S3 Tier of Azure Search, BizTalk Server 2016 and Host Integration Server 2016 Hits GA

Microsoft announces general availability of BizTalk Server 2016, Host Integration Server 2016, Azure Search S3, S3 High Density, and new regions, Azure CDN, and Power BI Services & Desktop features.

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The release of Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016, marks the tenth major release in the past 15 years and highlights some key on-premises application integration capabilities, and also showcases our strong commitment to the hybrid integration platform.

The release of BizTalk Server 2016, let customers seamlessly connect to cloud applications through Azure Logic Apps from within the server itself.

With this integration, customers can quickly connect to SaaS applications, enable enterprise cloud messaging across vendors and partners, as well as use Azure services from within the BizTalk Server 2016, including "Azure Functions, Machine Learning and Cognitive Services via the Logic Apps adapter," Microsoft said.

The general availability of the S3 tier of services designed to handle large volumes of documents and heavy traffic is announced. The S3 tier of Azure Search comes in two configurations: S3 and S3 High Density (HD), both identically priced and backed by the same high performance CPUs and SSD storage.

Standard S3 tier of Azure Search, can handle hundreds of queries per second, and is best suited for customers with large numbers of documents. With each partition supporting 120 million documents (or 200 GB), "it is possible to search up to 1.4 billion documents (or 2.4TB) in a single search service while still maintaining low latency for high query volumes," team Azure said.

S3 High Density tier, targeted at ISVs and SaaS providers, building applications which support a large number of relatively small indexes in a single search service. One such product, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is powering its search experience using Azure Search's S3 HD tier.

The team explains, a single S3 HD service, can have up to 3,000 indexes with 1 million documents support. "S3 HD does not currently support indexers."

Additionally, new regions including: Canada Central and West Central US, announced today, making Azure Search to serve applications across the world with minimal latency. With these new regions, Azure Search can be provisioned in 14 regions.

S3 tier of Azure Search

On Thursday, Fortinet and Microsoft announced an extension of their partnership to protect the cloud environments of their joint U.S. government customers.

Fortinet's Security Fabric solutions for "the cloud have been released on the Azure Government Cloud platform to provide comprehensive security, threat intelligence and the visibility to detect, isolate and respond to threats in real time for workloads running in the Government Cloud," writes Azure team.

Azure Content Delivery Network is a multi-CDN (content delivery network) platform that enables scalable, secure, and performant delivery of content.

Here are the newly available capabilities:

  • HTTP/2.0: Now available for all customers, this feature is on by default for Akamai SKU, and all existing and new standard profiles (enabled from the Azure portal) can benefit from it with no additional cost. HTTP/2 is designed to improve webpage loading speed and optimize user experience.
  • Real time alerts: Available as part of the Premium tier, this feature lets you set up real time alerts to get notified on delivery anomalies, such as bandwidth, cache statuses, and concurrent connections to your content. This enables continuous monitoring of the health of your CDN service at any time.
  • Mobile rules engine: You can customize content delivery and experience for your mobile users. Rules and features targeted for mobile devices, such as device model, device operating system, and mobile browsers can be set using the rules engine feature in the Content Delivery Network Premium offering.

Lookout integration with Microsoft Enterprise Mobility and Security is now available for Android and iOS to help identity-driven security by providing additional layers of mobile threat intelligence.

Lookout protects against threats against three attack vectors: "App-based threats: Trojans, spyware, rootkits, as well as non-compliant apps that leak sensitive data," "Network-based threats: man-in-the-middle and SSL attacks that can steal encrypted data-in-transit," and "OS-based threats: Advanced jail-breaking of iOS devices and rooting of Android devices."

Power BI service are now generally available to end users and business analysts in the month of October, with following new features:

  • Encryption of data at rest helps secure your data—see updated documentation and whitepaper for the latest discussion on the mechanism Power BI uses to encrypt your data in Power BI
  • Making administration easier provides the ability to assign specific users access to the Admin Portal without giving them Office 365 global admin access
  • Enhancements to auditing add more events to log, e.g., printing, export, publish to web, dataset delete, and changes to admin features

Power BI Desktop features are now generally available to business analysts including features such as:

  • Report guidelines and snap to grid (preview) and other report view enhancements: help make sure your visuals are lined up for a pixel-perfect report
  • Additional analytics capabilities: include grouping, binning, top N filter, and include/exclude data points
  • Additional data connectors (preview): include Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials, OLE DB.

Power BI Embedded now supports R visuals with advanced analytics and visualization flexibility. "R visuals enhance the Azure cloud service with advanced analytics depth and also offer developers endless visualization flexibility."

Technical Preview of Power BI reports in SQL Server Reporting Services now available.

For applications with compliance or operational requirements to retain data, Azure SQL Database now offers Long-Term Retention (LTR) in public preview.

With just a few clicks, "you can easily enable your databases to create weekly backups stored in your own Azure Backup vault and extend the retention period built into SQL Database from 35 days to up to 10 years," explains Azure team.

The backups in the vault are restorable and are automatically deleted after your configured retention period.

The Cortana Intelligence Gallery in Azure Machine Learning Studio, is a community driven site for discovering and sharing solutions built with the Cortana Intelligence Suite set of products.

Microsoft notes, several custom modules in the Cortana Intelligence Gallery, available now expand the capabilities of Azure Machine Learning Studio. There are two ways to get a copy of the module:

  • From the Gallery: When you download a module from the Gallery, the module is added to the module palette in your workspace. You also get a sample experiment that gives you an example of how to use the module.
  • From Machine Learning Studio: You can import any custom module while you're working in Studio. The module is added to the module palette in your workspace where it's available for use in other experiments.

Host Integration Server 2016, adds in support for Windows 10, along with support for Windows Server 2016, .NET Framework 4.6, BizTalk Server 2016, and SQL Server 2016. Additionally, support for a ton of new IBM platforms is added as well.

Changes in Host Integration Server 2016 include:

  • New Microsoft Client for MQ connecting .NET Framework and BizTalk Server applications to IBM MQ message processing systems, providing simplified administration and improved performance.
  • Expanded platform support for latest Microsoft operating systems and development tools, plus support for most popular IBM systems versions, permitting the broadest application support lifecycle for upgraded and new solutions.
  • Improved installation and configuration assisting IT administrators to efficiently deploy new clients and servers, reducing operating expenses and total cost of ownership.
  • New telemetry for improving technologies and tools, by monitoring and reporting connections, operations, and exceptions.
  • New Microsoft Client for DRDA connecting .NET Framework and BizTalk Server applications to IBM DB2 and Informix relational database systems, delivering increased functionality, with improved performance and scalability.

The latest generally-available (GA) quality release of SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) 16.5 launches today adds new features fixes for high DPI, reconnection and many issues.

Download SSMS 16.5 release here.