Cloud Platform Release Announcements for February 17, 2016

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:

  • VM Depot Sunset | Announcement – Start of EOL process, Red Hat partnership | GA – On-demand
  • Azure Automation for GOV | GA
  • Azure Container Service | Public preview
  • Azure Hybrid Use Benefit | GA
  • Azure VM Back-Up for GOV | GA
  • Power BI Content Pack – February | Zuora GA and Insightly GA
  • Power BI Desktop | February update
  • SQL Server Stretch Database | Public
  • SSL hosting price change to free SNI | GA
  • Azure AD Connect: Devise writeback, auto-upgrade from DirSync | GA

GA, VM Depot Sunset | Announcement – Start of EOL process, Red Hat Partnership | GA – On-Demand

Today we showcase our commitment to openness in the cloud through a number of announcements that provide you with the most choice and flexibility for your global cloud deployments. Read the blog post.

The announcements include Azure Container Service public preview and on-demand Red Hat Enterprise Linux images in Marketplace, announcements that underscore our rapid release of a number of innovations that leverage the flexibility of open source software.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux images in Marketplace, announcements that underscore our rapid release of a number of innovations that leverage the flexibility of open source software.

To learn more about how customers around the globe are harnessing the power of open source in the cloud with Azure, register for our upcoming webinar on March 11.

Azure Automation for GOV | GA

Azure Automation in Azure Government

Today, we are happy to announce the general availability (GA) of Azure Automation in Azure Government. Automation provides a way for users to automate the manual, long-running, error-prone, and frequently repeated tasks that are commonly performed in a cloud environment. You can create, monitor, manage, and deploy resources in your Azure environment using runbooks, based on Windows PowerShell workflows. Automation runbooks work with Websites, Virtual Machines, Storage, SQL Server, and other popular Azure services. You can also use them with any service offering public Internet APIs.

By efficiently handling processes that span tools, systems, and department silos, Azure Automation lets you deliver services faster and more consistently. It’s highly reliable and you can create checkpoints to resume your workflow after unexpected errors, crashes, and network issues. For example, you can schedule:

  • Shutdown/Start of Azure Virtual Machines
  • Copy a file to/from a VM
  • Archive logs to Storage
  • Backup and restoration of SQL DB
  • Backup disks on your VMs

More example runbooks are available in the Runbook Gallery on the Azure Government portal.

Check out our documentation page to learn more about what you can do with Automation.

View our guide to help get started.

Azure Container Service | Public preview

Announcing public preview of Azure Container Service

The Azure Container Service combines the flexibility of Apache Mesos and Mesosphere DCOS with the hyper-scale of the Azure cloud to offer an open, easy to use Docker-based container orchestration service. Developers planning to use Docker and containers at production scale will benefit from the simplified management and enhanced reliability offered by this service while continuing to use the same Docker tools as they use in development.

Azure Hybrid Use Benefit | GA

Many customers want to move to the cloud but are constrained by existing on-premises investments. We created the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit for Windows Server customers can run Windows virtual machines (VMs) on Azure at a base compute rate, for significant cost savings. Customers must have Software Assurance for Windows Server to use this benefit. For more information, please visit the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit page.

Azure VM Back-Up for GOV | GA

Announcing Azure Backup in Azure Government

Azure Backup helps enable backups of your Azure infrastructure as a service (IaaS) VMs. This can help government customers in state, local, federal, civilian, and defense, plus more than 100 solution partners with dedicated government practices, to leverage the cloud for critical business needs by backing up their assets on the cloud.

We also enabled Microsoft Azure Backup server, a feature of Azure Backup, to protect workloads to disk and cloud, for all Azure Government customers. You can leverage this Microsoft Azure Backup server to back up your key Microsoft workloads like SQL, SharePoint and Exchange to Azure.

Power BI Content Pack – February | Zuora GA and Insightly GA

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 Insightly and Zuora.

Insightly is a powerful CRM and project management service that allows you to manage your business more efficiently. The Insightly content pack for Power BI offers greater understanding of your CRM data with key metrics on sales opportunities, contacts, organizations, projects, tasks, and events.

Zuora is the world’s largest provider of Relationship Business Management (RBM) services, empowering businesses to build subscription models that keep customers consistently engaged in long-term relationships. The Zuora content pack for Power BI allows you to visualize key metrics that help you measure the health and performance of your subscription business.

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.

Power BI Desktop | February update

We are excited to announce the Power BI Desktop February update is now available, delivering additional features and enhancements to help the business analysts get more insights quickly. This February Update includes a number of new features and enhancements including:

  • Ability to define hierarchies
  • New connector for SQL Sentry and DirectQuery for Oracle and Teradata
  • Improvements in Map and ribbon layout

Visit the Power BI blog for more information or to download the latest Power BI Desktop.

SQL Server Stretch Database | Public preview

Is managing the growth of your transactional data a concern? With SQL Server Stretch Database, you can dynamically stretch warm and cold data from Microsoft SQL Server 2016 to Azure.

Unlike typical cold data storage, your data is always at hand. Stretch Database lets you provide longer data retention times than enterprise storage without breaking the bank. Depending on how often you’ll access the data, choose the appropriate level of service, then scale up or down as needed. Using Stretch Database doesn’t require any application changes. You can use Stretch Database with new Always Encrypted technology, which helps protect your data at rest and in motion—extending data in a more secured manner for greater peace of mind.

Learn more at the Stretch Database documentation page.

SSL hosting price change to free SNI | GA

Azure App Service customers can now enjoy free SNI SSL connections for Basic, Standard and Premium service plans. There are no changes to IP SSL connection prices. For more details, please refer to “SSL Connections” section on our pricing page.

Azure AD Connect: Device writeback, auto-upgrade from DirSync | GA

Azure Active Directory Connect v1.1

A new Azure Active Directory Connect update (version 1.1) is available. With this release, Azure Active Directory Connect includes an easy way to change the sign-in mechanism between password sync and ADFS, Support Domain and OU filtering, a new lower 30-minute default sync cycle, auto-update to future versions for configurations that use “Express Settings” and the general availability of device writeback and directory extensions.

For more details please read the Azure Active Directory Connect documentation.