Azure.Source – Volume 25

One of the biggest news items out of last week was the arrival of Virtual Machine Serial Console access in public preview in all global regions. This is something customers have wanted for some time and the team was ecstatic to finally deliver it. Down below, you'll find a blog post and episodes of Tuesdays with Corey and Azure Friday that go into all the details and show how it works.

Now in preview

Virtual Machine Serial Console access – Virtual machine serial console enables bidirectional serial console access to your virtual machines. The preview is available in global Azure regions. To try it, look for Serial console (Preview) in the Support+Troubleshooting section of your virtual machine. Serial Console access requires you to have VM Contributor or higher privileges to the virtual machine. This will ensure connection to the console is kept at the highest level of privileges to protect your system.

Preview: SQL Database Transparent Data Encryption with Azure Key Vault configuration checklist – Azure SQL Database and Data Warehouse offer encryption-at-rest by providing Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) for all data written to disk, including databases, log files and backups. The TDE protector is by default managed by the service in a fully transparent fashion, rotated every 90 days and maintained in archive for access to backups. Optionally, you can assume management of the TDE Protector for more control. However, you should read this post for guidelines before setting up Azure SQL Database TDE with customer-managed keys in Azure Key Vault.

Soft delete for Azure Storage Blobs now in public preview – Soft delete for Azure Storage Blobs is available in all regions, both public and private. When turned on, soft delete enables you to save and recover your data where blobs or blob snapshots are deleted. This protection extends to blob data that is erased as the result of an overwrite. If there is a chance that your data is accidentally modified or deleted by an application or other storage account user, we recommend turning on soft delete. Soft delete is one part of a data protection strategy and can help prevent inadvertent data loss.

Also in preview

Now generally available

Announcing Azure Service Health general availability – configure your alerts today – Azure Service Health is a personalized dashboard that provides guidance and support when issues in Azure services affect you. Unlike our public status page which provides general status information, Azure Service Health provides tailored information for your resources. It also helps you prepare for planned maintenance and other changes that could affect the availability of your resources.

Announcing the general availability of Azure Files share snapshot – Azure Files share snapshots are available globally in all Azure clouds. Share snapshots provide a way to make incremental backups of Server Message Block (SMB) shares in Azure Files. Storage administrators can use snapshots directly and backup providers can now leverage this capability to integrate Azure Files backup and restore capabilities into their products./p>

Azure Monitor–General availability of multi-dimensional metrics APIs – Explore your Azure metrics through their dimensions and unlock deeper insights. Dimensions are name value pairs, or attributes, that can be used to further segment a metric. These additional attributes can help make exploring a metric more meaningful. Azure Monitor has also increased our metric retention period from 30 days to 93 days, so you can access data for longer, and do meaningful comparisons across months.

Azure SQL Data Warehouse now generally available in all Azure regions worldwide – Azure SQL Data Warehouse is now available in three additional regions— Japan West, Australia East, and India West. These additional locations bring the product worldwide availability count to all 33 regions – more than any other major cloud data warehouse provider. SQL Data Warehouse is a high-performance, secure, and compliant SQL analytics platform offering you a SQL-based view across data and a fast, fully managed, petabyte-scale cloud solution.

Azure Availability Zones now available for the most comprehensive resiliency strategy – Availability of Availability Zones begins with select regions in the United States and Europe. Availability Zones are physically separate locations within an Azure region. Each Availability Zone consists of one or more datacenters equipped with independent power, cooling, and networking. With the introduction of Availability Zones, we now offer a service-level agreement (SLA) of 99.99% for uptime of virtual machines.

Also generally available

News & updates

Support for tags in cost management APIs is now available – We’re announcing the support for tags in both the Usage Details API and the Budgets API for detailed reporting on your Azure usage and charges. This release only supports tags for subscriptions in Enterprise Agreements (EA), in future releases we plan to support other subscription types as well.

The new Azure Load Balancer – 10x scale increase – Azure Load Balancer is a network load balancer offering high scalability, throughput and low latency across TCP and UDP load balancing. The Standard SKU adds 10x scale, more features along with deeper diagnostic capabilities than the existing Basic SKU. The new offer is designed to handle millions of flows per second and built to scale and support even higher loads. Standard and the Basic Load Balancer options share APIs and will offer our customers several options to pick and choose what best match their needs.

Create Service Fabric Clusters from Visual Studio now available – Based on your input, we've added the ability to create secure clusters directly from Visual Studio to help simplify and expedite the process. This update shipped with the latest release of the Service Fabric tooling for Visual Studio 2015 and with Visual Studio 2017 as part of the Azure workload.

BigDL Spark deep learning library VM now available on Microsoft Azure Marketplace – BigDL deep learning library is a Spark-based framework for creating and deploying deep learning models at scale. While it has previously been deployed on Azure HDInsight and Data Science VM, it is now also available on Azure Marketplace as a fixed VM image represents a further step in reducing deployment complexity.

Additional news & updates

Technical content & training

Implementation patterns for big data and data warehouse on Azure – To help our customers with their adoption of Azure services for big data and data warehousing workloads we have identified some common adoption patterns which are reference architectures for success: modern data warehouse, advanced analytics on big data, and real-time analytics (Lambda).

How to get support for Azure IoT SDK – Azure IoT SDKs make it easy for developers to begin coding and deploy applications for Azure IoT Hub and Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service. The SDKs are production quality open-sourced project with support from Microsoft via User Voice, Stack Overflow, Azure Support, and GitHub issue submissions.

Essential tools and services for building mobile apps – Azure, Visual Studio, Xamarin, and Visual Studio App Center give you the flexible, yet robust tools and services to build, test, deploy, and continuously improve Android and iOS apps that your users will love. Learn how you can use your favorite language and tools, to tap into robust cloud services, and quickly scale to millions of users on demand.

Customer stories

How Catania secures public data with Azure SQL Data Warehouse – The municipality of Catania in Italy, that serves over a million people, wanted to build a streamlined management and storage of public service operations data. They also wanted to safeguard against any potential damage to their physical datacenter and ensure service continuity. Azure and Softjam helped Commune di Catania built a hybrid solution that uses SQL Server and Azure Data Warehouse (Azure SQL DW) to build a flexible data warehouse for all their reporting needs, backed by automatic recovery and site-to-site recovery.

Using artificial intelligence to analyze roads – Based in Gaimersheim, Germany, EFS is the number one partner of Audi in chassis development. It examines and helps implement future-looking technologies, including automated driving. As part of its research efforts, the company used Azure NC-series virtual machines powered by NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPUs to drive a deep learning AI solution that analyzes high-resolution two-dimensional images of roads. The purpose is to give self-driving vehicles a better understanding of those roads. EFS proved that the concept works, and the company can now move ahead with product development. EFS had several terabytes of data in Azure Blob storage. The NC-series virtual machines, powered by NVIDIA’s Tesla P100 GPU, made quick work of that data. And the elasticity of Azure gave EFS the flexibility they needed to get their work done effectively.


Learn from experts and play with emerging tech at Microsoft Build – Microsoft’s largest developer conference, Microsoft Build, is around the corner, and there’s still time to register. Programmers and Microsoft engineers will gather May 7–9 in Seattle, Washington, to discuss what’s next in cloud, AI, mixed reality, and more. The event will feature incredible technical sessions, inspiring speakers, and interactive workshops—as well as plenty of time to connect and celebrate.

#GlobalAzure Bootcamp 2018 – The Global Azure Bootcamp (#GlobalAzure) is a worldwide series of one-day technical learning events for Azure. It is created and hosted by leaders from the global cloud developer community. This is community, pure and simple, at its very best. And you can join too!

World Backup Day: Secure your backups, not just your data! – Last week was World Backup Day. See this post to look at the key considerations that customers should look for in backup products as they build the defenses to secure their backups from evolving ransomware attacks, and how Azure can help.

Developer spotlight

Build responsive and flexible transactional apps – MyExpenses uses AngularJS for the frontend, Node.js for the backend, and SQL Server 2017 as the database server. Follow along as we move this application to Azure SQL DB and take advantage of new features to improve the application's data performance and security.

Data for Development: Evolving SQL Workloads from Software to SaaS – Get hands-on and build an e-Commerce retail based SaaS (Software as a Service) application using Azure database services (Azure SQL Database).

Database DevOps with SQL Server Data Tools and Team Services – Watch this session to learn how to use SQL Server Data Tools in Visual Studio 2017 to quickly develop a SQL Server database that runs anywhere and an Azure SQL database. Learn how to automate your application and database CI/CD pipeline by using Visual Studio Team Services.

Pinball Lizard (sample game) – Pinball Lizard started as a challenge. We wanted to explore the gameplay possibilities of the new Windows Mixed Reality headsets and how we could use Microsoft Azure, PlayFab, and Unity to drive those possibilities. In this manual, you’ll see how we tackled this challenge and made a proof of concept that we’re excited to make public! We hope you play with it, extend it, and make it your own.

Pinball Lizard Game Manual – Whether you want to check out the underlying game architecture, the gameplay decisions based on mixed reality, how we established communication between Azure and Unity, or how Mixer and PlayFab services are integrated into the game—you’ll find our approach documented here.

Your game, every way it's played: PlayFab at GDC 2018 – Brendan Vanous, Head of Developer Success at PlayFab, provides an overview of PlayFab's backend platform in the cloud for live games.

Azure shows

Tuesdays with Corey | Azure Serial Console – Corey Sanders, Corporate VP – Microsoft Azure Compute team sat down with Hariharan Jayaraman, Principal PM on the Azure Linux Team to talk about a private preview of Serial Console to Linux and Windows VMs.

Azure Friday #395 | Azure Virtual Machine Serial Console – Hariharan Jayaraman joins Scott Hanselman to discuss Azure Virtual Machine Serial Console, which allows console access to Azure VMs. This allows you to connect and recover VMs which are in a stuck state due to OS or configuration issues.

Azure Friday #396| Azure + Visual Studio + Xamarin = Great Mobile Apps – James Montemagno joins Scott Hanselman to show how powerful Azure services can be used with Visual Studio and Xamarin to create cloud-connected mobile apps for Android, iOS, and Windows, using one toolset and development language (C#) across front-end and back-end.

The Azure Podcast: Episode 222 – Azure Portal Update – Sean Watson, a Senior PM in the Azure Portal team, talks to us about the thinking behind the design of the portal and shares tips 'n tricks for getting the most out of the portal.

Azure tips & tricks

Azure Tips and Tricks – Drag Tiles to customize your Azure Dashboard

Azure Tips and Tricks – Customize and Pin Charts to your Azure Dashboard

Source: Azure Blog Feed

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