Cloud Platform Release Announcements for October 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 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 Analysis Services | Public preview
  • Azure CDN
  • The Code Search and Test & Feedback extensions for Visual Studio Team Services | General availability
  • BizTalk Server | RTM
  • Azure Machine Learning | Custom modules in Gallery
  • Azure SQL DB protects and secures data | Long-term retention preview
  • Cognitive Services | Microsoft Translator
  • Power BI Desktop | General availability
  • Power BI service | General availability
  • Microsoft Intune | October release

Azure Analysis Services | Public preview

On Tuesday, October 25, we announced the public preview of Azure Analysis Services. Built on the proven analysis engine in Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Analysis Services, Azure Analysis Services delivers enterprise-grade BI semantic modeling capabilities with the scale, flexibility, and management benefits of the cloud. Azure Analysis Services helps you transform complex data into actionable insights. Plus, your team can use existing skills, tools, and data to get more from the investments you’ve already made.

For more information, please visit azure.com, or read the Azure blog post.

Azure Content Delivery Network | New features in Azure CDN

Azure Content Delivery Network adds new features for better performance, real-time management, and mobile users

Azure Content Delivery Network is a multi-CDN (content delivery network) platform that enables scalable, secure, and performant delivery of content. Here are the newly available capabilities:

  • HTTP/2.0: Now available for all customers, this feature is on by default for Akamai SKU, and all existing and new standard profiles (enabled from the Azure portal) can benefit from it with no additional cost. HTTP/2 is designed to improve webpage loading speed and optimize user experience.
  • Real time alerts: Available as part of the Premium tier, this feature lets you set up real time alerts to get notified on delivery anomalies, such as bandwidth, cache statuses, and concurrent connections to your content. This enables continuous monitoring of the health of your CDN service at any time.
  • Mobile rules engine: You can customize content delivery and experience for your mobile users. Rules and features targeted for mobile devices, such as device model, device operating system, and mobile browsers can be set using the rules engine feature in the Content Delivery Network Premium offering.

For more information, please visit the Azure blog.

The Code Search and Test & Feedback extensions for Visual Studio Team Services | General availability

The Code Search and Test & Feedback (formerly called Exploratory Testing) extensions for Visual Studio Team Services are now generally available and free.

Code Search can be used by any team member with Basic access (which provides access to code repos). Test & Feedback can be used by stakeholders for submitting feedback about an application or by users with Basic access for doing exploratory testing.

BizTalk Server | RTM

Today, we are announcing the release of Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016. This release marks an important milestone in Microsoft’s Enterprise integration vision and product strategy. BizTalk Server 2016 not only enables comprehensive on-premises application integration capabilities, but also offers flexibility and control to customers to adopt cloud applications when it makes sense for their business. This release enables seamless hybrid connectivity across on-premises and cloud applications, integrates with first party Microsoft services that customers are already using such as Windows Server 2016, SQL Server 2016, Visual Studio 2015 and Office 2016.

It also provides a highly available and scalable solution both on-premises and in the cloud. Please read the full announcement here. Refer to our documentation to learn more about what’s new in BizTalk Server 2016.

Azure Machine Learning | Custom modules in Gallery

The Cortana Intelligence Gallery is a community driven site for discovering and sharing solutions built with the Cortana Intelligence Suite set of products. The Gallery contains a variety of resources that you can use to develop your own analytics solutions. Several Custom Modules are now available in the Cortana Intelligence Gallery that expand the capabilities of Azure Machine Learning Studio. You can download these modules for use in your experiments so that you can develop even more advanced predictive analytics solutions.

You can use any custom module in the Gallery in your own experiments. There are two ways to get a copy of the module:

  • From the Gallery: When you download a module from the Gallery, the module is added to the module palette in your workspace. You also get a sample experiment that gives you an example of how to use the module.
  • From Machine Learning Studio: You can import any custom module while you’re working in Studio. The module is added to the module palette in your workspace where it’s available for use in other experiments.

To learn more about the Custom Modules in the Gallery and to start using them now, check out the documentation.

Azure Search – S3 and new regions | General availability

Standard S3 and Standard S3 High Density (HD) tiers for Azure Search are now generally available. Azure Search is also now available in the West Central US, Canada East, and Canada Central regions. For more information about pricing, please visit the Search Pricing page. To learn more about Azure Search, please visit the Azure Search page.

Azure SQL DB | Long-term retention public preview

For applications with compliance or operational requirements to retain data, Azure SQL Database now offers Long-Term Retention (LTR). With just a few clicks, you can easily enable your databases to create weekly backups stored in your own Azure Backup vault and extend the retention period built into SQL Database from 35 days to up to 10 years. The backups in the vault are restorable and are automatically deleted after your configured retention period.

Cognitive Services | Microsoft Translator general availability

Microsoft Cognitive Services –  Translator in general availability October 24, 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 that Microsoft Translator is now available as a Translator Speech API and Translator Text API in the Azure portal.

Microsoft Translator is a cloud based automatic translation service, available to and from any of the more than 50+ supported languages for text, and nine languages for speech:

  • Automatically detect the language of the text that’s sent before translating it; if your application simply needs to know what language a text is in, you can also call the API to detect the language of any text string
  • Send text strings and receive the best or ‘n’ best translations
  • Send audio streams and receive the transcript in its original language, the text translation and the audio (text-to-speech) of the translation
  • Customize your text translations with the Hub using as little as 1,000 parallel sentences or start out simply by providing a dictionary of company specific words
  • Improve translations with the Collaborative Translation Framework (CTF), by creating a specific user group that provides suggestions to improve the translations

Translator Speech API and Translator Text API general availability pricings went into effect on October 24, 2016.

Power BI Desktop | General availability

New and most frequently requested Power BI Desktop features are now available to business analysts.

  • Report guidelines and snap to grid (preview) and other report view enhancements: help make sure your visuals are lined up for a pixel-perfect report
  • Additional analytics capabilities: include grouping, binning, top N filter, and include/exclude data points
  • Additional data connectors (preview): include Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials, OLE DB, and more

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 October.

  • Encryption of data at rest helps secure your data—see updated documentation and whitepaper for the latest discussion on the mechanism Power BI uses to encrypt your data in Power BI
  • Making administration easier provides the ability to assign specific users access to the Admin Portal without giving them Office 365 global admin access
  • Enhancements to auditing add more events to log, e.g., printing, export, publish to web, dataset delete, and changes to admin features

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.

Microsoft Intune | October release

Lookout Integration with Microsoft Enterprise Mobility and Security, now available for Android and iOS.

Lookout complements Enterprise Mobility and Security’s holistic approach to Identity-driven security by providing additional layers of mobile threat intelligence. Lookout continuously monitors devices for threats, passing that information directly to EMS to inform the device based conditional access policies that you set within Microsoft Intune. If a risk is detected, it will trigger the appropriate action based on your defied policy settings; either blocking access to corporate data, or guiding your user to remediate the issue.

Lookout protects against threats against three attack vectors:

  • App-based threats: Trojans, spyware, rootkits, as well as non-compliant apps that leak sensitive data
  • Network-based threats: man-in-the-middle and SSL attacks that can steal encrypted data-in-transit
  • OS-based threats: Advanced jail-breaking of iOS devices and rooting of Android devices

Note: Any necessary licenses for Lookout products must be purchased directly from Lookout.