Microsoft Refreshes Azure Stack TP3 Preview, Adds PaaS New Cloud Services and More

Microsoft refreshes hybrid computing appliance software Azure Stack preview, adds new PaaS cloud services, HDInsight 3.6 hits GA and now include Dataiku's DSS.

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A preview release of Microsoft Azure PaaS services and a refresh to Azure Stack TP3 on Thursday, delivering Azure Services on premises so customers can create innovative applications for the hybrid cloud.

This release specifically includes:

  • Azure App Service (Web apps, API apps, and Mobile apps)
  • Azure Functions
  • Updated versions of SQL/MySQL database services
  • New to App Service this release:
  • Azure Functions preview for AAD based deployments
  • Deployment in disconnected environments
  • Deployment on ADFS authenticated Azure Stack
  • Installation and deployment improvements
  • Azure Resource Manager (ARM) API version 2016-03-01 support for App Services
  • Synchronization of SKUs with Azure – i.e. Free (F1), Shared (D1), and Standard (S1, S2, S3)
  • Service reliability improvements

HTTP/2 support is now available for all customers using Azure CDN customers from Verizon to already existing support for Akamai.

"HTTP/2 is designed to improve webpage loading speed and optimize user experience. And, it's on by default, for all existing and new Azure CDN profiles with no additional fees.

General availability of Azure HDInsight 3.6 backed by enterprise grade SLA, brings updates to 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.

Here's what's new in this release:

  • HDInsight 3.6 has the latest Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) 2.6 platform.
  • It builds upon the public preview of 3.6 which included Apache Spark 2.1, also now generally available and introduces support for real-time streaming solutions with Spark integration to Azure Event Hubs and leveraging the structured streaming connector in Kafka for HDInsight.
  • Apache Hive 2.1 enables ~2X faster ETL with robust SQL standard ACID merge support and many more improvements. This release also includes an updated preview of Interactive Hive using LLAP (Long Lived and Process) which enables 25x faster queries.
  • This release also includes new Hive views (Hive view 2.0) which provides an easy to use graphical user interface for developers to get started with Hadoop.

Microsoft introduces Azure Environment Selector Visual Studio extension, that enables quick and easy switch between Azure environments.

To get started, it can be install like any other extension in Visual Studio: Tools – Extension and Updates. Then click "Online" tab on the left to search for extensions online and search for "azure environment selector". Finally, Click to download or install:

Visual Studio has many tools that enable developers to easily interact with Azure. These are tools like the Cloud Explorer for Visual Studio 2017, Visual Studio Server Explorer, the main Visual Studio login, and even being able to right-click in the Visual Studio Solution Explorer to deploy a web project to Azure. However, by default, these tools connect directly to the Azure commercial cloud. What about Azure Government developers?

azure environment selector visual studio extension
Azure Environment Selector Visual Studio extension

Watch this short video below to see the extension in action – walking you through installation and showing how easy it is to connect to Azure Government:

Microsoft has also introduced Dataiku's DSS on Azure HDInsight, enabling customers to easily use data science to build big data solutions and run them at enterprise grade and scale.

  • Dataiku's Data Science Studio (DSS), is a collaborative data science platform that enables companies to build and deliver their analytical solutions more efficiently.
  • Azure Backup now provides a capability to guard against accidental deletions, and recommendations from Azure Advisor, which is made generally available last week.

    Azure Advisor "analyzes your Azure usage and provides timely recommendations to help optimize and secure your deployments," writes Trinadh Kotturu. "It can also provide recommendations about virtual machines which are not backed up and with few clicks it will let you enable backup on those virtual machines."

    Benefits of Azure Advisor include:

    • Periodic hourly recommendations for virtual machines that're not backed up so that you never miss to backup important VMs. You can also control recommendations by snoozing them.
    • Seamlessly enable backup on virtual machines by clicking on a recommendation and by specifying vault (where backups will be stored) and backup policy (schedule of backups and retention of backup copies).
    • With Azure Backup integration into recoomendations, you need not provision any additional infrastructure to configure backup.
    • Azure Backup provides application consistent backup for Windows and Linux and by configuring backup using recommendations, you will get a consistent backup without the need to shut down the virtual machine.
    azure advisor in azure backup
    Azure Advisor in Azure Backup