Cloud Platform Release Announcements for March 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 Stack | TP3
  • Visual Studio 2017 | RTM
  • .NET Core Tools / CLI 1.0 | RTM
  • Team Foundation Server 2017 Update 1 | RTM
  • NSolid availability in Azure Marketplace | GA
  • Azure SQL DB protects and secures data | Blob Auditing/Threat Detection – GA
  • Azure SQL DB scales on the fly | P11/P15 Public Preview
  • Azure SQL DB scales on the fly | Premium RS Public
  • Cognitive Services | GA – Bing Speech
  • DocumentDB | Aggregates, emulator, azure search-Public Preview
  • Power BI Embedded service updates | GA
  • Power BI service | GA
  • SQL Data Warehouse | Data Lake Store Direct Loading – Public Preview
  • IT Pro Cloud Essentials – New Azure Offer | New Azure Trial Offer

Azure Stack | TP3

Building innovative applications on cloud technologies is critical for organizations to accelerate growth and create differentiated customer experiences. Applications leveraging cloud technologies with pay-as-you-use pricing are now standard. Our goal is to ensure that organizations choosing hybrid cloud environments have this same flexibility and innovation capability to match their business objectives and application designs. This is why we are extending Azure technologies on-premises with Azure Stack and today, are announcing several updates for Azure Stack:

  • TP3 available for download: Technical Preview 3 (TP3) is available for download today and has new features that enable: more modern application capabilities; running in locations without connections to Azure; along with infrastructure and security enhancements.
  • Packaging and pricing model: Azure Stack brings the cloud economic model on-premises with pay-as-you-use pricing.
  • Roadmap Update: Shortly after TP3, Azure Functions will be available to run on TP3, followed by Blockchain, Cloud Foundry, and Mesos templates. Continuous innovation will be delivered to Azure Stack up to general availability and beyond. TP3 is the final planned major Technical Preview before Azure Stack integrated systems will be available for order in mid-CY17.

Visual Studio 2017 | RTM

On Tuesday, March 7, we announced the general availability of Visual Studio 2017, Visual Studio 2017 delivers new capabilities to help developers to be more productive than ever for any application and any platform.

This is detailed in John Montgomery’s blog post announcing Visual Studio 2017 general availability, Visual Studio 2017 offers boosted productivity, redefined fundamentals, streamlined cloud development, and five-star mobile development.

To learn more, read the full blog post and visit the Visual Studio 2017 webpage.

.NET Core Tools / CLI 1.0 | RTM

.NET Core Tools Released
.NET Core command-line interface (CLI) tools are used for building .NET Core applications (creating, compiling, NuGet package management, running, testing, etc.). The first version of these tools are now generally available. The .NET Core CLI supports Windows, Mac and Linux environments and are included in Visual Studio 2017 and can be used in Visual Studio Code via the C# extension. You can download the .NET Core tools along with the runtime and framework here: https://dot.net/core .

Team Foundation Server 2017 Update 1 | RTM

Microsoft is releasing Team Foundation Server 2017 Update 1, the collaboration platform for every developer.  With Update 1, we’re delivering new capabilities to enhance the team collaboration experience within TFS. Team Foundation Server 2017 Update 1 is adding delivery plans, a new process template managing experience, npm support in package management, additional repository permission management, pull request improvements, test impact analysis, branch policy improvements, and a personalized home page.
See the release notes to learn more.

NSolid availability in Azure Marketplace | GA

As part of our vision for Node.js in the cloud, we’re happy to announce that our partner NodeSource is now publishing N|Solid, a fully compatible Node.js runtime for the enterprise, in Azure Marketplace. This gives customers considering Node.js in the cloud one more option in Microsoft Azure that adds to an already rock-solid array of offerings, and underlines the Node.js momentum in the enterprise that we see in the cloud.

Azure SQL DB protects and secures data | Blob Auditing/Threat Detection – GA

Blob Auditing in Azure SQL Database now generally available
Blob Auditing in Azure SQL Database tracks database events and writes them to an audit log in your Azure Storage account, helping you maintain regulatory compliance, understand database activity, and  gain insight into discrepancies that could indicate business concerns or suspected security violations. Blob auditing will replace the current Table auditing, bringing better performance, higher granularity, and lower storage costs to Azure SQL auditing. Combining Blob auditing with Threat Detection (public preview), provides a new security layer to enable customers to detect, investigate and respond to potential threats as they occur.

Azure SQL DB scales on the fly | P11/P15 Public Preview

4TB Option for P11 and P15
Available immediately for public preview, customers using P11 and P15 databases can now use up to 4TB of included storage at no additional charge. Increasing the available storage to 4TB for P11 and P15 is an important step towards reaching our commitment of providing more storage across all of the performance tiers, allowing increased flexibility to customers when choosing the best platform to run their applications.

Azure SQL DB scales on the fly | Premium RS Public

New Azure SQL Database Premium RS tier
Pricing | SQL Database
Available now in preview, Azure SQL Database Premium RS is designed for IO-intensive workloads where a limited durability guarantee and lower SLA is acceptable. Target scenarios for Premium RS are developments using in-memory technology, testing high performance workloads, and production analytic workloads. Premium RS is available for singleton databases and elastic database pools. To learn more, read the Azure blog post.

Cognitive Services | GA – Bing Speech

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’re excited to announce the general availability of the Bing Speech API on March 1.
The Bing Speech API makes it possible to convert audio to text, understand intent, and convert text back to speech for natural responsiveness.

  • Spoken audio to text. The API can be directed to turn on and recognize audio coming from the microphone in real-time, recognize audio coming from a different real-time audio source, or to recognize audio from within a file. In all cases, real-time streaming is available, so as the audio is being sent to the server, partial recognition results are also being returned. The Speech to Text API enables you to build smart apps that are voice triggered.
  • Text to Speech.  Convert text to spoken audio. When applications need to “talk” back to their users, this API can be used to convert text that is generated by the app into audio that can be played back to the user. The Text-To-Speech API enables you to build smart apps that can speak.
  • Speech Intent Recognition.  Convert spoken audio to intent. This is similar to Speech Recognition. With Speech Intent Recognition – in addition to returning recognized text from audio input – the server returns structured information about the incoming speech so that apps can easily parse the intent of the speaker, and subsequently drive further action. Models trained by Microsoft Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS) service are used to generate the intent.

For more information about Bing Speech and to try it for yourself, visit the Bing Speech API page.

DocumentDB | Aggregates, emulator, azure search-Public Preview

Azure DocumentDB: Aggregate support, Emulator in Docker, and Azure Search integration
Azure DocumentDB now supports aggregates at global scale in public preview. The DocumentDB query engine has built-in support for SQL aggregate operators COUNT, MIN, MAX, AVG and SUM. In addition, the DocumentDB Emulator is now available in a Docker container, and you can now add Azure Search to DocumentDB collections with the click of a button in the Azure portal. For more information, see Aggregates, DocumentDB Emulator, and the Azure Search blog.

Power BI Embedded service updates | GA

On March 8th, we announced the general availability of a set of new features that allow developers to add personalized analytics to their applications with Power BI Embedded. New APIs allow developers to enable application end users to create, edit and personalize reports embedded without leaving the applications. This new web based HTML5 embedded editing experience lets ISVs address one of their top demanded features, quickly and easily using Power BI Embedded industry leading cloud services. These new set of features include:

  • New Self-service capabilities added to the Power BI Embedded business analytics platform enable application users to perform richer, in-context, self-service analytics, create, edit and personalize reports in their applications; they expand developers’ ability to manage application users’ rights for creating, editing and saving reports in the application; they provide report authors with the ability to edit out-of-the-box reports without leaving the application environment through an on-line experience
  • New Data connectivity features allow developers to use the Power BI Embedded REST API to create new datasets and use them in their Power BI Embedded reports. Additionally, developers can now use the push data API in Power BI Embedded to keep the data in these data sets up to date, enabling real-time reporting within Power BI Embedded.
  • Finally, new Tenant deployment features available in the Azure environment enable developers to add/delete workspaces, clone and bind reports to a dataset, and delete a workspace along with all its content through the Power BI Embedded REST APIs.

Learn more about Power BI and Power BI Embedded. Get started with Power BI and Power BI Embedded. Visit the Report Embed Sample to experience Power BI Embedded.

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

Power BI service | GA

We are pleased to announce that Publish to Web will now be available in Power BI Pro for US Government. US Government users can now easily embed interactive Power BI visualizations online, such as in blog posts, websites, through emails or social media, on any device. The report or visual published to web can be viewed by anyone on the Internet—there is no authentication used when viewing these reports.
Note: before publishing to web, make sure to have the right to share the data and visualizations publicly and do not publish confidential or proprietary information.

For more information, see this Publish to Web documentation.
Also see Power BI Pro for US Government overview, and enroll in Power BI Pro for US Government today!

SQL Data Warehouse | Data Lake Store Direct Loading – Public Preview

Direct loading into Azure SQL Data Warehouse from Data Lake Store
Azure Data Lake Store connectivity via external tables, support for loading UTF16 encoded delimited text files, and increased row width limit for PolyBase from 32kb to 1 MB per row into Azure SQL Data Warehouse is now available. With the addition of Azure Data Lake store connectivity at your disposal, your SQL Data Warehouse can now connect to all Azure data storage services.

IT Pro Cloud Essentials – New Azure Offer | New Azure Trial Offer

People are doing amazing things with Azure – and now it’s your turn with this special trial offer: $25 credit for 12 months ($300 value) when you join the IT Pro Cloud Essentials program (it’s free). With Azure you can:

  • Have free access to cloud services such as compute and storage
  • Use backend services for your mobile or web apps
  • Get services for IoT, machine learning, and analytics

To activate this offer, join the free IT Pro Cloud Essentials program (it’s FREE) where you will get access to more cloud services trials gaining valuable hands-on experience, targeted educational opportunities for training and access to experts with technical support offers.

This free subscription will increase your cloud knowledge and help create a path to career advancement. Join Now!