Azure Update – Oct 2017

Skylake Processors in FV2 Series VMs

Azure networking available only in the Azure portal from October 4

Starting October 4th, Azure Networking features will be available only in the new Azure portal, we will no longer be supporting classic portal for networking related resources


Azure Data Lake Analytics introduces capabilities to manage pipelines and recurring jobs

The Azure Data Lake Analytics service can now help you easily organize, manage, and gain insights from Data Lake Analytics jobs that are running as part of pipelines or on a recurring basis. New capabilities enable you to:

  • Quickly identify jobs in pipelines that might have failed or taken longer than expected.
  • Get the aggregated statistics (job counts, successful and failed AU hours, and so on) for a pipeline or a recurring instance so you can better understand the resource consumption and cost trends.


Azure DevTest Labs: Kali Linux image available in your lab

When you're creating a VM in your lab, you can now select a Kali Linux image. After you enable this image, it will appear in the list of available images at VM creation.

What is Kali Linux: Kali Linux is specifically tailored to the needs of penetration testing professionals, and therefore all documentation on this site assumes prior knowledge of, and familiarity with, the Linux operating system in general

Elastic Query between SQL Data Warehouse and SQL Database

This improvement enables users to connect to SQL Data Warehouse through SQL Database with the remote query execution capabilities of Elastic Query. Users can now offload their hot/more recent data into SQL Database to support high concurrency and reporting while maintaining the power of SQL Data Warehouse MPP.

Elastic Query: This improvement enables users to connect to SQL Data Warehouse through SQL Database with the remote query execution capabilities of Elastic Query. Users can now offload their hot/more recent data into SQL Database to support high concurrency and reporting while maintaining the power of SQL Data Warehouse MPP.

Public preview expansion: VNet Service Endpoints and Storage Firewalls and Virtual Networks

The public previews for Virtual Network Service Endpoints and Firewalls and Virtual Networks for Azure Storage have been expanded to include all regions in the Azure public cloud.

Public preview: Python 2 support and Hybrid Runbook Workers for Linux

Azure Automation now supports Python 2 and Hybrid Runbook Worker functionality for Linux in public preview.

Python 2 support means you can import, author, and run Python 2 runbooks in Azure or on a Hybrid Runbook Worker. Python 2 support includes scheduling and interacting with Automation resources, such as variables, connections, and credentials.

Public preview: Twice the performance and unlimited columnar storage with SQL Data Warehouse

Azure SQL Data Warehouse has released the public preview of the Optimized for Compute performance tier. Customers have the benefits of pause, resume, and scale on demand, along with higher throughout and lower latency for intensive data-warehousing workloads. This new performance tier comes with a 2x increase in query throughput, a 5x increase in compute capacity, and unlimited columnar storage.

What is cloumnar storage:

Public preview: Azure Availability Zones

Azure Availability Zones are now available for preview in two regions, US East 2 and West Europe. The current list of enabled regions and services is available on the documentation page.  

Availability Zones are fault-isolated locations within an Azure region, designed with independent power, cooling, and networking. They help protect your mission-critical applications from failures of entire datacenters with low latency and high availability.

General availability: Service Fabric 6.0 on Linux

Azure Service Fabric version 6.0 of the runtime and .NET SDK 2.8 are now available. They include new features, improvements, and bug fixes. 

As part of this release, Service Fabric is generally available as a container orchestrator on Linux. The Linux environment is identical to the Windows runtime for container orchestration, and Service Fabric fully supports containerized applications running on Linux

Azure Batch updates

  • Custom images and virtual networks
    • Batch already supported custom images and virtual networks, but now a "User Subscription" Batch account is no longer required to create a pool that's created through a custom VM image or references a virtual network. You can use the default "Batch service" Batch account.
    • Because "Batch Service" accounts can use custom images and virtual networks, you can use custom images and virtual networks in conjunction with low-priority VMs.
    • Custom images are created via image resources instead of blob VHD files. Batch uses managed disks to create the pool VMs and therefore uses an image resource. This means that there is no limit to the number of VMs in a pool created through a custom image. It also means that the multiple copies of the VHD blob for large pools are no longer required. Custom image pools are much easier to create and scale. Updated documentation is available.
    • Note that to use custom images or virtual networks, you need to use Azure Active Directory authentication. Authentication via account name and key will not work.
  • Batch low-priority VMs
    • Support for low-priority VMs has moved from public preview to GA. Note that preview pricing is still in effect for a few months. It will move to regional pricing—the same as dedicated VMs. This might cause a slight increase in pricing, depending on region.
  • Batch rendering platform
    • The ability to get Batch pools with pre-installed rendering applications and pay for those applications by the minute is GA. See the rendering platform documentation for more information. 
  • Containers
    • You can create Batch container pools and execute container image tasks. When a pool is created, one or more container images can be specified to copy down to the VM. When a task is run, a container image is specified and container run options can be provided. Task environment variables and folders are mapped to the container. Pool virtual machine configuration has a new container configuration. New container settings are available on a Batch task. For Windows, the "Windows Server 2016 with Containers" Azure Marketplace image is used.
  • Azure Hybrid Use Benefit
    • You can create Batch Windows virtual machine pools and specify that Azure Hybrid Use Benefit licensing is used. When Azure Hybrid Use Benefit is specified, a discount is applied to the VM price. A new license type property has been added to the virtual machine configuration.
  • Pool VM data disks
    • You can attach one or more empty data disks to virtual machine pool VMs by using a new data disk configuration that is part of the virtual machine configuration.
  • New VM sizes
    • Batch supports the recently added Dv3 and Ev3 sizes. Note that currently, these VM sizes are available only in some regions.


Preview: Update management, inventory, and change tracking in Azure Automation

Azure Automation now supports update management, inventory, and change tracking. These capabilities are currently in preview.

Update management delivers visibility of update compliance across Azure, on-premises, and other clouds for both Windows and Linux. Create scheduled deployments to orchestrate the installation of updates within a defined maintenance window. Exclude specific updates and get detailed troubleshooting logs to identify any issues during the deployment.

Get inventory of in-guest resources for visibility into installed applications as well as custom-defined configuration items. Rich reporting and search is available to help you quickly find detailed information and understand everything that is configured within the hybrid environment.

Track changes across services, daemons, software, registry, and files to quickly identify what might be causing issues and to enable diagnostics and alerting when unwanted changes occur

Retirement of the PHP 5.5 runtime from App Service

Because the PHP Group stated that PHP 5.5 is no longer supported, there won't be any more updates to that version, including security fixes. To avoid the potential for security issues on Azure App Service, we plan to retire our support of PHP 5.5 in January 2018. Currently, we support PHP 5.6, 7.0, and 7.1.

This retirement will affect all customers who are running their web app on the PHP 5.5 runtime (unless you are using a custom PHP runtime). We strongly recommend that you upgrade to a supported version of PHP because your web app will be automatically moved to PHP 5.6. For more information on how to migrate from PHP 5.5 to another version of PHP, please review the documentation on the Appendices webpage on 

Although we're removing the PHP 5.5 runtime from the platform, we're aware that some applications are complex and might be tied to a specific PHP runtime version. To continue to support your PHP 5.5 applications, it's possible to remain on the PHP 5.5 runtime. For more information, see the "How to: Use a custom PHP runtime" section of the  Configure PHP in Azure App Service Web Apps documentation webpage. 

Azure DevTest Labs: Set access rights to an environment resource group

Previously, creating or modifying objects within a resource group that contained an environment was not possible because a lab user had only Reader access to that resource group. You can now set Contributor access rights on a resource group that contains your environment, so that you have the flexibility of modifying your environment objects.

By giving your lab users Contributor access rights, you enable them to create, edit, start, or shut down resources, such as SQL servers or Azure Cosmos DB, in that resource group. By default, users have Reader access rights, and they can't add or modify resources in a resource group. 

Auto-renewal of SSL certificates in App Service

All SSL certificates issued for Azure App Service before March 31, 2017, will receive an email to re-verify their domain at the time of renewal. You'll get this email even if auto-renewal is enabled for your certificate. This is a result of a change in GoDaddy policy.

Please check your email and complete the one-time domain verification to continue to auto-renew the SSL certificate. Also, note that GoDaddy requires you to verify your domain once every three years. You'll receive an email once every three years for that.

General availability (Windows) and preview (Linux): Accelerated Networking


Azure DevTest Labs: Data Science and Bitnami images available in your lab

When you're creating a VM in your lab, you can now select one of the Data Science and Bitnami images. After these images are enabled by the Lab owner, they will appear in the list of available images at VM creation.

As a lab admin, you need to review and accept the terms of use for these images in order to enable them for the users of your lab.

Data Science: This repository contains walkthroughs, templates and documentation related to Machine Learning & Data Science services and platforms on Azure. Services and platforms include Data Science Virtual Machine, Azure ML, HDInsight, Microsoft R Server, SQL-Server, Azure Data Lake etc


Public preview: Azure subscription cost reporting and analysis for enterprise customers

announce the preview release of Enterprise Cost Management within the Azure portal. With today's release, Azure Enterprise Agreement (EA) users can view and analyze their subscription costs across different pivots, within the Azure portal. This addresses a top ask from our EA customers to empower subscription admins with visibility into their costs. We've also heard you on the need for more granular cost reporting by resource group and tag.

This is an initial step in our commitment to providing best-in-class cost management experiences within the Azure portal. Over the next few months, you will continue to see us roll out new capabilities to help you better manage your Azure costs and services.

Azure DevTest Labs: New action to restart a Lab VM

You can now restart your lab virtual machines by using the Restart button. You don't have to deallocate and reallocate a virtual machine every time you want to restart it.

General availability: Azure AD DS in the new Azure portal

You can configure Azure Active Directory Domain Services (Azure AD DS) by using the new Azure portal ( This feature is now GA (generally available) in all Azure regions that the service supports.

All existing managed domains have been migrated to the new portal from the Azure classic portal. You can configure and manage existing managed domains by using the new Azure portal.

General availability: Azure AD DS support for Resource Manager virtual networks

Azure Active Directory Domain Services (Azure AD DS) now supports virtual networks created through the Azure Resource Manager deployment model. This feature is now GA (generally available) and is available in all Azure regions that the service supports.

Azure DevTest Labs: Unclaim a VM and return it to the claimable pool

In Azure Dev Test Labs, you can now claim a VM, use it, and unclaim it when you don't need it anymore so that other members of your team can reuse it. You can do so by selecting the Unclaim option.

An unclaimed VM no longer appears in your list of virtual machines but does appear in the list of claimable virtual machines