09

Jul

Making buildings smarter with Azure IoT
Making buildings smarter with Azure IoT

Commercial real estate developers, building owners, facilities management companies, and tenants have a huge opportunity to address, and solve for, the unique business challenges faced by their industry, by applying the Internet of Things (IoT) to buildings. For example, by leveraging data from IoT sensors and building management systems, companies can gain insights that enable them to save energy, reduce operational expenses, increase occupant comfort, and optimize space.

However, the COVID-19 crisis has presented a new set of challenges for developers, owners, and management companies. New forecasts show the smart building market size growing between 7.3 percent and 11.6 percent annually to overall market revenues of between $65.2 billion and $82.7 billion USD in 2025.1

Smart buildings also help companies meet regulations for tracking and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Let’s look at how Bosch Building Technologies, Bentley Systems, Schneider Electric, and ICONICS use Azure IoT to deliver the benefits of smart buildings.

Decreasing energy requirements

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy estimates that implementing smart building technology in an existing building can result in energy savings of 30–50 percent.2 For example, companies can combine data from occupancy sensors with data from HVAC and lighting systems to lower room

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08

Jul

Azure AI: Build mission-critical AI apps with new Cognitive Services capabilities

As the world adjusts to new ways of working and staying connected, we remain committed to providing Azure AI solutions to help organizations invent with purpose.

Building on our vision to empower all developers to use AI to achieve more, today we’re excited to announce expanded capabilities within Azure Cognitive Services, including:.

Text Analytics for health preview. Form Recognizer general availability. Custom Commands general availability. New Neural Text to Speech voices.

Companies in healthcare, insurance, sustainable farming, and other fields continue to choose Azure AI to build and deploy AI applications to transform their businesses. According to IDC1, by 2022, 75 percent of enterprises will deploy AI-based solutions to improve operational efficiencies and deliver enhanced customer experiences.

To meet this growing demand, today’s product updates expand on existing language, vision, and speech capabilities in Azure Cognitive Services to help developers build mission-critical AI apps that enable richer insights, save time and reduce costs, and improve customer engagement.

Get rich insights with powerful natural language processing

One of the ways organizations are adapting is scaling the ability to rapidly process data and generate new insights from data. COVID-19 has accelerated the urgency, particularly for the healthcare industry. With the overwhelming amount

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02

Jul

Plan your migration to Azure VMware solution using Azure Migrate

Azure Migrate now supports assessments for Azure VMware Solution (AVS), providing even more options for you to plan your migration to Azure. AVS enables you to run VMware natively on Azure. AVS provides a dedicated Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) for your VMware environment on Azure, ensuring you can leverage familiar VMware tools and investments, while modernizing applications overtime with integration to Azure native services. Delivered and operated as a service, your private cloud environment provides all compute, networking, storage, and software required to extend and migrate your on-premises VMware environments to Azure.

As organizations now more than ever look for cost efficiencies, business stability, and consistency, choosing the most efficient migration path is imperative. This means considering a number of different workload scenarios and destinations, such as migrating your servers to Azure Virtual Machines or running your existing VMware workloads natively on Azure with AVS.

Previously, Azure Migrate tooling provided support for migrating Windows and Linux servers to Azure Virtual Machines, as well as support for database, web application, and virtual desktop scenarios. Now, you can use the migration hub to assess machines for migrating to AVS as well.

With the Azure Migrate: Server Assessment tool, you can analyze

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01

Jul

Build, distribute, and deploy application updates to Azure virtual machine scale sets

As the needs of your business grow, and you deploy business-critical applications at cloud scale, the complexity and administrative overhead of managing those applications can increase substantially. To help reduce this management overhead, Azure continues to invest in new capabilities that make it easier to build and distribute application updates across distributed cloud environments.

We recently announced the general availability of automatic image-based upgrades for custom images, providing you the ability to automatically deploy new versions of virtual machine (VM) images to your virtual machine scale sets. Automatic image upgrade natively integrates with Shared Image Gallery, combining the scalable distribution of VM images with the ease and safety of orchestrated infrastructure updates, to offer an end-to-end solution from image publishing to workload deployment.

This blog describes how you can use integrated Azure services to build custom images with your application updates, distribute those images across your organization and automatically deploy the new images to your virtual machine scale sets.

Build images with application updates

Deploying application and security updates across an organization can often be a complex process, involving multiple stages of deployments across disjointed systems. Standardized VM images allow organizations to ensure consistency across deployments, and these images

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01

Jul

Azure Firewall Manager is now generally available
Azure Firewall Manager is now generally available

Azure Firewall Manager is now generally available and includes Azure Firewall Policy, Azure Firewall in a Virtual WAN Hub (Secure Virtual Hub), and Hub Virtual Network. In addition, we are introducing several new capabilities to Firewall Manager and Firewall Policy to align with the standalone Azure Firewall configuration capabilities.

Key features in this release include:

Threat intelligence-based filtering allow list in Firewall Policy is now generally available.Multiple public IP addresses support for Azure Firewall in Secure Virtual Hub is now generally available.Forced tunneling support for Hub Virtual Network is now generally available.Configuring secure virtual hubs with Azure Firewall for east-west traffic (private) and a third-party security as a service (SECaaS) partner of your choice for north-south traffic (internet bound). Integration of third-party SECaaS partners are now generally available in all Azure public cloud regions.Zscaler integration will be generally available on July 3, 2020. Check Point is a supported SECaaS partner and will be in preview on July 3, 2020. iboss integration will be generally available on July 31, 2020.Support for domain name system (DNS) proxy, custom DNS, and fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) filtering in network rules using Firewall Policy are now in preview.

Firewall Policy is now generally available

Firewall

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30

Jun

Azure Cost Management + Billing updates – June 2020

Whether you’re a new student, thriving startup, or the largest enterprise, you have financial constraints and you need to know what you’re spending, where, and how to plan for the future. Nobody wants a surprise when it comes to the bill, and this is where Azure Cost Management + Billing comes in.

We’re always looking for ways to learn more about your challenges and how Azure Cost Management + Billing can help you better understand where you’re accruing costs in the cloud, identify and prevent bad spending patterns, and optimize costs to empower you to do more with less. Here are a few of the latest improvements and updates based on your feedback:

More flexibility for budget notifications. Subscribe to active cost recommendations with Advisor digests. Automate subscription creation in Azure Government. Subscription ownership transfer improvements. New ways to save money with Azure. New videos and learning opportunities. Documentation updates.

Let’s dig into the details.

 

More flexibility for budget notifications

You already know Azure Cost Management budgets keep you informed as your costs increase over time. We’re introducing two changes to make it easier than ever to tune your budgets to suit your specific needs.

You can now specify

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30

Jun

New Azure Firewall features in Q2 CY2020
New Azure Firewall features in Q2 CY2020

We are pleased to announce several new Azure Firewall features that allow your organization to improve security, have more customization, and manage rules more easily. These new capabilities were added based on your top feedback:

Custom DNS support now in preview. DNS Proxy support now in preview. FQDN filtering in network rules now in preview. IP Groups now generally available. AKS FQDN tag now generally available. Azure Firewall is now HIPPA compliant. 

In addition, in early June 2020, we announced Azure Firewall forced tunneling and SQL FQDN filtering are now generally available.

Azure Firewall is a cloud-native firewall as a service (FWaaS) offering that allows you to centrally govern and log all your traffic flows using a DevOps approach. The service supports both application and network-level filtering rules and is integrated with the Microsoft Threat Intelligence feed for filtering known malicious IP addresses and domains. Azure Firewall is highly available with built-in auto scaling.

Custom DNS support now in preview

Since its launch in September 2018, Azure Firewall has been hardcoded to use Azure DNS to ensure the service can reliably resolve its outbound dependencies. Custom DNS provides separation between customer and service name resolution. This allows you to configure Azure

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29

Jun

Five reasons to view this Azure Synapse Analytics virtual event

The virtual event Azure Synapse Analytics: How It Works is now available on demand. In demos and technical discussions, Microsoft customers explain how they’re using the newest Azure Synapse Analytics capabilities to deliver insights faster, bring together an entire analytics ecosystem in a central location, reduce costs, and transform decision-making.

This post outlines five key reasons to view the one-hour event.

Learn how to deliver powerful insights with speed and ease

Today, it’s critical to have a data-driven culture in your organization. Analytics play a pivotal role in helping many organizations make insights-driven decisions—decisions to transform supply chains, develop new ways to interact with customers, and evaluate new offerings.

At Azure Synapse Analytics: How It Works, customers showed how they combine data ingestion, data warehousing, and big data analytics in a single cloud-native service using Azure Synapse. If you’re a data engineer trying to wrangle multiple data types from multiple sources to create pipelines or a database administrator with responsibilities over your data lake and data warehouse, you’ll see how all this can be simplified in a code-free environment.

Customers also demonstrated how they give their employees access to unprecedented, real-time insights from enterprise data using Azure Synapse with built-in

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29

Jun

Advancing Azure service quality with artificial intelligence: AIOps

“In the era of big data, insights collected from cloud services running at the scale of Azure quickly exceed the attention span of humans. It’s critical to identify the right steps to maintain the highest possible quality of service based on the large volume of data collected. In applying this to Azure, we envision infusing AI into our cloud platform and DevOps process, becoming AIOps, to enable the Azure platform to become more self-adaptive, resilient, and efficient. AIOps will also support our engineers to take the right actions more effectively and in a timely manner to continue improving service quality and delighting our customers and partners. This post continues our Advancing Reliability series highlighting initiatives underway to keep improving the reliability of the Azure platform. The post that follows was written by Jian Zhang, our Program Manager overseeing these efforts, as she shares our vision for AIOps, and highlights areas of this AI infusion that are already a reality as part of our end-to-end cloud service management.”—Mark Russinovich, CTO, Azure

This post includes contributions from Principal Data Scientist Manager Yingnong Dang and Partner Group Software Engineering Manager Murali Chintalapati.

 

As Mark mentioned when he launched this Advancing Reliability blog

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29

Jun

Azure Digital Twins: Powering the next generation of IoT connected solutions

Last month at Microsoft Build 2020, we announced the new features for Azure Digital Twins, the IoT platform that enables the creation of next-generation IoT connected solutions that model the real world. Today, we are announcing that these updated capabilities are now available in preview. Using the power of IoT, businesses have gained unprecedented insights into their assets. But as connected solutions continue to evolve, companies are looking for ways to create richer models of entire business environments, which is quite challenging even for sophisticated businesses.

Our goal with Azure Digital Twins is to make the creation of sophisticated digital twin solutions easy. is to make the creation of sophisticated digital twin solutions easy. With today’s announcement, you can apply your domain expertise on top of Azure Digital Twins to design and build comprehensive digital models of entire environments.

Using Azure Digital Twins, you can gain insights that drive better products, optimization of operations, cost reduction, and breakthrough customer experiences. And you can now do so across environments of all types, including buildings, factories, farms, energy networks, railways, stadiums—even entire cities.

What’s new?

We received a lot of valuable feedback from the Azure Digital Twins preview and we are

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