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Microsoft Azure enabling business transformation with updated search and NoSQL data services, encoders for Media Services and more

Today, we are delivering exciting new Azure services and updates across big data and Media Services designed to help customers in their business transformation journey.

For businesses to maintain a competitive edge in this complex and fast-changing climate they need innovative ways to deliver the best customer experience with their products and services. Today, we are delivering exciting new Azure services and updates across big data and Media Services designed to help customers in their business transformation journey.

Building cloud designed apps to gain insights from data

Developers want to build cloud based applications that support multiple platforms and different concurrent versions between multiples applications for user-generated content, IoT, and gaming scenarios. They want these applications to deliver high-scale and reliable performance. NoSQL has emerged as the leading category of database technology to address these needs. Generally available on April 8, 2015, Azure DocumentDB is a fully-managed, highly-scalable NoSQL document database service. It offers rich query and transactional processing over a schema-free JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) data model, which helps enable rapid development and high performance for applications.

At general availability, DocumentDB will be available in three standard performance levels: S1, S2, and S3. Collections of data within a DocumentDB database can be assigned to different performance levels allowing customers to purchase only the performance they need. For more information about performance levels, please visit the performance levels documentation webpage. Several enhancements have been made in preparation for general availability, including Hadoop integration, a Java SDK, hourly billing, support for larger documents, SQL parameterization, additional regions, and larger account sizes.

For more information about the DocumentDB GA , click here.

Today marks the general availability of Azure Search, a search-as-a-service solution that helps developers build sophisticated search experiences into web and mobile applications. Azure Search enables developers to reduce the friction and complexity of implementing full-text search, and differentiate their applications by leveraging powerful features not available with other search packages such as enhanced multilanguage support.

This release offers support for more than 50 languages—utilizing the natural language processing technology used by Microsoft Office and Bing. Updated features include the ability to more easily load data from Azure DocumentDB, Azure SQL Database, and SQL Server on Azure VMs to Azure Search using new indexers. Plus, a .NET software development kit (SDK) is now available to make working with Azure Search a more familiar experience. For more information on these new features, please visit the Azure Search documentation webpage as well as the Azure Search webpage to learn more on free and paid service tiers.

For more information about the Azure Search GA, click here.

Encoding capabilities for premium on-demand media workflows

We are excited to release into preview today Azure Media Services Premium Encoder, which offers advanced encoding capabilities for premium on-demand media workflows. Premium Encoder offers superior quality and flexibility suited for broadcast industry/professional media transcodes. This includes automated decision-making logic that can adapt to a variety of input file formats, support for additional input and output codecs and file formats such as 4K Ultra HD in AVC and closed captions, and a powerful workflow design tool.

In addition Azure Media Services is now fully integrated with Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN). CDN integration with Azure Media Services provides point-and-click provisioning of edge services, speeding time to market and giving content global reach.

For more information about the Azure Media Encoder Premium, click here.

Virtual Machine sizes for compute intensive applications

Today we are making generally available A10 and A11 instances that feature faster processors, more virtual cores for greater compute power and larger amounts of memory. A10 instances have 8 virtual cores and 56 GB of RAM, while A11 instances have 16 virtual cores and 112 GB of RAM. With these instances, customers can run compute-intensive applications such as video encoding, risk modeling, simulation, and more. These new instances offer more options for customers who don’t require the InfiniBand networking capability that comes with A8 and A9 instances.

For more information about the A10 and A11 instances, click here.

Enhanced application security

Azure Active Directory now allows the assignment of shared application accounts to groups. This is particularly useful for managing access to company owned social applications accounts such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn that many users want to access. Previously, the real password of the application was known only by the administrator while everyone else had access by using their work accounts. Today we are enhancing the security of this process through a public preview that allows customers to automatically change the application password with randomly created strong complex passwords, in custom intervals.

To learn more about the services launched today and to get started with a free trial, please visit Azure.com.