Cloud + Enterprise Release Announcements for November 13, 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:

  • Announcing Microsoft Identity Manager Public Preview
  • Connect(); Microsoft Visual Studio vNext & Azure
  • Microsoft Acquires Aorato
  • Azure Operational Insights Preview Now Available in the Azure Portal
  • Azure Websites Authentication & Authorization Preview Release
  • Auditing for Azure SQL Database
  • Now Available: Preview Releases of SQL Server PHP and JDBC Drivers


Announcing Microsoft Identity Manager Public Preview

Today, Microsoft will debut the public preview of Microsoft Identity Manager through our Community site. There, you can download a Test Lab Guide, install Microsoft Identity Manager and join the social conversation. Formerly Forefront Identity Manager, Microsoft Identity Manager now gets your identities ready for the cloud, offers updated support for secure identity self-service and enhances admin security.

  • Get identities ready for the cloud: This preview embraces mobile first, cloud first with the ability to automatically prepare Active Directory attributes and to synchronize select identities directly to the cloud while supporting on-premises systems that use and exchange identity information. Customers can enable single sign-on to an application that supports Azure Active Directory by sharing the right attributes and values with Azure Active Directory to enable those new scenarios.
  • Secure identity self-service: This moves beyond other solutions in the industry by offering a flexible, customizable password management experience with the addition of multi-factor authentication and deeper attribute integration with Active Directory.
  • Enhance admin security: In this release we have evolved the admin experience by incorporating Privileged Access Management (PAM) and Just-Enough Admin (JEA) into workflows and a new API framework that will allow administrators to precisely whittle down admin access to specific time windows.

Microsoft Identity Manager seamlessly automates the lifecycle of identities, certificates and privileged access by admins across any scenario: on-premises, hybrid and cloud. Evaluate Microsoft Identity Manager today on our Community site and join the conversation.


Connect(); Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 & Azure

On November 12 and 13 Microsoft hosted 250 select customers, partners and influencers at the Visual Studio vNext and Azure Connect(); Developer event in New York City.  The Connect(); event focused on demonstrating extensive and differentiated value across our tools, technologies and services for developers who create and extend applications across a variety of platforms. Alongside the in-person event, the global virtual event broadcasted the keynotes live in addition to interactive and on-demand sessions with our engineering teams. Several key announcements and releases were promoted during Connect(); and can be found below.

  • .NET Going Open Source and Cross-Platform: The next release of .NET will ring in a new era of development by enabling all developers to build .NET cloud applications on multiple platforms, with the unveiling of the future support of the .NET Core server runtime and libraries for Linux and Mac, implemented and supported by Microsoft and developed as open source in close collaboration with the Mono project and the developer community. This implementation will provide a full stack for the server including runtime and class libraries and will be part of the .NET Foundation, home of the increasing number of .NET components being open sourced. Developers can join and participate in these projects by visiting the .NET Foundation website and the related GitHub repositories.
  • Visual Studio Community 2013 available for download: Visual Studio Community 2013 is the newest addition to the Visual Studio product lineup. This community edition is a free, full-featured development environment designed for students, open source contributors, small companies, startups, and individual developers. The community edition includes all the capabilities needed to create compelling non-enterprise applications across desktop, devices, cloud, web and services, including coding productivity features, cross-platform mobile development tools for Windows, iOS and Android, and full extensibility with access to thousands of extensions. Usage restriction details can be found in the Q&A document. Learn more at the Visual Studio Community 2013 page.
  • Visual Studio 2015 Preview and .NET 2015 Preview available for download: Visual Studio 2015 and .NET 2015 will bring new capabilities to help developers build applications across multiple platforms – from Windows to Linux to iOS and Android – for customers in today’s diverse world of mobile-first, cloud-first. Some top feature highlights of Visual Studio 2015. Visual Studio 2015 and .NET 2015 will bring new capabilities to help developers build applications across multiple platforms – from Windows to Linux to iOS and Android – for customers in today’s diverse world of mobile-first, cloud-first. Learn more at the Visual Studio 2015 Preview page.
    • Create ASP .NET 5 websites that can run on multiple platforms, including Windows, Linux and Mac.
    • Integrated support for building apps that run across devices with integration of Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova and our new Visual C++ tools for cross-platform library development.
    • Connected Services experience enabling easier integration of services into apps including O365, Salesforce and Azure Platform Services.
    • Smart Unit Testing (formerly PEX): Unit Testing technology from Microsoft Research integrated into Visual Studio 2015.
    • New coding productivity capabilities, enabled by the new .NET compiler platform (Roslyn).

Microsoft continues to invest in technologies and services to help organizations embrace a DevOps culture. Through DevOps practices, organizations can deliver value to customers more quickly than before and gain better insights into the health and usage of those applications.

  • Release Management as a Service: Customers using Visual Studio Online can now utilize Release Management for Visual Studio. This capability was previously available only to customers using Team Foundation Server. With Visual Studio Online, release management is provided as a hosted service available in Preview with no need for customers to set up or maintain any server infrastructure. Release Management for Visual studio allows organizations to easily orchestrate deployments of source and configuration artifacts across their entire dev/test/production pipelines. This allows teams to release more frequently, with confidence, and embrace a DevOps culture of software development.
  • Cloud Deployment Projects: Cloud Deployment Projects in Visual Studio help organizations embrace infrastructure & configuration as code, a key DevOps practice.  By modeling cloud resources as code, an organization can more easily and reliably provision and configure environments in Azure which can be used for development, testing, and production. The Cloud Deployment Project ships with the Azure SDK 2.5 and also provides built-in blueprints which can help teams get started by providing them with the necessary infrastructure & configuration as code templates for brownfield solutions.
  • Build vNext: On November 12 Microsoft demonstrated (not releasing as part of Preview) the next-generation build system for Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Online. The next generation build system will allow teams to more easily create custom build workflows by introducing reusable tasks and a lightweight, web-based authoring environment. This build system will also be capable of building code from external systems such as GitHub by leveraging the REST API's and service hooks infrastructure available in Visual Studio Online. Finally, a new cross-platform build agent will allow teams to run builds on non-Windows machines. This makes it possible for the first time to build for iOS/OSX by running builds on Macs.

Microsoft also continues to drive innovation for existing users. These updates include Visual Studio 2013 Update 4 and Azure SDK 2.5 RTW.

  • Visual Studio 2013 Update 4 Now Available For Download. The new features include:
    • A new GPU Usage tool in the Performance and Diagnostics hub helps you determine whether the CPU or the GPU is the performance bottleneck.
    • Improvements to JSON and HTML editors, as well as enhanced tool for Azure WebJobs.
    • Support for SQL Server 2014 from SQL Server Data Tool projects and other enhancements.
    • Various enhancements and new features to Team Foundation Server, with highlights such as Git Pull Requests and other improvements to work planning, test case management, release management and other capabilities.
  • Azure SDK 2.5 RTW: In this release we add features for Visual Studio 2012, Visual Studio 2013 and Visual Studio 2015 Preview developers. New capabilities include features such as:
    • Various improvements to cloud diagnostics and remote debugging support for Azure VM and Cloud Services.
    • Azure HDInsight tooling: Developers working on big data scenarios will now have tooling support for HDInsight right from Visual Studio, this includes the capability to author, run, and manage Hive jobs and create/manage Schema.


Microsoft Acquires Aorato

Microsoft has acquired Aorato, an innovator in enterprise security. We are making this acquisition to give customers a new level of protection against threats through better visibility into their identity infrastructure. With Aorato we will accelerate our ability to give customers powerful identity and access solutions that span on-premises and the cloud, which is central to our overall hybrid cloud strategy. Learn more at the official Microsoft blog.


Azure Operational Insights Preview Now Available in the Azure Portal

Today we announced the preview release of Azure Operational Insights available in the Azure portal.  Operational Insights is a SaaS-based service tailored for IT operations teams managing resources both on-premises and in public clouds.  Leveraging the power of Azure HDInsight, it gleans machine data across datacenter and cloud environments, and turn it into real-time operational intelligence to enable better-informed business decisions.  

Operational Insights provides powerful search capabilities that enable ad-hoc root cause analysis and automated troubleshooting across multiple data sources.  Without instrumenting any code directly or having knowledge of any complex schema, IT admins quickly receive interactive results. Operational Insights search allows customers to drill deeper into areas of interest that are highlighted by pre-packaged Intelligence Packs.  Intelligence packs can be selected from an integrated gallery and offer pre-built rules and algorithms that perform the initial analysis for critical scenarios like capacity planning, configuration intelligence and change tracking. Search also enables customers to form their own hypotheses and query data to find custom insights through proactive exploration or reactive troubleshooting

Best of all, as an Azure based service it provides an easy add-on to all Azure, Windows Server, and System Center customers.  The preview service is offered in three tiers: Free, Standard and Premium. The free tier has a limit on the amount of data ingested daily and a 7 day data retention period. The Standard and Premium tiers do not have a limit on the amount of data ingested daily and have greater data retention periods. 

Learn more about this new release and how you can sign up today at the Operational Insights Overview page.


Azure Websites Authentication / Authorization Preview Release

We are delighted to announce a new preview feature for Azure Websites. With Azure Websites Authorization / Authentication you can leverage your existing Azure Active Directory infrastructure to provide Authentication / Authorization to your applications hosted on Azure Websites.

Configuration is as simple as following a wizard on the Azure Management Portal and there is no need to modify your existing code or write new code to take advantage of this feature. It is also stack independent so you can leverage this across all the stacks supported in Azure Websites today no matter if your site is using PHP, .NET, NODE, JAVA, etc.

You can get more details on Websites Authentication / Authorization in this blog post.


Auditing for Azure SQL Database

We are announcing the general availability of Auditing for Azure SQL Database. Auditing tracks and logs all events that occur on your database, such as updates and queries against data. Dashboard views and reports in the Azure portal provide at-a-glance insight into database events. Audit events are written to an audit log which is stored in an Azure storage account which you designate; Azure storage rates apply. Also, Auditing previously was only available in the new Azure preview portal and can now be managed from the current portal and via PowerShell commands.



Now Available: Preview Releases of SQL Server PHP and JDBC Drivers

As part of SQL Server's ongoing interoperability program, we are pleased to announce community technology preview releases for two SQL Server drivers: the Microsoft JDBC Driver for SQL Server and the SQL Server Driver for PHP are now available!

Both provide that robust data acess to Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Azure SQL Database. The JDBC Driver for SQL Server is a Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) 4.1 compliant driver supporting Java Development Kit (JDK) version 7.0. The PHP driver preview will allow developers who use the PP scripting language version 5.5 to access Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Azure SQL Database. You can download the preview JDBC driver here, and download the PHP preview driver here. We look forward to hearing your feedback!