Cloud Platform Release Announcements for February 18, 2015

This is a blog post of a new ongoing series of consolidated updates from the Cloud Platform 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 Platform 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:

  • General Availability of Azure Machine Learning
  • Informatica Cloud Agent is Now Available in Linux and Windows Virtual Machines
  • Azure HDInsight Now Available on Linux
  • Storm for Azure HDInsight Now Generally Available Making Real-Time Analytics Simple
  • Azure HDInsight Built on Hadoop 2.6
  • Azure HDInsight now runs on more VM sizes to support Big Data
  • Azure DocumentDB Hadoop Connector
  • Public Preview of Azure Mobile Engagement
  • Dynamic Data Masking for Azure SQL Database in Public Preview
  • February Update to Microsoft Intune
  • Azure RemoteApp now Available in EA
  • Enterprise-Grade Array-Based Replication and Disaster Recovery with ASR and System Center Now Generally Available

 

General Availability of Azure Machine Learning

We’re excited to announce the general availability of Azure Machine Learning, which offers cloud-based advanced analytics designed to simplify and streamline machine learning for business. Users can model their way, with best in class algorithms from Xbox and Bing, R or Python packages, or by dropping in customer R or Python code. The finished model can then be deployed in minutes as a web service, which can connect to any data, anywhere. Lastly, the user can expand their reach, by publishing out to the community in the product Gallery or into the Machine Learning Marketplace, where both application programming interfaces (APIs) and finished services are available. You can find more information on our Azure Machine Learning page.

Informatica Cloud Agent is Now Available in Linux and Windows Virtual Machines

We’re also announcing that the Informatica Cloud agent is now available in Linux and Windows virtual machines on the Azure Marketplace. That will enable customers to pull more and different types of data from on-premises systems and the cloud into Azure data services such as Azure HDInsight, Azure Machine Learning, Azure Data Factory and others for management and analysis. You can find more information on our Azure Machine Learning page.

Azure HDInsight Now Available on Linux

Azure HDInsight, our 100% Apache Hadoop-based service in the cloud, is a prime example of our approach to embracing openness to get to the business answer. We make it easy for customers to crunch petabytes of all types of data for insights with fast, cost-effective scale on demand, as well as programming extensions so developers can use their favorite language. We’re now announcing Azure HDInsight built on Linux, in addition to Windows, making it the first Microsoft managed service that uses Linux. This is particularly big news for people that already use Hadoop on Linux on-premises, because they can leverage common Linux tools, documentation, and templates to extend their deployment to Azure. More information can be found on http://azure.com/hdinsight.

Storm for Azure HDInsight Now Generally Available Making Real-Time Analytics Simple

We are also making Apache Storm for HDInsight generally available, giving customers a simple way to deploy real-time capabilities on Hadoop in a few clicks. Storm is an open-source stream analytics platform that can process millions of “events” in real time as they are generated by the Internet of Things, for example, so customers can pull data insights from connected devices. As a part of general availability, we are also making Storm available for both .NET and Java and the ability to develop, deploy, and debug real-time Storm applications directly in Visual Studio. More information can be found on here.

Azure HDInsight Built on Hadoop 2.6

In conjunction with Hortonworks availability of HDP 2.2, Microsoft is also releasing the next version of HDInsight built on Hadoop 2.6, Hive and Pig 0.14, HBase 0.98.4 and more. Teaming up with Hortonworks and the open source community, this version of HDInsight includes work done on Stinger.next to speed up Hadoop queries with the goal of achieving sub-second response times. The first phase of Stinger.next is now in HDInsight running Hive 0.14.  Pig can now process data in ORC files, and can leverage Tez as an execution engine. More information can be found on http://azure.com/hdinsight.

Azure HDInsight now runs on more VM sizes to support Big Data

To better support customers who are running increasingly large big data workloads in Azure, we’re increasing HDInsight availability on a greater number of Virtual Machines types and sizes. HDInsight can now utilize A2 to A7 sizes built for general purposes, D-Series nodes that feature solid-state drives (SSDs) and 60-percent faster processors, and A8 and A9 sizes that have InfiniBand support for fast networking. HBase for HDInsight customers can benefit from the higher memory from the D-Series to increase performance. Storm for HDInsight customers can also benefit from higher memory for loading larger reference data and faster CPU’s for higher throughput. Pricing details can be found http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/hdinsight/.

Azure HDInsight now supports Cluster Scaling

HDInsight is also delivering the general availability of a highly requested feature, “Cluster Scaling” in Azure HDInsight.  With this feature, you will be able to easily change the number of nodes of a running HDInsight cluster without having to delete and recreate a new cluster. Initially, only Hadoop query and Storm will have this ability with HBase to follow shortly after. This feature is available in the Azure Management Portal today.

Azure DocumentDB Hadoop Connector

We are excited to announce the availability of the Hadoop Connector for DocumentDB. This allows users to perform complex analytics jobs on their data within the Apache Hadoop framework. DocumentDB databases can now function as data sources and sinks for Pig, Apache Hive, and MapReduce jobs. By passing queries to DocumentDB to take advantage of its rich querying capabilities, data can be reduced and filtered before Hadoop processing, helping increase the efficiency of data aggregations and manipulations. The Hadoop Connector is also compatible with Azure HDInsight. This enables a broad range of analytics scenarios over unstructured data in many industries, including gaming, energy, and healthcare. The Hadoop Connector is available now as open source software on GitHub and Maven.

For more information, please visit the Hadoop Connector for DocumentDB webpage. There is no additional charge for this feature.

Public Preview of Azure Mobile Engagement

We are excited to bring real-time user and push analytics to our customers with the public preview of Azure Mobile Engagement. With the Mobile Engagement public preview, organizations can now have access to real-time actionable analytics to increase app usage, open APIs to help ensure data can be leveraged from existing CRM, CMS and other business related systems, create targeted campaigns through intelligent customer segments and in-app messaging capabilities all while ensuring that their data and privacy remains protected. Organizations can easily and continually enhance and optimize the user experience – driving higher retention rates and increased app usage.

More information can be found at the Mobile Engagement webpage or for pricing information visit the pricing webpage.

Dynamic Data Masking for Azure SQL Database in Public Preview

Customers can now try Dynamic Data Masking for Azure SQL Database to further protect sensitive data from unauthorized access. Dynamics Data Masking is a policy-based security feature that helps limit the exposure of data by returning masked data to unprivileged users who run queries over designated database fields (for example, credit card numbers). The actual data on the database is not changed, and the data masking is done in real time as queries are processed. Dynamic Data Masking is available with the V12 update of Azure SQL Database (learn more about upgrading to this version).

For more information, please visit the Dynamic Data Masking documentation webpage. For more information about the V12 update to Azure SQL Database, please visit the Microsoft Azure Blog or the SQL Database webpage.

February update to Microsoft Intune

On February 6th, we released a service update for Microsoft Intune. New features that were made available as part of this service update include management of Office mobile apps for Android devices, management of the OneNote app for iOS devices, and much more. You can view the full list of features that were made available by visiting the Microsoft Intune blog.

Azure RemoteApp now available in EA

For the customers interested in annual per user commitments, Azure RemoteApp plans will be available for purchase in Enterprise Agreements starting February 1, 2015.

Enterprise-Grade Array-Based Replication and Disaster Recovery with ASR and System Center Now Generally Available

Today’s GA announcement delivers on a widely requested enhancement from our Enterprise customers– the ability to leverage replication capabilities of existing Storage Area Network (SAN) Arrays to enable high performance synchronous and asynchronous replication across on-premises Hyper-V sites. With System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) and Azure Site Recovery, our customers can get seamless end-to-end storage array-based replication and disaster recovery. Learn more about these enhanced features on the Microsoft Azure Blog.