08

Feb

Custom Speech: Code-free automated machine learning for speech recognition

Voice is the new interface driving ambient computing. This statement has never been more true than it is today. Speech recognition is transforming our daily lives from digital assistants, dictation of emails and documents, to transcriptions of lectures and meetings. These scenarios are possible today thanks to years of research in speech recognition and technological jumps enabled by neural networks. Microsoft is at the forefront of Speech Recognition with its research results, reaching human parity on the Switchboard research benchmark.

Our goal is to empower developers with our AI advances, so they can build new and transformative experiences for their customers. We offer a spectrum of APIs to address the various scenarios and situations developers encounter. Cognitive Services Speech API gives developers access to state of the art speech models. Premium scenarios, using domain specific vocabulary or complex acoustic conditions, offer Custom Speech Service that enables developers to automatically tune speech recognition models to their specific needs. Our services have been previewed on a wide range of scenarios with customers.

Speech recognition systems are composed of several components. The most important components are the acoustic and language models. If your application contains vocabulary items that occur rarely in everyday

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08

Feb

OMS Monitoring solution for Azure Backup using Azure Log analytics

We previously announced the preview of Azure Backup reporting and gave customers the ability to generate their own reports and build customizations using Power BI. Today, we are pleased to let you know that you can leverage the same workflow to build your own Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) monitoring solution for Azure Backup in the upgraded OMS workspace. The OMS monitoring solution allows you to monitor key backup parameters such as backup and restore jobs, backup alerts, and cloud storage usage across Recovery Services vaults and subscriptions. You can then utilize OMS log analytics capabilities to raise further alerts for events that you deem important for the business to be notified of. You could even open tickets through webhooks or ITSM integration using the OMS log analytics capabilities.

Here’s how you do it…

Configuring Diagnostic settings

You can open the diagnostic setting window from the Azure Recovery services vault, or you can open the diagnostic setting window by logging into Azure portal. First, click “Monitor” service followed by “Diagnostic settings” in settings section. You can then specify the relevant Subscription, Resource Group, and Recovery Services Vault. In the Diagnostic settings window, as shown below, you can select “Send data

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08

Feb

First System Center Semi-Annual Channel release now available

I am excited to announce that System Center, version 1801 is now available. Based on customer feedback, we are delivering new features and enhancements in this release including improved Linux monitoring support, more efficient VMware backup, additional support for Windows Server, and improved user experience and performance. 

System Center, version 1801 is the first of our Semi-Annual Channel releases delivering new capabilities at a faster cadence. Semi-Annual Channel releases have an 18-month support policy. In addition, we will continue to release in the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) at a lower frequency. The LTSC will continue to provide 5 years of mainstream support followed by 5 more years of extended support.

What’s in System Center, version 1801?

System Center, version 1801 focuses on enhancements and features for System Center Operations Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, and Data Protection Manager. Additionally, security and bug fixes, as well as support for TLS 1.2, are available for all System Center components including Orchestrator, Service Management Automation, and Service Manager.

I am pleased to share the capabilities included in this release:

Support for additional Windows Server features in Virtual Machine Manager: Customers can now setup nested virtualization, software load balancer configuration, and storage QoS configuration and

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08

Feb

Microsoft Azure IP Advantage: Our first year
Microsoft Azure IP Advantage: Our first year

One year ago, we announced Azure IP Advantage, the industry’s leading program to help cloud service customers stay focused on their digital transformation journey and avoid IP issues. The program has been a tremendous success so far with many customers telling us that it is a key differentiator for Azure and that they choose Azure in part because of the value they get from these benefits.

Here are some of the highlights from our first year:

Customers around the world find that Azure IP Advantage has been a valuable deterrent against IP lawsuits, which is especially important as cloud-related patent litigation has increased over the past 4 years. Customers of our partner 21 Vianet like Mobike, the world’s largest bicycle sharing company headquartered in China, explain the benefits of offering IP protection programs to Azure clients. “Azure IP Advantage helps us by reducing potential IP risks as we march into new markets. From technologies to patent offerings, Microsoft is providing a comprehensive protection for us to thrive on cloud without worry.” Microsoft expanded Azure IP Advantage to China in partnership with 21Vianet, ensuring that Azure customers in China enjoy the same great IP protection benefits as customers in the rest

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07

Feb

Power BI Service and Mobile January Feature Summary
Power BI Service and Mobile January Feature Summary

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-service-and-mobile-january-2018-feature-summary/Source: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/power-bi-service-and-mobile-january-2018-feature-summary/           The Power BI service and mobile team is thrilled to kick off the first feature summary blog for 2018! With a new year in full swing, we’ve been hard at work on features READ MORE

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07

Feb

Microsoft offers SAP HANA supportable VMs in UK with the Azure M/B/V3-series

Microsoft becomes the first hyperscale cloud provider to offer SAP HANA supportable VMs in the UK.

Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) customers can now take advantage of the Azure M/V3/B-series of VM sizes available in the UK South region. We’re also excited to announce that Azure is the first hyperscale cloud provider to offer VMs optimized for large in-memory workloads such as SAP HANA in the UK.

New Azure M series – The Azure M-series is perfectly suited for your large in-memory workloads like SAP HANA and SQL Hekaton. With the M-series, these databases can load large datasets into memory and utilize fast memory access with massive virtual CPU (vCPU) parallel processing to speed up queries and enable real-time analytics.

Learn more about M-Series.

 

Size vCPU’s Memory (GiB) Local SSD (GiB) Max data disks M64s 64 1024 2048 32 M64ms 64 1792 2048 32 M128s 128 2048 4096 64 M128ms 128 3800 4096 64

 
New Azure B series – B-series VMs provide the lowest cost option for customers with flexible vCPU requirements. These are useful for workloads like web servers, small databases, and development or test environments where CPU utilization is low most of the time, but spikes for

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07

Feb

Azure #CosmosDB Graph API now generally available
Azure #CosmosDB Graph API now generally available

Azure Cosmos DB Graph API is the first cloud database to provide graph functionality over a globally distributed managed service. This has enabled users to explore new ways of consuming their data with the use of the Gremlin language while still benefitting from global distribution, elastic scalability in storage and throughput, guaranteed low latency, consistency models, and enterprise-ready SLAs of Azure Cosmos DB.

In December, Azure Cosmos DB Graph API became generally available. This release includes several critical updates to the performance and latency, as well as expanding the application platforms that can be used with it. Here is a brief recap of the features included in the general availability release of Azure Cosmos DB Graph API.

Increased service performance and stability

Several performance and stability improvements have been applied to the Azure Cosmos DB Graph API service. These updates benefit the Gremlin query processing performance, as well as the connectivity experience when using any of the open-source Gremlin connectors. Additional fixes were also applied to the previously known Gremlin error parsing issues that used to be experienced.

Newly added support for Python and PHP application platforms!

Azure Cosmos DB Graph API now supports connections from Python and PHP applications

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07

Feb

Azure Search service upgrades: New hardware, unlimited document counts, and more!

Today we are happy to announce performance upgrades to all paid service tiers in Azure Search. For the exact same price, these upgraded Azure Search services have roughly double the compute power of the previous hardware configuration that backed Azure Search. Additionally, services in the Standard tier began using SSD storage under the hood, compared to HDD storage used previously.

What does this mean for Azure Search?

With these service upgrades, we removed the document count limits from the Basic and Standard pricing tiers. This means that only storage limits are enforced in new Azure Search services. Depending on a scenario’s workload, these upgraded services may also benefit from faster indexing and querying performance at the same exact price points.

The Basic tier now supports an increase in the number of indexes from 5 to 15. Also in the Basic tier, Azure Search can now support up to 15 data sources and indexers per service. For the Standard 3 High Density pricing tier (great for multitenant scenarios), we were able to remove the 200 million document per partition limit, only enforcing per-index limits.

Unlimited document counts

These upgrades allow Azure Search to no longer enforce document count limits on Basic

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06

Feb

Free: Microsoft AI Bootcamp Materials for Emerging & Pro Developers

This post is authored by Chris Testa-O’Neill, Applied Data Scientist in the Microsoft Cloud AI team.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is proving to be a massively disruptive force, one that is leading to the digital transformation of businesses at a faster pace than most of us would have imagined. At Microsoft, our mission is to bring AI to every developer and every organization on the planet, and to provide the best platform and tools to make them successful. You can read more Microsoft’s approach to AI here.

In keeping with our mission, we are currently running a series of popular AI boot camps around the world. This post shares more information about these boot camps and provides links for you to access these materials and start building your own AI apps in a self-paced way.

Our bootcamps have two target audience profiles, the emerging AI developer and the professional AI developer, and our curriculum is primarily oriented towards these two personas. The first two days of the bootcamp are aimed at the emerging AI developer. The target profile here is an IT developer who is yet to use Microsoft AI tools and APIs to infuse intelligence into their business applications.

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06

Feb

Brand Detection in Microsoft Video Indexer

We are delighted to announce a new capability in Microsoft Video Indexer: Brand Detection from speech and from visual text! If you are not yet familiar with Video Indexer, you may want to take a look at a few examples on our portal.

Having brands in the video index gives you insights on names of products and organizations, which appear in a video or audio asset without having to watch it. Particularly, it enables you to search over large amounts of video and audio. Customers find Brand Detection useful in a wide variety of business scenarios such as contents archive and discovery, contextual advertising, social media analysis, retail compete analysis and many more.

Out of the box brand detection

Let us take a look at an example. In this Microsoft Build 2017 Day 2 presentation, the brand “Microsoft Windows” appears multiple times. Sometimes in the transcript, sometimes as visual text and never as verbatim. Video Indexer detects with high precision that a term is indeed brand based on the context, covering over 90k brands out of the box, and constantly updating. At 02:25, Video Indexer detects the brand from speech and then again at 02:40 from visual text, which is

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