Cloud Platform Release Announcements for February 8, 2017

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 Marketplace | GA
  • DocumentDB | S1, S2, S3 level retirement-GA
  • Power BI iOS mobile app Q&A | Public Preview
  • Power BI mobile apps | GA and Public Preview
  • Power BI reports in SharePoint Online integration | Public Preview
  • Cognitive Services | Public Preview – Custom Speech Service
  • DocumentDB | GA
  • Microsoft Azure Information Protection | GA – Scoped Policies, CLP for non-Office files
  • Azure Storage | Large Block Blob GA
  • Managed Disk | GA

Azure Marketplace | GA

We are excited to announce a new interactive experience for the Azure Marketplace that makes it easy for you to navigate the product catalog and find the right solution for their cloud application without having to login to the Azure portal. You can now:

  1. Find and deploy your favorite products quickly.
  2. Discover new products using features such as predictive search, category filters, and top recommendations.
  3. Deep dive using the technical documentation and decide on the right SKU based on pricing information and publisher recommendations.
  4. Get hands-on experience by clicking on a Test Drive.

Learn more in our blog post and try the new Azure Marketplace experience.

DocumentDB | S1, S2, S3 level retirement-GA

Azure DocumentDB: S1, S2 and S3 performance levels retiring on August 1, 2017
On August 1, 2017, the S1, S2, and S3 performance levels in DocumentDB will be retired. Customers can continue using these performance levels through the Azure portal or APIs until August 1, 2017. Beyond that date, each collection that used the S1, S2, and S3 performance levels will be migrated to a single partition collection with equivalent throughput, without any downtime. Post-migration, customers will pay single partition collection prices.

Power BI iOS mobile app Q&A | Public Preview

With Power BI mobile apps on iPhone and iPad, you can view and interact with all of your pre-defined reports and dashboards while on the go. But what about answering questions that are not pinned to your dashboards? Or questions that you didn’t prepare for?

We are happy to add a preview of Q&A capabilities on our Power BI iOS app. With a unique chat-like experience that’s tailor-made for natural language, you can ask questions of your data and receive answers in the form of charts and graphs directly on your mobile device.

Learn more about this new preview feature at the Power BI blog.

Documentation for this feature is also available.

Power BI mobile apps | GA and Public Preview

More new features and updates are available for the Power BI mobile apps:

  • SSRS Authentication using Active Directory Federation Services, ADFS Preview (Android and iOS): If you connect to on-premises SQL Server Reporting Services servers from your mobile device, now you can sign in with your organizational account, thanks to the single sign-on (SSO) capabilities of Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS).
  • Load more than 100 rows in tables and matrices (All platforms): If you have a large table or matrix on your dashboard or report, we will show as much data as possible in the tile. Then in focus mode, you just scroll down to load additional rows.
  • New and improved annotate and share insights (Android): Sharing and annotating are now fully functional on Android devices. The new share and annotate capability has an improved menu, making it easier and quicker to annotate and share insights with your colleagues.
  • Phone reports – GA (All platforms): With phone reports, you can specifically tailor a portrait view of your existing report on Power BI Desktop for mobile viewers.

Download the mobile apps for Windows, iOS and Android at https://powerbi.microsoft.com/mobile/.

For more information on these new mobile apps features and others, visit the Power BI blog.

Power BI reports in SharePoint Online integration | Public Preview

We are very excited to announce the availability of the Power BI report web part for SharePoint Online that will go live this week.  We’ve heard from customers that SharePoint Online is a critical part of their company’s data communication and dissemination strategy and that to-date it wasn’t easy to include Power BI content there. The feature we’re announcing today changes all that. As of today Power BI Pro users are able to use an out-of-the-box web part for SharePoint Online using the new Modern Pages infrastructure. The new web part we are releasing today enables SharePoint authors to embed Power BI reports directly in SharePoint Online pages with no code required!  The feature is available today for Office 365 First Release customers.

Learn more about how to use this preview when is available reading the announcement on the Power BI Blog.

Cognitive Services | Public Preview – Custom Speech Service

Cognitive Services – Custom Speech Service in Public Preview
Website  | Pricing

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 are excited to announce that the Custom Speech Service (previously called CRIS) is now available as a public preview service in the Azure Portal.

The Custom Speech Service can overcome speech recognition barriers like speaking style, background noise, and vocabulary:

  • Create custom language models of the speech recognizer by tailoring it to the vocabulary of the application and the speaking style of your users,
  • Create custom acoustic models of the speech recognizer to better match the expected environment and user population of your application,
  • Deploy your models to create a speech recognition endpoint customized to your application,
  • Send requests to your custom endpoint using RESTful API or the cognitive services speech client library.

For more information about Custom Speech Service, please visit the related website and pricing page.

DocumentDB | GA

DocumentDB partitioned collection: Minimum throughput levels lowered by 75 percent
You can now create DocumentDB partitioned collections with throughput levels as low as 2,500 RU/s. This change means that users wanting to utilize the scale of DocumentDB partitioned collections can now get started at a 75 percent cost reduction over the previous minimum provisioned throughput of 10,000 RU/s.

To learn more, please visit the Performance levels in DocumentDB webpage.

Microsoft Azure Information Protection | GA – Scoped Policies, CLP for non-Office files

On Dec 7, we announced the public preview of exciting new features in Azure Information Protection to help organizations with varying needs for data classification and protection. We’re glad to share that these features are now entering General Availability which means they are fully supported. The list of new capabilities include:

  • Scoped Policies that help organizations define classification and protection policies specific to certain groups and departments
  • A single, unified application that allows users to use one tool to classify, label, protect, share, track and revoke documents
  • An updated viewer for protected files, including protected PDFs downloaded from SharePoint
  • Manual labeling and protection for non-Office files
  • Bulk classification and Protection for data at rest using PowerShell
  • New collaboration features that allow secure sharing with groups in other companies and any user in a particular company

You can learn more about this update and get links to relevant resources in this Azure Information Protection blog.

Azure Storage | Large Block Blob GA

General Availability: Larger Block Blobs in Azure Storage

Larger Block Blobs are now generally available. This increases the maximum file size from 195 GB to 4.77 TB.  You can immediately begin taking advantage of this improvement in any existing Blob Storage or General Purpose Storage Account across all Azure regions. For more information, please visit the Microsoft Azure Blog.

Managed Disk | GA

Azure Managed Disks generally available
We are excited to announce the general availability of Azure Managed Disks. This new capability makes managing your VM disks much simpler. With Managed Disks, customers only need to specify the desired disk type (Standard or Premium disk) and the disk size, and Azure will create and manage the disk for them. In addition, Managed Disks comes with enhanced VM scale sets (VMSS) capabilities such as being able to define scale sets with attached data drives and create a scale set with up to 1,000 VMs from an Azure platform/marketplace images.

Managed Disks give customers the following benefits:

  1. Management: Managed Disks will appear as a top-level resource (similar to VMs). It will help customers get away from day-to-day management of storage accounts for VMs and scale sets, and abstracts any storage account limits. Customers can backup their Managed Disks as point-in-time “Snapshots”.
  2. Scale: This service enables customers to scale seamlessly with their workloads, without worrying about any storage account limits as you scale up your virtual machines. Managed Disks greatly simplifies large-scale deployments from a custom “Image”.
  3. Security: With Managed Disks, customers are interacting with a logical resource, restricting any direct access to the physical disk. Customers will also be able to define RBAC policies for their Managed Disks, similar to Virtual Machines. In addition, customers can also encrypt at rest their virtual machines using Managed Disks with Customer-managed keys or Microsoft-managed keys.

At general availability, these services will be available in most of the Azure regions. We will be adding remaining Azure regions soon.

Resources:

  1. Learn more about Managed Disks by checking our blog post
  2. Learn how to migrate exiting Azure Resource Manager (ARM) VMs to Azure Managed Disks
  3. Learn more about Managed Disks pricing