Cloud Platform Release Announcements for August 23, 2017

This is a blog post for a new, ongoing series of consolidated updates from the Cloud Platform team.

We’re here to help you embrace the cloud. Realize your true potential with our unique innovations, comprehensive mobile solutions, and developer tools across the breadth of our product portfolio. To help you stay current, here are our latest releases.

  • Azure Event Grid | Preview
  • Archive Blob Storage | Preview
  • Azure security and operations management | Azure monitoring updates
  • Azure Cosmos DB | General availability
  • Power BI Desktop | General availability
  • Power BI service | General availability
  • Azure SQL Database preferred dev environment | Catalog collation SQL Database creation Preview
  • .NET Core 2.0 released
  • Visual Studio 2017 | Updates
  • Visual Studio for Mac | Updates
  • Azure Active Directory Conditional Access updates—Support for macOS | Preview

Azure Event Grid | Preview

We're pleased to announce the preview of Azure Event Grid.

Azure Event Grid offers a fully managed event routing service that allows customers to easily subscribe and react to events happening anywhere in Azure, or to route custom events in their own applications. It removes the need to continuously poll by reliably routing events at high scale and low latency. Modern serverless architectures will benefit from the rich coverage and reactive event model enabled by Azure Event Grid. Please learn more by visiting the Event Grid page.

To find more about the overall Azure serverless application platform, please visit the Serverless computing page.

Archive Blob Storage | Preview

Announcing Azure Archive Blob Storage Preview and blob-level tiering

We’re excited to announce Azure Archive Blob Storage Preview. Azure Archive Blob Storage provides a cold storage option for customers interested in lowering their storage costs for rarely accessed data. Archive Blob Storage exists alongside the Hot and Cool Storage tiers, and provides 256-bit at rest AES encryption for archived data. Archive Blob Storage can be accessed through the Blob Storage account UI, programmatically via REST API, or via a variety of other language SDKs. Archive Blob Storage also provides blob-level tiering which makes it easy to move objects between Hot, Cool, and Archive storage tiers. Availability for the preview will be limited to the US East 2 region. Pricing starts at $0.15 cents/GB. Sign up for the Archive Blob Storage preview. To learn more about Archive Blob Storage pricing, please visit Azure Archive Blob Storage Pricing.

Azure security and operations management | Azure monitoring updates

Container monitoring and integrated insights across your Azure resources

There's a growing need to monitor and manage containers, along with your infrastructure and applications. Extending Azure’s unified approach to monitoring, we're announcing the general availability of the container monitoring solution, built on Azure Log Analytics. This solution will help you get a holistic view of your entire IT environment, including Linux and Windows Server containers. Getting ahead of issues before they impact the business is important for all IT organizations. With Azure Monitor, you now have additional flexibility to route any combination of logs and metrics to different instances of storage accounts, Event Hubs, or Log Analytics workspaces. This helps you to maintain a centralized repository spanning different subscriptions. In addition, Application Insights, the web application performance monitoring service, now provides the ability to analyze user navigation patterns in your apps (in preview), so you can discover user churn and prioritize your app investments. For more information about the capabilities available, please view Container monitoring, Azure Monitor, and Application Insights documentation.

Azure Cosmos DB | General availability

Azure Cosmos DB—Event driven architectures with Change Feed Processor library

Build event driven architectures and receive a real-time stream of database updates with Azure Cosmos DB change feed. Change feed enables reactive programming models for IoT telemetry and e-commerce ordering pipelines. Reading change feed across multiple partitions is easy with the Change Feed Processor library now available as a Nuget package for .NET development. The Change Feed Processor library facilitates distributing change feed event processing across multiple consumers. This library provides a thread-safe, multi-process, safe runtime environment, with checkpoint and partition lease management for large-scale distributed event processing applications.

Power BI Desktop | General availability

New and most frequently requested Power BI Desktop features are now available to business analysts. Live connect to Power BI service—Our Power BI service connector is now generally available. Now everyone can start using this feature to connect to any of their datasets in the Power BI service. This makes it very easy to create a model once and reuse it in many reports. New Analytics features: "what if" parameters to enable interaction with controls on a report to change a variable in your data; symmetry shading and ratio line in scatter chart; and weighted average quick measure. New custom visuals: Dot Plot by MAQ Software, Power KPI, Funnel plot, and Beyondsoft Calendar. Download the latest Power BI Desktop to experience the new features immediately. For more information on these new features and others, visit the Power BI blog.

Power BI service | General availability

Additional new and most frequently requested Power BI features are now available to users and business analysts. Dashboard performance inspector helps you inspect and diagnose the performance of your dashboards, identifies potential issues, and suggests a fix. New Q&A experience on iOS (preview)— In addition to receiving an answer to your question, you can now also use natural language to get scoped insights. In cases where you're unsure what you're looking for, Q&A proactively surfaces insights relevant to your data. These insights are driven by a set of advanced analytics solutions that get executed when a question is asked. Solution Template for Azure Activity Log Analytics provides analytics on top of your Activity Log in the Azure Portal. Gain insight into the activities performed by various resources and people in your subscription. Sign in to to experience the new features immediately. For more information on these new features and others, visit the Power BI blog.

Azure SQL Database preferred dev environment | Catalog collation SQL Database creation Preview

Setting catalog collation during Azure SQL Database creation

Azure SQL Database now supports a new option allowing users to select a metadata catalog collation during its database creation. Now in preview, the new “Catalog_Collation” option specifies the default collation for the metadata catalog, and the new “Database_Default” option specifies that the metadata catalog used for system views and system tables be collated to match the default collation for the database. This feature is only available for Azure SQL Database. For more information on this topic see the Create a Database (Azure SQL Database) documentation webpage.

.NET Core 2.0 released

.NET Core 2.0 is now generally available. .NET Core is a cross-platform, open source, and modular .NET environment for creating modern web apps, microservices, libraries, and console applications that run everywhere. This release focuses on performance improvements and expanding the set of APIs available. It includes the runtime and libraries for .NET Core as well as the tools for building, debugging, and running .NET Core applications. This tooling includes a new set of command line tools, as well as Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code extensions that enable developers to work with .NET Core projects.

.NET Core 2.0 implements the .NET Standard 2.0 which specifies a common set of APIs across .NET runtimes and workloads, be that .NET Core, .NET Framework, or Mono/Xamarin. When you target .NET Standard, your libraries will run anywhere without recompiling them. 70% of the packages on NuGet are now compatible with .NET Standard 2.0, which contains over 35,000 members and 2,500 types. ASP.NET Core web framework now supports Razor Pages, a lightweight syntax for embedding server based code into web pages. Additionally, there are many new tooling features in Visual Studio available for .NET Core 2.0 applications like simplified and portable project files, so you can easily move projects between Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, and Visual Studio for Mac, code navigation improvements, a significant number of new refactoring/quick fix commands, code style enforcement, and live unit testing. Get started.

Visual Studio 2017 | Updates

An updated version of Visual Studio 2017 is now available.  Get the overview of key changes from our release blog, or read the full details in our release notes, and upgrade your version of Visual Studio 2017 today.

Visual Studio for Mac | Updates

An updated version of Visual Studio for Mac is now available, adding support for .NET Core 2.0 targeting in console apps, web apps, and web services. It also enables creating .NET Standard 2.0 in library projects to share more code across projects. See the complete release notes. Download the update today through the Visual Studio for Mac updater, or on

Azure Active Directory Conditional Access updates—Support for macOS | Preview

Azure Active Directory conditional access support for macOS in public preview.

Conditional Access in Enterprise Mobility + Security enables enterprises to provide secure access to all their applications by enforcing controls based on application sensitivity, location, risk level, and device platform. We're announcing that Conditional Access support for macOS device platform is now in preview.

The first step in this preview was the introduction of Intune’s macOS compliance settings, which were released in preview in late July. Intune’s macOS compliance settings allow you to set device compliance policies around Device Health, Device Properties, and System Security for macOS devices. With macOS conditional access support from Azure Active Directory, you can create policies specifically targeting macOS devices, and require that they are managed and compliant before a user accesses company resources like Office365, SharePoint online, or any other SaaS or on-premises application.

Intune’s macOS compliance settings and Azure Active Directory’s conditional access support for macOS are both available in preview today in the new admin experience on Azure.

For more details please read the Conditional Access documentation pages.