Luper's Learnings - Azure Technical Community for Partners (September 2015)

In the US and Canada, we had the Labor Day holiday yesterday which means that Summer is officially over. Kids are back to school, temperatures will be dropping, work travel will be picking up and… the weather (and computing) will be getting cloudier! I hope that you enjoyed summer holidays (or winter for those in that other hemisphere) and are back at all things Azure full swing now.

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Here are topics I’ve run across and my Learnings from the last month…

  • There have been many requests over the nine month life of Luper’s Learnings for back issues & some type of archive. While I’m not going to shift to blogging with any regularity, I have now posted the back issues of this email to for your convenience and perusal.

  • Be sure to virtually attend AzureCon. Nicole Herskowitz posted the intro and overview in a 20 August post. It’s coming up at 9am Pacific time on 29 September. Register and get more details about this free, virtual event with 50 technical sessions (all sessions will be available on demand since you won’t be able to watch them all that day) keynotes from Scott Guthrie, Jason Zander and Bill Staples at the AzureCon site.

  • Since I’m sending this in September, I thought I’d sneak in one “big” announcement that happened this month. Corey Sanders posted last week Announcing the GS-Series: Adding Premium Storage Support to the Largest VMs in the Public Cloud. (It was April of this year, we announced the General Availability of Azure Premium Storage. You can see the list of where it’s currently available and where we are targeting to launch it before the end of the calendar year here.)

  • Ok, one last September announcement related to the above. The rest will come the 1st week of October. Kenaz Kwa announced support for two debugging features: Console Output and Screenshot support for Azure Virtual Machines v2 across guest operating systems.

  • Alright, back to the (end of) August announcements. Scott Guthrie announced Great New SQL Database Capabilities in Azure including two new pricing tiers for Elastic Database Pool capability and new higher-end scale options for SQL Databases.

  • Azure Site Recovery became available in almost all of the Azure regions during August. Ashish Gangwar announced that Azure Site Recovery is now available in Central US, North Central US, South Central US, East US2.

  • I could hardly contain my excitement a few weeks ago when Mark Russinovich posted Containers: Docker, Windows and Trends saying that “You can’t have a discussion on cloud computing lately without talking about containers.”

  • Did you hear that Azure Backup has increased the size of datasources that can be protected to 54400 GB from 1700 GB? Giridhar Mosay made the announcement in his Azure Backup enables backup of large volumes, VMs, databases and more post in mid August. Since then, he also announced that Windows 10 client machines can now be backed up seamlessly to the cloud (including 3 “how to” videos) and provided a Mandatory Update for Azure Backup Agent just over a week ago.

  • Since I’m on an Azure Backup tear, Trinadh Kotturu announced new features to Azure Backup’s support for Azure IaaS VM backup. The new set of features include support for virtual machine backup with more data disks, long-term retention and more in his post Azure Backup update – New features in IaaS VM backup support.

  • August kicked off Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President’s new series called “My Lunch Break.” In the first two episodes Brad chats up GeekWire’s Todd Bishop. Brad has promised a new video every Thursday. The first couple have taken place in a Tesla Model S, which I’ve become personally partial to J. Take a look at Brad’s announcement for the series, watch last week’s video or subscribe to the channel.

  • A couple of weeks ago, Raymond Laghaeian, Senior Program Manager posted a blog post and 9 minute video that walks through the process to Build and Deploy a Predictive Web App Using Python and Azure ML.

  • While we’re on Machine Learning, Brandon Rohrer updated the Machine learning algorithm cheat sheet for Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio in August.

  • Girish Pillai has some colleagues and customers who “are complete Linux folks” so he put together a Step by Step on creating resources in Azure from a Linux environment.

  • More on the Azure CLI, Alexandre Brisebois posted a blog on Using CLI to Capture and Deploy VMs.

  • Do you:

    • Need to hand over billing ownership of your Azure subscription to someone else?

    • Want to change the account used to sign up for Azure? Perhaps you used your Microsoft Account but meant to use your work or school account instead?

    • Want to move your Azure subscription from one directory to another?

    • Have Azure and Office 365 in different tenants and want to consolidate?

    • If your account is in the US, you can now do this easily in the Microsoft Azure Account Center- for Pay-As-You-Go subscriptions. Read Curtis Love’s Transferring an Azure subscription post.

  • I learned a bit about deployment slots as we were building the Azure Partner Readiness Catalog this year. In early August, Nir Mashkowski posted Securing your pre-production environment in the cloud where he walks you through the process of publishing to and swapping between Production and Staging environments using built in capabilities of Azure App Service.

  • Last month I mentioned the Azure exams and how they help partner organizations earn the MPN Gold Cloud Platform Competency. A top priority for me, the Azure BDMs and other resources we’ll be adding around the world is to help partners achieve this Gold Competency so that they can differentiate themselves in the market and maximize their benefits from Microsoft. As technical individuals, I’d love to be able to share your successes with others. How about if you drop me a note to or tweet to @Lupes when you pass one (or more) of those Azure exams. I might retweet it or give you special recognition in a future edition of this email.

  • Joe Davies just shared details about New Azure IT Workload: Web-based, line of business application. He includes links to a content set guide, architecture blueprint and phased, end to end guidance.

  • Azure DocumentDB lets you query JSON documents using familiar and friendly SQL syntax. If you know SQL, you can get up and running quickly with Azure DocumentDB. Also, Get the DocumentDB SQL query cheat sheet.

  • Matthew Henderson wrote recently that in July “we released an update to the Azure Mobile Apps .NET server SDK making it easier to get started and facilitated use of the SDK with any ASP.NET project. Today, we're announcing changes to the Mobile App portal, further streamlining the experience and significantly simplifying the process for building web and mobile apps.” Full details in his Azure Mobile Apps August 2015 update.

  • So many folks provide so many places for us to try to keep up with all things Azure. Did you know that for almost two years there has been a regular Azure Podcast? They posted their 92nd episode of the weekly-ish series last week. Check out and follow @AzurePodcast.

  • There continue to be a variety of online and in person learning opportunities around Azure. Here is a sampling:

    • Azure Tour - One day, free in person event coming to Philadelphia, Tokyo, Paris, Stockholm, Budapest, Tel Aviv, Atlanta, Washington DC and Frankfurt in the next five months

    • Microsoft Cloud Roadshow – Two day event with over 80 technical training sessions covering topics including Networking, Containers, Identity, IoT and more coming to cities including Dallas, New York, Toronto, Singapore, Dubai, London, Copenhagen and Hong Kong in the next six months.

    • My mate Simon Pearson, an Azure Partner Technology Strategist in the UK is driving technical monthly webinars on Hot Azure topics. He has been kind enough to allow me to invite Azure partners from outside the UK. Below are registration details for the next few months. I’ll provide you with info for January and beyond in the coming months.

      • 24 September – 08:00  Pacific, 16:00 GMT – Azure Site Recovery. Learn about utilizing Microsoft Azure for a robust, heterogeneous Disaster Recovery solution using Azure Site Recovery.  This is a technical briefing (Level 200/300) delivered directly from the Microsoft Product teams in Redmond. Register.

      • 8 October – 08:00  Pacific, 16:00 GMT – EMS - In this technical session you’ll learn about the implementation and best practice for Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), cloud identity, hybrid single sign on and mobile device management. (Level 200/300). Register.

      • 22 October – 08:00  Pacific, 16:00 GMT –  RemoteApp - Discover RemoteApp on Azure and how to utilize it to deliver corporate and off the shelf applications to multiple vendor device formats, whilst keeping your data safe in the Azure Cloud.  This is a technical event (Level 300) delivered directly from the Microsoft Product teams in Redmond. Register.

      • 12 November – 08:00  Pacific, 16:00 GMT –  ML & Power BI Machine Learning, Azure data and analytics and Power BI offer a uniquely powerful combination.  Hear from the Microsoft product group in Redmond on how to combine and utilize these feature in Azure for cutting edge data analytics. (Level 300). Register.

      • 24 November – 08:00  Pacific, 16:00 GMT –  Dynamics AX7 on Azure - Dynamics AX7 launches on Azure later on in the year.  Discover how it works on Azure, how it utilizes Azure’s cloud capabilities and the key AX7 features.  This is a technical Level 200 webinar. Register.

      • 10 December – 08:00  Pacific, 16:00 GMT –  Linux and Open Source on Azure - Over 20% of the servers in Azure are running Linux and Open Source Software (OSS). Discover why Linux and OSS runs like a dream on Azure and how to utilize Azure’s cloud features.  This is a technical level 300 webinar delivered from the Microsoft product group in Redmond. Register.

  • Power BI Desktop became Generally Available at the end of July and an update came out less than 30 days after that release. Many features have been added or updated. You can read the complete list at Announcing the Power BI Desktop August Update but you’ll notice that they include HDInsight Spark connector, Azure SQL Data Warehouse connector and more.

  • Don’t forget great series like the Azure Cloud Cover Show and Tuesdays with Corey. Some recent episodes:

  • You’ve seen me talk about identity and Azure Active Directory before. Nasos Kladakis posted or updated several interesting videos to Channel 9 in August.

  • Row-Level Security for SQL Database is Generally Available as of 20 August according to Tommy Mullaney’s post. He says that it enables you to store data for many users in a single database and table, while at the same time restricting row-level access based on a user's identity, role, or execution context.

  • Andrew Liu blogged Azure DocumentDB: JavaScript as Modern Day T-SQL. Andrew says that the DocumentDB database engine has been designed to provide first class support for JSON and JavaScript.

  • Oh… Adarsh Solanki posted Update: Azure Media Indexer v1.3.2. Not sure what Azure Media Indexer is? It celebrates one year this week.

Thanks for sticking with me and making it to the bottom of the September Luper’s Learnings. If you have topics you’d like me to include, please let me know what they are!