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Azure CDN Gets Token Authentication, Auto-shutdown for VMs, Intune Expands Conditional Access

Microsoft continue to make enhancements to Azure, introducing three new features that enable you to run the largest enterprise workloads, offer best-in-class support for those workloads and deliver them at the lowest possible cost.

Announcing auto-shutdown for VMs using Azure Resource Manager, Microsoft Intune expands conditional access, App SDK updates, and Android for Work!Token authentication with Azure CDN is now generally available for Verizon Premium customers, is tool to handle authentication for multiple users.

The feature has been enabled for all new and existing Verizon Premium customers, and with it each requests will be authenticated by CDN edge POPs before delivering the content which prevents Azure CDN from serving assets to unauthorized users, writes azure team. “This is typically done to prevent hotlinking of content, where a different website, often a message board, uses your assets without permission.”

IT admins can customize the token value with a list of perimeters such as allowing or deny requests from specified countries, URLs, hosts, IP addresses, or even putting up an assigned expiration time/date.

This can have an impact on your content delivery costs. Some benefits to adding token-based authentication on Azure CDN includes:

  • Easily scalable, no need to store user login information on the server.
  • Mobile application ready solution.
  • Provides security, each request must contain the token and after the token expires user needs to login again.
  • Prevents attacks such as cross-site request forgery (CSRF, also known as session riding), added azure team.

You can read more about how to enable token authentication in the full documentation here.

Customers now can set any ARM-based Virtual Machines to auto-shutdown with a few simple clicks using Azure Resource Manager. This was originally available only to VMs in Azure DevTest Labs.

In case you haven’t heard it before, “self-service sandbox environment in Azure to quickly create Dev/Test environments while minimizing waste and controlling costs.” 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 cost.”

With this feature, setting up auto-shutdown can’t be easier (verbatim):

  • Go to your VM blade in Azure portal.
  • Click Auto-shutdown in the resource menu on the left-side.
  • You will see an auto-shutdown settings page expanded, where you can specify the auto-shutdown time and time zone. You can also configure to send notification to your webhook URL 15 minutes before auto-shutdown, explains azure team.
Setting Auto-shutdown VMs on Azure CDN with Resoure Manager

Setting Auto-shutdown VMs on Azure CDN with Resoure Manager.

7 new general purpose compute VM sizes of A-Series raising the amount of RAM per vCPU from 1.75 GiB or 7 GiB of RAM per vCPU to 2 GiB or 8 GiB per vCPU, announced today, alongwith “improved local disk random IOPS to be 2-10x faster than of existing A version 1 sizes.”

These sizes use new VM naming schema “which is VM family letter followed by the number of vCPU’s of the VM,” writes Azure team. In the naming convention, “the ‘m’ identifier after the vCPU count signifies High Memory offerings (8 GiB/vCPU). (e.g. Standard_A8m_v2)”

A_v2-Series Azure VM Sizes

A_v2-Series Azure VM Sizes.

The latest new features and improvements in Intune introduces updates to conditional access for Windows PC’s and mobile apps, improvements to the Intune App SDK, and support for Android for Work.

Conditional access, which gives control to secure corporate data, while giving users the experience they expect, today expands to mobile applications and Windows PCs: “Conditional access for mobile apps, allows restricting access to Exchange Online from only apps that are enabled with Intune’s mobile application protection policies, such as Outlook.”

And, with conditional access for Windows PCs, you can create policies through the Intune admin console to block Windows PCs from accessing Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. Also, creating conditional access policies to block access to Office desktop and universal applications is possible now, adds azure team.

Intune Conditional Access for Mobile Apps and Windows PCs

Intune Conditional Access for Mobile Apps and Windows PCs.

All SDK tools have been updated to support Mobile Application Management without enrollment scenarios, and Android for Work, which has been in public preview, is now generally available.

For those of you who want to get into the nitty-gritty of Intune and its SDK, you can check out the app’s Github page hosting Intune App SDK, App Wrapping Tool, Cordova plugin, and Xamarin component.

Service Map (formerly known as Application Dependency Monitor) is available in Public Preview, and provides like automatic discovery and mapping for server and process dependencies in real-time, without any predefinition.

Finally, new powerful alerting capability for Operations Management Suite (OMS): metric measurement alerts is in public preview today.

Update 11/25: The first preview of ArcGIS Maps for Power BI and Power BI Desktop that allow report authors to start using GIS within Power BI was unveiled at the Ignite—today, the ArcGIS Map for Power BI is released in Preview to users in the Power BI service.

While creating reports in PowerBI.com, users can now start using “ArcGIS Maps for Power BI visual, pin ArcGIS Maps for Power BI to dashboards and share those dashboards with colleagues,” BI team writes.

Also Power BI Desktop files containing ArcGIS Maps visual can be pusblished and share within the organization through the Power BI service.

Lastly, the team notes, ArcGIS Maps for Power BI will be coming to Power BI mobile applications next.

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