Category Archives : Updates



Microsoft Azure portal January 2019 update
Microsoft Azure portal January 2019 update

This month we’re bringing you updates that improve the ease of navigation of the landing page, add to dashboard tile features, and increase functionality in Azure Container Instances.

Sign in to the Azure portal now and see for yourself everything that’s new. Download the Azure mobile app.

Here’s the list of January updates to the Azure portal: Landing page New Azure portal home page Dashboard Shared time range for tiles on dashboards Azure Container Instances (ACI) New start functionality

Let’s look at each of these updates in detail.

Landing page New Azure portal home page

The new Azure portal home page is a quick and easy entry point into Azure. From there, you can find recently visited resources, navigate to commonly used services, and discover how to use specialized services to learn, monitor, secure, and optimize your applications and infrastructure.

The landing page has been designed with the following goals:

Improve discoverability of our services. We start by highlighting some of the most popular services in the “Azure services” section at the top, but we also provide access to the entire list. Help you to make better use of Azure. All the services in the “Make the most out




Our 2019 Resolution: Help you transform your 2008 server applications with Azure!

This blog post was co-authored by Erin Chapple, CVP, Microsoft Windows Server, and Rohan Kumar, CVP, Microsoft Data.

The beginning of a new year is always a time to reflect on our plans. At Microsoft, with the end of support for 2008 servers looming, we’ve been thinking about how we can help you with your server refresh journey. How can we enable you to take advantage of all the cutting-edge innovations available in Azure?

And as we take stock, we believe that the 3 reasons why Azure is the best place to transform your 2008 server applications are:

Security: With security threats becoming more and more sophisticated, increasing your organization’s security policies should be top of mind. The good news is that Azure is the most trusted cloud in the market with more certifications than any other public cloud. Innovation: We have an optimized, low-risk path to help you embrace Azure. And once you are there, you can continue to innovate with fully-managed services such as Azure SQL Database, Azure Cosmos DB and Azure AI. Cost savings: By taking advantage of Azure Hybrid Benefit and Extended Security updates, you can save significantly. For example, moving a hundred 2008 servers to




Cognitive Services Speech SDK 1.2 – December update – Python, Node.js/NPM and other improvements

Developers can now access the latest improvements to Cognitive Services Speech Service including a new Python API and more. Details below.

Read the updated Speech Services documentation to get started today.

What’s new Python API for Speech Service Python 3.5 and later versions on the Windows and Linux operating systems are supported. Python is the first language that the Speech Service supports on macOS X (version 10.12 and later). Python modules can be conveniently installed from PyPI. Node.js support Support for Node.js is now available, in addition to support for JavaScript in the browser. Through the npm package manager, developers can install the Speech Service module and its prerequisites. The JavaScript version of Speech Service is now also available as an opensource project on GitHub. Linux support

Support for Ubuntu 18.04 is now available in addition to pre-existing support for Ubuntu 16.04.

New features by popular demand Lightweight SDK for greater performance

By reducing the number of required concurrent threads, mutexes, and locks, Speech Services now offers a more lightweight SDK with enhanced error reporting.

Control of server connectivity and connection status

A newly added connection object enables control over when the SDK connects to the Speech Service. You




Azure PowerShell ‘Az’ Module version 1.0
Azure PowerShell ‘Az’ Module version 1.0

There is a new Azure PowerShell module that is built to harness the power of PowerShell Core and Cloud Shell and maintain compatibility with Windows PowerShell 5.1. Its name is “Az.” Az ensures that Windows PowerShell and PowerShell Core users can get the latest Azure tooling in every PowerShell on every platform. Az also simplifies and normalizes Azure PowerShell cmdlet and module names. Az ships in Azure Cloud Shell and is available from the PowerShell Gallery

The Az module version 1.0 was released on December 18, 2018, and will be updated on a two-week cadence in 2019, starting with a January 15, 2019 release.

As with all Azure PowerShell modules, Az uses semantic versioning and implements a strict breaking change policy – all breaking changes require advance customer notice and can only occur during breaking change releases. 

For complete details on the release, timeline, and compatibility features, check out the Az announcement page.

New features Az runs on Windows PowerShell 5.1 and PowerShell Core (cross-platform) Az is always up to date with the latest tooling for Azure services Az ships in Cloud Shell Az shortens and normalizes cmdlet names – all cmdlets use ‘Az’ as their noun prefix Az simplifies and normalizes




Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) with customer managed keys for Managed Instance

We are excited to announce the public preview of Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) with Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) support for Microsoft Azure SQL Database Managed Instance. Azure SQL Database Managed Instance is a new deployment option in SQL Database that combines the best of on-premises SQL Server with the operational and financial benefits of an intelligent, fully-managed relational database service. 

TDE with BYOK support has been generally available for single databases and elastic pools since April 2018. It is one of the most frequently requested capabilities by enterprise customers who are looking to protect data at rest, or meet regulatory and compliance obligations that require implementation of specific key management controls. TDE with BYOK support is offered in addition to TDE with service managed keys which is enabled on all new Azure SQL Databases, single databases, pools, and managed instances by default.

TDE with BYOK support uses Azure Key Vault, which provides highly available and scalable secure storage for RSA cryptographic keys backed by FIPS 140-2 Level 2 validated hardware security modules (HSMs). Azure Key Vault streamlines the key management process and enables customers to maintain full control of encryption keys, including managing and auditing key access.

Customers can




Cloud Commercial Communities webinar and podcast update

Welcome to the Cloud Commercial Communities monthly webinar and podcast update. Each month the team focuses on core programs, updates, trends, and technologies that Microsoft partners and customers need to know to increase success using Azure and Dynamics. Make sure you catch a live webinar and participate in live Q&A. If you miss a session, you can review it on demand. Also consider subscribing to the industry podcasts to keep up to date with industry news.

Happening in December Webinars

Transform Your Business with AI at Microsoft

December 4, 2018 at 11:00 AM Pacific Time

Explore AI industry trends and how the Microsoft AI platform can empower your business processes with Azure AI Services including bots, cognitive services, and Azure machine learning.

Azure Marketplace and AppSource Publisher Onboarding and Support

December 11, 2018 at 11:00 AM Pacific Time

Learn the publisher onboarding process, best practices around common blockers, plus support resources available.

Build Scalable Cloud Applications with Containers on Azure

December 17, 2018 at 1:00 PM Pacific Time

Overview of Azure Container Registry, Azure Container Instances (ACI), Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS), and release automation tools with live demos.


Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning – what does it mean




Azure SQL Data Warehouse Gen2 now supports lower compute tiers

Microsoft is helping drive down the entry-level cost of running a data warehouse capable of handling demanding queries by adding lower compute tiers for the blazing fast Azure SQL Data Warehouse Gen2. Customers can experience Azure SQL Data Warehouse’s leading performance, flexibility, and security features starting with 100 cDWU (Data Warehouse Units) and scale to 30,000 cDWU in minutes. Starting mid-December 2018, customers can benefit from Gen2 performance and flexibility with lower compute tiers in 15 regions, with remaining regions available during 2019.

By dropping the entry point for next-generation data warehousing, Microsoft opens the doors to value-driven customers who want to evaluate all the benefits of a secure, high-performance data warehouse without guessing which trial environment is best for them. Customers will be able to start as low as 100 cDWU, down from the current 500 cDWU entry point. SQL Data Warehouse Gen2 continues to support pause and resume operations and goes beyond just the flexibility in compute. Gen2 also supports unlimited column-store storage capacity along with 2.5 times more memory per query, up to 128 concurrent queries and adaptive caching features bringing experiences on average of 5 times more performance compared to the same Data Warehouse Unit on




SONiC: Global support and updates
SONiC: Global support and updates

Over the past few years, SONiC (Software for Open Networking in the Cloud), our open switch OS, has been in the fast lane. A diverse group of community partners have actively engaged with us to contribute and support the evolvement of the software.

SONiC is considered a live organism, always evolving. Microsoft and the community is developing, refining, and making SONiC freely available to anyone running global scale or cloud-type networks or just have a healthy interest in advanced networking.

Being in control of the network fabric and particularly having a hardware agnostic approach across larger heterogenous networks is critical. SONiC was created to provide those foundational attributes we ourselves needed when we set out to build our global network which powers both Azure and our other cloud services.

Recently, SONiC has received several enhancements and updates, along with additions to the ecosystem contributing to SONiC’s success.

Let’s take a look at what is new.

Global support now available

We are excited to see SONiC and its sibling SAI (Switch Abstraction Interface) being adopted by many global network innovators. Recently, both Dell EMC and Mellanox announced that SONiC will feature as switch OS options for customers using their respective hardware




Microsoft Azure portal December 2018 update
Microsoft Azure portal December 2018 update

This post was co-authored by Leon Welicki, Principal Group PM Manager, Microsoft Azure.

This month we’re bringing updates to help improve the usability of creating and managing virtual machines in Azure, updates to Security Center, and an improved experience to control access to resources.

Sign in to the Azure portal now and see everything that’s new. Download the Azure mobile app.

Here’s the list of December updates to the Azure portal: Compute Updated experience for virtual machine creation and management Security Security Center network map is now generally available Updated Security Policy page Updated experience for Access control (IAM) Management Tools Updates to Azure Site Recovery

Let’s look at each of these updates in detail.

Compute Updated experience for virtual machine creation and management

This month brings a few updates that improve the usability of creating and managing virtual machines.

When creating virtual machines, you now have more flexibility for configuring virtual machine network parameters. We have revised the interface to give you more control over creating virtual networks, virtual network subnets, and address space.

Configuring virtual network parameters for new VMs

We have also added the ability to specify the disk type of any new data disks during




New automated machine learning capabilities in Azure Machine Learning service

As part of Azure Machine Learning service general availability, we are excited to announce the new automated machine learning (automated ML) capabilities. Automated ML allows you to automate model selection and hyperparameter tuning, reducing the time it takes to build machine learning models from weeks or months to days, freeing up more time for them to focus on business problems. The making of automated ML was driven by our commitment to improve the productivity of data scientists and democratize AI. By simplifying machine learning, automated ML enables domain experts in the businesses to rapidly build and deploy machine learning solutions.

In this blog post, we will:

Highlight the new automated ML capabilities of that are available today as part of Azure Machine Learning service Walk you through the motivation, underlying technology, and principles behind automated ML New capabilities

Since the preview of Azure Machine Learning service just a couple of months ago, we have added many compelling capabilities.

Training infrastructure

Machine learning training jobs are very compute intensive, and training time is highly dependent on the size of the dataset and the type of algorithm. As a result, training is often a bottleneck and the ability to complete jobs quickly enables