Microsoft Azure Cosmos DB Introduces New Per-minute Capability, More

Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 to deliver — from datacenters located in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Africa. More in Azure release.

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Microsoft plans to soon deliver its cloud services including Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 — from datacenters located in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Africa.

The new Microsoft Cloud regions will offer enterprise-grade reliability and performance, combined with data residency, to accelerate innovation, opportunities and solutions in Africa.

"This announcement brings us to 40 cloud regions around the world — more than any other cloud provider — and will help organizations and people from Cairo to Cape Town accelerate their journey to cloud computing," Scott Guthrie wrote.

A new blockchain proof-of-concept (PcC) framework for Microsoft Azure developers, enabling reductions in time and cost is introduced as well, and provides code assets and ARM template-driven deployment for the scaffolding needed for blockchain PoCs, including the blockchain network, a gateway API, a responsive web application, Azure Active Directory integration and more. The framework also uses Azure's Event Hubs at its core.

With this launch, support for many more single member topologies will make way over the next week, including:

  • HyperLedger Fabric—solution deploys a multi-node HyperLedger Fabric network and consists of a node that runs the membership service, a node that runs the ordering service, and multiple Fabric peer nodes.
  • R3 Corda—deploys a multi-node Corda network, and consists of a single node running the network map, a node running the notary service, and multiple member nodes.
  • Quorum—deploys a multi-node Quorum network, and consists of a block maker node, and multiple voters and observers.
  • Chain—deploys a multi-node and multi-region Chain Core network, and consists of a single block generator node, and multiple signers and participants.
  • BlockApps—solution deploys a multi-node BlockApps Strato network, and consists of a single block maker node, and multiple validators and participants.
Azure CosmosDB Per Minute (RU/m)

Customers using Microsoft Azure Cosmos DB will lower costs and increase performance with a new Per-minute capability that provisions request units per minute (RU/m).

The new option, currently in preview with a 50 percent discount, complements the existing request-unit-per-second (RU/s) model.

By combining provisioning per second with provisioning per minute, users can address workloads with large spikes, enable more flexibility in a dev/test environment and save up to 60 percent in costs, writes program manager.

Microsoft also on Tuesday, announced a quick and easy way for the moderately technical user to get started with a pre-bundled visual analytics & big data solution running on Microsoft Azure called, "Tableau/Cloudera Quickstart," that's designed to configure all the necessary components and network topology, so customers can focus on data ingestion, management, analytics, and insights.

For those with specific environment requirements, or prefer to customize the setup, "also have the flexibility to fork the repository, update the ARM Template and deploy the Cloudera with Tableau solution to fit your needs," the team writes.

With general availability announced in November 2016, In-Memory OLTP technology in Azure SQL Database worldwide, today, gains a string of improvements, which spans multiple avenues and continues to unlock and expand the T-SQL surface area and improve the overall manageability.

The new feature improvements available today in Azure SQL Database and will also be available in SQL Server vNext, include:

  • Increased number of indexes for memory-optimized tables—now create as many indexes on memory-optimized tables as you can create on disk-based tables.
  • In-Memory OLTP schema management, now adding support for system stored procedure sp_rename with memory-optimized tables and natively compiled T-SQL modules. With this, Azure SQL Database now supports all the main schema management operations for In-Memory OLTP.
  • Limit on maximum number of transactions a given transaction depends on or number of transactions that depend on a given transaction is eliminated.
  • Extended T-SQL support for In-Memory OLTP

New smaller Windows Server IaaS Image with lower disk pricing options now available in 32GB and 64GB Standard Managed Disk sizes. Other smaller offerings with 30GB OS disks for Windows Server 2008R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012R2 and Windows Server 2016 are now available in Azure Marketplace.

We continue to find ways to make Azure a better value for our customers. Azure Managed Disks, a new disk service launched in Feb '17, simplifies the management and scaling of Virtual Machines (VM). You can choose to create an empty Managed Disk, or create a Managed Disk from a VHD in a storage account, or from an Image as part of VM creation.

These smaller images are prepended with "[smalldisk]" in the image title on Azure Portal. For Powershell, CLI and ARM Templates, the image SKU is appended with "-smalldisk", write program manager.

You also have the flexiblity to expand the OS disk by following the existing guide for expanding OS Disk titled "How to expand the OS drive of a Virtual Machine in an Azure Resource Group." Check this out here.

The public preview of HDInsight HBase on Azure Data Lake Store, let customers harness the power of a columnar NoSQL distributed database with proven performance and infinite scalability.

Furthermore, customers can store all their data and do all their analytics in one single storage account. Here're some examples of how to leverage HDInsight HBase on Azure Data Lake Store:

  • Internet of Things (IoT) – HBase can store billions of real time events coming from sensors, devices, machinery, equipment, and social media. Hadoop with HDInsight can then perform batch analysis on the data that was stored in Azure Data Lake Store.
  • Web Logs – store and index web logs and clickstream data using HBase. Hadoop with HDInsight can then do batch analysis on this data.
  • Social Sentiment – use HBase to write and store data from the social sentiment fire hose (e.g. Twitter)

Azure Data Lake Store has no limits to capacity so customers will never need to worry about the limitations of their storage system.

Power BI Report Server is available now in preview, offer users to create interactive reports using Power BI Desktop, publish reports to Power BI Report Server, and view and interact with reports in a web browser or in Power BI Mobile on a phone or tablet.

A new Process Analyzer Content Pack for Power BI is now available, linking directly to Dynamics 365 database Version 8.2 and higher to create interactive data visualizations that help provide insights into your business process flows.

 Process Analyzer Content Pack for Power BI for Dynamics 365

To learn more about the new content pack, including how to get it, how to add a custom filter to one of its views, and how to embed the resulting visualization in a Dynamics 365 dashboard, check this post.

SQL Server 2017 Community Technology Preview 2.1, which adds to the manageability features of SQL Server on Linux Docker containers is launhced on Wednesday, enables some of the most common SQL Server configuration scenarios in Docker containers, such as "setting server collation when creating a new SQL Server instance in a container," writes the team.

The SQL Server team also announced that SQL Server on Linux has now passed 1 million pulls of its container image. That image has been on Docker Hub since a November launch of the SQL Server on Linux public preview.

Remote Desktop Clients in April 2017 updates apps for Windows 10, Android, iOS, macOS, and macOS Beta.

New functionality in Windows 10 Universal app added with this release are available now from the Store, include:

  • Leverage existing RDP files by automatically launching them with Windows 10 Universal app by changing the file type association for .rdp files.
  • Control access to local resources in the session from the advanced options for each connection: Clipboard – copy/paste for text, Where audio should be heard – local, remote or no audio, [New!] In-session microphone from client device.
  • Manage grouped desktops more easily with ability to move desktops between groups through drag and drop.
  • Use a non-English local keyboard when initiating a new connection to a remote system instead of defaulting to English keyboard.
  • Copy and paste files using pasteboard on macOS
  • Users on macOS who have updated to our latest release can leverage the pasteboard (or "clipboard" as we call it on Windows) to copy files from and into a remote desktop session. You can use keyboard shortcuts to move documents, pictures, or any other data type to the destination where you need them. The size of files you can copy is limited to 2 GB by the RDP protocol.
  • Updates to Android application include, better keyboard experience as users with a non-English locale can now use keyboard shortcuts, which weren't available before. The keyboard sync should now work better than before; but, the keyboard sync only occurs when you launch a session. To match the keyboard language after you have connected to your PC change it manually in the session or sign out from Windows and sign in again.
  • Also, support for scancode tools that require scancode input (like VM connect or VMWare vSphere) no receive input with the latest version of app.
  • Improvements on Chrome OS optimizes switching out off and to a full screen session. To switch between these modes use the full screen button (F4). Chromebooks that support Android applications will leverage these improvements.