more than 150 customer events worldwide? Check out the Azure Events page to see what’s happening in your area. Events offer you a chance to connect with product experts in person or virtually, and we value the opportunity to ensure that Azure is making your life easier in some way. We hope you’ll join us.