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Azure Newsletter: April 2018

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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’re interested in reading. If you select a category below, it will display articles only for that topic. Want to see everything again? Click All.


Join us at Microsoft Build for an exclusive look at what’s next for Azure

There’s still time to register for Microsoft Build, May 7–9, 2018, in Seattle, Washington. When you attend, you’ll share insights and work alongside the Microsoft engineers that are behind the products you use every day. Choose from 350 technical sessions and interactive workshops focused on artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and the latest web and mobile development technologies. Build across any app, language, and platform—this event is for all developers. Register now.

Find your local Global Azure Bootcamp event to learn about Azure

The Global Azure Bootcamp is coming on April 21, 2018, to more than 250 worldwide locations. Each location has their own agenda that’s tailored by local organizers for their community. Get your questions about Azure answered. Check the location map for an event near you and sign up now.

Download the Azure Strategy and Implementation Guide for IT

This guide is designed to help your IT team more effectively implement and integrate cloud technologies. Explore key cloud concepts as well as Azure-specific tips and tactics. This includes topics like general architectures that incorporate security, identity, and cloud design principles; DevOps and how it fits with cloud technologies; integrating, planning, and managing cloud resources; and Azure governance. Download now.

Upcoming Events

RSA Conference 2018
April 16, 2018
San Francisco, California
Microsoft Tech Summit Stockholm
April 17, 2018
Stockholm, Sweden
Global Azure Bootcamp 2018
April 21, 2018
Multiple Locations Worldwide
Microsoft Tech Summit Warsaw
April 25, 2018
Warsaw, Poland
Microsoft Build
May 7, 2018
Seattle, Washington

Be Informed

Download your guide to Azure services for apps built with Xamarin

With the traffic analytics feature of Azure Network Watcher, get visibility into user, application, and network activity on your cloud network. Traffic analytics analyzes network security group (NSG) flow logs across Azure regions. Using the resulting information, optimize workload performance, secure applications and data, audit your organization’s network activity, and stay compliant.

Build and run your apps on Azure Availability Zones

Azure Availability Zones, a high availability solution for your most demanding mission critical apps, is now generally available. Availability zones are physically separated locations within an Azure region. Get a service-level agreement (SLA) of 99.99 percent for Azure Virtual Machines (qualified instances only). Start creating your comprehensive business continuity strategy with data residency using Availability Zones and our global footprint of regions.

Start using Azure Service Health

When issues in Azure services affect your resources, Azure Service Health helps you understand the impact of the issue and keeps you updated as it’s resolved. Unlike the Azure status webpage, which provides general status information, you get tailored information for your resources via the Service Health dashboard. And easily configure alerts to ensure that your relevant teams are notified of any service health events. Learn more and create a service health alert.

Optimize, secure, and audit your cloud network with traffic analytics

With the traffic analytics feature of Azure Network Watcher, get visibility into user, application, and network activity on your cloud network. Traffic analytics analyzes network security group (NSG) flow logs across Azure regions. Using the resulting information, optimize workload performance, secure applications and data, audit your organization’s network activity, and stay compliant.

Azure Security Center just-in-time VM access generally available

Just-in-time virtual machine (VM) access significantly reduces your exposure to attacks. You’re able to deny persistent access while getting controlled and audited access to VMs when needed. Read more on the Azure Blog.

New purchasing model for Azure SQL Database

The preview of a new vCore-based purchasing model for Azure SQL Database elastic pools and single databases is now available. This model is in addition to the existing database transaction unit (DTU)-based model. Use the new model for greater flexibility, control, transparency, and an easier way to compare to on-premises workloads. Scale compute, storage, and I/O independently based on your workload needs. The vCore model is also eligible for up to 30 percent savings with the Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server.

Inclusion of columnstore technology in standard service tier for Azure SQL Database

Starting with SQL Server 2016 SP1, a common programming surface area was developed to help fulfill a need. It’s now available in Azure SQL Database with the inclusion of columnstore technology in some standard service tier offerings. If you have databases that are at or above the S3 level, you’re able to create columnstore indexes in your databases. Read more about this announcement via the Azure Blog.

Azure SQL Database—read scale-out support in preview in premium service tier

Following last month’s announcement about zone-redundant database support, read scale-out support expands the power of premium databases and elastic pools. This capability redirects the read-only client connections to one of the automatically provisioned, high availability replicas. It effectively doubles the compute capacity of the database or elastic pool at no additional charge. This is ideal for load balancing of complex analytical workloads without affecting the primary online transaction processing (OLTP) workload. Learn more on the Azure Blog.

Update of long-term backup retention (preview) in Azure SQL Database

Addressing customer feedback gathered since the initial release in October 2016, long-term backup retention (preview) has been updated. With this refresh, you have access to the feature in all Azure regions, and you get greater flexibility in setting your retention policies and managing individual backups. Backups also now use read-access geo-redundant storage (RA-GRS), which provides an even higher degree of protection for your data. Find out more on the Azure Blog.

Higher database eDTU limits for standard elastic pools in Azure SQL Database

The increase in maximum elastic database transaction units (eDTUs) per database in standard elastic pools is now generally available. This limit per database has increased up to 3,000 eDTUs with new choices starting at 200 eDTUs. These higher limits are well suited for databases with activity bursts that demand more CPU than previously provided by standard pools. For I/O intensive workloads, premium pools continue to provide the best performance experience with lower latency per I/O and more I/O per second (IOPS) per eDTU. Learn more at the Azure Blog.

Case study—protecting highly confidential sales data with Azure SQL Database

The cloud is unfamiliar territory for companies, especially when they consider storing sensitive data. In this technical white paper, learn how a team at Microsoft used Azure SQL Database to protect confidential sales data.

Azure Database for MySQL and PostgreSQL generally available

Azure Database for PostgreSQL and Azure Database for MySQL are generally available with a 99.99 percent uptime SLA. These services bring the community versions of MySQL and PostgreSQL database engines together with built-in high availability, elastic scaling for performance, and industry-leading security and compliance. Use your favorite frameworks and languages and access a rich ecosystem of tools and services. Learn more about regional availability.

Data explorer feature of Azure Cosmos DB now generally available

Get a rich and unified developer experience for inserting, querying, and managing Azure Cosmos DB data within the Azure portal and the emulator with the data explorer feature. It consolidates the functionality previously available in Document Explorer, Query Explorer, and Script Explorer—so that you don’t have to switch views to use that functionality. With the data explorer release, Document Explorer, Query Explorer, and Script Explorer will no longer be available in the Azure portal. Learn more.

Storage Service Encryption with customer-managed keys generally available

Storage Service Encryption (SSE) encrypts your data at rest via 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption. SSE with customer-managed keys is available for Azure Blob storage and Azure Files. It’s also integrated with Azure Key Vault, which lets you create, manage, and audit keys. SSE using customer-managed keys is available in public Azure regions. Learn more on the Azure Blog.

Azure Friday—Using PowerShell Core with Azure

In this video, learn about PowerShell Core 6.0, a cross-platform, open-source edition of PowerShell based on .NET Core and built for heterogeneous environments and the hybrid cloud. Find out about the upcoming release of OpenSSH for Windows and Windows Server. With this release, discover new ways to remotely manage your environments and how PowerShell Core integrates with OpenSSH.

Better maintenance experience for your VMs with scheduled events

Obtain information regarding upcoming maintenance events (for example, pauses, reboots, and redeploys) using a REST Endpoint from within your VM with scheduled events in Azure Virtual Machines. With this information, you can give your app sufficient time to perform preventive tasks such as event logging, removing a VM from a load balancer pool, or performing a graceful shutdown to minimize the effect of events. Learn more, including how to set up scheduled events in your VMs.

New query features in Azure Search

Now available in preview, the autocomplete API feature searches an existing index to suggest terms to complete a partial query. For example, a query term such as "medic" will automatically return "Medicare," "Medicaid," "medicine," and other similar terms that are in the index. Now generally available, the synonyms functionality feature enables Azure Search to not only return results that match the query terms typed into the search box, but also return results that match synonyms of the query terms.


Implement smart manufacturing with IoT
April 19, 2018
10:00 AM Pacific Time
Cloud fundamentals
April 24, 2018
10:00 AM Pacific Time
Designing distributed systems using Azure
April 25, 2018
1:00 PM Pacific Time
Developing location-based applications with Azure
April 26, 2018
10:00 AM Pacific Time
Introduction to Azure
April 12, 2018
1:00 PM Pacific Time
Critical analytics use cases with Azure Databricks
April 12, 2018
1:00 PM Pacific Time
Using AI to transform the tactical edge
April 26, 2018
1:00 PM Pacific Time
Join a getting started with Azure live webinar with Q&A each Tuesday and Thursday

Be empowered

Catch up with Azure at GDC and kickstart your next big game

Microsoft was at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, teaching developers about services and tools that let you build your gaming empire—on the same cloud that’s powered Xbox for years. Watch sponsored sessions from GDC to learn how customers build to scale with Azure and PlayFab. Or watch in-depth theater sessions with product experts across a variety of topics. Watch now.

Increase your knowledge of Azure

Immersion Experiences showcase how the entire suite of cloud solutions at Microsoft work together to solve IT and developer challenges customers are facing today. Test drive the latest Microsoft cloud solutions in an online, hands-on, live Azure environment. April topics include: Develop apps with Azure Database for PostgreSQL; Microsoft Azure Security—getting started; and Manage your infrastructure on Azure—getting started. Sign up for an online immersion.

Get a step-by-step approach to cloud adoption

Making the shift to the cloud is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Review the Azure Cloud Adoption Guide, organized into a series of stages, to help you approach your move to the cloud based on your organizational readiness. Each stage includes a list of articles that explain how things work, how to accomplish specific tasks, and how to make the right technology choices and design decisions.

Hello Azure: Unpacking how Microsoft moved its SAP workload to the cloud

Microsoft just finished moving their entire SAP landscape—an estimated 50 TB—to Azure. Read the story behind this fast-moving, yearlong journey, and then get ready to move your SAP systems to the cloud. Read the story.

Give your app a boost with Azure

If you’re interested in using the cloud as your app platform, you can get expert support fast—at no charge—when you sign up to participate in a Microsoft Cloud App Hackfest. Sign up now.

Course—getting started with Azure App Service: Highlights

Watch this free, on-demand course to learn how to get started developing cloud-based apps with Azure. See lots of demos and get an overview of how to create your own Azure App Service web apps. View the course.

Refactor an Azure Service Fabric app

This article describes how a fictitious company, Tailspin, is refactoring their Surveys app to a more granular architecture. Tailspin's motivation for refactoring is to make it easier to develop, build, and deploy their app. Read the article and learn how refactoring may apply to your own scenario.

Course—configuration management for containerized delivery

Are you interested in a consistent way of bringing software to production? In this course, learn how to create, deploy, and configure your containerized apps on Azure using Azure Container Service and Azure Service Fabric. Find out how a cluster works and how to configure and manage clusters to get constant insights into your app in production. Plus, find out how to deploy containers without downtime. View the course.

New Channel 9 video series—Open Source Show

Check out the new Open Source Show video series on Microsoft Channel 9. The debut episode features Microsoft cloud developer advocates, Lena Hall and Suz Hinton, as they discuss data ingestion, stream processing, and sentiment analysis pipeline. Learn about using Apache Spark integrated with Azure Event Hubs, plus learn about Azure Machine Learning and IoT. Watch the video.

Using TensorFlow, Kubernetes, and Azure together

In this episode of GALs, filmed at the Microsoft Reactor space in San Francisco, California, Christina interviews Rita Zhang, a principal software engineer at Microsoft. Rita had just come off a technical presentation about using TensorFlow, Kubernetes, and Azure together, which led to an interesting conversation about open source at Microsoft and what surprised her about the company. Watch now.

Five Things—new video with Anders Hejlsberg

Check out the new Channel 9 video: Five Things About TypeScript. Watch now.

Five Things about Visual Studio Code

In this video with Amanda Silver and Burke Holland, learn five things in five minutes about Visual Studio Code. Watch the video.

Design data-centric solutions on Azure

Based on proven practices derived from customer engagements, the Azure Data Architecture Guide can help you select the right data architecture or data pipeline for your scenario. Then select the Azure services and technologies that best fit your requirements. This manual is structured around a basic pivot—the distinction between relational data and non-relational data. Read the guide.

Approaches for sequence classification on financial time series data

Sequence classification tasks can be solved in several ways, including traditional machine learning and deep learning methods. Catch Lauren Tran’s talk at the Women in Machine Learning and Data Science meetup. She discusses long short-term memory (LSTM), convolutional neural network (CNN), and support vector machine (SVM) algorithms, including how they work, and how they’re applied in sequence labeling tasks with time series data. She walks through a practical application of applying these algorithms and techniques to financial transaction data to detect signs of financial distress and predict insolvency. Watch now.

April certification spotlight—Azure Stack

Do you use Azure Stack to provide cloud services to your end users or customers from within your own datacenter? If so, get certified with the “Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack” exam (70-537) to validate your knowledge and skills. Access additional learning resources if you want help to prepare and practice for the exam. Learn more.

Free Pluralsight course—Microsoft Azure Stack: The Big Picture

This course is for you if you’re interested in cloud technologies for your business but have security or compliance concerns that require on-premises solutions. It’s taught by Pluralsight author Jason Helmick who’s a successful columnist, lecturer, and instructor specializing in automation practices for the IT pro. Register now.

Find the reference architecture that works for you

The Azure team arranged these reference architectures by scenario—with related architectures grouped together. They also included best practices, prescriptive steps, and deployable solutions. Which one is right for you—Windows VM workloads, Linux VM workloads, a hybrid network, or identity management? Review all the Azure reference architectures and decide which ones best suit your needs.

Course—deploying Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security

In this on-demand course on Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA), receive in-depth training on how to deploy Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security. Get an overview of Azure Active Directory, and . Learn how to extend your on-premises Active Directory to the cloud. Find out how to configure Azure Multi-Factor Authentication—plus much more. The course includes hands-on labs to enhance your learning.

Azure unleashed—automating incident and change management through optimized architecture

Learn how Microsoft IT unleashed Azure and incorporated cloud patterns into architecture designs to save time and costs for change management efforts, while improving SLAs and customer experiences. Read more.

Be entertained

*Comic source: Reprinted with permission.

Be inspired

How Alaska outsmarts Mother Nature in the cloud

Alaskans are notoriously resilient people, and they don’t want to be sidelined by the weather. To keep Alaska’s highways open and safe during severe winter weather, the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities uses the Fathym WeatherCloud solution and Azure IoT technologies to make better, hyper-local decisions about deploying road crews.

Learn more

Daimler embraces the cloud to innovate faster

Daimler AG, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of premium cars and trucks, is driving hard to be a key player in software. To speed up software development and innovation, Daimler uses Azure DevTest Labs. By developing in Azure, the company can onboard developers in hours versus weeks, get new ideas underway faster, and attract top talent with a state-of-the-art development environment.

Learn more

Be Enhanced: Partners

Predict, prevent, and recover improper healthcare payments with CGI ProperPay

Healthcare claims fraud costs USD250 billion per year worldwide and compromises patient care. CGI partners with Microsoft to use predictive analytics, machine learning, workflow management, and to use Azure to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse with CGI ProperPay. This solution helps preserve healthcare funds to keep patients safer, while protecting health information. CGI has helped healthcare payers in the United States recover USD2.8 billion in improper claims.

Learn more

Cloud Generation Firewalls speed adoption in hybrid deployments

A lot of customers migrate over time to the cloud, making hybrid configurations the most common deployments for customers using Azure. Cloud Generation Firewalls are different in that they provide the same security profiles and functionality for on-premises and in-Azure infrastructures. Get less management overhead, easier migrations, better overall network control, and the ability to monitor and manage data to and through the cloud.

Visit Marketplace Page

Azure Marketplace

New—Alces Flight launches on-demand high performance computing in Azure Marketplace

High performance computing (HPC) in the cloud just got easier. The Solo HPC environment from Alces Flight is now available in the Azure Marketplace. From life sciences to engineering, you now have access to a fully-featured HPC environment and hundreds of open source packages. Your cloud HPC cluster is ready to run—in as little as five minutes—complete with job scheduler, compilers, apps, and libraries.

Learn more

Test drive—easy, free, hands-on experience with SUSE Linux Enterprise

Use SUSE Studio for quick and easy image creation, and use SUSE Manager for monitoring and managing your Linux VMs using Microsoft Systems Center.

Test drive SUSE Linux Enterprise