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Azure Databricks, New AI Platform, IoT and Machine Learning Tools Announced

At Connect(); 2017, Microsoft highlighted how its making it even easier for developers and data scientists to infuse artificial intelligene (AI) into new and existing apps with new capabilities now offers comprehensive cloud-based, on-premises, and edge support. In other words, all the infrastructure, tools, frameworks, services and solutions needed by developers, data scientists and businesses to infuse AI into their products and services.

First up, joining as a platinum member of the MariaDB Foundation, Microsoft commit to actively contribute to MariaDB and its community, and will also be delivering a preview of Azure Database for MariaDB, which will bring the fully managed service capabilities to MariaDB. Developers can sign up for the upcoming preview for Azure Database for MariaDB.

To enable this, the following new capabilities were announced including:

Next up, a preview of Azure Databricks, a fast, easy, and collaborative Apache Spark-based analytics platform optimized for Azure was announced, too. Databricks delivers one-click setup, streamlined workflows, an interactive workspace, and native integration with Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure Storage, Azure Cosmos DB, Azure Active Directory and Power BI.

Azure Cosmos DB with Apache Cassandra API offering include Apache Cassandra-as-a-Service powered by Azure Cosmos DB, a globally distributed, multi-model NoSQL database service and industry-leading SLAs

Cosmos DB is designed to scale throughput and storage across any number of geographical regions with comprehensive SLAs and with greater consistency levels for more precise data latency management. Developers can re-use existing code they’ve already written and build new applications using Cassandra API against Azure Cosmos DB.

The graphic below summarizes new Microsoft AI platform:

GitHub Roadmap for Git Virtual File Systems (GVFS) will extend to now support world’s largest open source repositories.

Visual Studio App Center reaches general availability, offering include Objective-C, Swift, Android Java, Xamarin and React Native for developers to increase productivity and accelerate application lifecycle.

Visual Studio Live Share preview let developers share projects with teammates, or other developers, to edit and debug the same code in their personalized editor or IDE.

Visual Studio Tools for AI bring updates to .NET make it easier for .NET developers to consume AI models from their applications.

Visual Studio Connected Environment for Azure Container Service (AKS) preview will make Kubernetes development a natural for Visual Studio developers. “Developers will be able to easily edit and debug cloud native applications running on Kubernetes in the cloud with the speed, ease and full functionality and productivity they’ve come to expect from Visual Studio.”

Azure DevOps Projects preview lets developers configure a full DevOps pipeline and connect to Azure Services with just a few clicks in the Azure portal within five minutes to set up Git repositories, wire up completely automated builds and release pipelines without any prior knowledge of how to do so.

Azure IoT Edge preview enabling AI, advanced analytics and machine learning at the Internet of Things (IoT) edge. This public preview of new Azure IoT Edge capabilities, including support for, “AI Toolkit for Azure IoT Edge, Azure Machine Learning, Azure Stream Analytics, Azure Functions.”

Azure Machine Learning (Azure ML) enhancements bringing AI everywhere from the cloud to the IoT edge devices by offering integration with Azure IoT Edge and AI deployment on iOS devices with Core ML.

Azure Machine Learning expands to AI Development

Azure SQL Database Machine Learning services preview now support R models inside SQL Database makes it seamless for data scientists to develop and train models in Azure Machine Learning and deploy those models directly to Azure SQL Database to create predictions at blazing-fast speeds.

New Azure AD sign-in and “Keep me signed in” experiences rolling out now should reach all users globally by the end of the week. With this roll out, users who go to sign-in page will now see the new experiences by default, as well as a link for switching back to old experiences will be available until early December.

Microsoft Cloud App Security proxy capabilities work hand-in-hand with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) conditional access to provide real-time monitoring and session control for cloud apps is now in public preview.

Here are some commonly used filters to create granular and effective proxy session policies:

  • Device identification: You can create a condition for unmanaged devices based on whether the device is Intune-compliant, Azure AD domain joined, or holds a valid client certificate. Since unmanaged devices add another level of risk to a session, this is a valuable filter to implement additional controls.
  • Location information: Location or IP address can be utilized as an activity filter to establish controls for users accessing apps from locations outside of the corporate network. You can also configure restrictions for internal or risky IP addresses through the portal.
  • Classification labels: This condition is integrated with Azure Information Protection and can be used to target files with sensitive content and place additional controls such as blocking access to the file.
  • Content inspection: Content inspection of files is also an important filter and you can leverage the Microsoft Cloud App Security DLP engine to scan files for sensitive information matching a preset or custom expression, (e.g. credit card information).

The general availability of Conditional access in Azure AD now with macOS support plus application-based conditional access for limiting access to managed apps with in-app controls for iOS and Android, and the ‘Devices’ blade in Azure AD in Azure portal — is available today.

Starting November 15th, Microsoft is letting IT Pros leverage Microsoft Intune to ensure that Android devices accessing company data have enabled Google Play Protect services.

“Google Play Protect is a suite of security features provided by Google that enable enterprises to protect their devices, apps, and data.”

Here’s a complete list of Microsoft Cloud and AI Platform release annoucements:

  • Azure IoT Edge | Public Preview
  • Azure Cloud Shell general availability of Bash enables you to get authenticated shell access to Azure from virtually anywhere. In addition, PowerShell in Cloud Shell is currently in preview.
  • Visual Studio Team Services release management and Application Insights integration enabled through either a new template in the standard release creation process or through creating a web app through the CI/CD process. This allows you to monitor web applications and services you’re deploying without having to leave Visual Studio Team Services release management, or to manually create the Application Insights resource and associate it in the Azure portal.
  • Azure Cosmos DB | Apache® Cassandra API preview
  • Azure Cosmos DB | 99.999 percent read availability — GA
  • Azure Databricks | preview
  • Azure Cosmos DB | MongoDB APIs—aggregate pipeline preview and unique index capability
  • Azure Cosmos DB | Spark connector—GA
  • Azure Cosmos DB | Tables API—GA
  • Azure Time Series Insights GA, a managed analytics and visualization service democratizes Internet of Things (IoT) by making it simple to explore and analyze your IoT time series data. It lets you quickly validate your IoT solution and avoid downtime to mission-critical devices by helping you discover hidden trends, spot anomalies, and conduct root-cause analyses in near real-time. It also offers up to 400 days of real-time analytics and storage of time series data, helping organizations to spot and understand longer-term trends in their IoT data.
  • SQL Operations Studio Preview
  • Cognitive Services received several service updates, including:
  • Text Analytics API regions and languages – a cloud-based service that provides advanced natural language processing over raw text. It includes API functions such as sentiment analysis, key phrase extraction and language detection.
  • Azure Bot Service and Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS) in General Availability by the end of the calendar year.
  • Custom Vision Service model export allow you to embed your classifier directly in your application and run it locally on your device. The models you export will be optimized for the constraints of a mobile device, so you can easily classify on your device in real time. In addition to hosting your classifiers at a REST endpoint, you can now export models to run offline, starting with export to the CoreML format for iOS 11. We’ll be able to export to Android as well in a few weeks. Adding real time image classification to your mobile applications has never been easier.
  • Translator API expand the use of neural machine translation to improve translations in the Microsoft Translator Text and Speech APIs, as well as in all of Microsoft Translator’s supported products.
  • Visual Studio App Center GA
  • Visual Studio Team Services | Azure DevOps Projects preview
  • New Visual Studio subscriptions benefits | GA
  • New Visual Studio Dev Essentials benefits hits GA, now available:
    • LinkedIn Learning subscription, a monthly subscription for those who want to learn a new programming language, boost productivity, get better at data visualization, master photography, and more.
    • Data Camp subscription provides an intuitive learning platform with interactive lessons and engaging videos, with no need to install software or hardware requirements. All Visual Studio subscribers receive a complimentary three-month subscription to Data Camp.
    • Pluralsight Training offer all Visual Studio subscribers full access to the entire training catalog.
    • Visual Studio App Center is the most comprehensive app development lifecycle solution for Objective-C, Swift, Java, Xamarin, and React Native developers. Automate and manage the lifecycle of your iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS apps. Ship apps more frequently, at higher-quality, and with greater confidence. Connect your repo and within minutes automate your builds, test on real devices in the cloud, distribute apps to beta testers, and monitor real-world usage with crash and analytics data. All in one place and accessible from the Visual Studio Subscriptions portal.
    • Azure Community, a forum-based support accelerator connects subscribers with other developers and Azure engineering.
    • Azure Advisory Chat now part of Visual Studio subscription is a helpful resource for developers as they build apps on Azure using the Visual Studio tools and services.
  • Visual Studio Team Services Mac hosted build pool preview now supports building and releasing Apple iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS applications without requiring teams to provide and maintain their own Mac hardware.
  • Visual Studio Live Share
  • Visual Studio Team Services preview brings a new feature that enhances its release management capabilities by enabling customers to take advantage of automated release gates.
  • Team Foundation Server 2018 GA include—Git Forks, GVFS, improved pull request workflows, enhanced wiki experience, improved release definition editor, virtual machine (VM) deployment support, mobile work item form, and much more.
  • Team Foundation Server Database Import Service (for Visual Studio Team Services) now generally available enables customers to migrate from their on-premises Team Foundation Server and into Visual Studio Team Services.
  • Visual Studio Team Services command-line tools now generally available enables customers to migrate from their on-premises Team Foundation Server and into Visual Studio Team Services.
  • Azure Container Service with managed Kubernetes in Azure Container Service and Geo Replication in Azure Container Registry preview with managed Kubernetes in Azure Container Service and Geo Replication in Azure Container Registry Preview.
  • Azure Functions on IoT Edge Azure allows developers to utilize the event-driven programming model provided by Functions even on the devices which may or may not be connected to the cloud.
  • Azure Functions on Linux lets developers targeting Linux will have two options for deploying their Functions—they can either bring their code and run it on preconfigured Linux containers, or they can bring their own containers with all dependencies contained and deploy them.
  • Azure Functions proxies capability makes it easier to author serverless APIs and implement microservices architectures using Azure Functions, is now generally available
  • Azure App Service | App Service new support center experience—GA
  • Azure Advisor personalized best practices service gets capabilities to attain a more comprehensive view of the recommendations across all of subscriptions, and the ability to better customize Azure Advisor to the needs of specific organization. Advisor brings an all-new dashboard to tune Advisor to your needs.
  • Azure Database Migration Service preview is designed as a seamless, end-to-end solution for moving on-premises SQL Server, Oracle, and other relational databases to the cloud.
  • Azure Active Directory Conditional Access | GA
  • Event Confirmation API in Muti-factor Authentication Server | Deprecation
  • SQL Operations Studio is now available in preview — is a free, light-weight tool for modern database development and operations for SQL Server on Windows, Linux and Docker, Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Data Warehouse on Windows, Mac or Linux machines.

    You can download SQL Operations Studio to get started over here.

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