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In Azure: Backup Pre-Checks for VMs, Support for Multi-member Consortium Blockchain Networks

Microsoft recently introduced updates to Azure management and security services designed to make it easier to anticipate and resolve issues and simplify connections between teams.

To bridge between application-performance monitoring and traditional monitoring of servers and workloads, Microsoft now includes Azure Application Insights, an application performance management service for multiple platforms, in its Operations Management Suite.

For greater efficiency in handling incidents, “users can now bring together system logs and service management features into interactive dashboards for network performance and application dependency mapping.”

Additionally, Microsoft also recently announced enhanced behavioral analytics and advanced prevention technologies to provide greater insight into security incidents.

Geographic Routing now generally available in Azure Traffic Manager helps to address content and data needs specific to various areas of the world.

“You can now direct user traffic to specific endpoints based on the geographic location from where the requests originate,” writes Azure team. For example, to customize content to regions for global users are located, Geographic Routing can help.

It’s also a valuable tool if you must comply with policy mandates that require the restriction of data access in certain regions.

Last week, Azure Service Fabric 5.5 was rolled out to Azure clusters in 26 regions across the world. And, on March 23, version 2.5 of Azure Service Fabric SDK was released, as was the corresponding 5.5 release of Azure Service Fabric runtime and standalone Windows Server installer.

Azure Service Fabric “is a distributed systems platform that makes it easy to package, deploy and manage scalable and reliable microservices.” Service Fabric also addresses the significant challenges in developing and managing cloud applications.

This release includes new features along with the bug fixes and optimizations, writes Vaclav Turecek, Azure Service Fabric senior program manager.

Blockchain support on Azure expand to become the first public cloud that enables multi-member consortium blockchain networks addressing enterprise scenarios that require a deployment of a private network across Azure regions, subscriptions, and Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) tenants, announced on Thursday.

Also, a set of solution templates in Azure Marketplace that address the first two topologies configuring multi-region and multi-member Ethereum Consortium Blockchain Networks with a simple multi-step process through Azure Portal or cmdline is made available as on Thursday, March 23..

“The first template deploys and configures the footprint for the initial consortium member (or region),” while the second template “deploys, connects, and configures additional members (or regions) to form the overarching private network,” the team said.

Illustration of multi-member network architecture in Azure
Illustration of multi-member network architecture in Azure

The preview of Backup Pre-Checks for Azure Virtual Machines(VMs), enable customers to monitor the impact of configuration changes and take steps to ensure the continuity of successful backup operations.

Backup Pre-Checks run as part of the scheduled backup operations for Azure VMs and complete with any of the following states:

  • Passed state indicates that VMs configuration is conducive for successful backups and no corrective action needs to be taken.
  • Warning state indicates one or more issues in VM’s configuration that might lead to backup failures and provides recommended steps to ensure successful backups.
  • Critical state indicates one or more critical issues in the VM’s configuration that will lead to backup failures and provides required steps to ensure successful backups.

For those new, as the name suggests, “‘Backup Pre-Checks,’ check VMs’ configuration for issues that can adversely affect backups, aggregate this information for viewing it directly from Recovery Services Vault dashboard and provide recommendations for corrective measures to ensure successful file-consistent or application-consistent backups, wherever applicable.”

Azure AD B2C Access Tokens now in public preview for using access tokens with web API’s.

With this feature, customers can create web API’s that can be accessed by different client applications. Permissions can be granted to API on an app-to-app basis. By having more control over who can access API, “you’ll be able to develop apps with tighter security,” says Azure team.

To create the Web API, go to the Azure AD B2C Settings blade in Azure AD B2C tenant and add a new application. Give the application a name, set ‘Include web app / web API’ to ‘YES’, and enter a ‘Reply URL’ and an ‘App ID URI’.

Azure AD B2C Access Tokens
Azure AD B2C Access Tokens

R Tools 1.0 for Visual Studio 2015 (RTVS) reaches the General Availability, will be shortly followed by R Tools 1.0 for Visual Studio 2017 in early May.

RTVS is a free and open source plug-in that turns Visual Studio into a powerful and productive R development environment.

Check out the video below for a quick tour of its core features:

  • SQL Server 2016 enhancement in replication features maing it easier to use and work better with other SQL Server features and SQL platform.
  • Transaction replication re-publisher in AlwaysOn availability groups is supported in SQL Server 2016.
  • Replication to Azure SQL Database enable configuring transaction replication from on-premises SQL Server or SQL Server running in Azure VMs. Azure SQL Database can be configured as push subscriber. See “Replication to SQL Database” for more details.
  • Replication to memory-optimized table subscribers
  • In SQL Server 2016, tables acting as snapshot and transaction replication subscribers can be configured as memory-optimized tables. Peer-to-peer transaction replication and other replication types are not supported yet.
  • Support DROP TABLE DDL
  • Starting SQL Server 2016 SP1, a table included as an article of transaction replication publication can be dropped from the database and the publications.
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