Cloud Platform Release Announcements for May 31, 2017

This is a blog post for 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 that enable enterprises to embrace a cloud culture. Our differentiated innovations, comprehensive mobile solutions, and developer tools empower our customers to realize the true potential of the cloud-first era.

We’re delivering cloud-speed innovation 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:

  • Draft | generally available
  • BizTalk Services | no longer offered
  • Operations Management Suite | Azure Backup updates
  • Operations Management Suite | Azure to Azure Site Recovery
  • Cloud Essentials | Public Preview
  • Power BI Desktop | generally available
  • Power BI Service | generally available
  • Azure Content Delivery Network| Media + Download Optimized Delivery—Public Preview

Draft | generally available

The Azure Container Service team is proud to announce Draft, a tool to streamline development of applications running on any Kubernetes cluster. Using two simple commands, developers can now begin hacking on container-based applications without requiring any knowledge of Docker or Kubernetes. In fact, developers don’t even need Docker or Kubernetes installed to get going. Draft targets the “inner loop” of a developer’s workflow—while developers write code, but before they commit changes to version control.

When developers run “draft create” the tool detects the application language and writes out a simple Dockerfile and Kubernetes Helm chart into the source tree. This uses configurable Draft packs that can support any language, framework, or runtime environment. By default, Draft ships with support for:

  • Python
  • Node.js
  • Java
  • Ruby
  • PHP
  • Go

Draft can be used to streamline development of any application or service that can run on Kubernetes. It’s easy to customize Draft packs—they’re just a simple detection script, a Dockerfile, and a Helm Chart.
The user experience for developers is inspired by PaaS systems that support the concept of buildpacks. However, Draft differs from buildpack-oriented PaaS systems in that it writes out build and deployment configuration into the source tree, making it trivial to construct CI pipelines that can bring these containers all the way to production.

Azure Container Service has a long history of openness. We’re proud to extend that open spirit to new projects that help our customers succeed with container orchestration technology. Draft is open source and now available. Spin up an Azure Container Service/Kubernetes and let us know how Draft works for you.

BizTalk Services | no longer offered

To simplify the customer experience across our enterprise integration services, we have been folding Azure BizTalk Services capabilities into Azure Logic Apps and Azure App Service Hybrid Connections, which offer even greater flexibility and functionality. Based on this capability consolidation, effective May 31, 2017, Microsoft will no longer offer Azure BizTalk Services to new customers, and for existing customers the service will be retired on May 31, 2018.

The key integration capabilities provided by BizTalk Services are already included in Azure Logic Apps, which also provides many additional customer benefits including:

  • Serverless iPaaS enhances user experience and provides usage-based billing.
  • Access to over 100 connectors to cloud and premise-based apps.
  • Easily design and implement workflows using Logic Apps’ visual designer.
  • Seamlessly harness the power of Azure services such as Machine Learning and Cognitive Services.

Learn more about Logic Apps and read the Logic Apps documentation.

For pricing information see the Logic Apps pricing page.

Operations Management Suite | Azure Backup updates

Azure Backup improvements to support Windows Server

Azure Backup now gives you the option to back up your on-premises Windows Server system state to Azure. In the event something happens to your Windows Server, Backup can give you a snapshot of your system state including files, active directory settings, and certification services stored in Azure. Then you can restore your system state from Azure back to your on-premises Windows Server. Additionally, Azure Backup Server reduces the backup storage consumed on disk to drive down your on-premises storage costs. Learn more about these improvements to Azure Backup.

Operations Management Suite | Azure to Azure Site Recovery

Azure Site Recovery between Azure regions in public preview

We’re extending Azure Site Recovery to support the failover of applications running within Azure. The features you’ve used for replication and disaster recovery from on-premises to Azure are now available from one Azure region to another. You can create recovery plans and test failovers, between Azure regions, and replicate your applications to any other region. Set up Azure-to-Azure site recovery in a few minutes and have full confidence that it meets your compliance needs.

Learn more about Azure Site Recovery between Azure regions.

Cloud Essentials | Public Preview

Find out how Microsoft Cloud Essentials helps you get the necessary experience, training, and support to make your journey to the cloud successful. Everything you need is in one place, and it’s free to join.

Your journey to the cloud is unique—your starting point, destination and priorities are specific to your company’s situation, as well as your own career trajectory. Now there’s a single resource to help you map your journey, put fuel in your tank, and get you going on the road to success. And it’s free to join.

“Moving to the cloud used to be a question of whether, but increasingly it’s a question of how,” says Mark Winters, who manages the Cloud Essentials program at Microsoft. “Your company has its roadmap, and you have your own as an IT professional. With Cloud Essentials, we’ve created a hands-on, single destination for both.”

Cloud Essentials brings together all the necessary components to make your cloud journey successful:

  • Product experience to help you get the experience you need with free trials and tools for cloud products. Hands-on labs provide the instruction you need to master the necessary skills and keep you current with constantly evolving technologies.
  • Solutions training with free courses from Pluralsight, and professional certifications through the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) program.
  • Career development to guide you on your cloud career path, and develop the skills you need to advance. Follow a learning curriculum at your own pace, with the flexibility to select the skills you need most.
  • Support including help with Cloud Essentials, technical support for Azure and Cloud Accelerator, and a lifeline to your community of peers and Microsoft experts.

Power BI Desktop | generally available

New and frequently requested Power BI Desktop features are now available to business analysts. These include:

  • Report view features relative data slicer (preview), a new table visual (preview), combo chart data label enhancements, enhanced URL support in table and matrix, and mailto links in textbox.
  • Analytics now offers report level measures for live connections to Analysis Services and tabular models, as well as  Power BI service datasets, Two new quick measures are also now in preview— “Total for category + Rolling average,” and “Bin by count.”
  • Data connectivity now features New Connector: Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights and Combine files with the ability to reference “First File” as an example.
  • Query editing has two new transforms—”Extract text before/after/between delimiters,” and “Unpivot only selected columns.”

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 | generally available

Additional new and frequently requested Power BI features are now available to end users and business analysts. These include:

  • With Power BI apps preview you can easily deploy a collection of purpose-built dashboards and reports to a large number of business users, empowering them to make data-driven decisions. Distribute to the whole organization or to specific people or groups.
  • New content packs to help you quickly connect to variety of services, and get customized reports and dashboards built on top of their data.. New content packs this month include Microsoft Dynamics 365—Social Engagement, Microsoft Azure Consumption Insights, TyGraph for Yammer 3.0, Easy Projects, Microsoft Dynamics 365 For Financials, Webtrends for SharePoint, and Transit IQ.
  • Office 365 Adoption Content Pack Preview combines the intelligence of the Office 365 usage reports with the interactive analysis capabilities of Power BI, providing rich usage and adoption insights. Using these insights, admins can drive more targeted user training and communication, helping them transform how their organizations communicate and collaborate.

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 Content Delivery Network | Media + Download Optimized Delivery-Public Preview

When delivering to a large global audience, it’s critical to ensure optimized delivery of video or web content. Media streaming is time sensitive in that packets arriving late on the client can cause a degraded viewing experience—for example, frequent buffering of video content. These new enhancements reduce delivery latency and optimize the delivery of large files such as software and firmware.