Cloud Platform Release Announcements for August 6, 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:

  • Azure Data Factory general availability
  • SQL Server 2016 Community Technical Preview 2.2 recap
  • Team Foundation Server 2015 RTM
  • Microsoft Identity Manager GA
  • Azure Premium Storage new GA in Japan East – TYO
  • Jupyter Notebooks in Azure Machine Learning Studio

Azure Data Factory general availability

Microsoft Azure Data Factory (ADF) is now generally available. ADF joins our state-of-the-art cloud analytics services including the Azure Data Catalog public preview, and the generally available Azure Machine Learning, HDInsight, and Azure Stream Analytics services as key components of the recently announced Microsoft Cortana Analytics Suite.  ADF is a fully managed cloud-based data integration service that orchestrates and automates the movement and transformation of data. With ADF, developers compose existing data processing services into highly available, managed data pipelines. They can easily schedule the data pipelines to ingest, prepare, transform, analyze, and publish data of all shapes and sizes, and ADF manages and orchestrates all of the complex data and processing dependencies without human intervention. The general availability release of ADF includes new features such as

  • A Visual Studio plug-in for authoring and deployment now included in the Azure SDK
  • Improved data lineage network visualization
  • Enhanced cloud resource management capabilities
  • Connectors for several common on-premises and cloud data stores

Get started with ADF today! Follow our executive blog at Joseph Sirosh’s blog to stay in touch with the future of our analytics services.  Check out what some our customers are doing and how they benefit from using ADF with Milliman actuarial services, Rockwell Automation for industrial automation and predictive maintenance, Alaska Airlines for personalized in-flight entertainment experiences, and Real Madrid FC for their fan engagement experiences.

SQL Server 2016 Community Technical Preview 2.2 recap

The SQL Server 2016 Upgrade Advisor Preview and SQL Server 2016 Community Technology Preview (CTP) 2.2 were made available for download on July 22.

The first look at SQL Server 2016 Upgrade Advisor showcases a new platform for the database upgrade tool.  It also introduces the Stretch Database Advisor, enabling customers to identify data for online, transparent cold storage in Azure. 

In SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.2, part of our new rapid preview model, we have made enhancements to several features that customers can try in their SQL Server 2016 development and test environments:

  • Users are able to add security policies including row-level security to a table that has been stretched to Azure using Stretch Database. 
  • Master Data Services now allows compound keys, slowly changing dimension (SCD) Type 2, and syncing an entity between models. 
  • SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) will now support two additional chart types, treemap and sunburst.

To experience the new, exciting features in SQL Server 2016 and the new rapid release model customers can download the preview for trial the preview using a virtual machine in Microsoft Azure.

Team Foundation Server 2015 RTM

Team Foundation Server 2015 is a significant release of Microsoft’s on-premises application lifecycle management (ALM) toolset, as it improves upon many previous TFS capabilities and offers a path to modern development, DevOps and agile practices – including features such as:

  • New build automation system: TFS 2015 RTM includes a preview of our new build automation system for doing cross-platform builds and customizable build steps.
  • Updated cloud-based load tests: so you can run the tests as part of the new Build system. There are two parts. Cloud-based load test to execute load tests as part of your continuous integration / continuous deployment pipeline. The second part is to execute simple tests against an App URL.
  • Browser-based code editing capabilities: In this release, we added the ability to make a quick edit to a file in version control directly from your web browser and then commit those changes straight back to the service. When browsing a source file, you now have an Edit command that puts the file into editing mode. Changes can then be made inline, complete with color coding and formatting support. Changes create a new commit/changeset.
  • Enhanced Kanban board manipulation: there are several new capabilities to get more out of your Kanban board including being able to filter the board, adding/editing the board, reordering items, and more.
  • Plus there are many more features listed here.

Whether you’re looking for on-premises or hybrid DevOps, TFS 2015 enables you to move to these modern DevOps capabilities from virtually any past implementation of TFS.

Microsoft Identity Manager GA

Today, Microsoft debuts Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 available worldwide. Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 provides cloud-ready identities, powerful user self-service and enhanced security for on-premises identity and access management.

Since Microsoft Identity Manager 2016’s Public Preview last November, hundreds of customers worldwide have downloaded and installed. Three key scenarios around password management, Privileged Access Management and certificate management have been tested and deployed in labs. In addition, community feedback was provided on all aspects of Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 improving key features and extensibility.

Microsoft Identity Manager 2016, as part of Microsoft’s identity and access management solutions, uniquely bridges on-premises identity with the cloud. Robust security features integrate seamlessly with Active Directory and other directories to standardize identity and extend to the cloud with Azure Active Directory. Identity and access management provides the control plane for new IT scenarios across software and services such as Office 365, Intune and Azure Rights Management. Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 brings it all together to reduce the complexities of identity management.

  • Cloud-ready identities: Embracing mobile first, cloud first, Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 can help by automatically preparing Active Directory attributes and values for synchronization to the cloud while supporting on-premises systems that use and exchange identity information such as directories, databases and line-of-business applications. Customers can enable single sign-on to applications that support Azure Active Directory by sharing the right attributes and values with Azure Active Directory to enable new scenarios.
  • Powerful user self-service: Self-service that moves beyond other solutions in the industry by offering a flexible, customizable password management experience with the addition of multi-factor authentication. Self-service includes group, profile, certificate and role management.
  • Enhanced security: We have evolved the admin experience by incorporating Privileged Access Management (PAM) and Just-Enough-Admin (JEA) into admin workflows. A new API framework allows administrators to precisely whittle down admin access to specific time windows. Reporting integrates easily with Azure Active Directory.

Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 seamlessly automates the lifecycle of identities, certificates and privileged access by admins across any scenario: on-premises, hybrid and cloud. Try Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 and get more information today at the Enterprise Mobility Suite product site.

 Azure Premium Storage new GA in Japan East – TYO

Azure Premium Storage is a solid-state drive (SSD)–based storage solution designed to support I/O-intensive workloads. With Premium Storage, you can add up to 32 TB of persistent storage per virtual machine (VM), with more than 64,000 IOPS per VM and extremely low latencies for read operations.

Offering a service-level agreement (SLA) for 99.9 percent availability, Premium Storage is now available in the Japan East – TYO region, as well as the previously announced regions. Learn more about Premium Storage here.

Power BI Content Packs

Power BI continues to make it easier for users to connect to their data, providing pre-built solutions for popular services as part of the Power BI experience. This month we added content packs for SQL Sentry and Circuit ID. SQL Sentry helps users monitor the SQL Server deployments they track using the SQL Sentry Cloud. Circuit ID helps users understand how their business interacts with customers, allowing them to manage even the most challenging situations.

Subscribers to these supported services can now quickly connect to their account from Power BI and see their data through live dashboards and interactive reports that have been pre-built for them.

Getting started with data visualization and analysis has never been easier, for additional information visit the Power BI blog.

Introducing Jupyter Notebooks in Azure ML Studio

Azure ML Studio is a powerful canvas for the composition of machine learning experiments and their subsequent operationalization and consumption.  Although the Studio provides an easy to use, yet powerful, drag-drop style of creating experiments, you sometimes need a good old “REPL” to have a tight loop where you enter some script code and get a response.

Jupyter Notebooks provide a delightful interface for quickly running code, visualizing data, exploring insights, and trying out ideas.  For more information visit the ML Blog.