Cloud Platform Release Announcements for August 9, 2017

This is a blog post for a new, ongoing series of consolidated updates from the Cloud Platform team.

We’re here to help you embrace the cloud. Realize your true potential with our unique innovations, comprehensive mobile solutions, and developer tools across the breadth of our product portfolio. To help you stay current, here are our latest releases.

  • Azure Batch | Rendering Service Preview
  • Operations Management Suite | Log Analytics Upgrade
  • Azure SQL Database Preferred Dev Environment | Database scoped temp tables preview
  • Azure SQL Database Preferred Dev Environment | Resumable online index rebuild preview
  • Azure SQL Database protects and secures data | Multi-Factor Authentication support for SQL tools general availability
  • Azure Content Delivery Network—Dynamic Site Acceleration | General Availability
  • Azure AD—New sign-in user interface | Preview
  • Intune Partner Integration | General Availability
  • Microsoft Cloud App Security | Enhanced Investigation Features General Availability
  • System Center Configuration Manager | New features and enhancements

Azure Batch | Rendering Service Preview

Aligned Event: July 30 – August 3, 2017, Siggraph 2017

Announcing Azure Batch Rendering Preview

Batch Rendering page | Azure Batch pricing

Azure Batch Rendering accelerates large scale rendering jobs to deliver results to our customers faster, enabling you to submit rendering jobs seamlessly via client applications such as Maya and 3ds Max, or via the Azure SDK.

Following the limited preview, we’re extremely excited to move Azure Batch Rendering into public preview.

As part of this offering, Azure is working with Autodesk, Chaos Group, and other partners to enable you to run your day to day rendering workloads seamlessly on Azure. The Batch Rendering feature will provide tools such as client plugins that offer a rich, integrated experience, allowing you to submit jobs from within the applications with easy scaling, monitoring, and asset management. Additionally, the Azure SDK, available in various languages, allows custom integration with your existing environments. We’re also excited to announce a preview of Batch Labs, a desktop management tool, which includes job submission capabilities for supported applications.

For more information, please visit the Rendering on Azure webpage.

Operations Management Suite | Log Analytics Upgrade

Get deeper insights with enhanced Azure Log Analytics rollout

Azure Log Analytics, part of the Azure monitoring services, enables you to collect and correlate data from multiples sources and provides actionable insights about your IT environment. Using these insights, you can reduce the mean time to resolution of issues, and get time back to focus on your next big innovation.

The Azure Log Analytics service is rolling out an upgrade to existing customers that offers powerful search, smart analytics, and even deeper insights. This upgrade provides an interactive query language and an advanced analytics portal, powered by a highly scalable data store like what Azure Application Insights offers today, thereby creating a consistent monitoring experience for IT operations and developers.

The query language offers flexible search functions and machine learning constructs to help you get deeper insights from your data. For instance, the autocluster operator helps analyze failures such as exceptions and crashes by finding common patterns of discrete attributes in the data. The analytics portal supports multiline editing of queries, new visualizations, and advanced diagnostics such as click to diagnose capability based on machine learning.

In the initial phase of the rollout, when your Log Analytics workspace is ready to be upgraded, you will see a banner in your workspace with a call to action. Once you click and upgrade, you can start using the new capabilities and continue to use the solutions and views you had prior to the upgrade, without any interruption. If you’re new to Log Analytics, during the initial phase, you will need to start by activating your free account and then upgrade to the new capabilities. Once the rollout is complete across all Azure regions, new users will be able to get started without having to upgrade.

Please visit the Azure Log Analytics documentation page, and read the blog post to learn more and get access to additional resources.

Azure SQL Database Preferred Dev Environment | Database scoped temp tables preview

Now in preview — Database scoped global temporary tables for Azure SQL Database

The database scoped global temporary tables for Azure SQL Database feature allows the use of temporary tables (prefixed with ##table_name) scoped to a specific database. This allows users to share such tables among all users’ sessions within the same database. To learn more about this new feature, visit the Azure blog.

Azure SQL Database Preferred Dev Environment | Resumable online index rebuild preview

Resumable online index rebuild for Azure SQL Database in preview

The resumable online index rebuild for Azure SQL Database feature allows the ability to pause an online index rebuild operation and resume it later from where the rebuild operation was paused, or failed, rather than having to restart the operation from the beginning. This feature also rebuilds indexes using only a small amount of log space. To learn more about resumable online index rebuild, please visit the Azure blog.

Azure SQL Database protects and secures data | Multi-Factor Authentication support for SQL tools general availability

Universal Authentication with Multi-Factor Authentication support in SQL Server Management Studio

The latest release of SQL Server Management Studio includes functional extensions for token-based authentication, also known as Universal Authentication connection mechanism. The Universal Authentication allows the use of Multi-Factor Authentication for native and guest user accounts in Azure Active Directory (AD). To learn more about the latest Azure AD functionality in the SQL Server Management Studio release, visit the Azure AD Authentication Extensions for Azure SQL DB and SQL DW Tools documentation webpage.

Azure Content Delivery Network—Dynamic Site Acceleration | General Availability

Pricing | Azure Content Delivery Network Documentation

Instantly speed up web page load times with Azure Content Delivery Network — Dynamic Site Acceleration

Users expect fast, reliable, and personalized web experiences independent of their browser, location, device, or network. However, the very innovations and applications that make these experiences so engaging (i.e. rich interactive content) also slow page load times.

Azure Content Delivery Network Dynamic Site Acceleration improves the quality of the consumer experience by improving the load time of web pages with dynamic content. Dynamic Site Acceleration is specifically targeted to accelerate web content that is not cacheable, such as user credentials and personal data. While static object delivery mainly uses caching to improve the speed, Dynamic Site Acceleration focuses on optimizing route and network between requester and customer origin.

Pricing for Dynamic Site Acceleration is tiered by TB/month. See the Azure Content Delivery Network webpage for more information.

Azure AD — New sign-in user interface | Preview

A new Azure AD and Office 365 sign-in experience in preview

Microsoft continues to make progress on converging the Azure AD and Microsoft Account identity systems. One of the big steps on this journey is to redesign the sign-in user interface so both systems look consistent. This updated design is now in preview for Azure AD and will be available for testing on the Office 365, Azure, and other Microsoft cloud sign-in pages.

What’s changing:

Redesign of Azure AD and Microsoft Account sign-in experiences

Azure AD and Microsoft account sign-in pages will both change to have a consistent look and feel, so you won’t have different experiences when you move between the two.

Pagination of the Azure AD sign-in page

Pagination means that instead of collecting the username and password on the same screen, we’ll collect the username first followed by a credential or proof (typically a password) on a second screen. This improves the user experience and allows new forms of authentication like phone sign-in and certificate-based authentication.

You’ll see a banner on the Azure AD sign-in page giving you the option to opt-in to the new experience so you can test if it works as expected with possible automations or custom branding you’ve deployed for your organization. This new interface will become the default option during the last week of September 2017. Read more on our blog.

Intune Partner Integration | General Availability

New Intune integrated partners Check Point and Saaswedo now available to the public

Check Point SandBlast Mobile (Mobile Threat Defense)

The integration between Check Point and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security will help secure mobile devices from advanced cyber threats, and help ensure that only compliant devices have access to company resources. Check Point SandBlast Mobile provides a centralized, comprehensive security solution that safeguards against progressive mobile cyberattacks, while ensuring employees’ privacy. SandBlast Mobile protects employees’ devices from malware attacks via infected apps, Man-in-the-Middle attacks on compromised Wi-Fi networks and hotspot logins, exploitation of operating systems for rooting and jailbreaking, and malicious links sent on SMS messages. This integration makes it easy to apply SandBlast Mobile’s threat intelligence as an additional input into Intune’s device compliance settings. Once a threat is detected, SandBlast Mobile immediately applies on-device protections, and notifies Intune to enforce device status changes and conditional access controls to ensure that company data stays protected until the issue is remediated. Visit Check Point’s product website for more information on their service.

Datalert from Saaswedo (Telecom Management)

This integration between Saaswedo and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security gives you more control over managing your data and roaming costs. It brings Datalert’s real-time mobile data usage management capabilities together with Microsoft Intune’s mobile device management capabilities, providing you the ability to monitor and manage real-time mobile data usage by your employees on smartphones and tablets. The integration streamlines the deployment of the Datalert app onto users’ devices and connects the Datalert data to Intune to block data and/or roaming for users once usage thresholds are hit. This automates the process for IT to ensure that data thresholds are not exceeded. Visit Datalert’s product website for more information on their service.

Note that any necessary licenses for Check Point and Saaswedo products must be purchased separately from EMS/Intune licenses.

Microsoft Cloud App Security | Enhanced Investigation Features General Availability

Enhanced investigation features for Microsoft Cloud App Security

We’re pleased to enhanced investigation features with Microsoft Cloud App Security:

  • Automated log uploads for custom log formats — In this release, we’ve embedded custom logs formats into our log collectors and the automated log upload. This means that it’s easier than ever to use custom log formats in automated log uploads, for example, from security information and event management (SIEM) systems, or other custom log formats.
  • More IP insights — IP address information is crucial in investigations, so this release extends user insight functionality for IP addresses. You can now view detailed information about IP addresses in the Activity Drawer. From within each specific activity, you can click on a specific IP address tab to view consolidated data about the address, including the number of open alerts, a trend graph of recent activity, and a location map for the IP address.
    • Perform more actions directly in the IP address drawer to enable tagging and filtering of IP addresses in support of your policies and investigations.
  • Better Salesforce Event Monitoring visibility — Now you have enhanced visibility into Salesforce activities objects when Salesforce Event Monitoring is enabled. This includes leads, accounts, campaigns, opportunities, profiles, and cases. An example: configuring an alert for when a user views an unusually large number of account pages.
  • More filters in the investigation pages — Right-click on an activity in the investigation pages to see the new filters that have been added for advanced investigation and filtration. These new filters are view related activity, view related governance, view related alerts, view owned files, and view files shared with this user.

System Center Configuration Manager | New features and enhancements

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve released new features and product enhancements for the Current Branch of System Center Configuration Manager. With each release of Configuration Manager, we’re focusing on the following themes:

  • Configuration Manager makes it easier to adopt and deploy Windows 10 and Office 365.
  • Configuration Manager enables the management of Windows 10 security settings to protect users and company data.
  • Configuration Manager helps customers build the bridge to modern management of Windows to simplify management.
  • Configuration Manager Infrastructure is streamlined for simpler and easier use, reducing your total cost of ownership.
  • Microsoft continues to provide iterative value to customers using Configuration Manager connected with Microsoft Intune.
  • Microsoft is committed to delighting our customers by continuing to invest and iterate on Configuration Manager based on customer feedback.

Please read the Enterprise Mobility and Security blog post Now Available: Update 1706 for System Center Configuration Manager for more information.