Cloud Platform Release Announcements for May 10, 2017

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:

  • New Microsoft Authentication Libraries (MSAL) for .Net, IOS, Android and JavaScript | Public Preview
  • Azure Batch | Deep Learning Service Limited Preview
  • Azure Batch | Low Priority VMs Public Preview
  • Azure Batch | Rendering Service Limited Preview
  • Azure Cloud Shell | Public Preview
  • Azure IoT Suite | GA
  • Azure Virtual Machines | New N Series Limited Preview - NCv2 and ND
  • Operations Management Suite | App Insights and Insight & Analytics Updates
  • Windows Server | Disclosure
  • Starter kit in Azure IoT device catalog | Announcement of program
  • Bot Framework | Public Preview
  • Cognitive Services | Build Release
  • Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL | Public Preview
  • Azure Data Lake analytics service | ADL Tools for VSCode – GA
  • Azure Time Series Insights | Public Preview Disclosure
  • Azure Cosmos DB
  • Azure SQL DB Preferred Dev Environment | SQL DB: Graph Support – Disclosure
  • Visual Studio for Mac | GA
  • .NET Core 2.0 (runtime, standard library, tools) | Public Preview
  • Azure DevTest Labs | Managed Disks support GA
  • Azure Functions | App Insights and Functions integration
  • Azure Functions | Azure Functions Runtime for Windows Public Preview
  • Azure Functions | Azure Functions with CDS Public Preview
  • Azure Functions | Direct Export of Azure Functions for PowerApps
  • Azure Functions | Visual Studio 2017 Azure Functions tooling
  • Azure Service Fabric | 5.6 Runtime Release GA
  • Visual Studio Snapshot Debugger | Public Preview
  • PowerApps | Disclosure- Release of PowerApps Community Plan
  • Visual Studio 2017 | Update (version 15.2)
  • Azure AD B2C new deployment model and capabilities | Public Preview
  • Accelerated Networking | Windows Public Preview + Linux Limited Preview
  • Azure SQL DB protects and secures data | Threat Detection – GA
  • Azure SQL DB protects and secures data | SQL DB: Encryption at rest default – GA
  • Azure HDInsight | Azure HDInsight 3.6 – GA
  • Azure Search | Synonyms/New Azure Search - Public Preview
  • Azure SQL DB protects and secures data | Auto Failover - Public Preview
  • Azure SQL DB build multi-tenant apps | Pools storage premium tier-Public Preview
  • Video Indexer | Public Preview
  • Azure CDN | Enhanced integrations with App Service & Storage
  • Microsoft Intune | Intune for Education
  • Microsoft Cloud App Security | File encryption GA
  • Azure Germany | Global Billing availability

New Microsoft Authentication Libraries (MSAL) for .Net, IOS, Android and JavaScript | Public Preview

Azure Active Directory and Microsoft personal Accounts: New public preview libraries (MSAL)

Microsoft Authentication Library (MSAL) for JavaScript, iOS, and Android are now available in public preview. Additionally, the available MSAL preview for .Net has been updated. MSAL enables developers to build web, mobile, and PC applications that sign in both Microsoft personal accounts and Azure Active Directory work and school accounts, and get access tokens to call the Microsoft Graph. MSAL uses Azure Active Directory V2 endpoint that combines access to personal accounts and work and school accounts. MSAL is the successor to the Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL). ADAL remains fully supported while MSAL is in preview. For more information visit the product website or read the Azure AD V2 developer guide.

Azure Batch | Deep Learning Service Limited Preview

Announcing Azure Batch AI Training for deep learning models

Azure Batch AI Training makes it easy for data scientists and AI researchers to run large-scale experiments with GPU and CPU in Azure. Provide your job details - AI framework to use, command line and parameters to run, path to data, and the VMs you need - and Azure Batch will create a cluster and run your jobs. You pay for only the compute that you use. Batch AI Training supports Linux and Windows with any learning framework, provides a Python API to use with scripts and Notebooks, and an SDK for automation. Go to AI Batch Training to sign up for the preview.

Azure Batch | Low Priority VMs Public Preview

Public Preview of Azure Batch Low-Priority VMs Azure Batch | Pricing

Low-priority VMs are now available at a large discount compared to regular on-demand VMs. If Batch applications can tolerate interruption and job execution time is flexible, then using low-priority VMs can vastly reduce the cost of running workloads or allow much more work to be performed at a greater scale, for the same cost. Many batch processing workloads can take advantage of low-priority VMs and Azure Batch makes it easy to allocate and manage low-priority VMs as well as handle any pre-emptions that occur.

Azure Batch | Rendering Service Limited Preview

Autodesk & Azure to enable large scale rendering

Azure is announcing the Limited Preview of Azure Batch Rendering in collaboration with Autodesk. This will enable customers such as artists, engineers and designers to submit rendering jobs seamlessly via their client applications or via our SDKs and get results quickly. As part of this offering Azure is working with Autodesk to enable customers to run Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3DS Max applications and Autodesk’s Arnold renderer in Azure with a pay per use model. The feature will provide tools such as client plugins offering a rich integrated experience allowing customers to submit jobs from within the Autodesk applications with easy scaling, monitoring, asset management as well as seamlessly getting to their results. We’ll be open-sourcing the plugins to encourage customization for individual use. Additionally, we’ll be releasing a feature rich and robust SDK for customers that want to automate their VFX pipeline.

To learn more information and sign up for the limited preview, please visit the preview sign up page.

Azure Cloud Shell | Public Preview

On Wednesday, May 3, we announced the public preview of Azure Cloud Shell, your Microsoft-managed admin machine on Azure, for Azure. Now you can connect with Azure using an authenticated, browser-based shell experience that’s hosted in the cloud and accessible from virtually anywhere or any device.

As detailed in Justin Luk’s blog post announcing Azure Cloud Shell preview, Cloud Shell comes equipped with commonly used CLI tools, including Linux shell interpreters, Azure tools, text editors, source control, build tools, container tools, database tools, and more. Cloud Shell also includes language support for several popular programming languages, such as Node.js, .NET, and Python. Since you get a clean environment for each new Cloud Shell session, Cloud Shell creates a file share in Azure File storage to persist your files across sessions, and automatically re-attaches it for subsequent sessions.

To learn more, read the full blog post and visit the Azure Cloud Shell.

Azure IoT Suite | GA

Available on April 24th, Connected factory preconfigured solution from Azure IoT Suite helps accelerates the journey to Industrie 4.0.

Industrie 4.0 - the fourth industrial revolution – enables connected cyber-physical systems to monitor physical processes, create a digital twin of the physical world and enable decentralized decisions. The goal of Industrie 4.0 is for factories to leverage IoT and sensor networks to digitize their processes and derive benefits in the form of improved quality, lower costs, and increased efficiency.

Connected factory helps connect and monitor industrial devices for insights using OPC UA to drive operational productivity and profitability. Connected factory leverages the valuable data to analyze the performance of factories, production lines, work stations to improve operational efficiencies and create more flexible business processes and customized products.

Learn more here.

Azure Virtual Machines | New N Series Limited Preview - NCv2 and ND

Azure announces new GPU instances

As the need for accelerated applications grow, infrastructure must keep up with the demands of those workloads such as AI & Deep Learning, Reservoir Modelling, Rendering, DNA Sequencing and others. Today we’re introducing new sizes to the existing family of N-Series VMs. Our new ND-based instances powered by NVIDIA’s P40 GPUs are optimized for Deep Neural Net Training and Inference. Additionally, we’re introducing the next generation of our NC-based instances powered by NVIDIA’s P100 GPUs; NC_v2 is perfect for traditional HPC applications and CUDA-based workloads. These new VMs will be available in Preview during Summer of 2017.

Operations Management Suite | App Insights and Insight & Analytics Updates

Drive business impact using your apps with Azure Application Insights

With new application monitoring and diagnostics capabilities in Azure Application Insights, you can optimize your apps across their lifecycle. Once your apps are deployed, you can now easily live debug and profile your apps using Snapshot Debugger and Application Insights Profiler. You can get insights into your application’s user behavior and understand your customers with Usage monitoring. Most importantly, you can detect and respond to issues before they impact your apps with new capabilities such as the custom metrics and events in Live Metrics Stream and Azure resource health info in Application Map. You can also use an Application Insights metric as the source for an Autoscale setting, helping your apps perform the best when their demands change. You can also directly integrate Azure Functions with Application Insights, for rich monitoring and in-depth analytics.

To learn more, read the full blog post and visit the Application Insights webpage.

Windows Server | Disclosure

Windows Server loves developers!

The Windows Server 2016 release introduced great developer features like containers and Nano Server. The feedback has been loud and clear from our developer fans – more! This week at Microsoft Build we are pleased to announce that Windows Server will be joining the Windows Insider program as well as a set of new Windows Server features specifically for developers and application administrators. If you are coming to Build, be sure to catch the session “B8013 Developing on Windows Server: Innovation for today and tomorrow - containers, Docker, .NET Core, Service Fabric, and more” by Taylor Brown on Friday at 9 am or you can watch it streaming live or on-demand after the event.

Early previews of the next release will be available starting this summer via the Windows Insider program. Sign up for the Windows Insider program today and get ready!

Starter kit in Azure IoT device catalog | Announcement of program

In addition to the availability of 5 new Microsoft Azure IoT Starter Kits, hardware partners will now be able to certify their starter kits through the Azure IoTdevice catalog. The Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT program helps businesses get started on their IoT projects quickly by connecting them to an ecosystem of hardware partners with devices and starter kits that can easily connect to the Azure IoT.

Hardware partners go through the certification for their devices and kits with the Azure IoT engineering team, and all certified devices and starter kits are showcased in the Azure IoT device catalog. Hardware partners can learn more about certifying your device or starter kit here.

All Azure IoT Starter Kits are available now on Azure IoT device catalog.

Bot Framework | Public Preview

At Build, Microsoft is announcing updates to the Bot Framework providing developers with more tools and streamlined integration to other services for developing bots.

  • Cortana integration and speech support, which provides a Cortana Channel, and a Cortana development experience, allowing developers to trigger, create, and publish a Skill to Cortana.
  • Bing Bots are authored using the Bot Framework and connected via the Bing Channel. The Bing Bot development experience allows bot developers to publish their bots to Bing, where they will then not only show up in the Bing Bots Rich Answer, but also users will be able to chat with the Bot on! You can see an example right here with our Local Business Bot. Bots in the Bing results pages leverage the new Skype Web Control.
  • The Cortana, Bing, and Skype for Business channels are introduced with this release.
  • Adaptive Cards allow developers an easier way to compose cards. An Adaptive Card is made of composable visual building blocks described in JSON that automatically adapt to the host’s UX, theme and modality.
  • Bot Payments, part of the new Payment Request API, enables shoppers and merchants to transact seamlessly. Developers leveraging the API, in Edge, UWP apps and Bots, can quickly and easily enable a simple and consistent checkout experience. The Payment Request API standardizes the payment checkout process. Requiring less customization for developers and provides a faster, more consistent, and therefore, less confusing experience for consumers.
  • Cortana Pre-Built Domains are predefined, developer extensible, packages in LUIS that help bootstrap language model creation. Examples include Sports, Weather, Contacts, Calendars, etc.
  • Additional Language Features such as Lists, Composite Entities, Semantic Dictionaries, and even Spell Checking have all been added to LUIS in this release.
  • Documentation has been completely redone. This includes new articles, a more easily understood layout, and integration into the infrastructure for a uniform end-user experience.
  • Bot Analytics provide metrics for Bot developers such as user retention rates, message rates, and related operational metrics.
  • Publishing Flow, which connects Bots to Channels, has been reworked to allow better integration and fidelity on a channel-by-channel basis.
  • The new Bot Framework Portal, currently in Private Preview, provides a one-stop-shop development experience, including LUIS integration for model authoring and training, bot development, testing, analytics, and deployment to Azure. The experience will be available from, the Azure Portal, and from within Visual studio and other popular thick client IDEs like Visual Studio Code.
  • Bot Runtime, also in Private Preview, provides the runtime host for a Bot designed around conversational models and business logic integration. While the runtime is deep integrated with Azure Web Sites and Azure Functions it may also run standalone.

Cognitive Services

At Build, we are excited to announce the next big wave of innovation for Microsoft Cognitive Services, expanding our portfolio to 29 intelligent APIs and updating our existing services, significantly increasing the value for developers looking to embrace AI and build the next generation of applications.

  • Custom Vision Service is available today in free public preview. A new easy-to-use, customizable web service that learns to recognize specific content in imagery, powered by state-of-the-art machine learning neural networks that become smarter with training. You can train it to recognize whatever you choose, whether that be animals, objects, or abstract symbols.
  • Video Indexer is available today in free public preview. This new service represents one of the industry’s most comprehensive video AI services. It helps you unlock insights from any video by indexing and enabling you to search on faces that appeared, spoken audio that is transcribed and translated and even emotions and objects. With these insights, you can improve discoverability of videos in your applications or increase user engagement by embedding this capability in consumer facing sites. All of these capabilities are available through a simple set of APIs, ready to use widgets and a management portal.
  • Custom Decision Service is available today in free public preview. This new service helps you create intelligent systems with a cloud-based contextual decision-making API that adapts with experience. Custom Decision service uses reinforcement learning in a new approach for personalizing content; it’s able to plug into your application and make decisions in real time as it automatically adapts to optimize your metrics over time.
  • Bing Custom Search, is available today in free public preview. Bing Custom Search lets you create a highly-customized web search experience, which delivers better and more relevant results from your targeted web space through a highly-customized commercial grade service. Featuring a straightforward User Interface, Bing Custom Search enables you to create your own web search engine without a line of code. Specify the slices of the web that you want to draw from – or let cutting-edge AI technology help you to identify them. It can empower businesses of any size, hobbyists and entrepreneurs to design and deploy web search applications for any possible scenario.
  • We’re also excited to announce Microsoft’s Cognitive Services Labs, allowing any developer to take part in the broader research community’s quest to better understand the future of cognitive computing, by experimenting with new services still in the early stages of development.

For more details, please look at the Cognitive Services Blog announcements here.

Services updates

  • Availability of the next version of Bing APIs, available in public preview, allowing developers to bring the vast knowledge of the web to their applications and benefit from improved performance, new sorting and filtering options, robust documentation, and easy Quick Start guides.
  • Presentation Translator, a Microsoft Garage project provides presenters the ability to add subtitles to their presentations, in the same language for accessibility scenarios or in another language for multi-language situations. Audience members get subtitles in their desired language on their own device through the Microsoft Translator app, in a browser at, and (optionally) translate the slides while preserving their formatting.
  • Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS) improvements - helps developers integrate language models that understand users quickly and easily, using either prebuilt or customized models. Updates to LUIS include increased intents and entities, introduction of new powerful developer tools for productivity, additional ways for the community to use and contribute, improved speech recognition with Microsoft Bot Framework, and more global availability.

On April 19, 3 additional Cognitive Services APIs have been announced in General Availability

  • Face API - helps to detect human faces and compare similar ones, organize people into groups according to visual similarity, and identify previously tagged people and their emotions in images.
  • Computer Vision API - gives you the tools to understand the contents of any image: create tags identifying objects, beings, or actions present in the image, and then craft coherent sentences to describe it.  You can now detect landmarks and handwriting in images. Handwriting detection remains in preview.
  • Content Moderator API - provides machine assisted moderation of text and images, augmented with human review tools. Video moderation is available in preview as part of Azure Media Services.

For more information, please refer to the announcements here.

Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL | Public Preview

Now in public preview: Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL

We are pleased to announce two new database services for app developers – Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL provide fully-managed database-as-as-service for MySQL and PostgreSQL engines for easy development and deployment using tools and languages customers prefer, on the cloud they trust. Capable of deploying in minutes and scaling on-the-fly, the services offer automatic backups, 35-day point-in-time restores, automatic patching, and 30 days of historical monitoring data. Both offer pricing models (Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL) with high-availability, security, and recovery built in, at no extra cost.

Azure Data Lake analytics service | ADL Tools for VSCode – GA

Azure Data Lake Tools for VSCode now generally available Azure Data Lake Tools for VSCode provides users light weight, keyboard focused and cross-platform IDE. It runs smoothly in Windows, Linux and Mac. ADL Tools for VSCode supports U-SQL language authoring, scripting, and extensibility with C# to process different types of data and efficiently scale any size of data. U-SQL extensibility is enabled through custom code either by using registered custom code assemblies or code-behind capabilities. The new tooling also integrates with Azure Data Lake Analytics for U-SQL ADLA job submissions with job output to ADLS or Azure Blob Storage.

Azure Time Series Insights | Public Preview

On April 20, we announced the public preview of Azure Time Series Insights. Azure Time Series Insights is a fully managed cloud service for storing, analyzing, and visualizing IoT, time series data. Time Series Insights requires no up-front data modeling or coding and is incredibly intuitive, so it’s fast and easy for organizations to begin using it.  Time Series Insights provides deep insights into time series data by helping users spot trends and anomalies fast. This allows them to conduct root-cause analyses to help their organizations avoid costly downtime. Additionally, Time Series Insights lets organizations use REST query APIs to leverage the power of Time Series Insights to build their own custom solutions. Finally, Time Series Insights gives organizations a view of all their time series data across all locations and geographies, in near real-time.

We think Time Series Insights can help any industry producing large amounts of time series data, including manufacturing, automotive, fleet management, smart building, utilities, and the telecommunications industries as examples.

To learn more, read Joseph Sirosh's blog post and visit the Azure Time Series Insights webpage.

Introducing Azure Cosmos DB: The industry’s first globally distributed, multi-model database service

Today, we’re excited to announce the general availability of Azure Cosmos DB. Azure Cosmos DB is the industry’s first globally-distributed service that enables you to elastically scale throughput and storage across any number of geographical regions while guaranteeing low latency, high availability and consistency – all backed by industry leading, comprehensive SLAs. Based on Turing Award winner Dr. Leslie Lamport’s breakthrough research, Azure Cosmos DB uniquely offers five well-defined consistency models so you can choose just the right one for you app, is the first to natively supports a multitude of data models and popular query APIs, and supports a novel database engine which is capable of ingesting sustained volumes of data, provides blazing fast queries – all without having to deal with schema or index management. Learn more about Azure Cosmos DB or dive deeper with the Azure Cosmos DB, A Technical Overview.

Azure SQL DB Preferred Dev Environment | SQL DB: Graph Support

Graph support in Azure SQL Database coming soon in June

Graph support in Azure SQL Database will help improve the speed and ability of the database to manage relationships between varied data objects which is becoming increasingly more necessary with applications scenarios like IoT, recommendations, social, and big data and analytics. Developers will be able to use the T-SQL language seamlessly with this added graph support for greater agility and productivity.

Visual Studio for Mac | GA

On Wednesday, May 10, we announced the general availability of Visual Studio for Mac, an integrated, end-to-end solution for developers on macOS looking to design, build, deploy, and manage modern applications, games, and services targeting Android, iOS, macOS, web, and cloud. With access to the same compiler, code completion and refactoring experience that you know and love from Visual Studio on Windows, Visual Studio for Mac provides a world-class coding experience. Solutions and projects can be worked on from both PC and Mac, enabling developer flexibility and seamless collaboration across teams.

To learn more, read the full blog post and visit the Visual Studio website.

.NET Core 2.0 (runtime, standard library, tools) | Public Preview

.NET Core 2.0 Preview now available

.NET Core 2.0 Preview is released today which supports .NET Standard 2.0. The .NET Standard defines a uniform set of APIs for all .NET platforms so developers can write once and run on multiple .NET runtimes including .NET Framework, .NET Core, Xamarin and Universal Windows Platform. The .NET Standard 2.0 expands upon the APIs to include XML, Serialization, Networking, IO, and more. It now contains over 2,500 types and 33,000 members. Additionally, Visual Studio Live Unit Testing and CodeLens is now available on .NET Core projects in Visual Studio and Visual Studio for Mac now supports .NET Core development.

ASP.NET Core 2.0 preview is also released today which now includes Web Pages using Razor syntax, a lightweight syntax for combining server code with HTML. Additionally, we are making investments so .NET apps run the best in Azure. ASP.NET Core 2.0 web apps can take advantage of automatic Azure diagnostics and monitoring without having to write any code.

You can download .NET Core 2.0 preview here.

Azure DevTest Labs | Managed Disks support GA

Storage and cost management in Azure DevTest Labs just got easier, as Microsoft just announced that DevTest Labs supports Managed Disks in all labs, including VM OS disks, data disks, and custom images. Prior to the introduction of Managed Disks, when customers wanted more than dozens of virtual machines in a single lab, DevTest Labs created additional storage accounts to host those VMs OS disks to optimize the disk read/write performance. It also replicated custom image VHD files across all those storage accounts to minimize the VM creation time, given the latency in cross-storage VHD copy when creating VMs. Managed disks simplify this story by automatically managing storage accounts in the cloud instead of in customers’ subscriptions. Disk read/write performance and VM creation time are both optimized without customers managing any storage accounts nor replicating custom image VHD file.

Come experience how Managed Disks in DevTest Labs supports your organization’s IT operations and Development needs. Learn more here!

Azure Functions | App Insights and Functions integration

Application Insights integration with Azure Functions has now reached public preview. This integration means that you can:

  • Measure app performance
  • Detect issues with their apps
  • Diagnose the source of the problem.

This release further enhances the value of Azure Functions, providing greater responsiveness and intelligence regarding your Azure Functions code.

The core functionality is described here. Because this release provides UX integration, the Getting Started steps listed are no longer required.

Please see here for pricing details.

Azure Functions | Azure Functions Runtime for Windows Public Preview

After a successful demo at Build, the new Microsoft Functions Runtime public preview is slated for release soon. The Functions Runtime extends the innovations in Azure Functions to devices on premises or anywhere outside the Azure cloud. By bringing the event programming model and bindings to devices, the Functions Runtime enables scenarios including:

  • Retailers harnessing the processing power of on-premises PCs to run batches overnight
  • Manufacturers can leverage devices on the shop floor to send data to the cloud if certain conditions are met
  • A Windows user could ask Cortana to show all the devices they're logged in to

Learn more information on Azure Functions.

Azure Functions | Azure Functions with CDS Public Preview

With the introduction of Azure Functions with CDS in Public Preview, developers can now take advantage of this functionality with the power of the Common Data Service. Developer can build an Azure Function that performs business logic against CDS, then they can call that function from a PowerApps app using a Custom API. This expands the ability of the Common Data Service and PowerApps through the power of Azure Functions.

Azure Functions | Direct Export of Azure Functions for PowerApps

Direct export of Azure Functions APIs to PowerApps or Microsoft Flow from the Azure portal is now supported. This creates a seamless experience within the Azure portal to expose APIs more broadly within your organization. Previously customers needed to use the PowerApps or Microsoft Flow web portals to import custom APIs from Azure Functions or Azure App Service. Now users can stay within the Azure portal experience to complete the entire process of retrieving API definitions and exporting to PowerApps and Microsoft Flow.

Azure Functions | Visual Studio 2017 Azure Functions tooling

At Build, we will be releasing a preview of the Visual Studio tools for Azure Functions. These tools will be available as an extension to Visual Studio 2017 Update 3 Preview to allow developers to create precompiled C# class libraries and deploy these class libraries as Azure Functions. These new capabilities will enable code written for Azure Functions to be treated as any other code written in Visual Studio, and developers will be able to leverage 3rd party extensions, testing frameworks, continuous integration systems, etc. to seamlessly integrate Azure Function development into their normal development routines. You can find more information here.

At Build, this tooling is shipping as an extension so we can continue to rapidly iterate and refine the tooling outside of the Visual Studio 2017 Update 3 Preview release cycles. Once this tooling matures, it will be included in Visual Studio 2017 Update 3, and there will no longer be a need to download an extension to use this tooling.

Azure Service Fabric | 5.6 Runtime Release GA

Azure Service Fabric: announcing container support

Container support for Windows Containers in Azure Service Fabric is now generally available. This includes Visual Studio tooling which supports continuous integration and deployment of containerized applications to Service Fabric environments. Support for Linux containers remains in Public Preview. Docker compose for deploying containerized apps to Service Fabric is now in preview. Version 5.6 of Azure Service Fabric has a number of great new features along with many fixes and improvements. For more information about today's announcements, please read this blog post. To learn more, please visit the Service Fabric documentation page.

Visual Studio Snapshot Debugger | Public Preview

Snapshots (in preview) are a powerful debugging tool that are now a part of Visual Studio, Azure and Application Insights. With Snapshots, you get a recording of your application and environmental state at the time of an exception, making it extremely fast and easy to determine the root cause of an exception and develop the fix. To take advantage of Snapshots, all you need to do is instrument your .NET application with Application Insights, deploy it to an Azure App Service, and if an exception occurs you will get a Snapshot created for you. You can then debug your application through the Azure portal, seeing the environment and application state that lead to the exception or you can download your Snapshot, open it in Visual Studio Enterprise 2017 (extension required) and walk through the snapshot in an F5 like experience in the Visual Studio.

Take advantage of Snapshots today to start debugging your production Azure apps.

PowerApps | Disclosure- Release of PowerApps Community Plan

The PowerApps and Microsoft Flow teams are proud to announce the new PowerApps Community Plan.

With this plan you get a free environment for individual use with functionality including premium connectors, the Common Data Service (CDS), and custom connections to develop your skills on creating business apps and workflows.

  • PowerApps: Create and run unlimited apps with CDS and premium connectors
  • Microsoft Flow: Automate workflows between applications and services
  • Common Data Service: Build a data model that all your apps can use
  • Connect Your Data: Connect to data sources using connectors or with Custom APIs
  • Pick your tool: use PowerApps, Microsoft Flow or the CDS SDK to create the solutions you need

The PowerApps Community Plan environment is designed for individual use and is restricted for use by a single user and with no ability to share apps.

Visual Studio 2017 | Update (version 15.2)

Visual Studio is a fully featured, extensible IDE that enables any developers to create any types of applications, for any platform, in nearly every language. Today we released an update to Visual Studio 2017 (version 15.2). This release improved performance and reliability, included Python and Data Science Workloads and TypeScript 2.2, added the installation of Unity 5.6 for the game workload, enabled natvis and pretty-print and unforking changes to Linux tools, integrated Readyroll into the data workload, and added a number of feature improvements to Xamarin workload.

For more information, please read the Visual Studio blog and release notes.

Azure AD B2C new deployment model and capabilities | Public Preview

Azure Active Directory B2C: New configuration option in public preview for fully customizable authentication journeys

Azure Active Directory B2C, Microsoft’s customer identity and access management solution (CIAM) introduces new capabilities in public preview via two different configuration options:

  • For organization with standard needs the out-of-the-box existing option, that requires minimum or no code, continues to be available.
  • For more demanding sign up and sign in scenarios, Azure Active Directory B2C will expose the power of the core engine of Azure Active Directory platform for fully customizable user experience.

This new custom configuration option provides to developers the freedom to:

  • Integrate with existing user stores of customers/citizens/employees, CRM and marketing databases
  • Define user journeys step by step as exchanges between claims providers
  • Define conditional branching in user journeys
  • Integrate REST API-enabled services in custom authentication user journeys
  • Enable federation with identity providers compliant with the OpenIDConnect standard
  • Enable federation with identity providers adhering to the SAML 2.0 protocol

We are also adding support for 37 languages. The licensing and pricing model of the service will remain unchanged. Visit the Azure AD B2C website for more details.

Accelerated Networking | Windows Public Preview + Linux Limited Preview

Maximize your VM’s performance with Azure Accelerated Networking

Following a successful private preview, we’re happy to announce the public preview of Accelerated Networking for Windows VMs. Public Preview for Windows is available on VMs with 8 or more cores in most regions.

Additionally, we are announcing a limited preview for Accelerated Networking on Linux. The preview will be available in limited regions. For instructions on how to register for the preview go to Accelerated Networking overview.

The entire list of supported regions, VM types and distributions is located at Accelerated Networking Service Update.

Azure SQL DB protects and secures data | Threat Detection – GA

Azure SQL Database and Data Warehouse Threat Detection is now generally available

Threat Detection leverages machine learning to provide an additional layer of security built into the SQL Database and Data Warehouse services, enabling customers to protect their databases within minutes without needing to be an expert in database security. It works around the clock to profile and alert you of anomalous activities on your databases. Threat detection alerts can be viewed from Azure Security Center and provide details of suspicious activity and recommend action on how to investigate and mitigate the threat. To learn more about Threat Detection, including pricing, visit Get started with SQL Database Threat Detection.

Azure SQL DB protects and secures data | SQL DB: Encryption at rest default – GA

All SQL databases will be encrypted at rest by default

Since late April, some Azure regions have begun to have all new Azure SQL Databases be encrypted with Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) by default to make it even easier for everyone to benefit from encryption-at-rest. By June 1, 2017, the change in default will be available in all regions worldwide. Those who wish to leave specific databases unencrypted can still do so by turning TDE off after the database has been provisioned. Existing databases and databases created through restore, geo-replication, and database copy are not affected by this change.

Azure HDInsight | Azure HDInsight 3.6 – GA

Announcing general availability of Azure HDInsight 3.6

We are pleased to announce general availability of Azure HDInsight 3.6 backed by our enterprise grade SLA. HDInsight 3.6 brings the latest versions of various open source components in Apache Hadoop & Spark eco-system to the cloud, allowing customers to deploy them easily and run them reliably on an enterprise grade platform. To learn more, visit the Azure blog.

Azure Search | Synonyms/New Azure Search - Public Preview

Azure Search: Support for Synonyms and new Search Analytics

We are happy to announce public preview support for synonyms in Azure Search. Synonyms allow Azure Search to not only return results that match the query terms that were typed into the search box, but also return results that match synonyms of the query terms. Additionally, we have enhanced Azure Search Traffic Analytics with a pattern on how to structure, instrument, and monitor search queries and clicks, providing you with actionable insights about your search application.

Azure SQL DB protects and secures data | Auto Failover - Public Preview

Azure SQL Database now supports auto-failover

The most common customer request for the built-in geo-replication feature for Azure SQL Database has been supporting transparent failover with automatic activation. We’re happy to announce that Azure SQL Database now supports transparent geographic failover of multiple databases featuring automatic activation.

Azure SQL DB build multi-tenant apps | Pools storage premium tier-Public Preview

More storage for Premium elastic pools in Azure SQL Database

Storage limits for the largest Premium elastic pools in Azure SQL Database have increased to as much as 4 TB. This extra storage is currently available in a limited number of regions with more widespread availability planned. To learn more, visit the SQL Database pricing page and the Azure blog.

Video Indexer | Public Preview

Video Indexer, a new cognitive service, now available in free public preview

Video Indexer enables you to quickly extract information from your videos using artificial intelligence and build applications based on the insights. Explore, deconstruct, and understand the various elements of your video. Power new forms of content discovery such as search that includes spoken words, faces, characters, and emotions or richer and more relevant recommendations.

Take advantage of the power of the cloud and rapidly build workflows based on the information in your videos. Scale as you need and get to the insights sooner. Simple APIs streamlines development and dramatically improves that time it takes to create your apps.

Try it today here.

Azure CDN | Enhanced integrations with App Service & Storage

Enhanced integrations with App Service & Storage

Enabling CDN for your Azure workflow is now easier than ever with this new integration. You can now enable and manage CDN for your Azure web app service or Azure storage account without leaving the portal experience. Go to the Azure portal web app service or storage account extension, select your resource, then search for "CDN" from the menu and enable CDN! Very little information is required for CDN enablement. After enabling CDN, click the endpoint to manage configuration directly from this extension. Learn more here.

Microsoft Intune | Intune for Education

Microsoft Intune for Education - Now Available!

Simplified Windows 10 management for the classroom. Intune for Education makes it easy to get up and running in just a few steps, deploy apps to users without ever touching a device, and manage shared devices. Tailored made for common classroom workflows, Intune for Education helps teachers and other classroom helpers become IT heroes.

  • Express Configuration: Get up and running in just a few steps
  • Easy App Deployment: Deploy apps to users, without ever touching a device
  • Manage Shared Devices: Deliver a custom experience for each user, even on shared devices

For more information visit here.

Microsoft Cloud App Security | File encryption GA

Encrypt files directly from Microsoft Cloud App Security portal

One of the key challenges for information protection solutions today is the lack of visibility and control for data as it is moves to cloud applications. Released in April 2016, Microsoft Cloud App Security provides a holistic solution to discover, monitor, control and protect activities and data in cloud applications. At Ignite 2016, we showcased the integration between Cloud App Security and Azure Information Protection in the Cloud App Security session and Azure Information Protection session. Today, we’re excited to announce a new feature that helps IT admins to encrypt directly from Cloud App Security console using Azure Rights Management. Through integration with Azure Rights Management, now you can apply generic protection for files stored in SharePoint Online and One Drive for Business if you see a need. For more information about the integration between Cloud App Security and Azure Information Protection, please visit here.

Azure Germany | Global Billing availability

As of April 2017, Microsoft Azure Germany is available to customers and partners globally who intend to do business in the EU/EFTA and UK. Previously, we limited to customers with a billing address in these geographies. But in recognition that some global customers may be based outside of this region but still doing business in this region, we have relaxed this requirement to permit any global customer to purchase. Learn more.