Microsofts' New Unified Azure AD Signin Experience Now in Public Preview, More In Cloud Services

New redesigned sign-in UI consistent on both Azure AD and Microsoft accounts now in opt-in public preview.

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Azure AD paginated sign-in flow in desktop

Microsoft continuing its work on converging the Azure AD and Microsoft account systems with a unified sign-in experience on Wednesday, launched the new redesigned Sign-in UI in public preview.

With this redesigned sign-in experience, both Azure AD & Microsoft account will have a consistent look and feel. The redesign interface prompts to enter username on the first screen, which is followed by a credential (typically a password) on the second screen.

It also sets us up to be able to easily introduce new forms of authentication like phone sign-in and certificate-based authentication.

Over the last few weeks, the company already rolled out the new design on Microsoft accounts, now on Azure AD, too, a banner will show up on the sign-in page for users to opt-in to see the new experience, says Microsoft.

Further, Microsoft says, the new experience will remain as an opt-in public preview for next few weeks, just to give users time to prepare for the change. The full switch over to the new UI by default will hapen during the last week of September.

Microsoft also advising to do a few sanity checks, like:

  • Check if existing company branding works well with the new layout, like: sign-in image, banner logo, username hint, sign-in page text and background color. However, "the opaque white box in the middle of the new design might obscure the subject focus of your existing image. If you need to make any changes, you can make them in the "Company branding" pane in the Azure Portal," writes Microsoft.
  • Do a quick test of automation that runs on the sign-in page, since the sign-in is now done over two screens, so any existing automation might break, says microsoft.

Also, you can check the updated documentation and training material that contain screenshots and step-by-step guides for signing in with new UI.

Here are a few screen shots of this new sign-in UI:

Desktop sign-in UI with company branding configured

Azure AD desktop sign-in UI with company branding
AAD sign-in UI with company branding

Mobile UI

Azure AD Mobile sign-in UI
Mobile sign-in UI

Azure Batch Rendering with Autodesk moves into public preview today, along with a limited preview of "V-Ray in partnership with Chaos Group." With V-Ray being supported for Maya and 3ds Max, "this is another great step forward in supporting a rich and vibrant ecosystem on Azure," writes microsoft.

Azure Batch Rendering accelerates large-scale rendering jobs to deliver fast results to Microsoft customers. It enables artists, engineers and designers to submit rendering jobs seamlessly via client applications such as Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max or with the Microsoft software development kit (SDK).

Also, launched today, is a preview new application called "Batch Labs," a cross-platform desktop management tool which includes job submission capabilities as well as a rich management and monitoring experience, along with the ability to manage asset uploads and downloads.

Batch Labs hosts a marketplace of supported applications which can be easily extended by customers for their own uses and custom workflows.

The General Availability of Azure Consumption and Charge APIs for Enterprise customers announced on Wednesday, enabling them to use these API's to pull Azure Charge and Usage data for both Azure and Market Place resources.

Here are details of the APIs:

  • Balance and Summary API offers a monthly summary of information on balances, new purchases, Azure Marketplace service charges, adjustments, and overage charges.
  • Usage Details API offers a daily breakdown of consumed quantities and estimated charges by an enrollment. The result also includes information on instances, meters, and departments. The API can be queried by billing period or by a specified start and end date.
  • Marketplace Store Charge API returns the usage-based marketplace charges breakdown by day for the specified billing period or start and end dates.
  • Price Sheet API provides the applicable rate for each meter for the given enrollment and billing period. Also added a meterId field to help customers cross check their data with usage.
  • Billing Periods API returns a list of billing periods that have consumption data for the specified enrollment in reverse chronological order. Each period contains a property pointing to the API route for the four sets of data, Balance Summary, Usage Details, Marketplace Charges, and Price Sheet.

Enterprise customers can also use this Power BI Content Pack for performing detailed analysis on their azure usage and spend details.

For more information, read the detailed documentation on getting started with the APIs here.

Azure Backup expands to now available in the US DoD, and additional Azure Government regions, including: (US DOD Central, US DOD East, US Gov Texas, US Gov Arizona, US Gov Iowa, US Gov Virginia).

Those who have join late, "Azure Backup, backup or protect and restore your data in Microsoft cloud." "It enables Azure IaaS VM backup as well as replace your existing on-premises or off-site backup solution with a cloud-based solution that is reliable, secure, and cost-competitive."

Customers in the above listed regions can now use Azure Backup with same reliability and performance levels as set forth in Backup SLA.

Watch this video for quick overview of Azure Backup:

Azure Site Recovery (ASR), is now available to all Azure government regions in the United States, including: (US DOD Central, US DOD East, US Gov Arizona, US Gov Texas, US Gov Iowa, and US Gov Virginia).

Customers can now select any of these regions to deploy ASR with the same reliability and performance levels as set forth in the ASR SLA.

With this announcement, ASR now supports following scenarios in all Azure government regions:

Azure Site Recovery (ASR) US Government Resions
ASR US Government Resions

"Azure Site Recovery reduces the complexity involved in setting up disaster recovery and helps you stay compliant by having a business continuity plan in place to keep applications available during a disaster."

Watch this introduction video of ASR:

Microsoft also released enhancements to Cloud App Security discovery now provide following capabilities to customize discovered app with:

  • add custom app labels, which can be used as filters to investigate a custom watch list, identify which apps are being used by a specific business unit ("IT Apps"), or get a list of apps in the "awaiting approval" phase.
  • add custom notes to each app for your insights and your assessment you would like to share with your teams.
  • custom risk score lets override an app's default risk assessment score, for example, "if the risk assessment score of an app is 8 and it is a sanctioned app in your organization, you can change the risk score to 10. You can also add notes explaining the change," explains Microsoft.

Cloud discovery capabilities also now have deeper integration with Azure AD for improved visibility and management. With this feature enabled, "the username received in the discovery traffic logs will be matched and replaced by the Azure AD username," writes the team, enabling several useful capabilities:

  • Investigate Shadow IT usage by Azure AD users
  • Correlate discovered cloud app use with API collected activities
  • Create custom reports based on Azure AD user groups (e.g. a Shadow IT report for a particular marketing department)

In the screen shot below, you can see an example of creating a custom report based on AAD user group:

Creating custom report based on Aazure AD user group

A new alpha preview of the Visual Studio for Mac version 7.2 released in the alpha updater channel improving the performance and accessibility support.

The Azure Functions support and IoT support were bundled as part of the IDE for Build 2017 preview release are now unbundled from the core IDE, and are now available to be installed from the Extension Manager. To install them, simply click on Extensions in the top menu in the IDE to find the extensions under the IDE extensions node on the Gallery tab.

Those who are already on the bleeding edge with the Alpha channel, can simply check for updates within Visual Studio for Mac, or otherwise, follow these instructions to sign up for Visual Studio for Mac Alpha updater channel.

Visual Studio for Mac version 7.2 Alpha Preview

SQL Server 2017 Release Candidate 2 is now available for download as on Wednesday, offers elite performance and security.

"We are continuing to work on performance and stress testing of SQL Server 2017 to get it ready for your most demanding Tier 1 workloads," writes the SQL Server team.

To try out the new release candidate, check out the updated developer tutorials that show how to install and use SQL Server 2017 on macOS, Docker, Windows, and Linux and quickly build an app in a programming language of your choice.

Finally, celebrating its second birthday in July, the Power BI team, delivered new features, including dashboard email subscriptions, dashboard performance inspector, data refresh application programming interface (API), a new Q&A experience on iOS, and Snowflake and SAP BusinessWarehouse DirectQuery now supported for On-premises data gateway.

To try it, follow the instructions below:

  • On your iPhone or iPad, open the Power BI app and navigate to the Retail Analysis Sample dashboard.
  • Tap the Q&A iconva-icon from the action menu at the bottom of the page.
  • Note: If you can't see this icon in the dashboard it is because the dashboard owner didn't enable Q&A feature on this dashboard.
  • Use the suggestions to get started. For example, you can choose 'featured insights' to find insights on all the underlying data in your dashboard.