Cloud Platform Release Announcements for April 4, 2018

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.

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 | Spring GA
  • Spring Public Announcements / VLE | Spring Public Announcements / VLE
  • Power BI Report Server – March 2018 update
  • Azure Service Bus | Disclosure – Hourly Billing for Service Bus
  • Azure Logic Apps | Logic Apps in Azure Gov GA
  • Azure DNS Private Zones | Public Preview
  • Azure Virtual Machines Serial Console | Public Preview
  • Azure Service Health | GA
  • Azure Availability Zones | GA
  • Azure security and operations management | Security Center Web Assessment is GA
  • Azure Files Share Snapshots | GA
  • Ubuntu Advantage availability in Azure | GA
  • Azure Cosmos DB | Data Explorer – GA
  • Azure Search | Auto Complete and Synonyms – Public Preview
  • Azure SQL Database | New Purchasing Model – Public Preview
  • Azure SQL Database | Read Scale – Public Preview
  • Azure SQL Database | Long term backup retention – Public Preview
  • Azure DevOps Projects | VM Support for .NET Apps (GA)
  • Azure DevOps Tool Integrations | Updated Azure support in Ansible 2.5
  • Azure DevOps Tool Integrations | Announcing Terraform Availability in the Azure Marketplace & Azure Terraform Provider v1.3
  • Azure AD App Proxy Wildcard, PowerShell support GA
  • Standard Load Balancer | GA

Microsoft Dynamics 365 | Spring GA

Business Applications Spring 2018: General Availability

It is with great excitement that we announce Business Applications Spring 2018 general availability. This represents an incredible effort to release the next wave of innovation with hundreds of new features and capabilities.

We publicly announced Spring 2018 on March 21st at Microsoft Business Forward, bringing together executives, analysts and guest speakers to host 324 business decision makers. This momentum was further amplified at the Business Applications Virtual Launch Event where we were joined online by over 3,000 prospects, partners and customers.

To learn about all of the exciting new capabilities being released, read the Spring 2018 Release Notes and watch the Virtual Launch Event, which includes nine additional on-demand deep-dive videos.

Resources:

Power BI Report Server – March 2018 update

On March 19, 2018, Microsoft released an update to Power BI Report Server. The new update of Power BI Report Server contains several new features customers have been anxiously waiting for, including bookmarking, syncing slicers, and quick measures. The Power BI Report Server March 2018 release is supported for production workloads, so you should feel free to upgrade your production environment to take advantage of all these new capabilities.

To learn more, read the full blog post and visit the Power BI Report Server webpage.

Azure Service Bus | Disclosure – Hourly Billing for Service Bus

Azure Service Bus connects your existing on-premises systems to cloud solutions, distribute messages to multiple independent back-end systems, and simplify enterprise integration with a reliable cloud messaging as a service (MaaS).

On May 1st, 2018 Azure Service Bus Standard Base Unit and Service Bus Premium Messaging Units will start being billed at an hourly rate from the current daily rate.

For more information about pricing for this tier, please visit the Azure Service Bus pricing webpage.

Azure Logic Apps | Logic Apps in Azure Gov GA

Azure Logic Apps is now generally available in Azure Government. Azure Logic Apps delivers process automation and integrate applications and data across on-premise, public or private cloud environments.

With Logic Apps Government agencies enhance productivity with business processes automation, EAI, B2B/EDI and services and applications integration leveraging most common out-of-the-box connectors for Azure services, Office 365, Dynamics CRM and others while complying with policies and regulations related to public cloud.

Transform workflows into intelligent actions with machine learning and cognitive services and build smart integrations from connecting SaaS applications and hybrid deployments with Logic Apps. For more information visit blog post.

Azure DNS Private Zones | Public Preview

Azure announces Public Preview of Azure DNS Private Zones, a key feature addition to Azure DNS. This capability provides a reliable, secure DNS service to manage and resolve names in a VNet, without the need for you to create and manage custom DNS solution.

This feature allows you to use your company domain rather than the Azure-provided names available today, provides name resolution for VM’s within a VNet and across VNets. Additionally, you can configure zones names with a split-horizon view – allowing for a private and a public DNS zone to share the same name.

Zone and record management is done using the Azure REST APIs, SDKs, PowerShell and CLI.

The feature has been available for a few months now in Managed Preview. Some of the previous limitations with the Managed Preview have been lifted, notably the region-wide availability. With this release the feature is now available in all Public Azure regions.

Azure Virtual Machines Serial Console | Public Preview

On Monday, March 26, we announced public preview of Azure’s Virtual Machine Serial Console providing access to a text-based console for Linux and Windows Virtual Machines on Azure. This serial connection is to COM1 serial port of the virtual machine and provides access to the virtual machine regardless of that virtual machine’s network / operating system state. Access to Serial Console for a virtual machine can be done via Azure Portal and for those who have VM Contributor or above access.

As detailed in Corey Sander’s blog post announcing public preview of Serial Console, Serial Console offers a way you can debug both with direct serial-based access and fix these issues with the tiniest of effort.

To learn more, watch special episode of Tuesday with Corey on Serial Console, or read our Serial Console documentation.

Azure Service Health | GA

On Monday, March 26, we announced the general availability of Azure Service Health. Unlike the Azure Status page which provides general status information, Azure Service Health provides tailored information for your resources. When issues in Azure services affect your resources, this personalized dashboard helps you understand the impact of the issue, and keeps you updated as the issue is resolved. It also helps you prepare for planned maintenance and changes that could affect the availability of your resources. Finally, Azure Service Health allows you to configure alerts to ensure that your relevant teams are notified of any service health events.

Learn more about Azure Service Health and get started by creating a service health alert.

Azure Availability Zones | GA Azure Availability Zones | GA

On Tuesday, March 27, we announced the general availability of Azure Availability Zones, a high availability solution for the most demanding mission critical workloads.  Availability Zones are physically separated, logically isolated, and feature independent power, cooling, and networking for the one or more datacenters that make up each zone.  We are introducing a new Virtual Machine SLA of 99.99% uptime when running in two or more zones, our highest level offered yet.  Availability Zones are live in regions across the US and Europe.

As detailed in Tom Keane’s blog post, the addition of Availability Zones in Azure means customers can more easily create a comprehensive business continuity strategy with data residency, by utilizing our high availability solutions and paired regions for disaster recovery and backup.

To learn more, read the blog post and visit the Availability Zones webpage for more information.

Azure security and operations management | Security Center Web Assessment is GA

Generally available today, Azure Security Center’s Web Security Configuration Assessment can now help you detect vulnerabilities in your web server settings and quickly act. To learn more about this feature, visit our blog.

 

Azure Files Share Snapshots | GA

Azure Files Share Snapshots | GA Azure File Share Snapshots are Generally Available

We’re excited to announce that Azure File Share Snapshots are generally available. Share snapshots provide a way to make incremental backups of SMB shares in Azure Files. Storage Administrators can use snapshots directly and backup providers can now leverage this capability to integrate Azure Files backup and restore capabilities into their products. File Share Snapshots are:

  • Incremental and Fast – Only changes to the base data are stored in the snapshot. If nothing changes after you create the snapshot, size of the snapshot remains zero.
  • Work in a familiar way – Azure is the very first public cloud provider having capabilities like creating instantaneous file share snapshot, browsing of files within snapshots with native VSS like experience in Windows Explorer and restore from right within the same Windows explorer.
  • Easily integrated with offerings from Backup providers – Backup providers can now leverage REST API to provide a true native backup story.

Azure File Share Snapshots will be available in all Azure Public Regions. Capacity consumed by share snapshots is charged at the same rate as Data storage prices.

Ubuntu Advantage availability in Azure | GA

Ubuntu Advantage is Canonical’s enterprise-grade commercial support offering for Ubuntu on Azure, trusted by telco, finance, and retail customers running highly available, and cost-efficient cloud infrastructures. Starting today, Ubuntu Advantage is available to be deployed to your subscription via Azure Marketplace and, you can even enroll from a running Ubuntu VM on Azure! Learn more at the Azure blog.

Azure Cosmos DB | Data Explorer – GA

Azure Cosmos DB Data Explorer now generally available

Azure Cosmos DB Data Explorer provides a rich and unified developer experience for inserting, querying, and managing Azure Cosmos DB data within the Azure portal and the Emulator. Data Explorer consolidates the functionality previously available in Document Explorer, Query Explorer, and Script Explorer, so that they can all be done without switching views. With this announcement, Document Explorer, Query Explorer, and Script Explorer will no longer be available in the Azure portal. Learn more in the Azure update.

Azure SQL Database | New Purchasing Model – Public Preview Azure SQL Database | New Purchasing Model – Public Preview

New purchasing model for Azure SQL Database

We are pleased to announce the preview of a new vCore-based purchasing model for Azure SQL Database Elastic pools and Single databases. The new purchasing model is in addition to the existing DTU-based model. Designed to give you flexibility, control, transparency and an easier way to compare to on-premises workloads, it allows you to scale your compute, and storage independently based upon your workload needs. Options within the vCore-based model are also eligible for up to 30 percent savings with the Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server.

Azure SQL Database | Read Scale – Public Preview

Azure SQL Database announces public preview of read scale-out support in Premium service tier

Following the announcement last month of zone redundant database support, we are further expanding the power of Premium databases and elastic pools by including read scale-out support. This capability redirects the read-only client connections to one of the automatically provisioned HA replicas and effectively doubles the compute capacity of the database or elastic pool at no additional charge. This is ideal for load-balancing of complex analytical workloads without impacting the primary OLTP workload. To learn more, please see our read scale-out documentation.

Azure SQL Database | Long term backup retention – Public Preview

Azure SQL Database announces a major update of its long-term backup retention preview

We are releasing a major update of this preview feature to address the feedback we have gathered from customers since the initial release in October 2016. This refresh of the long-term backup retention preview will make the feature available in all Azure regions and provide greater flexibility in setting your retention policies and managing individual backups. Backups will also now use RA-GRS storage, which provides an even higher degree of protection for your data. To learn more, please visit the Azure blog.

Azure DevOps Projects | VM Support for .NET Apps (GA)

Azure DevOps Projects now supports Windows VMs as deployment targets for ASP.NET and ASP.NET core web applications. This addition is the first of several planned expansions to Azure DevOps projects scenarios which allow developers to create full CI/CD pipelines in minutes from the Azure portal powered by Visual Studio Team Services.

To learn more visit: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/features/devops-projects/

Azure DevOps Tool Integrations | Updated Azure support in Ansible 2.5

The Azure engineering team is bringing increased native support to Azure for customers using Ansible. Ansible 2.5, that was just released, includes updates to network and virtual machine support as well as 13 new Azure modules, enabling image management, container and database scenarios.

  • Image: Create, delete an image from virtual machine, blob uri, managed disk or snapshot.
  • Container Instance: Create, update and delete an Azure Container Instance.
  • Container Registry: Create, update and delete an Azure Container Registry.
  • SQL server and database: Create, update and delete instance of SQL Server and database.
  • MySQL server and database: Create, update and delete instance of MySQL Server and database.
  • PostgreSQL server and database: Create, update and delete instance of PostgreSQL Server and database.
  • Key Vault: Create, update and delete instance of Key Vault. And create or delete a key or secret with a given Key Vault. By using Key Vault, you can encrypt keys and secrets (such as authentication keys, storage account keys, data encryption keys, .PFX files, and passwords).

For more information about the capabilities available, please visit the Ansible on Azure documentation webpage.

Azure DevOps Tool Integrations | Announcing Terraform Availability in the Azure Marketplace & Azure Terraform Provider v1.3

The Azure engineering team is bringing increased native support to Azure for customers using Terraform, the latest improvements and enhancements include:

To get started using Terraform on Azure, visit the Terraform on Azure developer hub, or visit our blog.

Azure AD App Proxy Wildcard, PowerShell support GA

We are continuing to deliver new features to make your remote access story even better and easier through Azure AD Application Proxy. As of today, we are happy to introduce limited support for using websockets with Application Proxy, particularly for accessing the application QlikSense. If there are other applications you’d like to see as we move towards GA, let us know in our feedback portal. To get started, follow our documentation and download the new connector. We are also excited to share that our wildcard application publishing and PowerShell support are now GA. Wildcard application publishing allows you to publish and manage many applications as one in the Azure Portal. PowerShell also build and maintain a standardized and predictable process for deploying Application Proxy applications in your environment.

Standard Load Balancer | GA

Azure Standard Load Balancer is now generally available in all public regions.

Standard Load Balancer enables you to scale your applications and create high availability for small scale deployments to large and complex multi-zone architectures. You can create resiliency for all your virtual machine resources inside a virtual network. It supports inbound as well as outbound connections, provides low latency and high throughput, and scales up to millions of flows for all TCP and UDP applications.

Standard Load Balancer enables Availability Zones with zone-redundant and zonal front ends as well as cross-zone load balancing for public and internal scenarios. You can scale Network Virtual Appliance scenarios and make them more resilient by using internal HA Ports load balancing rules. Standard Load Balancer provides new diagnostics insights with multi-dimensional metrics in Azure Monitor.

We encourage customers to evaluate this new ability for their scenarios and visit the Standard Load Balancer documentation page for more information.