Office 365 groups a collaboration feature that offer easy and fast way to create groups so you can use them to collaborate with co-workers, share team documents, and manage emails and calendars—is becoming more popular with features, like groups expiration policy, today, received next enhancement called, “Office 365 groups Naming Policy.”
This new feature let you enforce consistent naming conventions for Office 365 groups across its associated workloads, and block specific words from being used in group names and aliases.
A naming policy can help you and your users identify which department, office, or geographic region the group was created from. It can also help identify a group in the global address list, and block inappropriate words in the group names.
Select administrators are exempted from these policies, across all group workloads and endpoints, so that they can create groups using blocked words and with their desired naming conventions.
In other Cloud Platform release, Microsoft announced the following features available, including:
Azure Cosmos DB Webinar series hits general availabilit covers a wide array of topics, such as Graph API, Table API, and migrating Mongo DB applications to Azure Cosmos DB.
By the end of this series, “you’ll learn about building serverless applications and conduct real-time analytics using Azure Cosmos DB, Azure functions, and Spark connector.”
Geo-replication GA for Azure Redis Cache, enable developers and IT pros to build disaster recovery plans, ensuring availability of mission-critical applications running on our cloud, even in unlikely event of a widespread regional failure.
Customers can already design disaster resilient solutions on Azure, using virtual machines (VMs) (with Azure Site Recovery), Traffic Manager, and data services such as Cosmos DB, SQL Database, and now Azure Redis Cache.
Azure Redis Cache is a cache-as-a-service offering, based on the popular open source Redis in-memory key-value store.
Geo-replication is available at no additional cost for customers using the Premium tier of Azure Redis Cache, as long as they have at least two instances deployed.
Azure SDK for Go now available for free on GitHub in general availability is a popular, efficient language for writing cloud applications.
Azure, which already provides many managed services to make development of any application more efficient—now let you combine benefits of both and easily provision and use Azure services from Go software using the Azure SDK for Go.
Microsoft Cloud App Security adds anomaly detection engine enhancements and helps you now detect the most sophisticated threats in cloud apps faster.
In addition, it’s also possible to expose more data from detection engine, and several new policies have been introduced and include learning mechanisms to reduce false positive alerts. These policies willl replace general anomaly detection policies.
Additional improvements with newly added “User Insights” now let you easily understand the suspicious activities the user was performing and gain deeper confidence as to whether the account was compromised.
Also, Microsoft Cloud App Security now has the capability to control multiple instances of SaaS apps.
Manage Application Proxy with PowerShell in Azure Active Directory (AD) allows you to deploy on-premises applications more quickly and manage them more easily.
Virtual Network Service Endpoints for Azure SQL Database now generally available allows you to isolate connectivity to logical server from only a given subnet or set of subnets within a virtual network.
The traffic to Azure SQL Database from a virtual network will always stay within the Azure backbone network. “This direct route will be preferred over any specific routes that take internet traffic through virtual appliances or on-premises.”
There’s no additional billing for virtual network access through service endpoints. Current pricing model for Azure SQL Database applies as is.
Azure security and operations management Log alerts for Application Insights in preview let monitor log files by setting up a query to run at specified intervals and trigger alerts based on the result.
For those new, “Application Insights is an extensible Application Performance Management (APM) service for web developers building and managing apps on multiple platforms.”
The Public Preview of Backup for Azure File Shares is a native backup solution for SMB supported cloud file shares. Using Recovery Services Vault, “customers can now backup their Azure File shares.”
This Zero-Infrastructure solution enables scheduled backups with user defined retention.
Azure Event Grid hits general availability is a managed event routing service that enables you to react in real time to changes happening in Azure resources or your own applications.
Azure API Management Versions and Revisions capabilities now in general availability allow API publishers to make changes to their APIs in a controlled and safe fashion.
You can use Revisions to make changes to APIs without disturbing consumers. Versions enable publishers to present groups of related APIs to developers, with each version differentiated by a version number.
Azure API Management integration with Azure Application Insights now in preview lets customers add API Management telemetry to Application Insights and use its rich set of capabilities to monitor and troubleshoot their APIs.
This feature can be enabled directly from API Management instance in the Azure portal.
Use this integration to provide statistical analysis to assess application performance.
Azure App Service announces the preview release of a new CLI experience for Node Web Apps creation.
Now, using a single command, developers can create and deploy a node.js app to App Service on Linux without any prerequisite knowledge of Azure concepts such as App Service Plan or Azure Resource Group. See more information.
System Center version 1801 now available at Evaluation Center or VLSC delivering new features and enhancements including improved Linux monitoring support, more efficient VMware backup, additional support for Windows Server, and improved user experience and performance.
Also it adds security updates and bug fixes across all components.
System Center version 1801 is the first Semi-Annual Channel releases.
Virtual Network service endpoints allow securing of Azure Storage accounts to virtual networks, fully removing public internet access to these resources.
Service Endpoints is now generally available for Azure Storage for all regions in Azure public cloud and Microsoft Azure Government. There’s no additional cost to enable service endpoints on your virtual networks.
Azure IoT Hub integration to Azure Event Grid in preview since January 30, 2018, increases support for device life-cycle events as well as provides an easy way to automate actions such as database updates, ticket creation, and billing management—all without human intervention.
Azure Event Grid also integrates easily with modern serverless architectures and third-party applications, allowing companies to extend its functionality across the network without the need for complicated coding.
With Event Grid, operations managers can easily integrate and automate key processes such as:
- Updating their CRM system with information on the new device, and automatically opening tickets to configure the device.
- Kicking off Azure Functions to check compliance of the new device once it’s operational.
- Receiving automatic updates on Power BI dashboards to display the new device and its status so they can quickly react to device life-cycle events, integrate events with other business applications, and save costs on polling services.
Azure Network Watcher Connection Troubleshoot now generally available is part of Network Watcher suite of networking tools and capabilities, and enable you to troubleshoot network performance and connectivity issues in Azure.
Continuing the expansion of tools within Azure Network Watcher will see an incremental increase in its capabilities and ways for you to utilize it in your day to day operations. You can now:
- Check connectivity between source (VM) and destination (VM, URI, FQDN, IP Address).
- Identify configuration issues that are impacting reachability.
- Provide all possible hop by hop paths from the source to destination.
- See latency between source and destination.
- Get a topology (graphical) view from your source to destination.
- See the number of packets dropped during the connection troubleshoot check.
Azure Cosmos DB Graph API generally available now provides improved performance and reduced latency with the use of third-party Gremlin connectors, support for Python and PHP platforms, and a preview of a .NET library for performant bulk import operations. Learn more at this Azure blog post.
Azure Search—since late 2017, all new paid Azure Search services started using brand new, more powerful underlying hardware in select regions. The upgraded search services offer significantly higher performance and remove document count limits, at no additional cost.
Azure OSS DevOps Integrations improving developer experience of Ansible on Azure as it’s now available, pre-installed, and ready to use in the Azure Cloud Shell.
Also, released now is an Ansible extension for Visual Studio Code that allows for faster development and testing of Ansible playbooks.
You can use this extension to get code snippets for any Ansible module, get syntax highlighting and even run the playbook locally, in Docker containers, or directly in the Azure Cloud Shell.
Azure OSS DevOps integrations making setup for Jenkins on Azure simple as you can now deploy directly to a private virtual network, integrate Managed Service Identity or Azure Service Principal out of the box, as well as have preconfigured agent pools to use either virtual machines (VMs) or Azure Container Instances.
Azure Active Directory (AD) | B2C—New options for customization
Azure Active Directory B2C, an identity and access management tool for engaging with customers, has even more customization options added to improve the user experience and enhance security. Custom password complexity, B2C-specific audit events in the portal, and GitHub as an identity provider are now available in preview. Twitter as an identity provider the ability to migrate users with social identities are now generally available as well. Language customization has two new additions expected to go into general availability later in February 2018, in addition to a simplified configuration experience for access tokens. Learn more on this blog post.
Microsoft Intune Graph API now generally available opens a new set of possibilities for our customers and partners to automate and integrate their workloads to reduce deployment times and improve overall device management efficiency.
Azure AD Core IAM | Application Proxy wildcard support in preview
Simpler application management with Azure AD Application Proxy wildcard publishing
Wildcard (*) application publishing in Azure AD Application Proxy is now available in preview. If you have several applications that use the same format (for example: https://*.contoso.com) and have the same settings, you can now publish and manage these as one application in the Azure Portal. This will greatly simplify your onboarding and management experience. Learn how to publish a wildcard application and see how this can help improve your deployments.
It’s faster and easier now to sign in to all Azure AD-connected applications with the new “My Apps browser” extension that works on Edge, Chrome, and Firefox.
You don’t have to navigate to the My Apps portal to get access to all their single sign-on enabled apps—the extension acts as an app launcher to provide quick access to their app gallery, including shortcuts to recently used apps.
Additionally, if you go directly to the single sign-on app URL, the extension will recognize you have a saved password and give you an option to sign in by clicking on the extension icon in the toolbar.
Power BI Desktop new features and updates are now available, including:
- Reporting—Continued updates, including some of the major customer asks such as multi-selecting data points across multiple charts and syncing slicer values across multiple pages of reports. Other updates include faster geocoding, overflow data labels for bar and column charts, and search in the formatting and analytics panes.
- Analytics—Desktop users can now mark a custom date table and use new DAX functions UTCNOW() and UTCTODAY(). Also, quick measures are now generally available.
- Custom visuals—Organizational visuals menu is now available in preview. New custom visuals are now available, including Network Visualization and Filter, Slope Chart by MAQ Software, Filter by List, as Timeline, and as T-Accounts.
- Data connectivity—Improvements to DirectQuery over SAP HANA in preview. Other: DirectQuery and Open/Save performance improvements. “Show items with no data” improvements, persistent filters control for upcoming Power BI service feature and Consulting Services quick link.
Power BI service and mobile new and most frequently requested are now available to users and business analysts.
- Share and favorite Power BI reports—Dashboards have been the primary way to share content with others in the service. However, there has always been an ask from our community and users to extend the same capability to reports. Users can now share reports directly with others in Power BI.
- OAuth2 and DirectQuery single sign-on support for Azure SQL Database and Data Warehouse—Dataset owners can now choose to use Azure AD OAuth credentials when connecting the Power BI service to Azure SQL databases. With this update, Power BI can use all the security features of Azure Active Directory (AD) when connecting to Azure SQL—including multi-factor authentication when it’s configured.
- In-region auditing—Power BI customers around the globe who enable auditing in their tenant will now have these audit logs stored in the same Office 365 region as their tenant.
- General availability of SharePoint Online report web part—This feature enables SharePoint authors to easily embed Power BI reports directly on their page without any code.
- Custom visuals admin control—IT admins now have more control over whether users in their organization can view reports containing custom visuals. Please note that the setting applies to the entire organization and can’t be limited to specific groups.
- Scheduled refresh support for Azure Analysis Services—Power BI now supports imported data from Azure Analysis Services and for the scheduling of those imports to be refreshed.
- January update for on-premises gateway—The January 2018 update includes a beta release of the PowerShell Cmdlets to manage on-premises data gateway in the public PowerShell gallery configuration that lets you control the number of mashup engine containers that can run in parallel, in addition to a new version of the Mashup Engine.
- Improved hyperlinks support on Mobile—Users can now directly navigate to links within custom visuals and open them on your favorite mobile browser.
Update 02/24: Virtual Network (VNet) Service Endpoints for Azure SQL Database now generally available in all Azure regions. This ability allows you to isolate connectivity to your logical server from only a given subnet or set of subnets within your virtual network.
The traffic to Azure SQL Database from your VNet will always stay within the Azure backbone network. This direct route will be preferred over any specific routes that take Internet traffic through virtual appliances or on-premises.
There is no additional billing for virtual network access through service endpoints. Current pricing model for Azure SQL DB applies as is.
The general availability of the Microsoft Identity Manager hybrid reporting, which enables the reporting view within Azure Active Directory’s (Azure AD) audit activity reports is announced on Friday.
With this feature, you can now monitor activity around self-service group management activity and self-service password reset occurring either on-premises with MIM or in the cloud.
Update 03/02: Azure Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) generally available now is a cloud-based security solution that helps detect and investigate security incidents across networks. It supports the most demanding workloads of security analytics for the modern enterprise.
Azure ATP is able to detect advanced malicious attacks leveraging both cloud and on-premises signals, reducing false positives, and providing an end-to-end investigation experience including across endpoint and identity with Windows Defender ATP integration.
For security operators, analysts, and professionals who are struggling to detect advanced attacks in a hybrid environment, Azure ATP is a threat protection solution that helps:
- Detect and identify suspicious user and device activity with learning-based analytics
- Leverage threat intelligence across the cloud and on-premises environments
- Protect user identities and credentials stored in Active Directory
- Provide clear attack information on a simple timeline for fast triaging
- Monitor multiple entry points through integration with Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection