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Azure Newsletter: August 2017

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Customer-submitted story: QuickLoad

"We developed, which is like a taxi app for the trucking industry. All the infrastructure is in Azure, and it provides the monitoring and analytics that we need to run the business, as well as storage capabilities that let us save all images in the cloud."

—Alex Iuspa, Systems/Solution Architect, QuickLoad

Azure Stack now ready to order

You can now order an Azure Stack integrated system with Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo. Plan your purchase with software pricing information, and try the free single-server deployment of Azure Stack to build and validate your apps for integrated systems. Learn more on the Azure Blog and this white paper.

Inspire 2017: New cloud services for partners to enable digital transformation

Last year, we initiated an Azure co-sell program to provide comprehensive sales and marketing support for partners building solutions with Azure. This proved successful in just the first six months. To further the Azure co-sell program impact, we’re making additional investments over the next 12 months. We’ll be making it easier for partners to modernize their customers’ existing business apps, and build new ones with a new program we are calling ISV Cloud Embed. Learn more, and catch up on other Inspire 2017 announcements with on-demand content.

Upcoming Events

Be Informed

Watch to find out what team won it all in this year’s Imagine Cup

Imagine Cup is all about innovation, transformation, and what comes next. Through Imagine Cup, we provide student developers with the opportunity to mold the world of tomorrow in their eyes by combining their ideas with the power of technology. Find out who won this year.

New Azure Virtual Machines families: Dv3- and Ev3-Series

Azure Virtual Machines delivers the power of server virtualization in the cloud, supporting a wide variety of Linux distributions, Windows Server, SQL Server, Oracle, IBM, and SAP. It enables solutions including development and testing, running production apps, and extending the scale of your datacenter, which gives you the power to deploy an app in seconds instead of weeks. We recently launched two new virtual machine families, Dv3- and Ev3-Series (generally available), which support Hyper-Threading Technology.

Azure Virtual Machines H-Series now available in West US 2

Now available in West US 2, the H-Series instances for Azure Virtual Machines target complex and high-performance computing tasks, Among the fastest available virtual machines in the public cloud today, H-Series virtual machines are an excellent fit for any compute-intensive workload. They deliver cutting-edge performance for complex engineering and scientific workloads. H-Series will offer scientists and engineers diverse CPU and memory options, along with Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) and low latency InfiniBand backends, accommodating large and complex compute jobs, previously limited by bandwidth, to run and scale in Azure.

Azure Batch Rendering, Batch Labs in public preview

Now in public preview, Azure Batch Rendering integrates rendering capabilities into the Batch job service. Azure Batch opens doors to artists, engineers, designers, and developers. This new rendering platform, built on top of Batch, will let you seamlessly submit rendering jobs with the agility, flexibility, and scalability of Azure compute. As part of this offering, Azure is working with Autodesk, Chaos Group, and other partners to enable customers to run their day-to-day rendering workloads seamlessly on Azure. Also available is Batch Labs (preview), a desktop management tool that includes job submission capabilities for supported apps.

Feature upgrades now available in Azure Service Fabric

In the latest update, Azure Service Fabric extends its capabilities to orchestrate and work with containers. In addition to container pruning and security updates (RunAs user accounts and certificate handling), you can use individual IP addresses assigned to the containers in the cluster. This makes for an easier deployment of multiple web endpoints, without coordination of port assignment or resolution. Service Fabric now also supports reliable services to be deployed and run in containers as a preview. Learn more.

Cloud Cover: Azure Functions local debugging and more

In this episode, find out about local debugging of Azure Functions written in JavaScript and C# Class Libraries as well as other features and news. Watch now.

You may also enjoy the episode on Azure Batch and low-priority virtual machines.

Azure Key Vault supports 3072-bit and 4096-bit RSA keys

Azure Key Vault now supports two advance key types with higher bit lengths: 3072-bit and 4096-bit RSA keys. Key Vault helps safeguard cryptographic keys and secrets, such as authentication keys, data encryption keys, .PFX files, and passwords, used by cloud apps and services. Higher bit length keys offer added security for your cryptographic operations. Similar to 2048-bit RSA keys, the new key types are available as software and hardware security module (HSM)-backed keys.

Azure Key Vault Storage Account Keys management and auto-rotation in public preview

Azure Key Vault, via the Azure Storage Account Keys management and auto-rotation feature (in public preview), now implements Storage account keys as Key Vault secrets for authenticating with a Storage account and will perform several internal management functions on your behalf, including renewing (rotating) the keys for you automatically. Key Vault also removes the need for you to directly contact a Storage account key by offering shared access signatures (SAS) as a method of delegated access to resources in your Storage account. Learn more.

Resumable online index rebuild and database scoped global temporary tables for Azure SQL Database in public preview

Resumable online index rebuild for Azure SQL Database lets you pause an online index rebuild operation and resume it later rather than having to restart the operation from the beginning. Database scoped global temporary tables for SQL Database allow the use of global temporary tables (prefixed with ##table_name) scoped to a specific database so they can be shared among all users' sessions within the same database.

Microsoft SQL Server 2017 first release candidate

The first release candidate of Microsoft SQL Server 2017 is now available on Windows, Linux, and Docker. Learn more about the enhancements added since the last preview by visiting the What's New in SQL Server 2017 documentation webpage. You can preview SQL Server 2017 in an Azure virtual machine for development and testing today.

Universal Authentication with Azure Multi-Factor Authentication support in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)

The latest release of SSMS includes functional extensions for token-based authentication (also known as Universal Authentication connection mechanism). Universal Authentication allows the use of Azure Multi-Factor Authentication for native and guest user accounts in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) to connect with Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Data Warehouse. To learn more about the latest Azure AD functionality in the SSMS release, visit the Azure Blog.

Azure Cosmos DB: SOC audit compliance

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) developed the Service Organization Controls (SOC) framework, a standard for controls that safeguards the confidentiality and privacy of information stored and processed in the cloud. This aligns with the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE), the reporting standard for international service organizations. Teams applying for SOC go through a vigorous 6-month audit process and continue to maintain the status thereafter. The first SOC audit for Azure Cosmos DB started in October 2016 and is now complete, achieving a SOC 1-, 2-, and 3-compliant status.

Azure Data Factory introduces new features to enrich data ingest and transformation capabilities

Azure Data Factory has added a number of new features, including a fault tolerance feature for skipping or logging incompatible rows during copy and authentication support for using Service Principal to access Azure Data Lake Analytics. The public preview for Data Management Gateway High Availability and Scalability for improved copy experience from on-premises to the cloud is also available. Learn more.

Azure HDInsight Kafka for Managed Disks in public preview

The public preview of Apache Kafka with Azure Managed Disks on the Azure HDInsight platform is now available. This new feature abstracts the storage account specification for the customer, allowing for an easier and managed route to disk usage. This new capability also enables exponentially higher scalability and lower cost as the workloads increase. Learn more on the Azure Blog.

Azure HDInsight available in additional regions

Azure HDInsight for Linux is now available in Korea South and Korea Central. HDInsight is a fully managed cloud Hadoop offering that provides open-source analytic clusters for Spark, Hive, MapReduce, HBase, Storm, Kafka, and R Server backed by a 99.9 percent service-level agreement (SLA).

Announcing StorSimple 8000 series in the Azure portal

StorSimple 8000 series management is generally available in the Azure portal. The StorSimple Physical Device Series portal experience is designed to be easy. You can now use the portal and Azure Resource Manager to unlock the deep personalization, role-based access control, and a single portal to manage all your apps. Learn more.

Azure Monitor notifications generally available in Germany

With Azure Monitor, you can monitor services running on Azure to gain infrastructure-level data about the throughput of a service and the surrounding environment. It also enables operational visibility across your cloud assets. Monitor provides near-real-time monitoring, detailed logging, and improved notifications so that you can quickly detect and fix IT issues impacting your business. Email and webhook notifications in Monitor are now generally available in Germany.

Enterprise Agreement subscription costs within Azure portal coming soon

Enterprise Agreement customers will soon be able to view their subscription cost reports on the Azure portal. Those customers will be able to view cost breakdowns, cost history, cost by services, cost by resources, and burn rate charts within the one portal. This increased functionality will help enterprise users manage their subscription level costs within one portal.

Enterprise Agreement subscription costs within Azure portal coming soon

How does free professional support sound?

Get Azure support from IT experts to help you and your organization succeed. Joining Microsoft Cloud Essentials provides access to one Azure support incident, plus easy access to the Microsoft Tech Community for support from your peers and product experts. Join for free for these support benefits, Azure product trials, and training.

Be empowered

Azure Friday: Azure mobile app overview

Azure Friday’s Scott Hanselman learns how the Azure mobile app keeps you connected to your Azure resources anytime, anywhere. Check status, metrics, and important metadata or get the latest service health and metric alerts. The app is there when you need it and helps you resolve common issues and perform simple tasks when away from a computer. Watch now.

Take free instructor-led classes

Learn from experts with live, hands-on training and practice with your peers. Try Azure Backup, Archive, and Disaster Recovery to learn how to protect your data and apps. Space is limited so reserve your virtual seat now.

On-demand Azure Marketplace virtual hands-on labs

It doesn't matter if you're new to Azure Marketplace solutions or already an expert—these labs give you the detailed information you need to compare, test, and deploy technologies in your organization through a hands-on demo, in 45 minutes or less. Sign up for one or more complimentary on-demand labs, and get hands-on experience with popular solutions from Commvault, Chef, Veeam, and others. Learn more and register.

Data Exposed: Building search apps with Azure Search and AzSearch.js

In this Data Exposed video on Channel 9, learn about a JavaScript library that makes incorporating and building Azure Search into your apps much easier. Watch now.

Course: Architecting distributed cloud apps

Are you architecting distributed cloud apps? “Embrace failure” (in distributed cloud apps) with a technology-agnostic look at cloud computing concepts and how they relate to one another. Learn about incorporating resiliency into your code, and explore microservices and containers, networking and messaging communication, as well as versioning. Plus, get the details on upgrading, configuration, data storage services, disaster recovery, and more. Watch now.

Course: Architecting distributed cloud apps

Case study: Building cloud apps using the Secure DevOps Kit for Azure

Microsoft IT created the Secure DevOps Kit for Azure to help build security best practices into enterprise cloud app development and operations. See how we’re using cloud technologies to deliver continuous, rapid, and incremental value to business. Read more on IT Showcase.

Case study: Streamlining mobile app publishing using Azure Logic Apps

To transform the process of certifying mobile apps and publishing them to our internal portal, Microsoft IT built Enterprise Mobile App Publishing (EMAP). EMAP uses automated workflows created in Azure Logic Apps and gives us the ability to submit apps to publishing through HockeyApp. Read about this implementation at Microsoft.

Case study: Streamlining mobile app publishing using Azure Logic Apps

Data Exposed: Understanding the U-SQL batch job execution lifetime

Find out what happens when a U-SQL job is submitted and processed by Azure Data Lake Analytics. Check out the Data Exposed video on Channel 9.

Case study: Managing the enterprise with Azure Application Insights and Azure Log Analytics

Find out how Microsoft IT uses Azure Application Insights, Azure Log Analytics, and Azure Automation to monitor system health and usage, policy compliance, and security in our Azure and on-premises environments. We’ve created guidance for deploying Azure-based monitoring that gives our internal business groups effective cloud-based, automated monitoring across Azure tenants, subscriptions, and resource groups. Read the technical case study.

Case study: Microsoft IT uses analytics and data science to enhance the user experience

When it comes to technology, user experience is everything. At Microsoft, we’re focused on enhancing the user experience not by product or service, but across all of them. See how machine learning and Azure technologies give us the insights to take a holistic approach. Read more on IT Showcase.

Case study: Microsoft IT uses analytics and data science to enhance the user experience

Case study: Microsoft IT reinvents sales processing and financial reporting with Azure

Moving the company’s revenue reporting platform to Azure is giving Microsoft IT the opportunity to redesign the platform’s infrastructure and functionality. With the major components in Azure, we’ve already seen how Spark Streaming and Azure Data Factory have made dramatic improvements in the platform’s performance and scalability. Read the technical case study.

Case study: Migrating an open source PaaS solution to Azure

Connecting young people with inspiration has motivated Modern Muse. Now, leveraging our cloud technology and support infrastructure, Microsoft IT migrated Modern Muse’s open-source systems to Azure, giving the charitable organization a modern engineering solution with the scalability, agility, and flexibility to pursue their vision. Follow the transition process and benefit from lessons learned. Read more on IT Showcase.

Case study: Migrating an open source PaaS solution to Azure

Course: Microsoft Azure Identity

Take this self-paced course to understand important concepts related to Microsoft Azure identity. Learn what makes Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) different from on-premises Active Directory, as well as differences in managing users and groups and implementing custom domains in Azure AD. Explore directories and tenants, as well as Azure Multi-Factor Authentication, which lets you add a critical second security layer for verification of user sign-ins and transactions.

Case study: Protecting files in the cloud with Azure Information Protection

At Microsoft, our data protection is in the cloud. That means between 2,500 and 3,000 licensed users at Microsoft can securely and seamlessly access data every minute of every workday. It also reduced our service administration by 66 percent. Read about how Azure made data protection more scalable, easier to manage, and more cost-effective where it was invented—at Microsoft.

Case study: Protecting files in the cloud with Azure Information Protection

Case study: Managing user identities and secure access at Microsoft

How do you create a single-user identity for authentication and a unified experience when you have 114,000 employees, 276,000 global identities, 274,000 partner identities, and 15 million authentication requests per month? We do it every day with a hybrid approach with Azure. Read more on IT Showcase.

Case study: Managing user identities and secure access at Microsoft

Be entertained

*Comic source: Reprinted with permission.

Be inspired

How cheaper, faster storage helps this nonprofit do more for troubled youth

Youth Villages is a United States nonprofit that helps more than 22,000 emotionally troubled children and their families live successfully each year. It recently replaced an overextended, expensive storage area network with a solution based on Storage Spaces Direct technology in Windows Server 2016. Find out how Youth Villages used this solution to slash its storage costs in half, saving $150,000 USD, and multiplying storage performance by a factor of 30.

Learn more

Local government adopts a hybrid cloud to ensure it’s always there for citizens

A system outage in a government agency can have dire consequences for citizens. To ensure operational continuity and meet its budget, the Somerset County Council replaced its backup and recovery technologies with a hybrid cloud solution. Now it can restore files and systems in less time, and IT staff can provision infrastructure that supports backups at least three weeks faster. The new solution also costs less to run than previous technologies.

Learn more

Be enhanced


Quest provides supercharged monitoring and cost prediction with VROOM

Quest VROOM accelerates the performance of your entire virtual infrastructure, transforms the app experience for users, and helps predict and control license and hardware costs. You can maximize resource utilization and improve virtual app performance across hybrid environments. Leverage Azure easily with assurance that you will understand the cost and benefits.

Learn more

Enhancing the Microsoft Office 365 experience at global scale with DataStax and Azure

Microsoft recently deployed DataStax Enterprise (DSE) on Azure to better understand user behavior and experience for its fastest selling product, Office 365. Powered by Apache Cassandra and leveraging the global scale, hybrid deployment capabilities, and ease of integration on Azure, DSE is the always-on data platform that ensures your apps scale reliably and effortlessly while delivering actionable insight in real-time.

Learn more

Azure Marketplace

Featured: Build and release software faster with JFrog Artifactory SaaS on Azure

Developers and DevOps engineers: Get complete control, insight, and management of binaries throughout the software development lifecycle. JFrog Artifactory SaaS on Azure is a hosted solution that gives you transparency and control of the entire build and process. It’s all driven by the power of cloud-based development, giving you flexible release scalability, automated backups, service-level agreement (SLA)-based support, and more.

Visit Marketplace page

Featured: Sign up to take a free Red Hat Open Shift Test Drive

Find out how you can build, deploy, and manage containerized services and apps with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform on Azure. With a free Test Drive you’ll get to use OpenShift in a pre-provisioned, ready-to-go environment—no Azure subscription needed.

Sign up to start your test drive today

New: Teradata bolsters analytics and database capabilities for Azure

Teradata brings powerful advanced analytics capabilities to the Azure community. Teradata Database, coupled with the recent launch on Azure of Teradata Aster Analytics, is a multi-genre advanced analytics solution to uncover insights across all data types. Plus, Teradata Services can help customers design, implement, and manage their analytics ecosystems.

Visit Marketplace page

Editor's Note


I know that it’s already been mentioned at the top of this month’s newsletter, but I want to reiterate our excitement around Azure Stack, which is now ready to order. We hope Azure Stack provides you a consistent experience and enables you and your company to choose the hybrid deployment that works best for you. Take a look at the videos on the Hybrid Cloud Solutions webpage, starting with our VP, Julia White, on overcoming complexity and optimizing existing assets.