Cloud Platform Release Announcements for June 22, 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:

  • Microsoft Azure Information Protection Public Preview | Public
  • ASP.NET Core and .NET Core | RTM
  • Docker Datacenter in Azure Marketplace | Marketplace release
  • Microsoft Flow mobile app | Public
  • Virtual machine images for Azure Gov – US Gov | GA
  • Power BI Desktop | GA
  • Power BI service | GA
  • Cognitive Services | Text analytics API new markets – New languages
  • Microsoft R Server | GA

Empower Enterprise Mobility

Microsoft Azure Information Protection public preview | Public

Organizations no longer operate within their own perimeter. Data is traveling between more users, devices, apps and services – more than ever before. Protecting your perimeter, users or devices does not ensure protection of your data as it travels outside of corporate boundaries. Knowing what type of data you need to protect can also be a challenge.

Microsoft Azure Information Protection helps you classify and label data at the time of creation or modification. Protection can then be applied to data needing protection. Classification labels and protection are embedded within the data so that it’s protected at all times – regardless of where its stored or with whom its shared – internal or external colleagues. The controls are simple and intuitive and do not interrupt your normal course of work. You also have deep visibility and control over shared data.

Azure Information Protection is going to be available in public preview next month. To learn more,

Enable application innovation

ASP.NET Core and .NET Core | RTM

On June 27 we will make the final release of .NET Core and ASP.NET Core 1.0 generally available at the Red Hat DevNation conference. .NET Core is a cross-platform, open source, and modular .NET platform for creating modern web apps, microservices, libraries and console applications that run everywhere. This release includes the runtime and libraries for .NET Core and ASP.NET Core. Aligned with this release we are also releasing the Preview 2 of the corresponding tooling.  That tooling includes a new set of command line tools, as well as Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code extensions that enable developers to work with .NET Core projects. This tooling will be available as RTM aligned with the next major release of Visual Studio, Visual Studio “15.” Learn more.

Docker Datacenter in Azure Marketplace | Marketplace release

Docker’s “Datacenter” commercial offering is now available from the Azure Marketplace as an ARM-supported VM template. Docker Datacenter is a platform for developers and IT operations to build, ship and run applications.

  • Docker Datacenter is an integrated subscription including:
  • Docker Universal Control Plane with embedded Swarm
  • Docker Trusted Registry
  • Docker Engine
  • Integration and API support
  • Validated configurations with 3rd party plugins
  • Commercial support

Visit the Docker Datacenter site for more information.

Microsoft Flow mobile app | Public

On June 20, Microsoft announced the public preview of the Microsoft Flow mobile application. This mobile app will support the Microsoft Flow service that was released in public preview on April 29. This new service makes it easy to mash-up two or more different services. We have connections to 35+ different services, including both Microsoft services like OneDrive, SharePoint and Dynamics CRM Online as well as public software services like Slack, Twitter and Salesforce.com, with more being added every week.

However, we believe mobility is a key experience for today’s business users, and we didn’t have any way to integrate with your mobile devices, until today. We’re now releasing a new mobile application for Microsoft Flow. This easy-to-use app tracks and manages the automated workflows you have across the growing number of applications and SaaS services you rely on in your day-to-day work. Specifically, it enables you to:

  • Start and stop flows directly from the mobile app
  • Review detailed run history on specific flows
  • View and filter runs by notification type
  • Get real-time notifications for important events

The Microsoft Flow mobile app became available for download from the Apple Store for iOS on June 20. An Android version will be available shortly after.

For additional information, visit the community pages for Microsoft Flow at flow.microsoft.com.

Trusted Cloud

Virtual machine images for Azure Gov – US Gov | GA

The most recently published virtual machine images are now available:

  • CoreOS Linux
  • Debian 7
  • Debian 8
  • CheckPoint vSec
  • Barracuda Web App Firewall update

In the next month, SharePoint and Remote Desktop Host will also be available in the Azure Government environment. For more information, please check out the Microsoft Azure Government Image Gallery documentation.

Unlock insights on any data

Power BI Desktop | GA

Many new and most frequently requested Power BI Desktop features are now available to business analysts:

  • New visual: Includes Shape Map.
  • Search in slicers: Allows you find just the right value to slice the data.
  • Row-level security authoring: lets you specify who gets access to what data.
  • Enhancements to data connectors: Include new Azure Enterprise connector and multi-select of variable/parameter values in SAP BW and SAP HANA connectors.
  • New data transformation capabilities: Provide you better ability to extract and merge date and time data.

Download the latest Power BI Desktop to experience the new features immediately. For more information on these new features and others, visit the Power BI blog.

Power BI service | GA

More new and most frequently requested Power BI features are now available to end users and business analysts in the month of June.

Smarter auto insights with complex filters lets you get more targeted and scoped insights from your data, having the ability to narrow down the auto-generated insights by adding more complex filters.

Notification pane adds a notification feed to your Power BI.com menu, keeping all your notifications in one place; for example, when your colleague shares a new dashboard, a new notification will appear in this notification pane.

Preview of an UI update introduces a new way to navigate Power BI.com so that you can get to the dashboards you access often more quickly and browse through all the content you have access to more easily.

Sign in to powerbi.microsoft.com to experience the new features immediately. For more information on these new features and others, visit the Power BI blog.

Cognitive Services | Text analytics API new markets – New languages

The Text Analytics API is one of the Cognitive Services that can help turn unstructured text into meaningful insights. The API is also part of the Cortana Intelligence Suite, which enterprises are using to build large-scale analytics solutions. Using a few lines of code, you can easily analyze sentiment, extract key phrases, detect topics, and detect language for any kind of text.

Today, we are excited to announce that Text Analytics API now has support for a number of new languages: sentiment analysis can now be performed on English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese, and key phrase extraction supports English, Spanish, German, and Japanese. The API also supports topic detection for English text, and provides languages detection for 120 languages.

Detect sentiment, key phrases and language from your text using the Text Analytics API Demo.

Microsoft R Server | GA

Microsoft R

R is the world’s most powerful, and preferred, programming language for statistical computing, machine learning, and graphics, and is supported by a thriving global community of users, developers, and contributors. Developers frequently provide tools incorporating their expertise in the form of R packages. Traditionally, using R in an enterprise setting has presented certain challenges, especially as the volume of data rises, or when faced with a need to deploy solutions to production environments.

The Microsoft R product family includes:

To learn about the difference between these Microsoft R products, see the comparison chart below.

Microsoft R Server

Microsoft R Server is the most broadly deployable enterprise-class analytics platform for R available today. Supporting a variety of big data statistics, predictive modeling and machine learning capabilities, R Server supports the full range of analytics – exploration, analysis, visualization and modeling based on open source R.

By using and extending open source R, Microsoft R Server is fully compatible with R scripts, functions and CRAN packages, to analyze data at enterprise scale. We also address the in-memory limitations of open source R by adding parallel and chunked processing of data in Microsoft R Server, enabling users to run analytics on data much bigger than what fits in main memory. And since R Server is built on top of Microsoft R Open, you can use any open source R packages to build your analytics.

Microsoft R Server delivers enterprise class performance and scalability for your R-based applications with libraries that allow you to write once and deploy across multiple platforms with minimal effort, whether on-premises or in the cloud.

Get started with Microsoft R Server now.

Microsoft R Server Editions Description Install ScaleR Get Started
R Server for Hadoop Scale your analysis transparently by distributing work across nodes without complex programming Doc Doc
R Server for Teradata DB Run advanced analytics in-database for seamless data analysis Doc Doc
R Server for Linux Bring predictive and prescriptive analytics power to your Linux environments Doc Doc

Microsoft R Client

Microsoft R Client is a free, data science tool for high performance analytics. R Client is built on top of Microsoft R Open so you can use any open source R packages to build your analytics. Additionally, R Client introduces the powerful ScaleR technology and its proprietary functions to benefit from parallelization and remote computing.

R Client allows you to work with production data locally using the full set of ScaleR functions, but there are some constraints. On its own, the data to be processed must fit in local memory, and processing is limited up to two threads for ScaleR functions. To benefit from disk scalability, performance and speed, you can push the compute context to a production instance of Microsoft R Server such as SQL Server R Services and R Server for Hadoop. R client is optimized to work with all Microsoft R Server versions.

Download R Client now.

Microsoft R Open

Microsoft R Open is the enhanced distribution of R from Microsoft Corporation. It is a complete open source platform for statistical analysis and data science. Being based on the open source R engine makes Microsoft R Open fully compatibility with all R packages, scripts and applications that work with that version of R. Microsoft R Open delivers performance boosts, in comparison to the standard R distribution, since R Open leverages high-performance, multi-threaded math libraries. Like open source R from CRAN, Microsoft R Open is open source and free to download, use, and share.

Microsoft R Open provides limited performance and scalability in comparison to Microsoft R Server and Microsoft R Client Editions. Specifically, none of the proprietary ScaleR functions and packages included with Microsoft R Server and Microsoft R Client are available in standalone Microsoft R Open. Also, data that can be processed is limited to the data that can fit in server memory.

Visit the MRAN site to learn more about Microsoft R Open and download it.

SQL Server R Services

SQL Server R Services provides a platform for developing intelligent applications that uncover new insights. You can use the rich and powerful R language and the many open source packages to create models and generate predictions using your SQL Server data. Because SQL Server R Services integrates the R language with SQL Server, you can keep analytics close to the data and eliminate the costs and security risks associated with data movement.

SQL Server R Services combines R with a comprehensive set of SQL Server tools and technologies that offer superior performance, security, reliability and manageability. You can deploy R solutions using convenient, familiar tools, and your production applications can call the R runtime and retrieve predictions and visuals using Transact-SQL. With Enterprise Edition, you also get the ScaleR libraries to overcome R’s inherent performance and scale limitations.

Learn more about SQL Server R Services on the SQL Server documentation site on MSDN.