Cloud Platform Release Announcements for October 28, 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:

  • SQL Server 2016 Community Technology Preview 3.0 Public Preview
  • Revolution R integration into SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.0
  • Azure SQL Database In-memory OLTP & Real-Time Operational Analytics Now in Public Preview
  • Azure Data Lake Analytics and Store in Public Preview
  • Power BI Content Pack for Azure Enterprise & Planview Enterprise Generally Available
  • Microsoft Intune October service update – Windows 10 EDP
  • Azure Role-Based Access Control is generally available
  • Azure Resource Health Public Preview
  • Python Tools 2.2 Update 1 Public Preview
  • Visual Studio 2015, TFS 2015, & VS SDK 2015 Update 1 Public Preview

SQL Server 2016 Community Technology Preview 3.0 Public Preview

The SQL Server 2016 Community Technology Preview (CTP) 3.0 will be available for download this week at the PASS Summit.

Next year, we will be releasing SQL Server 2016, which will be packed with even more built-in features, without the cost of additional add-ons for leading total cost of ownership. As the least vulnerable database for six years in a row, SQL Server offers the promise of security that no other database can match. We also offer the highest performing data warehouse, end-to-end mobile BI on any device at a fraction of the cost of other vendors and tools to go beyond BI with Advanced Analytics through the R integration from the recent Revolution Analytics acquisition.

On October 28, 2015, at the PASS Summit, Microsoft announced the availability of the newest public preview of Microsoft SQL Server 2016, Community Technology Preview (CTP) 3.0. CTP 3.0, available today, includes enhancements for Always Encrypted, In-Memory OLTP, Operational Analytics, and AlwaysOn for mission critical performance, insights on all your data with PolyBase, Advanced Analytics with R integration, hybrid capabilities with our new Stretch Database, and SQL Server BI enhancements for Analysis Services tabular models and a modernized experience for paginated reports with Reporting Services. We also enabled pinning of paginated report items as tiles to Power BI dashboards. For additional details, please visit our CTP 3.0 announcement blog and the detailed SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.0 Engineering blog post.

Revolution R integration into SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.0

CTP 3.0 introduces the In-database Advanced Analytics workload named SQL Server R Services. SQL Server R Services enable customers wanting to embrace the highly popular open source R language to build intelligent applications, discover new value and insights in their business. The SQL database is the best place to run Advanced Analytics by leveraging In-memory Columnar indexes, in DB Analytics, OLTP and Parallelized R Services built in.

SQL Developers can learn R skills and build intelligent applications, while Data Scientist can leverage powerful SQL Database tools to create value through predictive and prescriptive enhancements to their applications. SQL Server 2016 enables Intelligent Analytics and apps faster, whilst reducing complexity and overall costs, bringing Advanced Analytics to where the data is.

Azure SQL Database In-memory OLTP & Real-Time Operational Analytics Now in Public Preview

As data becomes more central to organizational cultures, the demand for high performance business applications and the need for real-time insights on data continues to explode. Businesses require applications that dynamically scale to keep up with customer growth, understand customer behaviors and purchase patterns, and can evolve to take advantage of changing market trends.

Businesses also need the flexibility for those applications to be universally available on-premises and in the cloud. To enable these business needs, we offer industry-leading in-memory and operational analytics technologies to accelerate transaction and query performance.

Forrester Research recently named Microsoft a leader in The Forrester Wave™: In-Memory Database Platforms, Q3 2015. “Microsoft offers specialized in-memory databases for online analytical processing (OLAP) and online transaction processing (OLTP) workloads, presenting a viable option for Microsoft SQL Server customers.” According to this Forrester report, “Customers running Microsoft SQL Server should look at the in-memory option to improve their transactions and analytics; the upgrade is worth the effort.”

Today, we announcing the release of our next generation, in-memory technologies to Azure with the public preview of In-Memory OLTP and Real-Time Operational Analytics in Azure SQL Database.

In-Memory OLTP and Real-Time Operational Analytics in the Azure SQL Database preview includes the expanded surface area available in SQL Server 2016, enabling more applications to benefit from higher performance in the cloud.

In-Memory OLTP and Real-Time Operational Analytics Capabilities

With In-Memory OLTP in Azure SQL Database, we help customers achieve both faster performance for their business applications and scale to a larger number of users – while continuing to offer a market leading value and performance. With In-Memory OLTP in SQL Server 2014, customers such as Samsung, Dell and Progressive achieve up to 30x transactional performance gains. By bringing this technology to the cloud, customers will be able to take advantage of in-memory OLTP in a fully managed database-as-a-service with 99.99% SLA. SQL Database also has built-in advisors to help customers get started quickly with in-memory OLTP to optimize performance.

With Operational Analytics, customers are able to use our in-memory columnstore on their disk-based operational data for real time insights. Now you will be able to use our in-memory columnstore in conjunction with in-memory OLTP for breakthrough transactional and analytics performance in the same database- a unique capability only provided by Microsoft in SQL Server 2016 and Azure SQL Database.

We are bringing both of these in-memory enhancements to Azure first to be validated at cloud scale and shipped as proven technologies both in the cloud and on-premises.

For more information on getting started, please check out In-Memory in Azure SQL Database on

Azure Data Lake Analytics and Store in Public Preview

In July of this year, Satya Nadella shared our broad vision for big data and analytics when he announced Cortana Analytics. Expanding on this, we’re announcing the public preview availability of Azure Data Lake Analytics and Store.

  • Previously announced as Azure Data Lake, the Azure Data Lake Store is available as public preview on 10/28. The Data Lake Store provides a single repository where you can capture data of any size, type and speed simply without forcing changes to your application as the data scales. In the store, your data is accessible from any HDFS application and tool. This allows big data engines like Data Lake Analytics, HDInsight, Hortonworks, Cloudera, and Revolution Analytics Enterprise to mine the stored data and allow new insights.
  • Azure Data Lake Analytics, a new distributed analytics service for big data processing is also available as public preview on 10/28. This services allows you to focus on your business logic and not on distributed infrastructure because the service dynamically scales to process data of any size. When the job completes, it winds down resources automatically, and you only pay for the processing power used. This makes it easy to get started quickly and be productive with the skills you already have. Along with the service, we are excited to introduce, U-SQL, a new big data language that seamlessly unifies the ease of use of SQL starting with the expressive power of C#.

For more information, go to the Azure Data Lake Store page or the Azure Data Lake Analytics page to read more and try our preview.

Power BI Content Pack for Azure Enterprise & Planview Enterprise Generally Available

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 experience. This month we added content packs for Microsoft Azure Enterprise and Planview Enterprise.

Azure Enterprise allows you to quickly import and analyze your Azure consumption data in Power BI. This data allows you to gain insights into which departments, accounts, or subscriptions are consuming the most. It also provides visibility into which service your organization used most and trends for spending and overall usage.

Planview Enterprise enables you to visualize your resource and work management data in an entirely new way. Simply sign in with your credentials and begin to interactively explore your portfolio investment spend, budget status, and how well your projects align with strategic priorities.

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.

Microsoft Intune October service update – Windows 10 EDP

Between October 28 and November 6, a service update for Microsoft Intune will be released. New features and enhancements that will be made available as part of this service update include a new Windows 10 Enterprise data protection (EDP) configuration policies, ability to deploy Universal Windows apps, and more. For additional information, read the recent blog post on the Intune blog.

Azure Role-Based Access Control is generally available

Azure Role-Based Access Control, now generally available, provides fine-grained access management for Azure resources, enabling you to grant users only the rights they need to perform their jobs. Download the generally available RBAC command-line management tools or use the Azure Management Portal (preview) to manage access for your production Azure workloads. Azure Role-Based Access Control is provided at no additional cost to all Azure Subscribers. To learn more read the Active Directory team blog post.

Azure Resource health Public Preview

Resource health is a new service in the Azure Preview portal that exposes the health of each of Azure resources (e.g. virtual machines, websites and SQL Databases) to help quickly identify the root cause of the problem. Based on the root cause, it provides actionable guidance and tooling to solve the issues, including the option to submit a support ticket.

Python Tools 2.2 Update 1 Public Preview

The release candidate for Python Tools for Visual Studio (PTVS) consists of bug fixes for PTVS 2.2.

Visual Studio 2015, TFS 2015, & VS SDK 2015 Update 1 Public Preview
This is a public preview of the first update for Visual Studio 2015, Team Foundation Server 2015, and Visual Studio SDK 2015. Visual Studio updates include bug fixes and minor updates to Visual Studio products. As a public preview there might be additional updates prior to the final release of Update 1.