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Microsoft Azure IP Advantage Protection Program and More in Azure

Microrsoft on Wednesday introduced industry’s most comprehensive protection program against intellectual property (IP) risks dubbed “Microsoft Azure IP Advantage.”

With a 22 percent increase in cloud-based IP lawsuits over the last five years in the U.S., according to Boston Consulting Group, Smith says it’s important to address “the growing risk of intellectual property lawsuits in the cloud,” writes Brad Smith.

In the hand-drawn image above, you can see cloud with words “Microsoft Azure IP Advantage” and “Protecting innovation in the Microsoft cloud” Posted February 8, 2017–-as well as watch the video below.

Microsoft Azure IP Advantage Program
Microsoft Azure IP Advantage Program

Microsoft Azure IP Advantage program will include benefits such as:

  • Our best-in-industry intellectual property protection with uncapped indemnification coverage will now also cover any open source technology that powers Microsoft Azure services, such as Hadoop used for Azure HD Insight.
  • We will make 10,000 Microsoft patents available to customers that use Azure services for the sole purpose of enabling them to better defend themselves against patent lawsuits against their services that run on top of Azure. These patents are broadly representative of Microsoft’s overall patent portfolio and are the result of years of cutting-edge innovation by our best engineers around the world.
  • We are pledging to Azure customers that if Microsoft transfers patents in the future to non-practicing entities, they can never be asserted against them. We do not have a practice of making such transfers, but we have learned that this is an extra protection that many customers value, says Smith.

Azure Managed Disks generally available now, as are new Azure VM Scale Sets, to make massive cloud deployment easier.

‘Azure Managed Disks’ with Platform-as-a-service (PaaS)-like support, simplifies management and scaling of Virtual Machines (VM), means “you no longer need to be concerned with the complexity of storage management nor worry about storage as you scale,” writes Corey Sanders.

While ‘Azure VM Scale Sets’ (VMSS), is a powerful way to reliably deploy massive cloud infrastructure without the overhead of coordinating multiple resources.

Today’s announcement extends these platform features to include automated disk management, enabling simpler storage management and even larger scale. “With Managed Disks, you can now attach data disks to every instance and create a VM scale set of up to 1,000 VMs, a 10X increase,” Sanders says.

Create VM with Managed Disks in Azure Pportal
Create VM with Managed Disks in Azure Pportal

The new “Instant Restore” in Azure Backup available as on Wednesday, allows users to restore files and folders immediately from cloud-based recovery points, without requiring additional infrastructure and at no additional cost.

Instant Restore provides a writeable snapshot of a recovery point that can be mounted as one or more iSCSI-based recovery volumes. Once the snapshot is mounted, users can browse through it and recover items by simply copying them from the recovery volumes to a destination of their choice.

Azure Government Documentation January update, in addition to now fully integrated with rest of Azure documentation—adds a new tab “Other Clouds”, where you can find Azure Government and Azure Stack documentation.

Also, available now are over 25 articles, matured user experience. The team notes, that in the coming weeks, they’ll be expanding how to build solutions contents and onboard successfully, and establishing videos/demos library.

Azure Government Documentation: January update

Microsoft also announced Wednesday Azure DocumentDB Entry point for partitioned collections are now 75% cheaper. Now instead of provisioning 10,100 RU/sec as a minimum, “you can provision a partitioned collection at 2,500 RU/sec and scale in increments of 100 RU/sec,” writes the team.

Partitioned collections enable you to dynamically scale your provisioning from as low as 2,500 RU/sec to millions of RU/sec with no limit on storage consumption.

Here’s the Azure DocumentDB billing model:

  • You pay for the provisioned capacity in increments of 100 request units/second (RU/sec). Each provisioned capacity of 100 RU/sec is billed at an hourly rate.
  • You pay a flat rate for the storage you consume.
  • The entry point for DocumentDB is at 400 RU/sec for a single partition. For a free use in a dev/test environment, we recommend the use of the DocumentDB emulator.

A new update for StorSimple Virtual Array Update 0.4, available now contains bug fixes and key improvements around file share backup and restore performance.

The updated version 10.0.10289.0 requires a reboot of the virtual array and can be applied during a maintenance window.

New VHD, VHDX, and VMDK are now available in the Azure portal.

Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure Managed Disks with CLI support, simplifies management and scaling of Virtual Machines. You just need to specify the size and disk type (Standard or Premium disk) you want to use for Virtual Machines.

In addition, Managed Disks comes with enhanced VM scale sets (VMSS) capabilities such as being able to define scale sets with attached data drives and create a scale set with up to 1,000 VMs from an Azure platform/marketplace images.

You do not have to worry about creating and managing Storage Accounts.

The Managed Disks experience in Azure CLI is idomatic to the CLI experience in other cross-platform tools. You can use the Azure CLI to administer Managed Disks.

Also, beta 5 of Azure Management Libraries for .NET and Java for Azure Managed Disks is now available. You can use Azure Management Libraries for .NET and Java to manage Managed Disks.

Managed Disks offer following benefits:

  • Management: Managed Disks will appear as a top-level resource (similar to VMs). It will help customers get away from day-to-day management of storage accounts for VMs and scale sets, and abstracts any storage account limits. Customers can backup their Managed Disks as point-in-time “Snapshots”.
  • Scale: This service enables customers to scale seamlessly with their workloads, without worrying about any storage account limits as you scale up your virtual machines. Managed Disks greatly simplifies large-scale deployments from a custom “Image”.
  • Security: With Managed Disks, customers are interacting with a logical resource, restricting any direct access to the physical disk. Customers will also be able to define RBAC policies for their Managed Disks, similar to Virtual Machines. In addition, customers can also encrypt at rest their virtual machines using Managed Disks with Customer-managed keys or Microsoft-managed keys.

Azure Information Protection December update moves to general availability along with two great new collaboration features “share protected documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) with

A group of people at an organization e.g. [email protected]

Anyone at a specified organization e.g. [anyuser]@contoso.com”

Other features available since preview include:

  • Scoped Policies that help organizations define classification and protection policies specific to certain groups and departments
  • A single, unified application that allows users to use one tool to classify, label, protect, share, track and revoke documents
  • An updated viewer for protected files, including protected PDFs downloaded from SharePoint
  • Manual labeling and protection for non-Office files
  • Bulk classification and Protection for data at rest using PowerShell
  • New collaboration features that allow secure sharing with groups in other companies and any user in a particular company

Other Microsoft Cloud Platform product portfolio release include:

Azure Marketplace moves to GA with a new interactive experience for Azure Marketplace making it easy to navigate the product catalog and find right solution for cloud application without having to login to Azure portal.

Azure DocumentDB S1, S2 and S3 performance levels retiring on August 1, 2017. Customers can continue using these performance levels through Azure portal or APIs until August 1, 2017.

Beyond this date, each collection that used S1, S2, and S3 performance levels will be migrated to a single partition collection with equivalent throughput, without any downtime, writes Azure team.

Post-migration, customers will pay single partition collection prices.

With Power BI mobile apps on iPhone and iPad, you can now view and interact with all pre-defined reports and dashboards while on the go.

Also, preview of Q&A capabilities on Power BI iOS app bring you a unique chat-like experience that’s tailor-made for natural language, you can ask questions of your data and receive answers in the form of charts and graphs directly on your mobile device.

Power BI mobile apps entered into the GA with more new features and updates:

  • SSRS Authentication using Active Directory Federation Services, ADFS Preview (Android and iOS): If you connect to on-premises SQL Server Reporting Services servers from your mobile device, now you can sign in with your organizational account, thanks to the single sign-on (SSO) capabilities of Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS).
  • Load more than 100 rows in tables and matrices (All platforms): If you have a large table or matrix on your dashboard or report, we will show as much data as possible in the tile. Then in focus mode, you just scroll down to load additional rows.
  • New and improved annotate and share insights (Android): Sharing and annotating are now fully functional on Android devices. The new share and annotate capability has an improved menu, making it easier and quicker to annotate and share insights with your colleagues.
  • Phone reports – GA (All platforms): With phone reports, you can specifically tailor a portrait view of your existing report on Power BI Desktop for mobile viewers.

Power BI reports in SharePoint Online integration | Public Preview

The availability of Power BI report web part for SharePoint Online going live this week, enables SharePoint authors to embed Power BI reports directly in SharePoint Online pages with no code required!

The feature is available today for Office 365 First Release customers.

Microsoft Cognitive Services in public preview, is a collection of APIs which enable developers to tap into high-quality vision, speech, language, knowledge and search technologies, developed with decades of Microsoft research to build intelligent apps.

Also, Custom Speech Service (previously called CRIS) is now available as a public preview service in the Azure Portal.

The Custom Speech Service can overcome speech recognition barriers like speaking style, background noise, and vocabulary:

  • Create custom language models of the speech recognizer by tailoring it to the vocabulary of the application and the speaking style of your users,
  • Create custom acoustic models of the speech recognizer to better match the expected environment and user population of your application,
  • Deploy your models to create a speech recognition endpoint customized to your application,
  • Send requests to your custom endpoint using RESTful API or the cognitive services speech client library.

General availability of Larger Block Blobs in Azure Storage, increases maximum file size from 195 GB to 4.77 TB. “You can immediately begin taking advantage of this improvement in any existing Blob Storage or General Purpose Storage Account across all Azure regions.”

Finally, Power BI Desktop this month includes several formatting features and new Quick Calcs for measures.

See the complete list of features releasing this months:

Power BI Desktop Report view
Power BI Desktop Report view

Report view

Word wrap on matrix row headers
X- and Y-axis font size control
Cartesian chart minimum category width
Line chart line thickness and join type controls


2 new Quick Calcs: Percent of row total & percent of column total

Data connectivity

ODBC and OLE DB connectors: support for selecting related tables
Enhanced Folder connector: support for combining binaries from the Preview dialog
Unified text & CSV connectors
PowerApps Common Data Service connector

Query editing improvements

Specify the desired column type and locale in column headers type menus
Easily insert steps in existing queries


Solution Templates and Partner Showcase quick access

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