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New in Azure: Pricing for SQL Database Elastic Pools, Query Store ON Now Default

Project Bletchley two new Microsofts Blockchain partners come to Azure Marketplace—Parity Ethcore recently published their high-performance, low-footprint Ethereum blockchain client, Parity, on Azure.

“This offering simplifies setting up a new Parity node in the cloud, with little configuration from the user. In a matter of minutes, a user can have a single node, private Ethereum network up and running for development and test,” writes Christine Avanessians.

With Blockstack Core v14, Blockstack is building a new decentralized web of server-less applications where users can control their own data, Avanessians says. “Applications run locally and utilize user-specific data stores as their backend to maintain decentralization and control.” Users can seamlessly deploy Blockstack Core nodes on Microsoft Azure.

Several new annoucements including information on new price-performance choices for Azure SQL Database elastic pools, a “sneak peek” at a new Azure Cloud Console, and Azure IoT Hub being awarded 9 industry certifications for public cloud computing were shared on Wednesday.

Azure SQL Database elastic pools provide a simple cost-effective solution for managing performance of multiple databases with unpredictable usage patterns and the new price-performance choices offering even more cost effectiveness and greater scale than before.

“Smaller elastic pool sizes and pools with higher database limits are now available,” that “lower the effective cost per database and reduce price jumps between pool sizes,” writes Morgan Oslake.

Also, “larger sizes for Basic, Standard and Premium pools, and higher elastic database (eDTU) limits per database for Premium pools” are available and provide “more storage and eDTU headroom for greater scale and most demanding workloads,” Oslake adds.

Azure Active Directory pass-through authentication, single sign-on available in preview, with other capabilities on the way

New price-performance choices for Azure SQL Database elastic pools

Azure SQL Database Elastic Pools New Price-performance Choices

Azure Active Directory (AD) pass-through authentication and Seamless Single Sign-on to Azure AD Connect, are now both available in public preview. These new capabilities allow customers to securely and simply integrate their on-premises identity infrastructure with Azure AD.

“Azure AD pass-through authentication provides a simple, secure, and scalable model for validation of passwords against on-premises Active Directory via a simple connector deployed in the on-premises environment.”

“Single sign-on in Azure AD Connect enable seamless single sign-on for your corporate users (users on domain joined machines on the corporate network).”

Also, coming later this month in preview is Microsoft Intune Admin Console in Azure, to make setting up integrated security and management scenarios across Enterprise and Mobility Security services even easier, and Azure Information Protection updates that provide even greater flexibility and security for protecting data at the file level.

Azure Information Protection December preview now available and includes a significant number of enhancements important to active (or soon-to-be active) information protection deployments.

Here is what in preview

Scoped Policies so you can make labels available to users based on group membership

  • A new, unified Windows client that combines the RMS Sharing app features into the Azure Information Protection client
  • An updated viewer for protected files, including protected PDFs downloaded from Share Point
  • Manual (right-click) labeling and protection for non-Office files
  • Bulk classification and labeling for data at rest using PowerShell

    And, below what is released today and (no longer available in preview):

    Event logs for labeling and protection events

  • HYOK (Hold Your Own Key) for protecting highly sensitive content from anyone but you
  • Cloud App Security (MCAS) integration of labels into their product offering

    Over the past weeks, the Azure Application Insights Metrics Explorer introduced several new features that allow more options for visualizing metrics, and simplify chart configuration.

    The new features includes a new “percentage aggregation charts,” ‘pinning standard” and “custom grids to dashboards,” ‘ability to control over y-axis boundaries of the charts,” and “sorting basic and advanced configuration options in chart settings.”

    Percentage Aggregation Chart in Azure AIME

    Percentage Aggregation Chart in Azure AIME

    Query Store is now turned ON in all Azure SQL databases including Elastic Pool, which will bring benefits both to the end users and the entire Azure SQL Database platform.

    If you don’t know, “you can use Query Store in scenarios when tracking performance and ensuring database performance predictability is critical.” It acts as a “flight data recorder” for the database, continuously collecting critical information about the queries, and dramatically “reduces resolution time in case of performance incidents, as pre-collected, relevant data is available when you need it, without delays.”

    See the examples below where Query Store significantly improve productivity:

    • Identifying and fixing application performance regressions
    • Tuning the most expensive queries considering different consumption metrics (elapsed time, CPU time, used memory, read and write operations, log I/O, etc.)
    • Keeping performance stability with compatibility level 130 in Azure SQL Database
    • Assessing impact of any application or configuration change (A/B testing)
    • Identifying and improving ad-hoc workloads
    Query Store ON is the new default for Azure SQL Database

    Query Store ON in Azure SQL Database

    Microsoft also gave a sneak peek of new Azure Cloud Console. The key features of this experience are: “Automatic authentication to the command line tools from your existing web login,” “All Azure command line tools, as well as relevant command line utilities pre-installed,” and “Personalized, persistent workspace that preserves your code, configuration and activity across cloud shell sessions.”

    “we built an integrated workflow enabling users to build their applications on Azure using graphical and command line tools, even on devices where command line tools aren’t installed,” writes Brendan Burns.

    See the videos below giving you a sneak peek of this new cloud shell experience added into the Azure portal:

    Public Preview for Microsoft Azure SQL Database Management Pack version, released today bring support for Elastics Pools and Azure AD Authentication among other new features.

    Here are some numbers for this public preview:

    • 2 management servers in resource pool, each server is 3CPU & 7GB RAM (VIAcode cloud), one server is launching workflows, the other is for High Availability
    • Azure SQL DB configuration it can healthily monitor: 1 Azure SQL server having 1000 deployed databases
    • 4 management servers in resource pool, each server is 3CPU & 7GB RAM (VIAcode cloud), two servers are launching workflows, the others are for High Availability
    • Azure SQL DB configuration it can healthily monitor: 2 Azure SQL servers, 1000 databases per each (2000 databases in total)
    • 1 management server, 4 CPU & 14GB RAM (Azure Cloud VM — DS3_V2Standard)
    • Azure SQL DB configuration it can healthily monitor: 2 Azure SQL servers, 1000 databases per each (2000 databases in total)
    • 4 management servers in resource pool, each server is 4 CPU & 14GB RAM (Azure Cloud VM — DS3_V2Standard), two servers are launching workflows, the others are for High Availability
    • Azure SQL DB configuration it can healthily monitor: 3 Azure SQL servers, 1000 databases per each (3000 databases in total)
  • Update 12/10: More enhancements to Azure AD Administrative experience in the new Azure Portal including updates to enterprise application management tools as well as added a few new ones including:

    • A brand-new application gallery that supports all your favorite apps, including:
    • Thousands of pre-integrated apps
    • All your own existing apps
    • Newly created, custom-developed, apps
    • A new quick start experience to get you going with a pilot of your newly added apps
  • Support for “bring your own password”-based sign-on apps, including improved auto-detection of sign-in fields and the ability to customize user sign-in field labels
  • “Windows Integrated Authentication” single sign-on mode to support full configuration of on-premises apps through the Application Proxy
  • Ability to configure self-service application access for any application
  • Updated SAML-based sign-on configuration to support the SAML relay state parameter, full customization of SAML token attributes, automatic SAML signing certificate creation, as well as customization of the options and algorithms used to sign the certificate
  • Updated Application proxy experience to support custom app URLs using your own HTTPS certificates
  • Watch the Enterprise Applications public preview video below:

    Update 12/14: On Tuesday Dec. 13, Azure Government Engineering announced the release of Azure Blueprint for the FedRAMP High Baseline. The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, or FedRAMP, represents a government-wide, standardized approach to security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring for cloud services.

    The Azure Blueprint program is designed to facilitate the secure and compliant use of Azure Government, providing a simplified way to understand the scope of customer security responsibilities when architecting solutions in Azure, and streamlining the path to attain a FedRAMP Authorizations to Operate (ATO).

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