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Azure Analysis Services Web Designer in Preview And More Features Announced

Azure Analysis Services web designer

Azure Analysis Services web designer is now in preview and adds capabilities to queries, model creation and model editing.

The new browser-based experience allows developers to start creating and managing Azure Analysis Services (AAS) semantic models quickly and easily. While SQL Server Data Tools and SQL Server Management Studio are still the primary tools for development.

This initial release is intended to make simple changes faster and includes three major capabilities, model creation, model editing, and doing queries. “The model can be created directly from Azure SQL Database and SQL Data Warehouse, or imported from Power BI Desktop PBIX files,” writes Bret Grinslade.

Expalining the process he said, you can chose tables to include when creating from a database, and the tool will create a Direct Query model to the data source. The models’ metadata can than be view, or you can edit the Tabular Model Scripting Language (TMSL) JSON, and add measures.

Additionally, there are shortcuts as well to open a model in Power BI Desktop, Excel, or even open a Visual Studio project.

You can also create simple queries against the model to see the data or test out a new measure.

Azure Analysis Services web designer

Also, Instant file recovery from Azure Virtual Machines backups generally available Thursday, securely recover files and folders from the cloud backups of Azure VM – without added infrastructure..

Instant Restore drastically reduces the time to recover your data, writes the Microsoft Azure team. This bolsters a repertoire of cloud-first features Microsoft has delivered from Azure Backup.

With this File-folder recovery from Azure Windows VM backups and Linux VM backups, now you can securely:

  • Recover files instantly – Now instantly recover files from the cloud backups of Azure VMs without any additional infrastructure. Whether it’s accidental file deletion or simply validating the backup, instant restore drastically reduces the time to recover your data.
  • Open application files without restoring them – Our iSCSI-based approach allows you to open/mount application files directly from cloud recovery points to application instances. You need not restore the entire VM and thus save on time taken for recovery and consumption of bandwidth. For e.g. in case of backup of a Azure Linux VM running MongoDB, you can mount BSON data dumps from the cloud recovery point and quickly validate the backup or retrieve individual items such as tables without having to download the entire data dump.
Instant File Recovery from Azure VM backups

Microsoft has introduced Enterprise Smart Contracts, the “what’s next” in the blockchain revolution, that deliver a set of components that can be combined to create contract templates that when executed, provide the privacy, scale, performance and management capabilities expected in the enterprise.

The major components included in the Enterprise Smart Contract are:

  • Schema – the data elements required for the execution and fulfillment of contract obligations between counterparties and the cryptographic proofs needed to maintain the integrity and trust across counterparties and observers such as auditors or regulators.
  • Logic – business rules defined in the schema and agreed to by the counterparties and observers. Cryptographic proofs required for the execution, versioning and integrity of both the code and its results are persisted to the blockchain as defined in the schema.
  • Counterparties – identities of participants (people, organizations and things) agreeing to the terms and execution of the contract, authenticated through cryptographic primitives such as digital signatures.
  • External Sources of data or triggers required to fulfill the execution requirements of the contract. These external sources and conditions for interaction are agreed to by the counterparties and observers. As with the others, cryptographic proof is required to prove authenticity and establish trust in the external sources.
  • Ledger immutable instance of a contract on a distributed ledger (blockchain) containing the data items in the schema to record all contract activities and proofs. This can be either a public “distributed trustless database” or a “shared, permissioned, semi-trusted, discretionarily private database.”
  • Contract Binding is the composition of these parts creating a unique instance of an Enterprise Smart Contract. It is created when a contract begins negotiation between counterparties and becomes versioned and locked when each counterparty signs the contract. Once signed and locked the Enterprise Smart Contract begins the execution of the terms and conditions that lead to fulfillment.
Azure Enterprise Smart Contract components

In the next section you will find all consolidated updates from the Micosoft Cloud Platform for up to second week of June.

Here are the latest releases:

Azure Stack, are now available to purchase with Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo. Additionally, users can also plan purchase with software pricing and availability information. The can also now try free single-server deployment option of Azure Stack to build and validate applications for integrated systems deployments.

Azure Managed Applications for Azure Marketplace in preview, enables managed service providers and partners to deliver turnkey solutions through Azure Marketplace.

It serves as a channel to sell infrastructure or software through the marketplace, and offers a way to attach services and operational support to Azure customers.

Furthermore, managed applications are self-contained and sealed to the customer, enabling the managed service provides and partners to reliably deliver a high quality of service.

Azure Service Health in preview, provides timely and personalized information about the impact of service issues and helps users prepare for upcoming planned maintenance. It sends alerts by email, text messages, and webhook notifications when business-critical resources are impacted.

Azure SQL Data Warehouse increased its maximum performance and scaling power threefold, from 6,000 DWU to 18,000 DWU.

With improvement, you will see query performance and queries per second improve dramatically on petabyte storage scale, all with elasticity and pause/resume benefits so customers can optimize costs.

Microsoft will also let you soon request access to preview the new performance levels of SQL Data Warehouse at DW9000 and DW18000.

Azure HDInsight Kafka for Azure Managed Disks in preview now available, abstracts the storage account specification for you, allowing for an easier managed route to disk usage. This new capability also enables exponentially higher scalability and lower cost as the workloads increase.

New networking features in virtual machine scale sets allow a wider range of applications that deploy virtual machines at scale to take advantage of the simple deployment, elasticity, and autoscale capabilities of scale sets.

Virtual machine scale sets networking features for Azure Virtual Machine (VM) scale sets general availability (GA)

The Hybrid Connections feature of Azure Relay is now available to the public in national clouds for China and Germany.

Using open standard web sockets, Azure Relay allows customers to securely expose services inside a corporate network to the cloud without opening a firewall connection or changing the corporate network. As a result, customers can keep their data where it is while enabling access from the cloud.


  • Uses HTTPS and WebSockets to securely connect resources.
  • Leverages the robust management and monitoring features of Azure Relay.
  • No need for changes in your virtual private network, firewall, or proxy.

Also, the new updates for Microsoft Cloud App Security, brings in new features such as ransomware policy, Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), Microsoft Teams are announced, and include:

  • It now includes support for the Microsoft Teams activities that are supported in the Office 365 audit log.
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) support is now available in the Cloud App Security portal. This feature helps manage the permissions granted to your admins inside the Cloud App Security console. By default, all Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), Office 365 global admins, and security admins have full permissions in the portal, and all security readers in Azure AD and Office 365 have read-only access in Cloud App Security. Additional admins can be added or permissions changed using the “Manage Access” option.
  • A new policy template to detect potential ransomware activity was added to the portal that includes the signature extension of WannaCrypt.
  • With enhanced governance options in Azure AD, users can now be required to sign in again to all Office 365 and Azure AD apps as a quick and effective remediation for suspicious user activity alerts and compromised accounts.

Get a free trial, evaluate Cloud App Security and try the new features.

On June 20, 2017, the company announced the general availability of Microsoft Stream and the new intelligent features that will enable greater productivity and user engagement with video.

Microsoft Stream provides a common destination for video management with built-in intelligence features like face detection, speech-to-text transcript, deep integration across Office 365, and the IT management and security capabilities that businesses of all sizes require.

It’s available as a standalone application, or as part of Office 365 commercial plans.

Microsoft on June 13, joined Cloud Foundry Foundation as a Gold Member, marking an important milestone in Microsoft’s vision of delivering Azure as an open, flexible, and portable platform.

The partnership with the Cloud Foundry Foundation extends Microsoft’s commitment into the open community—a deeply collaborative, innovative, and diverse technology ecosystem—”and underscores how Microsoft Azure provides an unparalleled choice of tools, frameworks, and platforms.”

In addition, Microsoft has also joined Open Service Broker API working group to enable a standardized interface making it easier for you to connect cloud native to platforms like Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes.


  • Choice—run Cloud Foundry implementations on Azure.
  • Build on an open platform—use an open-source ecosystem to build Azure-based applications.
  • Support partners’ Cloud Foundry solutions—Pivotal, SAP Cloud Platform, GE Predix (coming soon).

Key features

  • Azure Cloud Provider Interface, which provides integration between BOSH and the Azure infrastructure required to run Cloud Foundry.
  • Azure meta service broker, which provides developers with an easy way to provision and bind their applications to some of our most popular services.
  • open-source Cloud Foundry plugin for Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS), which provides rich support for building continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines targeting cloud foundry environments.
  • Microsoft Operations Management Log Analytics support to monitor and analyze your Cloud Foundry environment and applications.

Azure Container Service and Docker Community Edition (CE) support pre-announcement include:

Docker Community Edition description

  • Free Docker platform for “do it yourself” dev and ops
  • Monthly Edge release with latest features for developers
  • Quarterly release with maintenance for ops

Docker Community Edition for Azure Container Service

  • There are currently two different ways to deploy Docker on Azure
    • Docker for Azure
    • Azure Container Service with Swarm support
  • Docker and Microsoft are working on simplifying this
  • First step Docker CE for Container Service using Ubuntu – available in July
    • Working on further integrating Docker for Azure and Container Service
  • Swarm orchestration refresher:
    • Docker-native clustering and orchestration
    • Secure by default: secrets, mutual TLS
    • Built-in load-balancing, overlay networking, and service discovery
  • Scalable and easy-to-use

Azure Architecture Center is generally available with new services and capabilities, so you can take full advantage of the guidance that helps you:

  • Get started—we provide the information you need to get started fast, and save time by building correctly the first time.
  • Get the most out of your existing deployment so you can optimize for security, availability, scalability, performance, cost, and manageability.
  • Get going today with proven guidance, tested deployment scripts, and verified recommendations for your production workloads.

Azure Virtual Machines (VM) families that include: Dv3, Ev3 are now generally available. while the new B Series is in preview.

This new generation Dv3 and Ev3 VMs including sizes with 64 vCPUs on the Intel Broadwell E5-2673 v4 2.3 processor, and with 432-GiB of memory on the largest Ev3 sizes.

  • Dv3—A new generation of general purpose virtual machines with the introduction of Hyper-Threading Technology.
  • Ev3—A new generation and new family name, memory-optimized workloads that also supports Hyper-Threading Technology.

Burstable virtual machines (B Series) in preview, is a new family of virtual machines that provide a low-cost option for workloads that typically run at a low-to-moderate baseline CPU performance, but sometimes need to burst to significantly higher CPU performance when demand rises.

These are best suited for apps such as dev and test servers, low traffic web servers, small databases, micro services, build servers, code repositories that don’t require use of the full CPU at all times, and burst as needed to finish tasks.

Customers can now generate Azure Backup reports with Power BI to gain visibility into metrics such as storage usage, job health and alerts.

Azure Site Recovery extends Linux support and configuration options, that enable disaster recovery service now support Azure IaaS machines using Storage Spaces Direct, a virtualization technology in Windows Server 2016 that groups disks into storage pools to enhance performance and accommodate larger disks.

To add greater flexibility, Azure Site Recovery is extending support for Linux OS Ubuntu on VMware virtualized infrastructure or Azure virtual machines.

Microsoft continuing with innovation with Windows Server and System Center introduces a new semi-annual channel for customers to adopt a more frequent delivery model for Windows Server and System Center.

Here’s how it will work:

  • “We will deliver two feature releases each year, aligning to Windows and Office Semi-annual Channel release cycle. We’ll make new Windows Server feature releases available every six months in the first and second half of the year. Feature releases are cumulative, so each release will build on the prior release and add new capabilities.
  • These releases will be available to customers with Software Assurance as well as via Azure images or other cloud/hosting environments. The first preview will be available this summer through the Windows Insider Program, and the first feature release will ship later in 2017.
  • System Center will also begin semi-annual releases to manage the new features in Windows Server, says the Windows Server team.

For customers looking for longer term stability and predictability in their deployments, Windows Server 2016 remains the best choice. It’s the latest release from our long-term servicing channel (LTSC) and it’s supported for 10 years (or up to 16 years with Premium Assurance).

Both Nano Server and Server Core will be options on the Semi-annual Channel.

A faster release cadence is coming for System Center 2016 in the next year, focusing on the highest priority needs of customers across components.

  • You will see releases twice a year, aligned with the Windows Server semi-annual channel timelines.
  • A technical preview is planned for release later in 2017 with the first production version available early 2018. Subsequent releases will occur approximately every six months.

These releases will be available to “System Center customers with active Software Assurance,” said Microsoft. System Center Configuration Manager “will continue to offer three releases a year to give you the latest updates for managing servers, PCs, and mobile devices.”

Azure Traffic Manager announces the general availability of Fast Failover, to now let you choose to have faster redirection of users from an endpoint that has gone unhealthy.

Specifically, you can now:

  • Choose a shorter interval of 10 seconds for Traffic Manager to check endpoint health status (versus the current interval of 30 seconds).
  • Configure the number of consecutive failure(s) (between 1 and 10, inclusive) before marking an endpoint unhealthy.
  • Configure the timeout interval for each probe attempt (between 5 and 9 seconds if probe interval is 10 seconds, between 5 and 10 seconds if probe interval is 30 seconds).
  • Set the Time to Live (TTL) response all the way down to zero.

The above configurable settings, when used together, allow Azure Traffic Manager to direct traffic away from a degraded endpoint in one-tenth of the time it currently takes.

Customers choosing to use fast failover will be charged an extra $1 per endpoint per month for health checking Azure endpoints, and an extra $2 per endpoint per month for health checking external endpoints.

For getting started using these features, head over to Azure Traffic Manager’s Fast Failover and TCP Probing documentation pages.

Also, announced the general availability of “TCP Probing,” the feature allows you to add endpoints that don’t have the ability to respond to HTTP health checks, such as database backends to Traffic Manager profiles. TCP Probing also allows you to reduce your Azure endpoint resource usage by choosing a probing method that typically has lower overhead.

There’s no additional charge for using this feature. You can access the settings for Fast Failover and TCP Probing using Portal, PowerShell, Command Line Interface, and REST APIs/SDKS.

Microsoft R Server 9.1 (on Spark 2.1) now generally available within Azure HDInsight including neural nets for deep learning, pre-trained sentiment analysis, image featurizer models, and more are now generally available within Azure HDInsight.

New improvements to adaptive query processing generally available now in Azure SQL Databse, and includes three improvements:

  • Batch mode memory grant feedback improves the performance of repeating queries that request too much or too little memory.
  • Batch mode adaptive join is a new query operator type that allows dynamic selection of the most optimal join algorithm based on runtime row counts.
  • Interleaved execution improves the performance of queries that reference multi-statement table valued functions by using the true row count of the function call for use during query optimization.

Azure SQL Data Sync now available in the new Azure Portal, is a cloud-based service built on Microsoft Sync Framework technologies.

It provides single direction as well as bi-directional data synchronization and data management capabilities, allowing data to be easily shared among SQL Databases across multiple data centers, or between on-premises SQL Server databases and Azure SQL Databases.

SQL Graph support for Azure SQL Database in preview introduce simple constructs of nodes and relationships into linked structures for sophisticated modeling.

Azure SQL Database now offers fully integrated graph extensions, so you can define graph schema with graph objects. T-SQL language extensions help you find patterns and use multi-hop navigation.

Power BI Desktop features are now generall available to business analysts, including:

  • Reporting—data bars for new table and matrix (preview); markers on line, area, and combo charts; accessible reports, and more.
  • Data connectivity—SAP BW connector DirectQuery support (preview), Amazon Redshift connector general availability, custom data connector support, and more.
  • Query editing—enhancements to “Add column from examples.”

Power BI service features are now general available to end users and business analysts, that include:

  • Power BI Premium is now generally available. Power BI Report Server, as part of Power BI Premium, is also now generally available.
  • ArcGIS Maps for Power BI has reached general availability.
  • SOC certifications—Power BI has achieved SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 certifications.

Azure Event Hubs Capture is now generally available, which was released in preview as Event Hubs Archive, provides efficient micro-batch processing and long-term data archival.

Capture makes it easy to send data from Event Hubs to persistent storage without using code or configuring other compute services.

Key features include:

  • Simple setup. Configure Event Hubs Capture with just a few mouse clicks.
  • Reduced total cost of ownership. Event Hubs handles all the management, minimizing the overhead involved in setting up and tracking your custom job processing mechanisms.
  • Supports your current storage destinations. Just choose your Azure Storage account (and soon Azure Data Lake Store) and Capture automatically pulls the data into your containers.
  • Near-real time batch analytics. Event data is available within minutes of ingress into Event Hubs. This enables common scenarios regarding near-real time analytics without having to construct separate data pipelines.

Azure Logic Apps cumulative features and connector are now available with benefit include:

  • BizTalk Server Connector—now generally available, the BizTalk Connector provides an easy way to integrate Logic Apps workflows with BizTalk Server. This capability is an important enabler for customers connecting existing enterprise applications with SaaS applications and cloud-based business logic and processing.
  • Expression Authoring—a new way to easily create expressions within your Logic App.
  • Message Batching—this feature (currently in preview) allows you to group messages and send as a single file once a user-specified threshold is met.

Ping Identity and Microsoft are announcing the general availability of PingAccess for Azure Active Directory (AD), provides secure remote access to more on-premises applications by integrating with Application Proxy, without requiring a VPN.

Application Proxy provides secure remote access to on-premises web applications. However, connecting the full set of legacy and custom on-premises apps can be challenging, especially if these apps are not standards-based. Ping Identity has developed PingAccess, to provide single sign-on (SSO) and remote access to many different types of on-premises web applications, even non-standard based ones.

This integration between Application Proxy and PingAccess allows you to expand SSO access to even more on-premises web applications. The result is seamless and secure single sign-on for all applications for users on all devices and clouds.

Azure AD Premium customers can use this integration to connect up to 20 apps at no additional cost. For more than 20 apps, full PingAccess licenses may be purchased.

Esri, a global leader in geographic information systems (GIS) mapping, will offer general availability of ArcGIS Map control inside Power BI for both Power BI Desktop users and Power BI Pro.

The map control will be available in both the service and the desktop. Esri ArcGIS mapping solution will be available as an additional in-product visual for Power BI users who are looking for advanced GIS capabilities for their data visualization and analysis needs.

Combine authoritative data layers on a map and apply spatial analysis to gain a better understanding of the data.

Azure VPN Gateway introducing next generation of VPN gateways SKUs to help connect on-premises networks and individual client computers securely to Azure using industry standard connections such as IPSEC and SSTP with VPN Gateway.

With flexible deployment choices and no region constraints, VPN Gateway gives you high availability and secure connections from anywhere, anytime.

Benefits include:

  • Industry-standard Site-to-Site (S2S) IPsec VPNs
  • Point-to-Site (P2S) VPN access from anywhere
  • Up to 99.95% uptime for VPN gateways
  • Highly available and easy to manage
  • Secure connections from anywhere

Microsoft also recently introduced three new VPN gateways to the Azure VPN Gateway service (VpnGw1, VpnGw2, and VpnGw3) with significant increases to both bandwidth and service-level agreement (SLA).


  • Gateway
  • Recommended

  • Workload Type
  • Price

  • ($ per hour)
  • Throughput

  • Benchmark
  • SLAS2S & V2V Tunnels

  • ($ per tunnel-hour)**
  • P2S Tunnels

  • (Max)***
  • BasicDev/Test$0.04100 MBps99.9%Max 10

  • 1-10: included
  • 0
    VpnGw1Production$0.19650 MBps99.95%Max 30

  • 1-10: included
  • 11-30: $0.015
  • 128
    VpnGw2Production$0.491 GBps99.95%Max 30

  • 1-10: included
  • 11-30: $0.015
  • 128
    VpnGw3Production$1.251.25 GBps99.95%Max 30

  • 1-10: included
  • 11-30: $0.015
  • 128

    Following are Microsoft’s guidance and recommendations:

    • Of the existing tiers, the Basic tier will not change. The Standard and High-Performance tiers are being replaced with VpnGw1, VpnGw2, and VpnGw3.
    • Currently deployed VPN gateways will not be changed automatically to the new tiers and will retain current performance and pricing. However, we recommend you consider migrating your existing gateways to one of the new tiers. The new gateways could provide up to five times more performance for the same price.
    • After September 15, 2017, we’ll retire the ability to create new Standard and High-Performance VPN Gateways.

    To learn more about this service and how to deploy it, visit the VPN Gateway and VPN Gateway Documentation webpages.

    Azure Cosmos DB now has a new CLI commands support in preview and help to create, read, update, and delete operations on databases and collections, as well as scaling container throughput.

    SQL Analytics solution in preview, is based on Log Analytics, and help manage and monitor SQL databases. Its enable visibility into the health, performance, and utilization of SQL databases using dashboard views, with detailed reporting and alerting built into the solution.

    Additionally, it also collect and store related metrics, search and query the stored telemetry, and correlate and visualize the results to detect, triage, and respond to issues before they impact users.

    Microsoft has announced a preview of an increase in the maximum eDTU limit per Azure SQL Database in Standard elastic pools, that are especially well suited for databases with activity bursts that demand more CPU than previously provided by Standard pools.

    The limit has increased to as much as 3,000 eDTUs with new click-stop choices starting at 200 eDTUs. For IO intensive workloads, “Premium pools continue to provide the best performance experience with lower latency per IO and more IOPS per eDTU,” wrties the team.

    Microsoft has also made generally available it’s high-performance, open source, deep learning Cognitive Toolkit. Now at version 2.0, the toolkit, previously knows as CNTK, enables enterprise-ready, production-grade AI by allowing users to create, train, and evaluate their own neural networks that can then scale efficiently across multiple GPUs and multiple machines on massive data sets.

    Hundreds of new features, performance improvements, and fixes have been added since beta, like Keras Support, Java Bindings and Spark Support, and Model Compression.

    The open-source toolkit can be found on GitHub.

    Remote assistance on Android devices just got better with Microsoft Intune and TeamViewer‘s expanded integration, as the helpdesk team can now start a remote assistance session with end users on Android devices, making it easier than ever to help users with training, support issues, or step-by-step walkthroughs.

    The TeamViewer Quick Support device application can be pre-installed through Intune for a streamlined device experience. Even if the TeamViewer application isn’t installed on the device, the Intune Company Portal will walk users through the process of installing the Quick Support application during their first remote assistance session.

    All features of TeamViewer including chat, file transfer, and device details, can be used with this integration.

    Learn more about using Intune with TeamViewer through this documentation page.

    Microsoft Intune, a redesigned admin experience is now available in the Azure portal, let users manage all Intune mobile application management and mobile device management capabilities in one consolidated admin experience, and take advantage of Azure Active Directory grouping and targeting seamlessly as well.

    If you haven’t tried Intune on Azure, try this new experience by logging into Microsoft Azure portal.

    The new Conditional Access in Azure admin available to public brings rich capabilities across Azure Active Directory (AD) and Intune together in one unified console.

    Access the new console in the menu within both the Intune and Azure AD blades. With conditional access, ensure that only appropriately authenticated users—from the compliant devices, and under the right conditions—have access to your company’s data. .

    The new conditional access experience on Azure makes the power of our technology obvious, displaying the deep controls you have at every level in one consolidated view.

    Now you can easily step through a consolidated flow allowing you to set granular policies that define access at the user, location, device, and app level. Control access to resources based on a user’s sign-in risk powered by the vast data in Microsoft’s Intelligent Security Graph. Once your policies are set, users operating under the right conditions are granted access to apps and data. As conditions change, controls kick in to make sure that your data stays secure. These controls include:

    • Challenging a user with Multi-Factor Authentication to prove their identity.
    • Prompting the user to enroll their device in Intune.
    • Blocking access all together or even allowing you to wipe a device.

    You can download this white paper to learn more about conditional access from Enterprise Mobility + Security.

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