Mixrosoft Azure Services in UK Gets Serveral New Features and More, Dec Power BI Mobile App Updates

Azure SQL Data Warehouse enhances loading, monitoring, troubleshooting experience, Exclude Disk support for Hyper-V VMs with ASR, AzCopy 5.1.1 and Azure Media Services Video Subclipper releases.

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The following new Azure services which are now available in the UK as on December 19 including: SQL Server Stretch Database, migrates cold data transparently and securely to Microsoft Azure cloud.

SQL Server Stretch Database provides cost-effective availability for data, "which's not used regularly, doesn't require changes to queries or applications, and keeps data secure even during migration," explains Microsoft. It targets transactional databases with large amounts of infrequently used data, which are typically stored in a small number of tables.

Azure Function, a solution for easily running small pieces of code ("functions") in the cloud, lets you write the code you need for the problem at hand, without worrying about a whole application of the infrastructure to run it. Additionally, you can also develop in the language of your choice, such as C#, F#, Node.js, Python, or PHP.

Power BI, a cloud-based business analytics service that enables anyone to connect to, visualize, and analyze data with greater speed, efficiency, understanding, and connects users to a broad range of live data through easy-to-use dashboards, provides interactive reports, and delivers compelling visualizations that bring data to life.

Power BI Embedded, an Azure service that enables application developers to embed stunning, fully interactive reports and visualizations in customer-facing apps without the time and expense of having to build custom controls from the ground up.

Azure DocumentDB, a fully managed NoSQL database service built for fast and predictable performance, high availability, elastic scaling, global distribution, and ease of development. As a schema-free NoSQL database, DocumentDB provides rich and familiar SQL query capabilities with consistent low latencies on JSON data.

Azure DevTest Labs, a service that helps developers and testers quickly create environments in Azure while minimizing waste and controlling cost. The goal for this service is to solve the problems that IT and development teams have been facing: delays in getting a working environment, time-consuming environment configuration, production fidelity issues, and high maintenance costs.

The reusable templates in the DevTest Labs can be used everywhere once created. The public APIs, PowerShell cmdlets and VSTS extensions make it super easy to integrate your Dev/Test environments from labs to your release pipeline.

In addition to Dev/Test scenario, Azure DevTest Labs can also be used in other scenarios like training and hackathon. For more information about its value propositions.

Microsoft Azure Portal and SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) received new updates as well including support for loading 20+ data stores both on-premise and in the cloud to provide a more integrated experience. While Azure portal update include quick load to help integrate SQL Data Warehouses with Azure Data Factory (ADF) and a new task panel for easy navigation.

"You can now conveniently view the number of concurrency slots that your queries are consuming along with its resource class. This enables you to manage your workload," team Azure said.

Other new features include the following:

  • Rich data store support: built-in support for 20+ data stores on-premises and in the cloud.
  • Easy to set up: intuitive wizard with no scripting required.
  • Secure and compliant: data is transferred over HTTPS or ExpressRoute and the global service presence ensures your data never leaves the geographical boundary.
  • Unparalleled performance by using PolyBase: using PolyBase is the most efficient way to move data into Azure SQL Data Warehouse. To load from Azure Blob Storage, ADF uses PolyBase directly. To load from data stores other than Azure Blob Storage, ADF uses the staging blob feature to convert your source data into PolyBase compatible format, and then use PolyBase to load into SQL DW.

Lastly, SQL Management Studio (SSMS) issues have been addressed with following tweaks.

  • Execute the Generate Scripts wizard for database users and user defined functions
  • View your logical server name within the table properties of your database
  • Drop your database simply through the Object Explorer
  • Leverage templates for stored procedures and scalar-valued functions
SQL Data Warehouse New Troubleshoot Blade

Exclude Disk support for Hyper-V VMs with Azure Site Recovery (ASR) from replication, either to optimize the replication bandwidth consumed or to optimize the target-side resources utilized by such disks has been made available today.

Since last year, ASR's VMware to Azure scenario already had this capability.

So why do customers exclude disks from replication? Excluding disks from replication is often necessary because: "The data churned on the excluded disk is not important or doesn't need to be replicated (or / and) Storage and network resources can be saved by not replicating this churn

Let's elaborate on what data isn't "important"? The importance of replicated data is determined by its usefulness at the time of Failover. Data that is not replicated must also not be needed at the time of failover. The absence of this data should not impact the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) in any way," Microsoft explained.

Exclude Disk for Hyper-V VMs with ASR

The release of AzCopy 5.1.1 released today brings now an integrated "DMLib into AzCopy," which allows to see exactly how transfer logic works. Other improvements made in to this release include:

  • Perform Blob and File uploads using a Write-Only SAS. When you use a Write-Only destination SAS, you must add the /Y parameter and remove the /XO and /XN parameters.
  • Create a destination container, share, or table with Account SAS.
  • During copy operation, show total amount of data transferred and average transfer speed.
  • Use full path in verbose log instead of relative path.
  • Journal file name has changed from AzCopyEntires.jnl to AzCopyCheckpoint.jnl.

To get started, you can download the latest release version here, or refer this Getting Started with AzCopy documentation, to learn more about how to use AzCopy by checking out the.

Also, open-source release of the Azure Media Services (AMS) Video Subclipper Plugin for Azure Media Player on GitHub is now available, and "provides a user interface to find subclip mark-in and mark-out points on a live or video-on-demand stream with group-of-pictures (GOP) accuracy or frame accuracy."

The Azure Media Player (AMP) subclipper plugin "outputs the mark-in and mark-out points in the stream that can then be consumed by a video content management system or Azure Media Services subclipper API to produce dynamic manifest filters or new subclipped rendered video assets," the Azure team explained.

Open-source Azure Media Services Video Subclipper

Finally, as we wraps up 2016, Microsoft also introduced latest update for Power BI mobile apps, with new capabilities such as the ability to share an annotated report, and geo filtering for reports on Android devices.

Additionally, improvements such as visuals links, Apple watch integration and offline background refresh adjustment to reduce cellular data consumption also made into this release.

Annotate and Share function on iOS now lets you share your annotated snapshot over email, text, or any other social app you have on your device. You can now also share an annotated report or mobile-optimized report directly from Power BI app

For mobile-optimized reports, you can also choose to annotate and share a single visual from the visual in focus. In addition, now when you share a snapshot via email, a deep link to the tile or report is genereated as well.

Now you can request access to dashboards directly from your iOS mobile app. However, "only users with access to tile's QR dashboard can scan the QR using the Power BI mobile app and instantly see the tile." For those who scan a QR and don't have access to original dashboard, can submit a request for access directly from their mobile app.

Android tablet preview app enables you to help us shape this product to perfection.

Geographic filtering of reports based on your current location is now available on Android as well. Now you can use your iOS and Android device to filter reports by your current location in just one tap.

You can also now refresh Apple Watch data directly from the Watch app. In the dashboard index page, deep press to refresh your data.

Custom URL on image tile on iOS and Android mobile apps. "If an image tile has a custom URL defined by the dashboard owner, when you tap the tile you go directly to that URL without opening the tile in focus mode." And on Android, "dashboard tiles containing predefined custom URLs are now able to redirect users to reports within the app," BI team says.

Offline background refresh adjustments that ensures all your business information will be up to date, even if you haven't accessed it for a while.

Annotate and Share on Power BI iOS mobile app