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Azure Media Services Hits GA at International Broadcasting Convention 2016

At IBC 2016, Amsterdam, Azure Media Services hitting the general availability as well as now proving all major DRMs was announced.

Now in GA, Azure Media Services adds DRM support from Microsoft PlayReady, Google Widevine and Apple FairPlay license delivery. “This will help media customers deliver DRM-protected premium content to a very wide set of audiences on various devices, easily and quickly,” writes azure team.

In additon, Media Services in the new Azure portal added additional new features such as new Media Analytics processors, asset details, closed caption configuration, FairPlay Streaming Digital Rights Management (DRM) support and enhanced live streaming workflow.

Also, Azure Media Redactor is being added to Azure Media Analytics, a collection of speech and vision services. “Azure Media Redactor will perform anonymization by blurring the faces of selected individuals, and is ideal for use in public safety and news media scenarios,” Sirivara says.

For example, a video with multiple faces which take hours to manually redact a few minutes of footage—can now be done in just a few simple touchups, wrties azure team.

If your new, “Azure Media Analytics is a collection of speech and vision services offered at enterprise scale, compliance, security, and global reach.”

You can access these features in our new Azure portal, through our APIs with the presets below, or using the free Azure Media Services Explorer tool.

Redaction will be free public preview for a limited time, the team added saying, “it’ll be in all public datacenters starting around mid September.” While China and US Gov datacenters will be included in the GA release.

“Facial redaction works by detecting faces in every frame of video and tracking the face object both forwards and backwards in time, so that the same individual can be blurred from other angles as well,” explained azure team.

Since automated redaction may not be 100%, we provide a couple of ways to modify the final output. In addition to fully automatic mode, “a two pass workflow allows selection/de-selection of found faces via a list of IDs, and to make arbitrary per frame adjustments using a metadata file in JSON format.” “This workflow is split into ‘Analyze’ and ‘Redact’ modes, as well as a single pass ‘Combined’ mode that runs both in one job,” team explained.

And, to use this service, you can create a Media Services account within your azure subscription using either REST API/SDKs or Azure Media Services Explorer v3.44.0.0 or higher.

You can watch the video examples below , or head over HERE, to read some code and other deails.

Input example:

Output example:

Microsoft also said, it’s conducting trials of HEVC encoding and delivery in Azure Media Services with customers.

Built on the same platform as the Premium Encoder, the new encoder provides enhancements including the following HEVC encoding at UHD/4K resolutions, including 4096×2160 pixels at 60 frames/second and support for high dynamic range (HDR) content.

Azure Cool Storage support is also now available in the media workflows.

“Customers can take advantage of Azure Cool Storage by using it to upload mezzanines and thereby reduce cost. They could then transcode, and prepared assets stored on Hot Storage,” Microsoft said.

Also, Azure Active Directory (AD) admin experience in the new Azure portal, now enters public preview as on 09/12.

Microsoft is in the process of moving the management experience for all Azure services from the “classic” portal to the new portal, Alex Simons says. That said, Azure AD is now moving to new portal in phases.

The first phase, which completes with this public preview, “in second phase you’ll see us iterating rapidly, making refinements to the experience and adding new capabilities,” Simons writes. “Within a few months the new portal will have all the features of the classic portal and quite a few more.”

Azure Active Directory (AD) Public Preview

Key staples of design includes:

  • Simple, streamlined experiences. Our new experience is easier to learn and simpler to use. This lets you quickly deliver value for your organization. The key to this principle is a set of streamlined flows for completing routine management tasks.
  • Insight through data. You told us that you wanted greater visibility into what’s going on in your environment. In our new experience, you will see contextually-relevant data everywhere you look enabling you to make great decisions quickly.
  • Visibility for high-priority issues. To manage “at scale” in a large organization, you asked for better visibility into the important issues that need your attention. Our new experience will make it easier for you to find and fix problems in your environment, and to prevent future problems.
  • Alignment with other services. You asked us to align the management experiences for Azure AD with other Microsoft services that you use. Our new management experience will be strongly aligned with the other Microsoft services you use like Office 365, Azure and Intune, team writes.

Another product entered into the general availability is Storage Service Encryption for Azure Blob Storage.

With the GA, you can now enable this feature on any Azure Resource Manager storage account using Azure Portal, Azure Powershell, Azure CLI or Microsoft Azure Storage Resource Provider API, writes Azure team.

The feature is available on any redundancy types of Azure Storage including: LRS, GRS, ZRS, RA-GRS and Premium-LRS—at “no additional charge.”

Microsoft Azure Storage handles all the encryption, decryption and key management in a totally transparent fashion using 256-bit AES (AES-256) encryption.

For those new, “Storage Service Encryption for Azure Blob Storage helps you address organizational security and compliance requirements by encrypting your Blob storage (Block Blobs, Page Blobs and Append Blobs).”

You can find out more about SSE HERE.

IBC Hackfest, we are also very excited to be part about the IBC Hackfest, Microsoft stated, “Azure is a trusted platform for innovation for developers. We look forward to the creative ideas that the teams come up with that leverage the Azure Platform and Azure Media Analytics in particular.”

In other Azure news, critical update for StorSimple Virtual Array, version 10.0.10288.0 (Update 0.3) is now available for download.

Update 0.3 contains the following bug fixes and improvements .

  • Backups: Backups would fail to complete under certain conditions. The root cause of this issue is fixed in this release. The fix does not apply retroactively to shares that are already seeing this issue. Customers who are seeing this issue should first apply Update 0.3, then contact Microsoft Support to perform a full system backup to fix the issue
  • iSCSI: An issue observed in earlier releases where iSCSI session was disconnected when copying large amount of data to a volume on the StorSimple Virtual Array. This issue is fixed in this release
  • New virtual disk images: New VHD, VHDX and VMDK are now available via the Azure classic portal. You can download these images to provision new Update 0.3 devices, noted azure team.
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