Cloud Platform Release Announcements for May 25, 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:

  • ASP.NET Core and .NET Core | Public
  • Azure Dev/Test Labs | GA
  • SAP HANA on Azure | Public
  • Azure service broker for Cloud Foundry | Public
  • OMS: Backup on Ibiza | GA
  • Azure Premium Storage GA: New geo-availability | IND CENTRAL and IND SOUTH
  • Power BI Desktop | GA
  • Power BI service | GA

Enable application innovation

ASP.NET Core and .NET Core | Public

Today we are introducing the Release Candidate 2 for .NET Core. .NET Core is a cross-platform, open source, and modular .NET platform for creating modern web and console applications that run everywhere. This release candidate includes the runtime and libraries for .NET Core and ASP.NET Core and precedes the final availability scheduled for the end of June. Just like the first release candidate, .NET Core RC2 comes with a “Go-Live” license, meaning that it is officially supported for production workloads. Aligned with this release we are also releasing the Preview 1 of the corresponding tooling. That 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. This tooling will be available as a Preview 2 at the end of June and will be available as RTM aligned with the next major release of Visual Studio, Visual Studio “15.”

For more information about the news, please visit the .NET team blog, the blog and the Visual Studio team blog.

Azure Dev/Test Labs | GA

Azure DevTest Labs allows fast, easy, and lean dev/test environments in the cloud. Customers can quickly provision development and test environments by creating virtual machines (VMs) in a few clicks, either with reusable templates or Azure Marketplace. They can also leverage Marketplace images as a VM base in the lab in addition to custom images (VHDs) uploaded to the lab. Azure DevTest Labs helps minimize waste with quotas and policies and set automated shutdowns to minimize costs—all benefits of using the cloud for development and test environments—whether using Windows or Linux workloads. For more details, please visit the Azure DevTest Labs page.

SAP HANA on Azure | Public

Microsoft recently announced the expansion of our partnership with SAP to provide the most comprehensive platform for running SAP workloads, with a broad range of choice and capabilities for enterprise customers.

With these new deployment options, customers can reliably run their most demanding and mission critical SAP HANA workloads on a highly scalable, compliant and enterprise-proven platform. As part of this announcement we are also thrilled to extend the certification and support of SAP Business Suite, NetWeaver and SAP HANA Developer Edition on Azure Linux Virtual Machines.

For more information, read the recent post on the Azure blog and visit our SAP solutions page.

To get started today with deploying an SAP system on Azure Linux VMs, refer to the Running SAP Applications on the Microsoft Platform blog.

Azure service broker for Cloud Foundry | Public

More and more organizations are building cloud-scale open source applications in Microsoft Azure with solutions such as Pivotal Cloud Foundry, a PaaS solution we made available in Azure Marketplace earlier this year. Today, at Cloud Foundry Summit, we're excited to announce the public preview of the Azure service broker for Cloud Foundry, a free and open source addition to Cloud Foundry enabling developers to connect to many of Azure's building blocks and managed cloud services. This enables developers to connect their application to hyperscale cloud services such as caching, storage and messaging. The service broker ships with support for Azure Service Bus, Azure Event Hub, Azure Blob Storage, Azure DocumentDB and Azure Redis. If you want to learn more, please go to the Pivotal and Azure website.

Transform the datacenter

OMS: Backup on Ibiza | GA

Today a cloud-first enterprise backup solution is necessary as existing backup solutions aren’t designed for the cloud.  Multiple management and backup solutions together with an explosion in backup data on-premises are problems that can only be alleviated with the adoption of a cloud-first enterprise backup technology.

Microsoft’s simple and cost-effective backup solution with Azure Backup extend tried-and-trusted tools on-premises with rich and powerful tools built from the cloud-up. It delivers protection for customers’ data no matter where they reside: in the enterprise datacenter, in remote and branch offices or in the public cloud, while being sensitive to the unique requirements these scenarios pose. Azure Backup is delivered as a first party as-a-service offering along with storage resulting in minimal maintenance and for the backup solution. It also translates to consistent tools for offsite backups and operational recovery while being cost-effective for either use-cases.

Azure Backup is now generally available in the new Azure portal, visit the pricing page for details. It is also included as part of the System Center add-on for Microsoft Operations Management Suite, the simplified hybrid cloud IT management solution for any enterprise.

Azure Premium Storage GA: New geo-availability | IND CENTRAL and IND SOUTH

Azure Premium Storage generally available in India Central and South regions

Azure Premium Storage is a solid-state drive (SSD)–based storage solution designed to support I/O-intensive workloads. With Premium Storage, you can add up to 64 TB of persistent storage per virtual machine (VM), with more than 80,000 IOPS per VM and extremely low latencies for read operations.

Offering a service-level agreement (SLA) for 99.9 percent availability, Premium Storage is now available in the India Central and South regions, as well as these previously announced regions. Learn more about Premium Storage.

Unlock insights on any data

Power BI Desktop | GA

Many new and most frequently requested Power BI Desktop features are now available to business analysts.

  • Conditional formatting in tables now enables users to set the background color of a range of cells based on the cell value—select a range of cells, set the min and max, and a gradient will fill in the values in between.
  • Scrolling to load more in line and bar charts lets users see more data in line chart, bar chart, column chart, and bar chart—simply scroll and the chart will automatically load more data (if available) and update the visual.
  • Keyboard nudging of visuals allows users to move visuals left/right/up/down by pixels—use your arrow keys now to nudge a visual with more precision; use Shift + arrow keys to nudge faster.
  • Customizable tooltips provide more context/detail of a data point by setting the tooltip to a custom value/text—simply drag and drop to set the tooltip.
  • Quick Calc % of Grand Total is a new quick calc for % of grand total for each data value.
  • New data connectors include Informix, comScore Digital Analytix, Troux, and Planview Enterprise.
  • Improvements to existing DB2, text/CSV, and RDB connectors.
  • Advanced “Filter Rows” Dialog allows users to add multiple filter clauses and combine filter clauses based on multiple columns in a single Filter Rows step.
  • Enhanced Query Steps let users simply drag and drop to reorder Query Steps.

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 | GA

More new and most frequently requested Power BI features are now available to end users and business analysts in the month of May.

  • Favorite dashboards provide users a way to quickly access a few select dashboards most important to them—simply select Favorite in the top right hand corner.
  • Improvements to Quick Insights bring the ability to target specific dashboard tiles for discovering quick insights—simply view a dashboard tile in focus mode, click Get Insights, and Power BI will search the tile and its related data for correlations, outliers, trends, seasonality, change points in trends, and major factors automatically, within seconds.
  • Improvements to Q&A UX provide improved auto-complete while typing questions, more intuitive visual cues to help users navigate and adjust their question, and more control to deal with complex or ambiguous data. In addition, the overall Q&A experience has been updated to have a cleaner look and feel.
  • Q&A for enterprise gateway connected data sources is a top community ask from the very first time Q&A was introduced. To begin the rollout of this capability in public preview, Q&A now works with SQL Server 2016 Analysis Services tabular models being access in Power BI via an enterprise gateway. In the coming weeks we’ll be adding additional data sources and capabilities to the public preview.
  • Azure Active Directory (AAD) support for Row-level security (RLS) lets users assign AAD groups (security groups and distribution lists) to a role—making it easier to assign roles to a large group of users at once, vastly improving the role assignment process.

Sign in to to experience the new features immediately. For more information on these new features and others, visit the Power BI blog.