• 5 min read

Azure peaks in the valley: New features and innovation

At the core of every Azure innovation, is our focus to solve for the needs of developers. Today at //build, we announced exciting updates to Azure which enable developers of all types with the flexibility to build cloud apps and services across multiple devices and platforms.

At the core of every Azure innovation, is our focus to solve for the needs of developers and ISVs . Today at //build, we announced exciting updates to Azure which enable developers of all types with the flexibility to build cloud apps and services across multiple devices and platforms. With the updates announced today, Microsoft has the most complete platform for predictive analytics and intelligent applications, empowering enterprises to realize the maximum value from their data.

SQL Database Enhancements

As Scott shared on stage this morning, we made a number of updates and enhancements to SQL Database. Developers building software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications can leverage SQL Database to provide flexibility to support both explosive growth and profitable business models. For workloads with unpredictable database resource consumption, we are introducing the elastic database model in preview –that provides you with the ability to pool resources to be leveraged among a group of databases. Instead of overprovisioning to meet peak demand, you can use an elastic database pool to let hundreds or thousands of databases leverage resources within a budget that you control. In addition, you can drive cost efficiencies with a purchase model that allows you to maintain control over price and performance across a group of databases. For additional information on using SQL Database to manage a large number of databases, read more here.

Also, now with near-complete SQL Server feature compatibility, customers can work with heavy workloads and have the full programmable surface area available for building robust mission-critical cloud applications or migrating existing on-premises SQL Server databases to Azure SQL Database.  Today we are announcing Transparent Data Encryption for Azure SQL Database is now available in preview at no additional cost. Transparent Data Encryption leverages the long-time trusted encryption technology found in SQL Server bringing it to the databases on the latest version of SQL Database (V12) for encrypting a customer’s database at rest to help further protect against the threat of malicious activity. In addition, for applications that manage text data stored in Azure SQL Database, Full-Text Search, now available in preview at no additional cost, adds the capability of providing fast, robust search functionality integrated into the database platform. For additional information on SQL Database, read more here.

Azure Data Lake

As part of Microsoft’s big data and analytics portfolio of products, we pre-announced Azure Data Lake, a hyper scale repository for big data analytic workloads. It provides organizations a single place to store every type of data prior to any formal definition of schema or transformation requirements. It has no fixed limits to either file or account size and massive throughput to increase analytic performance. Azure Data Lake is a Hadoop File System compatible with HDFS that works with the Hadoop ecosystem providing integration with Azure HDInsight and will be integrated with Microsoft offerings such as Revolution-R Enterprise, industry standard distributions like Hortonworks and Cloudera, and individual Hadoop projects like Spark, Storm, Flume, Sqoop, Kafka, etc. More information can be found on https://azure.com/datalake and sign-up to be notified once the public preview is available.

Azure SQL Data Warehouse

We are also pleased to preannounce Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse. As part of Microsoft’s extension to Data Warehousing, Azure SQL Data Warehouse is an elastic data warehouse-as-a-service with enterprise-grade features based on SQL Server’s massively parallel processing architecture. It provides customers the ability to scale data, either on premise, or in our cloud. It’s the first Enterprise-Class cloud data warehouse that can dynamically grow or shrink compute in seconds independently of storage enabling customers to only pay for the query performance they need when they need it. SQL Data Warehouse enables customer to use their existing T-SQL skills to integrate queries across structured and unstructured data.  Integrating with our existing data platform tools including Azure HDInsight, Azure Machine Learning, Azure Data Factory and Power BI, it is a complete data warehousing and business intelligence solution in the cloud.  With SQL Data Warehouse, customers have a choice about where to keep their data, based on performance, security and scale requirements, enabled by SQL Data Warehouse either in the cloud or on-premises. Sign-up to be notified once the public preview is available.

Azure Service Fabric

Today we are excited to make available the developer preview of Azure Service Fabric – a high control platform that enables developers and ISVs to build cloud services with a high degree of scalability and customization. As we discussed last week, Service Fabric supports creating both stateless and stateful microservices – an architectural approach where complex applications are composed of small, independently versioned services – to power the most complex, low-latency, data-intensive scenarios and scale them into the cloud. In addition, integrated Visual Studio tooling as well as command line support, enables developers to quickly and easily build, test, debug, deploy and update their Service Fabric applications on single-box deployments, test deployments and production deployments. For more information on Azure Service Fabric and to download the SDK, please read more here.

Azure App Service Premium

Recently we released Azure App Service, a high productivity solution for developers who need to create enterprise-grade web and mobile apps. App Service provides a complete platform as a service solution that enables you to deploy and elastically scale applications in the cloud, and seamlessly integrate them with on-premises resources and SaaS based applications.

Today, we are excited to announce the public preview of Azure App Service Environment, a new Premium service plan option for applications requiring high scale and direct corporate connectivity.  Developers can enjoy the extensive features and devops flexibility of Azure App Service while benefiting from expanded scaling head-room with the introduction of new P4 compute resources (8 Cores and 14GB Ram). Apps gain secure, direct access over virtual networks to their most sensitive corporate resources connected via Site-to-Site or ExpressRoute connections. The base environment contains two P2 frontends and two P1 compute resources created in a customer’s Virtual Network. Customers can scale out front end and compute resources independently using combinations of P1 – P4 instances. Customers also pay only for what is used at $0.10 per core per hour (preview pricing), with up to 50 total instances inside each environment. To get started using Azure App Service Environment or for more information, please visit https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/app-service/.

Azure Resource Manager Support for VMs, Storage and Networking

Azure Resource Manager Support for Virtual Machines, Storage and Networking is now available in public preview. Azure Resource Manager templates enable single click deployments of complex applications into a resource group. A resource groups can contain all elements of an application and can be managed as a single unit providing granular access control via role based authentication and control (RBAC). Furthermore, you have ability to tag resources so you can better manage resources with a granular understanding of costs. We will have also have a starting set of more than 80 templates available in GitHub at preview release.

As part of our Azure Resource Manager availability, we are announcing partnerships across a broad set of PaaS, orchestration and management partners building on the new scalable Resource Manager for IaaS, including Cloud Foundry, Mesosphere, Juju, Apprenda, Jelastic and Scalr. We will also make available templates for Apprenda and Mesosphere directly in GitHub. The initial set of templates will also include many open-source solutions from many sources, including a template for MySQL, Chef, ElasticSearch, Zookeeper, MongoDB, and PostGreSQL. For more information, please visit https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/resource-group-overview/

Azure Marketplace Enhancements

After launching the Microsoft Azure Certified process at WPC last year and the Microsoft Azure Marketplace at TechED Europe, we’ve made a number of key investments to streamline the on-boarding process and enhance provisioning of single virtual machine offers. Partners interested in publishing a single virtual machine in the Azure Marketplace will now benefit from increased capacity and automated processes, which minimizes their time to market and investment to partner with Azure. Visit Azure Marketplace to learn more.

For more on today’s news, check out the Official Microsoft blog and Scott Guthrie’s blog. Also, don’t forget you can keep up with everything happening at //build using Channel 9.