• 10 min read

Azure.Source – Volume 35

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

Featuring Infrastructure-as-a-Service on Azure

Why you should bet on Azure for your infrastructure needs, today and in the future – We are committed to providing the right infrastructure for every workload. Across our 50 Azure regions, you can pick from a broad array of virtual machines with varying CPU, GPU, Memory and disk configurations for your application needs. In this post on the Azure blog, Corey Sanders, Corporate Vice President, Azure, shares a few key reasons you should bet on Azure for your infrastructure needs and announces some new capabilities. In addition, these blog posts expand on items covered in Corey's post:

  • (Preview) Standard SSD Disks for Azure Virtual machine workloads – Azure Standard SSD Managed Disks, a new type of durable storage for Microsoft Azure Virtual machines, is now available in preview. Azure Standard SSDs provide consistent performance for low IOPS workloads and deliver better availability and latency compared to HDD Disks. Azure Standard SSDs are also a cost-effective Managed Disk solution optimized for dev-test and entry-level production applications requiring consistent latency.
  • Microsoft Azure Stack expands availability to 92 countries – We are expanding the geographical coverage of Azure Stack to meet the growing demand of the customers globally. Azure Stack will now be available in 92 countries throughout the world.
  • General availability: Disaster recovery for Azure IaaS virtual machines – Disaster recovery for Azure IaaS virtual machines using Azure Site Recovery is now generally available. The cross-region DR feature is generally available in all Azure public regions where Site Recovery is available.
  • Azure Backup for SQL Server on Azure now in public preview – This enterprise backup provides a new breakthrough in backup that differentiates Azure from any other public cloud. This workload backup capability is built as an infrastructure-less, Pay as You Go (PAYG) service that leverages native SQL backup and restore APIs to provide a comprehensive solution to backup SQL servers running in Azure IaaS VMs.
  • Azure Webinar Series: 4 Reasons to Choose Azure for Your Infrastructure Needs – Microsoft Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides computing, networking, and storage services with a high degree of control, security, and simplicity. In this webinar, you’ll learn the advantages of IaaS, see how it differs from competitors, and walk away with ideas for moving your workloads to the cloud.

Now in preview

Speech services now in preview – As announced at Build 2018, Speech service is available in preview, including Speech to Text with custom speech, Text to Speech with custom voice, and Speech Translation. In addition, the Speech SDK is also available in preview, which will be the single SDK for most of our speech services, and will require only one Azure subscription key for speech recognition and LUIS (language understanding service). The Speech Devices SDK is available as a restricted preview to approved device partners.

App Service Deployment Center (Preview) – App Service Deployment Center is a new experience in preview for setting up deployments to Azure App Service. It provides a centralized overview for all of the deployment options available to you and a guided experience to set up your deployments.

Azure AD Conditional Access support for blocking legacy auth is in Public Preview! – Azure AD Conditional Access support for blocking legacy authentication is available in public preivew, which enables you to manage legacy authentication blocking as one part of your overall conditional access strategy, all from right in the Azure AD admin console.

Process more files than ever and use Parquet with Azure Data Lake Analytics – Azure Data Lake Analytics (ADLA) increased the scale limit to schematize and process several hundred thousand files in a single U-SQL job using so-called file sets. In addition, we have improved the handling of many small files by grouping up to 200 files of at most 1 GB of data into a single vertex (in preview). Also in this latest release, ADLA adds a public preview of the native extractor and outputter for the popular Parquet file format and a “private” preview for Optimized Row Columnar (ORC), making it easy to both consume and produce these popular data formats at large scale.

Also in preview

Now generally available

Offering the largest scale and broadest choice for SAP HANA in the cloud – Microsoft is committed to offering the most scale and performance for SAP HANA in the public cloud, and last week announced additional SAP HANA offerings on Azure at SAPPHIRE NOW 2018 in Orland, Florida. The SAP Cloud Platform offers developers a choice to build their SAP applications and extensions using a PaaS development platform with integrated services, which is now generally available on Azure. Developers can now deploy Cloud Foundry based SAP Cloud Platform on Azure in the West Europe region. We’re working with SAP to enable more regions in the months ahead.

News and updates

Use Azure Monitor to integrate with SIEM tools – We’ve been partnering with the top security information and event management (SIEM) partners to build connectors that get the data from Azure Monitor into their tools. This post covers what you should do based off the SIEM tool(s) you are using and your current integration status. Azure Monitor’s SIEM integration capabilities can’t do everything the Azure Log Integration tool could do just yet, so this post also provides a roadmap for addressing known gaps between them.

Azure Search is now certified for several levels of compliance – Compliance is an important factor for customers when looking at software and services as they look to meet their own compliance obligations across regulated industries and markets worldwide. For that reason, we are excited to announce that Azure Search has been certified for several levels of compliance, such as HIPPA and the HITECH Act. Azure compliance offerings are grouped into four segments: globally applicable, US government, industry specific, and region/country specific.

Azure Data Lake Tools for VSCode supports Azure blob storage integration – The Azure Data Lake Tool for VSCode is an extension for developing U-SQL projects with Microsoft Azure Data Lake. The integration of VSCode explorer with Azure blob storage enables you to navigate your blob storage, access and manage your blob container, folder and files using the Data Lake Explorer.

Additional news and updates

The Azure Podcast

The Azure Podcast: Episode 232 – Java on Azure – Continuing our sessions from BUILD 2018, here is a great discussion with Asir Selvasingh on running Java on Azure.

Technical content and training

Get started with U-SQL: It’s easy! – Azure Data Lake Analytics combines declarative and imperative concepts in the form of a new language called U-SQL, wich is the big data query language and execution framework in the Azure Data Lake Analytics. This post provides a the steps you need to get ramped up on U-SQL.

Use Azure Data Lake Analytics to query AVRO data from IoT Hub – Apache Avro is a framework that provides a file format for data serialization and remote procedure calls. Using U-SQL and an Avro extractor, we can parse, transform, and query our IoT Hub data. IoT Hub will write blob content in Avro format, which has both message body and message properties. This post includes an episode of the IoT Show that demonstrates using Azure Data Lake Analytics to analyze data from IoT devices collected through Azure IoT Hub.

Cybersecurity Reference Architecture: Security for a Hybrid Enterprise – The Microsoft Cybersecurity Reference Architecture describes Microsoft’s cybersecurity capabilities and how they integrate with existing security architectures and capabilities. We made quite a few changes in v2 and this post highlights some of what has changed as well as the underlying philosophy of how this document was built.

Detecting script-based attacks on Linux – In April, Azure Security Center (ASC) extended its Linux threat detection preview program to include detection of suspicious processes, suspect login attempts, and anomalous kernel module loads. This post demonstrates how existing Windows detections often have Linux analogs, such as base64-encoded shell and script attacks.

App Service Diagnostics – Profiling an ASP.NET Web App on Azure App Service – This post covers the Collect .NET Profiler Trace option in detail and how you can use it to troubleshoot a slow or a failing ASP.NET based Web App. The trace it collects will help you identify the underlying .NET exceptions, time taken in the various request processing pipeline stages and even lets you drill down into exact methods within the application code that are taking time.

8 reasons to choose Azure Stream Analytics for real-time data processing – Azure Stream Analytics is Microsoft’s serverless real-time analytics offering for complex event processing. It enables customers to unlock valuable insights and gain competitive advantage by harnessing the power of big data. This post provides eight reasons why you should choose ASA for real-time analytics.

Azure tips & tricks

Load Testing web app with Azure App Services

Working with App Settings and Azure App Service

Customers and partners

Regenerative Maps alive on the Edge – Mapbox announced it will integrate its Vision SDK with the Microsoft Azure IoT platform, enabling developers to build innovative applications and solutions for smart cities, the automotive industry, public safety, and more. Microsoft’s collaboration with Mapbox illustrates our commitment to cloud and edge computing in conjunction with the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence. The Mapbox Vision SDK, plus Azure IoT Hub and Azure IoT Edge, simplifies the flow of data from the edge to the Azure cloud and back out to devices.

Azure Marketplace new offers: May 1–15 – The Azure Marketplace is the premier destination for all your software needs – certified and optimized to run on Azure. Find, try, purchase, and provision applications & services from hundreds of leading software providers. In the first half of May we published 28 new offers, including: Solar inCode, Infrastructure for SAP Netweaver and SAP HANA, and TeamCity.

Mellanox uses Azure to accelerate network design – Mellanox’s journey to running HPC workloads in Azure started a few years ago. At first, they were looking for services like disaster recovery, where they could keep the environment deprovisioned most of the time. Then they started looking at moving services like backups to the cloud. Mellanox worked with Univa, a leading provider of HPC scheduling and orchestration software to evaluate different public cloud options, and unltimately chose Azure.

Using STMicroelectronics starter kits to connect to Azure IoT in minutes – STMicroelectronics offers a wide range of IoT hardware along with pre-integrated software, a powerful development ecosystem and valuable starter kits. Microsoft partners with silicon vendors such as STMicroelectronics to simplify and accelerate the development of embedded systems, so our customers can move projects from proof of concepts to production faster.

The IoT Show | STMicroelectronics Starter kits for Azure IoT – Manuel Cantone, from STMicroelectronics, presents latest developer kits that will seamlessly connect to Azure IoT. These kits allow to get started experiencing Azure IoT in a matter of minutes…demonstrated live!


AltConf: Empowering developers to ship iOS apps that scale – Whether you are an Objective-C or Swift developer, Azure has what you need to ship your apps faster and with more confidence. Last week, Microsoft was a Gold Sponsor at AltConf, a free, community-driven event that happens in parallel with Apple's WWDC. We were there to talk about how we can help you build intelligent iOS apps that scale. Check out the information in this post to learn more.

Spark + AI Summit: Azure is the best place for analytics – To continue driving innovation for our customers, we made a couple of exciting enhancements to Azure Databricks that we announced last week at the Spark + AI Summit: support for GPU-enabled virtual machines to build, train and deploy AI models at scale with Azure Databricks, and enhanced capabilities for Azure Databricks Runtime for Machine Learning in preview as part of the premium SKU in Azure Databricks.

Azure Friday

Azure Friday | Episode 437 – TITLE – Carey MacDonald stops by to chat with Scott Hanselman about Azure Cosmos DB, a managed database service with unlimited horizontal scale, allowing you to scale storage and throughput independently. In this video, Carey will cover how to partition your data in Azure Cosmos DB, best practices for choosing a partition key, and how to troubleshoot bad partition key choices.

Azure Friday | Episode 438 – TITLE – Jayanta Mondal stops by to chat with Scott Hanselman about Gremlin, the traversal query language for Cosmos DB graph. Gremlin being a dataflow language and procedural is nature, writing efficient Gremlin queries requires the knowledge of graph structure and the query execution plan. Learn how to structure a Gremlin query, and what are the best practices, and tips & tricks to get the best performance.

Developer spotlight

A decision tree for Azure compute services – This flowchart will help you to choose an Azure compute service for your application by guiding you through a set of key decision criteria to reach a recommendation.

KubeCon 2018 Go-Node Remote Debug – The end-to-end multi-service remote container debugging demo from KubeCon 2018 in Copenhagen.

Tutorial: Java with Docker in VS Code – This tutorial will walk you through building and deploying a Docker image for a Java application with Visual Studio Code.

.NET Microservices Architecture e-book – This guide is an introduction to developing microservices-based applications and managing them using containers. It discusses architectural design and implementation approaches using .NET Core and Docker containers.

Building Resilient Microservices with .NET Core and AKS – In this session from Build 2018 we'll show you how we're making .NET Core microservices easier to build with new application patterns in .NET Core 2.1 as well as how to deploy and manage them with Kubernetes and Helm.

The IoT Show

The IoT Show | Azure IoT Hub device SDK for Python – You are a Python developer and you are wondering how you can get your feet wet developing for Azure IoT? We got you covered! Zoltan Varga, lead developer on the Azure IoT SDK for Python, joined us on the IoT Show to show us how it's done!

AI Show

AI Show | Video Moderation with Content Moderator – Content moderation is the process of monitoring for possible offensive, undesirable, and risky content. Content Moderator, a Cognitive Services product, combines machine-assisted content moderation APIs and human review tool for images, text, and videos into a complete content moderation solution. In this episode, we will get an overview of Content Moderator and learn about its video moderation capabilities. We will cover the API and the human review capabilities in Content Moderator.

AI Show | Image and Text Moderation with Content Moderator – Content moderation is the process of monitoring for possible offensive, undesirable, and risky content. Content Moderator, a Cognitive Services product, combines machine-assisted content moderation APIs and human review tool for images, text, and videos into a complete content moderation solution. In this episode, we will get an overview of Content Moderator and learn about the image moderation and text moderation capabilities. We will cover all features of both APIs.

Azure this Week

Azure this Week – 8 June 2018 – In this episode of Azure This Week, James takes a look at the public preview of Storage Explorer in the Azure Portal, the public preview of Standard SSD Disks for Azure VMs, the General Availability of cross-region disaster recovery for Azure VMs and the announcement that Microsoft is to acquire GitHub.