• 7 min read

Azure.Source – Volume 26

Keep current on what's happening in Azure, including what's now in preview, generally available, news & updates, and more.

Last week, Azure expanded its global footprint with new regions available for Australia and New Zealand. In addition, updates were made to reduce your Azure cost, such as flexible new ways to purchase Azure SQL Database, a new inexpensive pricing tier in Azure IoT Hub for device to cloud telemetry, and a new pricing model for Azure monitoring services.

Now in preview

A flexible new way to purchase Azure SQL Database – Recently announced with SQL Database Managed Instance, the vCore-based purchasing model reflects our commitment to customer choice by providing flexibility, control, and transparency. As with Managed Instance, the vCore-based model makes the Elastic Pool and Single Database options eligible for up to 30 percent savings with the Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server.

SQL Database: Long-term backup retention preview includes major updates – The preview of long-term backup retention in Azure SQL Database, announced in October 2016, has been updated with a set of major enhancements based on customer feedback requesting more regional support, more flexible backup policies, management of individual backups, and streamlined configuration.

Also in preview

Public preview: Read scale-out support for Azure SQL Database

Now generally available

Application Security Groups now generally available in all Azure regions – Application Security Groups enable you to define fine-grained network security policies based on workloads, centralized on applications, instead of explicit IP addresses. They provide the capability to group VMs with monikers and secure applications by filtering traffic from trusted segments of your network.

Also generally available

News & updates

New Microsoft Azure regions available for Australia and New Zealand – Two new Microsoft Azure regions in Australia are available to customers, making Microsoft the only global provider to deliver cloud services specifically designed to address the requirements of the Australian and New Zealand governments and critical national infrastructure, including banks, utilities, transport and telecommunications. Microsoft offers Azure from three cities in Australia including Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra with connectivity to Perth, Brisbane and Auckland.

Azure IoT Hub is driving down the cost of IoT – Many customers start their IoT journey by sending data from devices to the cloud, which we refer to as “device to cloud telemetry.” We added a new capability of Azure IoT Hub to support this called the IoT Hub basic tier, which is a very inexpensive way to start your IoT journey, and despite the name, there is nothing basic about it. It supports inbound telemetry scenarios and has all the same security, scale, performance, and reliability of the existing Azure IoT Hub standard tier. In addition, due to efficiencies we built into Azure IoT Hub, we are passing along our savings with a 50 percent reduction in cost of our standard tier.

Introducing a new way to purchase Azure monitoring services – To make it even easier to adopt Azure monitoring services, we announced a new consistent purchasing experience across our application, infrastructure, and network monitoring services. Three key attributes of this new pricing model are: consistent pay-as-you-go pricing, consistent per gigabyte (GB) metering for data ingestion, and a choice of pricing models for existing customers.

Improvements to SQL Elastic Pool configuration experience – Existing elastic pools can now be scaled up and down between service tiers. You can easily move between service tiers, switch between the DTU-based and the new vCore-based service tiers, and scale down your pool outside of business hours to save cost. Elastic pools offer many settings for customers to customize. The new experience aims to separate and simplify each aspect of pool management, between the pool settings, database settings, and database management.

Upcoming improvements to the Azure AD sign-in experience – Since we released the redesign of the sign-in screens a few months ago, we’ve gotten feedback on how we can further improve the new UI. Our next set of changes aims to reduce clutter and make our screens look cleaner. A visually simpler UI helps users focus on the task at hand – signing in. This is solely a visual UI change with no changes to functionality. Existing company branding settings will carry forward to the updated UI.

Additional news & updates

Technical content & training

Ingest, prepare, and transform using Azure Databricks and Data Factory – With the general availability of Azure Databricks comes support for doing ETL/ELT with Azure Data Factory. Learn how this integration enables you to operationalize ETL/ELT workflows (including analytics workloads in Azure Databricks) using data factory pipelines that ingest data at scale, prepare & transform ingested data, and monitor & manage your end-to-end workflow.

Unique identities are hard: How I learned to stop worrying and love the ID scope – The IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service is a helper service for IoT Hub that enables zero-touch, just-in-time provisioning to the right IoT hub without requiring human intervention, allowing customers to provision millions of devices in a secure and scalable manner. Device creation and digital enrollment can occur at separate times, and this requires some sort of scoping to prevent conflicts. In this post, you'll learn why the ID scope concept was introduced to scope identities to a particular tenant Device Provisioning Service (DPS).

Fast and easy development with Azure Database for MySQL and PostgreSQL – Learn how easy it is to get small apps and prototypes started with very little effort using Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL while taking advantage of built-in security, fault tolerance, and data protection. Azure takes care of the infrastructure and maintenance for you, and these two database services will work with pretty much any app platform, development language, and configuration you want to use.

Customer & partners

Accelerate Data Warehouse Modernization to Azure with Informatica’s AI-Driven Platform – Informatica’s AI-driven Intelligent Data Platform is a modular micro services architecture that accelerates your Azure SQL Data Warehouse project deployment by automating your data integration development lifecycle, including connectivity, development, deployment, and management. Informatica offers out-of-the box connectivity to hundreds of on-premises and cloud data sources and pre-built interoperability to all Azure data services. The Informatica Intelligent Data Platform offers comprehensive solutions for Azure, including data integration, data discovery and preparation, data lakes and big data management, master data management, data quality and data security to accelerate Azure deployment and deliver trusted data in the cloud, on-premises and across hybrid environments.

Developer spotlight

Real-time Personalized Experiences at Global Scale – Building real-time personalized experiences for your customers, that operate efficiently on a global scale, can be a time-consuming and daunting task. Learn what you can do to create such experiences, allowing you to try some of the techniques for yourself without needing to set anything up.

Modernizing cloud-based web apps – Module 1 of this scenario, Build globally-distributed, multi-model database service for mission-critical applications using Cosmos DB, evolves and grows the e-Commerce web application introduced in last week's scenario by adding Azure Cosmos DB, which offers turnkey global distribution across any number of Azure regions by transparently scaling and replicating your data wherever your users are.

Sample: Create & Query Graphs using Gremlin API – Azure Cosmos DB provides the Graph API for applications that need to model, query, and traverse large graphs efficiently using the Gremlin standard. This sample shows how to create and query graphs in Azure Cosmos DB using the open-source connector Gremlin.NET in C#.

Your Game, Everywhere – PlayFab (Game Services) – Brendan Vanous, Head of Developer Success at PlayFab, provides an overview of Game Services on PlayFab's backend platform in the cloud for live games.

Your Game, For Everyone – PlayFab (LiveOps) – Brendan Vanous, Head of Developer Success at PlayFab, provides an overview of Live Ops on PlayFab's backend platform in the cloud for live games.

How to Run Massively Scaling Mobile Games on Microsoft Azure – Hear how Next Games, the exclusive license owner for games related to the hit TV series “The Walking Dead,” built its infrastructure and a generative platform on Azure.

Azure shows

Tuesdays with Corey | Open Sourcing Microsoft Service Fabric – Corey Sanders, Corporate VP – Microsoft Azure Compute team sat down with Vaclav Turecek, Principal PM on the Service Fabric Team to talk about transitioning Azure Service Fabric to a true Open Source offering.

Azure Friday | Backup and Recovery with Azure Files – Mike Emard joins Scott Hanselman to discuss Azure Files, which offers fully managed file shares in the cloud, and deep dive into the latest backup and restore capability in Azure Files.

Azure Friday | Metaparticle – A standard library for cloud-native applications on Kubernetes – Metaparticle is an experimental, cloud-native development environment for democratizing and simplifying the development of reliable distributed applications. It uses a code-first approach, so developers can describe the composite nature of their application with easy to apply patterns and practices to annotate their existing code.

The Azure Podcast | Episode 223 – Azure Storage Options – Kendall, Cynthia, Evan and Cale discuss a fundamental feature of Azure – Storage! They talk about the various possibilities to store data in Azure and break down the use-cases for each of those options.

Azure tips & tricks

Add and Reorder Favorites in the Azure Dashboard

Use the Table Parameter in the Azure CLI