Azure Weekly Update
 

March 20th, 2020

Welcome to the second Azure Weekly Update. Trying some different things with the syling this week to hopefully provide a better viewing experience!

This week I posted a new video primarily about managed identities and patterns for Azure resources to access other Azure resources. You can check it out at https://youtu.be/dVH57q8pwPQ.

Also as more of us are working from home I have 5 golden rules ;-)
https://youtu.be/CzXYywTIB-k.

Till next week, take care. It's crazy out there!
 

Azure Updates

Virtual Machines

Region Update

 

HBv2 VMs are now Generally Available in the West Europe region.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/hbv2series-vms-are-generally-available-in-west-europe/

 

Documentation: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/azure-hbv2-virtual-machines-eclipse-80000-cores-for-mpi-hpc/

 

Preview Features

 

Azure Shared Disks is a shared block storage offering, enabling customers to run latency-sensitive workloads without compromising on well-known deployment patterns for fast failover and high availability. Azure Shared Disks are best suited for clustered databases, parallel file systems, persistent containers, and machine learning applications.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-shared-disks-for-clustered-applications-preview-now-available/

 

Documentation: https://azure.microsoft.com/blog/announcing-the-preview-of-azure-shared-disks-for-clustered-applications/

 

Cognitive Services

Preview Features

 

We are announcing new style voices for Neural Text to Speech. Neural Text to Speech enables fluid, natural-sounding speech that matches the patterns and intonation of human voices. New speaking styles allow you to tailor your voice for different scenarios, such as expressing different emotions, like cheerfulness or empathy. We are excited to be rolling out new speaking styles for newscast, voice assistant, and customer service scenarios for our English and Chinese neural voices.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/cognitive-services-introduces-new-neural-text-to-speech-voices-for-different-styles/

 

Documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/cognitive-services/speech-service/speech-synthesis-markup?tabs=csharp#adjust-speaking-styles

 

New Features

 

Encrypt customer data stored at rest by default, with no additional action required from you, using Microsoft Custom Translator. If you desire to use and manage your own encryption keys, customer managed keys are now available to help meet your organizational security and compliance goals. Inherent to customer managed keys comes the need for regional data residency to achieve global customer data privacy and GDPR compliance. You also now have the option to store your data in either the United States or Europe region (Asia Pacific will be available soon).

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/customer-managed-keys/

 

Documentation: https://aka.ms/translatorcmk

 

Preview Features

 

Francisca, our new Brazilian Portuguese (pt-BR) voice, has been added to neural Text to Speech. Francisca features the same human-like natural prosody of the other neural Text to Speech voices on Azure. Francisca can generate realistic speech waveforms for a given text input, matching the patterns of stress and intonation transitions in spoken language seamlessly.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-cognitive-services-adds-brazilian-portuguese-to-neural-text-to-speech/

 

Documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/cognitive-services/speech-service/language-support#neural-voices

 

Security Center

New Features

 

Windows Admin Center is a management portal for Windows Servers who are not deployed in Azure offering them several Azure management capabilities such as backup and system updates. We have recently added an ability to onboard these non-Azure servers to be protected by ASC directly from the Windows Admin Center experience. With this new experience users will be to onboard a WAC server to Azure Security Center and enable viewing its security alerts and recommendations directly in the Windows Admin Center experience.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/onboard-onprem-servers-to-security-center-from-windows-admin-center/

 

Documentation: https://aka.ms/ASC_WAC

 

Sentinel

Region Update

 

Azure Sentinel is now generally available in Azure Government, starting with US Gov Virginia region.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-sentinel-new-features-promotional-offer-for-free-ingestion-of-aws-cloudtrail-logs/

 

Documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-government/documentation-government-services-securityandidentity#azure-sentinel

 

App Services

General Availability

 

The regional Virtual Network integration feature has now entered general availability (GA) and supports sending all outbound calls into your virtual network. Use features like network NSGs and UDRs against all outbound traffic from your web app.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/app-service-regional-virtual-network-integration-is-now-available/

 

Documentation: https://azure.github.io/AppService/

 

Redis Cache

Pricing Update

 

Save up to 55 percent on your Azure Cache for Redis premium tier usage by pre-purchasing reserved capacity for one year or three years. This reservation discount will automatically apply to your matching resources, so there's no need to make changes to them to receive the reservation discount. Azure Cache for Redis reservations include instance size flexibility enabled by default, which means that the reservation will continue to apply to your Azure Cache for Redis premium usage even if you were to resize the cache. Should your requirements change in the future, you will be able to exchange or refund these reservations.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-cache-for-redis-reserved-capacity-now-available/

 

Documentation: https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=2109212&clcid=0x409

 

Functions

Preview Features

 

Now in preview, register custom handlers by providing a lightweight HTTP server in any desired language. Use this new capability to extend the language support for your applications, enabling the use of languages or language versions not provided by Azure Functions.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-functions-custom-handlers-are-now-in-preview/

 

Documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/azure/azure-functions/functions-custom-handlers

 

General Availability

 

Azure Functions support for Python 3.8 is now generally available.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/announcing-general-availability-python-3-8-support/

 

Documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-functions/functions-create-first-function-vs-code?pivots=programming-language-python

 

SQL Azure

General Availability

 

Connect privately from an Azure Virtual Network to Azure SQL Database using Private Link, now in general availability.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/private-link-for-azure-sql-database-is-now-available/

 

Documentation: https://aka.ms/sqldbconnblogmar2020

 

Front Door

New Features

 

Several key capabilities for Front Door have been recently released into general availability (GA): Support for wildcard hosts/domains—Add wildcard domains in your configs like *.contoso.com or *.apps.contoso.com. Configurable idle timeout—Customize the idle timeout when Front Door waits on the first packet of request/response. Minimum transport layer security (TLS) version— Configure the minimum TLS version to be supported for your custom domains a key requirement for PCI compliance. Health probe configurability improvements—Save on bandwidth charges at your backend by setting the health probe method to HEAD instead of GET requests. Additionally, for backend pools with a single backend, you can now disable health probes. Easier lockdown for backends—Now instead of using multiple values for X-Forwarded-Host header for filtering traffic to your backends, use the Front Door ID field for a new header X-Azure-FDID to lockdown your backends for both production traffic as well as health probes. Disabling certificate name check for backends—Use this field to configure Front Door to ignore the subject name on the certificate when setting up an SSL connection with the backend if your backend doesn't host a valid certificate with matching subject name as the host name.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-front-door-march-2020-updates/

 

Documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/azure/frontdoor

 

Database for MySQL

Preview Features

 

Redirection support for the mysqlnd PHP driver used to connect to Azure Database for MySQL is now available in preview. Take advantage of the mysqlnd_azure extension to improve the connection latency between applications and Azure Database for MySQL. This new redirection support allows the gateway to return the backend database server address to the client driver. Subsequent connections then use this address to connect directly to the Azure Database for MySQL server.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-database-for-mysql-connection-redirection-support-for-php-drivers/

 

Documentation: https://aka.ms/mysql-redirection

 

General Availability

 

Azure Private Link support for Azure Database for MySQL is now generally available. Private Link enables you to connect to your MySQL server via a private endpoint. Use it to establish cross-premises access to the private endpoint using ExpressRoute, private peering, or VPN tunneling—or choose to disable all access via a public endpoint.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-private-link-for-azure-database-for-mysql-is-now-available/

 

Documentation: https://aka.ms/mysqlprivatelink

 

Resource Manager

New Features

 

Azure Cloud Shell now supports additional storage regions. When using a secondary storage region, your compute still occurs in an existing Cloud Shell region, but your data at rest is held in the selected secondary region. Customers with data sovereignty requirements, or with existing storage in a secondary region, should take advantage of this new capability.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-cloud-shell-now-supports-additional-storage-regions/

 

Documentation: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/itops-talk-blog/announcing-new-storage-options-for-azure-cloud-shell/ba-p/1189323#

 

CDN

Preview Features

 

Integrating Web Application Firewall with Content Delivery Network provides several new capabilities, including: Custom match rules, including IP restriction, geo filtering, and a combination of HTTP parameters-based filtering. Conditional rate limiting limits the number of requests to your application from any client IP. A managed ruleset protecting against OWASP top 10 vulnerabilities, including SQL injection, XSS, RFI, and other attacks. Natively integrated with Azure Monitor and Log Analytics for attack metrics and insights. Use Azure portal, APIs, PowerShell, or CLI to create, update, and deploy these security rules.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-web-application-firewall-integration-with-azure-content-delivery-network-service-now-in-preview/

 

Documentation: https://aka.ms/waf-cdn-overview

 

New Features

 

Cache, accelerate, and secure your content via hundreds of edge sites located globally with the Azure Content Delivery Network, a cloud-scaled CDN-as-a-service offering. Content Delivery Network now supports HTTP raw logs, providing the ability to analyze data and usage patterns, and to comply to certain regulations requiring customers to store access logs for a defined time period. Azure Content Delivery Network batches access logs for a profile every five minutes. Generally, the log data contains information about the requests that Content Delivery Network received during a given time period. The logs are usually delivered within an hour of the HTTP requests.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/http-raw-logs-for-azure-content-delivery-network/

 

Documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/cdn/cdn-log-analysis

 

CosmosDB

General Availability

 

Azure Private Link for Azure Cosmos DB is now generally available. Azure Private Link provides private connectivity from a virtual network to Azure PaaS services. It simplifies the network architecture and secures the connection between endpoints in Azure by eliminating data exposure to the public internet.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-private-link-for-azure-cosmos-db-is-now-generally-available/

 

Documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/cosmos-db/how-to-configure-private-endpoints

 

Virtual Network

General Availability

 

Deployment of an Azure Data Explorer into a virtual network is now generally available. Use this capability to: Enforce network security group (NSG) rules on your Azure Data Explorer cluster traffic. Connect your on-premises network to Azure Data Explorer cluster's subnet. Secure your data connection sources (Azure Event Hub and Azure Event Grid) with service endpoints.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/adx-vnet/

 

Documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/data-explorer/vnet-deployment

 

General Availability

 

Azure Virtual Network NAT (network address translation) simplifies outbound-only Internet connectivity for virtual networks. NAT can be configured for one or more subnets of a virtual network and provides on-demand connectivity for virtual machines. Virtual Networks NAT is being released into general availability (GA).

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/virtual-network-nat-now-generally-available/

 

Documentation: https://aka.ms/natoverview

 

Database for MariaDB

General Availability

 

Azure Private Link support for Azure Database for MariaDB is now generally available. Private Link enables you to connect to your MariaDB server via a private endpoint. Use it to establish cross-premises access to the private endpoint using ExpressRoute, private peering, or VPN tunneling—or choose to disable all access via a public endpoint.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/aziure-private-link-for-azure-database-for-mariadb-is-now-generally-available/

 

Documentation: https://aka.ms/mariadbprivatelink

 

Database for PostgreSQL

General Availability

 

Azure Private Link support for Azure Database for PostgreSQL Single Server is now generally available. Private Link enables you to connect to your PostgreSQL server via a private endpoint. Use it to establish cross-premises access to the private endpoint using ExpressRoute, private peering, or VPN tunneling—or choose to disable all access via a public endpoint.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/private-link-for-azure-database-for-postgresql-single-server-is-now-available/

 

Documentation: https://aka.ms/postgresqlprivatelink

 

Storage

General Availability

 

Private Endpoints provide secure connectivity to Azure Storage from an Azure virtual network (VNet). Private Endpoints for Azure Storage are now generally available in all Azure public regions.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/private-endpoints-for-azure-storage/

 

Documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/storage/common/storage-private-endpoints

 

Event Grid

Preview Features

 

Azure Event Grid Premium tier offers all the capabilities included in the consumption-based Basic tier with additional Enterprise features layered on top aimed at making Event Grid the perfect choice as the eventing backbone of your mission critical workloads. The initial public preview allows for Private Endpoints to be assigned to Premium Topics and Premium Event Domains, allowing VNET resources to talk directly to your Topics and Domains without having to access the public internet. During the initial Public Preview, Premium tier resources are subject to the same limits as Basic tier resources.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/event-grid-premium-tier-is-now-in-preview/

 

Documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/azure/event-grid/network-security

 

Service Fabric

Updated Features

 

The Azure Service Fabric 7.0 fourth refresh release, which includes bug fixes and performance enhancements for standalone and Azure environments, has started rolling out to various Azure regions. The updates for .NET SDK, Java SDK, and Service Fabric Runtime will be available within 7 to 10 days in all regions through Web Platform Installer, NuGet packages, and Maven repositories.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-service-fabric-70-fourth-refresh-release/

 

Documentation: https://github.com/Azure/service-fabric/blob/master/release_notes/Service-Fabric-70CU4-releasenotes.md

 

Container Registry

Public Preview

 

​We are pleased to announce the public preview of Azure Container Registry support for creation of built-in audit policies for Azure Policy. Once the built-in audit policy is available for the security control, the assessment results can be surfaced through Azure Policy's Compliance feature.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/acr-builtin-audit-policies-for-azure-policy-is-now-in-preview/

 

Documentation: https://aka.ms/acr/AzurePolicy

 

Public Preview

 

We are excited to announce the public preview of managed keys for Azure Container Registry. This capability enables customers to bring their own encryption key for Azure Container Registry. By using their own key stored in an Azure Vault to encrypt their images and artifacts, customer are better able to adhere to internal compliance regulations.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/managed-keys-for-azure-container-registry-is-now-in-preview/

 

Documentation: https://aka.ms/acr/cmk

 

SQL Database

Updated Features

 

Azure SQL Database now has the latest Gen 5 hardware in place to ensure optimal service performance. As a result, the default database configurations and the default elastic pool configurations are being changed for all new Azure SQL databases. Beginning March 9, 2020, these will be the default configurations for new databases and elastic pools: Databases General purpose tier—provisioned with 2 vCores on Gen 5 hardware Business critical tier—provisioned with 2 vCores on Gen 5 hardware Elastic pools General purpose tier—provisioned with 2 vCores on Gen 5 hardware Business critical tier—provisioned with 4 vCores on Gen 5 hardware

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-sql-database-default-configuration-changing/

 

DNS

Retiring Features

 

Post April 15, 2020 you will not be able to create new private DNS zones using preview dnszones resource API. Existing zones created using this API will stop working after June 30, 2020 and must be migrated to GA resource model. Note: This does not affect public DNS zones created using dnszones resource. These zones will continue to work normally.

 

Announcement: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/azure-dns-private-zones-preview-api-is-being-depricated/

 

Documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/azure/dns/private-dns-migration-guide

 

 
 

Azure Upcoming Events

Date/Time March Registration
3/24/2020
09:00 AM CST
Knowledge Mining 101: Create an Enterprise Search Solution
Imagine if you could use AI to search on all of your data no matter what it is.
Register Here!
3/24/2020
12:00 PM CST
Activate Accessibility Best Practices
Please join this session to learn more about Microsoft's approach to accessibility, how to activate the built-in accessibility features in Microsoft's products, considerations when building more a more inclusive business and product, and how to better leverage AI for accessibility.
Register Here!
3/24/2020
01:00 PM CST
Knowledge Mining 101: Create an Enterprise Search Solution
Imagine if you could use AI to search on all of your data no matter what it is.
Register Here!
3/24/2020
05:00 PM CST
Monitor and scale your applications in Azure
Learn how to migrate your .NET app to the cloud.
Register Here!
3/25/2020
10:00 AM CST
Best Practices to Secure Your Kubernetes Cluster
Watch this webinar to learn about best practices to keep your AKS cluster running with the latest OS security updates and Kubernetes releases as well as secure pod traffic and access to sensitive credentials.
Register Here!
3/25/2020
12:00 PM CST
Optimize Price Performance with Azure SQL Database Serverless
Learn about Azure SQL Database serverless, an auto-scaling compute tier in Azure SQL Database that eliminates the complexity of resourcing and managing variable or unpredictable workloads. Find out how SQL Database serverless can help you optimize price performance for your database workload and accelerate app development in your organization.
Register Here!
3/25/2020
12:00 PM CST
Microsoft's Commercial Marketplace Roadmap: March Updates
Join Commercial Marketplace Product Manager, Brian Levenson, for an exciting presentation on Microsoft's recent releases and upcoming roadmap for the commercial marketplace and get your questions answered!
Register Here!
3/26/2020
12:00 PM CST
Develop AI Responsibly
Register for this webinar to learn how Azure Machine Learning, the cloud-based advanced machine learning analytics service, can help you build, test, and deploy AI solutions that are transparent, fair, and trustworthy.
Register Here!
3/26/2020
03:00 PM CST
Community-Driven Security with Azure Sentinel and GitHub
Register for this webinar to learn how Azure Sentinel, the cloud-native security information and event management (SIEM) solution, uses a community approach to help improve the security of all Microsoft customers and partners. Members of the Azure Sentinel GitHub community can easily contribute hunting queries, analytics rules, dashboards, automation workflows, and other security input.
Register Here!
3/31/2020
01:00 PM CST
Develop Your Modern Data Warehouse with Azure Synapse Analytics, Azure Databricks, and Power BI
A modern data warehouse lets you bring together all of your company's data at any scale easily, and to get insights through analytical dashboards, operational reports, and advanced analytics for all your users. In this immersive experience, you will learn how to transform data gathered from various sources, including Cosmos DB, into Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2, Azure Databricks, and Azure Synapse Analytics, to build a modern data warehouse.
Register Here!
Date/Time April Registration
4/10/2020
01:00 PM CDT
Healthcare Partnership Opportunities with Microsoft
Join us in this webinar with the Microsoft Healthcare Team to learn about opportunities to partner with Microsoft, build on Azure, and scale worldwide with co-marketing, and co-selling. Meet leaders from across the Microsoft Healthcare Team, from Microsoft Azure, to OCP (One Commercial Partner), Health NExT (Microsoft Research), Business Development, Worldwide Health, Sales, Marketplace, representing the complete spectrum of opportunities for healthcare partners with Microsoft.
Register Here!
4/17/2020
12:30 PM CDT
Microsoft Healthcare Partner Showcase
Join us in this webinar as we showcase key healthcare partners of Microsoft, to learn about their focus, their solutions and services, use of Azure and Dynamics 365, and how they are leveraging the Microsoft Marketplace to scale worldwide. Hear about how leaders in the healthcare industry are innovating at the frontline of healthcare with AI / ML, NLP, AR / MR / VR, CyberSecurity, Blockchain, IoT, and more, powered by Microsoft cloud platforms, and scaling worldwide through co-marketing, and co-selling with Microsoft and reseller partners.
Register Here!
4/22/2020
09:00 AM CDT
Delivering the Modern Data Warehouse with Azure Synapse Analytics, Azure Databricks, and Power BI
A modern data warehouse lets you bring together all of your company's data at any scale easily, and to get insights through analytical dashboards, operational reports, and advanced analytics for all your users. In this immersive experience, you will learn how to transform data gathered from various sources, including Cosmos DB, into Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2, Azure Databricks, and Azure Synapse Analytics, to build a modern data warehouse.
Register Here!
4/23/2020
11:00 AM CDT
Microsoft Commercial Marketplace Roadmap: April Updates
Join Commercial Marketplace Product Manager, Brian Levenson, for an exciting presentation on Microsoft's recent releases and upcoming roadmap for the commercial marketplace and get your questions answered!
Register Here!
4/29/2020
12:00 PM CDT
Sell Through Microsoft's Commercial Marketplace
The nature of cloud software sales is rapidly changing as customers are increasingly using online marketplaces to find, try, and buy solutions. Microsoft's commercial marketplace enables partners around the world to accelerate their growth by providing access to over 3 million monthly users, joint go-to-market benefits, and resources across the broader partner ecosystem.
Register Here!
4/30/2020
12:00 PM CDT
Secure your Azure and Hybrid Cloud using Cloud Security Blueprint
Please join us in this webinar co-hosted by Microsoft and Check Point to learn about best practices on how to build a secure cloud deployment.
Register Here!
 
 
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