Cloud + Enterprise Release Announcements for October 2, 2014

This is a blog post of a new ongoing series of consolidated updates from the Cloud + Enterprise team.

In today’s mobile first, cloud first world, Microsoft provides the technologies and tools to enable enterprises to embrace a cloud culture. Our differentiated innovations, comprehensive mobile solutions and developer tools help all of our customers realize the true potential of the cloud first era.

You expect cloud-speed innovation from us, and we’re delivering across the breadth of our Cloud + Enterprise product portfolio. Below is a consolidated list of our latest releases to help you stay current, with links to additional details if you’d like more information.  In this update:

  • An early look at the future of the datacenter from Microsoft
  • Windows 10 enterprise management with System Center Configuration Manager and Windows Intune
  • Microsoft Azure Site Recovery is now generally available
  • Microsoft Azure Automation and Runbook Gallery to be generally available in October
  • Microsoft Azure Instance-level public IPs generally available
  • Introducing the Elastic Scale preview for Microsoft Azure SQL Database
  • Microsoft Azure Redis Cache generally available
  • New SSD-based instances for Microsoft Azure VMs and Cloud Services
  • New Enhancements and Features in Microsoft Azure AD Premium GA
  • Microsoft Azure AD Basic is now generally available
  • Microsoft Offers Price Reductions on Select Azure Services
  • HDInsight available in China as Public Preview

 

An early look at the future of the datacenter from Microsoft

At a Microsoft event on Tuesday, the Windows team shared new information on the direction of Windows in the enterprise. Likewise, we in the Cloud + Enterprise team would like to start sharing the direction for our datacenter products, anchored on Windows Server and System Center, as we continue to deliver against our Cloud OS vision. We are excited to start to share just a bit of what is to come with these releases and what some of the cloud innovation features are that you will see. To get a sense of where we’re headed, read our Server & Cloud blog. This is only the beginning of the story with this wave of products. We will have much more to share in the coming weeks and months. Thank you and stay tuned for more!

 

Windows 10 enterprise management with System Center Configuration Manager and Windows Intune

On Tuesday the Windows team shared new details on the future of Windows in the enterprise, with a first look at Windows 10.  Aligned with this announcement, we have begun sharing more of our high level direction for Windows 10 management with System Center Configuration Manager and Windows Intune. Read our first post on the Configuration Manager blog for more information.

 

Microsoft Azure Site Recovery is now generally available

Azure Site Recovery can help you protect key on-premises applications by replicating virtual machines to a second disaster recovery site.  In June, the service introduced a beta feature – the capability to replicate Hyper-V virtual machines directly to Azure, and to recover them there when needed.  Today, this feature enters general availability and is supported in production.  Now you can avoid the complexity and expense of establishing and maintaining your own secondary site and use Azure as your disaster recovery location. There are many resources available to learn more about Site Recovery. Visit the Site Recovery web page to learn more.

 

Microsoft Azure Automation and Runbook Gallery to be generally available in October

On October 27, customers will have access to the generally available release of Azure Automation.  Azure Automation enables the creation, deployment, monitoring, and maintenance of resources in an Azure environment using a highly scalable and reliable workflow execution engine. The service can be used to orchestrate the time-consuming and frequently repeated tasks that would otherwise be accomplished manually, across Azure and third-party systems to decrease operational expense for cloud operations.

As part of this release, we are also announcing the availability for the Automation Runbook Gallery.  The Runbook Gallery is a new feature that puts existing Automation sample, utility, and scenario runbooks right at your fingertips to help you get up and running quickly with your automation tasks.  The Runbook Gallery allows you to browse and import runbooks to your Automation account without ever having to leave the Azure Management Portal.  The best part of the Runbook Gallery is that the community can contribute content and have it automatically show up in the gallery too.  Learn more about these releases, including pricing at the Azure Automation website.

 

Microsoft Azure Instance-level public IPs generally available

This feature lets you assign public IP addresses to VMs and web or worker roles so they become directly addressable without having to map an endpoint for access. With Instance-Level Public IPs, you can enable scenarios like running FTP servers in Azure and monitoring VMs directly using their IPs. When this feature became generally available, the limit of two IPs per subscription was removed. You’ll incur general availability pricing by using this feature, applied to your bill starting December 1, 2014.  For more information, please visit the Instance-Level Public IP Addresses webpage.

 

Introducing the Elastic Scale preview for Microsoft Azure SQL Database

Today we are announcing the public preview of Elastic Scale for Azure SQL Database. The new Elastic Scale capabilities simplify the process of scaling out (and in) a cloud application’s data tier by streamlining development and management. Based on industry-standard sharding practices, Elastic Scale offers functionality to help you build and maintain applications that can span a few databases or thousands. The new capabilities are provided through .NET client libraries and Azure service templates that you can host, offering more development flexibility to meet the unique needs of your applications. Based on customer engagements, client-side application APIs are ideal for supporting elastic scale as they offer you more development flexibility based on the unique needs of your applications. For more information about Elastic Scale or to download the preview, please visit the SQL Database Elastic Scale webpage.

 

Microsoft Azure Redis Cache generally available

Azure Redis Cache is a distributed, in-memory, managed cache that helps you build highly scalable and responsive applications by providing you with fast access to your data. Azure Redis Cache is based on the popular open source Redis Cache, and is offered in two tiers: Basic and Standard. It gives you access to a secured, dedicated Redis cache that’s managed by Microsoft. For more information, visit the Cache webpage.

 

New SSD-based instances for Microsoft Azure VMs and Cloud Services

We’ve announced the general availability of a new series of Standard tier instances called the D-series for Virtual Machines and Cloud Services and its related pricing. These instances have solid-state disk (SSD)-based local drives and faster processors relative to the current A-series. The D-series instances can be used as VMs, as well as web or worker roles in Cloud Services, and are well suited for applications that demand faster CPU performance, local disk performance, or higher memories. Please note that persistent storage is not supported for D-series. For more information, visit the Virtual Machines webpage.

 

New Enhancements and Features in Microsoft Azure AD Premium GA

“Azure Active Directory Sync Services” is the newest member of the directory integration tools family. It simplifies the process of connecting Azure AD to Windows Server AD, including complex, multi-forest deployments. It also enhances the single forest capabilities. Read more in the Active Directory Team Blog on what AAD Sync capabilities are included in this release.

 

Microsoft Azure AD Basic is now generally available

Azure AD Basic is now available for purchase through the volume-licensing channel. AAD Basic provides essential features like company branding, group-based application access and self-service password reset for cloud users. Azure AD Premium part of the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) continues to provide this functionality and more advanced features like self-service group management, Multi-Factor Authentication and advanced security reporting. For more information, check out this MSDN article.

 

Microsoft Offers Price Reductions on Select Azure Services

Last week, Microsoft announced price reductions for a range of Azure services when purchased through our website. With these changes, we are making it more cost effective to build complete solutions on Azure to leverage the full breadth of our technologies. Read the Azure Blog for more details.

 

HDInsight available in China as Public Preview

Microsoft announced that Azure HDInsight is now available for all customers in China as a public preview, making it the first global cloud provider to have a publicly available cloud Hadoop offering in China. With this launch, Microsoft is bringing Azure HDInsight’s ability to process big data volumes from unstructured and semi-structured sources to China. Both local Chinese organizations and multi-national corporations with offices in China can spin up a Hadoop cluster within minutes. Learn more by going to the Chinese Azure site.