Azure Relay Service, Hybrid Connections, Custom Modules in Cortana Intelligence Gallery

Microsoft today introduces, Azure Relay Service, Hybrid Connections, encrypted Azure VMs backup and restore using Portal and PowerShell, and Custom Modules in Cortana Intelligence Gallery.

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Azure Relay service is now available for management and monitoring in the modern Azure Portal, and as a standalone service as Relay. Also, next generation cross-platform and open-protocol Azure Relay capabilities, named "Hybrid Connections" is now available in public preview as on Nov. 1st.

The Relay service, is developed and maintained by the team who have developed Event Hubs and Service Bus Messaging, "allows secure and seamless communication bridging between cloud and on-premises assets, or even between different sites using cloud as a matchmaker."

The Relay operates at the application-level, allowing for traversal of network address translation (NAT) boundaries and firewalls and for endpoint discovery completely without requiring any intrusive changes to the networking environment.

Further, Microsoft notes, they'll continue to offer client and service capabilites require to build relayed services using WCF communication framerwork, under the WCF Relay feature, and that "nothing changes."

Until today's annoucement, the Azure Relay capabilities required a particular runtime and platform—"the full .NET Framework running on Windows to function." But, with the evolution of Hybrid Connections, the Relay is completely now based on HTTPS and WebSockets, "and allow securely connecting resources and services residing behind a firewall in on-premises setup with services in the cloud or other assets anywhere," explains Microsoft.

It is also important to note, that this Hybrid Connections feature is separate from the Hybrid Connections feature brought by the BizTalk Services, and will "continue to run as it does today with no change in billing and how it's used," Microsoft said.

Azure Backup, which already has support to backup and restore "Classic and Resource Manager virtual machines" and also "premium storage VMs", today, adds support for VMs encrypted using Azure Disk Encryption.

With this capibility, "Azure Backup will now do 'backup and restore' of encrypted Azure VMs using portal as well as PowerShell too," Microsoft said.

With today's release, Azure Backup now provides features such:

  • Backup of encrypted VMs using Key Encryption Key "using BitLocker Encryption Key (BEK) and Key Encryption Key (KEK) both."
  • Restore lost keys and secrets since KEK and BEK are also backed up now will back to the key vault and bring up the encrypted VM.
  • Customers can also leverage Azure PowerShell to automate and perform backup and restore operations at scale, writes Azure team.

Azure ML Studio already offers a list of 75 built-in modules, to help prepare data and create machine learning experiments.

We also offer extensibility via custom R modules, for functionality beyond what's in the built-in modules. Additionally, we have a thriving community around the Cortana Intelligence Gallery, sharing ML experiments, tutorials and other rich resources.

Today, a new resource category in the Cortana Intelligence Gallery, namely "Custom Modules", a centralized repository for custom modules for community members.

The new repository is populated with a nice collection of initial modules including "long-awaited time series analytics modules, super useful association rules module," writes Cortana team. Additional "clustering algorithms beyond k-means, exciting visualization modules as well as workhorse utility modules to automate run-of-the-mill data processing tasks, are available too."

These Custom Modules in the Gallery anoounced today deliver five key experiences:

  • Discover: Browse or search Gallery to find modules of interest to you.
  • Understand: Explore detailed module documentation from right within the Gallery.
  • Import: Add module (and accompanying sample experiment) to your workspace with one click.
  • Discuss: Use Disqus section to ask questions and share feedback.
  • Share the module with others and give back to the community, the team added.

Custom Modules in Cortana Intelligence Gallery

Azure Active Directory B2B Invitation API now in public preview as well asdocumentation for Azure Information Protection (formerly Azure Rights Management) is now available today as well.

Azure AD B2B (business to business) Invitation API is available now in public preview. "We have heard from you loud and clear that Azure AD B2B collaboration capabilities are critical to your success. So we are working to make them as efficient as possible," writes Alex Simons, Microsoft Identity Division director of program management.

Also available now: documentation for Azure Information Protection (formerly Azure Rights Management), which has been updated on the web.

The latest content has an October 2016 (or later) date at the top of the article.

Update 11/2: Project Bletchley – Blockchain "Bletchley v1" comes to Azure Marketplace, and brings along all the same great functionality as with the original release in the Azure Quickstart templates, as well as more robust user experience directly integrated into the Azure portal.

New functionality added to this release such as:

  • now deploy a blockchain network that has a dozen consortium members.
  • you can now configure nodes within the consortium network to leverage "premium storage" backed virtual machines.
  • you can now specify an SSH key instead of a password.

In addition, Microsoft also expands its blockchain ecosystem on Azure, with new partner blockchain solutions in the Azure Marketplace, including: "you can now deploy Chain's distributed ledger technology, "Chain Core", on Azure," and "Ethereum Studio: quickly set up ether.camp's Ethereum stack, a full stack developer sandbox to develop and test Ethereum solutions, on Azure."

Azure Blob storage accounts with hot and cool storage tiers are now generally available as on Nov. 2nd, in six new regions.

With this announcement, customers in these new regions can take advantage of the cost benefits of the cool storage tier for storing backup data, media content, scientific data, active archival data—and in general, any data that is less frequently accessed, team azure said.

Those new to Azure, "Blob storage accounts are specialized storage accounts for storing unstructured data as blobs (objects) in Azure Storage." And, "customer can choose between hot and cool storage tiers to store less frequently accessed (cool) data at a lower storage cost, and store more frequently accessed (hot) data at a lower access cost."

You can find the updated list of available regions on the Azure services by region page. For details on regional pricing here, and getting started check here.