Azure Newsletter: May 2016

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Be Informed

Featured customer-submitted story: Payslip

DMS Software Engineering (Pvt) Ltd recently launched a cloud-based pay slip solution that’s easily integrated into an existing payroll process—whether customers use an in-house software application or outsource payroll to a service bureau. The new solution,, can help save time and money, and it gives employees access anywhere, on any device, at any time. It uses Microsoft SQL Server and relies on Azure to handle bandwidth and maintain security with the default SSL encryption. They also chose SendGrid, an Azure Marketplace offering, to mail customers.

Forrester names Azure a leader in Big Data Hadoop Cloud Solutions

Forrester recently recognized both the strength of our offerings as well as our strategy by placing Microsoft in the leader’s ripple of the Big Data Hadoop Cloud Wave. Forrester notes that leaders have the most comprehensive, scalable, and integrated platforms, and Microsoft specifically was called out for having a cloud-first strategy that is paying off. In the coming year, we’ll continue to focus on delivering the highest value to our customers and partners through innovations that make big data and analytics even more accessible. For more information, visit the Azure Blog. The full report, “The Forrester WaveTM: Big Data Hadoop Cloud Solutions, Q2 2016,” can be accessed on the Forrester website.

Upcoming Events

Velocity 2016
June 20, 2016
Santa Clara, California

2016 Hadoop Summit
June 28, 2016
San Jose, California

Mobile World Congress Shanghai
June 29, 2016
Shanghai, China

Cisco Live
July 10, 2016
Las Vegas, Nevada

ChefConf 2016
July 11, 2016
Austin, Texas

Microsoft Developer Camps

Introducing Media Analytics for Azure Media Services

Media Analytics is a collection of eight speech and vision services that are enterprise-ready, compliant, secured, and offer global reach. Media Analytics brings new key capabilities like motion detection, speech transcription, deep indexed video search, and content moderation to the video domain. These capabilities have applications in a variety of industries including public safety, government, surveillance, retail, education, automotive, and more. Media Analytics is a key addition to the family of services offered under the Azure Media Services umbrella.

Speaker Recognition API for Microsoft Cognitive Services in public preview

Microsoft Cognitive Services is a collection of APIs available to developers to make their applications more intelligent and engaging. This set of services expands on our evolving portfolio of machine learning APIs and lets developers easily add intelligent features to their solutions. Speaker Recognition API is now in public preview as a standalone service, and its features include speaker verification and identification.

New Dv2 instances for Azure HDInsight

We’re announcing a new instance size, D5 v2, that extends the Dv2-Series for Azure HDInsight. D5 v2 has 16 cores and 56 GB of memory. Dv2-Series nodes are currently available in Australia East, Australia Southeast, West US, East US, East US 2, South Central US, North Central US, Central US, North Europe, West Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Japan East.

Azure DevTest Labs generally available

Azure DevTest Labs allows fast, easy, and lean dev/test environments in the cloud. Quickly provision development and test environments by creating virtual machines in a few clicks, either with reusable templates or Azure Marketplace, and leverage Marketplace images as a virtual machine base in the lab in addition to custom images (VHDs) uploaded to the lab. Minimize waste with quotas and policies and set automated shutdowns to minimize costs—all benefits of using the cloud for development and test environments—whether using Windows or Linux workloads.

Azure Site Recovery generally available in the Azure portal

Azure Site Recovery, a component of Microsoft Operations Management Suite, is now generally available in the Azure portal. Those familiar with Site Recovery from the Azure classic portal will be pleased with the new look, feel, and enhancements. Site Recovery now includes support for Azure Resource Manager–based and classic deployments, as well as support for simultaneously protecting multiple virtual machines, in System Center Virtual Machine Manager to Azure, Hyper-V Site to Azure, and System Center VMM to System Center VMM using Hyper-V Replica.

Azure Container Service generally available

Azure Container Service helps customers manage container-based applications in production, at scale. Azure Container Service is fully integrated with the Azure portal, Azure Resource Manager, and our compute, storage, and networking resources. This supports Docker images, using familiar tools and either open-source DCOS or Docker Swarm as the underlying orchestration technology. The only cost for Azure Container Service is what you pay to use the underlying resources.

New generation of D-Series instances for Azure Virtual Machines and Azure Cloud Services in Japan West

The new generation of D-Series instances are now available in Japan West. These Dv2 instances carry the same CPU, memory, and disk configurations as the current D-Series, but offer more powerful CPUs and run about 35 percent faster. Both D-Series and Dv2 instances are ideal for applications that demand fast CPUs, better local disk performance, or larger memories, offering a powerful combination for many enterprise-grade applications. For more information, visit the Virtual Machines Pricing and Cloud Services Pricing webpages.

New Azure Storage Cool tier generally available

Azure Storage customers can now create a new Blob Storage account that allows them to select between Hot and Cool tiers, depending on the data access pattern. Relative to the Hot tier, the Cool tier is suitable for data that is infrequently accessed and can tolerate slightly lower availability (99 percent service level agreement [SLA]). Both Hot and Cool tiers provide low latency and high throughput. Some common scenarios with the Cool tier include: backup data, disaster recovery, media content, social media photos and videos, scientific data, and so on. Customers will see significant cost savings by using the Cool tier for appropriate data sets. Find out more about pricing.

Active geo-replication now available on all Azure SQL Database service tiers

Effective immediately, we’ve expanded our geo-replication features by enabling Active geo-replication across Azure SQL Database Basic and Standard service tiers. As a result, Standard geo-replication will be retired in April 2017. By leveraging Active geo-replication in either a Basic or Standard database, customers receive numerous benefits that deliver greater security and business continuity in disaster situations. This includes database-level disaster recovery, cross-region redundancy, readable online secondary databases, and automatic asynchronous replication.

Azure SQL Database elastic pools generally available

Azure SQL Database elastic pools are ideally suited for SaaS and line-of-business applications that need the performance, availability, and security isolation benefits of provisioning one database for each tenant or application. Each elastic database in the pool gets the resources it needs when it needs them, eliminating the complexity of managing individual databases. Elastic pools provide the best price performance for a group of databases while delivering performance elasticity for each database. Elastic pools features include autoscaling that you control, intelligent management of your environment, and performance and price that meet your needs.

Azure Scheduler introduces P20 Premium tier

The Azure Scheduler P20 Premium tier is designed for customers who need to run tens of millions of jobs. Note that pricing for existing Scheduler tiers remains unchanged.

Azure Content Delivery Network from Akamai now available in the Azure portal

With this release, we’re offering customers flexibility and global coverage with multi-CDN (content delivery network) services. Microsoft customers can purchase Akamai offerings as “self-select” options through the Azure portal or as part of their organization’s Microsoft Enterprise Agreement. (Azure has offered Verizon CDN services, formerly EdgeCast CDN, for more than two years.) In addition, customers receive integrated, one-stop service and support from Microsoft and Akamai. For more information, please visit the Content Delivery Network webpage.

Azure Backup generally available in the Azure portal

Customers are finding it easier than ever to leverage Microsoft Operations Management Suite for diverse data protection needs on-premises and in Azure. With the release of Azure Backup on the Azure portal, customers can seamlessly back up Azure Resource Manager-based virtual machines, as well as virtual machines created from the Azure classic portal, under the newly introduced recovery services vault. Customers can use this Azure resource to back up their on-premises Windows Server machines and tier backups to the cloud from Azure Backup Server and System Center Data Protection Manager machines. The vault will form the bedrock for unified data protection and management, including disaster recovery and hybrid backup scenarios.

Azure in Canada generally available

On May 10, 2016, Azure became generally available from datacenters in Toronto and Quebec City. Azure provides a platform for innovation for organizations large and small, delivering on the Microsoft mission of empowering people and organizations to achieve more. Azure customers in Canada can now benefit from enterprise-grade reliability and performance combined with in-country data residency, including data replication in two locations within Canada for business continuity. Learn more on the Azure Blog and the Azure Regions webpage.

Partnerships that help take Azure, and Canadian datacenters, to a new level

Azure Marketplace is your online store for thousands of certified, open source, community applications, and developer services all easily deployable to Azure in just a few clicks. You’ll find virtual machines ranging from bare operating systems like Windows Server and numerous Linux distributions all the way to fully deployed solutions from Barracuda, Hortonworks, Bitnami, and many more. You’ll also find developer services such as SendGrid, New Relic, and Mongo Lab. Discover web and API apps including WordPress, Django, Umbraco—just to name a few. Are you backing up your cloud environment and how confident are you about its security? Learn how in the What is the Azure Marketplace? video and in this white paper.

Windows Azure Pack connector: Two clouds, one portal

Microsoft IT created a more seamless way to manage hybrid clouds. Now available for download, the Windows Azure Pack connector lets administrators and tenants use one portal to manage IaaS virtual machines in both private clouds and public Azure subscriptions. Download the Azure Pack connector today.

Free resources for IT pros to build their careers in cloud technology

Microsoft IT Pro Cloud Essentials is a free annual subscription that includes Azure credits and extended cloud services trials, a free Pluralsight subscription, and priority support in TechNet forums including a free support incident. Microsoft IT Pro Career Center is a free online resource to help map your cloud career path, with curriculum to learn the cloud roles and industry career guidance to build the skills you need to stay relevant. Join now.

Be Empowered

Opportunity, credentials, expertise—it’s all waiting for you at Microsoft Ignite

In classrooms, theaters, demo sessions—even the hallways—Microsoft Ignite is alive with expertise and information. A variety of learning opportunities (and session lengths) is a huge focal point at Microsoft Ignite. To give you even more ways to connect, we've added more learning types in 2016, including online “Ask Me Anything” sessions with experts, and increased hands-on learning with Interactive Digital Labs, a new lab format including features like integrated video, completed step tracking, built-in copy and paste, and more. Join us in Atlanta.

Azure Security Center—Threat Detection

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman learns how Azure Security Center integrates with Threat Detection. At a glance, verify that the appropriate security controls are in place and configured correctly. Check it out.

Sleepless in Cyberspace: What cloud concerns keep you up at night?

Are you worried about moving to the cloud? Do you believe your data is safer on-premises? If so, you may be experiencing a “trust gap.” Listen to Tammy Kaneshige, Senior Vice President at Penn Schoen Berland, and Mike Wickstrand, Senior Director of Cloud and Enterprise Marketing at Microsoft, as they discuss key findings from a 2016 anonymous survey of 3,900 cloud decision makers and answer questions about the research and its impact. Register to listen on demand.

Enterprise-grade security for your cloud apps with Microsoft Cloud App Security

How can you maintain visibility, control, and protection of your company’s data? Every day, more business activity takes place in the cloud. Even if your company doesn’t use cloud-based solutions, your employees probably do. In fact, more than 80 percent of employees admit to using nonapproved SaaS applications at work. Join us for this webinar on enterprise-grade security for your cloud apps with Microsoft Cloud App Security, which will show you how to gain visibility into cloud app usage and how to start controlling it via policy. Register to listen on demand.

Implementing Azure SQL Database data recovery

Data recovery is critically important to IT pros in any organization. You’ll want to watch this course to learn how Azure SQL Database has full-scale high availability and disaster recovery built in from the ground up and requires no administrative overhead or complexity.

Cloud Cover: Azure App Service Cloning

In this episode, learn how to use Azure App Service app cloning to clone apps from one region or one app service environment to another.

Missed the “Build mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows using cross-platform, hybrid technologies” webinar?

Microsoft Visual Studio offers a cross-platform approach to building apps, allowing developers to build from a single code base and deploy to any iOS, Android, or Windows platform for a native application look and feel. Learn how Visual Studio works with Xamarin and Apache Cordova; why sharing code and business logic increases productivity; the benefits of platform-specific IntelliSense; and how Visual Studio employs a holistic or “mix-and-match” approach to supporting devs. Register to view on demand.

Stress less and code more with development and test environments in the cloud

With a good roadmap and proven strategies to lead the way, you can code with less stress. The enterprises that are ahead in cloud adoption have a vision as well as a clear process for making and acting on decisions. A thorough strategy supports you at any stage in the journey, from assessing your application catalog to charting your course to gaining a competitive edge. Watch on demand to learn how to lead the journey to the cloud and drive innovation.

10 reasons you'll love Windows Server 2016

Watch this on-demand webinar to get a sneak peek of what’s coming with Windows Server 2016. From extended security to Hyper-V containers to Nano servers, the next generations of Windows Server will help your organization deliver innovation and agility while maintaining the security, resilience, and performance you need.

Move beyond barriers: Drive business transformation by migrating from Oracle to SQL Server

In this on-demand webinar, learn why migrating from Oracle to SQL Server can give you a competitive advantage. Break free from expensive data solutions with mysterious, frustrating pricing plans and surprise add-ons. With SQL Server, you get breakthrough in-memory performance across all workloads, mission-critical high availability, and end-to-end business intelligence with advanced analytics tools—all in one package. When it comes to managing your data and lowering costs, there’s really no comparison.

Common tasks for Linux on Azure

Watch this course to get answers from the experts from Linux Academy. Choose from standalone modules based on your specific Linux on Azure interests. Watch any or all of the short videos to learn about creating a Linux virtual machine in Azure, accessing the Linux virtual machine using remote desktop software, running virtual hosts, and more.

Java on Azure

Discover what Java and Azure can do for you in this expert-led training course. Watch as experts explore the latest tools and technologies to help Java developers get in the cloud with Azure, including plug-ins for Eclipse and IntelliJ, plus a look at options in Windows and Linux for authentication, security, and continuous integration (CI). Many examples and demos are included.

In-person course: Microsoft Azure for AWS Experts

This three-day instructor-led course provides in-depth discussion and practical, hands-on training for Azure IaaS solutions including Azure Virtual Machines, Storage, Virtual Network, and deployment options. Students will participate in several architecture design sessions to help prepare for real-world scenarios. Find a Microsoft Learning Partner to register for a class near you.

On-demand course: Microsoft Azure for AWS Experts

This self-paced, digital course provides an in-depth description and practical hands-on training for Azure IaaS solutions including Azure Virtual Machines, Storage, Virtual Network, and deployment options. Register for this free, on-demand course.

Be Entertained

*Comic source: Reprinted with permission.

Be Inspired

Smart infrastructure choices keep fintech startup Quemulus focused on helping savers

The financial services sector is a lot more exciting than it used to be. Long dominated by large corporations, tight regulations, and resistance to change, it’s now a dynamic, rapidly evolving industry. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, frustration with big banks and the emergence of the mobile, on-demand economy have given rise to a booming new financial technology vertical—often called fintech.

Learn more

Solving renewable energy challenges with the Internet of Things

While there is little argument about the need to reduce dependence on fossil fuel, the debate continues over how best to accomplish this. Wind and solar energy are two obvious choices. Today, Germany produces approximately 30 percent of its electricity from renewable energy and has set a goal to reach 45 percent production by 2030.

Learn more

Be Enhanced


Secure and robust enterprise data sync and sharing service

Citrix ShareFile Enterprise is a secure and robust enterprise data sync and sharing service solution that empowers users to share data with anyone and sync across all of their devices. Citrix ShareFile allows customers to store enterprise data where it makes sense: on-premises, cloud, or a hybrid of both. Citrix ShareFile leverages existing investments such as Microsoft SharePoint and Outlook.

Learn more

Azure Marketplace

Featured: Monitor Microsoft SQL Server anywhere, anytime, on any device

With the Dell Software solution Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise (available in Azure Marketplace), you can monitor Microsoft SQL Server anywhere, anytime, on any device. Get the data you need to ensure the health of your SQL Server databases. See for yourself how easy it is to detect and diagnose performance issues before they impact the business.

Learn more

Featured: An advanced, fully IP-enabled, integrated playout in the cloud platform

VersioCloud provides the ultimate competitive advantage for broadcast workflow. Simplified creation and management of channels enable media companies to extend their brands and content with more freedom, visibility, and control than ever before. This evolution and extension of Imagine Communications’ Versio platform brings disruptive new technology that utilizes all of Versio’s power and capabilities—in the cloud.

New: Get started with Splunk Enterprise on Azure

Now you can get award-winning Splunk Enterprise with the power of the cloud. Azure customers can deploy Azure-certified Splunk Enterprise clusters in minutes, with a simple, point-and-click workflow contained within their Azure portal. Splunk Enterprise delivers all the benefits of the cloud such as quick and easy deployment powered by Azure Resource Manager templates; scalability; increased collaboration with anywhere, anytime access; and operational intelligence using machine data.

Visit Marketplace page

New: Create your own data-driven strategic advantage

Dataiku's vision is a world where all companies—whatever their expertise, industry, or size—can create their own data-driven strategic advantages by transforming their raw data into business-impacting predictions. Dataiku DSS shines in churn, fraud detection, demand forecasting, and other challenging use cases by allowing teams to focus on models and commercial logic, not the IT stack and implementation.

Visit Marketplace page

Editor's Note


Thank you for providing feedback on last month’s newsletter! It’s always helpful for us to hear from you. I’ve previously shared stories about how we can help make people’s lives better and I wanted to share another story that inspired me. Read or watch a video on how Temenos, with some help from us, brought banking to 10 million people in a remote area.