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Updates for Hybrid Data Platform SQL Server 2017 and Azure Data Services Announced

Barely a month after making SQL Server 2017 generally available, Microsoft at PASS Summit 2017 on Wednesday, showcased a number of improvements headed for SQL Server 2017 and Azure data services.

The company demonstrating how these products – both on-premises and in the cloud – together formed an ultimate hybrid data platform.

SQL Server 2017, which is the first database with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) and cross-platform capabilities can be run on Linux, Windows, and Docker.

The demo today, by Bob Ward involved an SQL Server 2017 running on SUSE Enterprise Linux Server on an HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen 10 Server – making it world’s first enterprise-grade diskless database server. “Scalable persistent memory ran queries more than 5 times faster than a fast SSD drive array at 50% of the cost,” writes Microsoft.

Database admins and developers will be able to keep tabs on performance while also being able to use smart T-SQL code snippets to boost efficiency. In addition, via the Integrated Terminal Window, a raft of command line tools such as Bash, PowerShell, sqlcmd, bcp, and ssh will be at disposal.

Microsoft also gave a sneak peek at SQL Operations Studio, which will be available for evaluation in coming weeks, is a tool for modern database development and operations, that support cross-platform including: Windows, Mac or Linux machines for SQL Server, Azure SQL Database, and Azure SQL Data Warehouse.

Users can contribute directly to SQL Operations Studio via pull requests from the GitHub repository.

For Azure, hybrid data integration capabilities for “Azure Data Factory” in public preview enabling SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services) packages to run in the cloud without modification is available now. Meanwhile, a new “compute-optimized” tier for Azure SQL Data Warehouse is also in public preview which promises to deliver up to 100x the performance and five times the scale compared to its “elasticity-optimized” services while being backed by NVMe SSDs, an apparent first for services of its kind.

Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse - Computed optimized

Also, according to a recent tweet from Microsofts’ Developer UK account revealed that “40 percent of all VMs in Azure are now running Linux.”

The company also announced that Windows Server, version 1709 image is now available in the Azure Marketplace — is ready to deploy on Azure. “Software Assurance customers can download Windows Server, version 1709 from Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) portal,” writes the company. Additionally, “virtual machines running in an hosted environment, can also check the images that your service provider made available.”

Also, available now in private preview, both the “Azure SQL Database Managed Instance” and “Azure Database Migration Service,” promised an easy lift-and-shift on-premises SQL Server workloads with few or no changes to the cloud. While, new Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server let customers use their “on-premises SQL Server licenses” for easiest lift and shift of SQL Server workloads to the fully-managed cloud.

Azure SQL Database managed service more recently received several intelligent capabilities, including automatic tuning, performance monitoring and tuning, Adaptive Query Processing, and Threat Detection.

Azure SQL Database, ready for mission-critical workloads was demonstrated with the ability to insert 1.4 million rows per second.

Azure SQL Database Plus Azure Machine Learning Slide

In addition, the company also showed new capability to score large amounts of data in real time at an average of under 20ms per row with new Native T-SQL scoring, along with the ability to run advanced analytics models from Azure Machine Learning super-fast from T-SQL.

In addition to sharing “everything built-in” SKU model with SQL Server for lower total cost of ownership versus competitors, customers can take advantage of “Attunity Replicate for Microsoft Migrations,” a free offer that accelerates migrations from various database systems, including Oracle, Amazon Redshift, and PostgreSQL to the Microsoft Data Platform.

Analysis Services helps you transform complex data into semantic models making it easy for business users to understand and analyze large amounts of data across different data sources.

Enterprise-grade SQL Server Analysis Services is also now available as a fully managed service in Azure, along with new “Scale Out” feature, so you can easily set the number of replicas for Azure Analysis Services instances to support large numbers of concurrent users with blazing fast query performance.

Power BI, a market leading SaaS service recently added to its portfolio a new Power BI Report Server, that enables self-service BI and enterprise reporting, all in one on-premises solution for managing SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) reports alongside Power BI reports.

Rounding up the PASS Summit, the company also released a new version of “Power BI Report Server,” that let keeping Power BI reports on-premises that connect to any data, and boasts new features, such as: scheduled data refreshing, Direct Query, and a new REST API for developers.

In other Azure news, recently, Microsoft made the Cray supercomputers, managed Kubernetes, GDPR help, & more in its cloud platform.

Customers seeking access to Big Computing capabiities for extreme performance, scalability, and elasticity can now access dedicated Cray XC and CS series supercomputers.

AKS (Azure Container Service) with managed Kubernetes and Azure Container Registry geo-replication offer benefit of open source Kubernetes without complexity and operational overhead by eliminating the complicated planning and deployment of fully-orchestrated containerized applications.

In other container news, open-source projcet Brigade introduces event-based scripting for Kubernetes.

Azure gives you the tools you need to comply with complex regulations, including GDPR.

Now in public preview, Azure Site Recovery (ASR) is built into the virtual machine experience, which provides one-click replication for Azure virtual machines. The target resource group, availability set, virtual network and storage accounts are auto-created based on your source VM configuration.

Microsoft is set to triple its Azure capacity operated by 21Vianet in China will be tripled in the next six months, announced Satya Nadella at Tech Summit 2017 in Beijing today.

Nadella reinforced, new Azure capacity in China offers a great opportunity for customers in region, including both multinational corporations who are extending their business to China, and also Chinese corporations interested in expanding to cover Asia more broadly.

Azure Information Protection scanner in preview can be configured to periodically scan on-premises repositories such as file servers and on-premises SharePoint servers to discover, label, and protect sensitive data based on company policies.

Microsoft Intune recent improvements include ability to deploy Office 365 ProPlus, BitLocker management, integration with Windows Update for Business, and more. Other new features such as: new Windows 10 mobile device management settings, and enhanced support for Windows AutoPilot, Windows Defender ATP, Windows Store for Business, and Surface Hub, are included as well.

Microsoft is also working on an ability to run PowerShell scripts on Windows 10 devices using Intune Management Extension.

Public preview of B-series, a new Azure Virtual Machines family that provides lowest cost of any existing size with flexible CPU usage is made available.

“B-series VM sizes allow to pay and burst as needed, using only a fraction of CPU when not needed, and bursting up to 100 percent of the CPU when need it (using Intel Haswell 2.4 GHz E5-2673 v3 processors or better). “

Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup are now available in public preview. “Site Recovery making it even easier now to set up disaster recovery with built-in setup in virtual machine experience. Also, now supports disaster recovery for VMware virtual machines running Windows Server 2016.”

Microsoft Cognitive Services enables developers to augment the next generation of applications with the ability to see, hear, speak, understand, and interpret needs using natural methods of communication.

Bing Custom Search API and new Bing Search APIs, both now generally available on Azure portal.

With, Bing Custom Search, you can create highly-customized and targeted web search experience to deliver more relevant results from your targeted web space through a commercial grade service.

While, new Bing Search APIs now generally available bring several updates to the program including—new sorting and filtering options that make it easier to find relevant results in trending topics or image searches, improved error messages that ease troubleshooting and improve problem query diagnosis, and updated documentation that makes it easier to bring the power of Bing Search APIs to your applications.

The new Bing APIs include:

  • Bing Web Search API (webpage, pricing page, and migration guide) offers enhanced search details from billions of web documents.
  • Bing Image Search API (webpage, pricing page, and migration guide) includes thumbnails, full image URLs, publishing website info, image metadata, and more.
  • Bing Video Search API (webpage, pricing page, and migration guide) includes useful metadata such as the creator, encoding format, video length, view count, and more.
  • Bing News Search API (webpage, pricing page, and migration guide) includes authoritative images of the news article, related news and categories, trending topics, provider information, article URLs, and dates images were added.
  • Bing Autosuggest API (webpage, pricing page, and migration guide) helps users complete queries faster by adding intelligent type-ahead capabilities to an app or website.
  • Bing Spell Check API (webpage, pricing page, and migration guide) helps correct spelling errors, recognizing the differences among names, brand names, and slang, and understanding homophones as they’re being typed.

Power BI Desktop bring following features to business analysts, like,

Bookmarking preview can be use in several ways, including as a quick way to pick up where you left off in your analysis, for organizing presentations of your report, creating report navigation, and more.

Spotlight, a new way to call attention to a specific chart during presentations by spotlighting a visual to fade out all the other charts on the page.

Quick measures for SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) live connections for quick measures for reports that are using live connection mode against SQL Server Analysis Services models.

Power BI Desktop can now be downloaded from the Windows Store.

Power BI service features are now available to users and business analysts, including:

Share dashboards by pro users of content in Power BI Premium workspaces to all users.

Allocate capacities to suit your business needs with v-core pooling—When you purchase a Power BI Premium SKU, you will gain access to the corresponding number of v-cores. With v-core pooling, you will have the flexibility to provision the v-cores into one or more nodes of Premium capacity. For example, if you bought a P3, you will have access to 32 v-cores. You can use your 32 v-cores to provision four P1s (4 nodes * 8 cores/node), two P2s (2 nodes * 16 cores/node), or just one P3. You are also free to move between the different node configurations as long as you have the v-cores available. Learn more.

Improved load performance for usage metrics reports now load many times faster, allowing dashboard and report authors to get even quicker insights into their impact.

.NET Framework is generally available now with the release of Windows Fall Creators Update (RS3) and will roll out on Windows Update for downlevel operating systems.

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