Category Archives : Announcements



Announcing improved multi-member Blockchain networks now available on Azure

We see strong customer interest in the Blockchain solutions that are available on the Azure Marketplace. As customers build production Blockchain scenarios, we understand that network reliability and health monitoring become increasingly important. Today, we are excited to announce significant enhancements to our Ethereum on Azure offering. These improvements are the first of a series of releases designed to enable production-ready consortium Blockchain networks suited for enterprise scenarios.

Through our customer engagements, we have identified and rolled out the following improvements:

High availability of Blockchain network presence: As a participant on a decentralized network, your nodes’ presence in the consensus process is critical towards achieving a fair and secure network. To ensure high-availability, we’ve incorporated cross-region Azure VM Scale Sets (Azure VMSS) and Azure Managed Disks. In the case that a node goes down, Azure VMSS will automatically recover the node, and join it back to the Ethereum network.  As active nodes may change over time, we take care of maintaining an accurate boot-node list, allowing other members to join the network. Simplified deployment experience: Choosing the right network topology for your scenario can be difficult. We’ve invested significant effort into consolidating the various Ethereum network topologies into one experience, which allows



Announcing backup and restore performance improvements and support for large disk backup

Today, we are excited to announce the support for backup of large disk VMs and set of improvements aimed at reducing the time taken for backup and restore. These set of improvements and large disk support is based on a new VM backup stack and are available for both managed and unmanaged disks. You can seamlessly upgrade to this new stack without any impact to your on-going backup jobs and there is no change to how you setup backup or restore.

This announcement combines multiple feature improvements:

Large disk support – Now you can backup VMs with disk sizes up to 4TB(4095GB), both managed and unmanaged. Instant recovery point – A recovery point is available as soon as the snapshot is done as part of the backup job. This eliminates the need to wait to trigger restore till data transfer phase of the backup is completed. This is particularly useful in scenarios where you want to apply a patch. Now you can go ahead with the patch once the snapshot phase is done and you can use the local snapshot to revert back if the patch goes bad. This is analogous to checkpoint solution offered by Hyper-V or VMware with



Build Spring Boot 2.0 apps with Azure Starters and new VSCode extensions

Spring fans, we are excited to announce full support of Spring Boot 2.0 on the Spring Boot Starters for Azure, already available on Spring Initializr. Plus, with new Java and Spring extensions for Visual Studio Code you can build production-ready apps and easily deploy them to the cloud.

Integrate Azure services with Spring Boot 2.0 apps

Spring Initializr enables developers to handle the dependency management and make the bootstrapping process for Spring projects much easier. Today, we’re announcing that the Azure Starters have been updated to support Spring Boot 2.0, so you can easily integrate cloud services with your application.

All of the Azure Spring Boot Starters are available on Spring Initializr:

Azure Support: Provides support for the Azure services below, plus all other services currently available via Spring Boot Starters. Azure Active Directory: Enterprise grade authentication using Azure Active Directory, integrated with Spring Security. Azure Key Vault: Manage application secrets using Azure Key Vault, providing Spring value annotation support. Azure Storage: Integration with Azure Storage, including object storage, queues, tables, and more.

You can create a Spring Boot 2.0 project on Spring Initializr, then search for “Azure” to find the Azure modules:

Spring and Java extensions with Visual



Announcing Storage Service Encryption with customer managed keys general availability

Today, we are excited to announce the general availability of Azure Storage Service Encryption with customer managed keys integrated with Azure Key Vault for Azure Blob and File Storage. Azure customers already benefit from Storage Service Encryption for Azure Blob and File Storage using Microsoft managed keys.

Storage Service Encryption with customer managed keys uses Azure Key Vault that 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 customers to maintain full control of keys used to encrypt data, manage, and audit their key usage.

This is one of the most requested features by enterprise customers looking to protect sensitive data as part of their regulatory or compliance needs, HIPAA and BAA compliant.

Customers can generate/import their RSA key to Azure Key Vault and use it with Storage Service Encryption. Azure Storage handles the encryption and decryption in a fully transparent fashion using envelope encryption in which data is encrypted using an AES 256 based key, which is in turn protected using the customer managed key stored in Azure Key Vault.

Customers can rotate their key in



Introducing SQL Information Protection for Azure SQL Database and on-premises SQL Server!

We are delighted to announce the public preview of SQL Information Protection, introducing advanced capabilities built into Azure SQL Database for discovering, classifying, labeling, and protecting the sensitive data in your databases. Similar capabilities are also being introduced for on-premises SQL Server via SQL Server Management Studio.

Discovering and classifying your most sensitive data, including business, financial, healthcare, and PII, can play a pivotal role in your organizational information protection stature. It can serve as infrastructure for:

Helping meet data privacy standards and regulatory compliance requirements, such as GDPR. Data-centric security scenarios, such as monitoring (auditing) and alerting on anomalous access to sensitive data. Controlling access to and hardening the security of databases containing highly sensitive data. What is SQL Information Protection?

SQL Information Protection (SQL IP) introduces a set of advanced services and new SQL capabilities, forming a new information protection paradigm in SQL aimed at protecting the data, not just the database:

Discovery and recommendations – The classification engine scans your database and identifies columns containing potentially sensitive data. It then provides you an easy way to review and apply the appropriate classification recommendations via the Azure portal. Labeling – Sensitivity classification labels can be persistently tagged on



Microsoft and Esri launch Geospatial AI on Azure

Integrating geography and location information with AI brings a powerful new dimension to understanding the world around us. This has a wide range of applications in a variety of segments, including commercial, governmental, academic or not-for-profit. Geospatial AI provides robust tools for gathering, managing, analyzing and predicting from geographic and location-based data, and powerful visualization that can enable unique insights into the significance of such data.

Available today, Microsoft and Esri will be offering the GeoAI Data Science Virtual Machine (DSVM) as part of our Data Science Virtual Machine/Deep Learning Virtual Machine family of products on Azure. This is a result of a collaboration between the two companies and will bring AI, cloud technology and infrastructure, geospatial analytics and visualization together to help create more powerful and intelligent applications.

At the heart of the GeoAI Virtual Machine is ArcGIS Pro, Esri’s next-gen 64-bit desktop geographic information system (GIS) that provides professional 2D and 3D mapping in an intuitive user interface. ArcGIS Pro is a big step forward in advancing visualization, analytics, image processing, data management and integration.

ArcGIS Pro is installed in a Data Science Virtual Machine (DSVM) image from Microsoft. The DSVM is a popular experimentation and modeling



Azure SQL Database now offers zone redundant Premium databases and elastic pools

Azure SQL Database Premium tier supports multiple redundant replicas for each database that are automatically provisioned in the same datacenter within a region. This design leverages the SQL Server AlwaysON technology and provides resilience to server failures with 99.99% availability SLA and RPO=0. With the introduction of Azure Availability Zones, we are happy to announce that the SQL Database now offers built-in support of the Availability Zones in its Premium service tier. By placing the individual database replicas to different availability zones, it makes the Premium databases resilient to the much larger set of failures, including catastrophic datacenter outages. The built-in support of Availability Zones further enhances the High Availability (HA) solutions in Azure SQL Database. For more information see High-availability and Azure SQL Database.

To take advantage of this capability, you simply select the zone redundant option during the database or elastic pool creation. You can also enable it for existing databases or pools. If the availability zones are supported in the region where your database or pool is deployed, Azure SQL will automatically reconfigure it without any downtime.

You can use the Azure portal to enable zone redundant database configuration as illustrated on the following diagram.




Making Azure the best place for all your applications and data

The confluence of cloud, data and AI is driving unprecedented change. The ability to utilize data and turn it into breakthrough actions and experiences, is foundational to innovation today. Organizations are using cloud technologies to accelerate the innovation that drives their business—migrating applications and data to the cloud is a key initiative within this strategy.
Only Microsoft delivers a consistent and global platform optimized for hybrid cloud for all applications and data. Microsoft provides the flexibility to maintain consistent hybrid cloud environments, while also providing rich choice of migration and modernization options. This consistency enables you to distribute your applications and data workloads on your terms, without the complexity of having to maintain different skillsets, systems, and tools while extracting the insights from data to drive innovation.

Today, we are excited to announce investments that dramatically expand the choice and ROI of moving your SQL Server and open source applications to Azure. SQL Server customers can now try the preview for SQL Database Managed Instance, Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server license benefit which can help customers save up to 30%*, and Azure Database Migration Service preview for Managed Instance. Additionally, we are excited to announce the preview for



Public preview of Java on App Service, built-in support for Tomcat and OpenJDK

A couple of months back, we announced the general availability of App Service on Linux, starting with support for .NET Core, Node.js, Ruby, PHP, and custom Docker containers. Today, we are glad to share the public preview of Java apps on App Service. This release includes built-in support for Apache Tomcat 8.5/9.0 and OpenJDK 8, making it easy for Java developers to deploy web or API apps to Azure. Just bring your .jar or .war file to Azure App Service and we’ll take care of the capacity provisioning, server maintenance, and load balancing. 

Create and deploy a Java web app easily

Creating a Java web app is easy with App Service using our out-of-box support for Tomcat and OpenJDK. You can deploy your .jar or .war file to Azure and get it up and running at scale with just a few clicks. If you have other preferred images such as Jetty or a different JRE, you can also build your own Docker image and deploy it to App Service. 

Here’s an example of creating a Java web app with a Tomcat image in the portal:

App Service integrates well with your favorite code repos, IDEs, and CLI tools. You



Migrate your databases to a fully managed service with Azure SQL Database Managed Instance

This blog post was co-authored by Eric Hudson, Senior Product Marketing Manager, CADD & AI.

We’re excited to announce the preview of Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, a new deployment option in SQL Database that streamlines the migration of SQL Server workloads to a fully managed database service. This new Managed Instance deployment option provides full SQL Server engine compatibility and native virtual network (VNET) support. 

“SQL Managed Instance is that happy medium we were looking for. We needed the power and compatibility of SQL Server, but without the management overhead and cost that comes with running VMs 24×7. Not only will we get that power and ease of management, we’ll also be able to use the Azure Hybrid Benefit, which allows us to use our existing SQL Server licensing through Software Assurance. Developing, deploying, and managing our application is getting a whole lot easier and cheaper with Azure and SQL Managed Instance.”

Robert Shurbet, Senior Software Development Professional, Pivot Technology Solutions

Migrate your databases to a fully-managed service

Azure SQL Database is a fully-managed database service, which means that Microsoft operates SQL Server for you and ensures its availability and performance. SQL Database also includes innovative