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PingAccess for Azure Active Directory Public Preview, Office Store Brings Power BI Custom Visuals

PingAccess for Azure Active Directory (AD) in public preview began deployment this week across Azure AD data centers globally. Many users in North America will see PingAccess activate on Wednesday. And, should become available for all other users by Friday.

“Ping Identity, a leader in on-premises identity management, developed PingAccess, which allows Application Proxy to support apps that use header-based authentication.”

Microsoft customers have requested Application Proxy to support apps that use headers for authentication, such as Peoplesoft, Netweaver Portal and WebCenter. To enable this capability for Azure AD Premium customers, Microsoft partnered in late September with Ping Identity, writes a program manager.

As of now, all benefits of Application Proxy are available for many different types of applications, including:

  • Web applications using Integrated Windows Authentication
  • Web applications using form-based access
  • Web APIs that you want to expose to rich applications on different devices
  • Applications hosted behind a Remote Desktop Gateway

Azure Resource Manager template reference documents published on Wednesday, includes reference content that presents the JSON syntax and property values needed when adding resources to templates.

Resource Manager provides several benefits:

  • You can deploy, manage, and monitor all the resources for your solution as a group, rather than handling these resources individually.
  • You can repeatedly deploy your solution throughout the development lifecycle and have confidence your resources are deployed in a consistent state.
  • You can manage your infrastructure through declarative templates rather than scripts.
  • You can define the dependencies between resources so they are deployed in the correct order.
  • You can apply access control to all services in your resource group because Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) is natively integrated into the management platform.
  • You can apply tags to resources to logically organize all the resources in your subscription.
  • You can clarify your organization’s billing by viewing costs for a group of resources sharing the same tag.

If you are new to Resource Manager and templates, for an introduction to the terms and concepts of Azure Resource Manager, see this Azure Resource Manager overview.

Azure Resorce Manager
Azure Resorce Manager

General Availability of Geographic Routing capability in Azure Traffic Manager announced today, let you now direct user traffic to specific endpoints based on the geographic location from where the requests originate.

Azure’s global presence enables you to reach a user base that is vast and diverse across nations and regions, and with Geographic Routing you can now enable a variety of use cases that are tied to geography – such as:

  • Customizing and localizing content for specific regions, enabling better user experience and engagement. As an example, an e-commerce site can localize the site content and merchandise items to users in a specific region.
  • Knowing where the users are coming from makes it easier to implement mandates related to data sovereignty.

To bridge between application performance monitoring and traditional monitoring of servers and workloads, Microsoft beging to now include Azure Application Insights in the Operations Management Suite.

For greater efficiency in handling incidents across teams, the Azure Insight & Analytics service in Operations Management Suite includes the recently announced Network Performance Monitor and Service Map solutions that bring together system logs and service management features into interactive dashboards.

For greater insight into security incidents, also recently enhanced behavioral analytics and detection capabilities were announced.

“The insight gives everyone at different levels, and from different perspectives, a better view of what’s happening with an application or a network segment. If we compare it to a water service, it’s like looking at a water pipe from inside the house to the sidewalk and all the way to the water tower,” stated Shawn Williams, Systems Engineer, Purdue University.

Apps for custom visuals in Power BI are now available from the Office Store with many visuals are already listed and the rest will be available within a few weeks.

“Integration into the store provides an easy navigation experience for searching, details pages with screenshots and videos, and reviews and ratings to help gauge the quality of the visuals,” writes the Bi team.

Power BI custom visuals moving to Office Store provides a better experience for custom visual developers, as well, and offers broader exposure to a larger user base as they can download and use them in Power BI service reports and BI Desktop.

“Power BI custom visuals provide compelling data visualizations created by members of the community and by Microsoft. They behave just like the native rich visualizations already included with Power BI but can also be filtered, highlighted, edited and shared,” Office team says.

Here are some examples:

  • Word Cloud help visualizing text in the data in a beautiful way.
  • Word Cloud Power BI custom visuals in Office Store
  • SandDance shows data as grains of sand with animated transitions between views to help explore, understand and communicate insights in the data.
  • Correlation plot is an advanced analytics visual based on R script to highlight correlations in your data.

Check Power BI custom visuals in the Office Store.

Power BI custom visuals gallery moved to Office store
Power BI custom visuals gallery moved to Office store

Here is the highlight of Cloud Platform Release announcements for March 22:

New Storage Optimized Azure Virtual Machiness, L Series has been designed with sizes available with both Standard and Premium storage that are best suited for workloads such as NoSQL databases, like Cloudera, Casandra, MongoDB and Redis.

L Series provides same performance as the current G series VM sizes on Azure with a lower per hour price on an Azure Compute Unit (ACU). These sizes are available from small 4 core sizes to 32 core sizes with 8GiB of RAM.

General Availability of Multiple IP Addresses on Network Interface Cards (NIC) now let more than one (up to 250) private and public IP addresses can be allocated to each NIC.

All private IP addresses support platform native features like Network Security Groups (NSGs) and User Defined Routes (UDRs). In addition, load balancing across both, primary and secondary NICs, is possible as well.

Microsoft Hands-On Labs public preview, provide a one place to go and get hands-on experience with the latest cloud technologies from Microsoft for free.

Azure HDInsight updated with the newest version of Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) 2.6 in public preview will be continuously available to HDInsight even before its on-premises release, showing the commitment Microsoft and Hortonworks have made to being cloud first.

Azure DocumentDB APIs for MongoDB is now generally available, inheriting the same 99.99 percent SLA as Azure DocumentDB.

“Users can now achieve limitless scale with support for managed sharded collections. Users can also replicate data globally across any number of Azure data centers in a couple clicks with global databases.”

Power BI Desktop features are now generally available to business analysts including:

  • Report theming (preview): import themes to quickly color your entire report to match an existing theme or corporate branding.
  • New matrix visual (preview): a new matrix visual with many common PivotTable type behaviors including drilling into hierarchies, expanding/collapsing hierarchies, stepped layout, and cross highlighting other visuals from cell, column, or row selections.
  • Numeric range slicer (preview): a new numeric range slicer control is available that allows reports to be filtered based on setting a filter range for a number value via a slider.
  • Improved data visuals and report interactions: The font color can now be set for the text box control, percent of total can be displayed on donut and pie chart labels, and users can now multi-select values multiple series in a chart to cross highlight other visuals in a report.
  • Clustering general availability: The ability to automatically detect clusters within data has moved from preview to generally available.
  • New data connectivity: New or improved data connectivity options for the following sources have been added or moved from preview to generally available: Azure Analysis Services, Azure Data Lake Store (now generally available), Amazon Redshift connectivity in the Power BI service, option to specific package collection for the DB2 connector, the ability to specific a sample file to use when combining binary files.

Power BI service features generally available to end users and business analysts in the month of March.

  • FedRAMP High Authorization: As a part of Azure Government, Power BI Pro is authorized at FedRAMP High, complying with a standardized approach for assessing, monitoring, and authorizing cloud computing products and services under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), and to accelerate the adoption of secure cloud solutions by federal agencies.
  • Navigation improvements (preview): new quick access area in the left navigation pane that gives users single click access to all dashboards, reports, workbooks and datasets in the current workspace.
  • Set dashboard tile refresh frequency for direct query sources: more control over when dashboard tiles are updated for direct query and live connect sources.
  • Granular tenant settings: Power BI tenant settings can now be managed at a granular level so administrators can enable or disable different Power BI features for only a subset of users in their tenant.
  • Amazon Redshift connectivity: Redshift-based reports can now be published to the Power BI service enabling consumption of reports & dashboards based on Redshift data.

SQL Server vNext Community Technology Preview (CTP) 1.4 for Windows, Linux and Docker arrives with several feature enhancements including the ability to run scheduled jobs using SQL Server Agent on Linux.

Customers can preview CTP 1.4 in an Azure VM for development and testing today.

Azure App Service now offering a new user experience to help diagnose and resolve issues in applications and in the App Service platform. This new UI is available now and can be accessed by clicking on Diagnose and solve problems in the general tab of any Web, Mobile, or API app.

This feature helps you distinguish the source of the issue (for instance in your app or in the App Service platform), provides a 24-hour view of the health of your app and platform, and includes a new “Fix-it!” capability, which offers custom troubleshooting suggestions regarding any identified issues.

Azure CDN adds reporting capability that enables you to analyze several metrics including bandwidth consumption, data transferred and cache hit ratio. This release provides templates for integration with Operation Management Suite. Customers can also access these metrics via REST APIs. In addition, customers can save these analytics as logs to their storage accounts for further analysis. These new features are available for both Azure CDN from Verizon and Akamai.

Microsoft also announced the depreciation of Azure Media Services REST API version 2011-10-01, and will reach end of support on May 22, 2017.

A new and improved Media Services management endpoint is now available and should be migrated to immediately.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 | Social Engagement 2017 Update 1.2 (Potassium 2)

  • On March 13, the general availability of Microsoft Social Engagement Update 1.2 introduces a new recommendation type to Social Selling Assistant and adds more information to social engagement history.
  • This update enables sales teams to stay up-to-date on customers, competitors, and topics of interest, and empowers team members who interact with customers using the Microsoft Social Engagement platform by offering additional context in social interaction histories.

    Microsoft Social Engagement is a part of Dynamics 365, and helps to harness the power of social to achieve real business results.

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