Category Archives : IT Pro



Cloud providers unite on frictionless health data exchange

This post was co-authored by Heather Jordan Cartwright, General Manager, Microsoft Healthcare

Cloud computing is rapidly becoming a bigger and more central part of the infrastructure of healthcare. We see this as a historic shift that motivates us to think hard about how to ensure that, in this cloud-based future, interoperable health data is available as needed and without friction.

Microsoft continues to build health data interoperability into the core of the Azure cloud, empowering developers and partners to easily build data-rich health apps with the Azure API for FHIR®. We are also actively contributing to healthcare community with open source software like the FHIR Server for Azure, bringing together developers on collaborative solutions that move the industry forward.

We take interoperability seriously. At last summer’s CMS Blue Button Developer Conference, we made a public commitment to promote the frictionless exchange of health data with our counterparts at AWS, Google, IBM, Salesforce and Oracle. That commitment remains strong.

Today, at the same conference of health IT community leaders, we are sharing a joint announcement that showcases how we have moved from principles and commitment to actions. Our activities over the past year include open-source software releases, development of new standards




What’s the difference between Azure Monitor and Azure Service Health?

It’s a question we often hear. After all, they’re similar and related services. Azure Monitor helps you understand how your applications are performing and proactively identifies issues affecting them and the resources they depend on. Azure Service Health helps you stay informed and take action when Azure service issues like outages and planned maintenance affect you. So what’s the difference?

Azure Monitor and Azure Service Health are complementary services that you will often use together when troubleshooting issues. Let’s go over a typical scenario. For example, let’s say your app is having a problem and experiencing downtime. Your users are complaining and reporting the issue. What’s wrong? You start troubleshooting.

Step 1: Assess the health of Azure with Azure Service Health

As you start troubleshooting, you first want to answer the question: is it me or is it Azure? To make sure Azure as a platform isn’t having any problems, you’ll want to check Azure Service Health. Better yet, you might already know about any issues affecting you if you have Azure Service Health alerts set up. More on this later.

You visit Azure Service Health in the Azure portal, where you check to see if there are any active




Introducing the new Azure Migrate: A hub for your migration needs

Moving on-premises apps and data to the cloud is a key step in our customers’ migration journey, and we’re committed to helping simplify that process. Earlier this year, we invited customers to participate in the preview of multiple new migration capabilities. Today, I am excited to announce the latest evolution of Azure Migrate, which provides a streamlined, comprehensive portfolio of Microsoft and partner tools to meet migration needs, all in one place.

With the general availability of Azure Migrate, including the new integrated partner experience, Server Assessment, Server Migration, Database Assessment, and Database Migration capabilities, we strive to make the cloud journey even easier for customers. Azure Migrate acts as a central hub for all migration needs and tools from infrastructure to applications to data. We are truly democratizing the migration process with guidance and choice.

New Azure Migrate integrated experience

The new experience provides you access to Microsoft and ISV tools and helps identify the right tool for your migration scenario. To help with large-scale datacenter migrations and cloud transformation projects, we’ve also added end-to-end progress tracking.

New features include:

Guided experience for the most common migration scenarios such as server and database migration, data movement to Azure




Two ways to share Azure Advisor recommendations
Two ways to share Azure Advisor recommendations

If your IT organization is like most, you probably work with many different people across many different teams. When it comes to common IT tasks like optimizing your cloud workloads, you might need to interact with several resource owners or even complete a formal review process.

That’s why with Azure Advisor, we’ve made it easy to share recommendations with other people across your teams so you can follow best practices that help you get the most out of Azure. Advisor is a free Azure service that helps you optimize your Azure resources for high availability, security, performance, and cost by providing personalized recommendations based on your usage and configurations.

Here are two ways you can share your Advisor best practice recommendations with your teams.

1. Export a PDF or CSV of your Advisor recommendations

Probably the simplest way to share your Advisor recommendations is by exporting an Advisor recommendation report as a PDF or CSV through the Advisor UI in the Azure portal.

This report shows a summary of your Advisor recommendations by category, subscription, and potential business impact. Then you can easily share it with other teams so the resource owners can take action and optimize their resources




What’s new in Azure Firewall
What’s new in Azure Firewall

This post was co-authored by Anitha Adusumilli, Principal Program Manager, Azure Networking. 

Today we are happy to share several key Azure Firewall capabilities as well as update on recent important releases into general availability (GA) and preview.

Multiple public IPs soon to be generally available Availability Zones now generally available SQL FQDN filtering now in preview Azure HDInsight (HDI) FQDN tag now in preview Central management using partner solutions

Azure Firewall is a cloud native firewall-as-a-service offering which enables customers to centrally govern and log all their 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.

Multiple public IPs soon to be generally available

You can now associate up to 100 public IP addresses with your firewall. This enables the following scenarios:

DNAT – You can translate multiple standard port instances to your backend servers. For example, if you have two public IP addresses, you can translate TCP port 3389 (RDP) for both IP addresses. SNAT – Additional ports are available for outbound SNAT connections, reducing




Larger, more powerful standard file shares for Azure Files now in preview

Better scale and more power for IT pros and developers.

Azure Files has always delivered secure, fully managed cloud file shares with a full range of data redundancy options. While customers love the simplicity of Azure Files and the hybrid capabilities of Azure File Sync, until now, scaling cloud file shares beyond 5 TiB required changing the paradigm for accessing data.

Today, we are excited to announce the preview of a larger and higher scale standard tier for Azure Files, now available to all Azure customers. This preview significantly improves your experience by increasing standard file shares’ capacity and performance limits. In select regions, standard file shares in general purpose accounts can support the following larger limits.

Azure Files standard storage scale limits Azure Files Before (standard tier) New (standard tier) Capacity per share 5 TiB 100 TiB (20x increase) Max IOPS per share 1,000 IOPS 10,000 IOPS (10x increase) Max throughput per share Up to 60 MiB/s Up to 300 MiB/s (5x increase)

Performance limits for a single file remain the same at 1 TiB, 1000 IOPS, and 60 MiB/s. Standard file shares are backed by hard disk drives. If your workload is latency sensitive, you should consider Azure




Scale action groups and suppress notifications for Azure alerts

In Azure Monitor, defining what to monitor while configuring alerts can be challenging. Customers need to be capable of defining when actions and notifications should trigger for their alerts, and more importantly, when they shouldn’t. The action rules feature for Azure Monitor, available in preview, allows you to define actions for your alerts at scale, and allows you to suppress alerts for scenarios such as maintenance windows.

Let’s take a closer look at how action rules (preview) can help you in your monitoring setup!

Defining actions at scale

Previously you could define what action groups trigger for your alerts while defining an alert rule. However, the actions that get triggered, whether it is an email that is sent or a ticket created in a ticketing tool, are usually associated with resource on which the alert is generated rather than the individual alert rule.

For example, for all alerts generated on the virtual machine contosoVM, I would typically want the following.

The same email address to be notified (e.g. Tickets to be created in the same ITSM tool

While you could define a single action group such as contosoAG and associate it with each and every alert rule authored




New to Azure? Follow these easy steps to get started

Today, many organizations are leveraging digital transformation to deliver their applications and services in the cloud. At Microsoft Build 2019, we announced the general availability of Azure Quickstart Center and received positive feedback from customers. Azure Quickstart Center brings together the step-by-step guidance you need to easily create cloud workloads. The power to easily set up, configure, and manage cloud workloads while being guided by best practices is now built right into the Azure portal.

How do you access Azure Quickstart Center?

There are two ways to access Azure Quickstart Center in the Azure portal. Go to the global search and type in Quickstart Center or select All services on the left nav and type Quickstart Center. Select the star button to save it under your favorites.

Get started

Azure Quickstart Center is designed with you in mind. We created setup guides, start a project, and curated online training for self-paced learning so that you can manage cloud deployment according to your business needs.

Setup guides

To help you prepare your organization for moving to the cloud, our guides Azure setup and Azure migration in the Quickstart Center give you a comprehensive view of best practices for



Jun for the unexpected is part of every IT professional’s and developer’s job. Although rare, service issues like outages and planned maintenance do occur. There are many ways to stay informed, but we’ve identified three effective approaches that have helped READ MORE




How to optimize your Azure environment
How to optimize your Azure environment

Without the right tools and approach, cloud optimization can be a time-consuming and difficult process. There is an ever growing list of best practices to follow, and it’s constantly in flux as your cloud workloads evolve. Add the challenges and emergencies you face on a day-to-day basis, and it’s easy to understand why it’s hard to be proactive about ensuring your cloud resources are running optimally.

Azure offers many ways to help ensure that you’re running your workloads optimally and getting the most out of your investment.

Three kinds of optimization: organizational, architectural, and tactical

One way to think about these is the altitude of advice and optimization offered: organizational, architectural, or tactical.
At the tactical or resource level, you have Azure Advisor, a free Azure service that helps you optimize your Azure resources for high availability, security, performance, and cost. Advisor scans your resource usage and configuration and provides over 100 personalized recommendations. Each recommendation includes inline actions to make remediating your cloud resource optimizations fast and easy.

At the other end of the spectrum is Azure Architecture Center, a collection of free guides created by Azure experts to help you understand organizational and architectural best practices and