Cloud Platform Release Announcements for March 2, 2016

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


In today’s mobile first, cloud first world, Microsoft provides the technologies and tools to enable enterprises to embrace a cloud culture. Our differentiated innovations, comprehensive mobile solutions and developer tools help all of our customers realize the true potential of the cloud first era.

You expect cloud-speed innovation from us, and we’re delivering across the breadth of our Cloud Platform product portfolio. Below is a consolidated list of our latest releases to help you stay current, with links to additional details if you’d like more information. In this update:

  • Microsoft Cloud App Security (Adallom) | Preannounce
  • Azure AD Identity Protection | Public preview
  • Intune: New MAM enabled Apps from Skype for Business, Dynamics CRM, and Adobe Reader | GA and Intune: Outlook support for MAM without Device Enrollment | GA
  • Microsoft R Server | Azure Marketplace
  • OMS extension for Linux VMs | Public - Full experience
  • Power BI Content Packs Alpine Metrics, Dynamics AX - Retail Channel Manager and Dynamics AX – Financial Performance generally available
  • StorSimple Virtual Array, on-premises | GA
  • Visual Studio Code extension for React Native | Public preview

Microsoft Cloud App Security (Adallom) | Preannounce

Last week, prior to RSA conference, we announced the upcoming general availability of a new, cloud-delivered security solution: Microsoft Cloud App Security.

Based on our Adallom acquisition, Microsoft Cloud App Security is a new service that provides visibility, control, and security over cloud applications at a level similar to on-premises. You get the benefits of cloud and SaaS applications, while gaining insight into user activity, detecting anomalous behavior, identifying compromised accounts, and increasing protection over critical company data. With this new solution, we are committed to supporting not only Microsoft but also third-party cloud applications.

Cloud App Security, as a standalone solution, will be generally available in April 2016. If you would like to learn more about this product and experience it real time, sign up to be notified once it’s available.

Azure AD Identity Protection | Public preview

Identity Protection by Azure Active Directory now in public preview.

Azure Active Directory Identity Protection takes secure identity and access management to the next level by detecting attacks in real time, informing you of risks and applying controls to keep your enterprise safe.

The service detects suspicious activities for users and privileged (admin) identities based on signals like brute force attacks, leaked credentials, sign ins from unfamiliar locations, infected devices and more and provides remediation recommendations to protect against these activities in real-time. More importantly, based on these suspicious activities, a user risk severity is calculated and risk-based conditional access policies can be configured and automatically protect the identities of your organization from future threats.

For more information, please refer to the Identity Protection documentation.

New in Microsoft Intune: More MAM enabled apps from Outlook, Skype for Business, Dynamics CRM, and Adobe Reader

Having the right set of managed apps is essential for creating a productive and protected mobile experience across your organization, that’s why we’re continually working to expand our portfolio of MAM enabled apps for Microsoft Intune. Since its release in 2015, the Microsoft Outlook app has been one of the most popular Intune managed apps available. We’re excited to announce an update to the Outlook app that allows you to protect your corporate data using MAM controls without device enrollment.

This is a great option for BYOD scenarios where you want to keep corporate data safe without managing a user’s device. Available now for iOS and Android!

In case you missed them, here is a list of other MAM-enabled apps we’ve recently made available for MDM enrolled devices.

  • Microsoft Skype for Business (MAM with MDM) available now for iOS and Android
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM (MAM with MDM) available now for iOS and Android
  • Adobe Reader (MAM with MDM) available now for iOS

Keep up-to-date on what apps are coming and what’s been released on the Intune Partners page. Also, check out this great article to learn more about how Intune MAM functionality and policies help protect your corporate data.

Microsoft R Server | Azure Marketplace

Now available as a Market Place VM. Microsoft R Server is a cost effective enterprise-class big data big analytics platform available today for purchase on Azure Marketplace as Virtual Machines. Supporting a variety of big data statistics, predictive modeling and machine learning capabilities, Microsoft R Server is also 100% R. Microsoft R Server provides users with the best of both: cost-effective and fast big data analytics that are fully compatible with the R language, the de facto standard for modern analytics users.

Microsoft R Server WM in Azure

Microsoft is excited to announce the availability of its latest release of Microsoft R Server as a general availability on Microsoft Azure via Windows, Linux, Hadoop and Teradata-based virtual machines in the Azure Marketplace. Through Azure’s world-wide cloud infrastructure customers now have on-demand access to high-performance predictive analytics to accelerate growth, optimize operations, and expedite data insight and discovery from any place and at any time. Availability in Azure Marketplace is the first step in Microsoft’s plan to bring Microsoft R Server into Azure and, in the bigger picture, Cortana Analytics.

Through the Azure Marketplace, users can run computations on data sets up to one terabyte on cloud-based Windows and Linux multi-CPU instances from four to 32 vCPUs (virtual CPUs), accessing data copied from an Azure data store, including blob storage, Azure Data Lake, or SQL Server, or accessed through direct connection to Azure Data Lake, use of Azure Files, or ODBC. Utility pricing for both versions starts at $1.50 per four-cores per hour with no long-term commitments.

The Windows version of Microsoft R Server is accessed with Windows Remote Desktop and includes Microsoft ’s Visual Studio-based IDE for R developers (Microsoft R Server DevelopR). Access to the Linux version of RRE is via SSH with R access through the RGui. Alternatively, customers have the option of bringing their own license for a favorite IDE such as RStudio, RStudio Server or StatET. Both the Windows and Linux offerings include Microsoft ’s DeployR web services module.

Microsoft R Server features a unique “write once deploy anywhere” functionality that enables data analysts and IT teams to write code once and deploy it anywhere in a variety of data management platforms, enterprise data warehouses, grids, clusters, servers and workstations without re-engineering costs. It is the only Big Data Big Analytics platform to include a library of Big Data-ready algorithms that run inside the Cloudera, Hortonworks, and MapR Hadoop platforms, Teradata databases, and soon SQL Server, with the highest possible performance.

Some important considerations

Microsoft R Server offers are now a first-party MSFT offers based on MRS 8.0 and having CSS support. Although the new offers will be first-party offers and branded as MSFT their purchase will still require credit cards for the R Server portion of the fees due to the restrictions of the Azure Marketplace commerce infrastructure.

This will impact large customers who purchase Azure credits and partners with sponsored subscriptions until we can replace the Marketplace offerings with core images. We are working to offer the entire server solution and integrate the meters with Azure billing.

OMS extension for Linux VMs | Public - Full experience

Microsoft Operations Management Suite enables seamless onboarding experience for virtual machines running in Azure, either Linux or Windows.

Operations Management Suite provides a VM extension for Linux IaaS VMs in Azure. This capability will enable Azure users to simply onboard to the Log Analytics service from the Azure management portal.

Visit the Hybrid IT management blog for additional information.

Power BI Content Packs Alpine Metrics, Dynamics AX - Retail Channel Manager, and Dynamics AX – Financial Performance generally available

Power BI continues to make it easier for users to connect to their data, providing pre-built solutions for popular services as part of the experience. This month we added a content pack for Alpine Metrics and Dynamics AX – Financial Performance and Retail Channel Performance.

Alpine Metrics, utilizing Cortana Analytics, predicts sales outcomes with 95%+ accuracy. Leveraging Dynamics CRM and Salesforce, the Alpine Metrics Sales Predictions content pack for Power BI includes metrics such as potential and predicted sales and risks, allowing you deeper insight into the future of your business.

Microsoft Dynamics AX is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that helps enterprises increase the speed of doing business. This update includes two Dynamics AX 7 content packs which are targeted towards different business users. The Financial Performance content pack, designed specifically for CFOs, provides access to insights about your organization’s financial performance. The Retail Channel Performance is targeted for channel managers and focuses on sales performance to predict trends and uncover insights by drawing directly from Retail & Commerce data.

Subscribers to these supported services can now quickly connect to their account from Power BI and see their data through live dashboards and interactive reports that have been pre-built for them. Getting started with data visualization and analysis has never been easier, for additional information visit the Power BI blog.

StorSimple Virtual Array, on-premises | GA

StorSimple on-premises Virtual Array generally available

No additional charge | StorSimple

Microsoft Azure StorSimple is announcing the general availability of the StorSimple Virtual Array. This is a version of the StorSimple solution in a virtual machine form installed in a customer’s remote or branch office. This provides a cost-effective, light-weight solution for remote and branch office environments while still delivering the fundamental value of the StorSimple Hybrid Cloud Storage solution:

  • Seamless cloud integration with automated tiering to manage data growth
  • Simplified data protection with cloud-based snapshots
  • Location independent recovery of data from the cloud

The StorSimple Virtual Array can be downloaded from the StorSimple Manager, on the Azure portal, and installed on a Virtual Machine configured on a Hyper-V or VMware hypervisor. The StorSimple Virtual Array can be configurable as a NAS (using SMB) or a SAN (using iSCSI) device. It will initially be targeted for File Sharing, for information worker and collaboration scenarios, and small database workloads using a combination of local and tiered volumes. The StorSimple Virtual Array will be managed from the StorSimple Manager Service, in the Azure portal.

The on-premises StorSimple Virtual Array is billed against the same meters as the StorSimple 8000 Series, the StorSimple meter and the Azure Blob Storage meter.

For more information, please refer to the StorSimple overview.

Visual Studio Code extension for React Native | Public preview

At the reactconf conference (SFO 22,23) we announced the availability of a Preview Visual Studio Code extension for ReactNative development.

ReactNative is a framework to create native, cross-platform applications for Android and iOS using JavaScript. The Visual Studio Code extension, adds IntelliSense, code editing and debugging capabilities on Visual Studio Code for ReactNative projects. To find out more about the release, check out the Visual Studio Blog announcement or ReactNative website.