Cloud Platform Release Announcements for July 27, 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:

  • Azure Security Center | GA
  • Operations Management Suite | Network Performance Monitor and Backup monitoring
  • Azure Premium Storage GA – new geo-availability | Brazil South GA
  • VNET Peering | Public
  • Azure AD B2C Basic | GA
  • Azure AD conditional access | GA
  • Microsoft Authenticator | Public
  • Azure App Service – Logic Apps | GA
  • Microsoft Stream | Public
  • Azure Service Bus Premium | GA
  • Microsoft and Red Hat partnership expanded to government | Available to purchase
  • Power BI Desktop | GA
  • Power BI Mobile | GA
  • Power BI publisher for Excel | GA
  • Power BI service | GA
  • Azure Machine Learning | Azure Machine Learning new web services

Azure Security Center | GA

On Thursday, July 21, we announced the general availability of Azure Security Center. It helps you improve your security by enabling you to prevent, detect, and respond to threats with increased visibility and control. Azure is the only public cloud platform that offers this type of continuous security monitoring. Azure Security Center is one example of the investments Microsoft makes in security—to provide a comprehensive platform, informed by Microsoft’s unique threat intelligence and integrated with solutions from our partners.

To learn more, read the full blog post and visit the Azure Security Center webpage.

Operations Management Suite | Network Performance Monitor and Backup monitoring

Monitoring the health of your systems is an essential component of effective IT operations management. This month we are releasing two new features for public preview that will enhance functionality for monitoring networks and backup deployments.

First, monitoring the quality of network connectivity between your datacenters, office sites or even critical workloads running line of business applications is a challenge in most IT environments. Conventional network monitoring solutions provide very little information about performance of the network as these are mostly geared to monitor health of individual network devices. Network Performance Monitor offers near real time monitoring of network performance parameters like loss and latency. It enables timely detection of network performance issues and localizes the source of the problem to a particular network segment or device. Using historical trend graphs, you can easily detect transient network performance issues. An interactive topology graph allows you to visualize the hop by hop network routes and determine the source of the problem. Now you can confidently tell if a network issue is affecting your application performance without having to rely on your network team.

Second, the OMS Backup monitoring and alerting feature enables customers to monitor backup from Windows Servers using the Azure backup agent as well as IaaS VM backup. Until now, you had to go each Windows Server machine to check the status of their backups, which is not scalable for bigger deployments. You can configure alerts for backup failures and view the alerts or subscribe to email notifications. From the Azure portal, you can view all the configuration settings of Windows Server backups to cloud as well as their health, job status and alerts.

To learn more about these new features in public preview, please visit the Hybrid Cloud IT Management blog and Operations Management Suite documentation.

Azure Premium Storage GA – new geo-availability | Brazil South GA

Azure Premium Storage generally available in Brazil South

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 64 TB of persistent storage per virtual machine (VM), with more than 80,000 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 Brazil South region, as well as these previously announced regions. Learn more about Premium Storage.

VNET Peering | Public

VNet Peering provides the ability to link two Virtual Networks in the same geo region directly. It allows Virtual Machine resources in both the VNets to connect directly through private IP addresses as if it were part of the same network. VNet peering achieves this by routing packets between the Virtual Networks through the internal Azure backbone network and thus does not involve any gateway in the path. This allows for a low latency, high bandwidth connection between the Virtual Machines in the VNets. VNet peering also allows transit through the peered VNets, thus a Network Virtual Appliance or a VPN gateway in one VNet can be used by a Virtual Machine in another peered VNet. Peering will work across VNets in different subscriptions and between an ARM (V2) and ASM (V1) VNet. It does not work between two ASM VNets.

Azure AD B2C Basic | GA

Azure Active Directory B2C the cloud identity service that helps you stay connected with your customers is now generally available. Built on Azure Active Directory, the cloud identity platform that handles billions of authentications per day, Azure Active Directory B2C is a highly available, global, identity management service for consumer-facing applications that scales to hundreds of millions of identities. It can be easily integrated across mobile and web platforms. Your customers can log on to all your applications through fully customizable experiences by using their existing social accounts or by creating new credentials.

Initially Azure Active Directory B2C will be available free of charge. Usage charges are expected to begin in early 2017. You will be notified at least 30 days in advance of the start of billing. The service will be available in North America on July 27. More countries and regions will follow in the upcoming months. Connect your applications, upload your customer accounts and start using Azure AD B2C in production now.

Azure AD conditional access | GA

Azure Active Directory conditional access policies are now generally available and let you apply access rules to any Azure Active Directory connected application such as Office 365, Salesforce.com, Box, ServiceNow and other SaaS and custom or on-premises web applications. More sensitive apps can be assigned stricter policies for all or specific groups of users, such as requiring Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) or even blocking access outside of the corporate network while less sensitive apps can have more open policies. Conditional Access policies are available through Azure Active Directory Premium P1. Learn how to configure conditional access policies and start using them now.

Microsoft Authenticator | Public

Microsoft Authenticator is the new mobile application that from August 15th will replace Azure Authenticator, Microsoft account app and all other enterprise and consumer authenticator apps for Android, IOS and Windows mobiles, published by Microsoft. This new app can quickly and securely verify your identity online, for all of your accounts. It provides multi-factor authentication for your personal, work, or school Microsoft accounts with notifications or one-time-passwords. Additionally, you can use this app to register your device with your company’s Azure Active Directory and get seamless single-sign-on to mobile applications. Later this year you’ll also be able to use this app to sign in to devices and websites without a password. Read more on the Enterprise Mobility + Security blog.

Azure App Service – Logic Apps | GA

Building powerful enterprise integration solutions has never been easier. With Azure Logic Apps you can rapidly connect your apps, data and devices anywhere, on-premises or in the cloud with a vast ecosystem of out-of-the-box SaaS and cloud based connectors including Salesforce, Office 365, Twitter, Dropbox, Google Services and many more. Unlock value from both your on-premises systems and cloud applications by building secure hybrid integration solutions, leverage existing BizTalk Server investments to connect to SaaS applications, easily transact with trading partners via Electronic Data Interchange standards. Gain insights from your connected systems by leveraging Azure services like Machine Learning and Cognitive Services. Enhance your integration solutions to help make informed business decisions.

For more information on Azure Logic Apps, please visit the documentation page. Starting today, customers will be provided with the option of choosing a standalone pricing model if needed. For more information on pricing, please visit the pricing page.

Microsoft Stream | Public

Microsoft Stream is now in public preview. You can sign up for Microsoft Stream at stream.microsoft.com. Enable your organization to connect, collaborate and learn with the power of video. Built for organizations of all sizes, Microsoft Stream makes it easy to upload, organize and share videos across your entire company. Start using in just a few minutes, and consolidate and organize all of your videos in one easily searchable destination—it’s hassle-free and always on. Increase collaboration and participation by letting anyone in the company upload and share videos. Industry-leading encryption provides peace of mind while customizable privacy settings let you let you limit access or share widely. For more information visit stream.microsoft.com.

Azure Service Bus Premium | GA

A reliable, dedicated messaging service is key for seamless application integration. With the general availability of Azure Service Bus premium tier, customers can now have their own dedicated resources, scalable as their workload grows and have reliability in knowing their messages will reach their destination in a predictable time. Service bus premium messaging offers high reliability and throughput, increased message size to 1 MB compared to standard messaging while maintaining other feature parity, and high regional availability across seven Regions, including Southeast Asia, East Asia, West Europe, North Europe, Central US, West US and East US. Available discounted pricing on premium tier until 08/31/2016. For more information on pricing for the premium tier, please visit our pricing page.

Microsoft and Red Hat partnership expanded to government | Available to purchase

We are pleased to announce the expansion of the Microsoft and Red Hat partnership that will now enable government organizations to migrate their Red Hat subscriptions to Microsoft Azure Government. This extends Microsoft Azure’s certification as a Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider (CCSP) to now serve our U.S. Government customers via Microsoft Azure Government.

This means Red Hat’s Cloud Access now allows our government customers to move their Red Hat subscription between physical or on-premises systems to both Microsoft Azure and Azure Government cloud platforms.

Red Hat products enabled for Cloud Access on Azure Government include Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.7+ and 7.1+, Red Hat JBoss Middleware, OpenShift Container Platform and Red Hat Gluster Storage. For any subscriptions that migrate, government customers will continue to maintain their direct relationship with Red Hat even when their subscription benefits move to Azure Government.

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. We recently announced three major Azure Government compliance additions to support government entities and partners to be able to transform their mission-critical workloads to the cloud, including Information Impact Level 4 DoD Provisional Authorization by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA Level 4 PA), International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), FedRAMP High Provisional Authorization.

In order to register your existing or newly-purchased Red Hat subscription for Red Hat Cloud Access, please follow these steps. You can also learn how to prepare your images to deploy into Azure Government here.

Power BI Desktop | GA

Many new and most frequently requested Power BI Desktop features are now available to business analysts. Predefined table styles—easily style a table visual by selecting from a list of predefined table styles. Custom maps in ShapeMap—use your own topo JSON map files with the ShapeMap visual. New data connectors (preview)—import data from Amazon RedShift and Impala. New custom visuals—strippets brower, cluster map, and facet key designed to help you create Power BI solutions for browsing, understanding, analyzing large collections of text. 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 Mobile | GA

We are very excited to introduce a new mobile capability that enables dashboard owners to customize the look and feel of dashboards on mobile phones.

For a while now, Power BI Mobile has enabled you to easily view dashboards on your phone. While most of you have been satisfied with this “turnkey” implementation, we’ve heard some of you asking for more control over the dashboard layout and appearance on your phone

With this update you can specifically tailor a portrait phone view of your existing dashboard as part of the dashboard authoring experience. Once you finish creating your dashboard in the Power BI service, you can use the dashboard settings to optimize how you view it on your phone. Permissions to change the phone view are only available to dashboard owners.

Learn more about this new feature on the Power BI blog and on our documentation site.

Power BI publisher for Excel | GA

Since its release last March, Analyze in Excel has been warmly welcomed by the Power BI community. It brought new meaning to the term better together that Power BI and Excel are working hard to achieve.

With this month’s release of Power BI publisher for Excel, we’re pleased to announce Analyze in Excel is now easier than ever, and can be initiated directly from Excel using Power BI publisher. With this release, there’s no need to download .odc files, and no need to manually install OLE DB driver. Just install the latest version of Power BI publisher for Excel, and use Connect to Data from the Power BI ribbon tab in Excel.

Learn more about this update on the Power BI blog and download Power BI publisher for Excel.

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 July. Row level security now out of preview expands support for RLS in the service—while definition of RLS rules and roles is moved to Power BI Desktop. Additionally, RLS can be applied to datasets used in “Analyze in Excel.” Data classification provides the ability to tag data with specific level of business sensitivity and impact. Data-driven alerts—set alerts to notify you when data in your dashboards changes beyond limits you set. Alerts work for numeric tiles featuring cards, gauges, and KPIs. Only you can see the alerts you set, even if you share your dashboard. You can set data alerts in the Power BI mobile app for iPhone and in the Power BI service, and see them in both places. R visuals—Power BI service now supports reports and dashboards with R visuals, expanding Power BI service visuals with endless flexibility, and adds advanced analytics depth. These new rich R visuals are fully integrated into Power BI service reports, and can be filtered, cross filtered, and pinned to dashboards—and can be viewed by Power BI users without them having to be aware of this underlying technology.

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.

Azure Machine Learning | Azure Machine Learning new web services

Pricing | Machine Learning webpage

Azure Machine Learning offers cloud-based advanced analytics designed to streamline machine learning for business, allowing users to model their way, with best-in-class algorithms. The finished model can then be deployed in minutes as a web service that can connect to any data, anywhere.

  • Write once, deploy everywhere: Users can create a web service and deploy it to multiple subscriptions, regions, and resource groups. They can automate web services creation using APIs or through the Web Services Management Portal interface.
  • Better functionalities with the new Web Services Management Portal: Users can access more usage statistics (how many times the job is run, runtimes, transactions and more) and simplify the testing of Machine Learning functions using sample data.

For more information, please visit the Azure Machine Learning documentation.