Cloud Platform Release Announcements for July 12, 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:

  • SaaS marketplace for business apps | Public
  • Dynamics AX | Dynamics AX – Update 1
  • Microsoft Azure Information Protection Public Preview | Public
  • Enterprise Mobility + Security E5 | GA
  • Windows Server 2016 | Dates, editions and servicing
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse (cloud MPP) | GA
  • Cortana Intelligence with Bing Predicts | Public
  • Power BI Embedded GA | Power BI Embedded GA
  • Cognitive Services | GA for Bing Search, Autosuggest, Speller API
  • SQL Server Stretch Database
  • DISA Level 4 PA and ITAR – US Gov | GA
  • US West 2 and US West Central Region | GA
  • Power BI publish to web GA | Power BI publish to web GA
  • Azure SQL Database Security – Always Encrypted | GA
  • SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 2 | GA
  • SQL Server Migration Assistant for Datazen | Public

SaaS marketplace for business apps | Public

AppSource helps business users easily find and evaluate SaaS apps critical to their business. SaaS apps are unique to their industry and line of business (LoB) role, built by partners on top of Microsoft Dynamics, Office, Cortana Intelligence and the Azure platform. Users can also discover content packs, add-ins and other components for Microsoft business apps like Dynamics CRM, Power BI, Office and others. Visit the AppSource site.

Dynamics AX | Dynamics AX – Update 1

Microsoft released its latest cloud ERP solution, Microsoft Dynamics AX in March 2016 and has seen amazing momentum in the market with customers worldwide such as Accuweather, Renault Sport Formula One team, Hagler Systems, Priva, and Husqvarna signing up for the new service. Delivering innovation at cloud speed, today we are announcing the availability of the first update to this ERP cloud service that adds more than 100 new features and capabilities in all areas of the product including financials, supply chain and compliance. These updates are available to customers today, learn more.

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 available for public preview now.

To learn more:

Enterprise Mobility + Security E5 | GA

Securing productivity, collaboration and enterprise data is critically important as organizations digitally transform. Microsoft is committed to delivering a new approach to secure this transition as evidenced last year, again at RSA 2016, and now today with the announcement today of our new Secure Productive Enterprise offering.

As part of this broader investment the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) has been out in front in driving innovative solutions to help secure your users, devices, apps and data. In just two years, EMS has grown to lead the market with over 27,000 enterprise customers and more than one-third of the Fortune 500 now onboard.

As the customer reception has grown, so has our offering, in just the past year we have launched several new products and capabilities aimed at securing users, devices, apps, and data including:

With this innovative and holistic security approach in mind we are renaming the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) to Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) to more accurately communicate its value. We are also announcing several updates to the purchasing offers for EMS, including a new expanded EMS E5 plan. They are described in the graphic below and will be available later this calendar year in line with the new Secure Productive Enterprise plans announced today.

Here are the changes in more detail:

  • Enterprise Mobility Suite becomes Enterprise Mobility + Security
    • The existing Enterprise Mobility Suite becomes Enterprise Mobility + Security (E3), with no change for existing EMS customers.
    • A new expanded plan will be generally available later in 2016 and known as Enterprise Mobility + Security (E5).
  • Azure Active Directory Premium
    • The existing Azure AD Premium becomes Azure AD Premium (P1), with no change for existing customers
    • Azure AD Premium (P2), generally available later in 2016, includes all the capabilities in Azure AD Premium (P1) as well as the new Identity Protection and Privileged Identity Management capabilities.
  • Azure Rights Management + Secure Islands becomes Azure Information Protection
    • The existing Azure Rights Management Premium becomes Azure Information Protection Premium (P1), generally available later in 2016, with no change for existing Azure RMS customers.
    • The (P2) offer adds automatic classification, on top of the manual classification, labeling and everything else included in (P1).

Learn more about the Enterprise Mobility + Security suites here or at sessions CE221, CE222, and CE223 at WPC or check them out on demand.

Windows Server 2016 | Dates, editions and servicing

Windows Server 2016 launch and the new current branch for business servicing option

We are excited to announce the official launch of Windows Server 2016 will be at the Ignite conference this Fall. We hope you can join us in Atlanta for the excitement! Windows Server 2016 is the cloud-ready operating system that delivers new layers of security and Azure-inspired innovation for the applications and infrastructure that power your business.

Windows Server 2016 will come in three editions: Datacenter, Standard and Essentials. These editions will be available for purchase on the October 2016 price list; details on pricing for Windows Server 2016 can be found here. It is also important to note that for the Standard and Datacenter editions, there are three installation options: Server with Desktop Experience, Server Core and Nano Server. The Nano Server installation option provides an ideal lightweight operating system to run “cloud-native” applications based on containers and micro-services. It can also be used to run an agile and cost-effective datacenter with a dramatically smaller OS footprint.

Announcing servicing guidelines for Windows Server 2016

In prior releases, Windows Server has always been serviced via a “5+5” model meaning that there is five years of mainstream support and five years of extended support and this will continue with Windows Server 2016. Customers who choose to install full Windows Server 2016 with the desktop experience or Server Core will maintain this servicing experience. Customers choosing the Nano Server installation will opt into a more active servicing model similar to the experience with Windows 10. Specifically, these periodic releases are known as Current Branch for Business (CBB) releases. This approach supports customers who are moving at a “cloud cadence” of rapid development lifecycles and wish to innovate more quickly. Since this type of servicing continues to provide new features and functionality, an active Software Assurance agreement is also required to deploy and operate Nano Server in production.

To learn more read the detailed blog post and visit the Windows Server 2016 page.

Azure SQL Data Warehouse (cloud MPP) | GA

Today, Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure SQL Data Warehouse, the only cloud service that delivers the true promise of cloud elasticity to data warehousing. Built with proven SQL Server technology and integrated tooling, SQL Data Warehouse is your go-to SQL-based view for all of your data—across structured, unstructured, on-premises and cloud. SQL Data Warehouse delivers the fastest provisioning and scaling experience, more budget freedom and data protection, unlocks big data insights with integrated queries over Hadoop clusters, and simplifies time-to-insight across the data pipeline.

SQL Data Warehouse uniquely decouples compute and storage which offers you more freedom to scale and right-size your environment—pay for the storage you use and the compute you want, when you need it. With this milestone, we are also introducing new, higher compute options, DWU 3000 and DWU 6000, for more demanding analytics workloads. Learn more about SQL Data Warehouse today.

Cortana Intelligence with Bing Predicts | Public

Microsoft announces a new program to help our customers build more intelligent advanced analytics solutions. Cortana Intelligence with Bing Predicts is a custom services program that leverages the power of proprietary and unique Microsoft data (i.e. Bing, IE, Web, Windows etc.) to enable customers to enrich and augment their Cortana Intelligence Suite solutions for more accurate outcomes to a wide variety of business problems.

Power BI Embedded GA | Power BI Embedded GA

Bring data to life inside your app with Microsoft Power BI Embedded. Power BI Embedded allows ISVs and developers to embed stunning, fully interactive reports in customer-facing apps. Now the service is available with a service level agreement (SLA) in nine datacenters worldwide. We have new functionalities like row-level security for advanced filtering and we’ve simplified and updated the Power BI Embedded pricing model.

Cognitive Services | GA for Bing Search, Autosuggest, Speller API

Microsoft Cognitive Services – Bing Spell check, Bing Autosuggest and Bing Search APIs in general availability on July 1, 2016

Microsoft Cognitive Services are a collection of APIs which enable developers to tap into high-quality vision, speech, language, knowledge and search technologies, developed with decades of Microsoft research to build intelligent apps.

We’re excited to announce the July 1 general availability of the following Bing APIs:

Bing Autosuggest API, empowering users to complete queries faster by adding intelligent type-ahead capabilities to their app or website. This helps users to type less and do more with automated and complete search suggestions.

Bing Spell Check API, helping users to correct spelling errors, recognize the difference among names, brand names, and slang, as well as understand homophones as they’re typing.

Bing Search APIs, making apps, webpages, and other experiences smarter and more engaging. Bing Search APIs include:

  • Bing Web Search API for getting enhanced search details from billions of web documents.
  • Bing Image Search API for scouring the web for images, the results including thumbnails, full image URLs, publishing website info, image metadata and more.
  • Bing Video Search API to find videos across the web, the results including useful metadata – creator, encoding format, video length, view count.
  • Bing News Search API to find news articles, the results including authoritative image of the news article, related news and categories, provider info, article URL and date added.

Bing APIs are available as standalone services, and general availability pricing went into effect on July 1, 2016.

SQL Server Stretch Database

As of June 27, SQL Server Stretch Database is now generally available. With Stretch Database, customers can dynamically stretch warm and cold transactional data from Microsoft SQL Server 2016 to Azure. Unlike typical cold data storage, the data is always at hand. Stretch Database lets you retain data longer and more affordably than typical enterprise storage. Depending on how often the data will be accessed, customers can choose the appropriate level of service, then scale up or down as needed. Using Stretch Database doesn’t require any application changes. Customers can also use Stretch Database with new Always Encrypted technology, which helps protect data at rest and in motion—extending data in a more secured manner for greater peace of mind.

For additional information or to get started now, visit the SQL Server Stretch Database service page on Azure.Microsoft.com.

DISA Level 4 PA and ITAR – US Gov | GA

Azure Government cloud expands coverage with DoD Impact Level 4 Provisional Authorization, ITAR readiness and FedRAMP High

Microsoft Azure Government fulfills a broad range of platform level compliance standards critical to U.S. federal, Department of Defense (DoD), and state and local requirements. Continual investments in U.S. government specific compliance allow customers and partners to transform their mission-critical workloads to the cloud.

Furthering our commitment to be the most trusted cloud, today we are announcing three major Azure compliance additions to support government entities and government partners:

  • Information Impact Level 4 DoD Provisional Authorization by the Defense Information Systems Agency: This provisional authorization allows all US Department of Defense (DoD) customers and mission partners to leverage Azure Government for controlled unclassified information—data requiring protection from unauthorized disclosure and other mission-critical data including data subject to export control, privacy, or protected health information, or data designated as For Official Use Only, Law Enforcement Sensitive, or Sensitive Security Information. DoD Authorizing Officials can efficiently use this Provisional Authorization as the basis for their authorization decisions for mission owner systems using the Azure cloud.
  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) readiness: This announcement allows customers and partners who store and process International Traffic in Arms Regulations regulated data to leverage Azure Government to conform with these data requirements. Azure Government meets the strict location and personnel requirements required under ITAR by restricting access to US persons and storing data in the US. ITAR commitments are made only in an EA Amendment, please contact your representative for more information.

Art Bellis, vice president for Gimmal, a leader in government compliant records management, affirmed the significance of this news, saying:

“Azure Government achieving ITAR readiness and DISA Impact Level 4 Provisional Authorization significantly helps cloud solution providers like Gimmal address federal and defense industrial base customer requirements. Providing an approved IaaS/PaaS platform enables Gimmal to more rapidly deliver our Records as a Service offering for DOD5015.2 compliance in the cloud. This continues to demonstrate Microsoft’s commitment to building the trusted cloud for government.”

  • FedRAMP High Provisional Authorization: Following the successful completion of the FedRAMP High Pilot in March, this provisional authorization allows federal agencies to leverage Azure Government to securely process high-impact level data—that is, data that, if leaked or improperly protected, could have a severe adverse effect on organizational operations or, assets, or individuals.

Matt Goodrich, director for FedRAMP’s program management office at the U.S. General Services Administration, affirmed the significance of this news, saying:

“The creation of the FedRAMP High Security Baseline is essential in allowing agencies to migrate more high-impact level data to the cloud.  Microsoft Azure Government’s Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) from the FedRAMP JAB is a testament to Microsoft’s ability to meet the government’s rigorous security requirements.”

These accomplishments, along with our previously announced commitment to deliver a dedicated DoD-only Azure Government regions designed to meet DISA Impact Level 5 and Microsoft’s role in helping the DoD secure and modernize the enterprise, demonstrates our commitment to, and the strength of, our long-standing partnerships. For more information, including information on the in-scope services, please visit our Microsoft Trust Center.

We are excited about these expanded coverages for our US Department of Defense and ITAR customers and partners seeking to deploy solutions on the most broadly validated cloud platform on the market today. To get started today, customers and mission partners may request access to our Azure Government Trial program.

US West 2 and US West Central Region | GA

Microsoft Azure announces general availability of two new datacenter regions in U.S.

Microsoft Azure announces the general availability of two new Azure datacenter regions in the US: West US 2 –and West Central US. The two new regions available to customers in the US and across the globe will receive the same industry-leading levels of security, privacy and control, compliance, and transparency that define the Microsoft Trusted Cloud. This includes data replication in multiple locations within the U.S. for business continuity. With today’s news, Microsoft has now announced 34 Azure regions around the world with 26 generally available – more than any other major cloud provider.

Geographic expansion is a priority for Azure because it enables our customers to support their requirements and preferences regarding data location. Customers in the new regions can take advantage of the cost benefits. Read about these regions and their pricing.

Power BI publish to web GA

We are pleased to announce that Power BI publish to web is now general availability at no additional cost to existing Power BI Free and Pro users. The way we tell stories online has changed, in part, due to the ever-growing volume, sources, and availability of data. It’s important that you can easily uncover insights from data, quickly transform that data into a visual that supports your position, and immediately share the visual online with your audience. Microsoft Power BI publish to web makes it easy to build creative and interactive data visualizations that bring your story to life on public websites with clicks not code.

With Power BI publish to web, you can craft your data story from almost any data source to create compelling, interactive visualizations that you can publish online or embed in your work with a few simple clicks. NGOs and non-profit organizations, news and media companies, sports and entertainment houses, local or national Government bodies, academia, and public enterprises are already using Power BI publish to web to tell compelling public facing data stories. Please visit Power BI blog for more details.

Azure SQL Database Security – Always Encrypted | GA

Always Encrypted in Azure SQL Database is now generally available.

On July 11, we announced the generally availability of Always Encrypted in Azure SQL Database. Always Encrypted helps protect sensitive data, such as credit card numbers or national identification numbers (for example, US Social Security numbers), stored in Microsoft SQL Server databases and SQL Database. Always Encrypted allows clients to encrypt sensitive data inside client applications and not reveal the encryption keys to the database. As a result, Always Encrypted distinguishes between those who own the data (and can view it) and those who manage the data (but should have no access).

To learn more the GA of Always Encrypted, please check out our recent blog post. Many more security features are available in SQL Database. To start using these features, customers can read the overview on securing their SQL Database across connectivity, authentication, authorization, encryption, auditing, and compliance.

SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 2 | GA

Microsoft is pleased to announce the release of SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 3. The Service Pack will be available for you to download on the Microsoft Download Center; it will be available on MSDN, MAPS/MPN, MBS/Partner Source, and VLSC in the coming weeks. As part of our continued commitment to software excellence for our customers, this upgrade is available to all customers with existing SQL Server 2014 deployments.

SQL Server 2014 SP2 contains fixes to issues that have been reported through our customer feedback platforms. Additionally, this service pack contains more than twenty improvements related to performance, scalability and diagnostics based on feedback from customers and the SQL community. For more information, read the overview on the SQL Server blog and technical details on the SQL Server Release Services blog.

SQL Server Migration Assistant for Datazen | Public

With the general availability of Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Datazen technology is available as mobile reports in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services. The Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant for Datazen helps migrate existing Datazen content to SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services so there is no need to manually recreate mobile reports, KPIs and datasets. The SQL Server Migration Assistant is available in preview and can be downloaded here.