Cloud Platform Release Announcements for May 7, 2018

Azure IoT Edge | New capabilities

We’re making advanced capabilities with Azure IoT Edge available so that our partners and customers can get started with business value right away, instead of worrying about infrastructure for edge computing.

First, we’re open sourcing the Azure IoT Edge Runtime, allowing customers to modify the runtime, debug issues, and ultimately have more transparency and control for their applications at the edge.

Second, with Cognitive Services support for edge deployment, developers can build applications that use powerful AI algorithms to interpret, listen, speak, and see for the devices at the edge. Initially available for the Custom Vision service, this capability will enable AI to run on the edge, and connected devices such as drones and industrial equipment can take critical action quickly without requiring a network or always-on connectivity to the cloud.

Third, we’re offering Kubernetes support for IoT Edge so that you can use Kubernetes vocabulary and tech to manage the IoT Edge software stack running on your edge device.

Fourth, we’ve formed hardware partnerships with HP, Avnet, Moxa, and others to make secure edge hardware to ensure IoT solutions are secure from chipset to the cloud. To do that, we’re expanding the Azure Certified for IoT program to support hardware for Azure IoT Edge and highlight hardware that can provide core functionalities such as AI, device management, and security promises.

We’re also partnering with DJI to develop commercial drone solutions—using Azure IoT Edge and Microsoft’s AI technologies—for customers in key vertical segments such as agriculture, construction, and public safety.

Read the IoT announcement blog.

Azure IoT Remote Monitoring | Update

At //BUILD, we’re excited to announce the latest update of Azure IoT Remote Monitoring, a solution accelerator that’s fully operational right out of the box. New features include:

  • Redesigned UI.
  • Enhanced operator scenarios.
  • Easier device connectivity.
  • Better maps.
  • Richer integration options.

Read the blog and visit the ACOM page.

Azure Container Instances | GA

Azure Container Instances—a serverless way to run both Linux and Windows containers, is now available to the public. Azure Container Instances offers you an on-demand compute service delivering rapid deployment of containers with no virtual machine (VM) management and automatic, elastic scale. When we released the preview last summer of Azure Container Instances, it fundamentally changed the landscape of container technology. It was the first service to deliver innovative serverless containers in the public cloud. It was also the first per-second billed compute service. It’s now also the first service of its kind to be generally available.

As part of this announcement, we’re also excited to announce new lower pricing, making it even more cost-effective to deploy a single container in the cloud.

For more information, read the Azure Container Instances blog.

Azure Container Registry | Geo-replication | GA

New enterprise lifecycle management features with a global footprint are now available, including:

  • The general availability of Geo-replication, available across all public regions.
  • The preview of Azure Container Registry Build—a native container build service to support container lifecycle management including automated OS and framework patching — is now available in East US and will be available in West Europe at //build.
  • The preview of the Quarantine pattern, enabling secure by default registries that lock all image pulls until vulnerability scanners have approved the image. We continue to partner with Aqua and Twistlock to create and ship the experience.

Azure IoT Hub | IoT Hub on Azure Stack

We’re excited to share that Microsoft is working to enable Azure IoT Hub to run on Azure Stack. This is an important development that will allow you to run IoT workloads on your own data centers. When the integration is complete, you will be able to connect, monitor, and manage IoT devices in on-premises scenarios. This effort is tied to Microsoft push on Intelligent Edge. Learn more by reading the //BUILD blog.

Azure Event Grid | Cloud Events standard in preview

Support for Cloud Events in Azure Event Grid is now available in preview. Cloud Events is an open standard for events that has been developed as a part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) in partnership with Microsoft, Google, IBM, Oracle, and other cloud vendors. This standard will allow the building of applications that span multiple clouds for event-driven scenarios.

See more details.

Azure Functions | Durable Functions | GA

The Durable Functions extension in Azure Functions is now available. Durable Functions is used to build long-running, stateful function orchestrations in code using C# in a serverless environment. This will allow developers to implement many new scenarios not previously possible, including complex chaining scenarios, fan in/fan out patterns, stateful actors, and scenarios with long callbacks.

This feature has widely been acknowledged as a differentiator for Azure Functions, and isn’t available in any of the competing serverless FaaS services.

See more details.

Azure SignalR Service | Preview

Azure SignalR Service is a fully-managed service that allows developers to focus on building real-time web experiences without worrying about capacity provisioning, reliable connections, scaling, encryption, or authentication. Through tight integration with the .NET SignalR library and Visual Studio family, the service makes it easier to deliver experiences such as chat, instant broadcasting, and IoT dashboards.

Learn more, and try the quick start.

Azure Blockchain Workbench | Preview

Azure Blockchain Workbench, a new developer tool that makes it easier to build blockchain applications on Azure, is now available in preview. With a few simple clicks, you can deploy an Azure-supported blockchain network that’s pre-integrated with a set of cloud services commonly needed to create a working blockchain applications, like Azure Active Directory, Key Vault, and SQL Database. Available now in Azure Marketplace, this offering will reduce proof-of-concept development by roughly ten times, enabling businesses to spend less time on infrastructure scaffolding and more time refining use cases and building-in application logic.

To learn more, read the full blog post, watch our demo on Microsoft Mechanics, or get started with code samples and tutorials.

Azure App Service | Multi-container with Web App for Containers in preview

Multi-container support from Azure App Service

You can now deploy web apps composed of multiple Docker containers to App Service on Linux, which takes care of capacity provisioning, load balancing, and underlying infrastructure maintenance. With this new capability, you can easily bring your Docker Compose or Kubernetes Pod definition to App Service and use powerful App Service capabilities such as built-in CI/CD, auto scaling, and intelligent diagnostics.

Learn more.

Azure Media Services and Video Indexer | Media Services API and Video Indexer update

New updates to Azure Media Services and Video Indexer are now available. These will make it easier for developers to integrate advanced media processing and AI-based media metadata extraction on their apps and workflows.

Developers can access the new Azure Media Services API update that surfaces a simplified development model, enables a better integration experience with key Azure services like Event Grid and Functions, and a new set of SDKs for the most demanded developer languages. Also now available, Video Indexer, the AI-based media metadata extraction service, will allow users to go beyond the limit of resources available on the trial experience by enabling them to connect the web, or its API, to an Azure subscription.

Learn more about Azure Media Services and Video Indexer.

Azure App Service | App Service Environment for App Service on Linux in preview

Virtual Network integration available in App Service on Linux

App Service on Linux is now in preview on App Service Environment. This feature makes it easy to deploy Linux web apps in an Azure Virtual Network with App Service Environment, accessing resources in that Virtual Network and across VPN connections.

Learn more, and get started easily with this quick start.

Azure App Service | Live debug, diagnostics, EasyAuth in preview

Azure App Service updates — Easier diagnostics, debugging, and authentication

New capabilities to make mundane developer tasks simpler are now available:

  • App Service Diagnostics now supports Linux-based apps, integrates with App Insights, and provides additional analytics.
  • Remote debugging is now in preview for container-based apps, and developers can use their preferred SSH client.
  • EasyAuth has also been extended to App Service on Linux.

Learn more.

Azure Cosmos DB | Bulk executor Library | GA

Announcing Azure Cosmos DB bulk library in .NET and Java

The Azure Cosmos DB bulk executor library is now available for download in .NET via Nuget and Java via Maven. Import and migrate large datasets efficiently into Azure Cosmos DB collections within minutes using the library. The library can also be used to perform bulk updates (patches) of existing data stored in Azure Cosmos DB. Get started with samples in .NET and Java.

Azure Cosmos DB | Multi-master support in private preview

Multi-master support with Azure Cosmos DB

Now available in private preview, Azure Cosmos DB offers multi-master support at global scale together with low latency and high availability, tunable consistency models, and comprehensive and flexible conflict resolution support.

Learn more.

Azure Cosmos DB | Provision throughput at database level in preview

If you’re a current Azure Cosmos DB customer with multiple collections, you can now provision throughput at a database level and share across the database. This makes large collection databases cheaper to start and operate.

Learn more about provisioning throughput at the database level.

Azure Cosmos DB | Virtual Network Service Endpoint in preview

Virtual Network Service Endpoint for Azure Cosmos DB

Now available to the public, Virtual Network Service Endpoint helps to ensure access to Azure Cosmos DB from the preferred virtual network subnet. The feature will remove the manual change of IP and provide an easier way to manage access to Azure Cosmos DB endpoint.

To learn more, read about the Virtual Network Service Endpoint.

Azure Search | Cognitive Search in preview

Azure Cognitive Search now in preview

Cognitive Search, a new preview feature in the existing Azure Search service, includes an enrichment pipeline allowing you to find rich structured information from documents. That information can then become part of your Azure Search index. Cognitive Search also integrates with natural language processing capabilities and includes built-in enrichers called cognitive skills. Built-in skills help to perform a variety of enrichment tasks, such as extracting entities from text, or image analysis and OCR capabilities. Cognitive Search is also extensible and can connect to your own custom-built skills.

Learn more.

Azure SQL Database | Transparent data encryption with Azure Key Vault | GA

Azure SQL Database and Data Warehouse Transparent Data Encryption with customer managed keys

Now available to the public, Azure SQL Database and Data Warehouse transparent data encryption offers Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) support with Azure Key Vault integration. Azure Key Vault provides highly available and scalable secure storage for RSA cryptographic keys backed by FIPS 140-2 Level 2 validated hardware security modules (HSMs). Key Vault streamlines the key management process and enables you to maintain full control of encryption keys and allows you to manage and audit key access.

Learn more at the Azure blog.

Azure Maps (formerly known as Azure Location Based Services) at //BUILD | GA

Azure Maps (formerly Azure Location Based Services) has now entered general availability and is now fully supported with an SLA. Azure Maps allows you to seamlessly integrate mapping, search, routing, traffic, and time zone capabilities into your enterprise applications. Make your application location-aware with the following features:

  • Search — Create apps that provide details about a point of interest (POI), including contact information, hours of operation, a location pinpointed on a map, and directions to its address. Search for businesses by name, category, or what’s closest to you.
  • Maps — Integrate clear, easy-to-read maps into your solutions with the JavaScript Map Control APIs or the Render API. The maps update dynamically so your customers get constantly refreshed information.
  • Geocoding — Make apps that turn latitude and longitude coordinates into street addresses, and switch street addresses to map coordinates. Use this data to help ensure customers, goods, and drivers get to destinations on time.
  • Traffic — Develop mobility solutions that improve travel time and avoid gridlock. You get multiple alternate routes around traffic jams, insight into the length of the backup and the time it may take to get through it, and faster travel during rush hour.
  • Routing — Give your solutions the ability to navigate the shortest or fastest routes available — to multiple destinations at a time — or provide specialized routes and facts for walkers, bicyclists, and commercial vehicles.

Learn more and get started.

Azure SQL Database | .Net/ODBC and SSDT in preview

.Net, ODBC and SSDT support for Azure Active Directory interactive authentication with multi-factor authentication

Interactive, the new Azure Active Directory (AD) authentication method for SQL Database, is now available to the public. This feature supports Azure AD Multi-Factor Authentication for two communication drivers for Windows — the latest .Net and ODBC. Learn more by downloading the latest drivers .NET4.7.2 and ODBC17.1.

For API documentation, see a .NET SQL Client sample, a .NET code sample and an ODBC code sample.

The new authentication method Interactive is also supported in the SQL Server Data Tool (SSDT) and is available with the latest Visual Studio release.

Visual Studio 2017 | Update

A new update to Visual Studio 2017 is now available. With this update, you can take advantage of the latest bug fixes and performance improvements, as well as the following new features, for free:

  • Cloud development – We’ve added support to launch containerized applications directly in Visual Studio Connected Environment for Azure Container Services, and have made several improvements to the project scaffolding and unit testing. Additionally, you can publish Helm charts directly to Azure Container Service. You can now also directly publish .NET applications to Kubernetes containers. Lastly, for your ASP.NET and ASP.NET Core applications, you can configure the Key Vault Connected Service directly from the IDE.
  • MSVC C++ 17 conformance – For several releases, we have been working on full C++ 17 standards conformance for MSVC. We’re happy to announce we have now reached full C++ 17 conformance in MSVC with Visual Studio 2017 version 15.7.
  • .NET Mobile development with Xamarin – This release brings several improvements for mobile developers using Xamarin. The XAML editing experience has been improved greatly, with full IntelliSense support. iOS devices can be provisioned for development with a single click, saving developers a lot of time and steps. Android and iOS project templates have been re-written to use the latest modern navigation patterns and are now better organized for better discoverability.
  • Hyper-V Android emulator compatibility (preview) – Google’s Android emulator has been using hardware acceleration through Intel’s HAXM, which required turning off Hyper-V to function. We’re releasing a preview today of our Hyper-V Android emulator compatibility, which lets developers use Hyper-V as the hardware acceleration platform for Google’s Android emulator. This gets developers the latest Android emulator images running on a fast emulator, which can be run side-by-side with other Hyper-V enabled tools like Docker.

See more details on the release notes.

Download the Visual Studio 2017 update through the Visual Studio installer or VisualStudio.com.

Visual Studio Team Services | Azure DevOps Projects

Microsoft Azure DevOps Projects enables you to start running your application on Azure App Service or Virtual Machine hosts, and in just three steps to receive a full CI/CD pipeline powered by Visual Studio Team Services.

At //BUILD 2018, DevOps Projects support will extend to Azure Kubernetes Service for .NET, Java, and Node.js web app pipelines, as well as Azure Service Fabric support for .NET.

Get more information.

Visual Studio Team Services | Release management release gates | GA

Visual Studio Team Services is a cloud-hosted DevOps services with capabilities such as Agile planning, Git source control, cloud build, release management (including CI/CD pipelines), and test and package management.

Visual Studio Team Services release management’s release gate capability is now available to the public. This milestone also includes improvements to the user experience and support for extensibility of the gates that customers can build themselves and ship through the Visual Studio Marketplace.

Get more information on what’s new.

Visual Studio for Mac | Update

Visual Studio for Mac version 7.5 is now available. With Visual Studio for Mac version 7.5, you can take advantage of the latest bug fixes, performance improvements, as well as the following new features, for free:

  • Web Development with Razor, JavaScript, and TypeScript – Editor support for Razor, JavaScript, and TypeScript have been some of the top web developer requests. In this release, new editors are being introduced for each of these languages.
  • Build serverless solutions with Azure Functions – Last year, we introduced preview support for Azure Functions – enabling development of Azure Functions using C# and .NET with full debugger tooling – based on the Mono runtime. Now, a new Functions template dialog is included, along with support for .NET Core.
  • .NET Standard and Xamarin.Forms – Mobile developers will be happy to see that .NET Standard Library projects are now a fully supported option for sharing code between platforms when building Xamarin.Forms solutions.
  • Team Foundation Version Control support (preview) – Support for Team Foundation Version Control in Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Team Services is now in preview. Developers now have the option to use the existing Git source control integration or the new Team Foundation Version Control integration to manage their code.

Learn more at the Visual Studio Team Services blog, or read the release notes.

Download Visual Studio for Mac version 7.5 today through the built-in update functionality or on VisualStudio.com.

.NET Core | .NET Core 3.0

The roadmap for the next major version of .NET Core, .NET Core 3.0, is now available. This will expand the supported workloads to Windows desktop, bringing Windows Presentation Foundation(WPF), Windows Forms (WinForms), and Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app frameworks to .NET Core.

This allows Windows desktop developers to take advantage of side-by-side install of their apps. This means that system-wide updates of .NET will not impact running applications.

Developers will also have the ability to share and easily integrate UI controls across all the major Windows desktop frameworks. This means that you can incorporate controls into your apps that make the most sense for your users as well as take a phased migration approach to modernizing the UI of your app. For instance, you will be able to host UWP controls like Edge, Media, and more in your WPF and Winforms applications.

This is a significant investment in bringing all Windows desktop developers forward to the latest innovations on the .NET platform. This does not change support for WinForms and WPF on the .NET Framework.

Learn more.

.NET Core | .NET Core 2.1 release candidate

The release candidate for .NET Core 2.1 is now available with a “go-live” license. This means you can use this release in production and Microsoft will support you. .NET Core 2.1 release candidate includes ASP.NET Core for web applications and Entity Framework Core for data. New features include support for real-time web communication with SignalR, numerous improvements in the web and data stacks, improved compatibility with .NET Framework, performance improvements, and tooling support in the latest updates to Visual Studio 2017.

See more information.

Xamarin.Forms 3.0 | GA

Xamarin.Forms 3.0 today is now available to the public. Xamarin.Forms 3.0 delivers stability, performance, and features focusing on making it easier to create beautiful apps that work on a variety of devices.

We’re now building with .NET Standard 2.0, using the magic of multi-targeting, while still supporting PCL profiles and other .NET Standard versions. Projects load much faster when you use .NET Standard project types.

Xamarin.Forms 3.0 also provides improvements and additions that will make developers even more productive. We’ve added the Visual State Manager, known from developing with XAML in UWP and WPF. We’ve also identified two features to add to Xamarin.Forms — FlexLayout and CSS. Xamarin.Forms 3.0 introduces both features without compromising the existing XAML experience. To add to that, right-to-left support and many new quality improvements have also been included in this 3.0 release.

See more details or read the release notes.

Azure Lab Services | Preview

Azure Lab Services, the simple and easy way to create a computer lab in the cloud, is now in preview. Azure Lab Services is an expansion of Azure DevTest Labs, which allows customers to create fully customized, shareable, and secure labs. This includes both centralized settings for billing, governance, compliance, security, and distributed ability to create and use resources within the lab. Azure Lab Services introduces lab archetypes that make creating a lab for some of the common customer scenarios (like classrooms, trial, and development and testing) even easier. Plus, Azure Lab Services introduces a new and simple web interface for setup and use of labs.

To learn more, check out Azure Lab Services.

Team Foundation Server 2018 | Update 2 | GA

Team Foundation Server is an on-premises DevOps suite of tools that you can install in your environment, enabling you to use many of the same capabilities available to customers in the cloud through Visual Studio Team Services.

Visual Studio Team Services is updated every three weeks. If you choose to host your own server with Team Foundation Server, you can upgrade to receive new features on a quarterly basis through our Team Foundation Server updates releases.

Team Foundation Server 2018 Update 2 is now ready for download. With this update, you get many new features and bug fixes, including:

  • Support for Release Management release gates capabilities.
  • Wiki search.
  • Mentions in pull requests.
  • “Not In” query operator support.

Many other improvements have also been added. For full details and to download the update installer please read the release notes.

Azure SQL Data Warehouse | Compute optimized Gen2 | GA

Azure SQL Data Warehouse Gen2 tier is now generally available. This performance-optimized tier provides industry leading price performance and improves individual query execution times by as much as ten times. In addition to performance improvements, SQL Data Warehouse can now be provisioned with five times the computing power and unlimited storage capacity, making it suitable for the most intensive analytics workloads. This new performance tier takes advantage of the latest generation of Azure hardware to dramatically improve compute and storage scalability. This new performance optimized tier will be rolled out to 22 regions initially, with subsequent rollouts to other regions.

The preview pricing discount will end on June 1, 2018. For the latest pricing, please see the SQL Data Warehouse pricing page.

Azure Database Migration Service | GA

Azure Database Migration Service is now available. This service is designed to provide a seamless, end-to-end solution for moving on-premises SQL Server, Oracle, and other relational databases to the Azure Data platform. The service supports migration of homogeneous/heterogeneous source-target pairs, and the guided migration process is easy to understand and implement.

Learn more.

SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 2 (SP2) | GA

The SQL Server team is excited to bring you the second service pack release for SQL Server 2016. The service pack is now available for download on the Microsoft Download Center and will be coming soon to Visual Studio Subscriptions, MBS/Partner Source, and VLSC. As part of our commitment to software excellence for our customers, this upgrade is available to all customers with existing SQL Server 2016 deployments.

SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 2 (SP2) contains a rollup of released hotfixes as well as multiple improvements centered around performance, scalability, and supportability based on feedback from customers and the SQL community. These improvements enable SQL Server 2016 to perform faster and with expanded supportability and diagnostics. It also showcases the SQL Server product team’s commitment to provide continued value into in-market releases.

For more information, read our SQL Server 2016 SP2 blog post.

Azure API Management | API Management in China | GA

Azure API Management is now generally available in China.

Azure API Management delivers a comprehensive solution for publishing, managing, securing, and measuring APIs. With API Management customers can catalog and expose all APIs in one place, connect to back end services on Azure and outside, optimize and protect the APIs, manage API lifecycle, and offer a first-rate developer experience.

Learn more.

Monitoring Azure Container Service health and performance

Azure Monitor will now track the health and performance of your Azure Container Service cluster.

Monitoring the health and performance of your Azure Container Service cluster is important to ensure that your applications are up and running as expected. If you run applications on other Azure infrastructure, such as Azure Virtual Machines, you’ve come to rely on Azure Monitor to provide near real-time, granular monitoring data. We’re happy to announce that you can now rely on Azure Monitor to also track the health and performance of your Azure Container Service cluster. You can view the performance at different levels of your Kubernetes cluster, and can access all your container logs from a centralized location.

To learn more, read about the public preview announcement.

Azure mobile app | GA

During Microsoft //BUILD, we announced the general availability of the Microsoft Azure mobile app in iOS and Android platforms. If you’re managing services on Azure, you can now monitor the health and status of your Azure resources, quickly diagnose and fix issues, and run Azure CLI or Power Shell commands to manage your resources right from your iOS or Android device.
As detailed in the Azure team’s blog post, you can also start your Cloud Shell session from the Azure portal and pick up where you left off when you’re away from the office. This offers increased productivity for developers and administrators, and allows them to manage Azure resources anytime, anywhere.
To learn more, read the full blog post and visit the Azure mobile app website.

Azure Content Delivery Network Standard Microsoft tier | Preview

The Azure Content Delivery Network Standard Microsoft tier is now available in preview. This makes Microsoft’s own global edge and Content Delivery Network service available to Azure customers.

Delivering content from Microsoft’s global network enables more consistent, more predictable cache fill performance by providing direct access to content in Azure from each Content Delivery Network edge location.

In addition, with Standard Microsoft, customers will have access to new features such as:

  • On-by-default regional caching that enables customers to improve performance and reduce load on their origins.
  • Bring-your-own-SSL certificate that enables customers to better tailor their services to their needs.

Customers will use the same, familiar Azure Content Delivery Network portal experience to create and operate Standard Microsoft.

For more information, refer to the Azure Content Delivery Network preview page.

Windows Server | Windows Server update | GA

In this latest update to Windows Server, we’ve continued to prioritize customer feedback by delivering additional optimizations to the server core base container image to reduce footprint and download times. We’re also delivering increased application compatibility, better performance, additional Kubernetes support, and continued optimizations for native Linux containers through Hyper-V isolation.

We also heard from many of our customers about how tools like the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) improved their management and scripting experience on Windows Server, so they’ll be happy to know that the great work showcased on the Command Line Blog is also part of Windows Server, including background tasks, DriveFS, WSLPath and much more. Beyond that, we also now have native Windows versions of popular open source tools including tar, curl, and OpenSSH.

See more information.

Azure Storage Explorer | GA

Azure Storage Explorer is now generally available. With this capability, you can easily manage different storage entities in one place from Linux, macOS, and Windows.

Benefits include:

  • Access multiple accounts and subscriptions across Azure, Azure Stack, and the sovereign cloud.
  • Create, edit, view, upload, download, and delete storage resources such as blobs, queues, tables, files, Data Lake (in preview) and Cosmos DB (in preview).
  • Share storage resources by sharing SAS URLs or direct links.

This release also includes a new authentication library for sharing account information with Visual Studio, enhanced accessibility support, and an open collaboration and feedback channel using GitHub.

Learn more about and download Azure Storage Explorer.

Azure Active Directory | Managed Service Identity for developers | GA

Managed Service Identity gives Azure service an automatically managed identity in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). Use this identity to authenticate to any service that supports Azure AD authentication, without having any credentials in your code.

It’s critical to manage and secure the credentials that need to be in your code for authenticating to cloud services. Ideally, the credentials would never appear on developer workstations or get checked into source control. Managed Service Identity helps solve this problem by giving Azure services an automatically managed identity in Azure AD.

Learn more.