Category Archives : Announcements

08

Sep

Satellite connectivity expands reach of Azure ExpressRoute across the globe

Staying connected to access and ingest data in today’s highly distributed application environments is paramount for any enterprise. Many businesses need to operate in and across highly unpredictable and challenging conditions. For example, energy, farming, mining, and shipping often need to operate in remote, rural, or other isolated locations with poor network connectivity.

With the cloud now the de facto and primary target for the bulk of application and infrastructure migrations, access from remote and rural locations becomes even more important. The path to realizing the value of the cloud starts with a hybrid environment access resources with dedicated and private connectivity.

Network performance for these hybrid scenarios from rural and remote sites becomes increasingly critical. With globally connected organizations, the explosive number of connected devices and data in the Cloud, as well as emerging areas such as autonomous driving and traditional remote locations such as cruise ships are directly affected by connectivity performance.  Other examples requiring highly available, fast, and predictable network service include managing supply chain systems from remote farms or transferring data to optimize equipment maintenance in aerospace.

Today, I want to share the progress we have made to help customers address and solve these issues. Satellite

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03

Sep

Beyond the printed form: Unlocking insights from documents with Form Recognizer

Data extraction from printed forms is by now a tried and true technology. Form Recognizer extracts key value pairs, tables and text from documents such as W2 tax statements, oil and gas drilling well reports, completion reports, invoices, and purchase orders. However, real-world businesses often rely on a variety of documents for their day-to-day needs that are not always cleanly printed.

We are excited to announce the addition of handwritten and mixed-mode (printed and handwritten) support. Starting now, handling handwritten and mixed-mode forms is the new norm.

Extracting data from handwritten and mixed-mode content with Form Recognizer

Entire data sets that were inaccessible in the past due to the limitations of extraction technology now become available. The handwritten and mixed-mode capability of Form Recognizer is available in preview and enables you to extract structured data out of handwritten text filled in forms such as:

Medical forms: New patient information, doctor notes. Financial forms: Account opening forms, credit card applications. Insurance: Claim forms, liability forms. Manufacturing forms: Packaging slips, testing forms, quality forms. And more.

By using our vast experience in optical character recognition (OCR) and machine learning for form analysis, our experts created a state-of-the-art solution that goes beyond printed forms. The OCR technology

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27

Aug

Latency is the new currency of the Cloud: Announcing 31 new Azure edge sites

Providing users fast and reliable access to their cloud services, apps, and content is pivotal to a business’ success.

The latency when accessing cloud-based services can be the inhibitor to cloud adoption or migration. In most cases, this is caused by commercial internet connections that aren’t tailored to today’s global cloud needs. Through deployment and operation of globally and strategically placed edge sites, Microsoft dramatically accelerates the performance and experience when you are accessing apps, content, or services such as Azure and Office 365 on the Microsoft global network.

Edges optimize network performance through local access points to and from the vast Microsoft global network, in many cases providing 10x the acceleration to access and consume cloud-based content and services from Microsoft.

What is the network edge?

Solely providing faster network access isn’t enough, and applications need intelligent services to expedite and simplify how a global audience accesses and experiences their offerings. Edge sites provide application development teams increased visibility and higher availability to access services that improve how they deliver global applications.

Edge sites benefit infrastructure and development teams in multiple key areas Improved optimization for application delivery through Azure Front Door (AFD.) Microsoft recently announced AFD, which allows

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26

Aug

Azure and VMware innovation and momentum
Azure and VMware innovation and momentum

Since announcing Azure VMware Solutions at Dell Technologies World this spring, we’ve been energized by the positive feedback we’ve received from our partners and customers who are beginning to move their VMware workloads to Azure. One of these customers is Lucky Brand, a leading retailer that is embracing digital transformation while staying true to its rich heritage. As part of their broader strategy to leverage the innovation possible in the cloud, Lucky Brand is transitioning several VMware workloads to Azure.

“We’re seeing great initial ROI with Azure VMware Solutions. We chose Microsoft Azure as our strategic cloud platform and decided to dramatically reduce our AWS footprint and 3rd Party co-located data centers. We have a significant VMware environment footprint for many of our on-premises business applications.

The strategy has allowed us to become more data driven and allow our merchants and finance analysts the ability to uncover results quickly and rapidly with all the data in a central cloud platform providing great benefits for us in the competitive retail landscape. Utilizing Microsoft Azure and VMware we leverage a scalable cloud architecture and VMware to virtualize and manage the computing resources and applications in Azure in a dynamic business environment.

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22

Aug

Preview of custom content in Azure Policy guest configuration

Today we are announcing a preview of a new feature of Azure Policy. The guest configuration capability, which audits settings inside Linux and Windows virtual machines (VMs), is now ready for customers to author and publish custom content.

The guest configuration platform has been generally available for built-in content provided by Microsoft. Customers are using this platform to audit common scenarios such as who has access to their servers, what applications are installed, if certificates are up to date, and whether servers can connect to network locations.

Starting today, customers can use new tooling published to the PowerShell Gallery to author, test, and publish their own content packages both from their developer workstation and from CI/CD platforms such as Azure DevOps.

For example, if you are running an application on an Azure virtual machine that was developed by your organization, you can audit the configuration of that application in Azure and be notified when one of the VMs in your fleet is not compliant.

This is also an important milestone for compliance teams who need to audit configuration baselines. There is already a built-in policy to audit Windows machines using Microsoft’s recommended security configuration baseline.  Custom content expands the

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22

Aug

IoT Plug and Play is now available in preview

Today we are announcing that IoT Plug and Play is now available in preview! At Microsoft Build in May 2019, we announced IoT Plug and Play and described how it will work seamlessly with IoT Central. We demonstrated how IoT Plug and Play simplifies device integration by enabling solution developers to connect and interact with IoT devices using device capability models defined with the Digital Twin definition language. We also announced a set of partners who have launched devices and solutions that are IoT Plug and Play enabled. You can find their IoT Plug and Play certified devices at the Azure Certified for IoT device catalog.

With today’s announcement, solution developers can start using Azure IoT Central or Azure IoT Hub to build solutions that integrate seamlessly with IoT devices enabled with IoT Plug and Play. We have also launched a new Azure Certified for IoT portal, for device partners interested to streamline the device certification submission process and get devices into the Azure IoT device catalog quickly.

This article outlines how solution developers can use IoT Plug and Play devices in their IoT solutions, and how device partners can build and certify their products to be listed in the

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20

Aug

Azure Security Center single click remediation and Azure Firewall JIT support

This blog post was co-authored by Rotem Lurie, Program Manager, Azure Security Center.​

Azure Security Center provides you with a bird’s eye security posture view across your Azure environment, enabling you to continuously monitor and improve your security posture using secure score in Azure. Security Center helps you identify and perform the hardening tasks recommended as security best practices and implement them across your machines, data services, and apps. This includes managing and enforcing your security policies and making sure your Azure Virtual Machines, non-Azure servers, and Azure PaaS services are compliant.

Today, we are announcing two new capabilities—the preview for remediating recommendations on a bulk of resources in a single click using secure score and the general availability (GA) of just-in-time (JIT) virtual machine (VM) access for Azure Firewall. Now you can secure your Azure Firewall protected environments with JIT, in addition to your network security group (NSG) protected environments.

Single click remediation for bulk resources in preview

With so many services offering security benefits, it’s often hard to know what steps to take first to secure and harden your workload. Secure score in Azure reviews your security recommendations and prioritizes them for you, so you know which recommendations

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19

Aug

https://azure.microsoft.com/blog/announcing-the-general-availability-of-python-support-in-azure-functions/Python support for Azure Functions is now generally available and ready to host your production workloads across data science and machine learning, automated resource management, and more. You can now develop Python 3.6 apps to run on the cross-platform, open-source READ MORE

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15

Aug

Azure Ultra Disk Storage: Microsoft’s service for your most I/O demanding workloads

Today, Tad Brockway, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Azure, announced the general availability of Azure Ultra Disk Storage, an Azure Managed Disks offering that provides massive throughput with sub-millisecond latency for your most I/O demanding workloads. With the introduction of Ultra Disk Storage, Azure includes four types of persistent disk—Ultra Disk Storage, Premium SSD, Standard SSD, and Standard HDD. This portfolio gives you price and performance options tailored to meet the requirements of every workload. Ultra Disk Storage delivers consistent performance and low latency for I/O intensive workloads like SAP Hana, OLTP databases, NoSQL, and other transaction-heavy workloads. Further, you can reach maximum virtual machine (VM) I/O limits with a single Ultra disk, without having to stripe multiple disks.

Durability of data is essential to business-critical enterprise workloads. To ensure we keep our durability promise, we built Ultra Disk Storage on our existing locally redundant storage (LRS) technology, which stores three copies of data within the same availability zone. Any application that writes to storage will receive an acknowledgement only after it has been durably replicated to our LRS system.

Below is a clip from a presentation I delivered at Microsoft Ignite demonstrating the leading performance of Ultra Disk Storage:

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15

Aug

Announcing the general availability of Azure Ultra Disk Storage

Today, we are announcing the general availability (GA) of Microsoft Azure Ultra Disk Storage—a new Managed Disks offering that delivers unprecedented and extremely scalable performance with sub-millisecond latency for the most demanding Azure Virtual Machines and container workloads. With Ultra Disk Storage, customers are now able to lift-and-shift mission critical enterprise applications to the cloud including applications like SAP HANA, top tier SQL databases such as SQL Server, Oracle DB, MySQL, and PostgreSQL, as well as NoSQL databases such as MongoDB and Cassandra.With the introduction of Ultra Disk Storage, Azure now offers four types of persistent disks—Ultra Disk Storage, Premium SSD, Standard SSD, and Standard HDD. This portfolio gives our customers a comprehensive set of disk offerings for every workload.

Ultra Disk Storage is designed to provide customers with extreme flexibility when choosing the right performance characteristics for their workloads. Customers can now have granular control on the size, IOPS, and bandwidth of Ultra Disk Storage to meet their specific performance requirements. Organizations can achieve the maximum I/O limit of a virtual machine (VM) with Ultra Disk Storage without having to stripe multiple disks. Check out the blog post “Azure Ultra Disk Storage: Microsoft’s service for your most I/O demanding

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